One of my samples from a big W2T order! I really enjoyed this one. I used 7g of leaf with boiling water and my 120mL gaiwan.
On my first session with this, I was a bit too rough on it, and it punched me right in the face. If you abuse this tea, it will abuse you right back. I like bitter young (gutbomb?) sheng, but when I ramped up the steep times too quickly it was too bitter for me.
I found better results keeping it low for a long time – I did steeps of 7s, 7s, 7s, 7s, 7s, 8s, 10s, 15s, 25s, 40s, 1m, 100s. My first three steeps, when the chunk was working on breaking itself up, were light and sweet straw tasting with appreciably thick texture. On the third steep, the tea started to open up and wake up – and it was a bit cranky. Bitterness grew over the next three steeps, becoming heavy in the front of the sip, maintaining the straw flavor and gaining a slight fruity flavor. I didn’t taste it as apricot, more like apple – but the rind, as it wasn’t quite as sweet as the flesh of the fruit.
By the time I started increasing the steep time, the bitterness was receding slightly. The tea was softer, less punchy, with that apple rind fruity sweetness along with hay notes. The bitterness was still omnipresent, but more in the back of the sip, reminding you of its previous bite. On the second to last steep, a new sweet flavor entered the mix, reminding me of burnt sugar. It was pretty unexpected so late in the session. I probably could have squeezed a few more long infusions out of this one, but my kettle was empty and dinner was calling.
I wouldn’t recommend this tea if you don’t like bitter sheng. If you do however, this is a great one. The bitterness can be tempered, not avoided, by quick steeping in the early session, and eventually goes mostly away, leaving just some great sweetness and a smooth brew.
Flavors: Apple Skins, Bitter, Burnt Sugar, Fruity, Straw, Sweet, Thick