This was the highlight purchase of my first trip to Camellia Sinensis. Leaves are even, unbroken, well cared for. They show a mostly even darkness with occasional greens, signs of a good aging. Scents are light on the dry tea, nothing damp nor anything very green.
Overall, has a really pleasant Sheng flavor with some age on it but nothing major. Begins with a pleasant sourness, some bookstore-funk, some salt on it, brothiness, eventually sweet aromas, more vegetal (burdock, licorice root, dandelion root). Not majorly energizing, nor sedating, soothing if anything.
1.5tsp – 8oz
30s/210 – Hay, corn husk, oily mouthfeel initially, with a slightly sweet smell like nectar, oddly it makes you salivate like crazy. A background of beautiful aged Sheng – no must, basement, damp, only rich, deep, beautiful profile. Brothy, def. has a savory element early on on the back of the palate. Fall, Ocean Air, camphor salty, age on the back end then ends with a savory/sour note that lingers and moves forward in the mouth. Salt, savory, umami flavors linger long after you swallow.
30S/210 – Strong smells of umeboshi, young sheng, sour, bookstore in a good way, a fresh roll of seamless paper or cutting open a new watercolor block, sweet cream, slight notes of smoke and vegetables coming off. It is astringent in this cup, even at a slightly shorter steep time, with more age apparent on the tongue, flavors of black pepper, barley, saffron, again slight sour, still has the brothiness but becoming more Shu tasting vs savory. Beautiful nose. Cooling in the mouth, not full on camphor but in the direction. Still salty and rich.
40S/210 – On the nose – plum, honey, Dongfang Meiren, again bookstore in a good way but lesser than first 2 pours, wood, wet rocks, mountain air, salt is there but fading. No sweetness yet on flavor. The astringent flavors are lesser, still drying to the mouth though, a lot like the more alkaloidal root herbs (burdock, dried dandelion root, oak bark, and white willow bark.) Vegetal like green peppers meets dry hay meets dried burdock root. Deeper, muskier smells have given way to a cleaner, more nuanced aged flavor. Sour is fading too.
2m/212 – really let this steep go on but the rich fresh Sheng flavor came back and the sweetness arrived, so some kind of sugars dissolved that hadn’t yet and it definitely improved as I tasted it (a spoonful) at 1 minute. By minute 2, it was much more complex and pungent. Astringency is the same but sour is gone. Aged flavors still present but subdued. Aromas of wildflowers with flavors of fresh light leather, licorice root, celeriac, still a little salt oddly enough.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Broth, Camphor, Corn Husk, Hay, Honey, Ocean Air, Pleasantly Sour, Saffron, Salt, Sweet, Wet Rocks