Crimson Lotus Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes


OK well… this is a weird tea. Remember, I’m new to different types of pu.

This tea is one of the best shous that I’ve ever drank except that its a sheng!! Here’s the story.

I am a shou lover and still working on the sheng lover side. I got a sampler from Crimson Leaf which included this sheng. The first cup I made, I realized that I grabbed the wrong tea because there’s no way a sheng is this dark, with this earthy of an aroma. So I checked the wrapping and it was definitely a sheng. I wrote a comment on a tea forum stating that if all aged shengs were like this… I was an aged sheng lover!!! A nice gentleman from that forum sent me several samples of old shengs to explore and I"m taking my time with them. The first gifted sheng I tried tasted like a sheng to me with a green fresh flavor and light yellow liquor. I tried a sheng that was older than this sheng and it steeped the same: light greenish liquor with a grassy taste. So I realized that I messed up and went back to this 2003 Changtai sample, made another batch of tea and again drank one of the best tasting shous that I’ve had. I started wondering if maybe the wrong tea was placed in the wrapper so I contacted Glen at CLT to ask and he assured me that it was a sheng. All I had to do was read the description on the website… so I bought two tuos to enjoy.

Glen also stated that aged sheng is supposed to taste like this, which sort of makes sense as the wodui fermentation process for shou is intended to make shou imitate aged sheng. However, I have yet to taste another aged sheng that comes close to the taste of this sheng. Hopefully the tuo tastes as good as the sample and I can find more aged sheng as good as this one.

I’ll add more comments on flavor when drink from the tuo.

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Bitter dandelion roots with a high amount of astringency. Strong color, thick mouthfeel, and the craziest tea drunk I’ve ever found myself.

It. Does. Not. Let. Up.

Side note: My White2Tea order has finally arrived to the USPS facility near my house. My guess is that it’ll be here tomorrow!


Yeah, I can understand that feeling: my recent white2tea order took it’s sweet, sweet time to arrive as well.

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Drank this during a virtual tea session. I wanted to break in a new gaiwan/cup set…I figured that since the gaiwan holds 80ml, the 4 grams of leaf was plenty for the gaiwan.

Light floral notes. I had to increase the water temperature/steep time after the 5th or 6th infusion, but I ended getting about 10-12 steeps out of it. It’s an easy sheng to drink and forget about…Not so bitter nor astringent.

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New to puers and reviewing. Just being upfront.

First question I had when I drank this tea is, why is it called “Simple Shou” is it because the taste is rather simple with little complexity, or is it because the 50g bing comes impressed with indentations for simplifying breaking off a section of the bing? The world will never know. Unless someone emails glen.

I rinsed and let the tea sit for several minutes before I oversteeped the first infusion not by much and not intentionally. The color was a nice dark thick brown which I appreciate in shous. The nose… first thing, maple. Not maple syrup, but the smell of peeling green bark off of a maple branch. Sort of a sweet woody smell. Taste, sort of a sweet woody taste. :) A late aftertaste that lasts quite a while. Reminiscent taste of being in a barn, hay, animals, but not the bad smell of barns. Subsequent steeps bought at more earthy flavors as the tea opened up.

Giving this an 80 more so for the value. It’s a good shou for a starter kit or for someone wanting to taste different shous, but more advanced palates might want to try something else. However, I would buy again for the right price.

Flavors: Barnyard, Earth, Hay, Maple

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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My first review. Only a couple months into drinking real puer. Would be interesting to come back to this tea and review in a year to see how my opinion has changed.

Ok. I like this tea. With that being said I don’t think I’ll ever give a tea a 100. If I do give a tea a 100. I’ll go out and buy ALL of it before I write the review. An 85 to me means I like it, I appreciate it, I’d buy it, I’d buy it again. It’s solid. Anything above an 85 is better than this. Anything less than 85 is well not better than this.

Nose on the first few steeps is definitely chocolatey. The taste has hints of vanilla, as well as cacao butter. There’s a creaminess in both taste and texture to this tea. The liquor brews up to a nice dark color. Not picking up on any of the earthy overtones that accompany most of the shous that I have tried.

While the color remains, the flavor does not survive a large number of steepings as some other shous do.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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Brews thick
Still has some wet pile taste

Flavors: Mushrooms

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Brews dark

Flavors: Dried Fruit


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Brews dark medium-heavy body
Strong caffeine

Flavors: Wood


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Gongfu – in the shou dedicated yixing pot.

I was craving shou and I’ve had this for a while without trying it so I thought I’d brew it up. I was shitty and didn’t take notes, but I liked it a lot. Hard to capture exactly what I was feeling in the moment by memory but I recall the liquor being so thick and smooth, and the flavour incredibly earthy in all of the ways I love! Wet earth/petrichor, damp wood, forest undergrowth, leather…

Just, like, all the good things!


Song Pairing:

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It’s snowing, so I’m bringing out the ripe puerh. I’ve been drinking this one for a bit…I ran out of water twice already.

It has a thick body, lot of mushroom/wood notes. Definitely getting a strong head high from it, which is odd with a ripe puerh. I wish it had more depth in the flavor. I just get the same notes throughout the session (at least that’s all I noted during the first round of the tea—I was in the middle of deep discussion during the session). It’s good, but I’m glad I only got a sample of it, rather than a full cake.

