A wild review appears!
Well, I’ve taken quite a bit of time to figure out exactly what I would like to do with this blog. The original intent was to focus on education and occasionally write reviews, but that seemed to go out the window and I had a terrible time motivating myself to review the ever-growing pile of puerh samples. While reviews may make an appearance, they will most likely be in a varied format and I’ll focus more on a singular, weekly post with more research and education.
That being said… The review that follows was written in August 2016. Since then, the tea has been released to favorable reviews. To the tea!
Today’s tea is the 2016 “Space Girls” from Crimson Lotus Tea. Space Girls is a sheng puerh (生 – sheng; literally “raw”, 普洱 – puerh) pressed into 100 gram square bricks (方茶 – fangcha; literally “square tea”).
Luckily for me, I had this tea before it was pressed into its tight squares. I tend to dislike both fangcha (square) and zhuancha (brick) because they’re hard to break apart, age inconsistently, and are difficult to re-wrap. The maocha (毛茶 – maocha; literally “rough tea”) that I received was quite beautiful – big, full leaves with some buds throughout.
Since I was using maocha, I did a flash rinse and a short first steep. If your chunk of tea from the fangcha is tightly compressed, you might want to let the first steep sit slightly longer to open the leaves. Another option is to rinse your gaiwan with hot water, then put the leaves into the gaiwan, replacing the lid. The residual steam will help to open the leaves, as well.
The rinse was rather viscous with a bright sheng flavor, slight notes of asparagus, and a slight astringency (涩味 – sewei; literally “astringent taste”). The first full steep is very smooth with a growing astringency. The taste has a vegetal/green bean nature, but it’s not overly vegetal.
Steeps Two through Four- Steep two and three have a growing tobacco taste – not in an off-putting way, but more in an “I don’t know what else to call it” way. Moving into steep four, the tobacco taste dies down and the tea delivers a smooth, crisp taste with vegetal undertones. The hint of astringency brings the sheng puerh experience full circle, balancing the sweetness, astringency, and green, vegetal taste. The tea has also developed a nice yellow-gold color.
Finishing the Session
Steep five brings through more of the floral/orchid nature of this young tea which grow through the rest of the session. I only got to steep eight with this tea, since it’s relatively young. Overall, the tea produces a mild qi, a good level of viscosity, and light vegetal/floral flavors. The tea might not boldly go where no tea has gone before, but it’s definitely a good entry point into puerh, the final frontier.
Until the next cup.