When the fresh puerh tea of the year starts to trickle out, one is always very tempted to try it out immediately. In the spring, young puerh is still too raw and harsh for consumption and is recommended against. The summers here in Victoria are dry and not that warm, the raw bitter taste of very young sheng is also quite harmful. So one usually waits until the cooler days of late summer or warmer days of early autumn, when the energy of nature starts to descend, to try out the latest seasonal offerings of fresh sheng puerh.
One has been tasting allot of Nada's fresh puerh from Essence of Tea over the past few weeks. Expect reviews of his teas scattered throughout the next few months. The first sheng will be this cake from Man Sai.
It's lightly compressed dry leaves are quite long with creamy, very sweet, tangy tobacco smells coming from them. Boiling water splashes from the tea table and it is time for some tea.
The first infusion is full of strong creamy banana sweetness which melts into dry. There is a deep underlying pungency to it with subtleties of hay and some beany, light earthy notes. The feel in the mouth is very smooth and finishes dry and very sweet.
The second infusions has strong initial creamy sweetness that moves into a somewhat pungent flavour then turns dry and tart. The aftertaste is quite sweet. The mouth feels coated in a thick gooey layer that is somewhat chalky in consistency. The sweet notes of this tea are strong and almost seem to drown out its deeper notes at times. The chaqi is very alerting. This tea has nice strong qi.
The third and fourth infusions follow the same creamy sweet to pungent to tart and dry. There is much more flavour in these infusions with earthy mushroom notes detected in the pungent middle and tropical fruit notes caught in the predominantly sweet aftertaste. The sweet nature of this tea hogs much of the profile from the initial taste to the aftertaste. There is a deep throaty feel to this tea.
The fifth and sixth infusions are more round with a smoother body and long aftertaste. There are some slightly deeper earthy notes and some spice that seems to naturally come out here as the strong sweetness seems less greedy. Straw, beans, and light wood are reflected in the complex pungent middle.
The seventh and eighth infusions have a very sweet floral touch to the initial sweetness which skips along the tongue into a less pungent, more light woody bottom. The chaqi here is inducing a nice sweat as it goes deep within.
The last handful of infusions at the end are still sweet with dry wood notes and still lots of depth though of the lighter variety. When things get too light the session is called to an end but with a smile on ones face.