8 Tasting Notes
I’m actually new to raw Pu’er (sheng). My only other experience with Sheng was 2012 “Heart of the Old Tree” (which I found too bitter – likely too young). I was beginning to wonder if Sheng just wasn’t for me.
I was actually rather pleased, however, when I tried this tea. I had none of the bitterness issues, and I found that the tea continued to perform for many infusions. I stopped after 5 infusions, but that was just because I’d had enough tea – I’m certain the leaves still had more to give. Here are my tasting notes…
5 ounces of leaf, boiling water.
Two 10-15 second washes.
First infusion (25 seconds)
Nice light-brown colour. No bitterness. Pleasant aroma. Tobacco taste? Perhaps – but not in a strong, objectionable way. Pleasant flavour.
Second infusion (40 seconds)
Now a little darker – a medium brown colour. Detected more notes of cedar. Maybe a little bitterness sneaking in? Still pleasant.
Third Infusion (40 seconds)
Light brown colour. No bitterness at all. Flavour is still pleasant, but I couldn’t pick out any distinct flavours – just pleasant…I think I’ll have to move to a longer steep next…
Fourth infusion (1 minute 20 seconds)
Medium brown colour again. Cedar notes coming through again, although the flavour is clearly more “blunt” than at the beginning. Still fairly enjoyable.
Fifth infusion (1 minute 30 seconds)
Medium brown colour again. Again, still fairly enjoyable.
The flavour still has a “brightness” to it compared to “regular” (non-pu’er) black teas at these later infusions. This tea is making me think I might become a Sheng drinker yet.
I really enjoy the beautiful floral / muscatel aroma wafting up from the pot while it is brewing. I find that with most black teas I need to let the brewed tea cool down a little so that I can really discern and appreciate all the flavours.
The first steep was very satisfying. As another reviewer described it, a “velvety muscatel” flavour.
The second steep was still pretty good. The muscatel flavour was was still coming through fairly well.
The third steep was drinkable, but the muscatel flavour was now much more muted. It was clear to me that this was all these leaves had to give.
I’ve compared this to a couple of other lower-end darjeelings and I have to say this one is actually quite good for price. I intend to buy more, although I’d also like to explore some of the more expensive darjeelings in the future (those from specialized dealers? or perhaps directly from select estates?).
This is a delicious, vegetal (almost grassy) tea. Since it’s so expensive I tried resteeping my sample to see how much value I could get if I wanted to buy more. The first steep was delicious, but I really noticed a difference in the second steep. That second steep was still fairly good, but it seemed to have lost some its savory vegetable flavour and become a more mellow tea. It was clear to me that the leaves really wouldn’t have more to give for a third steep, so I didn’t even try.
This is an expensive tea, but I’m going to pick up 50g for free as one one my “frequent steeper” rewards from David’s Tea. I’m not sure that I’d pay full price for it. We’ll see how I feel when I finish my free 50g bag…
Flavors: Grass, Vegetables
This is a good execution of a standard orange pekoe tea. It’s clearly better than the typical tea bags you buy in the grocery store. This tea is fine if you want a basic well-balanced black tea and don’t need to tickle your pallet with a really complex flavour profile.
I was looking for a good breakfast tea, and was optimistic because I like some of DT’s other black tea offerings, but this one disappointed me. I don’t know how to describe it – it just didn’t taste very good… like a substandard execution of a Ceylon blend. I’ll finish off my 24g sample pack (because I hate to throw away “good tea”), but I certainly won’t be buying any more.
I’ll stick with a couple of other DT’s black teas that I like (Wild Yunnan black, Nepal black) until I find something yet better. They’re a little more expensive, but well worth it.
I’m not sure why I didn’t really like this tea the first time I tried it – I guess I wasn’t in a “tea mood”. At any rate, I resolved not to throw away perfectly “good tea” and to finish up the 24g sampler pack I got from David’s Tea.
I’m glad I did. The second time I tried it (a week later), I was surprised how much I liked the tea. It had a rich, earthy (but clean) flavour that felt good on my tongue. I savoured that after-dinner cup of tea and it left me with a satisfied feeling for quite a while. I just had it again today with the same level of enjoyment.
It’s a little pricey, but I think it’s definitely worth it. I look forward to trying other Yunnan teas from other suppliers in the future. In the meantime, I’m going to replace my current supply of this tea with a bigger bag from David’s Tea sometime soon.
Flavors: Cocoa, Wet Earth
Although I’ve been having a constitutional “Red Rose” black tea after supper for years, I’ve only recently begun exploring better quality black teas. Of the various black teas from David’s Tea that I’ve tried, this is one of my favourites. It has a rich, earthy body, and it really does leave a sweet “honey” flavour on your tongue at the end. It also resteeps well, so it provides me with good value.
Flavors: Earth, Honey