this is the 2019 Golden Branches Ripe (shou) Puerh. I was excited to really do a session with this since the Tea Festival tasting was so promising.
It did not disappoint. Their description calls out the sweetness of this tea due to drought. Plants under duress will often produce sweeter tasting flavor profiles.
From Denong: Tasting Notes: Smooth, Herbal, Fruit
The first 2 steeps are a mild sweetness on the tip followed by what I expect from most puerhs — earthy flavors. Then later steeps switch the profile — stronger flavors of rich damp earth & wood that are mellowed out by that sweetness. It works and balances out many of the flavors inherent in puerhs that I don’t prefer.
The earthy & wood flavors are strong but not overpowering and kinda devolve into a bittersweet cocoa flavor. And this tea has some Cha Qi like Woah! There’s a mild astringency that dries out my tongue and a tingling sensation that follows that fills my mouth and head.
However, the farther you steep it out (by 6) the sweetness starts to fade and I find it similar to what I expect from a ripe puerh. Flavors are not overwhelming but the sweetness that I enjoyed is gone.
Short steep times are the order of the day — starting at 10s, 15, 12, 15, 25, 30, 45, 60s, etc.
Still, it’s pretty darn good and I can see drinking this on occasion.