Crimson Lotus Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes


Notes from 9/2/19.

DISCLAIMER: I’m STILL trying to develop my puerh chops. “Hidden Song” (2016) seems to be a good innocuous introduction to young sheng puerh tea. I’m looking forward to trying the others. Maybe one day puerhs will finally resonate with me (outside of a few outliers), but in the meantime, I use samplers to get a feel for what I do and don’t like in puerh.

This is a very mild, easy-to-drink tea, insofar as I find young sheng puerhs.
The flavors work together, but it’s innocuous as flavors go. It’s kinda of a middle-of-the road for me.

FLAVOR-WISE: There’s a bit of smoke, cooked vegetal flavors bordering on corn/nori. I think this needs at least 2 rinses, as the first infusions were very mild in flavor. Later infusions were much better. There’s a good viscocity and smokey aftertaste. Very mild astringency.

Brew info:
- tea 5.22 grams
- water 150 ml
- temp:200 deg
- brewing : 15s, 30, 45, 60

Flavors: Smoke, Tobacco, Vegetal

0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

Puerh was an acquired taste for me. Lots of sampling involved but ultimately 1 shou and 2 sheng got me hooked fairly quickly into my exploration. Shou: Mandala’s Phatty Cake II. Sheng: White2Tea’s New Amerykah 2 and another Mandala — Heart of the Old Tree. For all three, it was a combination of boldness between cha qi and flavor, mouthfeel to a lesser extent.

Hidden Song is very mellow, and while a decent tea, I think I had already experienced puerh that awakened my favored profile before trying it.


I agree that it’s definitely an acquired taste…one that I have yet to completely acquire, but I can definitely appreciate puerh for its qualities.

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Thick, good huigan and mouthwatering sensations. Balanced bitterness that is somewhat aggressive without being overpowering or harsh. Very floral in early steeps in a perfumy way instead of honeyish, like sticking your face into a patch of lillies…not my thing when it comes to tea. I much prefer my florals to be of a honey rather than perfume character which is why I’m not wild about Jingmai teas but if you like perfumy teas you should try this. I’m hoping it ages out a bit bc I’d like it more a little less pronounced. Oh yeah. The qi is impressive too. I found it nicely energizing and euphoric. Slightly calming as well. There you have it. If you like flowery tea with good energy you should try this. Don’t think I’ll cake it but glad I tried it.

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He Kai is one of those areas I’ve always been interested in, but never really gotten around to exploring proper. When Crimson Lotus came out with this tea, I was immediately interested to try it. The gorgeous artwork also helped.

I brewed this tea in my standard manner: seven grams in a 100ml gaiwan. The aroma of the dry leaf in a preheated gaiwan is surprisingly pungent. In contrast, the rinsed leaves present very little in terms of aroma. The wash itself was very strong, very pungent, quite creamy. After a few minutes of rest, I followed up with twelve proper infusions, the timing for these 7s, 7s, 5s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 75s, 2 min. and 3 min.

Right out of the gate, Danger Zone starts off with a big body and a really rich but balanced flavor. The aftertaste is also quite strong. The first several steeps are like this, growing thicker and thicker with each infusion, presenting a very dense and rich but also smooth and balanced taste. While the soup is packed full of minerals, strength and plant matter goodness, there is no one single characteristic that ever starts to dominate the tea. The tea can be quite sweet at times, also presenting some playful kuwei here and there, but avoiding any real harsh character throughout the session.

At its thickest, the He Kai gets absolutely ridiculous with its brothy goodness which becomes almost difficult to swallow. The soup is oily and coating, with a hint of bitterness and citrus in the finish. The word I keep coming back to is ‘smooth’. Despite the infusions having strength to them, the tea never even begins to approach becoming overpowering or dominated by any singular characteristic. The bitterness and astringency do start building up toward the end of the session, but they are always playing off of the sweetness.

Overall, I was very pleased with Danger Zone. The material is clearly high quality and it has a unique character that sets it apart from your typical generic sheng offerings. For a high-end tea, the He Kai is much more flavor-focused than most, albeit still not a tea where the flavor profile is the main attraction, like with other types of tea like most hong cha and wulong.

