I love playing Ark, I really do, being able to frolic in a survival setting with dinosaurs and watching my little world grow from a guy in undies to a god on a T-rex is very satisfying. What I don’t love is how it seems with each update the lag and crashes get worse, to the point where every time I play I either die to a glitch losing a lot of valuable gear or resources…or I end up rage quitting because I am so frustrated. I wish so much that the developers would take a break from adding cool stuff (not that I do not appreciate the new Redwood Biome) to fix the glitches that keep piling up, the game is barely playable in its current state. Gamer woes!
Last week was wonderfully cool and I celebrated the cooler weather with some Shou! I find myself enjoying it sooo much more when the weather is not scorchingly hot, to me that is Sheng weather. I took a look at Denong Tea’s 2005 Denong Ginseng Scent Ripe Puerh Tea, a Shou made with Xishuangbanna material and exudes a ginseng aroma. It is not blended with ginseng, so if you are a person who is not a fan of strong ginseng no need to run in terror of this tea. The aroma of the nuggets of tea (the tea itself is sold as a box of already broken tea brick, so no need to break out the puerh knife) is woody and a touch sweet, the woody note is a blend of dry pine and dry fruit wood, with a distinct note of dried peat. There is, of course, a ginseng note, smelling of gentle licorice and a medicinal cooling quality that makes my nose tingle.
I decided to brew this tea in my new serpentinite gaiwan, carved stone holds heat like a beast making it perfect for Shou. The aroma of the wet leaves is soggy pine wood, wet loam, forest floor, and a camphor, licorice, gingery note, a pleasant medicinal quality at the finish. The liquid is surprisingly sweet after such earthy, robust, leaves. Notes of licorice, red dates, wet leather, and pine sap waft out of my cup.
The first few steeps were light and sweet, it seemed like this tea was a bit slow to wake up, but once it did, wow. Notes of gentle red date and thick wet wood and loam blend with more gentle notes of peat and a touch of moss. Towards the end of each of the steeps a gentle tingling coolness blend with a tick sweet brown sugar and ginseng note linger for a long while after the steep. This is one of those instances where I really perceived the ginseng note with my nose more so than my mouth, picking it up on the inhale in the long aftertaste.
I actually decided to put this tea on hold until the next day, since I fell asleep, this Shou has a very relaxing feel to it. After a wake up rinse, this tea was ready to go again with a richer color and richer taste. Strong earthy loam and wet wood mix with an intense sweet red date and pine sap. Like the earlier steeps there is a cooling and thick sweetness that lasts well after the cup has been drained. I will admit, the finish is what is really selling this tea for me.
The final steeps go out with a gentle sweetness, the loamy earthiness is still there but it fades fast. What is mainly left is the wonderfully sweet red date note and the pleasant lingering thick sweetness at the finish. I pulled several steeps out of the tea, pretty much bowl steeping it at the end to try and pull as much of that red date sweetness out as I could. I really liked this Shou, it was distinct while also being mild, it could make a really great everyday drinker, I foresee myself getting a box when colder weather comes around.