More often than not when it comes to purchasing tea, I’m an easy mark.
Anyone selling Dragon Balls ain’t going to have to work too hard to get me to part with my pennies, and similarly a 250 gram tuo of shou Pu-erh like this one is always going to possess a high “Me Want!” factor.
To my credit I did Google around a bit for reviews before hitting the “Buy” button, and having found favourable opinions, including one from a respected Pu-head I happen to know has broadly similar tastes to my own, the deal was done.
Probably to no-one’s great surprise, this tea was yet another purchase from Swedish company House of Tea. The producer is the Jing Dong Wen Long tea factory.
The material originates from the Wu Liang area of Xishuangbanna prefecture in Yunnan province, and is a 2007 pressing of leaves harvested in 2005.
The 250 gram tuo was moderately pressed, meaning that it was a relatively simple affair to dive in with my pick and free off the required amount of leaf.
It took a bit of experimentation with this tea to get it right for my own personal taste. After trying it out in a gaiwan as well as Western style I’ve finally settled for the method shown below…
|Weight of dry leaf:||7.5 grams|
|Infusion style:||Gong-fu / Asian|
|Steeping vessel:||135 ml unglazed clay teapot|
|No. & duration:||a 2 second rinse, then a 1st. infusion @ 5 seconds, then @ +5 seconds until 30 seconds, then @ 1, 1.5, and 2 minutes for a total of 9 infusions|
The rinsed leaves smelled of wet paper with a hint of camphor.
The early steeps were all vanilla sweet with that camphor note still in the mix. There was very little of the typical shou earthiness, and a fleeting, intense “lily of the valley” kind of scent lingered on in the cup.
Early on the body was a bit light, but then became pleasantly oily before transforming into creamy bordering on buttery round about the third steeping. Pleasant, but not quite Orc blood.
The soup was typically shou-dark with a luscious sheen to it, although I got the feeling that it was still not quite as opaque as something like, say, Brown Sugar.
The cha Qi was a slow builder, delivering a warming effect in the upper body towards the end of the session. This was no sheng induced sweatathon, to be sure, but was still a noticeably stronger reaction than many shous I’ve drunk.
After the 6th infusion I needed to bump up the duration of the steeping times to compensate for the tea starting to run out of steam, but just a couple of infusions later we were done. Still, 9 infusions is fairly good going.
To sum up, then, this isn’t a “proclaim its greatness from atop a high building with a megaphone” tea, but is still nevertheless a sound addition to the “daily drinker” stable.