Compression and Storage – Why It Matters

As I’ve previously mentioned, heicha (黑茶 – heicha; literally “black/dark tea”) is any type of fermented or post-fermented tea. The most famous type of heicha is puerh (普洱), made in Yunnan Province. For storage, puerh is pressed into various forms (see my “What is Puerh Tea?” post for more about this).

How do these different forms and compression affect the overall aging of the tea? I’ve mentioned in a few of my reviews about a tea’s compression being tight or not. Compression, more than shape, is a higher contributing factor to the aging process. The shape of puerh tea mainly affects the ability to store it nice and neatly in a pumidor or other storage place.

Heicha ages due to fermentation, which is carried out by types of molds. Now, I’m not a scientist, but if you want to read more on this, this might be a good place to start. Exposure to humidity and oxygen is the catalyst for microbial growth, which fuels the endo- and exo-oxidation of the tea (the aging process). Without the humidity and oxygen, the microbes are dormant and, could possibly, lessen over time.

Why does this matter?

For the average puerh drinker, it might not matter at all, but it gives us a glimpse into why the types of compression affect our teas in the long term. Maocha (毛茶 – maocha; literally “rough tea”) ages much more quickly than compressed puerh due to the increased surface area exposed to oxygen and humidity; however, this increased exposure can actually lessen the flavor and scent of the maocha over time.

Compressed puerh, determinant by the level of compression, ages more slowly because of the decreased exposure to humidity and oxygen. The tighter the compression, the less air flow.

An iron cake will have very little air flow to the center
An iron cake will have very little air flow to the center
A standard puerh cake is not as tight and allows for air flow
A standard puerh cake is not as tight and allows for air flow

Conclusion

There are many more factors to puerh aging (I’ll cover these later), but compression is a huge factor. No matter how ideal your climate is, certain styles of puerh compression will still age poorly. Tightly compressed mushrooms (紧茶 – jincha; literally “tight tea”) or bricks (砖茶 – zhuancha; literally “tea brick”) will age slowly and unevenly. The center of a tightly compressed brick could still be relatively green while the outer parts are much more aged.

Experiment for yourself, but keep in mind that compression is a huge factor in aging your tea.

Unitl the next cup.

2016 “Alter Ego” Huangpian – Bitterleaf Teas

Another review today of another new Bitterleaf Teas production. This tea is the 2016 “Alter Ego” huangpian sheng puerh. Huangpian (黄片 – huangpian; literally “yellow leaf”) is the term for the larger and/or yellow leaves that are removed from maocha (毛茶 – maocha; literally “rough tea”) after processing, but before pressing. These leaves are usually the 4th and 5th leaves, much older and larger. Good news for puerh drinkers – that means it’s also cheaper.

Swiped from www.bitterleafteas.com
Swiped from www.bitterleafteas.com

Alter Ego is a sheng puerh (生 – sheng, 普洱 – puerh) pressed into a 250g brick shape (砖茶 – zhuancha; literally “tea brick”). Obviously, the leaves are large and imperfect.

Note about compression and shape: I’m not a fan of the zhuancha for a few reasons. One, bricks are typically tightly compressed which makes them hard to pry apart without breaking a lot of leaves. Two, this tight compression slows the aging of the tea, especially the tea in the center of the brick. Three, they’re just so hard to re-wrap!

Big leaves, lots of stems
Big leaves, lots of stems

Steeping

Bitterleaf recommends a five-second rinse and a five-second first steep. I respectfully disagree with this. I rinsed for about 20 seconds to get the brick to open up. Sure, if you broke up the brick into smaller pieces, use less time, but if you have a solid chunk of leaf, brew it longer at the beginning until it opens up. The rinse and first steep are light and sweet, creamy in texture.

Just starting to open up
Just starting to open up

Steeps Two through Five – I smelled the wet leaves at this point. I was kind of shocked to get a notable camphor/menthol tobacco scent, which I don’t normally find in younger sheng, let alone huangpian. Camphor (樟 – zhang) is sometimes present in puerh from older trees. Most notably, the scent/taste comes from the camphor laurels planted in/near the tea gardens.

In steep three, the camphor taste comes through a little more. The tea is starting to hit me hard in energy (茶气 – cha qi). I’m also getting a soft bitterness on the back on my tongue. The tea is also starting to have a great throat feeling (喉韵 – hou yun; literally “throat charm”). Through steeps four and five, the same great feelings persist and there’s a wood-like note that’s also creeping up.