The thickness is totally nuts and the strength very deceptive due to the tea’s smoothness and balance. There were only really two areas where the He Kai fell a bit short. The first one was the aromatics. Aerating the tea in my mouth presented me with virtually nothing to play with. Since this is still a very young tea that hasn’t necessarily had time to develop aroma, I’m willing to give it a pass for now. The other area is more of a personal preference, but for my tastes the tea was a bit lacking in bitterness. As a fan of Bulang teas, extremely spicy food, etc., I do prefer some more backbone to my teas, but overall Danger Zone was still a tea that I find very easy to recommend. The fact that I ended up ordering a cake after the session should speak for that.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Citrus, Creamy, Olive Oil, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I am not a coffee fan but imagine if I was I would also love this tea. It’s smooth, full-bodied and absolutely delightful. If you are in the mood for a rich, earthy flavor with no bitterness, this would be a great one to reach for.

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Earth, Umami

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 tsp 2 OZ / 59 ML

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My preferences for shou don’t seem to agree well with this one, despite the praise it has garnered. Its most interesting aspect is the aftertaste with notes like brown sugar, soy sauce, and cloves. Otherwise, I found it to be fairly mediocre. The aroma is mild and woody with a hint of petrichor and gasoline. Taste is also somewhat flat and savoury. The main flavours I noticed were those of nuts, wood and cola. Body is medium at best and the liquor has a creamy, warming mouthfeel. All in all, not a tea I will be looking to purchase more of.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cloves, Creamy, Nuts, petrichor, Soy sauce, Wood

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

Gasoline??? UGH!

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This is a nice, mellow ripe puerh with a smooth body and flavor. I only had a sample from a friend so I did not have as much tea to use for the session as I would have liked, so the flavor may be richer if the proper amount of tea is used! This would be a good daily drinker for ripe puerh fans.

Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Nutty, Smooth

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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This tea is very light coloured despite being 3 years old, but it tastes more aged than it looks. Overall, I found it to have very little astringency and bitterness. I agree with derk’s evaluation, this is an easy to drink sheng that has no obvious drawbacks, apart from maybe being somewhat boring for more experienced drinkers.

There isn’t much of note in terms of aromas. As for the taste, it starts out light and balanced with a grassy character, but quickly turns into a fairly smoky tea with notes of leather and green beans. It has a medium body and a cooling, silky mouthfeel.

The aftertaste is maybe the most interesting aspect of the tea, and indicative of good quality material. It has a fruity sweetness and a sour note. It soon gets quite vegetal with notes like lime leaves and then turns savoury towards the end of the session. This is definitely not a tea to drink when you are looking for cha qi or huigan though.

Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Fruity, Green Beans, Leather, Lime, Plants, Smoke, Sour, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Sipdown. Backlogged to 9/1/19
One planet in my 100ml gaiwan, 212F
Short steeps – 8s, 8s, 10s, 10s, 20, 30, 30, 30 etc

Overall – mellow , sweet and juicy. a tea that produces a lot of salivation. Green apple.
I tried this in silver and the cup cut the sweetness and the depth I was getting in ceramic.
I liked this planet a lot. I tasted this tea for a long time – I went on a 1 hour walk and could still taste it!

Flavors: Green Apple, Sweet

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So light on the first steep that I felt as if the leaves didn’t infuse, so pumped it up to 15 seconds and got more of the flavor, then 20. I got more bitterness than sweetness from steeps 2 and 3. A nice enough tea, but as I am not a fan of bitter flavors, it’s not my taste.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Mineral

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 20 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Did several steeps with Cosima and found a significant difference between 10, 20, and 30-second steeps. On 10 it’s light in color, refreshing and crisp, with a lovely astringency. 20 is my favorite steep as it brings the flavors out a little more but is not bitter. On 30 the flavor is darker and leaves a bitterness in the middle of the tongue.

Flavors: Sweet, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 2 OZ / 59 ML

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Good morning! It is 8 am here, seems like another lazy day with cuppa of good tea. It is cloudy, it seems rain will come. Typical autumn weather I guess. Tea from derk.

