Crimson Lotus Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

84

This is a very mellow and approachable young sheng, one that I have been burning though because it really seems best drunk sooner rather than later. It’s a pleasant contrast from the 2019 autumn Lao Man’E cake I bought along with it, which is a promising but powerfully bitter tea that will need to do some hard time in storage to temper it. Individual flavor notes are hard to pin down, but the texture is silky and perfectly astringent and the hui gan is very pleasant.
My order came with a 20g sample of the 2018 version of this tea, which I have not yet tasted. I’m curious to see how that one handles aging further.

Flavors: Hay, Honey, Sweet, White Grapes

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Half of the sample that remains. This one is yummy. Fragrant. Juicy. Sadly sold out, but CLT provides many options.

Preparation
8 g

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captain’s backlog teadate 26-may-2020

dry leaf smells like strawberries and chocolate with an undertone of apricot
warm leaf has a deep fruitiness like overripe strawberries mixed with syruped apricots
rinse is the same with the addition of forest floor

the tea is difficult to describe beyond being smooth, mellow and bitter. alkaline with a light sweetness and a light fruity finish.

third infusion: MEL-LOW. light menthol in chest

fourth infusion: properly zoned out

Smooth and settled but obviously not in an aged way, maybe a bit muted, deceptively heavy, savory and alkaline. Moderate young bitterness and mild green astringency are there, increasing with each steep after maybe the fifth. Didn’t brew this one out due to the combination of total relaxation and growing astringency.
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I’ll be coming back to this cake very soon.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Chocolate, Forest Floor, Fruity, Heavy, Menthol, Smooth, Strawberry

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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captain’s backlog teadate 25-may-2020

i was spotted in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest by my friend
but it wasn’t me
i was drinking tea the first night at work father’s house

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[7g, 110mL clay pot, boilingish]

Super floral wet leaf! The tea has that wild profile with a clear bitterleaf-hay base accented by light woodsy, musky and grape-berry fruity flavors. Turns sour later. Light, buttery mouthfeel early. Good thing I’m drinking right after dinner. The heavy alakalinity hit my body hard. It took a while but that chest-thumping energy finally hit. Not finding it to be heady at all.

Like some other Chinese wild teas I’ve tried, I’m not finding this favorable in terms of body effects. I’m hoping to one day find one that works for me.

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tonight i had a modest 4g in a 60mL gaiwan while cooking fajitas
i recently finished off a bag of Whispering Pines’ The Ranger, a blend of yesheng hongcha (wild tree black tea) and lapsang souchong. what a bangin’ tea. it got me super pumped to drink through the variety of yesheng puerh in my collection, which is what i’ve been doing this past week. i’m awake and feelin’ just fine. Slumbering Dragon and other yesheng are very kind to my sensitive nature when i listen.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Blueberry, Cream, Floral, Forest Floor, Hay, Herbaceous, Lychee, Mineral, Muscatel, Tart, Vegetal, Wood

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87

One of the last samples from a tea swap with derk. I am not sure why it got unnoticed for so long, but I dug it up at a good time, as I’ve been drinking various Lao Man E samples recently.

Compared to huangpian from the same village sold by Bitterleaf Teas, this one seems quite a bit more oxidized. It is one year older of course, but that can hardly account for such a stark difference. It is quite smooth overall, both in texture and taste, and has distinctively more herbaceous profile than other Lao Man E teas I’ve had. Of course, the trademark bitterness – creeping, long-lasting, and lacking abrasiveness – is there, but I find it less reminiscent of grapefruit skin here.

At this stage of my sample, the tea had no discernible aromas, I am unsure if that is indicative of the tea in general though. The taste is a bit fruity at first, but quickly becomes very herbal. Later infusions are more mineral and somewhat yeasty as well. The body is medium to full and there is a cooling mouthfeel. I found the cha qi to be a bit sedating and defocusing, which makes the tea less suitable for casual brewing than it otherwise would have been.

Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Herbaceous, Herbs, Mineral, Smooth, Sweet, Thyme, Yeast

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Starts off with a great mouthfeel, very viscous, rolls around. It feels on my tongue like what I used to call a ‘sea cucumber’ toy felt in my hand. Unfortunately I can’t find a picture online of the toy. Leaves a clean swallow followed by lots of side-tongue tingling that later turns pleasantly metallic. Astringency is controlled. Overall, very mild vegetal-dry grass like taste accompanied by bitterness that is also controlled, though it does become more pronounced. Soft and yeasty, honeyed plum-melon aftertaste is light and short. It reminds a bit of some Yiwu flavors. Peppery warmth in throat. Thin stevia-like returning sweetness sits at my sinuses. I feel in the future a lot of camphor will come out in this blend as I can in its young age already feel it in my ears, throat and chest. Sweating, calm, tight feeling in my head like there are dry florals hiding in the tea. Edit: That tight feeling later developed into a headache. It’s a good tea that in its current state doesn’t jive with my constitution.

