So, this afternoon I’m doing a side by side competition style tasting of White2Tea’s 2015 and 2016 Brown Sugar pu’erhs because I recently purchased samples of both. I’ve tried different years harvests of the same tea, but I’ve never really done a side by side compare before and I thought that would be interesting – especially in the case of Pu’erh.
For both tastings, I’m using 2.2g (because that’s what I broke off from the first cake, so I kept it the same with the second) of Pu in 6 oz. of water – both steeped for three minutes using 95 degree Celcius water. Consistency, bitch.
So without further ado…
Dry Leaf: Very dense/tightly compressed with a very dark overall colour; black and near blacks with some umber. A few flat, more tan looking leaf fragments visible too.
Liquor Colour: A darker red/brown with good clarity. Has the same amber-like colour I’d expect to see from a Chinese black tea, such as a Keemun. Noticeably lighter and brighter in colour than the 2016 Brown Sugar.
Aroma: Quite earthy and dank but supported by a brightness/sweetness: reminds me a little of dates. Perhaps also a little nutty.
Taste: Top notes are earthy with mineral qualities; very structured but not persistent. Overall, the body is pleasant but a little bit flat: none of the notes have robustness or body. It reminds me a little of dry wood, as opposed to the wet/damp wood and forest notes often gotten from shou. Maybe a little nutty, but not in any distinct sort of way. Some sweetness, overall. Finish is very clean, and short lived. No lingering tastes; no real presence. It’s not an unpleasant cup but nothing about it stands out or really has any depth.
Having tasted the 2016, I can definitely say that of the two this is the one I prefer less. I think many people would appreciate the overall clean profile of this tea and how smooth it is in general, but I really like the long lingering earthy notes at the start of the 2016 and how it’s woody but in more of a wet/forest-y way. Nothing about this one was unpleasant, I just think it’s going to be a touch forgettable too.
Link To 2016 Brown Sugar from this tasting: