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Recent Tasting Notes
I received two of these balls with a teaware order a few months back. I took one of them on a trip with me during the summer to drink with a friend, but unfortunately that session turned out to be a big disappointment and the tea didn’t really taste like anything besides green and astringent. It could be that the tea didn’t like traveling with me even in a closed ziplock bag. After letting the other one sit in my pumidor for a few months, I finally decided to break it out.
I brewed the tea in a 140ml gaiwan giving it the two suggested 30s rinses before brewing it like I normally would. I gave both rinses a small taste, but the first one was still far too light while the second was too nasty to drink due to the long steep time. Thanks to being a single serving, you mainly get large, intact leaves with less broken leaf you’d get with a cake. Aromatically the tea is pretty much your standard young sheng fare from what I could tell. I did a total of ten steeps, for 8s, 8s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60s, 60s and 60s.
The first infusion was still quite light, but perhaps partially thanks to the long rinses the body was already quite big, I’d say medium+. I’m not quite sure about the taste, it wasn’t really purely mineral nor vegetal. The lasting aftertaste was light, but it was there. Despite being light, the tea comes across as pungent, possessing a backbone that you can sense.
The mouthfeel remained almost as thick in the second steep, with the taste being now more mineraly, but not in a typical way. The tea showed signs of being astringent or bitter upon entering the mouth, but the actual astringency never arrived. The finish on the other hand had hints of vegetal to it. There wasn’t really any sweetness to speak of, but the taste and aroma lingered in the mouth. The underlying sense of pungency from the first steep continued to be present as well.
Only extending the steep time marginally for the third infusion, both the body and flavor were getting lighter. Despite this the mouthfeel was still pretty nice and the aftertaste very long-lasting and stable despite not being particularly strong. The taste continued to be predominantly mineraly, but again not in the most typical way. What you noticed immediately about the next fourth steep was how cooling it was, impressively so. The body continued to be decent and the taste was very clean and still quite mineraly. The brew had a very nice calming effect that was almost meditative. Definitely a standout infusion.
The fifth steep still maintained a decent body. At this point the tea started to hint at astringency, but it was almost nonexistent. I’m not quite sure about the flavor, it lay somewhere between green, mineral and vegetal. Aftertaste was still a thing, albeit weaker now than before. The body got again maybe a bit lighter in the sixth steep, but the mouthfeel remained nice. The flavor was stronger now thanks to the extended brewing time and the mineraly taste was now similar to some mineraly premium Chinese green teas like Long Jing, etc. The tea may have even hinted at some vegetal/mineral sweetness in the finish. This was probably the best infusion of the session. After finishing your cup, the tea did leave a slightly astringent feeling in your mouth. It also had a mildly mood elevating effect similar to green tea but milder.
The seventh infusion was the turning point for this tea. I should have probably extended the brewing time less than I normally would for pu’er, for in addition to getting more body the tea also started tasting less enjoyable to me and being a bit astringent. It wasn’t bad yet, but it started bordering on nasty. For the eighth steeping I extended the brewing time less than I typically would and for infusions nine and ten I kept it at a minute. All of these tasted very similar. They were somewhat drinkable, but all had this quality to them that is a bit off-putting to me, I just call it nastiness. I will say though that all of these infusions even with the truncated steeping times were stronger in flavor than all the prior infusions, which I found quite impressive. I think that this is a good sign for future aging prospects in mind for when the flavors in the late steeps have become more developed.
After my initial disappointment with this tea, this second session really surprised me. It has a long list of good attributes. That being said, for me this was more of an interesting tea to experience than something I’d be interested in drinking regularly. My gut feeling has great confidence that this tea would age well and it would be interesting to revisit it in five or ten years once it has some real age on it. Since my experience with it was so positive, I’m on the fence about whether to give it a Recommended stamp or not, but I try to keep my standards for doing so high, so since I would not purchase more of this tea for myself I’m opting to not do that. However, if you do have any curiosity toward these planets by Crimson Lotus, this is one I recommend trying.
