Crimson Lotus Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

84

Did me a little compare/contrast session between the 2021 and 2022 Slumbering Dragon releases from Crimson Lotus.

My first sip was of the 2021, and it got me very excited — apple and apricot with what promised to be a robust backbone for exploration throughout the session. The 2022 was rather shockingly bitter — bitterness that formed an “E” laid down around the back of my palate and just flipped me the bird each pour.

The 2022 persisted with attitude; the 2021 slowly progressed through a coffee-like bottom note and then joined the bitter game.

Mouthfeel is luxurious in both; qi is gentle, positive and buzzy.

I am logically positive, having done my research like a good little tea nerd, that these teas will be tasty-fabulous in 10 years. But do I trust that with my palate, only a couple years into my puerh journey? Nope, nope I don’t. Which means I don’t stock up now and pay through the nose when things get good. Sigh.

ashmanra

Heeeeeeey! Welcome back!

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98

This cake has been in my shou puerh cookie jar for 5 or 6 years now. First taste. Figured I’d pair it with the silver-lined cup bought from Crimson Lotus back in the day. One wash of 15-20 seconds.

What an amazing shou. Elegant and refined, smooth taste, nothing stands out in particular. Full body, oily but like silk. Some nice astringency and prickly bitterness in later steeps. Disappears down the throat, lubricating and cleansing at the same time. Clean and clear, glowing red mahogany liquor. Instant warmth and calm, orange gaze, cheeks on fire. A certain cool. So comfortable. Bracing and refreshing, energizing, strengthening. Short for words. The taste of rain… why kneel.

Might be too fancy for the Muddy Mudskippers of the shou world but gosh do I recommend.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAQuoH_fOWM

This dirty sound could be a bridge for the Mudskippers to Storm Breaker’s flow.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYuNlLMYK34

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bread Dough, Bright, Cherry Wood, Clean, Clear, Flowers, Iron, Medicinal, Metallic, Mineral, Mint, Oily, Pepper, Saline, Silky, Smooth, Spicy, Tobacco, Viscous

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 7 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
Javan

Thanks for checking in on this tea. Sounds good!

tea-sipper

A cookie jar for shou?!!? what a great idea.

Crimson Lotus Tea

I love your tasting notes. Thank you for sharing! <3

derk

Thanks! A good tea warrants a good note :)

Martin Bednář

I still have a second sample from you derk I may drink it soon-ish!

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85

Today’s drink-while-I-work tea (gong-fu style).
This tea has aged well; it has calmed down and yet has retained a complexity of flavors.
Slightly bitter, but not overwhelmingly so when flash brewed.
I am already many steeps in and this tea is still going on strong, I think it will last throughout my entire shift today.
This is a great daily drinker; a good robust tea for a good price.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Savory, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 10 g

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Geek Steep S3E4 – Star Trek: The Next Generation

Gongfu!

This is the tea that I picked to drink while watching the episodes Marika picked. I have, in the history of Geek Steep, done a pretty awful job pairing teas to Trek so I felt a lot of pressure to get this one right. However, I’m actually REALLY happy with this choice. After a lot of consideration it was kind of the perfect thing.

I was thinking about the dark, inky heaviness of space when I picked this out since this is such a thick, saturated shou but also it’s one of those teas that really commands mindfulness while you’re drinking it and that’s how I’ve felt about most of the Trek episodes I’ve watched with Marika – especially this set of episodes. So having a tea so heavy and contemplative just kind of clicked perfectly with the overall tone of the series.

After this session I’ll only have a single session of this much beloved pu’erh. With a syrupy and inky black liquor; the full bodied brothy, earthy and camphorous notes of this ripe pu’erh are matched only in intensity by the coating, dark sweetness of molasses and brandied fruits that ever so slightly keep this tea from feeling as though it’s plunging completely into the unending darkness that it draws its name from. I think I’ll probably always regret not buying a cake of this tea when I had the chance; it’s just so striking in its unctuous flavours and thick as oil liquor. I’ve tried to savor this tea sample best I can, but I think this contemplative Saturday morning tea session is as deserving a pairing and moment as any!

Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Coz5ADaOZ5C/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaErYHrU5Hk

TeaEarleGreyHot

Terrific review, Ros! Of course, a variety of teas can go well with Trek… But you have inspired me to go for some of my ripes Monday evening as I settle in for the first of the week‘s episodes on H&I!

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83

Hmmm this one doesn’t strike me as worth the money at the moment. It’s certainly pleasant to drink. My nose seems to potentially be having an off-day, however. I’ll reserve a final judgment until tasting more of the sample.

Anyways, this is the last of the CLT samples I ordered. It starts off fairly vegetal in flavor and with only medium-low bitterness. Bitterness fades quickly and is replaced by a nice honey and honeydew flavor.

A big positive is that, even though I accidentally oversteeped an infusion by a good bit, it still was not harsh at all and was perhaps even better :).

Mouthfeel is medium-low thickness. Longevity is 12+ infusions.

The leaves look pretty high quality for sure, and it would likely age well. I enjoyed sitting down to this tea today, and am looking forward to be reacquainted with it in the near future.

Flavors: Bitter, Honey, Pepper, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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72

Another one that might benefit from lower temps. Not bad on the initial tasting though!
Also fairly strong with moderate bitterness and basically no sweetness. Not quite as complex as I would like, though. Furthermore, the mouthfeel isn’t anything special to me. It is a nice tea, however, and I enjoy drinking it for sure!

Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Floral, Pear, Pleasantly Sour

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55

Too bitter for me. Medium-low astringency. Will adjust brewing parameters on next session and report back. Need to try lower leaf/water ratio and lower temperature. Flavor is potent for sheng anyways. Other than the overwhelming bitterness, the flavor was nice.

Flavors: Apple, Bitter, Floral, Pear

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87

From a fresh CLT order. First time trying their teas. The flavor did change some over the 10 infusions I did to become more my style, but still not in love with it. Pretty thick mouthfeel with a mildly bitter aftertaste in the initial infusions. Leaves still appear quite green.

Flavors transition was raisin + floral → bitter + vegetal + bread + cream → (infusion ~6) pineapple, honey.

Definitely like this tea and it’s the best of the CLT samples. However, the price tag of $0.75/g for a cake seems outrageous to me. It is simply not that high in quality. Sorry, CLT.

Flavors: Bitter, Bread, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honey, Pineapple, Raisins, Vegetal

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74

Decent but slightly disappointing shou! I got this tea from my CLT order, and honestly I thought it would’ve been better after reading the reviews online. Leaves that were decent but having a unusually high stem proportion, aroma that is rich, especially in the wet leaf, and liquor that is dark and vibrant. Flavour that was decent but seemingly unidimensional, texture that was thick and juicy, character that was average with the session not having much variability over time. Finish & aftertaste was decent, nice lingering mushroom yumminess at the tail end of each cup, cha-qi that is slightly noticeable especially in the stomach and the head, and steep longevity that is bang average for shous, ending about steep 10-12.

Overall, decent but slightly disappointing. 2000 Old Warrior is better in my opinion.

Flavors: Camphor, Creamy, Fig, Forest Floor, Juicy, Marine, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nutty, Rainforest, Spices, Thick, Woody

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Broke into this fresh cake yesterday. Though CLT always kills it with their wrapper art, I think this one is my favourite. On top of just being cute as hell, the idea of taking a soak in a yixing pot really just captures how much comfort, relaxation, and self care can be tied together with a good session – and of coarse the tea itself is also killer!

Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CjtKOHpOevJ/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKMSpNLDb4w

Flavors: Citrus Zest, Citrus Zest, Medicinal, Medicinal, Sweet, Warm Grass, Sweet, Warm Grass, Vegetable Broth, Vegetable Broth, Vegetal, Vegetal

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78

Quite a nice shou! I got this tea from my recent CLT order, and it’s definitely an all-rounder. Beautiful aroma in the wet leaf and empty cup paired with a vibrant and thick liquor, topped with a juicy texture and a decent flavour that emphasised more on the spices and woody notes. This tea had a very nice, creeping cha-qi that was quite unique and the best part of this tea is that it lasts for LONG. I stopped at like 15 steeps but I was certain it could’ve gone to 20+. The flaws of this tea is mostly in character, finish and aftertaste, which I find are the areas this tea lacks in, and the flavour in my opinion could’ve been richer and more nuanced. Overall, a bold, nice tea that is unapologetic in showing its strengths. It feels like a ripe fruit ready to savour.

Flavors: Berry, Cinnamon, Creamy, Forest Floor, Juicy, Leather, Mineral, Mushrooms, Musty, Nutty, Spices, Wet Rocks, Woody

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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70

A nice aged puerh, but it just doesn’t do enough for me. I got this tea from my recent CLT order, and it just feels like there’s too many things missing in this tea to really give it a stamp of approval. Nice and rich aroma paired with a dark, thick and vibrant liquor, along with a decent texture and a nice finish & aftertaste. The flavour was a very prototypical aged puerh taste that was nice but didn’t offer much more than the average. Slatey texture that kept the tea different but still uninteresting, along with a okay-ish cha-qi and a relatively poor steep longevity. This tea lacked character and just really gave me a “average” vibe, albeit a decent and perfectly drinkable tea.

Yes, a nice tea, but it just doesn’t bring me to a place where I would want to buy this tea again.

Flavors: Cardboard, Forest Floor, Hay, Leather, Mineral, Mushrooms, Musk, Plum, Smooth, Spices, Stonefruit, Wet Rocks

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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95

In order of strength: ?

Dry Leaf Aroma: Blueberry, Watermelon Rind, Jasmine, Sour Candy

Wet Leaf Aroma: Damp Hay, Honeysuckle, Petrichor

Taste: Damp Hay, Un-ripe Wild Berries, Honeysuckle [leads into an intense and pleasant amaro/floral like bitterness]

Energy: Happy and Inspired

After Taste:
This stage of the tea session deserves its own paragraph. The dry leaf aromatics and after taste are mirrored in both taste and intensity and are my favorite parts. An intense and floral bitterness lingers before fading and the exact aromatics when you opened the bag return in the form of taste. If the dry leaf aroma is you hearing about the legend of the Slumbering Dragon, then the bitterness is the trek to see one, and the after taste is you finally laying your eyes on it after a long journey. Attempting to pinpoint the notes I get Blueberry, Jasmine, and Watermelon Rind. And despite feeling close to describing its dry leaf aroma and after-taste, I still feel worlds away from accuracy.

Maybe we don’t know what dragons look like after all.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 tsp 70 OZ / 2070 ML

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79

Gongfu!

Said goodbye to 2021 yesterday with a session of this compressed black tea steeped in my yixing pot. My first impression was that this tea is rich and full bodied with a strong woody umami profile; especially in the top of the sip and finish which also had savory hints of black pepper and smoked cumin in addition to the bold woodier profile. The body was sweet and tasted of syrupy brandied fruits.

Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYMU2myrZj6/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB-1Qpf4EfI&ab_channel=JACKTHESTRIPPERandByrds-Topic

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85

Haven’t been on here that much lately which makes me a little sad. :( Been dealing with some mental health stuff but I’m on the mend. Drinking plenty tea just not logging it.

Mellow, lasting shou with calming, restorative energy. Starts off with the sweet, woodsy shou profile I’ve come to expect, then has a subtle zing to it, like peppery umami.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
ashmanra

Glad to see you back on here! Much peace, joy, and strength to you!

Martin Bednář

You got this! I feel yu with mental issues.

tea-sipper

Wishing you all the good health.

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