Spring 2017 Slumbering Dragon

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Pu Erh Tea
Flavors
Bark, Black Currant, Forest Floor, Fruity, Herbaceous, Menthol, Sour, Spices, Strawberry, Sweet, Vegetal, Apricot, Mineral, Tart
Sold in
Bulk
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by TJ Elite
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 oz / 102 ml

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5 Tasting Notes View all

  • “My evening drink today was chosen to be Slumbering Dragon, the first time I am trying this sample. I am not sure what I was expecting, but this is quite different from whatever that was. The...” Read full tasting note
    80
  • “This is a wild tea, so has that purple tea taste. In a whole the taste felt to me like a really fancy Taiwanese Dark-Oolong/Black-Tea, only with a much fuller body. That’s great, because since I’ve...” Read full tasting note
    88
  • “Had this in ball form from the Sheng Olympiad. Purple/wild teas aren’t usually my thing, so much, but this is a pretty decent one, erring on the sweet side with little bitterness unless it’s...” Read full tasting note
  • “I was a bit too late to the party for the 2016 iteration of this tea, but once the 2017 became available, I grabbed a bing blind. When it comes to pu’er, I tend to either seek out teas of...” Read full tasting note

From Crimson Lotus Tea

This is a rare puerh. Of all the tea we sell this is the hardest to source and the hardest to pick. There is a village in Kunlu Shan that isn’t even on Google maps. Once you’re there you need to hike another 3 kilometers into the mountains to get to these trees. The hike is often steep. You gain 500 meters and it takes more than 3 hours to get there. No one there knows how long the trees have been there or anything about their history. When you ask locals the age they simply reply that they are as old as the earth itself.

On the north slope of a steep mountain ridge, surrounded by dense forest, these trees reach to the sky. The trees at 20-40 feet tall literally scrape the ceiling of the forest. Impressive does not begin to describe these ancient beings. The Chinese call these trees ‘高杆’/gāogān which means “Tall Pole”.

These skinny trees often grow in a trio and remain branchless until near the top. Barefoot, only the young and the brave, carefully climb to the top to pick the Spring harvest. There are no ropes, harnesses, or soft landings. It is dangerous work. In an attempt to conserve their strength for the ages these trees each produce precious few buds and new spring growth. A day’s harvest for a young eager picker often maxes out around just 2kg of fresh leaf. After roasting and sun drying perhaps half a kilo is all they have to show for the days work.

There is not that much material available each year from these trees. We get as much as we can. We pressed less than 100 cakes this year. This is a very unique puerh. The flavor is strong, pure, natural, and quite bitter, but with a transcendent chaqi. There is an aroma in the dry leaves that is reminiscent of wild blueberries.

We had a new family process this material for us this year and it is better than it has ever been. It is fantastic this year!

We named this puerh “Slumbering Dragon” because of the visual image of these ancient trees growing so peacefully in the mountains. They seem to us like dragons of a previous era in a deep slumber for eons. The strong energy in this tea mirrors the strength of dragons in our active imaginations.

We present this tea as is. This is unblended, single origin, high altitude, wild tree puerh. It will not taste like a lot of the puerh out there. It is strong and intense with a very pronounced bitterness that can linger. The intensity of bitterness will fade with age. Our 2014 has mellowed quite nicely. The energy in this tea is quite strong, it will sneak up on you. We hope you get a chance to try this amazing and unique tea.

Prefecture: Pu’er
Elevation: 2000+m
Wood Fired
Hand Rolled
Direct Sun Dried

About Crimson Lotus Tea View company

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5 Tasting Notes

80
345 tasting notes

My evening drink today was chosen to be Slumbering Dragon, the first time I am trying this sample. I am not sure what I was expecting, but this is quite different from whatever that was. The highlights of the tea are nice mellow taste and a heady cha qi. In my opinion though, it lacks body and a dynamic character. Also, for a tea of this price point, I would expect a more interesting aftertaste. In the end, I think it’s too expensive for what is worth, but I will try it in a yixing instead of a gaiwan next time and see how it performs. Maybe it can impress me more in the next session.

The first thing I notice is how different the dry leaves look from other sheng, like TJ Elite pointed out. The aroma I get is mostly peppery with notes of forest and wild strawberries. As for the taste, I was definitely expecting a much harsher and stronger one. Instead, it is mellow with relatively low bitterness that also only appears properly in very late steeps. There is no astringency to speak of either. The taste profile is sweet, sour and vegetal with fruity tones. There are flavours of tree bark and black currant (especially its leaves).

