This blend of shu pu-erh leaves comes from menghai and lincang, Jim adds that " To enhance its depth, multiple grade, whole leaf raw materials were mixed." So that means that there are raw pu-erh leaves mixed in too? We'll see! This tea is rather newly pressed, and when I recieved the sample, the wo dui aroma was still very strong. I let it sit out for about a month, then broke the 7 gram chunk into two 3.5 gram pieces. (in case you didn't know, 3.5 grams is my starting point for almost all chinese teas that I brew gongfu style.) I put my chunk into my 100 ml gaiwan.
10s, 5s, 6s, 8s, 20s
The first infusion was pretty typical, but one thing that I didn't realize is that the qualities shown in this first cup would continue until the tea's flavor went away. It started off bitter, which faded into a plummy-sweet and tart flavor, which was enjoyable, but it lacked any dark woody flavors. The mouthfeel was rough and the body was thin, which may have been due to me using only 3.5 grams. However, I obtained more of the 1005 and used 6 grams, only to find it had the same qualities.
The second and third cups showed the nature of freshly opened leaf. A bitter oak flavor was very apparent on the palate, but it managed to fade and reveal more plum flavors. The body was still thin and the mouthfeel was still rough. So far it isn't too complex, but it is somewhat interesting.
Cups four and five showed some improvement in body and mouthfeel as well as flavor: notes of cherry juice and plums riding on a dark oaky flavor with a light caramel undertone. Unfortunately, all the cups after cup five were flavorless, so I simply noted that the session really ended at cup five. The spent leaves showed no trace of raw pu-erh leaves, so I wonder what Jim meant in his description?
Overall, this was an average affair. Flavor, as most of us know, is one aspect of tea. body, mouthfeel, qi, longevity, complexity, and aroma could be other categories by which we judge it. This stuff had good flavors, but little of everything else. As always, I'm thankful for having the opportunity to try it and will look forward to trying more teas from this vendor.
See you next month!