So, this is another shot in my journey to find a sheng that I like. The dry leaves of this brew have that sour sheng smell that I can’t stand, so already I am not holding out much hope for this being a positive experience. But I’m pushing forward with as open a mind as possible because I really do want to find a sheng that I enjoy.
It gets worse when the leaves get wet. The aroma is sour formaldehyde and hot spinach. I actually have to move the gaiwan away from my desk area so the smell doesn’t waft in my face as I’m working. Yikes!
Luckily, when the leaves are removed, the brew smells a bit sweeter, with no trace of formaldehyde, but there’s still a bit of a sourness that turns my nose up. This seems pretty standard for a sheng to me, so don’t let my description turn you off if you actually enjoy young sheng.
The taste of the brew itself is actually pretty surprising. It has a creamy, thick mouthfeel with a sweet taste lingering below the sour vegetal taste. There’s also a hint of spice…is that cinnamon? Perhaps with some aging, it would be perfect. In the later steeps, I got more of a sweet butter mineral flavor.
What made this tea undrinkable to me was the astringency. I brewed this tea from 30 seconds all the way down to flash steeping, and the temp varied from 195 to 165. No matter what, there was a cotton mouth feeling throughout the session. I might have actually liked this tea without it.
Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Creamy, Mineral, Spices, Sweet, Thick