Sipdown no. 3 of June 2019 (no. 75 of 2019 total, no. 563 grand total). A sample.
I am logging this here even though the sample packet says Vintage 2008, not 2011. According to the description, 2008 was this cake’s debut year, and it won the 2011 competition for aged — so I wonder whether the 2011 reference is in fact the “vintage” of this. But be that as it may.
I was going to try this a few weeks ago but I have been so busy at work that I have been really flattened on Saturdays and only slightly less flattened on Sundays. I just haven’t had it in me to do a real tasting in a while. I originally rinsed this with the intent of drinking it several weeks ago. Then I let the leaves dry out and started over today with a rinse at boiling and a 15 minute wait.
Then: gaiwan, 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60
The tea has a sort of a dull gold color in the early steeps and becomes brighter with an apricot hue with later steeps.
The first thing I noticed about this one on the initial rinse was how very chocolatey it smelled. Not white chocolate so much as cocoa. That was what I tasted in the earliest steeps, too. Around steep three, a smoky note came out with a bit of a bitter downturn, but then it smoothed out and became more white chocolate and butter in the later steeps. And something distinctly arboreal that for lack of a better descriptor in the Steepster suggestions I am calling “wood.”
It’s not really wood, though, so much as leaves. But not dead leaves — living ones. Leaves and wood together equals trees.
I think the trick for me with pu erh is not to try to get through them like they’re a chore, but taste them as a treat every now and then when I have the time to put into them.
This one was quite enjoyable, but I have to attribute most of that enjoyment to absence making the heart grow fonder. If I drank this on the heels of another Bana sheng, I would probably not appreciate it as much.
Flavors: Butter, Chocolate, Cocoa, Smoke, White Chocolate, Wood