As part of my unhurried exploration of Meng Song area sheng puer, I’m having a Sunday afternoon sit-down with Essence of Tea’s 2014 Da Meng Long Gushu.
The dry leaf smells like fruit punch in the forest. Warmed leaf has a thick and rich date-caramel sweetness with faint wet smoke.
The tea is pouring golden orange with a brown tint.
At the lips, it’s rich with dates. There’s a bit of tang to the cup and early a quick bite in the throat. Bitterness is certainly there, structured, and passes at some point (who knows, I’m relaxed) after the swallow giving way to a strong returning sweetness. The aftertaste is drying and creamy, impression of cherimoya then apricot. After that fades, a metallic-astringent feeling/taste lingers; it’s pleasant, my tongue tingles far past the last sip. A comforting, expansive warmth in the throat and chest, a relaxing cool. Once the initial bitterness and astringency pass, the leaf needs to be brewed harder to elicit its hidden richness.
There is lingering depth of feeling to this tea. It rushes with a slow, smooth rumble and recedes like a warm wave break spreading across the sand, barely touching your toes before heading back out to sea. It courses and flows and grounds.