This review is about one of those sheng which are leaving behind the harsh green traits of youth but have not yet reached maturity. Some bloggers are very sceptical about these adolescent cakes - I seem to remember both Hobbes and MarshalN writing something along these lines.
So I proceeded with caution when getting in touch with this sample:
a bit of 2007 Fuhai 7536 aka "Menghai Qizi Bing 2007"
|Solid compression, but no match for my bamboo skewer (makeshift puer-knife)|
|Looks like a cautious dosage of leaves, doesn't it?|
After a quick rinse I sniffed the leaves again. Sure enough, there was smoke, sweet tobacco and fresh wood ... but then got hit by an intense fragrance of dried apricots: fruity and sweet. It was so delicious I couldn't stop inhaling for a while.
When finally I started breathing normally again, it was time for the first brew.
|Not your normal size for a puer cup - but great to dip your face into so you will smell only sheng fragrance|
When I tasted the tea, I encountered an adstringent acerbity and loads upon loads of fruity sweetness. Sounds great, don't you think? But the real attraction was the tea's effect after swallowing: my gums felt enormously alive - as if they were pulsing in beat with my heart. The sweetness didn't linger, but my sensation of freshness caused by the tea's acerbity stayed long after the first brew was finished.
At brew #3 I noticed the sweetness having stepped back, making room for more acerbic freshness. Still the tea was really yummy! Yet once again, what impressed me far more was the feeling - now with action taking place more in my entire body than just the mouth. It felt like a tingling building up in my belly (got plenty of room there ;-) ) picking up force and then suddenly to rush up to my head.
At brew #7 the tea's sweetness became the dominant impression, without rooting out the fresh bitterness. Later (about brew #10) I finally could put words to both characteristics of this tea: sweetness of dried apricots and acerbity of artichokes. As I like both, I made up my mind to buy some of this sheng.
|used - but not exhausted - leaves|
After 14 brews the tea wasn't exhausted - but I was! This tea didn't seem to be easy going - delicious for sure, but the extreme power to envigorate and intoxicate is something to be enjoyed with a measured pace.
At least I thought so until I decided to have the remainig leaves of my sample tonight, to keep me in the right mood for typing down my notes from the above session held three days ago.
Tonight I deemed the leaves to be too few for my gaiwan, so I picked a tiny shui ping (shabby work, propably not zisha):
This pot's clay takes away much of the tea's acerbity, highlighting the apricots. Allright, might be a blend of sweet dried apricots and unripe apricots, giving some astringency to the cup. But the charming yet rough adolescent (gaiwan version) seems to be a sweet and well behaved lady when prepared in a clay pot.
So I've found out I can have two vastly different teas I both like (whereas my last post showed a pleasant and a horrible version) from the same tea. What will happen with different leaf/water ratios, other brewing temperatures or steeping times?
Being the curious tea freak I am, I can't wait for the post man to bring my Fuhai!
Any other experiences with the 7536? Perhaps anyone who had the chance to try a wet stored version?