I noticed recently that Yunnan Sourcing’s “Green Miracle” had sold out, so I decided to pick this one up while it was still available, just to see how the two compare. I used 12.1g in my 160ml Jianshui clay teapot and drank the tea from Jianshui clay as well. After a 10s rinse and a 5 min. rest I proceeded to do a total of eight steeps, the timing for these being 12s, 12s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 50s, 90s and 2.5 min.
The color of the first infusion was still light. The texture reflected this and was fairly light as well. The tea wasn’t quite bitter nor chocolatey, but bittersweet might be an apt description. Despite the color, the strength was stronger than your average shu. The second steep didn’t actually brew much darker. The texture was very light, which you could tell already by just looking at the liquor. The taste was a bit stronger, consisting of darker tones and being at the edge of bitterness. Bittersweet might still be applicable here. The lasting flavor left in your mouth was however clearly that of coffee.
The third steep finally brewed a bit darker, although hardly very dark for a shu pu’er, more like a hong cha. The tea was strong, but light, if that makes any sense. The initial burst of dark, bitter coffee flavors was fairly strong, but the texture was disappointingly light and the flavors faded quickly, leaving behind this sort of void. It just left you with this sense of there being a lack of substance. There was however at least a persistent lingering aftertaste. I also noted that the tea became very bitter once it cooled down.
Slightly extended brewing time finally produced a slightly better body in the fourth steep, although the texture was till light+. The taste was bitter, maybe even a tad sour (but not in a bad way), now leaning more toward woody notes. This was a decent brew. The body didn’t hold up in the next steeping. The flavor had dropped as well. This with me extending the brewing time by 50% from the previous steep. The taste was perhaps slightly sweet and mineraly with some light woody tones. Very disappointing.
The sixth steep I apparently managed to push adequately as the strength was back to a decent level. The taste was mineral, with some darker woody notes as well. The tea had a certain freshness to it, being almost cooling. There were some nice lingering woody tones as well. This was a decent steep. Steep seven was light in texture, but had a nice mouthfeel. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but it was tasty. It was refreshingly woody with a bit of mouth cooling going on. A nice infusion.
Steep number eight was the last one I did. It was light, simple. Drinkable, but the tea could have very well been on the verge of either giving up entirely or becoming nasty. There was some of your typical base sweetness, but I deemed the tea done in my eyes.
This tea was decent. I’m fairly picky when it comes to shu pu’er, so I wasn’t expecting too much. I found the tea to brew stronger than your average ripe, while the body was generally quite lacking. If you like your ripes thick, I’m not quite sure how to achieve that with this tea without making it excessively strong in the process. If you are wondering how Immortal Monkey compares to Green Miracle, I haven’t had that tea recently enough to make a good comparison, but I recall Green Miracle being perhaps a bit more dynamic in terms of flavor, although the flavor profiles are comparable. At least right now Immortal Monkey seems to lean more towards bittersweet and woody, while Green Miracle according to my memory was less bitter and perhaps more chocolatey and mineraly. These teas are still young, however, so they will continue to change over time. I don’t think I really have a preference for either tea right now. They are similar but different in their own right.
To boil things down, Immortal Monkey seems like a decent tea to drink now, with the potential to become a better tea in the future. Those leaning toward a bittersweet woody profile when it comes to shu may find this to their liking. Those seeking a replacement for Green Miracle should not be too disappointed either. While the tea is not distinctly sweet, the lack of sweetness does not come off as a negative like it can with some other teas.
Flavors: Bitter, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Mineral, Sour, Sweet, Wood