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: Comparatively, this seems to be less compressed. The cake breaks up much more easily; though the pieces are smaller/more brittle. Same sort of leaf colouring, though.
Liquor Colour: A dark brown with red undertones. It has a very slight cloudiness to the liquor but overall is pretty clear. Noticeably darker in colour than the 2015 Brown sugar. Not nearly as dark as I’d expect the liquor for a Shou to be; but certainly closer in ‘generic Shou appearance’ than the ’15 .
Aroma: Aroma is stronger overall than the ‘15 and has more presence. It’s very earthy, with a bit of a mushroomy quality too. Has an almost molasses like sweetness.
Taste: Immediately this tea feels more full bodied than the ‘15. The top notes are very earthy/loamy and evoke immediate, intense feelings of wet wood/the forest floor. Body has a little bit of a mineral taste, and some sweetness. It’s also a little woody, not unlike the ‘15 but in a more wet way. Undertones are a little fruity; sort of date like I suppose. While the top of the sip is very unctuous, the finish is short, clean and without lingering flavour not unlike what I experienced with the ’15. It’s interesting to me how this tea is so similar in the second part of the sip to the ’15 but so wildly different at the start.
Having tasted both years now, this is the one I think I prefer. It’s not arguable that there are a lot of similarities, but I think this year has more overall body even if it finishes in the same sort of way that the 2015 does. Plus, something about that more wet, petrichor feelings foresty note that this starts off with really does something for me. Both are very smooth though, and I think would make really good every day drinking type teas.
Link to 2015 Brown Sugar from this tasting: