This is the last of the teas from my first White2Tea order. I can’t remember why I chose this one now, because the majority of the notes seem fairly negative. I’m not a great lover of bitterness in my pu’erh, and particularly not sheng. I must have read something redeeming at some point, though, so I’m going to give it a chance anyway! It’s the oldest of the shengs I selected, so I’m hoping age will be on its side…

I kept the first steep fairly minimal, at around 25 seconds. Fortunately, it’s perfectly smooth with absolutely no bitterness. It doesn’t have a huge amount of flavour; even the usual brassy sourness is missing! It’s lightly creamy, with a very slight edge of honey, and perhaps the tiniest bit of raw wood at the end of the sip. Pleasant, but not particularly arresting.

I left the second steep a little longer, just to see. I’ve found a touch of bitterness, but really no more than that. The flavour this time was unexpectedly smoky, with a woody undertone that’s quite pleasant. I’m surprised how different it was from the first steep, but I’ll probably reduce the time again for my next.

Third steep for 30 seconds, and the bitterness was again absent. I think there’s a fairly fine tipping point with this one; a case of a few seconds perhaps. The smokiness is present a little, but mostly in the background. For the most part, this is back to the smooth, creamy flavour of the first steep. It’s pleasant, but it’s finicky and lighter in flavour than I expected. On this plus side, no characteristic raw sheng flavour!

Third steep was for around 25 seconds; as the leaf unfurls, it obviously brews more quickly. There’s a tiny hint of bitterness, a touch of smoke, but mostly a raw wood flavour. The creaminess has disappeared. I could continue with this one for a while yet, but it’s time to go home! I may save my leaf and resume tomorrow, or I might move on to something else. I have enough left that I can return to this one in the future if I want to.

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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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