258 Tasting Notes
Received this today. Pretty excited as it is the first sheng I’ve bought at the suggestion of Crimson Lotus Tea to pair with an 80’s style horror book for my tea book club. Giving it a test run tonight.
First rinse, 3 sec. Wet leaf smells a bit like a smoky seaweed.
First steep, 10 sec. Liquor brews up a nice golden honey. Faint smokey flavor on the front of the tongue with perhaps some… menthol bitterness? Is that the camphor people speak of?
Second steep, 10 sec. Same color on the liquor. The menthol bitterness is a bit subdued but still a numbing on the tip of the tongue. Scent of the liquor is slightly sweet. Leaves now certainly have that medicinal camphor type scent.
Third steep, 15 sec. Scent coming off the liquor remains sweet, almost floral this time. Could just be my imagination but might be feeling some of the stomach agitation that some have mentioned as famous of young sheng.
Skipping some steeping notes. Talking and drinking this with the wife has distracted me…
5th steep 30 sec. Slight bitterness but overall good smokey flavor that both my wife and I are enjoying. My wife reports no stomach irritation. I feel like there might be something that almost makes it feel like I have hunger pains but I’m not hungry. It is not painful or bad per se but it is there.
6th steep, 35 sec. It’s strange. I feel like the bitterness is fading but is it? I mean, it is certainly still there. It doesn’t FEEL as strong but is that due to a tea buzz? A weakening overall of the tea? Maybe it is just better rounded at this point versus being more pointed in the first few steeps up front.
7th steep, 45 sec. So, my buzz has made me REALLY interested in examining the leaves in my gaiwan. So cool how some leaves have opened up and yet there are still some fairly tightly rolled tube shaped leaves. One thing is for sure. This tea is making my wife feel extra sassy tonight. Haha.
8th steep, 1 min. This is my favorite steep thus far. Bitter harshness is gone. Drink goes down easy. Still has that smoky camphor which I am beginning to really dig. Almost like a cool eucalyptus type vapor is enveloping my upper body, if that makes sense. WTF am I talking about. Of course that doesn’t make sense. Unless you are a tea head, probably.
Wife and I took a break after the 9th steep to relax and enjoy the energy given from the first hour and a half with this tea.
10th steep, about 2 minutes. Super smooth. Really enjoyable. I was just instructed to add that if you stick with this tea that you will be rewarded with a smoothness in the later steeps.
11th steep, 2 minutes. This one, the leaves have a sour/tart smell. It shows up in the taste of the liquor as well. Not sour patch kids sour… Just tart. Still drinkable.
12th steep, 3 minutes. Pretty thin. Calling it a night on this one.
My first real experience with a compressed sheng. It was fairly enjoyable with a mild effect on my stomach (wife reported no such discomfort) though that is probably to be expected for someone with Ulcerative Colitis. This (and other shengs) will probably be a once in a while type enjoyment but nothing I drink too often, given my ailment. I’m sure more age/better quality would be better. Either way, this was an enjoyable evening with my wife so that is the most important.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Floral, Smoke, Tart
Dry leaf smell is malty. Beautiful long twisted black leaves.
First infusion, 10 seconds. Liquor comes out a dark blonde color. Thought that was surprising until I realized the leaves didn’t get a chance to open up. The flavor is delicious and buttery.
Second infusion, 10 seconds. Liquor is a slightly darker blonde. The wet leaf smells a bit like… burnt grass? There is a green/hay smell but also a smokey scent mixed it with it. Hmm. Flavor remains smooth and buttery with a hint of fruitiness on the back end.
Third infusion, 20 seconds. Color remains the same. This is one of the lighter colored black teas I have ever seen. Looks like a lightly oxidized oolong. One thing is for sure, thus far this is a consistent tea in color and flavor.
Flavors: Butter, Fruity
This stuff is the truth! If you are a person who enjoys both the malty goodness of black tea and also the smokiness of a good coffee, this is a great blend for you. There is a hint of the grapefruit in there to give it a citrus bittersweet note but it is not overpowering. In fact, everything here blends together to create a nicely done tea. I’m glad I bought 2 portions of this!
Flavors: Citrus, Coffee, Malt, Smoke
Found a few of these in my Mandala mini tuo sampler pack. Had to google a ton of different things before “gold wrapped tuo puerh” popped up a picture hit which led me to this page. Thanks again, Steepster! These are definitely what I have, at least in image alone.
Anyway, I did two quick rinses and the mini tuo is just starting to loosen after the 1st steep of 10-12 seconds. First infusion flavor is light, delicate, enjoyable.
Second steep, 10 seconds. Man, this little guy is really holding onto its shape. Am I suppose to help it along in breaking up? I don’t know but I find myself being in the camp of “leaf (heh) it the hell alone” and let nature take its course. The typical ripe shu smell is a bit stronger and the color is becoming a bit more brick red compared to the last one. I’m really enjoying the flavor here. Smooth, velvety down the throat. An earthy caramel flavor.
