Brewed in Yixing, Zhuni 125ml / 5g tea with spring water.
I read previous tasting notes (from 6 years ago) stating that this tea was incredibly smoky and bitter (no surprise, that’s exactly what I’d expect). That’s largely disappeared now.
The cake looks to be well produced, with large leaves and little brittleness. That usual ‘aged’ smell is present on the dry leaf. I put it into a steaming hot pot and I’m getting a slightly acidic ‘guava’ note off it along with the usual ‘sheng’ notes (and a barely detectable smoke).
I was able to easily loosen a chunk from the side of the cake with minimal breakage (didn’t have to use a pick at all). So the compression isn’t overly tight which (I imagine) helped speed up the ageing process a bit.
The wet leaves are aromatic and I get that spruce scent with a tropicality and a hint of forest floor.
A clean, vibrant and golden hued brew proved consistent across all of the steeps I did.
Nice and fruity first glass, I mean… it still tastes of a well mellowed sheng. Mouthfeel is good too. Very smooth now, with absolutely no bitterness and very little astringency. It makes you salivate and has a good hui-gan. There’s smoke in the distance, but it serves to accentuate the sweet/savoury barley-water mouthfeel.
The second steep I’m getting a bit more ‘sweet rock’ minerality in the roof of my mouth. Also a bit of ‘clover flower’ sweetness on the after taste.
Third steep, still performing well, but I understeeped a bit – silky mouthfeel is still there, but a bit thinner. The energy is good, fairly strong at this point. Very warming.
Fourth steep – left for longer – still similar, but I’m getting more sweetness ( the clover has moved toward sugar-cane). Excellent body, like a thick wine or barley-water. Quite a bit of oil visible on the surface and it coats the tongue
Revisiting the leaf gives an intensely bright metallic and sweet scent.
I’ll stop here, but this could definitely go on. Overall this hits the balance of savoury and sweet dead-on and has an extremely pleasant complexity worthy of many revisits.
A solid and well produced tea that has aged well (11 years old atm). If you’re familiar with a decent middle-aged (dry stored) 7542 you will have a close idea to how this feels and tastes. Energy is great.
Allowing for ‘value’ (an 11 year old Dali production is currently just under $500, this is $22).
This is 5 star tea. It’s been well stored, tastes excellent and the taste ‘lasts’. Very enjoyable. I would highly recommend it.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Roasted Barley, Sugarcane