Dry leaf appearance – A decent ratio of glossy, hairy buds to medium-small leaves (I don’t know much about the grade of leaves yet, apart from gong ting and huangpian, so I can’t give an accurate assessment.) Very good-looking material.
Dry leaf smell – dried grass, timothy hay, alfalfa, high quality tobacco, steamed zucchini
Wet leaf smell – more of the above, but the tobacco is more pronounced, herbaceous, sage, tarragon, turkey stuffing, basamati rice with saffron, sour notes
Liquor – goes from a light champagne to a beautiful golden yellow as the steeps progress
Texture – thick and juicy with a nice snap as it hits the back of the throat and goes down; lubricating, but not much of a coating
Taste – a perfect interplay of sweet and savoury; surprisingly tastes more like semi-aged sheng that I’ve had than other yearlings; virtually no astringency, but I do a lot of flash-steeping with this one so I avoid most of it.
Empty cup – there is a slight hint of the Timothy hay from before, but it is married with a delicate floral/bready aroma, almost like something one would expect from a leafier white tea
Mouth finish – coating bypasses to guess and palate and warms the back of the throat as it carries it down; leaves a slight tingle in the tip of the tongue
Wet leaves – the mini-cakes separate much more easily than others (specifically those in the white tea Basics samplers). From what I’ve found in my 5 mini cakes so far, he vast majority of the material seems to consist of a bud and a leaf joined together by a small stem.
Body feel – this tea has a surprisingly strong qi that comes out of nowhere around the second or third steeping and just keeps going and going. It is slightly more energetic than I usually like, but there is a sharp focus that comes with it. I’d imagine this would make it good for gamers and the like, but it also carries a strong creative energy that makes you want to write, paint, or play music. It’s also very good for tarot interpretation if you’re into that sort of thing.
This lovely young sheng is like Thanksgiving dinner in a cup, minus the pumpkin pie and noisy relatives. It is an absolute pleasure to drink on every imaginable level, so if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, look no further – this is an incredible tea for the price. It’s one of my favourites right now, and I plan on grabbing a few more mini-tongs as soon as this one is done.