Song pairing first this time: Portishead — Strangers
(Roseland NYC Live album on my turntable)
Did you realize no one can see inside your view?
Stoner tea if you believe in tea energy. Like a heady sativa dominant strain with enough grounding indica to keep me in one spot. Sedating hyper-awareness. How uncomfortable. This feeling is why I no longer smoke marijuana. I submit, though. How could I not to such a power?
A sample courtesy of Togo.
Dry leaf is shades of brown with leaves and buds furry beige and camel. Smells citric tart and vegetal with a hint of unripe raspberry. Warmed leaf brings out a leafy, bitter medicinal smell with powdered sugar. Rinsed leaf aroma is old wood, buttery floral, sweet vegetal. Drank the rinse. it was very good.
The tea begins viscous with an undeniable lingering rubber-aspirin bitterness. You can’t hide from it. It is there and you know it. The liquor is substantial yet light as in it’s heavy, yet no one characteristic or flavor dominates; well balanced. Leafy medicinal with cotton candy and corn soup sweetness, osmanthus florality. Drying with thick gummy-fluffy salivation. High minerality leaves a clean finish. Initial aftertaste of gingerbread catches me off guard. Warming in throat, cooling in chest. The thing about this tea in its current state — it’s really quite drying but that quality just lets this ridiculously complex, space-filling peachy-plummy-floral-buttery aftertaste resonate for what feels like forever. Time dilation with too much thinking. My brain whirls, I come back to the aftertaste. Too much thinking again. Oh hey, how am I still tasting this tea? And she’s off again.
By the fourth infusion, camphor is coming out my ears and each inhalation through my parted lips cools my entire mouth. I sit for a while with a deep returning honey sweetness. Fifth and sixth infusions, the astringency finally departs, opening up to a less viscous but bittersweet, buttery-rich liquor with apricot-osmanthus, honey-powdered sugar, hay. Tongue coated in tea oil. I have no idea how many infusions I got. Ten? eleven? longer than usual gongfu steep times before I called it.
The experience of this sheng gripped me for better or for worse. I loved what it had to offer but the heady energy was overwhelming for my currently questioning mindset. I agree with Togo’s assessment that this is a fairly standard sheng flavor-wise but if you’re into powerful teas and crave that bitterness, for the current price of $0.38 USD/g I can recommend Head. It does seem like it will age well.
Trying to figure out what’s in W2T’s cakes is challenging. With my limited experience, I’d guess Menghai (Hekai and Bulang) and Yiwu?
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Butter, Camphor, Cotton Candy, Drying, Floral, Ginger, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Medicinal, Mineral, Osmanthus, Peach, Plums, Powdered sugar, Raspberry, Spices, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal, Wood