Thick and viscous
Thick and viscous

Finishing the Session

This tea is pretty amazing for huangpian. If you’ve had huangpian before, you’ll know that the leaves will steep for quite some time. The general taste of huangpian is sweeter due to the larger, older leaves that have lost some of the punch that younger leaves have. The viscosity of the tea is nice and heavy, which is evidence of the age of the material. Even getting up through steep ten, there’s great energy in this tea. For a bargain basement price of $0.10/g, it’s worth grabbing at least a sample to experience for yourself.

You can see the yellowing of some of these leaves
You can see the yellowing of some of these leaves

Until the next cup.

2006 “Mad King” Banzhang – Bitterleaf Teas

Today’s tea is a new release from Bitterleaf Teas, but has been around for quite some time. This is the 2006 “Mad King” Banzhang sheng puerh. Banzhang (班章) is a growing area in Bulangshan (布朗山) that is known for high quality teas. Since 2007, the area of Banzhang has delineation between Lao (老 – literally “old”) and Xin (新 – literally “new”) Banzhang, based on the age of the trees therein.

Swiped from www.bitterleafteas.com
Swiped from www.bitterleafteas.com

Mad King is a 2006 Banzhang sheng puerh (生 – sheng, 普洱 – puerh) which is pressed into a 357 gram disk shape (餅 – bing; literally “cake”). The dry leaf has a nice, sharp scent and it seems the compression of the bing is pretty tight (or at least it was for my sample).

Dry, leafy goodness
Dry, leafy goodness

Steeping

Due to the higher compression, I did a longer, ten-second rinse, which didn’t really reveal anything about the tea besides some residual astringency (涩味se wei; literally “astringent taste”). The first full steep was also for ten seconds. This steep gave me some bitterness (苦味ku wei; literally “bitter taste”) on the side of the tongue; however, the steep finishes with a cooling sensation and some minor floral notes.

Steep 1
Steep One

Steeps Two through Five – Steep two, also for ten seconds since the leaves loosened up, yielded a brilliant orange/gold color. There was plenty of bitterness and astringency, but balanced with a nice sweetness (回甜 – huigan; literally “sweet return”). Also noted in the steep are smoke, wood, and tobacco notes. I’m also impressed that there is such a great tea energy (茶气 – cha qi), even in this early steep. By steep four, the tea develops some stone fruit notes and builds on the sweetness. Steep five, for 20 seconds, continues to develop the sweetness and, at this point, the bitterness is dying down quite noticeably.

Stone fruit, wood, and a little smoke
Stone fruit, wood, and a little smoke

Finishing the session

As the session continues, the bitterness and astringency both fade into sweet, powerful notes. The energy of this tea is great, which is fantastic for leaf that is being marketed as qiaomu (乔木 – qiaomu; literally “tall tree” or “arbor”). Unfortunately, there are only a handful of cakes of this tea available, so if you want one, head on over to Bitterleaf Teas’ site and check out before I do.

Good for 12-15 steeps
Good for 12-15 steeps

Until the next cup.

Taobao Tuesday – 2000 Jianshen Tuo

Welcome to the first Taobao Tuesday! Not only is today an alliteration, it’s a day where I try one of my random Taobao purchases and see if it’s any good. If you’ve never experienced Taobao, it’s basically like a Chinese version of Amazon. There are a few downsides to ordering from Taobao:

  1. You have no idea what you’re really getting – There’s a reason I refer to Taobao shopping as “fishing.” You don’t know much about what you’re buying beyond the picture.
  2. You have to read/translate Chinese – Sure, there’s Google Translate and Babelcarp, but are you going to find all of the answers or correct translations?…
  3. You have to use an agent (and pay a lot for shipping) – There are many Taobao agents that help you buy from Taobao. They’re simple to use, but they all charge commissions and the shipping fees are pretty high in most cases. It does a lot to even out the savings on an item when you pay more to ship it.

The Tea

Today’s Taobao experiment is the 2000 Jianshen Tuo (健身 – jianshen; literally “healthy body”, 沱茶 – tuocha; literally “bird’s nest tea”) and is a sheng puerh (生 – sheng, 普洱 – puerh). Unfortunately, this tea isn’t available on Taobao anymore that I can find, but White2Tea is selling the 2004 version of this tea.

