A modest sample from King Tea Mall and my first venture into this company’s offerings.
The sample came as half loose leaves and a thin, intact layer. Smelled rich and sweet. Warmed leaf was still very rich with sticky, ripe stonefruits and powdered sugar, alpine air. Rinse brought out a full, thick aroma with an definition of apricot.
The liquor was drying on the sip and opened up into a souplike texture mid-mouth before plummeting down my throat, leaving it warm and prickly. The finish was drying along the sides of my tongue and back of the mouth, not a full on astringency. Flavors were like the aroma, round and fruity, rich and sweet with something like powder-sugared black plums and melon with an apricot brightness. Almost buttery and syrupy. Interesting aftertaste of peach skin and pine. Pronounced herbal and balsamic cooling in the mouth, chest and sinuses, maybe a hint toward this tea developing a camphor note in the future. Seems highly mineral for a sheng with plenty of salivation. Tip of the tongue numbing.
That was the first 3 steeps. Fourth through 9th thinned out and became astringent more than expected. As these qualities became prevalent, the pleasant prickliness in the throat became irritating and some bitterness showed up at the back of the roof of my mouth (how is that possible?). Some straw and floral plum came out along with a citric quality and a barely noticeable returning sweetness. The finish grew flavorful and very complex but it didn’t balance the thinness of the liquor. A sniff of the spent leaf revealed cucumber and honeydew.
I usually leaf my sheng sessions between 6 and 7 grams per 100mL, so 4.8 grams with my 110mL clay teapot was light for me; I really had to push the brewing times of this sample.
Gushu? I’m skeptical but I am a beginner with the softness of Yiwu teas, often preferring bold sheng. The leaves are thin and tear easily, granted they do look to have been processed well enough. The longevity was lacking for my preferences, putting it in a daily drinker category. If anything, the soft and sweet fruity flavor of this sheng has me wanting to explore Yiwu teas in greater depth.
Life sure has been happening. This was a very welcome and mellow end to an exhausting and sleepless week.
Have a song of beauty: Brian Eno and John Cale — Spinning Away
[4.8g, 110mL, 212F, flash rinse followed by 9 steeps starting at 10s going up to 10min]
Flavors: Apricot, Citrusy, Cucumber, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Honeydew, Melon, Mineral, Peach, Pine, Plum, Powdered Sugar, Round, Stonefruit, Straw, Sweet