This is my first shou mei tasting so I have no basis for comparison.
I am only starting to expand my tastings into white teas.
Steep amounts: 5.4 grams tea / 150ml water @ ~185 deg F
Steep times: 15s, 30, 45, 60, 90, etc.
The cake seems lightly compressed, so it was easy to pry out the amount I need.
Color: The color starts a light yellow gold and goes to a deep amber red at the longer steeps.
Wet leaf: The wet leaves definitely have a strong vegetal undertone, which are coupled with mint (on the first steep), medicinal herbs (on #2), honey (#3), and earth (#4) with subsequent steeps.
Tea aroma: It was hard for me to really distinguish any separate smells from the liquid. There was a damp/musty scent coupled with medicinal herbs. It could have been me — allergy season is rife this time of year.
Tea broth: This tea reminds me of a honey lozenge (similar to a Manuka honey lozenge). The tea starts off very clean with a slight honey sweetness but there’s an underlying tone of herbal medicine (specifically reminds me of all the Chinese herb shops I went into as a kid with my family) and eucalyptus.
This tea starts off very clean and has a good mouth feel with a mild viscosity. The broth is very silky in feel. It never seems to get astringent or bitter, which is why I pushed out the brew times by 15 seconds on each steep. There’s a slight dryness in the throat after drinking it, and a very slight tingling on the tongue by steep #3. Overall, this is a very easy tea to drink. There’s a complexity and balance that I like in my teas.
Do I like it? I’m not wholly sure. The flavor profile is not one I might go for on a regular basis, but I would drink this tea. It warrants additional tastings for me to make a decision.
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Herbs, Honey, Musty, Wet Earth