"The Yunnan Bowl-Shaped Compressed Mass of Tea Leaves"
“The Yunnan Bowl-Shaped Compressed Mass of Tea Leaves”
Ball of goodness...
Ball of goodness…

The tea was pretty tightly compressed, but dry enough to flake right off. Looks pretty well aged and the wrapper on mine is really frail. I may have ripped it a little bit when trying to re-wrap the tuo.

2000 jianshen taobao dry leaf
Om nom nom nom

Steeping

A short rinse of this tea didn’t really open it up, so I left the lid on for a little bit and had the residual steam open the leaves before I went further. The first steep was quite thin, slight smoke flavor, tobacco and wood notes throughout.

Thin so far
Thin so far

Steeps Two through Five

This tea starts very slowly. With short beginning steeps, the result is a very thin viscosity with subtle notes of flavor. At steep three, I accidentally let the tea steep for a good 30 seconds, which produced a much stronger, but not off-putting tea. Steep three was heavy on smoke, tobacco, and wood notes. I don’t smoke cigars, but I imagine that if you did, you’d be happy drinking this tea right now. What’s great about this tea is that it softens after you drink it and leaves a nice sweetness (回甜 – huigan; literally “sweet return”). Going through steeps four and five yield more of the same. I recommend steeping it longer for a bigger flavor. If the smokiness is too much, dial it back to shorter steeps. The tea also hits pretty hard in tea energy (茶气 – cha qi).

Getting darker and stronger
Getting darker and stronger

Finishing the Session

Honestly brutal tea. This tea can be anything you want – assuming, of course, that “anything” is a smoke-filled tea. It’s seems pretty legit for being off of Taobao, so score one for my fishing expedition. This one steeps out for quite some time, so sit back on a Sunday afternoon on your front porch and put some of this delicious tea in your gaiwan. If this sounds up your alley, give me a shout and I’ll see about getting you some.

Long lasting...
Long lasting…

Until the next cup.

2016 “Whispering Sunshine” – Crimson Lotus Tea

Today, I’m taking another puerh from the huge pile of 2016 spring samples. Today’s tea is the 2016 “Whispering Sunshine” from Crimson Lotus Tea.

I actually don't own a cake, so... photo credit to www.crimsonlotustea.com
I actually don’t own a cake, so… photo credit to www.crimsonlotustea.com

Whispering Sunshine is a sheng puerh (生 – sheng, 普洱 – puerh) pressed into a disk shape (餅 – bing; literally “cake”). The material is from Bai Ying Shan (bai ying shan; literally “white warbler mountain”). I had a sample of the maocha (毛茶 – maocha; literally “rough tea”), so I really got to see the long, full leaves that are present in the cake.

This just looks sooooo good
This just looks sooooo good

Steeping

Since it’s a very young sheng, you don’t need to rinse it for very long (or at all, if you don’t want). The rinse tasted as if it were from Jingmai (景迈) – notes of butter, honey, and overall sweetness. The first five-second steep is lightly vegetal with a distinct creaminess. There are also tastes of crisp green apples and a little bit of spice.

2016 whispering sunshine CLT steep 1
Light and sweet with bright energy

Steeps Two through Four – These next few steeps are a journey through the life of a young sheng. It’s finally hitting it’s stride and giving some of the bitterness, astringency, and floral nature that you expect to find in young, abrasive sheng. Steep two actually hit me with some energy and a strong headfeel. This was followed up by some cooling notes on the tongue. Steeps three and four built up the floral aspects of the tea and an increase in the vegetal flavor. The overall taste is still light and sweet.

2016 whispering sunshine CLT steep 4
Delicious session so far

Finishing the Session

Going into the fifth and sixth steeps, there’s a much stronger vegetal/floral nature and some pointed bitterness. Lots of bitterness and astringency (苦 – ku; literally “bitter”, 涩 – se; literally “astringent”); however, these are followed by a pleasant sweetness. The tea starts to get very heavy in the stomach. I think it’s no longer whispering to me anymore.

Happy cat, happy life
Happy cat, happy life

This tea finishes off by slowly fading back into the original sweetness found in the rinse and first steep. The tea may whisper, but through the heart of the session, it sure had a lot to say.

Until the next cup.

2016 “Secret Garden” – Bitterleaf Teas

Bitterleaf Teas is a relatively new puerh vendor that has been making quite a splash on social media. In fact, until I kept seeing everyone else’s posts about this company, I didn’t even know it existed! With that being said, I did what any other sane puerh addict would do – bought some tea. The tea for today is the 2016 “Secret Garden” which is a sheng puerh (生 – sheng, 普洱 – puerh) pressed into a 200 gram disk shape (餅 – bing; literally “cake”).

