I’m still working my way through the Sheng Olympics teas.
I was fully prepared to dislike this tea. It didn’t help that I’m drinking it the morning after a session with 2014 Last Thoughts, which is one of the best teas I’ve ever had. However, this tea stands up to the comparison.
I started out a bit disappointed. The dry leaves consist of fairly tightly compressed small chunks. Not the whole leaves I’ve come to expect from premium teas. The first steep was light in color, with a mild aroma reminiscent of butter. The taste was light and viscous, with an incredible feel in the mouth. As I sipped that first cup the tea just grew on me. Every sip seemed a bit better than the last. I’m sure this was in part due to the extremely powerful cha qi, which started in my chest and arms and is now a whole-body experience, on a par with the Last Thoughts.
The flavors are mild, reminding me of some green-style oolongs I’ve had in the past: butter, straw, and hints of flowers. Strong, long finish, which is probably part of the reason why each sip seemed to improve.
Third steep is a bit darker: medium straw. Nose is still modest, but now is spice rather than butter. The taste is completely different: strong spice character, with the older, buttery flavor barely visible underneath. I like this flavor almost as much as the first, and give the tea credit for added complexity. The viscosity is still there but there is a bit of sharp bite riding on top, and a subtle bitterness underneath, which extends into the finish. I’m not a fan of bitter teas, but this is just a hint, adding interest. The fourth steep had the same characteristics as the third, but more integrated.
I don’t recall the exact price this tea sold for, but recall it was reasonable. I suspect that purchasers got fair value despite the marketing hype. If it hadn’t sold out I’d be buying some.