King Tea Mall (AliExpress)Edit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Sometime ago I tasted this tea from a friend and I enjoyed it but I was unaware of parameters used so I’ll base my review on the revised parameters I used as using water under boil makes the bitterness more pronounced.
Upfront bitterness comes through immediately followed by a great sweetness which makes one salivate and wanting more tea. Just before the bitterness hits you there is a pronounced earthy/musty taste comparable to a well matured shou.
Colourwise it is deep copper colour at the beginning but it reduces to lighter levels as one goes through the session. The aroma after the initial 2 rinses is slightly earthy but sweetness comes to mind all the time This sweet aroma remains throughout the session in the tea liquor, teapot and sharing vessel signs of a very well matured tea.
No signs of astringency have been found.
Revised parameters: 2.5gms tea leaves 40ml water 90 degrees C first steepings time was around 5 seconds which increased slowly with later steepings.
Flavors: Earth, Stonefruit, Sweet Potatoes
This was the tea from Liquid Proust’s group buy. It is very strong. Very bitter at first. I felt some qi about the third steep but it did not last. It eventually lost the bitterness and became a sweeter tea. I would not use the word apricots however. It never got that sweet. As to this tea’s origins, some people seem to think this is a Lao Man E village tea. I personally doubt that. It is Lao Man E brand tea. A brand that King Tea sells a lot of is BanZhang Lao Man E. They make some good tea but they are generally neither BanZhang or LaoManE teas. So it is anyone’s guess as to the origins of this tea. The bitterness in this tea lasted a good six steeps before it was history. This tea has a kick your ass bitterness to it. It is that strong. While it’s certainly strong enough to be a LaoManE tea I just doubt it is.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. Could have gotten a few more steeps out of the leaves if I wanted to continue.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet
This is an interesting shou. It has a strong fermentation flavor although I don’t get any fishy notes. It also has a strong taste of camphor, very strong. There were notes of camphor even in the twelfth steep. There were also prevalent notes of spice and a lesser note of bamboo. This is not to say there was no sweet taste, but this was not a chocolaty shou. This is without a doubt the strongest camphor tea I can remember drinking. I should also note that despite the name of this tea it is not from Lao Ban Zhang village. In China there is a brand of puerh called BanZhang LaoMan’E. This is that brand. I have heard it is considered a high quality brand but this is my first experience with it.
I steeped this twelve times in an 85ml Yixing Teapot with 7.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
Flavors: Bamboo, Camphor, Earth, Spicy, Sweet
This is an interesting tea that I don’t properly know how to describe. It is only the second of it’s type that I’ve had. It is quite sweet. And even though it is considered a type of sheng it bears little resemblance to it. While it is sweet and can almost be described as honey sweet it has none of the apricot notes of young sheng and none at all of the bitterness. I’ve never seen much in the way of description of it’s flavor so I don’t have a frame of reference. I bought it as an experiment of sorts. I have a severe case of insomnia and normally don’t drink any tea after around 4 pm. This has very low caffeine but is not caffeine free. Still, I don’t want to push my luck so I only steeped it three times in my new Kyusu. I will give this a rating but in doing so I am not attempting to compare it directly to puerh even though it is considered a sub class of sheng.
I brewed this three times in a 250ml Kyusu with 15g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, and 10 sec. One thing this does have in common with puerh is it is quite resteepable. I think I could have gotten at least five more steeps out of it had I been willing to risk consuming too much caffeine. The basic fact is I don’t know just how low in caffeine this is so stopped drinking it at three steeps.