So much color
So much color

Bitterleaf states that this tea is from an area just outside of Yiwu and is made from “old tree (100+ year) material.” In a broad definition, that would make this tea gushu (树 – gushu; literally “ancient tree”).

Note on tea tree age: There are a few mixed opinions on what are the different age ranges for tea trees. There are three general ranges:

  • xiaoshu (小树 – xiaoshu; literally “young tree”) – less than 20 years old; cultivated tree
  • qiaomu (乔木 – qiaomu; literally “tall tree” or “arbor”) – more than 20, but less than 80 years old; non-cultivated tree
  • gushu/dashu (古树 – gushu; literally “ancient tree”/大树 – dashu; literally “big tree”) – more than 80 years old

Buyer warning: Buying from unknown vendors or companies that don’t source their own tea may list things as “gushu” when they really aren’t. It might even be marked “gushu” on the wrapper! That doesn’t really apply here, but it’s a helpful tip when shopping around.

Gaiwan'd up and ready to go
Gaiwan’d up and ready to go

Steeping

The flash rinse is a very light peach color and has an interesting pear note. The leaf smells slightly vegetal, but not as much as other young shengs such as the 2016 “Whispering Sunshine” from Crimson Lotus Tea. The first full steep has a much fuller flavor with crisp apple notes and a slight floral aroma. I can feel the energy in my head, but that might also be because I’m drinking young sheng on an empty stomach…

Just getting started...
Just getting started…

Steeps Two through Four

There’s a beautiful depth to this tea even in the early steeps. Sweetness is subduing a mild bitterness across the tongue. There’s also a very nice throat-feel (喉韵 – houyun; literally “throat charm”) that lingers for quite some time. Building through the steeps to the heart of the session, there is more of the floral bitterness followed by a nice sweetness (回甜 – huigan; literally “sweet return”). There is some slight tea energy (茶气 – cha qi), which is more typical of older tree material.

Great mouthfeel and flavor
Great mouthfeel and flavor

Steeps Five through Eight

Through the rest of the session and as the steeps get longer, the bitter characteristics wane and reveal a floral, sweet, wood profile. There is still some crisp fruit flavors as secondary notes. After the steeps get to a minute long, the sweet floral notes are the dominating characteristics of the tea.

I need a snack now...
I need a snack now…

Finishing the Session

This tea is characteristic, to me, of one that will get better with age. While you could drink it all now, the bitterness will fade with age and the lingering qi will grow. I think that this could be a special tea in 15 years, but who knows if it’ll be gone by then. I guess the best thing to do is to throw it in the back of the pumidor and wait.. and wait… and wait.

Until the next cup.

2016 “Diving Duck” – White2Tea

The overwhelming amount of new tea from 2016 is enough to make you want to hide in a pumidor. Today, I’m having the 2016 “Diving Duck” from White2Tea.

...or "Dwing" Duck as I like to read it
…or “Dwing” Duck as I like to read it

Diving Duck is a sheng puerh (生 – sheng, 普洱 – puerh) pressed into a disk shape (餅 – bing; literally “cake”). The dry leaves look delicious and have a bright sheng scent.

About to dive in...
About to dive in…

Steeping

I swear – if you’ve had one young sheng, you probably understand the standard brightness, vibrancy, bitterness, and astringency that comes along with it. The rinse is a light peach with soft flavors, most likely needing a little more time to wake up. The first full five-second steep yields a bright taste with a full body, slightly fruity and with wood notes. Unsurprisingly, this tea is listed as a Yiwu blend.

Region note: Yiwu Shan (易武 – yiwu, 山 shan; literally “mountain”) is one of the largest and most famous tea mountains and one of the “six famous tea mountains.” Typically, Yiwu teas have a wood-like note.

Starting the dive
Starting the dive

Steeps Two through Five – Steep two was ten seconds long and yielded more young sheng characteristics – bitterness and astringency (苦 – ku; literally “bitter”, 涩 – se; literally “astringent”). Bitterness and astringency are typical components of young sheng; however, these should be followed by a lingering sweetness (回甜 – huigan; literally “sweet return”). Steep three (15 seconds) continues the trend of bitterness and astringency; however, moving into steep four and five, there are defined notes of apricot and grass.

