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.

 

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