Flavors: Mineral, Vegetal
I usually don’t get excited over shou but omg! The complex flavors in this sweet brew makes me want to compare it to a port (or a Belgian quad as I’m always comparing tea to beer) chocolate covered cherries and marzipan with a woody earthy backdrop. This is the sweetest, thickest tea I’ve ever had. I’m enjoying it with a brunch of roasted butternut squash and duck bacon. Wishing I had a Peking duck to go with it but Chinatown Philadelphia is a 4 hour drive…not much qi from this but the mere flavors of this stuff has caused my brain to release enough dopamine to keep me smiling all afternoon.
You can read my full review (wiht photos) here…
Smokey, tobacco, sweet fruit (apricots?), smooth. Do not push this one too hard or it will be very astringent. Start with VERY short (3-5 sec) steeps for this first 5 steepings. I used 10 grams in 130 ml Jianshui pot. Next time will only use 7 grams. God solid tea. Easy to drink and enjoy.
First ripe purchased in almost a year! https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ4pBGLgrBG/?taken-by=liquidproust
When you see quality leaf being fermented without the use of shovels and feet, it’s got to be worth trying right?
Well today I went into this tea after it settled for a few days and I really enjoyed it’s subtle notes. The rinse was clear and by time I hit the first brew, there was a nice ruby red tint to the liquid. Brewing this was really fun because it wasn’t harsh on the mouth. From my experiences, this will become a very lovely tea for someone with my sort of taste buds in just a few more years. As someone who enjoys aged sheng, this will approach that taste a lot better than other shou have that I have tried.
Really looking forward to trying this once a month to track it’s ability to drink on cold nights and with certain foods!
This years is even better than last years. Those who were turned off by the intense bitterness of last years will be glad to know the bitterness is more balanced this year and there is a wonderful wild fruitiness and floral character that changes each steep. I’ve just now tried the wild monk and see a lot of similarities but this is more refined and the qi is awesome. I’ve had a few LBZ teas this summer and the qi of this tea is very similar. My buddy and I split a tong as we were both super impressed.
Got a free sample of 2 planet yiwu dragonballs with an order from CLT. its beautiful to get free samples from some suppliers. Thanks for that!
I used a 150ml Gaiwan with a Dragonball, gave it two rinses and finally opened it up by hands. The aroma was actually awsome! Fruity, floral, sweet and a tiny smokieness in a beautiful balance. I mainly got lime, sour plum and honey on my nose.
This tea keeps going for ever. I felt like doing a dozen flash steeps.
First infusion was about 95degrees, but decided to lower the temperature to 90 degrees for the first few flash steeps. The Soup is thick even after several steeps and actually changes during the session. As mentioned in a review before, I also get the drying sensation on the tongue – which i wouldnt call unpleasant. it rather makes you feel like drinking more of that tea. during the session i kept on smelling the wet leafes and the camphor really came out after the 4th steep – something that i havent known from younger shengs yet. after the session i got the apricot and stone fruits in the mouth. really nice :)!
could steep this tea for ever!
Definitely worth a try!
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Camphor, Citrus, Hazelnut, Honey, Mineral, Nutmeg, Stonefruits, Wood
It has been awhile since I’ve had this one, I think I’m on my 7th or 8th steep now and it’s still going strong.
Nice full bodied, easy drinker. I’m starting to get the tea sweats but that may be because it’s 28℃ here today. I can’t wait until we get back into the cool fall temperatures and I can sit outside and enjoy my shou
I received a free 20g sample of this with a teaware order a couple months back. It has sat in my pumidor since then and now was finally time to give it a go. My sample was practically just a single large chunk from the cake with a handful of loose leaves at the bottom of the wrapper. Doing my best to try to maintain leaf integrity, I separated 9.5 grams from the sample for my trusty 140ml gaiwan. It was difficult to make out much aroma from the dry leaf, but in the preheated gaiwan I did pick up a scent that came across as somewhat darker to me than in some other young raws. After a brief 10s rinse the scent was very reminiscent of the white2tea 2017 “f*ck what u heard” that I reviewed last time. Once the leaves cooled down, the aroma did change. It was perhaps more sweeter, I don’t know if I’d use the word floral.
