Gongfu Sipdown (639)!
Discovery Tea Box – Tea Fifteen
Well we’ve come to the final tea that I pulled out of the Discovery Tea Box, and the box has long since left my house so this is sort of the official end to my experience with the box. It’s always really great getting to participate in a travelling tea box; it just fills you with a great sense of community and even if you don’t love every tea you experience it’s just very unique getting to so quickly expose yourself to so many unfamiliar teas or tea companies…
This was one of two Yunnan Sourcing teas I pulled; the other was the snow chrysanthemum black tea. I haven’t had a ton of exposure to YS teas and, up until the aforementioned black tea blend, I’ve never been blown away by one of their offerings. I get that they’re really popular not just here on Steepster but just in general – I’ve just always had better success from different companies. It’s that whole idea that whoever curates the selection of teas for a specific tea shop (Scott for YS, 2Dog for W2T, etc) has their own taste preferences so even when they’re trying to carry things that are diverse/different than their usual offerings it’s probably at least A LITTLE bit tainted by personal preference. I believe that there’s definitely some truth to that, and at least of the teas I’ve been exposed to from YS I’d argue that Scott and I probably have different taste preferences. If that makes sense!? As far as “general shop tastes” go, I tend to have relatively agreeable taste preferences to W2T (especially with Shou), and to BLT (with Shou/black tea specifically). Still trying to figure out what shop my sheng/oolong preferences lean more towards – but that’s its whole other side tangent of a conversation.
As for this shou in particular: I steeped this one a grand total of nine times not counting my initial rinse, which honestly probably should have been longer than the ten seconds I gave it. My first cup of tea was pretty funky…
Other than my ninth and final steep, I stacked my infusions in a very large teacup two at a time. And, I mean a really big teacup since it held two 150ml infusions comfortably with leftover ‘wiggle room’. Like I said, my first stacked cup of tea was fairly funky but not terrible. It was really savory/umami with sort of this “salted earth” kind of taste to it. After that stacked cup, the profile felt much more balanced. Even though it was balanced, though, I think this is yet another example of a YS pu’erh option that isn’t bad but that definitely doesn’t line up with my preferred profile. I’d describe the overall notes of the sessions as very umami leaning and “broth like” with things like cured meats, mushrooms, smoke, and dry wood being the primary flavours. Definitely not a lot of sweetness, and lacking a lot of the ‘wet’ flavours that I personally really enjoy.
Again – not a bad tea by any means and quite smooth for the flavours present; it’s just not my thing overly speaking. I’d recommend it though for anyone who doesn’t like shou with more of those wet, dank kind of notes. Plus, I 100% don’t regret trying it because it was still a REALLY good learning experience for me.