I tried a sample of Crimson lotus Tea’s 2009 Xinghai BulangQiaomu Sheng Puerh. This is the first puerh I’ve looked at here although not my first puerh. I wanted to have a short gongfu session, but this tea lasted a lot longer than I thought it would (eighteen infusions in total). The sample I have was mostly in large chunks, each around five to eight grams a piece.
I began with three short rinses with boiling water for six seconds each. For my first infusion I steeped for ten seconds (subsequent steepings I added five seconds). For the most part my first three infusions were pretty similar; they had an earthy scent and it mostly had a woodsy taste, although there were hints of very dark chocolate and some bitterness. I didn’t really care for these three infusions; it was a little too dark for me although the liquor was a very light for the strength of the tea.
For my next three infusions I used boiling water for twenty –five seconds (plus five seconds for each subsequent infusions). This time it had a smokey aroma, although I could still smell wet earth. The taste became very smooth and dark chocolaty, there was a little bit of sweetness now, but it still had some bitterness. Normally I am not a fan of darker teas, but this was very pleasant, it reminded me a little of Mexican hot chocolate without cinnamon. Unfortunately at this point I burned my hand pretty bad so I stopped taking pictures, but I still continued on, for the most part it the liquor became darker as I went on, until the thirteenth infusion when it started to become lighter.
At the seventh steeping, it started to become really interesting. I used boiling water and steeped for forty-five seconds. The aroma was very similar to previous, earthy and smokey, but the taste had a new edge to it. While it still was very chocolaty and woodsy with a little sweetness , but there was new spiciness to it. I could taste a little chili, but I mostly was getting cinnamon and cocoa powder. I differentiate the dark chocolaty taste from before with the cocoa powder taste which was a little drier. There was still some bitterness, but it became very similar to Mexican hot chocolate now that I was getting the spicy notes. This was probably my favorite infusion even though it was still darker then my normal teas.
I am going to skip ahead to my thirteenth infusion, by now I was steeping for seventy seconds. By now the scent is mostly gone, although the leaves are starting to smell very burnt. As for taste it started to have a coffee taste, more like a French roast. Before the tea tasted bitter, but with a sweet aftertaste, this time I would say it was sweet with a bitter aftertaste. I could still taste chocolate in this, but it became very mellow and the spicy notes were still present although the cinnamon and chili started to become murky. After this infusion the brewed tea became lighter.
I liked this tea, while I am normally not a darker teas so I generally avoid most puerhs, but I think I’ll have to reconsider a lot of teas I normally write off. And while I did enjoy the later infusions more so than the earlier ones, I’d definitely try this tea again if I can find it.