After rinsing the leaves, their wet aroma gave off no alarming or obnoxious smells; some of the immediate sourness and strength, which is present in some young shengs, was not present here. The smell wasn’t necessarily dull, but it gave me nothing to fear continuing.
The color of the liquor began as a very light yellow, and didn’t stray far from this throughout the session. The tea was clearer than some of the tea I’m more acquainted with, but still wasn’t entirely transparent. Sipping the first steep, there was an immediate sweetness that resonated on the tip of my tongue, and lingered on my lips. As I swallowed the tea, it tingled the middle and back of my tongue. The body of this tea was rather thin, but not distastefully so. The dominant flavor at this point was still the light sweetness, which edged on floral, but was not so bright. The second steep highlighted the lower half of this tea’s flavor, which is a vegetal, somewhat grassy, and slightly bitter, taste. This type of flavor is very common among young shengs, especially ones less than three years in age; however, this component of the tea did not hit as hard as it does in some others like it. The sweetness was not overpowered by this vegetal taste, but it did become clear that there were two fighting flavors in the tea. This part of the tea ramped up against the sweeter counterpart up until steep 6. During this, a underlying and faint creaminess established itself in the brew; recurring, but not very prevalent. Steep 6 was a turning point in flavor, as the vegetal / bitter flavors plateaued, and faded every steep past 6. The sweetness had calmed by this point, but came out on top as it became the dominant flavor in steep 6 +. This was a nice surprise, and gives the drinker a reason to keep steeping beyond the first few. This said, it is worth nothing that the harder you brew this tea, the more vegetal it will taste; similarly, the quicker you drink it, the less you’ll taste of it’s sweet flavor.
In conclusion, this young sheng doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of complexity or body feel, but it is an excellent value for a daily drinker – $36 for a whole 200g cake, which, at one year’s age, is an incredibly tame young sheng. The sweetness may dull with age, but if the body of the tea is to beef up over the next few years, I could see it evolving into a very interesting brew.
6.8g / 100ml
100c (boiling) water
Steep time = 5x seconds, where x = steep number