23 Tasting Notes
Decided to do more reviewing of this tea as it is quite likely to be the last cold rainy day I will see for five or six months and I don’t see myself drinking something this rich, thick, and dark very often till this autumn.
I put 3.5 grams in a 60ml gaiwan (though it actually measures closer to 50ml). I measure out 40ml of water with a graduated cylinder and boil each steep seperately using a 1/2liter electric kettle. It takes about 15 to 20 seconds to bring 40ml to a boil. I do my water this way almost always when brewing gong fu. I don’t understand why no one else does this and why they boil a big jug of water and let it cool off and boil it again etc. My water technique is very good for having a smooth and steady flow to a session and for upping or lowering the temp on the fly (I tend to start hong cha at crab eye and work my way up to full boil during the session). It’s also good for making sure the water doesn’t get overboiled and lose it’s structure.
After the first rinse I let the tea sit with gaiwan lid on for five minutes or however long it takes for the brick pieces to loosen up. Next I grab the tea and use a bamboo pick to fully break apart the all the leaves. One benefit of this is that the tea will leave a noticable smell on my fingertips which helps me get to know a tea very well. With this tea being so young it of course left some pile smell on my hands but not too funky. Pretty damn clean actually. Second rinse washes away any dust or cloudiness.
This tea gets going pretty strong right away. It’s a dark inky one for sure. Very rich, thick and creamy with a touch of dry aftertaste. The flavor on this tea is big. Big chocolate cherry sweet syrupy awesomness. If you are looking for camphor and chen xiang then find another tea cause you won’t find it here.
I get 5 to 7 dark steeps depending on how hard I push the tea plus several more woody slightly green steeps after.
Winner for 2018 Sheng. Has a wholesome nourishing quality and the high is so very pleasant. I don’t feel like I have to pay close attention to this tea to get a great amount of enjoyment from it. That’s kinda the magic of it. It just feels good and quiets your mind and takes you somewhere else. It’s some astringent and not very bitter which is the opposite of how I prefer a tea but I don’t mind. It more than makes up for that in the feels.
Step 1: Smash tea with hammer.
Step 2: Allow pieces to air out or adjust to your storage.
Step 3: Rinse 12 to 14 times to open up the leaf.
Step 4: Drink.
All kidding aside, this is a very heavily compressed tea. You’ll make plenty of dust breaking it apart. That said, I think this is a wonderful tea. Very clean storage not wet tasting but not Kunming tasting either, and definitely aged tasting. Lots of fruity flavors. It has some bitterness left to it and a little astringency too (I’m leafing pretty heavy and using full boil). I recommend this tea if you want bitterness and aged flavor together without any kind of staleness or musty wet stored taste. It brews out so remarkably long that I almost don’t believe it’s a plantation tea. Also I feel that this tea is pretty clean as far as agrochemicals go. Who knows really but I know my body reacts well to it and there’s none of that tip of the tongue sensation I’m coming to associate with synthetically fertilized tea. Again, who knows, I’m still learning this but my diet has been free of chemicals for some years now.
I’m wondering if there is a connection between heavily compressed tea and how many steeps it can get. I’ve tried a few heavy compressed ripe and raw aged that seem to steep well past their price tag. Almost like the machine compressing is another step of the rolling process and opens up things in the tea that may otherwise need to be boiled out??? Please comment on this if you have any thoughts.
Got this today. Was gonna wait to review till it rested a while and I had time to try some different brewing styles. The brick smelled so nice that I had to try it. Threw 4g in a 500ml thermos and let it brew while I did a few errands. Very thick sweet and clean. Very glad I bought a brick without sampling.
To be continued
Definitely “rich, smooth and mellow”. Super duper clean. Very balanced. No fishy, musty or camphor which are all things I avoid in a ripe. Unlike another reviewer I did not find this tea to be too strong and also didn’t notice any coffee flavors. This tea has all the flavors I like in a ripe like dark fruits, chocolate, warmer woods, sweetness etc but none of these flavors stands out particularly stronger than others and the tea doesn’t demand too much attention in order to enjoy. These qualities, along with the $.15/gram price and the obvious high quality and cleanliness, make this tea a perfect daily drinker for my particular taste buds.
Simply put, working within the $.20 to $.50 per gram range and averaging my overall sheng spending at $.35 per gram, this tea is wonderful. Getting a cake.
Also want to thank Tea Urchin for pricing their samples with such a low mark up.
PS May come back and add more notes at a future date.