2006 Xiaguan Te Ji Sheng Tuo through Teasenz
This morning I set out to cure an odd, single-beer hangover with my freshly received Xiaguan tuo. Yesterday I picked up its parcel from the tobacco shop, so that means I can first-handedly confirm that this tea indeed smells of… well, maybe not so much of tobacco as of tobacco shop. (Not that it had picked up its smell at all; this is just the Xiaguan tobacco profile that has aged out for a good while.)
Both the dry, warm and wet leaves say ‘tobacco shop’. Only in the first wet leaves you get ‘orchid buried in tobacco shop under shou’. Shou-like (obviously fermented) scent returned around the 4th steeping, but later on became distinctively sheng (obviously pu, not so obviously fermented, and somehow you can smell its sheng bitterness as well). Even at its 10th-or-so steep, the leaves still smell richly and warmly of tobacco.
Flavour-wise, that sheng bitterness, which in this case may even be likened to the sharpness experienced when smoking tobacco, was very present only in the first few steeps, likely caused by the tea dust from prying the tuo, all of which I simply left in.
The fourth steeping suddenly missed these bitters, and was subsequently less interesting. Greater steeping times quickly rectified this, with the bitter turning to dry wood. The tobacco smell now also turned into a flavour, and this not too complicated profile persisted for an almost endless amount of later steepings.
As I started this tea to cure my hangover, I happened to take most of it on an empty stomach, which could take it pretty well. Qi-wise I think it must be OK, but for now all of it went towards the hangover :) Later I supplemented it with a bit of whole-bread toast with butter and linden honey. Me like!
Highly recommended for people who want to quit smoking and cure a hangover at the same time (a great combination!) or replace their coffee with something of equal or greater character.
Maybe a bit uncomplicated, wondering what remains in 10+ years after the sheng bitters are completely aged out, but that’s really all just downplaying it for being cheap and bold-flavoured, which I feel are important qualities to aim for these days.
Flavors: Bitter, Orchid, Tobacco, Wood