The aftertaste is long, but not extremely so. It can be a little dry and numbing as well as cooling in the initial steeps.I get additional notes of menthol, spices like cloves and cinnamon and a light cocoa bitterness.

The tea has a medium to light body and a buttery mouthfeel. It is decent, but not the Slumbering Dragon’s selling point I’d say. Overall, the liquor is thinner than I expected.

I am going to give it a “not recommended” badge, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. I do think however that there are similar teas available at half the price and similarly priced teas that are much better.

Flavors: Bark, Black Currant, Forest Floor, Fruity, Herbaceous, Menthol, Sour, Spices, Strawberry, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 50 ML
TJ Elite

I finished my sample last summer with my cousin who was visiting. I don’t remember my first session having any notable cha qi, but we got totally messed up by this tea. Extremely energetic and hyper yet focused, meditative and creative. Like you said there’s hardly any harsh character to be found and the biggest shortcoming is definitely the fairly undynamic nature of the session. I went going in expecting a bitter fest as that’s how I’ve heard the previous years described, but at least to my disappointment there was none of that here. Glen said when I asked him that at least to him the 2018 was fairly similar, so no luck there either. I do like the 2017, though, and am looking forward to how my cake will age. For me the high points for now would be the cha qi and cleanliness of the tea. You can really taste the wild nature of the tea and environment it grew in.

Togo

Interesting. As this was just the first tasting, and a small one at 4g, I am very much ready to adjust my opinion of the tea when I try it in larger vessel and a different circumstances. In fact, I would usually postpone a review until I tried a tea several times, but in this case I wanted to record my thoughts on this particular session.

TJ Elite

I think your notes sound similar to how I recall the tea tasting. Would need to look at my own notes to refresh my memory of how the first session was. Don’t remember the body so probably wasn’t anything substantial. The mouthfeel was probably nice or good. Probably not worth its price tag in its current state like you said, but I think the quality’s there and it’s such unique material that I hold hope that it will age into something very unique given enough time. Don’t know if this is technically purple tea or not, but certainly reminds me of it.

Togo

It does remind me the Ye Sheng teas in certain aspects, the leaf shape and colour including, but it seems to lack the harsh bitterness.

Scott has this Jinggu Ye Sheng, which I haven’t tried, but according to him it’s less bitter than his Dehong Ye Shengs. I wonder if it is similar in profile to Slumbering Dragon, Jinggu being fairly close to Kunlu and much closer than Dehong.
https://yunnansourcing.com/products/2017-yunnan-sourcing-jinggu-ye-sheng-cha-wild-tree-purple-tea-cake

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88
18 tasting notes

This is a wild tea, so has that purple tea taste. In a whole the taste felt to me like a really fancy Taiwanese Dark-Oolong/Black-Tea, only with a much fuller body. That’s great, because since I’ve started drinking old tree Sheng mouthfeel is something I’m aware of and looking for.
Expensive, but at least delivers.

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27 tasting notes

Had this in ball form from the Sheng Olympiad. Purple/wild teas aren’t usually my thing, so much, but this is a pretty decent one, erring on the sweet side with little bitterness unless it’s pushed. A cooling, mentholated finish adds some complexity to the typical purple fruitiness, and the qi, while powerful, doesn’t have the disquieting character that some of these teas have. It’s also impressively caffeinated, which came as a plus today. Personally, I wouldn’t buy this, as I’m not really a fan of the genre; if you are though, this seems like one of the better examples I’ve had.

Preparation
Boiling 8 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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93 tasting notes

I was a bit too late to the party for the 2016 iteration of this tea, but once the 2017 became available, I grabbed a bing blind. When it comes to pu’er, I tend to either seek out teas of exceptional quality or ones that are incredibly unique. Based on the description at least, this one definitely falls in the latter category. As I want to save as much as possible of this special tea, for this review I ordered a sample a few months back and now was finally the time to break it out.

The dry leaves are really weird looking compared to your typical sheng. Many of them look like miniature pea pods or perhaps dragon scales, which would actually be quite fitting now that I think about it. The scent is also quite unique. In the pre-heated gaiwan, the smell of black currant really comes through, although most obvious on the lid. I used a single chunk of nine grams in a 130ml gaiwan and gave it a sub-five-second rinse followed by a five-minute rest while I sipped the wash. The soup tasted similar to its smell; black currants with maybe a bit of red mixed in.

