Sampled from the Pu’erh Plus TTB.
Prepared 4.6g in a 60ml ceramic gaiwan. I generally followed BLT’s instructions. Rinsed once for 7 seconds and let the chunk rest for 2 minutes. Steeping times: 10 seconds, 15, 15, 22, 22, 29, 35, 45, 60, 90; 2 minutes, 4, 8, 15.
The dry leaf aroma smelled earthy and leathery. Sitting in the pre-heated gaiwan brought out sweetness. The aroma of the wet leaf was also sweet and leathery initially, and became chocolate-like and even sweeter the more the leaf was steeped.
I should have given the chunk a second rinse. It was more pressed than I thought, so it didn’t completely fall apart until after the fourth steeping. As a result, cups 1-4 were too light in taste: sweet and earthy with an aftertaste of dates and raisins. Beginning with the 5th and till the 1oth cups, I experienced very much what BLT describes on their website. Right on the money! That is, overall, this was a clean, clear, and gentle shou. The soup is the color of dark orange. Though lighter in feel and taste than I prefer in shou, Grizzly Brown was full-bodied, very creamy in texture, and had a pronounced sweet earth note. The date/raisin aftertaste was more rounded and lasted longer, and I also noted a prunes. At cups 11 and 12, the sweetness faded and I tasted wood and leather. However, 13 and 14 surprisingly returned to fruity sweetness, even tasting somewhat tart.