I’ve been in the habit of drinking some of the rinses lately, and despite filling the gaiwan almost full I did drink this one as well. It was very light as is to be expected. Green, buttery, with something else in there later on that I can’t put my finger on. Perhaps it’s some sort of floral sweetness of some kind, but I can’t really say. There was some body/mouthfeel to the tea already and it made my heart start beating noticeably harder in my chest as well as made me feel significantly hot. It also made blood start pumping into a certain key region in my lower body, which was interesting and an entirely new experience related to tea.
At this point I gave the tea my customary ten minute rest before I proceeded to the first proper infusion. In this time the large chunks soaked enough water and loosened enough for me to make the leaves come apart by just poking at the clumps a little with my finger. I proceeded to do a total of ten infusion, for 7s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 75s, 2 min. and 3 min. The first steep had a light flavor of cream/vanilla infused with green. The body wasn’t that heavy, but the mouthfeel was nice and noticeable. After my initial observations about the taste, I actually forgot about the taste entirely as the mouthfeel was such that it just really grabbed all your attention. Even though, apart from the even stronger pro-erectile effects than before, the direct effects of cha qi were subtle, you got the sense that there’s energy in this tea. This was the last I noticed during my session though.
The second infusion still had some body to it, but the nice mouthfeel from before was gone. The taste was your typical green young sheng flavor, but slightly more mature/developed/elegant with perhaps some underlying sweetness of some sort to balance it a little. You could still notice hints of the creamy vanilla from the prior infusion. There wasn’t really any noticeable astringency to the tea yet, but it did leave the surfaces of your mouth a tad sandpapery. The third steep had a very “clear” taste to it. There wasn’t that much of the green or astringent character, but they were out there somewhere. The tea is hard to describe beyond that. It didn’t simply taste like water, nor did it have a particularly mineral character to it either. The body was light and the tea did leave the roof of your mouth a bit more sandpapery than before, but not your tongue.
The body became even lighter in the fourth steeping, barely surpassing water, although it was still not poor. There was more astringency now, and at times you could get an almost metallic finish. There wasn’t much greenness to the taste and instead the tea had more of an astringent taste to it. The fifth steep produced a darker green flavor than I’m used to experiencing in young raws, with this time not very much astringency at all. There was an interesting balance to the rather simple green flavor, with the balance coming from something darker lying underneath that might’ve also been almost savory in nature. The steep was surprisingly filling, leaving me feeling sated after finishing my cup even though the flavor itself was nothing to write home about. The tea left a green aroma lingering in your mouth and nose even though there wasn’t really a lingering aftertaste to accompany it. There was also slightly more body, even if it remained light.
While I don’t think that the sixth steep was a weak infusion, there weren’t really any flavors there to grab onto. There was some typical green astringency that you expect, of course, as well as a sort of weird vibe I got in the finish that reminded me of manure, but all in all there wasn’t really much flavor there. The seventh steep did rectify this somewhat by presenting a green taste that differed from the green taste I get in a lot of young shengs. It reminded me of a sort of semi-passable lower grade green tea. While there wasn’t much astringency, it did leave your mouth a bit sandpapery.
Somewhat surprisingly, while the eighth steep was relatively light in terms of viscosity, it did have an okay mouthfeel. The taste was now that of your typical young sheng, green and slightly astringent. After lengthening the steeping time for the ninth infusion, I found that the tea was starting to taste unenjoyable to me. I expected the tenth infusion to only get worse, but it was actually better than its predecessor. It wasn’t something I enjoyed, but it wasn’t too unpleasant to drink. While I suspect this tea could have probably gone on, I decided to stop here because I did not want it to get nasty.
After really liking Crimson Lotus’s Lucky Cloud which is allegedly also Jingmai material, I was interested to try out my first raw pu’er from the region. All in all, to a still relative pu’er newb this came across to me as a midrange sheng, which is also how it’s priced. If there’s one word I would use to describe it, I think it would be “balanced.” I don’t drink very many blended raws, so I don’t know how much this being a blend has to do with it, but this tea, while still very young and in my opinion not something I would drink now, rounds off some of the rougher edges you tend to see in my experience in material that comes from a single family, etc. I don’t think those things mean very much now, but ten years down the line it would be interesting to see how they affect the overall profile and balance.
