The first steep acted more as insight to what the tea would eventually become, as opposed to a defining steep. The tea developed flavors like light vegetation, lingering sweetness, and small amounts of bitterness.
Steep 2 brought everything this tea has to the table taste-wise, and body-wise followed quickly after: Both Steal Boats and Meet Halfway is thick-bodied, with an astringent vegetal character that attacks the tongue sides and throat, while a sweet part of the viscous soup – which I can only describe as delightful – attacks the very tip of the tongue, as hints of smoke go down with the swallow. Other steeps deconstructed this one slowly, but I personally think the best of this tea lies after steep 1 and before steep 6, likely between 2 and 4.
Into steep 3, the bitterness began to fluctuate, while the vegetal astringency continued as an established part of the flavor. The sweetness in the linger also began to ramp up past this point. In addition, the head feelings of this tea became extremely present. After finishing steep 2, I found myself with lots of mental energy, but also with a strange head-based disassociation with my surroundings. It can be best summed up simply with the word powerful.
As the steeps progressed, the tea followed a similar path to many other young shengs: the astringency stuck around for a while, the bitter lower half dropped out, and the sweetness prevailed by double-digit steeps. However, this was not a mediocre tea. It isn’t exactly a joy to drink for any one reason, save maybe hard-hitting qi, but is a pleasure to drink for a multitude of humble reasons. This tea carries all of the best attributes that a young sheng with aged material mixed in can carry; no aggressive flavors, full body, an above-mediocre progression, and a moving trip in the head. A tea I wouldn’t save as the last at a party, but one I’d be thrilled to present midway / late in.
Considering the cost to conclude; this cake (200g) is $85. Do you need to spend almost $100 to get a well-balanced cake? No, and it might be overpriced if that’s all it offered. The sort of place that this tea puts the mind in however, hits – if not significantly hits – above its price. I’ve experienced similar mind-moving brews at price points $40 more. Presenting itself as a well-rounded blend, only hitting 100% in head-feel, this cake is a great price. Overall, an incredibly pleasant taste, paired with a surprisingly strong mental side, makes this a great tea to keep around for anytime you can afford it proper attention.
7g / 100ml
100c (boiling) water
Steep time = 5x seconds, where x = steep number