2018 Spring Honeymoon Sheng Pu'erh

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
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Fruity, Mineral, Pineapple, Sweet, Creamy, Honey, Smooth
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Edit tea info Last updated by hawkband1
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 oz / 100 ml

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3 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Gongfu! I had a really lovely and really long virtual tea session with a handful of IG tea friends yesterday – like something like three and a half hours long? I fit a pretty hefty handful of teas...” Read full tasting note
  • “I received 20g of this tea as a freebie with an order. I’ve read up on CLT’s 2018 teas when they came out, but since then the details have slipped from my mind and blended together. For this...” Read full tasting note
  • “I got the sample 2018 package from Crimson Lotus because I was missing some Pu-erh in my cabinet. I wanted to try some samples and just get one good cake of something I love. This one was very...” Read full tasting note

From Crimson Lotus Tea

This tea is just pure happiness. You’re sitting on a beach in the warm sun without a care in the world. You have a maitai in your hand and nowhere to be. You close your eyes and find that you’re actually at home drinking this tea. This tea is very relaxing. It has a lot of body, relaxing energy, minor fruity and floral notes with just enough bitterness and astringency to keep it interesting. This tea is soft and smooth and very easy to drink and lose yourself.

This tea was a cooperative project with Cody of ‘The Oolong Drunk’ and Stephanie (stephanieosborne.com). Cody approached us with an idea for a blend and wrapper and we worked to source the material and make it happen. Stephanie did the design work. This blend is a custom piece of work that took us quite a while to nail down this year. It is a Manzhuan based blend and features all first Spring picking old tree material. We are very happy with how it turned out and hope you are too!

Elevation: 1300m +
Wood Fired
Hand Rolled
Direct Sun Dried
Old Tree Material
Stone Compressed
200g Cake

About Crimson Lotus Tea View company

Company description not available.

3 Tasting Notes

14192 tasting notes


I had a really lovely and really long virtual tea session with a handful of IG tea friends yesterday – like something like three and a half hours long? I fit a pretty hefty handful of teas into that longer session including this one. I had to admit, shamefully, that I have owned this cake since it first was released but this was my first time trying it.

If you don’t know the background of this cake… You could call this sort of a “collab” with TheOolongDrunk and Crimson Lotus where the blend of pu’erh was kind of made to be listened to alongside Lana Del Ray’s album “Honeymoon”, and the wrapped art was done by Stephanie (both her and TheOolongDrunk are former Steepster members and just tea friends in general). So even though I wasn’t listening to music while drinking this tea over this virtual tea hangout, I was joined by both TheOolongDrunk and Glen (the owner of CLT) – and that’s definitely the next best thing to drink it with music IMO

With that said, I was soooo tea drunk by the time I got to steeping up this tea and I already have a hard time mentally tracking tasting notes when I’m having conversation with people – let alone like five people. So no real tasting notes here other than to say that I found it sweet soft and floral at first but progressing into more vegetal minerality and biting texture later on. I got seven or eight steeps I think, and it was just a nice evening filled with that warm “tea buzz” feeling and solid conversation.

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123 tasting notes

I received 20g of this tea as a freebie with an order. I’ve read up on CLT’s 2018 teas when they came out, but since then the details have slipped from my mind and blended together. For this session I decided not to check the description or the price to go in mostly blind. All I remember is that this one is a blend, but nothing more.

I used 7g in a 100ml gaiwan. The dry leaf has an uncanny smell of fruit candies. Unmistakably Yiwu if you were to ask me. Quick 5s rinse, followed by a 5 min. rest while I sipped the wash. The taste was sweet, mineral, touch creamy. I was also picking up on some tobacco and leather which is rather rare. I proceeded to do a total of ten infusions, the timing for these 5s, 5s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 75s and 2 min.

Honeymoon starts off sweet, fruity, fresh and refreshing, with a distinct pineapple note to it. The fruitiness is prevalent throughout most of the session, only dropping off briefly in the early late steeps before coming back later on. From the second infusion onward the tea develops a nice texture to it, which like the fruitiness persists for most of the session. Underneath this very approachable exterior, there is definite underlying sheng strength to be found as well, without it ever completely taking over the tea.

Contrary to most raws I typically drink, Honeymoon feels very cooling in the body, with some minor cooling to be found in the throat as well in the mid steeps. The tea does develop some oiliness and in the mid steeps where the tea peaks the raw character does come to the forefront briefly, revealing a very pure, clean character to this tea. Only toward the very end does the unmistakable characteristic Yiwu sweetness reveal itself, joining the fruit.

All in all I enjoyed this tea a hell of a lot more than I expected to. First off, while I’m quite fond of the shu pu’ers Crimson Lotus offers, their house taste for selecting sheng pu’ers – typically leaning toward fairly safe and inoffensive teas – have never really appealed to me. Secondly, those who know me may know that I don’t really do blends. They just aren’t what I’m looking for in tea. In the past I would have said shu pu’er was an exception to this as it made sense there, but since tasting some incredible single-origin old tree ripes, I’ve reversed my stance on that.

