Been drinking a lot of shou lately, after a gap of…don’t know how long! I used to be pretty scared of pu’erh in general, but it’s slowly become something I look forward to. I quite like it at work, because it’s interesting (and convenient) to resteep over the course of a day, and spend some time getting to know a particular tea. It’s also a pleasing distraction from my job (which I currently dislike intensely), and strong enough to keep my headaches at bay.

From the first sip, it’s evident that this isn’t a typical shou – at least in some respects. It doesn’t have any of those super-prominent dirt/decay flavours which seem to be par for the course with shou (although I have come to enjoy that, to a certain extent). Instead, there’s a gentle earthiness and a deep, sweet creaminess. It’s not often I describe pu’erh as sweet, but this one absolutely is. It would make a pretty good introduction to shou for someone who’s uncertain – I only wish my first taste had been as encouraging! It’s probably fair to say that there is a background muddiness, but it’s pretty subdued and in no way pungent. I think this is going to be a good one – nicely on the side of gentle to round off the week.

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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