I normally steer clear of shou, but I have become curious to find clean and tasty options for a change of pace. I grabbed up this (free) sample from my stash hoping it would fit the bill on a cold and icy morning. So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The broken/separated dry leaf smelled sweet with a touch of earth and none of that nasty fishy/fermented stink. After a single hot rinse the earth was dominant in the pot, but not unpleasant . The first steep was immediately thick, dark and coated my mouth with soft cereal and earthy sweetness. I’ve steeped this sample 6-7 times so far and haven’t noticed much change except for a slight increase in sweetness over earth. If I had to say, this one might actually be a little too soft and uncomplicated even when given extended (2-3 mins) brew time. The strength of flavor doesn’t quite match up to the color, aroma, and mouth feel. Still, this leaf was enjoyable to my tastes and that is an achievement. I’m now hopeful there is a shou out there for me.

Flavors: Earth, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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