“nice” Read full tasting note
“I couldn’t miss the chance to grab a full bing of this guy. It’s a high performer with its intense energy, clarity, mouthfeel, and complexity of flavors (Am I missing anything?). I was so impatient...” Read full tasting note
“Amazing taste..” Read full tasting note
“Taste was amazing..” Read full tasting note
n old arbor Menghai blend. Thick body, lingering kuwei [pleasant bitterness], and plenty of oomph. This tea is a continuation of last year’s 2013 New Amerykah. The blend is slightly different, focusing more on sweetness and body than on bitterness.
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I couldn’t miss the chance to grab a full bing of this guy. It’s a high performer with its intense energy, clarity, mouthfeel, and complexity of flavors (Am I missing anything?). I was so impatient I could only let it settle in the pumidor for two weeks before I broke into it. The cake arrived slightly broken on the edges, providing just enough broken tea leaves for the session—about 6 grams. They had a suspiciously mid-aged scent of dried fruit and leather.
The tea soup has high clarity and a deep golden hue. Brewed leaves had a scent of tropical fruits and sandal wood. I entered the sheng pu realm from the north (Lincang) and so am just beginning to get my bearings on Menghai and Yiwu terrior. I do have one genuine 100 g Lao Man E cake that shares some of the notes of this cake. Here I found a medley of tropical fruits (sweet grapefruit in particular) along side lovely bitters that literally rings in the mouth. The tea has serious staying power and a nice sandalwood base. This tea doesn’t begin to taper off until steep 10 or so.
For me, the mouthfeel and qi are the wow factor. I was in the middle of a conversation while sipping on the 2nd steep and the word’s “oh wow” came out. The qi followed the mouthfeel. It can take you for a ride if you let it.
One of my samples from a big W2T order! I really enjoyed this one. I used 7g of leaf with boiling water and my 120mL gaiwan.
On my first session with this, I was a bit too rough on it, and it punched me right in the face. If you abuse this tea, it will abuse you right back. I like bitter young (gutbomb?) sheng, but when I ramped up the steep times too quickly it was too bitter for me.
I found better results keeping it low for a long time – I did steeps of 7s, 7s, 7s, 7s, 7s, 8s, 10s, 15s, 25s, 40s, 1m, 100s. My first three steeps, when the chunk was working on breaking itself up, were light and sweet straw tasting with appreciably thick texture. On the third steep, the tea started to open up and wake up – and it was a bit cranky. Bitterness grew over the next three steeps, becoming heavy in the front of the sip, maintaining the straw flavor and gaining a slight fruity flavor. I didn’t taste it as apricot, more like apple – but the rind, as it wasn’t quite as sweet as the flesh of the fruit.
By the time I started increasing the steep time, the bitterness was receding slightly. The tea was softer, less punchy, with that apple rind fruity sweetness along with hay notes. The bitterness was still omnipresent, but more in the back of the sip, reminding you of its previous bite. On the second to last steep, a new sweet flavor entered the mix, reminding me of burnt sugar. It was pretty unexpected so late in the session. I probably could have squeezed a few more long infusions out of this one, but my kettle was empty and dinner was calling.
I wouldn’t recommend this tea if you don’t like bitter sheng. If you do however, this is a great one. The bitterness can be tempered, not avoided, by quick steeping in the early session, and eventually goes mostly away, leaving just some great sweetness and a smooth brew.
Flavors: Apple Skins, Bitter, Burnt Sugar, Fruity, Straw, Sweet, Thick
From the Pu TTB:
Starts off super clean and refreshing. Moderate bitterness and florals. Notes of honey, rock sugar, and clorophyll. Actually more than moderate bitterness. Later steeps reveal hints of dry white wine and sandalwood. I enjoyed this one a lot, definitely among my top young sheng.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Honey, Mineral, White Wine
Got a sample of this a month or so ago, and it’s been airing out for several weeks. Without having read any reviews, I still had the impression from someplace or other that this tea has some potency, and this morning I needed a kick, so I broke it out.
This cake must be pretty loosely compressed: my sample consists mainly of loose leaf, and I was able to just shake 8g out of the bag into my weighing boat. Gave it one minimum-duration rinse and steeped like 5s, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 20s, 25s, … and 5s increments up to 50s.
I was prepared for seriously challenging bitterness based on what I’d heard (hence the relatively restrained steeping schedule) but maybe that was a characteristic of the tea when it was newer. Some of the early steeps had an almost teeth-on-edge astringency but other than that I found the flavors fairly mild. The tea has serious punch though, I can definitely agree with that. I was getting a tea sweat after about the 4th steep. Nice solid mouthfeel, with some perfumey notes in the early steeps and some sweetness later on. I got 10 solid steeps, and 4-5 more to wring it out.