The 2018 Bing Dao Lao Zhai from YS has increased in price quite a bit since 2016. It is now $0.69/gr for the 400gr cake. I wanted to give this a try, so ordered a 10 gram sample with my last order. This young sheng started with a little floral aroma, but the floral aroma was light and mostly overpowered by the strong pungent and slightly sour aroma of the raw leaves. I never expect to have company when trying young sheng, but my wife decided to join me to experience this tea even with all the warnings. :) I will say both my wife and I picked up a slight hint of what smelled like cocoa. That surprised me. We never got a hint of it in the taste, but it was definitely in the wet leaf after the first rinse. Who knows? Maybe there was some residue left in my pot, but I don’t think so.
I found the flavor profile to be mostly uniform. I heard Scott once describe young pu’er as having cannabis notes, and I find that description to be the most accurate in describing what I experience in the taste and aroma of this tea. Beyond that, it was sweet with mild bitterness initially. In later infusions, it remained very sweet on the tip of the tongue. Bitterness increased slightly on the third infusion, but was not overwhelming. Reducing the steep time easily managed the bitterness while still delivering a solid brew.
So, the flavor profile (to me) is mostly singular, so what is the stand-out quality of this tea? The cha qi is very strong. After two cups, both my wife and I could begin to feel it. After the fifth cup, I was tingling and beginning to get quite the buzz. I felt rather floaty after the 7th cup. There was also a long lingering aftertaste. After the tea session, I hit the road to grab some take-out, and on the way back, I smacked my lips and was amazed that I could still taste the tea.
I haven’t made up my mind if I will order a cake for storage. I have quite a few more samples of raws to get through before making a decision. For someone that has never experienced cha qi and wants to be a tea hippie, YS’s 10 gram sample of this is a relatively inexpensive way to get a little tea high.
Flavors: Cannabis, Floral, Sweet