MTR - '06 Yiwu.
Infusions (5 total so far) are in order 1 thru 5, top to bottom.
Leaf quality seems good in terms of lack of debris - only one 'twig' and I think the leaves had merely detached. Not sure how to assess quantity of broken vs. whole leaves.
Overall, leaves seem small to me, given what I'm being taught. I am currently leaning toward the information that suggests Yunnan is making puerhs that are drinkable with less aging - thus the larger amounts of smaller leaves and even buds. My teacher suggests that high quality puerh leaves that go into the creation of very high quality puerh are around 3" long. I have yet to meet anyone (including her) who has done what I talked about in an earlier post - tasted a young sheng bing, then taste again after 15-30yrs of proper aging - comparing detailed tasting notes. I hope to have this experience. BTW - currently my teacher and several tea associates of hers are aging just such sheng bings that they believe (based on their extensive experience) are high quality leaf - and aging them at several different sites around the world (including key sites in China of course). They are going to taste them routinely to assess the aging, and continue to do so periodically until proper aging is reached. Be interesting to see the results 15-20yrs from now. Also interesting will be assessment of aging in different climate conditions - actually being able to compare the same bings. Wow. Whew! What a wait tho until final results!
Ahem, anyway - back to the matter at hand.
Again - as is my experience with all young shengs so far - smoky, woody, campfire-y and slight hints of tarry aromas and flavors. On both this tea and the Manmai - I do not find these flavors and aromas seriously unpleasant or horribly off-putting (as with some other sheng bings I've experienced). And again as with the Manmai - no chan ko (choke throat) - a good sign I think. However, I do find this tea strong enough at this age that I wouldn't personally drink this tea for enjoyment now - other than the big enjoyment I get from participating in tastings/experiences like this. But this isn't a sit-down-and-revel-in-it-tea like Shincha, or Sencha, or Matcha, or Oolong to name a few.
There is also a dark, green, deep-forest kind of woody and yet somehow also 'green' aroma (I know 'green' isn't an aroma, but I can't find a word for it) and taste that is buried deep within the smokiness that I find intriguing and interesting.
smelling the dry cup (thank you Tim for that pointer!) - there was much sweetness, and if I let my imagination go wandering a little bit, a sort of woody toffee-ness. This was most evident in the 1st 4 infusions, and tapered off in the 5th.
I experienced some mouth tingles. And as I tasted the tea with my body, from the neck down, there was a slightly warm goodness, whereas some other young shengs seem to impart a kind of chaos and spikiness. (a master Chinese physician taught me to 'taste' tea with the body, from the neck down. It's very informative - try it. Feel the energy, the impact on body, both subtle and gross).