I sat reading and clicking and deciding between puer samples (from kind and generous derk, thank you) for about an hour and half today. I loved diving into everyone’s notes. Reading and “loving” backlogs on Steepster feels way less stalky than other social media… the tea leaves keep moments relevant and timeless — at least until any particular selection is all drunk up and gone.
I went with this one because it felt important but still available to buy… some of these that will be gone once I drink them feel a bit more intimidating. Sacred.
Warming leaf smell of dewy fungus, moss, forest trees.
1. First steep was more of a rinse. Is it a rinse I drank, or a steep I didn’t rinse? Pours golden, medium translucent. Smells like lichen, with a freshness that calls up midwestern woods walks. Tastes light and bubbly, refreshing on the tongue.
2. Mild hops and pine coming off the leaves. Tastes like apricot. I pushed this steep to 30 seconds and got the tiny-good bitter of fruit skins. Cha qi already creeping in during the second steep, you kidding me? Outside with a fire going, and everything just popped. Birdsong, the orange tree that tried to die on me now flowering… being alive. Water sparkles, fire, the squirrel that just hail-maryed out of a tree. Incense. Life so glorious when it’s simple. Everything else gets to shimmer and this tea just keeps on being tea… the last sip suddenly smoothed, and the feeling while swallowing was luscious, yowza.
3. Wet leaf smells like laying in the grass a day after it’s been cut. Moist and dry, both. Clean and hazy. Third pour is more of a light caramel color. Getting warm… put the fire out, sweatpants off. Peach skin, hoppy bitterness (if I knew my hops better maybe I’d identify one… I love citra so much, but this isn’t citra), the liquor feels quite wet but then leaves substantial dryness in its wake.
4. Smell of the leaves is just really comforting, like a shirt you haven’t worn in a while, and it kind of smells stale, but loves you up and wraps your bones anyway. Unexpected tiny hint of smoke on the nose, huh. Bright-bitter in the mouth.
5. Smell feels like we’re on the same page now, this tea and I, familiar and indistinct… though I’m quite warm, I may need to go inside… yes, inside feels cooler. Refilled my thermos cause this gon’ be a while, methinks. Not much new: hoppy-bitter, drying, and effervescence persists, like beer.
6. Little bit of freshy-basement on the leaf, like green plants over-wintering down there. Easy drinking now. My teeth kinda tickle, though.
7-8. I left one of these steeps really long, pulled a whiff of shengy camphor out. Teeth still tickling. Kept riding this for a while… started petering out at 14ish steeps.
This felt comforting and friendly. It didn’t take me for a ride so much as it came along on mine. A really lovely sheng that I am so happy I chose today.
(Sometimes putting a number on these little shits feels really wrong. But also: compulsion.)
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Bright, Camphor, Dry Grass, Drying, Effervescent, Forest Floor, Hops, Moss, Pine, Plants, Sweet, Warm Grass