While this tea did seem to have some cha qi – even if very front-loaded – decent texture that will hopefully improve with age, and seemingly okay longevity, nothing about it struck me as particularly special. As this is a tea that I would not drink now, if I were to invest money and time into a cake, I would want something I have a good feeling about. While this will likely be a very good tea in ten years’ time or more, if I’m going to make that sort of commitment, I don’t just want a tea that I think will be good, I want a tea I think will potentially be amazing, even if it doesn’t turn out that way. I want either something really high quality or something really special and unique. I feel this tea is neither of those. If you are looking specifically for Jingmai material to age on a budget, then try a sample of this to see if it’s what you’re looking for. Otherwise, if you’re going to be sitting on a cake for 10+ years, I’d save up and invest in higher grade material like the Midas Touch. If this tea were drinkable now, it’d be a different story, but in my eyes it’s neither interesting, rewarding or enjoyable enough in its current state. Your mileage may vary of course. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, then I think there are better value propositions out there. If you’re looking specifically for Jingmai and you really love Jingmai, then there are less. It is not my intention to try to sell this tea short as it has quite a few promising attributes and probably has potential to be a very tasty tea, it’s just not there yet.
I received a free sample of Bitterleaf Teas’ 2017 In Bloom with a recent order and will likely be ordering a sample of the 2017 Midas Touch to try out as well, so expect to see reviews of more Jingmai teas in the not too distant future. Those are of course different vintage than Jingmai LOVE, but I’m interested to see how they compare nonetheless.
Flavors: Astringent, Cream, Green
Not on the website yet, but its the same as last years, a blend of different sized trees from Jingmai, same trees as the 2008 maocha.
Perfect example of puerh je ne sais quois. It has young floral character but balanced with a depth of flavour helping keep it in the neutral zone. Soft and welcoming, lacking the sweet juice of the 2008 but I can taste some of the elements of the fruitiness that the older sheng has.
Really quite nice, I love it when tea has that something you cant put your finger on, but like.
Also i noticed different flavours being extracted when brewing at different temps, the joy of drinking blended tea. It is less forgiving than the 2008 though, as to be expected from the younger leaf.
edit* Warning – creates earworms of a well known 80s midnight star track
its back in stock. I am so happy.
This is, for me, the kind of time when the puerh gods are at peace & the flavour planets align. The huigan combines in my throat, mouth & head to form a wondrous taste. I mean seriously, this stuff has returning fruit game.
This is a perfect example of how sheng can taste once in the mouth, and then transform into something else a few minutes later. It is really soft & juicy, forgiving, even a hint of smoke or tobacco (and I hate that profile usually) but balanced in such a way it makes them all work.
I am grateful to a bad pasty for sharing a sample with me in the first place, and I would also like to thank the fact it was out of stock when I went to buy some after said sample, which caused a great low that made this high even higher -
I emailed Glen a couple of weeks ago saying how much I liked it and he informed me they have bought more and its in stock again.
I want more of this tea. It’s outstanding. Glen sent a sample in the spring and I read reviews of how undrinkably bitter it was so I began with cool 75 deg steeps for like 5 seconds and ramping up the time and temp. Using this method I was able to get aggressively bitter tea that was balanced by honeysuckle and apricot flavors. It truly reminds me of a new school west coast IPA. The qi of this tea made me more aware of my surroundings and boosted my creativity while I had a permanent smile. Can’t wait for the 17. If anyone wants to trade some of this I’d be willing as C lotus sold out.
This is a cute sheng with a lovely soft sweet profile and a lightly creamy body. It is floral and fruity, with always a looming astringency threatening to happen if you steep it too aggressively.
I did 200F and got 8 infusions, with the final being very astringent. This is not a tea to forget about steeping and a good test of your steeping technique if you go higher on temperature. You can play it safe on a lower temperature, but also keep in mind this tea is pressed super tight – so it’ll take awhile to open up.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2016-space-girls-sheng-puer-crimson-lotus-tea/