As far as the leaf, one is still olive green; another noticeably browner, my guess is aged or autumn leaf or maybe even wild material. Some leaves, like oolong, possess oxidation along the serrated leaf edges. It all looks healthy and somewhat stemmy.

Delicate in taste yet strong feeling in the body (acidic in the gut), certainly a clean tea. Good tea for stepping up from more introductory sheng. Not my bag but I’m happy to sit on the rest of this sample for several more years. Realistically, it won’t last that long.

Fun fact: one half of the wrapper art is tattooed across my shoulders.

Flavors: Bitter, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Dry Grass, Floral, Grapes, Honey, Melon, Metallic, Mineral, Pepper, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Smooth, Thick, Vegetal, Yeast

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
ashmanra

I think they were called “water wiggles” around here!

derk

Whoa. You’re good.

Nattie

Was it a water snake? That’s what we call them here anyway (:

Nattie

I just googled ‘water wiggle’ and that’s the same thing I was thinking of

gmathis

Knew exactly what you were talking about! Very ’80’s!

Natethesnake

That tea is one of the few Jingmai teas I’ve really enjoyed. I tend to find them thin and perfumey (opposed to honeyish florals) and jangling qi. This one is thicker and I drank a whole cake when it was young and I was just getting into sheng. I remember it being thicker and fruitier than most jingmai teas but it still made me feel like a wired troll.

derk

Yeah, I’m not really feeling Jingmai. What you call perfumey might be what I interpret as dry meadow florals. The energy has a distinctive feel, too, at first calming, perhaps disorienting then I turn into your wired troll. They feel like good early afternoon teas, never quite relaxing or contemplative. I can’t shake the feeling of Ohio hay fever suppressed temporarily by pseudoephedrine. Maybe they’re just too young. Have you tried any aged Jingmai?

Natethesnake

I’ve tried a 2005 Jingmai that EOT had for a brief period. It was excellent material and clean dry stored and basically had the same thoughts but to a lesser degree. It still was jangling but less so. The florals were still perfumey but a bit more subdued. There was a bit of cedar and tobacco. It was definitely the best Jingmai I’ve had but I decided against caking it. For teas from the Puer prefecture I’m sold on Jinggu and YS has a nice assortment of excellent teas for a reasonable price, I also love Jiangchen and Kunlu teas but the price has gotten absurd.

derk

I’m currently exploring Puer/Simao and am digging Bangwai. There are at least a few more Bangwai/wei in my stash to try before moving on to a couple of Kunlu.

Your description of the EoT Jingmai sounds ok but those florals and energy make me hesitant.I won’t be actively searching for one, but if a random, affordable aged Jingmai pops up in my regular browsing, I might go for it. Jinggu — my experiences have been meh so far with both puerh and other teas made with Jinggu leaf. I’m open to trying more from there, though. Haven’t seen Jiangchen around yet.

Natethesnake

My initial experiences with Jinggu were meh but this year’s Singularity from EOT and Da Qing and Long Tang from YS are excellent. Haven’t tried any aged Jinggu yet

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90

An amazing example of what heavy storage can do to sheng puerh. I’m very averse to “dank” notes but brewing 8g in a 240ml nixing pot seems to mute these entirely. Thick and oily liquor, sweet, smooth, earthy, beetroot aromas. I would note beetroot in the flavors below but steepster sadly doesn’t have it yet. Later steeps reveal slight vanilla. Despite being smooth and easy to drink, this tea still seems a bit controversial; my mother hates it, she thinks it tastes dusty, while my friend loves it.

Flavors: Earth, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 8 g 8 OZ / 240 ML
mrmopar

We can’t please them all. My wife doesn’t drink with me either.

Nattie

I’m working on my parents haha. My mam is slowly coming around, but my dad has only conceded to drinking one cup of loose leaf so far.

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For once, my palate seems to fall in line with Togo’s. No sense in typing up my impressions since I find his review markedly similar to my experience.

https://steepster.com/Togo/posts/391724

Of all the sheng I’ve tried so far from the extinct sampler pack I purchased, Jingmai LOVE strikes me as one of the most agreeable (along with Hidden Song) despite the strange combination of aromas and tastes. Lots of characteristics to play around in if you want but nothing is so complex you would walk away overwhelmed by any one facet. In other words, a nice, safe sheng for explorers.

