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.