Tasted this side by side with Yunnan sourcing 2016 Hai Lang Hao LBZ and not surprisingly got quite tea drunk. While I find most of the LBZ I’ve tried to o be monolithic (in a good way like Lagavulin scotch) this tea had an amazing complexity that evolved in each of twenty some steeps. I’ve also reviewed the HLH here and found it to be like a mighty warrior. Thus far I’ve had 5 LBZ teas and all have a distinctive backbone of this smooth bitterness, camphor and perhaps a bit of cocoa. This tea has this but it’s in the background. While the HLH beats you over the head with these flavors, the Crimson Lotus tea uses them as a subtle backdrop. There are also a myriad of floral, stone fruit, almond and forest floor flavors that I haven’t experienced in an LBZ tea. Had I been given this tea in a blind tasting I’d have a difficult time believing this tea came from one region much less one tree. Yes it does have that LBZ background flavor but it sports jasmine notes I’ve had in high end Yiwu like Puerh-SK gushu rareness and apricot notes like a good young Naka. There are countless other flavors that unfold as well. I recommend you chase that dragon yourself. As for the qi, forget about it! I drank a 4g pot of HLH and an 8 gram pot of this and found myself dancing on my left ear for hours like a stoned roadrunner.

In the vintage guitar world, when comparing prewar Martin acoustics, one author likened the tone of a 14 fret model to a cannon and the 12 fret model to a silk hammer. That’s how I can best compare these teas. The Hai Lang Hao is a cannon. The Crimson Lotus is a silk hammer. Thanks to Glen and Lammu for making this available. Had I obtained a mere kilo of this tea I’d be tempted to keep it for myself…

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I’ve been a huge fan of all manner of black tea since the early 90s particularly second flush Darjeeling, Fujian, Yunnan and Assam teas but last winter fell headfirst into the sheng world and the rest is history…


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