3rd steep, 10 seconds. I know I am supposed to back off a bit with the time on the third steep (generally speaking) but I’ll be damned if this tuo is still holding form. After pouring out the liquid from the leaves, I used a blunt instrument (okay, it was my finger. I know this is probably frowned upon. The color of the liquor looks to be the same. The wet leaf had a smokey chocolate scent to it. Oh no..the flavor is still a light earthy chocolate with some smokiness. The horror… Hold up here. I think I just discovered a small thin.. piece of straw(?) at the bottom of one of my cups. Like… delicately small and thin but that is still what it resembles to me on the tip of my finger. Eh, whatever. Moving on.
4th steep. Oh, hey, guess who is a moron? I had assumed I put my electric kettle for a 212F temp. Just looked before this steep. Nope. It has been at 195F this whole time. Perhaps that is what has accounted for the light flavors and slow break up of the tuo… Oh well. I’ve enjoyed the taste thus far so, meh. Let’s see what the correct temperature brings me, shall we?
10 seconds. Again. And again, the tuo holds its shape and still feels pretty solid to the core. Yes, I used my finger again. Care to guess which one? Flavor and colors are both holding steady. Smooth and tasty. The scent of the wet leaves now has a sugary caramel scent. Not quite burnt… but reminiscent. At the risk of, well, very little, I am going to up the time a tad on this next steep.
Steep 5, 15 seconds (at 212 this time). Well, the tuo is still holding shape, though I do detect some sponginess this time around. The scent is the same. The color is slightly, ever so slightly, darker. The higher temp and longer steep time seems to have brought out a little bit more of the mushroom earthiness but it is still pretty subdued for a ripe. I’m still enjoying it quite a bit. You watch, this thing is going to fall apart in my gaiwan and just release a torrent of intense-ness that it has been holding onto and saving up.
Steep 6, 20 seconds. I should clarify here. There has always been some loose leaf settling on the bottom, so it’s not like there is no leaf loosening here and it’s all just one solid tuo. Anywho, the tuo is still mostly together but I think I am getting to it. I was able to push/mush some leaf off the main piece. But dang, that middle core still feels decently solid. Am I obsessing now? I’m obsessing now. You know what, just to prove I can stop, I am not going to mention the core of the tuo until it completely falls apart.
During this steep I got a whiff that so clearly and instantly reminded me of a salmon and rice dinner. Not in a bad fishy way normally associated with some bad ripes but in a very delicate and delicious way. Color is sitting somewhere between brick red and caramel brown. Flavor is mostly the same but a little bolder now. Still smooth and delicious.
Steep 7, 25 seconds. A mocha syrupy color reveals itself. Close your eyes and imagine what a solid, recognizable ripe puerh tastes like. I’m pretty sure you are envisioning this. There is a slight mineral undertone/after taste in this one as well.
Steep 8, Screw it, 40 seconds. And guess what? We have a broken up tuo. The color now reminds me of a dark roasted coffee. There also seems to be a roasty mushroom scent to the wet leaf. My patience and now devil may care attitude in the last steep have combined to make this brew a toasty cocoa creamy goodness. Best one thus far. Thanks tuo for finally releasing all of your treasures.
Annnnd the tea drunk just hit.
Steep 9, 45ish? seconds. Coffee color still remains. Delicious flavor as well.
So, I have to go before this tea has really given up all I think it has to offer. Where do I have to go? A tea tasting at an English Cottage Tea House. Hahahhahah.
Edit- I realize this review sounds a bit manic and thanks for hanging in there for the novel but I was in an extra good mood. Was it the best tea I’ve ever had? No, probably not. Was it the most fun I had while drinking a tea? Perhaps. And isn’t that all that matters?
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Smoke
A really neat tea blend. It is a chameleon, a shape shifter. Brewed gongfu style in my gaiwan, I did a flash rinse. First infusion was for 10 seconds. A good portion of the rolled leaves had already almost completely opened upon the first infusion while others still stayed fairly tightly packed. This would be a good precursor to how this tea would change throughout the session depending on what leaves were wakening at different times.
Overall though, this was a pretty consistently delicious blend. The changes in flavor and slight astringency were subtle throughout. The color of the liquor was mostly a hay yellow. A good tea buzz kicked in after the 4th steep. I like it!
I was given a 10g sample of this in a sample pack I ordered from Beautiful Taiwan Tea (of which I am very much enjoying).
This was unlike any ripe I’ve had before which isn’t saying much as I’ve only had a handful to this point. Usually I find ripe puerh to be dark, heavy, earthy. I’ve come to expect this. But this tea was very light handed in all those respects.
I did about 5g in my Gaiwan (which can hold about 3.5 oz). I did a flash rinse and the liquor came off as very light. The leaves had a smell that was vaguely earthy but nothing like I had come to expect.
First steep was boiling at 12 seconds. The liquor came out with a golden hue and the scent on it and the leaves were light in terms of puerh. The liquor tasted smooth with a slightly florals and earthy more. What both my wife and I noticed was the numbing sensation in our lips and tongue.
This continues through the next 3 steeps. I had to take a break for lunch and shoveling snow. When I came back to this to finish my session, I steeped it in boiling water for 30 seconds. Watery. Dumped it and tried again at 2 minutes. Mostly watery. I fear my break killed it. No worries, I have enough for one more session!
Overall this was a great and unique experience for me with a shou. I didn’t know they could be so light.