The 200 gram cake is highly compressed (not quite to the level of factory toucha but you do want a pu’erh knife for this one). The dry tea has a faint but pleasant smell and it’s very clean with few stems and sticks. Nothing unpleasant about it. At this point I have had a couple of sessions with the tea and I have found it enjoyable. The 908 is not particularly complex (compared for example to the last factory ripe I bough – the Dayi Chun Pin – the 908 is a bit of a one trick pony). The tea brews up thick and dark, the wet leaves have a typical ripe earthy smell and it takes a while for them to open up due to the compression.

The tea has strong cocoa and coffee tones. I say cocoa rather than chocolate because it’s got that notable (but pleasant) bitterness that you get from cocoa powder or really dark boutique chocolate (but not from milk chocolate). This flavor profile is so strong it mostly overpowers the earthiness and slight fruitiness of the viscous and thick soup. Of course, simple does not necessarily mean bad and what this tea lacks in complexity it gains in oomph. In fact I think that the straightforward flavor profile makes it suitable as a daily drinker or beverage to sip while reading or watching TV. The flip-side is that it has less to offer (compared to more complex teas) in a concentrated session. I found the tea to be very un-dynamic, meaning it does not change flavor between steeps but stays very consistent and keeps going for a long time. I also thermos-brewed this tea (using the steeped-out leaves from my gongfu sessions) and that was a success, again thanks to the somewhat simple profile, I believe. Finally I felt very little fermentation flavor, and only in the aftertaste.

I brewed this tea gongfu style, 8.5 grams per 100ml in a yixing pot using close to boiling water. The first steep is a little thin, after that the leaves open up and it keeps going for 7-8 steeps. The tea can be pushed hard without any overpowering bitterness. The 908 is recommended as a cheap but perfectly decent factory shu, providing one does not have a problem with the lack of complexity. Picky ripe pu’erh connoisseurs may find this too pedestrian.

Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Earth

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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