90

Very much enjoyed this tea and would buy more. I am new to tea tasting and to puerh, and this is my fifth shu. My first one was from a grocery store in Chinatown, $10 for a cake. I had no idea. That one, even after rinsing , it had some marine flavors, then settled into mustiness. I thought I liked that mustiness. But since then I have sought out better shus. I shudder to think of that first cake now.

This 2012 Buland Gushu is the best shu in my limited experience. So clean, mellow. This is not a forest floor, earthy, wet leaves, or wet cavern, musty cathedral shou. Not at all.

This shu is cocao (powder) foregrounded, with a slight grip of bitterness that dark chocolate lovers appreciate. The cocao persists over the steepings. Mocha.

Eventually a fruity character opens up. I discerned prunes but then decided it was more like dates (Middle Eastern). Vanilla extract or amaretto. Maybe caramel. Pound cake. A sweet aftertaste on the palate, and after swirling around, a creaminess that seems even buttery on the tongue going down.

Hints of all of this continue even into later steepings, so this shu did not completely flatten out and collapse into one dimensionality even into the 10th steep, although of course it was much thinner.

The aroma also was nice: marshmallow? Amaretto? Sweet almond. Maybe some moss, but again, this is not a wet forest shu.

I drank this late at night, and it did keep me up and made me quite alert, unlike a couple other shus that have quickly immersed me into contemplation.

[Update: second session>into steep 5 and man this stuff has caffeine, I gotta slow this session down].

[Udate2: gradually kept steeping, but seriously feeling the caffeine, too much, going to my head and behind my eyes. Next time I will reduce to 5 grams and steep maybe every half hour. Unfortunately, due to this buzz rush, I won’t be able to have this as my all-day companion, and so I may eventually lower the rating to the low 90s. The effect on my body is a pretty important consideration for me.]

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Caramel, Cocoa, Creamy, Dates, Mocha, Vanilla

Preparation
7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Ratings:

I am new to tasting, so I am adjusting my ratings of each tea to accommodate my new experiences and learning.

But overall this is my logic:

95+ are teas I want to have on hand and buy again. I am willing to save my money for them (within reason) and measure out every last 10th of a gram.

90-94 are teas that I highly praise and recommend, but they are not ones that I prioritize to buy again and have on hand.

80-89 are teas that I am thankful for trying, but I would rather save my money if necessary to buy a 95+ tea.

If I do not rate a tea, it means I feel bad about giving a score of 79 or less and would prefer the community and experts weigh in with their math.

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