What-Cha Autumn 2016 Jingmai Shengtai

What-Cha Autumn 2016 Jingmai Shengtai Sheng - wrapped

This is another tea from What-cha‘s fine collection of 100 gram mini-beengs.

Production of this cake was handled by William Osmont, of Farmerleaf fame. You should check out William’s excellent YouTube channel, by the way, if you haven’t already done so…

As you no doubt have already guessed, this cake’s material comes from the Jingmai mountain region of Lancang County in Pu-erh (Simao) Prefecture, and was harvested in the Autumn (October) of 2016. The trees themselves are 40 years old.

What-Cha Autumn 2016 Jingmai Shengtai Sheng - unwrapped

Steeping method
Weight of dry leaf: 7 grams
Infusion style: Gong-fu / Asian
Steeping vessel: 150 ml unglazed teapot
Water temperature: 100°C
No. & duration: a 2 second rinse, then a 1st. infusion @ 5 seconds, then @ +5 secs. until 75 secs, then @ 1.5 mins & +30 secs. until 5 mins, then @ 6, 10, and 15 mins. for a total of 26 infusions.

What-Cha Autumn 2016 Jingmai Shengtai Sheng - dry leaf

This is a very lightly compressed beeng – it felt as though I could almost have pulled the leaf out of the cake without the use of my pick, using finger power alone.

7 grams might seem a tad on the heavy side for a pot of that size, but that clump came off the beeng as clean as a whistle, and looking at that handsome collection of leaves it seemed like a shame to try to shave a bit off. So I didn’t.

Post rinse the leaves smelled of smoke and leather. These were very clean leaves it has to be said – even after 26 (!) infusions very little leaf dust and debris found its way into the strainer.

a cup of What-Cha Autumn 2016 Jingmai Shengtai Sheng

The Qi got to work early in the session. Halfway through the first cup I started to feel a full-on upper body sweat building up. This was accompanied by a dreamy, drift into cool vibe territory.

I picked up a subtle tart fruitiness, a bit like Granny Smith apples. There was a green, young sheng bite to the soup, but this was more like receiving a playful nip from a Jack Russell puppy rather than being on the wrong end of a mauling from a rampaging adult Rottweiler.

I also experienced a kind of fizzy, tingly feeling in my mouth, a sort of a distant cousin to Space Dust / Pop Rocks candy.

As the session progressed the bittersweet fruitiness became more prominent, but it never threatened to overpower the tea.

Factor in a Qi powered time dilation effect, and those 26 rounds lasted an impressive three hours or thereabouts. I say “thereabouts” because I’m not exactly sure when the session started and ended, such was the relaxed, just-go-with-the-flow nature of the experience. It might have been nearer to four hours – you tell me.

What-Cha Autumn 2016 Jingmai Shengtai Sheng - finished leaf

This is one of those teas that simply cannot be rushed, and is without a doubt going on the “long train journey” list.

I also have to agree wholeheartedly with What-cha when they call this a tea perfect for “those newer to pu’erh.” There’s a great taste and body here, but nothing too ferocious or demanding for those still wading in the shallows of the sheng lagoon.

As with their other collaborations with Paul “Two Dog ‘White2Tea‘” Murray (Road to Lincang) and Scott Wilson of Yunnan Sourcing (Lao Shu Bai Cha), What-cha have once again wisely teamed up with someone with a rock solid and growing reputation on the tea scene for quality, and the product of their teaming up with William, in the shape of this little cracker of a beeng, is, like the others in the What-cha range, well worth sampling.

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