No rinse, 3.5 grams, 85 ml gaiwan.
Wet leaf reminds me smoky lapschang, maybe bit of bacon. But in taste it is vegetal, bit salty, but still good. Okay, that was description of rinse.

1st steep, typical setup – 15 seconds.
Mellow sheng, vegetal a bit. Some refreshing note is there too.

2nd, 30 seconds
Much better, more flavourful, more full-in-taste. Good one.

3rd, 40 seconds
Derk is completly right. For newbies of pu-erh this is great tea. Why? It is easy to steep, it is tasty. But as well good to find if I like shengs or not. It shows little of astringency too, bit of vegetal taste, bit of sweet notes. Just easydrinking tea. But I am still a baby in world of Pu-erh. Yep, trying “more adult ones” but I am not really sure if pu-erh world is for me. I prefer oolongs :P

4th, 45 seconds.
Another easydrinking steep. It is tasty, maybe bit of peaches. Headache disappears slowly (I took a pill)

5th, 60 seconds.
Peach notes dominate this steep. Few of other stonefruits in background. Maybe plums?

6th, let it go seconds. More than 60. I do it with last steeps and usually it turns out tasty.
And it is tasty again.

Derk – thank you for this tea. I have half left, so maybe another day… But I know,I can expect good sheng with typical tastes for sheng. Little astringency, little sweetness, little vegetal. Stonefruits too. In conclusion, good tea, but clearly not top notch. Maybe my session was too long too.

Food pairing: oat cookies
Song pairing:

Flavors: Astringent, Peach, Smoke, Stonefruits, Vegetal

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

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Those who know me know that I love Lao Man’e. It is my favorite pu’er producing area. I own a bing of Hai Lang Hao’s absolutely stupid priced 2016 Lao Man’e, that’s how much I love this stuff. This year Crimson Lotus released both the sweet and bitter varietals as mao cha alongside blending the two into a limited number of cakes. Blending the two has always made sense to me: the sweet varietal lacks the kick that I look for in a proper Lao Man’e while also often having only average longevity, whereas the bitter varietal can often end up being a bit too one dimensional. Together the two complement one another nicely.

I ended up ordering one of each of their single sessions and blending the two together for this session in a 60:40 ratio of sweet versus bitter, totaling eight grams in a 100ml gaiwan. This was a casual session I did not expect to be reviewing, so did not take notes. I did an unknown number of steeps over the course of two to three hours, using up approx. 1.5 to 2 liters of water in the process. For the first countless steeps I kept the steeping times to a flash, until finally starting to lengthen them in my standard manner, ultimately stopping at the 3 minute mark.

For me the tea is a bit too green still. The rinsed leaves have a distinct asparagus smell to them, which comes across in the cup too. Some very green teas like green teas and jade wulongs have the bitter asparagus note and I’m personally not a fan. I’m not a fan of greener teas in general. The first few infusions are rather strange in general. All of Crimson Lotus’s mao cha that I’ve tried recently have suffered from this. I don’t know if it’s a storage thing or maybe a mao cha thing. I’ve never been a huge fan of mao cha; I’ve always felt pressed raws taste way, way better. Regardless, the weird funk does clear up after a few brews and the expected bitterness ramps up as well.

There’s definitely sweetness, but it only comes to the forefront after the bitterness has had its time in the limelight in the early to early mid brews. I found this tea somewhat atypical of Lao Man’e, which I suppose is a good thing as the teas can taste a bit too similar to one another. It could have to do with the young age or the tea being loose, but regardless it’s a welcome change even if I did miss some of the more classic attributes, which might develop later. For me the highlights of this tea were the extremely consistent robust body and the enjoyable, energizing cha qi. I’m used to Lao Man’e teas being rather aggressive generally, so the more pleasant energy was definitely welcomed. For a young tea there is already a good amount of fragrance going on and aerating the tea in my mouth I could tell in an instant that this is a great tea.

The quality is honestly top notch, and as someone having tasted many, many teas in the $1/g region, this is one of the few that is actually worth it, or let’s say it’s one of the teas most worth its price point. For those seeking to figure out how to discern true old tree material, I think this is one of the best and clearest examples I have come across. I have no doubts about this material being old arbor and the leaves look stunning both in dry form and brewed.

