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.
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 (白莺山 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.