One day I was tidying up my bookmarks – I had tea related bookmarks all over the place in various folders – when I came across the bookmark for Canton Tea Co.
I bought my tea table from them the other year, bookmarked their site for future reference, and then for some reason or other promptly forgot about them.
Re-visiting their site to see what was new I noticed a couple of teas that looked interesting, this being one of them.
I’m always on the lookout for new teas to audition for the post-evening meal shou role, and at GB £15 for a 357 gram beeng it seemed too good an opportunity to miss, especially when you consider that this is what is referred to as a “classic” recipe from the well known and highly thought of Xiaguan tea factory.
This tea is a blend of leaves from the Lincang, Baoshan, and Xishuangbanna areas of Yunnan, and was fermented using water from the Cang Shan mountain range, which lies to the West of Dali City. It was a 2012 pressing of leaves from 2008 and later.
I’ve found this tea to be equally at home when steeping either gong-fu or Western style.
As with most shous, gong-fu-ing it can make quite a mess of your teaware and teaspace, no matter how careful you aim to be, but you will be rewarded with a veritable hatful of infusions. I usually average about 10 or 11 steepings using 5 or 6 grams in a 150 ml gaiwan.
That same amount of tea will quite merrily give you 2 steepings at 2 and 2½ minutes in a 5/600 ml pot Western style, and maybe even a third round at 3/3½ minutes if you fancy your chances.
Whichever steeping method you use, the resultant tea broth is the expected deep mahogany bronze colour. Lovers of Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth inspired cinematography might refer to it as “Orc blood“.
The body is wonderfully full and creamy. Expect to be sponging viscous, inky, dark, trails from your teaware post-session.
Flavour-wise I get a strong taste of vanilla, and hints of sour cherry.
In my experience good quality shous remind me of a pine forest just after a summer downpour, and this tea is no exception, with an aroma that is less earthy and more woody.
I will without question be ordering more.
When all is said and done this is a very nice shou Pu-erh for everyday drinking, and at that price is an absolute steal.