I followed up with a total of twelve infusions, the timing for these being 5s, 5s, 5s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 75s, 2 min. and 3 min. From the first sip of the first infusion, I could tell this is a high-quality tea. It was quite incredible. Two or three sips in, I just wanted to stop for a while, because I felt I needed to take a moment to appreciate the tea. The texture was oily. I could immediately feel the vitality and life energy in this tea. There was a really nice sweetness and a combination of both fruit and berries, apricot and currants to be specific. The soup was super clean and pure and the flavors were really long lasting. The overall impression was very gentle. These are high marks.

As expected, the next infusion was way stronger. The compression seems to be on the looser side, so by this point the single chuck had practically come apart completely. The leaves are also tiny, really tiny, which contributes to the strength of flavor, while the age of the tea trees gives them the vitality they need to keep brewing steadily over multiple infusions. The tea continued being very sweet. The taste was chiefly that of black currants, but the acidic side of berries had become more emphasized. The long-lasting aftertaste from before was maintained.

The next two brews continued among the same lines. The taste of black currants started to become more leafy, resembling the taste of tisane made by infusing the leaves of said plant. Steep five was the boldest one yet. It saw a lot of minerality creeping in. Steep six swapped this with a very prominent acidity, but otherwise stayed true to form.

The seventh infusion, while not necessarily presenting anything new, combined multiple things at once, resulting in what was probably this tea at its most complex. The taste was very leafy with some sweetness as well. The oiliness was back and the soup was quite warming. I could feel a heatwave washing over me every twenty seconds or so over the course of a few minutes, which is totally new for me as usually it’s only a single wave or two. The tea was surprisingly complex with a lot going on and flavors that kept dancing around in your mouth.

The gentle, slightly oily texture characteristic for this tea was maintained for the eighth brew. The taste remained largely the same as what we’d seen before. Leafy, acidic, with a hint of berries in the finish. The acidity reached its peak in the next infusion where the taste was incredibly well defined and an uncanny rendition of the acidity in citrus fruits like grapefruit or lemon, but without the characteristic taste of that specific fruit.

From the tenth brew on we finally saw the tea beginning to simplify and the flavors starting to get thinner. The taste was nothing we hadn’t seen before. Leafy, acidic, with the occasional berries and touch of sweetness. The twelfth steep was the point at which I wasn’t enjoying the tea as much as before and thus I decided to call it there because I only expected the tea to start deteriorating from that point on.

I liked Slumbering Dragon a lot. Although the two Crimson Lotus shu pu’ers I’ve tried I’ve both really liked, while enjoying a few of their shengs to some degree, I’ve never really found anything I’d be seeking to purchase. This on the other hand is a winner. Although a tea I’ve already committed to buying, at least now I can say I do not regret that decision. The quality here is very high and albeit not cheap you are most definitely getting value for your money. I’ve had spring teas close to one dollar per gram or slightly over that while good aren’t necessarily of higher quality. For spring, this is definitely one of the better teas I’ve had in the around 40–60¢/g range.

This is one of the cleanest tasting teas I’ve had. Strength is good, longevity is good. You can definitely taste the clean environment these trees have grown in. One things the tea does slightly suffer from is that it’s not all that dynamic in terms of taste, but I find it less of an issue here than with some other teas. I didn’t get any bitterness or astringency or any other sort of harshness at all, unless you personally consider the acidic character such a thing. The acidity actually reminded me a lot of Bitterleaf Teas’ 2017 WMD which I reviewed recently. Specifically that vintage and not its 2018 counterpart as much. Fans of that tea might want to give this one a try. While I’ve yet to actually try ye sheng (pu’er), I’ve had both purple varietal hong cha and moonlight white and both the aroma and taste of Slumbering Dragon remind me of those teas, so fans of ye sheng might also be interested in what the dragon has to offer.

I think that covers most of what I had to say. I’m interested to see how this tea will age longterm. Crimson Lotus have pressed this tea again this year (available soon), so even if this vintage ends up selling out before you get to buy it, you’re not necessarily in any rush to try it. I may end up sampling the 2018 to see if it’s similar or different.

Flavors: Apricot, Black Currant, Mineral, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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69 tasting notes

This years is even better than last years. Those who were turned off by the intense bitterness of last years will be glad to know the bitterness is more balanced this year and there is a wonderful wild fruitiness and floral character that changes each steep. I’ve just now tried the wild monk and see a lot of similarities but this is more refined and the qi is awesome. I’ve had a few LBZ teas this summer and the qi of this tea is very similar. My buddy and I split a tong as we were both super impressed.

mrmopar

You got to get your friend on here too!

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