Adventures in pu-erh part sheng.

I bought this a while ago in a 50g packet (not a brick). The tea in the packet has an interesting smell I can only describe as “sour tree.”

I put about 2.7g into the gaiwan, rinsed with boiling water and let sit for 15+ minutes.

Then I steeped at boiling for: 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60

The color, for the most part, was a medium gold and clear, though it darkened a little with later steeps.

The aroma and flavor were difficult for me to describe. As with a prior sheng, I kept thinking about linen and cloth. Flax, I guess. Maybe flax seed? Or some other sort of seed. Sunflower?

There’s a little bit of leatheriness, but not in the same way as with shu.

The first steep was surprisingly sweet as well as sour. In subsequent steeps, the sour went away (or I got used to it) and a cooling note came out. Camphor? Menthol? Eucalyptus? This topped out around steep 6.

I also got a bit of fruitiness that reminded me of the last sheng in the early steeps. Pineapple maybe.

Later steeps had a notes of tree sap/resin.

I found it surprisingly similar to the Norbu I had last week, the bamboo one. But without the bamboo. Rating it the same.

Flavors: Leather, Pineapple, Rainforest, Resin, Sap


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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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