Warrior Wednesday! We all know western style (little leaf, lots of water, long time), grandpa style (little leaf, cup of water, continuous steeping/re-steeping), and traditional gongfu style (lots of leaf, little water, little time).
But… what if there were another way?
Enter warrior style. This is a method that my good friend paxl13 and I had invented over a year ago. Warrior style takes an extremely high ratio of leaf to water, roughly 1 gram per every 10 ml of water for sheng and potentially even higher for shou. Warrior style started as a “challenge” featuring New Amerykah 2 from White2Tea, so, how fitting that I introduce it to the world with yet another White2Tea product.
Today, I’m revisiting an “older” 2016 tea: Fade from White2Tea. This tea was initially in the April 2016 White2Tea club box… and I hated it. A lot of people raved about the tea, but I just couldn’t find any good qualities. I buried the brick in the back of the pumidor and said I’d try it again in six months. Well, it’s been five and a half, so.. close enough.
Fade is a huangpian (黄片 – huangpian; literally “yellow leaf”), which I’ve already ranted about in detail in my “Alter Ego” review. It’s a sheng puerh (生 – sheng, 普洱 – puerh) pressed into a 200g brick shape (砖茶 – zhuancha; literally “tea brick”).
Why not try it.. warrior style?
My ridiculous parameters for the session? 13g/100ml
Fade has relatively loose compression for a zhuancha, so I was able to do a five-second rinse. The wet leaf is heavy on the wet tobacco scent. The rinse has tastes of stone fruit and a citrus top note. The first, full, five-second steep was a rich orange/yellow color. The sour citrus notes are much stronger as the leaf opens and the tea also develops a decent amount of astringency (bearing in mind that I’m severely over-leafing a young sheng).
Steeps Two through Five – Steep two moves into a vegetal sweetness and is still very heavy on the citrus top notes. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of this weird sour taste in my tea, but I’m also feeling it as an attribute of young tea that would fade (heh, fade) with time. The tea starts to smooth out through the next few steeps, but really punches with astringency. Keep in mind that I’m basically flash steeping this for the first eight steeps due to the amount of leaf in the gaiwan.
The tea energy (茶气 – cha qi) is striking me hard around steep four. The tea starts developing a sweeter fruit profile – stone fruit and green apple are the predominant flavors along with the citrus top notes.
Finishing the Session
Out of respect for everyone’s reading attention span, I’m not going to break this into every steep. The amount of leaf that I’m pushing gives me 20+ steeps, even on a young tea.
Most importantly, Fade delivers a sweet fruit taste throughout the session. There is some astringency and a strange sour note, but I imagine that these will improve over time. Being a huangpian, Fade is relatively cheap. Would I keep drinking it now? Maybe not, but I sure will enjoy it in 2020!
So, maybe next time you break out an old favorite, you might want to brew fast and hard… in the WAY OF THE WARRIOR!
Until the next cup.