Finally broke into my bar of this maybe a week ago, I think on my last day at the office before we went on our Christmas break?
It was a sort of cold, rainy/drizzly day and I woke up just kind of thinking “this is a shou kind of day” and that quickly evolved into a “actually, it’s a shou with chenpi kind of day”. Unlike doing what I normally do when I feel like that, I didn’t go for W2T’s Big O but instead decided that I would break into something I hadn’t yet tried before, and I’ve been sitting on this tea for a while…
I steeped it up Grandpa style because that’s simply what’s easiest for me to do at work while I’m running lab tests and such – but also because I find that generally shou works REALLY WELL steeped this way, and the addition of chenpi doesn’t change that. One of the squaeMy first impression was that there was less of that distinct mandarin orange note in this tea than in Big O, which is probably my favourite chenpi blend at the moment and the one I drink most often. I mean, it was still there but I felt like the profile was more so a sweeter shou pu’erh with date/fig, damp garden soil/petrichor, sweet and kind of cocoa-y notes and a very smooth, thick mouthfeel. I do feel like an hour or so later, after I had been drinking and rebrewing for a while, the orange notes were popping more for me as the flavor of the pu’erh declined a little bit. I think, though, that what is probably going on is not there there’s necessarily so much less chenpi in this blend but that it’s just more of a natural compliment to the pu’erh mix here, so it stands out a little less than the bright chenpi notes in Big O, which don’t meld together quite so seamlessly (though they’re still complimentary in that tea, don’t get me wrong). Is it necessarily better or worse that the chenpi doesn’t stand out as much here? I don’t think there is a correct answer, just a better fit depending on what you’re craving in that moment.
I’m happy to have both in my cupboard.