Before the session I was absolutely not in the market for buying a second cake of Lao Man’e, and despite that by the end of the session I’d placed an order for the blended cake. I highly, highly recommend sampling this tea, both for a Lao Man’e novice as well as a veteran. Despite being unsure how I felt about the tea at first, it eventually won me over and it is an impeccable tea. If you want to recreate the blending experiment I did but are not fully on board with the full-on bitterness of Lao Man’e, you can increase the ratio even further, something like 2:1 could work nicely. I’m tempted to blend the rest of the mao cha I have with the Honeymoon sheng I reviewed previously and see how that works out. Might be a waste of expensive tea, but you never know before you try.

Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Citrus, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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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

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
TJ Elite

I recently had two more sessions with this tea to finish off my sample and I just wanted to report that both times I got no fruitiness and no notable sweetness to speak of. Instead the tea was leaning more toward savory, if I had to pick a descriptor, but overall both session were very unremarkable and forgettable. The change could always have to do with my storage, but other samples that I’ve had for a similar length of time seem fine, so I think it’s just the tea aging and changing. At around eighteen months it seems a bit premature, but my sample at least seems to have entered its awkward phase, and if you’re looking for a tea to drink now, I’d get a sample first before dropping money on a full cake.

I’m leaving my original rating at recommended, because the first session was a really nice experience, even if I wasn’t able to replicate it afterward.


Oh, that’s interesting: I’ve just finally tried my sample for the first time, which has been sitting around for a year now since I got it. Mine definitely resembles your original review: very sweet with creamy mouthfeel. Sweetness is tip of the tongue rather than throat.


As a follow-up, I think water temperature is the difference (or one factor, at least). I continued the session today and the sweetness wasn’t coming through with just-boiled water. I keep my water in a 1l Thermos, so it doesn’t cool fast – an hour later it was still plenty hot, but my tea was back to the previous characteristics.

Yesterday I’d started with it after having a couple of steeps of the end of my previous tea, so the water again wasn’t just-boiled.

TJ Elite

Flavor ranks close to the bottom as far as my personal tea appreciation goes these days, so I’m not too fussed about being able to achieve a specific kind of flavor profile or replicate a past session. If a tea has nothing else going for it, well, you obviously have to judge it by those merits then. In the past, I didn’t use to value aroma much at all, but more recently to my surprise it has far surpassed flavor, with the two essentially swapping places. Of course flavor in itself gets divided into returning taste, aftertaste, finish, upfront flavor and more, personally being ranked roughly in that order, with upfront flavor representing just about the bottom of the barrel. A tea with divine taste while in the mouth but absolutely zero finish after you swallow is a big zero in my book.

I’ve experimented with brewing the same sheng side by side with boiling and 90C water and the 90C steeps made me cry. None of the things I look for in my sessions were there. Surprisingly the tea started tasting quite disgusting in the mid-steeps and it actually had much less longevity than the one steeped in freshly boiled. Even upping the temperature did not save and revitalize it.

In contrast, I’ve recently switched from steeping large-leaf hong cha in 95C and small-leaf in 90C to brewing both at 80–85C, leafing them a bit heavier and extending the brewing times a little. I find this preserves a lot more of the aromatics, which as mentioned above is highly appreciated. My drinking is 90% pu’er, though, with quality dancong being next best thing.

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Sunshine? Not here much today. it is cloudy, quite cold. Finally.

But the name is very nice. As well the dry leaf aroma; it is quite floral; violets and some other flowers. No rinse.

1st steep is 15 seconds, pours light yellow-green liquor. It became bit more fruity in aroma and vegetable (cucumbers). In taste light and bit of citrus fruits, but not so much. Maybe bit of stonefruits.

2nd / 30 s.
Lemongrass; by heichaholiday? True too! Now it is full of different flavours. Lemongrass, stonefruits, just more full-bodied.

3rd / 45 s.
Maybe little of white grapes appear.

4th / +- 60 s.
Little of astringency appeared. Good though.
Of course I continued, but it just had mood (and time) to write these.

