This was a free sample with my last BLT order, and one that I thought would be a really nice sipdown that I could knock out that would still yield a really pleasant/memorable Gong Fu session. What I didn’t expect was how fucking BEAUTIFUL that session would be. I took a ton of photos, and not to be totally immodest but they look really damn good.
Didn’t overly track infusions – something like ten in total, but I stacked them two at a time in a larger pitcher and poured into a much bigger cup that the teapot I was brewing in. So while I steeped ten(ish) times in total in the pot I really only drank five cups of tea. If that makes sense!? I’ve been pretty into stacking infusions lately – it just works well for me in terms of flow of the session.
The first half of the overall session was a lot better than the second; the tea was a lot sweeter and more fruity. A mix of peach, really juicy orange, and a sort of cherry flavour. Bright, ripe, and really smooth. It was almost like drinking the tea version of fruit salad, with a more sharp grassy and vegetal undertone and finish. The second half of the session leaned way more heavily into the undertones that had been present in the first stacked infusion – quite sharp and grassy, with really intense vegetal element and a whole lot of bitterness and astringency. Some mineral taste, and a bit of a dry woody quality as well. It was much more reflective of the sort of sheng/raw pu’erh type of profile that I personally really don’t enjoy and so after a couple of these infusions I decided to just stop brewing.
To be clear, just because it evolved into a profile that was something I didn’t personally enjoy at all doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s a good tea – I REALLY enjoyed the early infusions, and the other ‘half’ of this tea’s profile is definitely something that would appeal to other tea drinkers – but as someone who’s just really not super fond of Sheng/seems to have a really distinct profile that I enjoy from Sheng I just knew the rest wouldn’t be for me.
Very grateful for the sample and experience, though.