My second sheng. Highlights for me: apricot appearing in second steep and lingered 10, 15 minutes, longer? (However, I notice other reviews do not mention apricot, so I would at least reconsider things next time). Aroma of horse stable first few steeps. But, already steep 4 was a casual affair for my amateur palate. It was a good experience, part of the educational sample package, but I prefer the other sheng in that package: 2005 “Top of the Clouds,” and I hope to find others, too. I learned that astringency adds dimension and I can open myself to appreciating it along with the flavors.

Steep 1
Aroma: wet hay, horse stable, sweet grass.
Taste: no smokiness, some astringency but not overpowering. Green tea, aftertaste of dried fruit, apricot? Smacking tongue. Pineapple?

Steep 2
Aroma: Even more horse stable.
Taste: gripping astringency, fruit moves forward, enjoyable. Enter apricot. Last 5, 10 minutes or more.

Steep 3 and beyond: gradually fades, steep 4 is already what I call a more casual drinking experience since I am not yet able to distinguish a lot at this point. Maxed out at steep 8 (8 grams/120 ml, one rinse).

Flavors: Apricot, Barnyard, Hay, Sweet, warm grass

8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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I am new to tasting, so I am adjusting my ratings of each tea to accommodate my new experiences and learning.

But overall this is my logic:

95+ are teas I want to have on hand and buy again. I am willing to save my money for them (within reason) and measure out every last 10th of a gram.

90-94 are teas that I highly praise and recommend, but they are not ones that I prioritize to buy again and have on hand.

80-89 are teas that I am thankful for trying, but I would rather save my money if necessary to buy a 95+ tea.

If I do not rate a tea, it means I feel bad about giving a score of 79 or less and would prefer the community and experts weigh in with their math.

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