36 Tasting Notes
Had this tea in my stash for a while. So nice to be moving through my initial young sheng purchases that are now 10 years old. Fantastic sweet tea that is warming to the throat and has me feeling a distinct cha zui. I wouldn’t say this is a great tea. Very little nuance kind of flat which may be a result of dry storage here in SLC. Still though tea is very much about a feeling and affect so in that sense this tea is a winner.
Been a while since I opened this tea and trie it last. Maybe 3 years. This is very good tea slight bitterness up front but a fantastic tea flavor. Sweet stone fruit and glacial quality. Notes of stone and cooling mouth feel. No comliants t all a very good factory sheng that is aging well in my dry Mountain west climate.
I have had the tea twice now and this sheng is fantastic. It is 3 years old and smooth and sweet and will only get better. The compression is typical of xiaguan but none of initial smokiness remains. The taste is smooth and sweet with a ton of lasting feeling that extends deep into the throat and lingers in the back of the mouth. The color of the cake is quite dark for a sheng of only 3 years and it has mellowed quite a bit. The material has quite a few full leaves of roughly 1 inch in size. As I type this I’m on my 8th infusion and I have not had any issue with astringency or bitterness. Smooth as silk even with longer steep times if I get distracted. For a factory cake this thing is awesome.
Flavors: Stonefruits, Tea
Had this tea again this morning and It seems to me 9-10 years is the point where sheng finally loses its astringency. In the subsequent years since my last review of this I’ve had dozens of decade old sheng and this one starts out very subtle but becomes very enjoyable after the cumulative infusions. Flavor initially sees very weak but has a nice vanilla orchid and anise scent. Astringency is gone and the tea coats the mouth nicely with a mellow sweetness. I guess the best thing about this tea is that the infusions eventually become cumulative leaving a very nice feeling. infused leaves have a scent of anise. I look forward to continuing to check back in with the tea over the next few years. I have roughly half of the brick left and the leaf color has darkened substationally.
Flavors: Anise, Vanilla
This brick was one of my first forays into sheng and I’ve really enjoyed seeing this tea change over the years. The green young smokey puer flavor has given way to a smooth aged puer showing me that sheng indeed does age into something more like a shu. Over the 9 years that I have owned this brick I’ve used a little less than half of the brick. The scent of the wet leaves is literally that of an old antique book store, all of the smoke and bitterness and astringency of the early years of this brick are nearly non-existent. The liqueur is no longer a pale green shu but is now chrystal clear leather brown. As I mentioned in my earlier reviews, this brick is made from heavily processed material but even with mulched material the liquid is clear. I brewed this time in a 125ml yixing with 210 spring water. 30 Secs first infusion 10 for subsequent infusions.
I received this tea as a sample. I’ve been experimenting with sheng recently so I thought I would try a session. The tea leaf is pretty beat up lots of bits and pieces which reminds me of the tibetan flame from the dame year that I have on hand, but this one is better.dry leaf smelled like smoke, similar or a lapsang but not quite as much pine tar. The Guoyan is very good, not great. The tea elicits a foggy feeling, and some tea drunkeness. the infusion fills my mouth with a brothy consistency indicating umami. I have not detected any bitterness in my 205 degree 30 second infusions. This is one of those teas that really grows on me, the first infusion was unremarkable in any way, but as I have been tasting through now the 5th infusion there is getting to be more to like. 6th infusion a sweet coating is taking hold in the back of my mouth, and now there is a cooling effect in my mouth. This is being brewed in a 175 ml yixing with about 10 grams of tea. Indeed, I like this tea a lot. And honestly it is a shame it is now gone.
I thought I should finally get around to reviewing this shu as I’m half way through the tuo. The leaves I am using for this session are the bits and pieces that have collected in the wrapper and the box from breaking apart the toucha. Smooth and creamy is the first adjectives that come to mind. The smell of the dry leaves also has a sweet cream scent, which is accentuated when adding the dry leaves into a warmed yixing. After an initial rinse the warm leaves now have an essence of a library or or a used book store. The surprising thing to me is that even using the bits and broken pieces of the remnants of a dozen session the brew is still smooth and clean, the liquor is not a translucent red as with usual infusions, but cloudy. The infusion is every bit as fluid and viscous and flavorful as usual. Later infusions have a less creamy and more mineral quality, almost stone like not earthy so much as a quality of a glacial cirque filled with boulders, and granite escarpments with hints of moss and lichen. Not that I’ve ever hiked into a glacial cirque and eaten rocks or lichen, but that is the essence I feel as I drink. Wonderful.
I’m not really entirely sure why I’m posting this review as I am confident my palate is off today. I’ve been sick for a couple of days and decided to do a bit of sheng pu drinking today. I’ve had this beng for about 3 years now and each time I have it it becomes more drinkable. I’m not quite sure if I really like the tea or if it just average. I’ve had both good and bad tasting sessions over the years. The early times the tea was an astringent mess of bitterness. One other time I had a session and can recall very pleasant young apricot like flavors. But during this current session I’m ot getting anything as far a flavors but simply a sweetness, a sensation at the rear of the mouth by the tonsils (if I still had mine). There is no astringency or bitterness at all, but not a lot of flavor either. I take several deep breaths from the yixing and can feel the same sweetness and coating in the olfactory gland inside my nose and the same coating sweetness in the rear of my mouth, but again there is no discernable flavor. Strange. But with all that said there is discernable chaqi and a bit of tea drunkeness, maybe tea tipsy is a better term as I’ve had teas with much better qi. At any rate, this is likely a throw away tasting note but even mediocre sessions provide context.