Shu Daizi

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Recent Tasting Notes


I’ve had three lots of ‘Shai-Hong’ tea. This version you can get from Teasenz online or from various Aliexpress sellers and an older one from the ‘Yunnan Dr.Pu er’ brand (that was sold by Dragon Tea House). Originally they retailed for around $20 per 200g cake.

Another producer who occasionally puts out really decent Shai-hong is ‘Farmer-leaf’ who puts out small quantities of ‘Jing-Mai Sun-dried Black’. This is also exceptionally well-produced tea. If you can get it.

In order of greatness, the Farmerleaf production is the best, then Dr.Pu Er and lastly the ‘Teasenz’ version (this one). So mark down my score a bit…

They taste very similar, but that’s not a bad thing as this tea (and shai-hong in general) is excellent.

An interesting thing about Shai-hong is that it doesn’t disguise bad leaf well. So it tends to only be made from high-quality material. Which… is a good thing for us drinkers, but not so popular with producers.

Quality Shai-hong should have good colour variation. So yellow leaves with black and red and you should be able to see the hand processing, so look for twists similar to some rock oolong.

The pressed cake looks pretty too with the contrast between black and yellow leaves.

I usually brew this gong-fu style but strong on the leaf. So 9-11 grams of leaf to a 90-120ml pot. I’ve also brewed it in larger vessels and it suits ‘grandpa’ brewing very well. This tea is extremely easy to brew.

Shai-hong is a very traditional production. This is essentially a hong-cha (similar to say a Dian-hong) but this is sun-dried and has some ‘ageing’ character. You can buy it loose or in cakes.

It’s sweet like sundried persimmon, sultanas and hay (very complex and almost jam-like fruityness) with honey/flower aromas. a lovely brew to enjoy hot in the autumn or winter. The brewed colour is a deep orange/red. It’s strong, robust tea with a silken and thick mouthfeel.

It manages to not be sickly in its level of sweetness and remains very refreshing.

It infuses a ridiculous amount (I get to 15 before I usually give up). So bang for the buck, it’s quite economical.

I also like to add cold water to my pot and leave it to ‘cold brew’ in the refrigerator overnight. This is one of the nicest cold-brewing teas I own. Great cold-brewed for hot summer days.

4-star tea in my book. Very nice and highly recommended. If you like Dian-hong or sweeter Darjeeling give this a go. It has a similar level of complexity.

I’d say the Farmerleaf is the best option.

Comparing the older tea I have (Dr.Pu erh) which is from 2006 (I think) there is more ‘mouth feel’ to that one and it’s a little smoother. I’d expect those things from the additional age. The leaf is more orange and black as the greens have faded.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Malt, Raisins

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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