Finally opening this cake up after a few weeks of being too scared and procrastinating. It’s been hanging out in my mini pumidor since it arrived in hopes of preserving its flavor and maybe seeing some change over time.
For starters, the leaf in this cake is beautiful—it falls apart quite readily with long, twisted leaves. The dry leaf has a light fruity scent, while the wet leaf is a stronger, ripe apricot smell with a hint of tartness.
Following a rinse, the first steep is just a quick flash. The liquor is a pale yellow and the flavor is very light here, imperceptible, but it’s creamy in texture—which catches me by surprise a little.
In the next steep, the viscosity is a little thicker. Definitely the first thing I’m noticing about this tea. The flavor is still quite light, but the main things I’m picking up are a very strong upfront sweetness and creaminess that coats your tongue. There’s an ever-so-slight touch of bitterness that passes over the back of your tongue and lingers in the aftertaste, but it’s enjoyably placed. So, so, creamy.
Third steep starts to look a little bit darker in color, but still a vibrant yellow. A fruitiness is beginning to appear on the tip of the tongue alongside the creamy sweetness, as well as the bitterness beginning to work its way forward up the tongue. The bitterness is a little stronger this steep, but still safely within the region of “comfortable and tasty” in my book.
In the fourth steep, the bitterness dies down a little bit more, and most of the flavor exists in a very comfortable creamy sweetness. The hint of bitterness and sharpness on the tongue keeps this feeling interesting, however, whereas something like Little Walk feels comparatively one-dimensional and easy to forget about.
I’m feeling a little bit dreamy at this point, listening to music and drifting off. The fifth steep continues in creaminess and sweetness with no particularly big changes. At the sixth steep, the flavor drops of quite strongly. There’s still a sweetness there, but the steeps could definitely be longer.
Seventh and eight steeps are longer and the flavor comes in a little stronger now. The bitterness kicks up a notch with the longer steep time (to be expected), though still quite reasonable when compared to some other sheng. The creaminess is mostly gone now, as well as the initial viscosity, and the flavor profile is more “clear”. There’s a little bit of a fruitiness at the tip of the tongue, but the main note is a strong body and a forward bitterness. With the final few longer steeps, a lot of sweetness can be pulled out, as well as some bitterness, but I would say the best steeps are long past.
This is a very smooth and sweet and creamy tea to drink. The texture and smoothness are the main selling points to me, as well as its character being a little more complex than any other “easy-drinkers” that I’ve had so far, making this both an interesting drinker and an easy one. Definitely looking forward to getting to know this tea some more!