This tea came as a Christmas gift from my wife, and what a great way to warm up on a snowy Christmas morning! This tuo was very tightly compressed and hard to break apart, so I ended up with a lot of dust — next time I’ll have to have at it with a sharp cooking knife to keep it more intact. Because of that I got a fairly short session of 10 steeps from 5g, starting with 10 seconds and ending up at 2min 30sec.
However, what a session it was! The first steep was light, but already you could feel the creaminess of the soup, and the flavor was so well balanced. First impressions are sweet with notes of vanilla and apple, but as the flavor lingers in your tongue there’s a contrasting note of earthy bitterness which causes tingling in the mouth.
Once the tea starts to open up on the second brew it really starts to come into it’s own. The liquor is dark but has no cloudiness (despite all the dust I created during breakage). The texture is now thick and dances on the tongue with tingling sensations. Highlights this early on are a musty vanilla, pleasant bitterness on the back of the tongue, and a juiciness that is vaguely reminiscent of various fruits. The qi is as interesting and contrasting as the flavors — a bit energizing at first, but falling down into mellow calm and a foggy head.
Continuing into the session the earth and must notes wash away and reveal the spicy characters of clove, allspice, and a dab of anise. This pairs perfectly with the apple cider scent. This spice turns into a more medicinal note of eucalyptus and camphor in later infusions, which mix with the alternating impressions of vanilla and apple that continue until the end.
This is pretty much the ideal I’m looking for in a shu at the moment — a harmony of sweet, spicy, and earthy notes in a tea that still presents itself with energy. Looks like it might be time to graduate on from the Verdant teas that introduced me to shu puerh and explore more of the enormous and well curated selection from Scott.
Flavors: Anise, Apple, Bitter, Camphor, Clove, Earth, Eucalyptus, Fruity, Sweet, Vanilla