I received 20g of this tea as a freebie with an order. I’ve read up on CLT’s 2018 teas when they came out, but since then the details have slipped from my mind and blended together. For this session I decided not to check the description or the price to go in mostly blind. All I remember is that this one is a blend, but nothing more.
I used 7g in a 100ml gaiwan. The dry leaf has an uncanny smell of fruit candies. Unmistakably Yiwu if you were to ask me. Quick 5s rinse, followed by a 5 min. rest while I sipped the wash. The taste was sweet, mineral, touch creamy. I was also picking up on some tobacco and leather which is rather rare. I proceeded to do a total of ten infusions, the timing for these 5s, 5s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 75s and 2 min.
Honeymoon starts off sweet, fruity, fresh and refreshing, with a distinct pineapple note to it. The fruitiness is prevalent throughout most of the session, only dropping off briefly in the early late steeps before coming back later on. From the second infusion onward the tea develops a nice texture to it, which like the fruitiness persists for most of the session. Underneath this very approachable exterior, there is definite underlying sheng strength to be found as well, without it ever completely taking over the tea.
Contrary to most raws I typically drink, Honeymoon feels very cooling in the body, with some minor cooling to be found in the throat as well in the mid steeps. The tea does develop some oiliness and in the mid steeps where the tea peaks the raw character does come to the forefront briefly, revealing a very pure, clean character to this tea. Only toward the very end does the unmistakable characteristic Yiwu sweetness reveal itself, joining the fruit.
All in all I enjoyed this tea a hell of a lot more than I expected to. First off, while I’m quite fond of the shu pu’ers Crimson Lotus offers, their house taste for selecting sheng pu’ers – typically leaning toward fairly safe and inoffensive teas – have never really appealed to me. Secondly, those who know me may know that I don’t really do blends. They just aren’t what I’m looking for in tea. In the past I would have said shu pu’er was an exception to this as it made sense there, but since tasting some incredible single-origin old tree ripes, I’ve reversed my stance on that.
Honeymoon is a very enjoyable, clearly high-quality tea. I would suspect that it is predominantly made up of Yiwu material, if not exclusively so. While I’ve tasted a very limited number of blended shengs, Honeymoon is likely the best one out of them. Ironically, though, I think most of that comes down it having many qualities that closely resemble single-origin teas. With all the praise though, it’s not a tea I’d be looking to purchase. It’s perfectly drinkable now, in fact I’d be unsure if there’s much benefit to aging it. Astringency and bitterness are fairly minimal, and while there’s also a good amount of strength to the tea as well, I’d be wary of the tea potentially mellowing out too much in the longterm. For me the tea is a bit too safe and I’ve grown quite tired of most Yiwu teas because of the high focus most western vendors have on it.
After revisiting the product description after the session, this tea having a Manzhuan base makes perfect sense, as in my limited experience most raws I’ve tried from Manzhuan have been very fruity. The description leaves unclear to me if this is a blend of material exclusively from Manzhuan or if the base material is Manzhuan with smaller amounts of other regions thrown in as well. Pure Manzhuan would explain the very single-origin quality I got from this tea.
Looking at the price surprised me a little. I recalled most of Crimson Lotus’s blended cakes being in the $60 to $80 region, so seeing this one going for quite a bit more I wasn’t sure if I considered that a bit steep or simply more than I was expecting to see. The material is certainly good and I’ve tasted teas more expensive than this that impressed me less. That being said I’ve also tasted teas that blew me away at this price point, something this tea didn’t do. There’s definitely a lot of competition around this price, so a sample is something I can easily recommend, but a cake something you should decide after trying the tea for yourself. Overall, thumbs up to Honeymoon, though. A pleasant surprise.
Edit: I’ve since finished my sample. Please see the comment I’ve posted to this review.
Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Pineapple, Sweet