This is my 3rd session with this tea. As it was described as “purely dry stored” by the vendor, I was nonplussed the first time I drank it, as it had an overwhelming damp basement flavor. Now that I’ve allowed it to air out for a few months, the dry leaf no longer has the musty scent it had when I obtained it. It is the oldest sheng I have found which is reasonably affordable, but I’m glad I didn’t buy more than a small sample.
I gave it two rinses of about 10 s each with boiling water.
Earthy, slightly sweet, somewhat astringent. Whatever bitterness might have been present when the tea was young is entirely gone, as are any vegetal notes in the lid scent. The damp basement taste and astringency become more pronounced with later infusions. A woody note and an almost ethereal mouthfeel emerge around the 5th steep. The dry cup scent is floral perfume, strongly reminiscent of the better grades of shu.
By the 8th steep there is a profound mouth-drying astringency and the dominant flavor is of wet stone with a faintly sweet aftertaste. While still a deep clear copper color, the soup is beginning to thin out. I’m giving up after about 14 infusions, though there is more damp stone and astringency still in the leaf.
Flavors: Wet Rocks, Wood