It’s been a while. I honestly forgot what shou tastes like.
I had only 2 steeps last night and was up for hours, packing up tea samples and writing letters, granted I used the whole 9g freebie Mandala sent in a 190mL clay pot. Longish steeps with this pot, which has a 10-12s pour. Finished the session this morning with 7 infusions total.
Dry leaf has notes of chocolate, leather, peat, a hint of smoke and tangy black current.
Aromas coming from warmed and rinsed leaf are of baked bread and the piquant, nose-tickling scents of fermenting sourdough and fruit. Compared to the warm and rinsed leaf aromas, which I found intriguing and pleasant, the tea is exceptionally smooth. Medium to light bodied, clean and initially cooling. Mostly tastes of minerals and damp basement (but not musty) in the beginning. Returning sweetness takes a bit to show. As the steeps lighten, I can pull notes of baked bread, leather, lightly sweet earth and a hint of camphor which is much more evident in the chest than in taste. The liquor develops a short-lived spicy, warming bite in the throat. Aroma transitions from the clean damp basement smell to light vanilla and cocoa.
Overall, this is a satisfying, easy-drinking clean brew that lies more along the savory line than sweet. It is relaxing as many good shou tend to be but it also possesses a smooth caffeine buzz for me. Another quality shou from Mandala, thanks!
Song pairing: Townes Van Zandt — Nothin’
Flavors: Baked Bread, Black Currant, Camphor, Chocolate, Cocoa, Earth, Leather, Mineral, Peat, Pleasantly Sour, Smoke, Spicy, Vanilla, Wet Wood