I’ve been rekindling my tea love and unearthing some of the long owned teas I have in the back of my cabinet. I started with some solid favorite genres of mine like roasted oolong and shu puerhs, but I want to see if maybe I can appreciate sheng in a way I couldn’t before. Finishing off this reserve club sample seems like as good a way to do it as any.

5 sec wash

1st steep, 5 sec: The wet leaf smells like what I tend to not like in sheng flavors — bitter vegetables, but there’s a smoky smell hiding behind it. The liquor smells much more promising. A bit doughy, sweet, and a hint of the hay in the back. The flavor is a surprisingly pleasant combination of baking spices and hay. The mouthfeel is delightfully thick and mouthwatering without being too astringent.

2nd, 7 sec: The smell is smokey and the flavor is quite bitter and vegetal. Very astringent. Maybe I overcooked this round? This is what I think of sheng tasting like and why I’ve never been able to get into it. I dumped this cup.

3rd, 7 sec: Still vegetal but a bit more mellow and with a little bit of sweet dough flavor hiding in there.

4th, 7 sec: Mildly vegetal, but not getting much depth beyond that. Perhaps my tastebuds are just not calibrated to appreciate sheng.

5th, 9sec: I’m getting something a little fruity here like wine grapes, but it gets quickly overwhelmed by the vegetal flavors again.

Well, I think I’m going to admit defeat with this tea. I had hoped that many years after my last sheng experience I’d have gotten to a point where I could appreciate them, but at least with this particular tea there was still not a lot there for me to enjoy.

Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Spicy, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I don’t pay too much attention to the number scores I give teas — they’re just an approximation of my feelings on them, so if you really want you know what I thought you’ll need to read the whole, longwinded tasting note.


Snohomish, WA

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