drank 2015 Smooch by white2tea
2238 tasting notes


I picked this one up with my first White2Tea order, partly as a novelty as I’ve not tried a compressed pu’erh before. It’s a pretty young sheng, with greenish leaves and a lightly perfumed fragrance. From what I can gather, it’s supposed to be a convenient way to brew pu’erh while travelling, and I imagine it could be (depending how quickly the ball unfurls…) It’s still pretty compact after the first steep (around 1.5m, western-style.)

The first steep is sweet and mostly smooth, with a hint of floral. It’s a little grassy, with just a touch of astringency towards the end of the sip. It’s not remarkably distinctive or flavourful, at this point.

Second steep for 1 minute. The ball disintegrates completely at this point, and so I’m not entirely sold on the suggestion that this is supposed to be much more convenient than a cake. I wouldn’t find it so, but I don’t typically attempt to lug around a whole cake anyway. I’d take a fragment on holiday, in a ziplock bag, and use an infuser – but I’m using an infuser for this also, so it would make little difference to my personal set-up.

The flavour this time is more distinctively “sheng” – earthy/grassy, with an edge of bitterness. It’s still mostly smooth, more so as it cools, but there’s just that bit of “bite”. This one reminds me most of Teavivre’s Fengqing Raw Cake from 2006, which I seem to possess in quantity but don’t particularly enjoy. It’s pretty hard to describe, but it has the same brassy, almost-metallic background flavour.

Third steep for 50 seconds. The flavour, at this point, seems fairly fixed. Once again, it’s earthy/grassy with a background brassiness, and just a touch of bitterness. It’s still very easy to drink, although it’s not particularly distinctive. There are definitely more exciting sheng pu’erhs out there – this one strikes me as very routine.

I might try one more steep after lunch before I call it a day with this one.

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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