I decided to review this tea in part because of the recent conversation on the discussion board about the W2T freebies.
I’m not a big fan of shou, so was slightly disappointed to find that 150 g of my free tea consisted of this single half-cake of shou. However, I’m finding it really enjoyable, largely because it doesn’t taste (IMHO) like a shou.
I gave it 3 5 second rinses, because I really hate the fermentation taste and have found that I can be prejudiced against a tea by the initial steep. By the time I started drinking, there was little to no fermentation taste. The initial steep reminded me of a sheng of similar age; the color was orange-brown and the taste was spice and herbs. Subsequent steeps became more shou-like: redder with a strong berry fruit component.
I was sipping this while watching football when around the 6th steep I stopped and said to myself "Wow, this is really good. The taste was very smooth and fruity, with noticeable sweetness. Not a lot of aroma, but the finish was wonderful. Based upon the early steeps, I thought this would fade quickly, but steeps 6-10 (all 1 minute) have been really good.
Ironically, this may be my favorite shou, and I have no idea what it is.