Song pairing (sad):

Thank you derk for sample; I used all in one go.

Flavors: Astringent, Citrus Fruits, Cucumber, Floral, Lemongrass, Stonefruits, Violet, White Grapes

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

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Hey there Steepster folks, I am back after a short break caused by a great deal of travelling and basically being away from home for about two months, visiting Orange (California), Zurich and other places in Switzerland, Slovakia, Banff, and Vancouver. I should get back to tea reviews now though.

Here’s a tea I chose for today’s evening session, my first tasting of Midas Touch. I found it to be a good quality, medium-bodied tea that could be very enjoyable 10-20 years down the line, but it’s not interesting enough at the moment for me personally.

The dry leaf scent is mild and most reminiscent of green peppercorns. On the other hand, the wet leaves smell of cannabis, pumpkin leaves, sandstone and cookies.

The wash presents a mineral and vegetal drink which tastes like a mix of sweet grass and wet rocks. The first proper infusion is more balanced with a decent umami and a nice sour note like sorrel. I can also taste menthol and there is a noticeable green tea like bitterness, even though I steeped this one at closer to 90°C than boiling. The aftertaste is not super pronounced, but there is a hint of cantaloupe. The next few infusions produce an even stronger sorrel impression. Around steep two, I notice a strong and disorienting feeling, arriving almost without warning. Overall, the cha qi is pretty strong throughout the session and gets a bit rushy later on.

Later infusions display more floral qualities and astringency as well as notes of honey, brown sugar, fruits and resin in the aftertaste that gets quite drying towards the end.

All in all, the tea has a nice energy, a sorrel like and vegetal taste, and quite a lot of astringency.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Cannabis, Cantaloupe, Cookie, Drying, Floral, Honey, Menthol, Mineral, Peppercorn, Plants, Pumpkin, Resin, Sand, Sour, Sweet, warm grass, Umami, Vegetal, Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

Glad to see you back! I’d noticed your absence but assumed summer activities might have been a culprit :)

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2 quick rinses.

1st steep – Autumn Leaves,. Nori, soy sauce, salt. Iodine, and minerals. Smell of wet leaves. Soft, and medium thick in the mouth.

2nd – Very standard. Smooth. Not overly woody. Lots of autumn leaf notes. Dry leaf pile. Earthy. Lots of mineral character coming through. Enjoyable. Even if you’re not a fan of pile flavors in the tea, this is still pretty subdued. Super approachable.

3rd – Seems to be really rounded on this steep, not flat , just cohesive? it is one experience. Round and broth like, with a mineral , and kind of salt characteristic, soy sauce, and fishy like pile flavors have taken a far back seat.

4th – Very soft still, medium body. Still pretty light in the flavor department. Some roasty note. Maillard reaction characteristic. Still very round. super smooth.

5th – More of the same. still has depth with the flavors. dried leaves, earth, a roast character. However, there is a brightness, this accentuates the brine/ saltiness you get on the finish of the tea. mineral aftertaste. Some cedar/ humidor notes too.

6th – more wood character up front. still that Spanish cedar/ humidor flavor…like wood with an accent of pepper. Some brightness came through, lime, and tobacco. leaf, and light wood flavors continue. something about this is almost cigar like. the combination of the wood,and maybe the brightness is making an ash like flavor, very light, but reminder of a Connecticut cigar, in a humidor.

7th – Finally starting to lighten up in the color realm, never brewed super dark or inky. Much like the flavors…pretty nimble, and brown. Down the middle. Lightened up in flavor as well, some slight black pepper notes. Some fruit element, almost peach on aftertaste. Followed by some sweetness. A little juicy.

8th – Brews even lighter now. Some melon sweetness, comes through. Honey dew. Some milky-ness. Melons, milk, black pepper, leaf type earthiness. Very light in the flavors, predominantly dried leaf flavors, and some sweetness.

9th – Brews even lighter, at a 1 min steep time at this point. Definitely coming to the end of the tea. However, I still feel like it is a decent brewer, and have nothing to complain about at this point. Yeh, nothing too much here. Some malt maybe, body lightened up as well. A flash of watermelon/ apple jolly rancher type sweetness? calling it a day with this one.

