I ordered a 25 gram sample of this 2018 raw. When I opened the foil bag, I found a nice unbroken outside edge of a beeng. When I smelled the dry piece of cake, I would have sworn I was smelling a tie guan yin oolong. It was floral and had some bright sweet aroma. The bright sweet notes could be described as fruity or could be interpreted as something like a light sweet honey such as sourwood or locust tree honey. Sweet and sticky is what comes to mind. There was some muted hay aroma but this was slight. Sweet and floral are the dominate aromas.
I did a quick rinse and the cake looked so clean I decided to drink the wash. I’m glad I did. The quick rinse produced a light sweet taste that was very much in-line with the tie guan yin smell of the dry leaves. The soft yellow tea soup was also very much like tie guan yin. The next infusion was kept short and again the tea produced a sweet floral oolong-like tea. For the third infusion, I let it go for 20 seconds. That was enough to bring out some bitterness. It also produced a very nice hui gan in this third infusion. Sweetness kept coming long after the slightly bitter tea was swallowed as well as a mouth watering sensation that lasted for minutes. For the remaining infusions, I drank this with dinner, and pushed it a little harder to bring out more flavor to better stand out against the meal I was eating. It will produce bitterness if steep times are extended, but with the bitterness, you get the nice hui gan. I went long, but did reduce the water temp to around 195 F.
If steep times are kept short, this raw puerh is surprisingly sweet and drinkable now, or if you don’t mind some bitterness and want a more intense experience, it works now. I would love to know how this one will age.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Orchid, Sweet