Honeymoon is a very enjoyable, clearly high-quality tea. I would suspect that it is predominantly made up of Yiwu material, if not exclusively so. While I’ve tasted a very limited number of blended shengs, Honeymoon is likely the best one out of them. Ironically, though, I think most of that comes down it having many qualities that closely resemble single-origin teas. With all the praise though, it’s not a tea I’d be looking to purchase. It’s perfectly drinkable now, in fact I’d be unsure if there’s much benefit to aging it. Astringency and bitterness are fairly minimal, and while there’s also a good amount of strength to the tea as well, I’d be wary of the tea potentially mellowing out too much in the longterm. For me the tea is a bit too safe and I’ve grown quite tired of most Yiwu teas because of the high focus most western vendors have on it.

After revisiting the product description after the session, this tea having a Manzhuan base makes perfect sense, as in my limited experience most raws I’ve tried from Manzhuan have been very fruity. The description leaves unclear to me if this is a blend of material exclusively from Manzhuan or if the base material is Manzhuan with smaller amounts of other regions thrown in as well. Pure Manzhuan would explain the very single-origin quality I got from this tea.

Looking at the price surprised me a little. I recalled most of Crimson Lotus’s blended cakes being in the $60 to $80 region, so seeing this one going for quite a bit more I wasn’t sure if I considered that a bit steep or simply more than I was expecting to see. The material is certainly good and I’ve tasted teas more expensive than this that impressed me less. That being said I’ve also tasted teas that blew me away at this price point, something this tea didn’t do. There’s definitely a lot of competition around this price, so a sample is something I can easily recommend, but a cake something you should decide after trying the tea for yourself. Overall, thumbs up to Honeymoon, though. A pleasant surprise.

Edit: I’ve since finished my sample. Please see the comment I’ve posted to this review.

Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Pineapple, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
TJ Elite

I recently had two more sessions with this tea to finish off my sample and I just wanted to report that both times I got no fruitiness and no notable sweetness to speak of. Instead the tea was leaning more toward savory, if I had to pick a descriptor, but overall both session were very unremarkable and forgettable. The change could always have to do with my storage, but other samples that I’ve had for a similar length of time seem fine, so I think it’s just the tea aging and changing. At around eighteen months it seems a bit premature, but my sample at least seems to have entered its awkward phase, and if you’re looking for a tea to drink now, I’d get a sample first before dropping money on a full cake.

I’m leaving my original rating at recommended, because the first session was a really nice experience, even if I wasn’t able to replicate it afterward.


Oh, that’s interesting: I’ve just finally tried my sample for the first time, which has been sitting around for a year now since I got it. Mine definitely resembles your original review: very sweet with creamy mouthfeel. Sweetness is tip of the tongue rather than throat.


As a follow-up, I think water temperature is the difference (or one factor, at least). I continued the session today and the sweetness wasn’t coming through with just-boiled water. I keep my water in a 1l Thermos, so it doesn’t cool fast – an hour later it was still plenty hot, but my tea was back to the previous characteristics.

Yesterday I’d started with it after having a couple of steeps of the end of my previous tea, so the water again wasn’t just-boiled.

TJ Elite

Flavor ranks close to the bottom as far as my personal tea appreciation goes these days, so I’m not too fussed about being able to achieve a specific kind of flavor profile or replicate a past session. If a tea has nothing else going for it, well, you obviously have to judge it by those merits then. In the past, I didn’t use to value aroma much at all, but more recently to my surprise it has far surpassed flavor, with the two essentially swapping places. Of course flavor in itself gets divided into returning taste, aftertaste, finish, upfront flavor and more, personally being ranked roughly in that order, with upfront flavor representing just about the bottom of the barrel. A tea with divine taste while in the mouth but absolutely zero finish after you swallow is a big zero in my book.

I’ve experimented with brewing the same sheng side by side with boiling and 90C water and the 90C steeps made me cry. None of the things I look for in my sessions were there. Surprisingly the tea started tasting quite disgusting in the mid-steeps and it actually had much less longevity than the one steeped in freshly boiled. Even upping the temperature did not save and revitalize it.

In contrast, I’ve recently switched from steeping large-leaf hong cha in 95C and small-leaf in 90C to brewing both at 80–85C, leafing them a bit heavier and extending the brewing times a little. I find this preserves a lot more of the aromatics, which as mentioned above is highly appreciated. My drinking is 90% pu’er, though, with quality dancong being next best thing.

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661 tasting notes

I got the sample 2018 package from Crimson Lotus because I was missing some Pu-erh in my cabinet. I wanted to try some samples and just get one good cake of something I love.

This one was very good. I keep the leaf amount and water down. 3g and 100 ml water approximately with 90C water. That might be too weak for most Pu-erh drinkers but I find I like them a bit weak. They keep getting strong in the early infusions anyway.

This one was so smooth. Hardly any bitterness and strong honey & creamy taste in the early infusions. I also picked up some faint fruity notes. The creamy taste disappeared by steep 6 and it was just honey and smooth. I could have easily gone beyond the 9 infusions I did because this tea has practically no caffeine. They were not kidding when they say this tea is so relaxing! Once I hit that many infusions of most Pu-erh , I’ve gone over my caffeine quota for the day.

All in all this is definitely a good Pu-erh for me but (drumroll) what is the price? $94.99 for a 200g cake. I’ve never spent that much on a tea EVER and I’ve gotten some really good teas. That’s probably US funds too so converted to Cdn at 1.3 would be $123.49. Add on shipping and the cost would rise more. No, definitely won’t be buying a cake of this tea. Too bad. It’s such a good one.

Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Honey, Smooth

195 °F / 90 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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