Underwater now...
Underwater now…

Finishing the Session

Diving Duck continues with the typical young sheng profile of bitterness and astringency, but mixes it up with some woodiness, apricot, and grass flavors. This tea would be more enjoyable with age, so if you pick some up, try it every few months to see how it progresses.

Until the next cup.

2000 “Old Warrior” – Crimson Lotus Tea

Today’s tea is an amazing treat – the 2000 “Old Warrior” from Crimson Lotus Tea. This is such a treat because good, old shou is hard to come by. There are some good aged shous that I’ve had, but this one promises to be special.

Love the calligraphy
Love the calligraphy

Old Warrior is a shou puerh (熟 – shou, 普洱 – puerh) pressed into a melon shape (金瓜 – jingua; literally “golden melon”). The dry leaves are very flaky and pretty easy to pry off of the pressed form.

2016 old warrior CLT dry leaf
Gimme dat shupu

Steeping

I did a short rinse of this tea. Since it’s older, you might dump it out, but I always drink the rinses unless the tea looks sketchy. I find that tasting the rinse from a shou gives you some hidden storage notes that you might not get in full steeps. This rinse reveals mild humidity and a traditional storage along with some underlying sweetness. Based on the rich brown color, you can just tell that this tea is going to be good.

Note on traditional storage: I’ve seen a lot of differing opinions on storage, but to me, traditional storage is “wet storage” (more humidity) for several years followed by “dry storage” (less humidity). In the tea’s early steeps, you can taste this humidity, but it quickly fades after the first few steeps. This usually indicates that the tea has aged in a drier climate after the first few years of humidity. In my personal opinion, this is my favorite type of storage for aged puerh, sheng or shou.

2000 old warrior CLT steep 1
Note to self, don’t take pictures at work

Steeps One through Four – The first steep was for 10 seconds and yielded a myriad of wonderful aged shou flavors – dark wood, sweetness, and a subtle ripe cherry note. I did notice a slight bitterness on the back of the tongue. The next two steeps (20 and 30 seconds, respectively) were just as delicious. Deep aged, clean shou taste that when you taste it, you just know how special it is. Building to steep four, the heart of the session, it’s clear that this tea underwent a lighter fermentation, meaning that some of the material was still green when originally pressed, allowing the tea to age in a different and more complex way.

Steep 4, again with the horrible glare
Steep 4, again with the horrible glare

Finishing the Session

I’m just going to stop here. Words can’t quite explain the depth or longevity of this tea. If you’ve ever had a really good aged shou, I would challenge you to try this tea and see if you don’t have a new favorite by the end of the day. For 20 cents per gram, you really can’t beat the quality. This tea steeps for days. I think I gave up around 18 steeps. Everything in this tea is completely on point for me – fermentation, storage, and flavor. I can only think of two other great shous that rank up with this one. Maybe one day I’ll have a triple threat match with all three of them. As long as the old warrior doesn’t get me first.

2000 old warrior CLT wet leaf
That’s some beautiful leaf

Until the next cup.

What is Puerh Tea?

For the first “educational” post, I’ve decided to go back to the very basics for those who might not know what puerh tea is. Puerh (普洱 – puerh, 茶 – cha; literally “tea”) is a fermented or “dark tea.” Fermented tea undergoes a microbial process due to exposure to humidity. The tea is also oxidized, both internally and externally, from this process.

Puerh is one kind of fermented tea. Another type of fermented tea, for instance, is liu bao(六堡). Each type of fermented tea comes from a certain area of China (sometimes from other countries, as well). Puerh comes from a southern province named Yunnan and is named after Pu’er Prefecture within Yunnan.

How is puerh tea made?

Puerh comes from a large leaf varietal of Camillia sinensis native to Yunnan. Once the leaves are picked, the harvest is transformed into maocha (毛茶 – maocha; literally “rough tea”) through a process of sha qing (殺青 – sha qing; literally “kill green”). The kill green process is a dry roasting of the leaves to prevent full oxidation (also done with other non-oxidized and semi-oxidized teas). The leaves are then rolled, lightly bruised, and sun-dried. Maocha, once complete, can be enjoyed as-is, pressed into various shapes, or processed into shou.

Sheng puerh

Sheng puerh (生 – sheng; literally “raw”, 普洱 – puerh) is the result of the sha qing process. Sheng can be pressed into many forms to store or left as loose maocha. The form, shape, compression, and storage are all contributing factors to the overall aging process of the sheng.

