Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Afternoon with Master Han's 2013 Sheng Pu'er

This tea has a character, that for sure.  I think all young shengs do.  It will treat you well if you prepare it right, but it will bite your tongue if you don't pay attention to what you're doing.

The very first time I tried a young sheng I steeped it for one full minute.

That was a wrong move.

When I took a sip I was stunned at the bitterness.  I went all the way back to the drawing board and figured out what I did wrong.  Young sheng loves short steeps.  Yes.

Last year I acted on an impulse and got a whole brick of fresh young 2013 Master Han's Sheng from Verdant Tea.  I was a little scared at first because I knew first hand how temperamental young sheng can be.  It cost me a pretty penny and arrived in a tightly packed square brick with aroma to die for.  I prepared a special spot for it in the bookcase in my bedroom, away from all the household smells.  If all goes well I should be able to age it successfully.  That is of course if I don't drink it all too fast.

2013 Master Han's Sheng Pu'er brick

2013 Master Han's Sheng Pu'er leaves

When I want to enjoy it, I prepare it with 7 grams of leaf per 6 ounces of 95°C water.  I rinse the leaves first and let them sit for one minute.  My first steep is only for 5 seconds, followed by subsequent steeps of 10 seconds each.  I like to have 3-4 steeps overall.

Prepared cup of 2013 Master Han's Sheng Pu'er 

The prepared tea is fragrant and a little fruity with a hint of orchids and wood.  Because the steeps are so short there is not even a hint of bitterness.  It's exquisite.  There is something else.  When I first steep it I swear I can smell bacon.  Yes.  Bacon.  If I learned anything from various kinds of teas that I've tried, it is that they can surprise you in more ways than one.


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