I haven’t had a mini-tuo for years and don’t think I have ever had a raw one as I generally avoid them as a rule. That being said these were rather cheap and as I have been noticing a fair few mini-tuos and cakes coming from vendors I trust I figured they would be worth a shot, though I didn’t have high hopes before starting the session.
The tuos have a very faint smokey smell to them which upon heating becomes a bit more pronounced. After a rinse the leaves give way to a bit of grain/hay/wood scent as well as the smokey notes that were there initially. The leaf material is fairly chopped which I was expecting.
After 1 rinse I did a quick 5s brew, sadly the tuo is still half intact so I am not getting the full force of the leaves during the first brew. The liquor is light in flavour with a gentle tang and some grassy hay notes. Not much thickness or returning taste sadly. 2nd infusion was similar in flavour profile to the first but with more oomph and a bit more of a bitter bite, though with no discernible sweetness and with only a little returning flavour on the finish. The main point of comparison that I would have so far wouldn’t be other young sheng but instead would be low grade gunpowder greens that I used to drink a lot of. 3rd infusion the bitterness came to the front with less of the hay/grass and a bit of smoke.
The remaining infusions didn’t really bring much new to the tea after this. Sadly not one I would recommend, though due to the sale at Canton it was an interesting purchase that has at least made me appreciate a lot of the other sheng I have! Mostly what was missing for me was any thickness or real body to the tea and any returning flavour/sweetness to balance the bitter. Guess I now need to work out what to do with the other 9 tuos that I have!
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Hay, Smoke