All in all, a lot of bang for your buck. I bought two cakes of this as a daily drinker, due to price point, and as of right now, really into shou as my go to, as some shengs on the regular can be a little rough on you. This isn’t a knock your socks off, or a one of a kind experience , however, it is a great enjoyable tea. Easy going, and approachable. Perfect for a daily drinker. Drinks above its price point. If it was more complex, it’d score higher, but makes up for it in the value department.

Watch my session with this tea!

Flavors: Apple Candy, Autumn Leaf Pile, Black Pepper, Broth, Cedar, Green Melons, Grilled Food, Honeydew, Iodine, Lime, Malt, Milk, Mineral, Salt

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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The cake has beautiful looking leaf. Upon the first steeping there is a pleasant blend of floral and fruity notes, medium thickness in the mouth with notes of caramel and cream. Cane sugar sweetness. Clean. Flatter the second steep. Not as syrupy. Pineapple, and mango. Third steep it continues…background sweetness, with a fruit forward, and floral flavor. Subtle, sweet cream, and vanilla tones. Round and very relaxing. The fourth steeping, the fruitiness has taken a back seat, more bittersweet and astringency has come forward. Lots orchid, almost nectar type flavors.

The tea rounds outs is still very comforting to drink, lots of soul to the tea. Not a ton of energy, but more of a relaxing energy.

This is definitely one I enjoy, it’s one where it is hard to describe the experience. If you get the chance to try it or purchase it, please do. This is one of the best I’ve had from CLTIMHO. I need to purchase another cake. The humidity here in Florida ages these quite quickly.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Custard, Floral, Guava, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mango, Orchid, Pineapple, Sugarcane, Vanilla

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

Cool to see how the sweetness is developing in your humidity.. I think it’s one of the best teas I’ve tried from Crimson Lotus, too, but it is just too sweet for me.


Indeed it is sweet…
But that fact that it is a complex sweet, makes it intriguing for me, and not cloying.

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I received this as a sample at first it seems kind of light heartedly not offering up too much the first couple steeps, definitely not a fruit bomb. More vegital. Definitely more of a savory tea, with a dried herb notes and some kind of dried floral notes? But drying in the mouth. Behind my lips and the sides of my tongue. All in all I think a very approachable Sheng. I see that I could get bitter or astringent if you over-steeped, but overall fairly easy to contend with. There’s some residual sweetness in the background but definitely take second fiddle to the floral, herbal, and earthy notes that it has. It sweetens as you brew through. Finishes dry with that cotton ball feeling in the mouth. Resinous at times.

I think overall a good tea definitely a daily drinker as a lighter, and approachable tea. Definitely for a sheng. It’s just easier to contend with, on your casual drinking. However, I think I’m having a problem getting past the drying from the tea. I feel like it overshadows a lot of subtle flavors that it has. Its light, and fairly light hearted, but it kind of gets ran over with this inevitable flavor and feel. The herby, peppery, earthy notes are welcome. I wish I would of got these custard notes, as some other reviews, but no joy..

I wouldn’t seek it out, but I wouldn’t turn it away. Just not a lot of bang for me from the tea ;p

Flavors: Beany, Black Pepper, Cut grass, Dandelion, Garden Peas, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Vegetable Broth, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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Steeps 1 -5

Brews light brown at first, but It has started off as a 7g chunk. Second steep it brewed a dark mahogany brown, with hints of red. It is brothy, reminds me of Soba or Ramen noodles. It has a certain starchiness to which adds to its mouthfeel. Which is substantial, but not heavy. Has the classic shou flavors, with a hint of latex, methanol. Third steep: Very dark, brown. Not transparent at all. Richer this time around, darker, carbony flavors, but not burnt. Much more minerally. Maybe some Chinese five spice flavors. Black pepper? Like burnt shishito peppers without the spice? good energy from the tea making itself present. The fourth steep, has much more roundness to it. Seems to have more of a savory aspect to it, like good soup broth, an umami if you will. Apparently a very Japanese tea haha. Its a very comforting experience. Some roasted notes here. Like drinking tea in a kitchen. The fifth steeping its is showing an ever slight give up color. A lot of energy, which i typically don’t associate with Shou’s. Usually a nightime tea for , or a casual drinker, this one would be great mid day, but I don’t for caffeine sensitive people might have to be careful. The tea seems to still offer up some solid steeps but has flattened out as far as complexity is concerned. Should go for at least 10+ steeps.

