White2Tea say that Brown Sugar contains a “large percentage” of Huang Pian grade leaf from “several regions“. This is interesting, because Huang Pian (“yellow leaf“) are the larger, yellow leaves often removed from Pu-erh for predominantly aesthetic reasons. However, to quote this excellent blog post from Crimson Lotus Tea Huang Pian “makes an excellent tea“, and is “definitely worth trying“.
|Weight of dry leaf:||7 grams|
|Infusion style:||Gong-fu / Asian|
|Steeping vessel:||150 ml porcelain gaiwan|
|No. & duration:||a 2 second rinse, then a 1st. infusion @ 10 seconds, then @ +5 seconds until 45 seconds for a total of 8 infusions|
After the rinse the wet leaf smelled strongly of clean earth and vanilla sugar. Lots of vanilla sugar!
This is a quite tightly compacted pressing, and after the rinse and the first three or four infusions I gently worked on the tea chunks with a bamboo spatula to assist in opening up the tea fully.
Even after the first infusion the tea broth showed a full, luscious body, and by the third it was a true Orc blood job.
As you might expect the body and flavour became even more intense as the leaves fully opened up, until they peaked on the third steeping.
The tea then sort of plateaued out, before tailing off on the 7th. infusion.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a “tap being turned off” affair, more like the tea gently giving notice that the clock was running down on this session, as indeed it was. The 8th. was the point at which I called time on the session – it’s kind of a habit of mine to take shous on face value, to not push the envelope with them, especially ones that give so much early on like this tea does.
Sure, there are tricks you can perform with infusion variables such as water/leaf ratios, water temperatures, and infusion times, but I like to reserve those plays for shengs, to be honest.
Still, 8 steepings ain’t bad, especially when they’re as nice as these were.
A nice, interesting brick, this, and well worth a closer look.