For me, the dry meadow florality is one of those things that doesn’t agree with me. And the energy I associate with sheng of that floral nature is difficult for me to handle. It feels anxious.

Flavors: Apricot, Biting, Bitter, Black Pepper, Citrusy, Cucumber, Dry Grass, Floral, Honeysuckle, Meat, Mineral, Osmanthus, Smoke, Tangy, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Oh. That’s nice.

I can be pretty sensitive to perfumey teas. Really dry florals in a tea can give me headaches, whereas pungent, heavy florals like citrus blossoms and bulb flowers can be wonderfully intoxicating. Based on the reviews of Moon Princess, I wasn’t looking forward to trying it.

I did not find this tea to be perfumey in the slightest. Highly fragranced, yes, as autumn teas are said to be, with impressions of tobacco, lemon, honeyed plum and jasmine. The taste is weaker but still satisfying, kind of like dry grass with dark honey that comes in and out. Nothing dominates. The swallow leaves a citric, lemony aftertaste that lingers and even an appreciable cooling sensation. The medium body deposits a soft, oily bitterness that coats the tongue, eventually leaving a numbing sensation. Later, the bitterness reminds me of blueberry skins and lavender. At first, I wasn’t feeling much energy but I later notice it, calm and defocusing. Its delayed presentation is well accepted.

I’m so far enjoying my first session with Moon Princess. While the fragrance is stronger than the taste, the liquor overall has a good balance for a young sheng, lacking the penetrating bitterness and lashing astringency that might turn away more timid explorers. Nice oolong-style daily drinker that reminds me something along the lines of a lavender-infused dark honey lemonade with blueberries, jasmine and a hint of mint. I don’t think any sheng has ever given me such a detailed impression as this one.

Flavors: Bitter, Blueberry, Dry Grass, Floral, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Mineral, Mint, Plums, Sweet, Tobacco, Winter Honey

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
ashmanra

Sounds intriguing!

derk

The last of my sample is headed your way.

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81

I preferred the Shou to the Sheng of the Simple Family, but this is still a great deal! It reminds of W2T Daily Drinker except for a few things:
Heeeavy Compression
Bit More Bitter
Great Huigan
I’d recommend a big pot for one of these slices; it really tones done the bitter and allows the chunk to open up better. This is another great travel tea and it works for people new to puerh. There is a lot of fresh grassy tones along with some floral qualities. The best aspect is on exhale, it’s sweet sugarcane and jasmine! I blow through these travel cakes quick, for you just pop some in a hot thermos and BOOM you got grandpa style puerh for the hike of the day!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8MWeorg1Cu/

Flavors: Bitter, Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Jasmine

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML
tea-sipper

Your photos are spot on.

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85

I was actually impressed by how nice this tea was. I find that the lesser offerings from these west puer-veyors to be pretty great (Milk&Alcohol, Daily Drinker, Whispering Sunshine)! The “pie” comes in easy break away chunks. The compression is a little too tight for my taste, for it takes a loooong time for the tea to break apart in the pot. The flavor is straight-forward and clean. For me, I always look first for a clean direct tea in shou puerh; theres a lot of funk out there! This is one of those cocoa woody puerhs, and I think it does best on the road. This is a no fuss brewer that you can make on the go and share with new friends without them giving you the “ugh” shu face. Cheers to Glen for making an easy-goer!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B68uM30ALQb/

Flavors: Bitter, Chocolate, Cocoa, Smooth, Wet wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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90

OK well… this is a weird tea. Remember, I’m new to different types of pu.

This tea is one of the best shous that I’ve ever drank except that its a sheng!! Here’s the story.

I am a shou lover and still working on the sheng lover side. I got a sampler from Crimson Leaf which included this sheng. The first cup I made, I realized that I grabbed the wrong tea because there’s no way a sheng is this dark, with this earthy of an aroma. So I checked the wrapping and it was definitely a sheng. I wrote a comment on a tea forum stating that if all aged shengs were like this… I was an aged sheng lover!!! A nice gentleman from that forum sent me several samples of old shengs to explore and I"m taking my time with them. The first gifted sheng I tried tasted like a sheng to me with a green fresh flavor and light yellow liquor. I tried a sheng that was older than this sheng and it steeped the same: light greenish liquor with a grassy taste. So I realized that I messed up and went back to this 2003 Changtai sample, made another batch of tea and again drank one of the best tasting shous that I’ve had. I started wondering if maybe the wrong tea was placed in the wrapper so I contacted Glen at CLT to ask and he assured me that it was a sheng. All I had to do was read the description on the website… so I bought two tuos to enjoy.

