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