Shou puerh

Shou puerh (熟 – shou, 普洱 – puerh) is the result of the wo dui process (渥堆 – wo dui; literally “wet pile”) which was developed by the Kunming Tea Factory in 1973 as a way to imitate the aging of sheng puerh. Because this method of artificially aging the tea is based on moisture and high temperature, shou puerh is also referred to as “cooked” puerh.

Aged puerh

While all puerh can be aged, traditionally, sheng puerh is stored over many years in warm, humid environments to age the raw tea. Puerh undergoes a very slow oxidation and microbial process through the influence of bacteria. The flavor and color of puerh greatly changes over the course of storage.

Pressing

The raw sheng maocha or ripe shou maocha is typically pressed into various shapes. The most common shapes are:

  • Disc – 饼茶 – bingcha; literally “tea cake”
  • Bowl/Nest – 沱茶 – tuocha; literally “bird’s nest tea”
  • Brick – 砖茶 – zhuancha; literally “tea brick”
  • Dragon Pearl – 龙珠 – longzhu; literally “dragon ball” (Z?)
  • Melon – 金瓜 – jingua; literally “golden melon”
  • Mushroom – 紧茶 – jincha; literally “tight tea”
  • Square – 方茶 – fangcha; literally “tea square”

There are other shapes, such as gourds, etc., that are less common. Again, the shape and level of compression are factors in aging, but I’ll be covering the massive topic of storage another time.

I think that covers a lot of the “basics” around puerh tea, but there’s so much more to learn and experience. These educational-style posts will be occasionally posted and focus in on specific topics for quick reference.

Do you have a puerh topic that you’d like to see covered? Click the “Contact” link at the top of the page, or just.. click this link to contact me. Much easier.

Until the next cup.

2014 “Cloudy Days” – Crimson Lotus Tea

Overview

Today’s tea is the 2014 “Cloudy Days” from Crimson Lotus Tea. This tea was pressed and released in Spring 2016. Cloudy Days is a shou puerh (熟 – shou, 普洱 – puerh) that is pressed into 200g cakes.

The clouds are rolling in...
The clouds are rolling in…

I’ll be using a 8g chunk of this shou in a 100ml gaiwan. The dry leaf looks pretty delicious and smells rather sweet.

2016 cloudy days CLT dry leaf
Do I eat it or steep it?

Steeping

Rinse/Steep One – I did a quick rinse of about five seconds. As soon as the water hit the leaf, the tea gave off a delicious caramel scent. The tea didn’t really open with that short of a rinse, so I steeped the tea for 20 seconds. Big mistake… Although the tea carried a very strong caramel scent, it was also heavy on fermentation scent. The liquor was largely murky, which isn’t uncommon for me to see in a lot of younger shous. The taste of this longer steep was very heavy in fermentation taste (堆味 – dui wei; literally “pile taste” from the wo dui [渥堆 – wet pile] process).

Steep 1
Steep 1

Steeps Two through Four – After that steeping disaster, I went back to a 10-second steep for the second full steeping to limit the overwhelming fermentation taste of steep one. This tea is so good. Nutty and heavily earthy.

I kept steep three at 10 seconds and the tea produced a delicious sweetness. If you’ve ever had birch beer or taken a piece of bark off of a birch tree and chewed on it, you might have a flashback when you drink this tea.

Steep four is what I call the “heart of the session.” I’ll refer to that term a lot in my tasting notes, but it’s based on my theory that the fourth steep is usually the one that can tell you the most about the tea that you’re drinking. From the fourth steep of this tea, I get a thin viscosity, birch taste, sweetness, and a deep brown/red color.

Steep 4
Steep 4

Finishing the Session

For the rest of the session, I continued to get deliciously sweet shou. The flavor started to thin out around steep eight and continue to wane. This tea really needs to sit and rest for a while before it’ll be a great tea, so I’ll probably toss it in the pumidor and break it out in the winter for another session.

Wet leaf after the session
Wet leaf after the session

Final Thoughts

Overall, this is a delicious tea, but needs more time before developing into a better shou. It does have potential though, so I’ll most likely hang onto a cake of this tea and let it age and see how it compares in the future. For just 11 cents per gram of tea, this is a good buy, though not the cheapest shou; however, there are very few that compare in price for this quality.

Until the next cup.