3 Tasting Notes
The very first thing I noticed when drinking smooch is that it was sweetness up front, bitterness and astringency at the end of the sip. In my experience with most sheng, especially young Lincang sheng, I notice that the bitterness and astringency tend to make themselves known up front, but fade into a rewarding sweetness at the end. I brewed a 7-8g “dragon ball” of smooch in my ~100ml chaozhou teapot. As with all dragon balls, it took a little while to open up, but when it did the material was strong and long lasting. I didn’t count steeps, but I would guesstimate somewhere in the 12-15 steeps range which I think is pretty great. The liquor was thick, and reminded me of green apple (sweet, but with a bite) and a hint of muscatel grape. The Cha Qi is pleasant and relaxing, but not overly powerful. This probably wouldn’t be an ideal introduction to puerh teas, as the bitterness and astringency are quite obvious. However, if you’re not put off by a little bite, Smooch is a lovely tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Green, Green Apple, Muscatel, Peach, Sweet
I couldn’t resist trying my new cake of 2017 Snoozefest. It was pressed relatively recently, so it may still need to sit a bit longer before its “ready” to drink. In my session with this tea I still found it very enjoyable. If anyone is still waiting to try their cake, I recommend trying it soon. I will be letting the rest of my cake sit for a few months. If the tea has changed substantially in that time I will post an update for anyone curious. The tea is sweet, with notes of pine and the spice notes I often associate with high quality white tea buds, Darjeeling, and some Nepalese teas.
Snoozefest is still young though, and has a strong astringency and mild bitterness that keep you coming back for more.
The Qi is both relaxing and stimulating.
I wish I had another cake of this tea to age long term, because this cake will be consumed fresh (I don’t have that kind of patience, the tea is already great!)
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Green, Pine, Spices, Sweet
I brewed this tea for the first time in my 70ml gaiwan. I used 5g of leaf, which was only partially whole leaves as this was near the very end of the cake. That being said I think its a pretty fair sample and didn’t include any tea dust. I rinsed this tea twice and was surprised by the color of each rinse after only a few seconds in contact with the leaf. The first steep I drank was only about 2-3 seconds after replacing the gaiwan lid because I was concerned about over brewing. I ended up throwing out half of the steep because it was very weak in flavor. The second and third steeps were both at 10 seconds and were much more enjoyable. The first thing I noticed about this tea is its astringency. My entire mouth has become dried out due to contact with the tea and it makes me want to just keep brewing more. This tea also has a moderate bitterness which should be easy enough for most pu-heads to enjoy, but may be off-putting to a newer drinker. The taste of this tea is very nice as well. Under the overtones of bitterness and heavy astringency lies a delicious peach flavor. Its not like a juicy august peach though, not that sweet. More like a peach you eat a day too early or one of those white peaches at the grocery store. There’s a slight smokiness and/or tobacco note to the tea that reminds me of a mid 2000’s dry aged fangcha puerh that I recieved as a part of the White2Tea tea club for a particular month. When I closed my eyes and took a big sip, I remembered the smell of a wood shop after hours of repeated use. The sawdust and freshly cut wood notes really bring this tea together. Overall, I think this tea is quite a bit different than most of the sheng I end up sampling from the more western facing retailers. It is quite complex, and very interesting. This is a really nice tea that is ageing well after 10 years. I received 10-12g of this tea from Liquid Proust and this is my first time tasting it. From what I could see online, this tea is available for a very reasonable price from Aliexpress, TaoBao, and eBay. I’ve never bought tea from any of those sources before, so it may be quite sketchy. If it is in fact the same tea, its a bargain for a nice semi aged tea. If you’re a big collector just buy one and shove it in the corner somewhere for a few more years.
Edit/Update: the last few steps of this tea are pure sweetness all of the bitterness and much of the astringency have receded leaving behind an almost cane sugar like sweetness.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Peach, Sawdust, Smoke