Flavors: Mushrooms, Wood

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I have to echo Ubacat’s impression of this one – Jade Rabbit is not a tea for me. The main problems I have with it are the ill-defined profile, acrid aftertaste, somewhat light body and the fact that it is quite heavy on stomach. It is fairly unique, but not a tea I’d like to drink ever again.

Its aroma spans the range of metallic, plant seed, yard, and wet earth scents. I also got an interesting tingling sensation in the nose while sniffing the wet leaves. The taste is mineral and mushroomy with a salty, cooling aftertaste.

I can see the tea changing quite a bit throughout the session, but honestly I find it hard to pay attention to it.

Flavors: Grass, Grass Seed, Metallic, Mineral, Mushrooms, Salty, Wet Earth

7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Let me start this by saying I’m newer to puerh and the tea world in general, so my review won’t be as descriptive as most. However, this is by far my favorite tea I’ve had. I brewed this in my gaiwan with 10g leaf to 150ml water. This is a VERY dark tea, but one that I found extremely flavorful. The first steep was a brownish-gold, with each subsequent steep getting darker and darker until about the 7th steep. That’s where it seemed to reach its maximum dark and was almost like oil in the cup.

Let’s talk flavors- this is the best shou puerh I’ve ever tasted. It was a very thick, dark brew that had notes of burnt sugar, hay, and grass, but in a good way. It went down extremely smooth and tasted sweeter than any other shou I’ve ever had. The leaves smelled like a dark, chocolatey coffee when placed in a warmed gaiwan before adding water.

This tea keeps on going. I managed to get 14 steeps and would definitely like to see if I can push it any further before it totally gives in. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a good experience with a shou, especially if they’re a beginner like I am.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Camphor, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Grass, Hay, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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So far, Dark Depth is my most favorite tea – only being rivaled by Crimson Lotus 2008 Bulang Imperial Grade Shou (which is long long gone).
As a coffee drinker, this tea comes as close to a ‘coffee replacement’ as reasonably possible.
This is my daily wake-me-up go-to tea. The flavor is quite rich and the soupy mouth feel nice and thick; it’s sweet and flavorful (and wow is the soup dark!!).
You get your moneys worth out of this tea – it steeps over and over again while maintaining that rich sweet nutty flavor.

Flavors: Nutty, Sweet, Wet Earth

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g

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Honestly, I can’t smell anything or taste much right now. It’s actually a great time to focus on the general impression of a puerh and the way it feels in my mouth and body rather than my default mode which is to get lost in tastes.

Despite my schnoz not working well, I am able to pick up on aged puerh smell and forest floor in the rinsed leaf along with yeasty and bready qualities. The liquor has an oily thickness to it that when combined with a general tartness and minerality gives the impression of a lighter-bodied tea. Seems like it might taste of tobacco. The initial infusions feel great going down my throat and leave a thin and cooling camphor coating. There is also a bit of throat drying early on along with slight bitterness that does grow stronger but it is complementary. A light returning sweetness presents, seems date-like but combines with the back of the tongue bitterness to give a bittersweet lingering. I do notice some roughness and numbing of the tongue.

The energy is notable for me in the regard that it gives me a general sense of well being and positivity and it makes me dance. I much prefer this feeling to heady teas since I’m always thinking anyway.

On that note:
Album pairing: Paul Simon - Graceland, found in my housemate’s record collection

This is a solid aged sheng, one I could see keeping as a daily drinker.

Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
Martin Bednář

Get well soon!


Thanks, it’s a mild cold


Hope you feel better!


Indeed, get over that cold.


I remember hearing the Graceland album for the first time and being totally blown away by the crazy wonderful mix-match of instrumentation :)


Thanks y’all. Hopefully today was the worst of it. Dang was I grumpy!

gmathis: It was the first time I listened to Graceland. I didn’t expect the album that contained “You Can Call Me Al” to have that range of instrumentation and influences!

Regarding this tea, I’m still working on the teapot from yesterday after a short rinse to wake up the leaves again. The liquor is still oily but the texture has morphed from thick into what a lot of reviews mention as fluffy/marshmallowy. What I can taste does fall in line with a marshmallow sweetness, nutty. I think I’m currently somewhere around 10 long steeps. The flow of this teapot is slow, around 12-15 seconds but I enjoy what pours from it :)

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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.


4 months later and this tea has become much sweeter and less floral. More honey than perfume now. Definitely an improvement.

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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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I had the Moon Princess for the second time today and I liked it a bit more than before. It seemed more fragrant in particular, I wonder if it could be due to the very dry air that is inevitably linked to Canadian winter. I recall hearing people talk about how short term dry weather brings out the fragrance of sheng more.

In any case, this tea is good but not spectacular (like most of what I sampled from CLT to be honest). I like that the bitterness is strong, but it’s not that interesting. A dominant note that keeps coming back both in aroma and the taste is that of honey, the dry leaf smell especially is really honey-like. On top of that, there are scents of sweet grass and ale, with a strong (matured) Camembert cheese note in the empty cup.

The taste is crisp, fragrant, and floral with a mix of sweet, umami, and bitter (think quinine) flavours. There is a bit of grassy and bark note as well. Aftertaste is dominated by a long-lasting floral sweetness in the mouth (rather than the throat). The body is medium to full and the mouthfeel is coating, slick, buttery and somewhat tongue numbing. I didn’t notice any cha qi in the two sessions I’ve had with it.

Flavors: Alcohol, Bark, Bitter, Floral, Grass, Honey, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Umami

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

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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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