I have a sample of the 2009, which is what I’ll be talking about.
After yesterday’s awesome sheng, it seemed unlikely anything could live up to that. But this is a pretty close second.
As an aside, I think it actually benefits me when it comes to pu erh that I have so much tea. I probably got this when it was relatively young, and it now has had the benefit of age. A lot of the pu erhs in my stash, especially the sheng samples, are close to or over 10 years old.
The leaves of this don’t smell much and believe it or not, what they do smell like to me is urine. However, that is not what the steeped tea smells or tastes like (I am not pulling a Howard Hughes here, I promise).
I rinsed and let the leaves sit for 15 minutes before steeping 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60 at boiling in the gaiwan.
Actually, that’s not quite true. The first time I tried to steep this I was doing about 3 other things at the same time, and it wasn’t until the timer was at around 6 out of 15 that I realized I’d actually put leaves in to steep rather than letting them sit after a rinse. I made the mistake of trying the resulting tea, which was really, really bitter and unpleasant.
The second time around I did better, though I did have to leave for my 11 a.m. appointment after the second 10 second steep. I resumed when I returned about an hour and a half later.
If I hadn’t read the other notes, I probably wouldn’t have identified a smoky note — but yes, a touch is there in both the aroma and the flavor. There is none of yesterday’s medicinal flavor, not even after the first steep.
Instead, it heads straight into a rather consistent flavor that is somewhat similar to yesterday’s sheng (also a Norbu) but without the occasional foray into medicinal, melon, or other things.
This one has the same sort of toffee-coffee-cocoa note, which as I ruminate on it is more like white chocolate than anything else. More of a sort of buttery reminder of cocoa than actual cocoa.
No. 2 tasted some and agreed with me. But then he said what he always says about tea: “it tastes like leaves.”
The liquor is rather consistently a light golden yellow and clear.
I’m so glad that after all this time I’ve gotten over my fear of pu erh. It’s been a very interesting and rewarding adventure so far.
Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Coffee, Smoke, Toffee, White Chocolate