Overall, a good tea, and a surprising energy boost that I did not see coming.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Black Pepper, Broth, Char, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Wood, Eucalyptus, Grilled Food, Iodine, Medicinal, Menthol, Mineral, Pepper, Peppercorn, Spices, Umami, Wet Rocks, Wheat

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Something I’ve noticed, is the cake is not pressed as tightly as some other offerings from CLT. So it seems to use larger chunks of tea, as it seems to be lighter, and fluffier than others. The cake I have is also short a few grams which is a bummer since the tea does not go as far. Beautiful cake! Really nice attention to wrapping, and artwork. Affordable too.

Steep 1 -4

Brews a golden yellow. Fairly Clear.

Soft, medium bitterness, cucumber skin, zucchini.
Salty. Slightly Floral. Subtle apricot sweetness in the background. Vanilla. Bitterness kicking in on second steep. Light acidity, apple like. green apple core flavors.

Steep 5-8

Bitterness and astringency is starting to mellowing. Pear, lychee sweetness, starts to come forward. Interesting apple, acidity, sweetness as well continues. Tea continues to brew strong with flash steeps and is very potent, and assertive. You can brew this fro sure into the double digits, if you can hang in there that long.

All in all, a solid sheng, however age will help this. I see it becoming a phenomenal tea in 5 years, or more. Its age brews away after a few steepings, and it is vibrant as ever. Very easy to oversteep I think. I don’t like to play with temps much, but it might be interesting to brew with cooler temps to see the results. I f you like big shengs, and bitterness, this is a winner for sure. A big bold, tea, that should reap some great results with age. Not to mention an affordable sheng as well.

Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Astringent, Bitter Melon, Dandelion, Drying, Floral, Gardenias, Green, Salty, Vanilla, Zucchini

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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Gongfu Sipdown (620)!

Finished off last weekend – a really nice session overall! This was something I was given as a free sample when I ordered my Honeymoon cake last Black Friday, so I’ve had it for a little while now. Probably not something I would have ordered for myself, but those are often the best samples because they surprise you and push you outside your comfort zone!


To brew this tea, I used my largest chahai and I stacked my infusions four at a time (excluding the rinse) – I did this for three “sets”, so a total of twelve infusions. This doesn’t allow you to see the flavour unfold/develop in the same way as normal Gong Fu brewing, but it does work for a more casual sitting, because you have a minute or two of straight brewing and then a large quantity of brewed tea to drink over a prolonged period of time.

This was delicious – very sweet and syrupy, both in taste but a syrupy/thick mouthfeel as well. Each set was packed with those syrupy/sweet elements in the form of stonefruit notes and dense, sickly sweet overripe pineapple juice notes – both being flavours that I adore, but especially the overripe pineapple. The kind that gushes when you bite into it, and dribbles on your chin. It was the tiniest bit bitter and astringent (in a pleasant way), with a hint of a more green element, and then a buttery note in the finish.

Solid, solid tea.

Song Pairing:

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Still trying out some of my Crimson Lotus tea samples from 2018. There are so many good ones!

95C – 120 ml- 4g , started off with less than 5 sec and worked up
The first 4 steeps were my favourite. There was no bitterness or very little in the early steeps. It was so apricot fruity and juicy. I just loved that. There was also a light honey sweetness that coats the tongue. Also got a bit of mineral taste.
After steep 4 , it became much more mineral, less apricot and honey. Bitterness started creeping in more and I detected a bit of a sour note. It just kept getting more mineral with each successive steep. After that I was getting a bit bored with it. Around steep 8 , it started changing around again and I could pick up more honey again. I never made it much past that. I was too busy to go back to my tea and don’t drink any tea with caffeine late afternoon or evening.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Fruity, Honey, Mineral, Sour

205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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