I rarely get to taste shu pu-erh. I've had maybe six or seven in my tea drinking career, but never gave them much thought. After following what others had set as good before me, I became tired of it and pretty much ignored it all together. This shu pu-erh was different enough (and good enough) to warrant a blog post.
First of all, this stuff had depth - which is something i've yet to come across in shu pu. Secondly, I doubt it's claims of being old tree. The leaves were medium sized at best, and nobody would spend time and use up precious natural resources from an old tree to make a cooked pu-erh. It would be like making grape juice from an ancient french wine and then dousing it with sugar and added colours to make it more palatable.
I used two quick rinses on this stuff, as the compression on my sample was rather tight.
I used 3.2 grams of leaf in a 100ml gaiwan: 10s, 15s, 15s, 30s, 45s, 1Min & 15s.
The first cup was brewed too hard, but still enjoyable, with notes of wood, spice, and a light earthy flavor that seemed slightly muddy and unfocused. Letting the liquor cool further provided a little bit more sweetness, but still not that much overall. I moved on to the next cup.
Cup two was sweeter now, with a more balanced flavor profile including the flavors of date fruits and a silky smooth mouthfeel, which was radically different than what I was feeling in other shu pu, such as the 2009 Menghai Hongyun, which was fading rather quickly in comparison as the tasting went on.
The third and fourth cup were quite similar: dark woodyness and sweetness along with some dampness. The body had thinned slightly but the silky smooth mouthfeel was still present. At this point, I began to feel warm and calm, something that I'd only experienced in high-end pu-erh's and oolongs, and maybe a green tea or two.
Cups five and six were beginning to fade, with an aroma reminiscent of a young sheng that had been brewed for a while: think floral, sweet, and light. There weren't any earthy or dark, woody aromas to speak of here.
The flavor was still shu-pu, however. Plenty of light wood notes along with a medium body and super smooth mouthfeel. The sweetness faded rather gently, but was still noticeable enough to keep it interesting.
Overall, this was pretty good for shu pu. I'd recommend it if you like depth that goes beyond that of what is offered in the Menghai cakes. Also, this tea was offered as a sample from Mosshorn! Thanks!
See you next time!
The Green Poet
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