2016 XinZhai – Essence of Tea

​While still on a whirlwind tour of the scenic northwest, I’m taking some time each day to have some tea. Some days it’s an old favorite, but today, I’m having the 2016 XinZhai from Essence of Tea

Oh, and excuse the pictures. Starbucks has terrible lighting, though I’m grateful that they supply me with endless hot water.

EoT’s XinZhai is a sheng puerh (生 – sheng, 普洱 – puerh) pressed into a 200 gram disk shape (餅 – bing; literally “cake”). I got a sample of this cake when it was released, but am just now getting to try it.

Let’s get this party started 

Steeping

I’m not really sure what to expect from this tea, so I gave it a short rinse. The taste is clean and vegetal. A first steep of five seconds yields a light and fragrant tea. It has a slight cooling sensation and a long taste of green fruits.

steep 1 

Steep two has a “full” taste that lingers in the throat and is accompanied by a mid-head feeling. Moving to the third steep, I tried to push it more to find any bit of punchiness, but the tea is quite green and lacks the bitterness and astringency.

Steeps Four and Five

Steep four, I went for 25 seconds. This tea isn’t very viscous, but has a full, lingering feeling. There’s a great intensity in the top of the throat, but is still very green tasting.

steep 4

I went for 45 seconds on steep five. There’s a little more bite on the tongue, but still plainly vegetal. This tea isn’t a rollercoaster of flavor, but more of a pleasant ride through the countryside. 

Finishing the Session

Steeps six through eight were increasingly longer. Steep eight went for five full minutes, but still didn’t yield any stronger sheng flavors. 

The wet leaves are very green and most likely need some time to mature into a decent sheng puerh. If you’re a fan of green tea, this could be a good entry point into puerh, but I’m not sure how well this will actually age. There’s the feeling of punchiness, but it’s just… so far away from the tongue, like it’s there but you just can’t quite taste it.

very green

Until the next cup.

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