From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Brewed with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the leaf two 5-second rinses and let it rest for 10 minutes. Steeping times: 15, 10, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50; 2 minutes, 4, 8, 20.
Dry leaf smells of chocolate and leather. In heated gaiwan bowl, of hot cocoa and sticky rice. The wet leaf aroma changes: begins with sticky rice, then evolves to prunes, then to a chocolate-fruit note reminded me of those dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds.
This is originally from the regular pu’erh TTB, added by Rich. Having written the only other review, he commented on how bitter this shou was he tried it around a year ago. I think this is aged OK. While there was an under-note of bitterness until the seventh cup, this tastes nicely sweet and chocolately.
The soup is clear dark orange-red, clean-looking. The first cup is sour, with some fermentation, but tastes of chocolate just a little. Following the second cup, the sweetness and the chocolate note strengthen. They reach a plateau with the seventh cup and continue to be present at the last cup. From the eighth cup to the end, I can also taste fresh cedar wood.
The soup is full-bodied but feels light. Not a rich shou. Easier on the stomach, too (also in his review, Rich commented he got a stomach-ache). To get a better sense of an unbiased session, I should have used a porcelain cup, but I wanted to use a ruyao cup, which affected the soup in that it was creamy and very smooth.