Finally getting around to reviewing a sample of this tea which was graciously included with my last order from Crimson Lotus! I’m not particularly experienced with shou but interested to see how this one tasted. Unfortunately this cake is now sold out, but I hope this sample will make for a good learning experience.
The wet leaf smells earthy (of course) with a hint of maybe a spice note in there. The first steep is a light brownish red. It has a clear note to it that I like to think of as petrichor, but overall this first steep is quite light and not too distinctive. The second steep is a much darker red, thicker and more viscous, but still quite clear in taste. I generally find shou a little tough to figure out—since the tea is often so mellow, nothing particularly jumps out at me while drinking.
The third steep becomes dark black-red and feels a little bit more viscous. The flavor itself hasn’t felt like it’s grown on me too much. As far as my untrained tongue can detect, this is shou, and unfortunately I can’t really pick too much else up. Maybe if anyone has tips for what to look out for :)