Glen also stated that aged sheng is supposed to taste like this, which sort of makes sense as the wodui fermentation process for shou is intended to make shou imitate aged sheng. However, I have yet to taste another aged sheng that comes close to the taste of this sheng. Hopefully the tuo tastes as good as the sample and I can find more aged sheng as good as this one.

I’ll add more comments on flavor when drink from the tuo.

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88

Bitter dandelion roots with a high amount of astringency. Strong color, thick mouthfeel, and the craziest tea drunk I’ve ever found myself.

It. Does. Not. Let. Up.

Side note: My White2Tea order has finally arrived to the USPS facility near my house. My guess is that it’ll be here tomorrow!

Bluegreen

Yeah, I can understand that feeling: my recent white2tea order took it’s sweet, sweet time to arrive as well.

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85

Sipdown

Drank this during a virtual tea session. I wanted to break in a new gaiwan/cup set…I figured that since the gaiwan holds 80ml, the 4 grams of leaf was plenty for the gaiwan.

Light floral notes. I had to increase the water temperature/steep time after the 5th or 6th infusion, but I ended getting about 10-12 steeps out of it. It’s an easy sheng to drink and forget about…Not so bitter nor astringent.

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80

New to puers and reviewing. Just being upfront.

First question I had when I drank this tea is, why is it called “Simple Shou” is it because the taste is rather simple with little complexity, or is it because the 50g bing comes impressed with indentations for simplifying breaking off a section of the bing? The world will never know. Unless someone emails glen.

I rinsed and let the tea sit for several minutes before I oversteeped the first infusion not by much and not intentionally. The color was a nice dark thick brown which I appreciate in shous. The nose… first thing, maple. Not maple syrup, but the smell of peeling green bark off of a maple branch. Sort of a sweet woody smell. Taste, sort of a sweet woody taste. :) A late aftertaste that lasts quite a while. Reminiscent taste of being in a barn, hay, animals, but not the bad smell of barns. Subsequent steeps bought at more earthy flavors as the tea opened up.

Giving this an 80 more so for the value. It’s a good shou for a starter kit or for someone wanting to taste different shous, but more advanced palates might want to try something else. However, I would buy again for the right price.

Flavors: Barnyard, Earth, Hay, Maple

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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87

My first review. Only a couple months into drinking real puer. Would be interesting to come back to this tea and review in a year to see how my opinion has changed.

Ok. I like this tea. With that being said I don’t think I’ll ever give a tea a 100. If I do give a tea a 100. I’ll go out and buy ALL of it before I write the review. An 85 to me means I like it, I appreciate it, I’d buy it, I’d buy it again. It’s solid. Anything above an 85 is better than this. Anything less than 85 is well not better than this.

Nose on the first few steeps is definitely chocolatey. The taste has hints of vanilla, as well as cacao butter. There’s a creaminess in both taste and texture to this tea. The liquor brews up to a nice dark color. Not picking up on any of the earthy overtones that accompany most of the shous that I have tried.

While the color remains, the flavor does not survive a large number of steepings as some other shous do.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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Brews thick
Sweet
Still has some wet pile taste

Flavors: Mushrooms

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90

Brews dark
Sweet

Flavors: Dried Fruit

Preparation
Boiling

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Brews dark medium-heavy body
Strong caffeine

Flavors: Wood

Preparation
Boiling

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Gongfu – in the shou dedicated yixing pot.

I was craving shou and I’ve had this for a while without trying it so I thought I’d brew it up. I was shitty and didn’t take notes, but I liked it a lot. Hard to capture exactly what I was feeling in the moment by memory but I recall the liquor being so thick and smooth, and the flavour incredibly earthy in all of the ways I love! Wet earth/petrichor, damp wood, forest undergrowth, leather…

Just, like, all the good things!

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/B60mZ9gA_uR/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywZuL7QAR0I

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70

Sipdown

It’s snowing, so I’m bringing out the ripe puerh. I’ve been drinking this one for a bit…I ran out of water twice already.

It has a thick body, lot of mushroom/wood notes. Definitely getting a strong head high from it, which is odd with a ripe puerh. I wish it had more depth in the flavor. I just get the same notes throughout the session (at least that’s all I noted during the first round of the tea—I was in the middle of deep discussion during the session). It’s good, but I’m glad I only got a sample of it, rather than a full cake.

Flavors: Mushrooms, Wood

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