Teakan’s Sheng (raw) Pu’er

Sheng (raw) Pu’er by Teakan
Pu’erh Tea / Straight
$30.00 for 66g

Sheng (raw) Pu’er is part of Teakan’s Volume 3 Exploration Kit, a collection of five single origin teas. Sheng (raw) Pu’er makes up 16g of the 66g kit.

First Impressions

Sheng (raw) Pu’er comes in a sealed, resealable kraft paper pouch. There is that familiar labelling from Teakan, and I’m sad that this is the last of the teas from Volume 3 for me to review. I saved the pu’erh for last because I find pu’erh teas to be the most intimidating. I know a lot of people either really love or really dislike pu’erh and I’m one of those people who sort of falls in the middle. I love some pu’erh, and think others are kind of awful and lead to a terrible taste in my mouth.

Sheng Pu’er comes in a flat square puck. The colouring of the leaves is quite pretty  – there’s a huge variation in colour from pale cream to greens and browns. It’s honestly really quite nice to look at. Sheng Pu’er is from Yongde, Yunnan, China and was harvested in spring 2020 – so it hasn’t had a very long time to age. The tea itself has a very strong aroma to it – it reminds me a lot of dark green leafy vegetables (think gailan, broccoli, brussel sprouts).

Preparation

Teakan recommends using 2.5g for western style steeping, using 90°C (194°F) water for 3 minutes or 4g for gongfu style steeping, using 90°C (194°F) water for a rinse, followed by a 10-15 second steep.

If you don’t have a scale, it’s pretty easy. As each puck is 8g, you’ll either use approximately ¼ for western style steeping or ½ for gongfu style steeping. I opted to do western style steeping and did an initial steep for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Sheng Pu’er initially steeps to a nice yellow colour. It has a strong aroma that is earthy, floral, and still reminding me of dark green leafy vegetables. The flavour is surprisingly floral, with an earthy/mushroom-y flavour to it. There is an interesting mouthfeel to it, it’s full-bodied, with an almost drying texture in my mouth. The tea itself has a bit of an astringency that lasts from mid sip to the aftertaste. The mild umami notes from the mushroom notes really give it a savoury kick.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Sheng Pu’er five times, adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. The colouring of the tea itself got darker, becoming a deep, almost brownish orange. The flavour of Sheng Pu’er gets more earthy and vegetal, and less floral. That astringency I found in the initial steep continues throughout and doesn’t put me off (surprisingly).

My Overall Impression

I liked Teakan’s Sheng Pu’er. I’m not a huge pu’erh tea drinker – and this is something that I completely own up to. That said, I did enjoy drinking Sheng Pu’er and the ability to resteep it and taste it as it subtly shifts in flavour was a real treat. I don’t think it’s one that I’ll have stocked in the tea stash, if only because pu’erh isn’t something that I routinely reach for (maybe that’ll change one day, and then I’ll be kicking myself for not having more of it).

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Teakan’s Jin Jun Mei

Jin Jun Mei by Teakan
Black Tea / Straight
$30.00 for 66g

Jin Jun Mei is part of Teakan’s Volume 3 Exploration Kit, a collection of five single origin teas. Jin Jun Mei makes up 15g of the 66g kit.

First Impressions

It’s taken me a bit longer than expected to work my way through Teakan’s Volume 3 Exploration Kit – but here we are! This is the fourth tea, Jin Jun Mei. This is a black tea from Tong Mu Guan, Fujian, China. It comes in a kraft paper pouch that’s sealed and resealable, with the very similar black and white label on the side that has information on both the front and the back side. The packaging is minimalistic and sufficient, providing the information that you need when it comes to steeping this tea. This particular tea was harvested in spring 2020, which also intrigues me a bit because getting to try out fairly young teas is always a treat, especially when it comes to single origin teas.

The leaves themselves are beautiful – there’s lots of downy softness to these tea leaves, and bright golden yellow tips that outshine their darker counterparts in this little mound of tea leaves. The aroma is sweet and lightly smokey – it reminds me of the remnants of a campfire the next morning. Jin Jun Mei is enticing, feels to me like it would even bit a bit bold in flavour after being steeped.

Preparation

Teakan recommends steeping Jin Jun Mei in 90°C (194°F) water for 2 to 3 minutes for the western steeping style; if opting to steep Jin Jun Mei in the gongfu method, Teakan recommends the same water temperature but only steeping for 3 to 5 seconds. Because my gaiwan is still living in storage, I opted to do the western style and did an initial steep at 3 minutes.

First Taste

Jin Jun Mei steeps to this beautiful, impossibly bright golden yellow. It almost reminds me of how bright saffron can be, that’s just how intense this yellow is. The aroma is slightly smoky, just like the dry leaf, with a hint of sweetness. The tea itself has a strong mouthfeel, with a thickness to the tea that makes it really coat the inside of your mouth. The flavour is malty, smoky, with just the hint of apricots lingering in the background, which really just adds a touch of sweetness to it. There’s an almost bitter aftertaste that only stays for a short while before it goes away on its own. There’s a touch of astringency, but it doesn’t make my mouth feel dry.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Jin Jun Mei a total of five times, adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. Jin Jun Mei gets a bit more malty and less astringent as the steeps go on, but I do find that the sweetness doesn’t change too much. There’s still that slight bitter aftertaste, but it’s not enough to put me off from finishing the cup (or pot). It’s a nice candidate for resteeping, as far as black teas go.

My Overall Impression

I liked Teakan’s Jin Jun Mei. I thought this tea did lovely when it came to steeping and resteeping, and it has a great flavour. I probably would have ranked it a bit higher if it weren’t for the astringency and bitter notes that I found – they weren’t enough to put me off from drinking it, but it also stands out to me that those flavour notes are there. I think starting at 3 minutes perhaps was a bit too harsh on the tea leaves, and I would definitely not recommend steeping beyond the recommended length of time, for fear of the tea getting more bitter. I do love the colour though, it’s such a shocking sunshine yellow colour and really just puts a smile on my face.

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Teakan’s Moonlight White

Moonlight White by Teakan
White Tea / Straight
$30.00 for 66g

Moonlight White is part of Teakan’s Volume 3 Exploration Kit, a collection of five single origin teas. Moonlight White makes up 10g of the 66g kit.

First Impressions

A good white tea is occasionally hard to come by. There’s just something lovely about a minimally processed tea – something as close to being freshly plucked off of the plant as you can get… And then there’s Teakan with their Moonlight White as part of their 3rd Exploration Kit. Moonlight White was harvested in spring 2020, so it’s pretty new to the world. It is from Simao, Yunnan, China. It comes in the very familiar kraft paper pouch that is sealed and resealable with the minimalistic labeling design that Teakan uses – white with plain black lettering. Just something about it that I love. While this pouch only contains 10g of tea (it is part of a sampler, after all), 10g can go along way when it comes to a straight tea. Plus,  I feel like the leaves just take up so much space and it definitely feels like more than 10g of tea.

The leaves are wildly diverse in colour – ranging from pale cream to dark brown. There’s lots of feathery bits visible in the leaves, it’s quite amazing how detailed the leaves are after going through the drying process to become tea. There’s minimal to no twist in the leaves and they honestly look like someone plucked them and just dropped them onto a tray to dry. But look! They just take up so much space, so you really get quite an airy tea for 10g. The aroma of Moonlight White is honey sweet and floral – it reminds me of spring and taking walks in the forest after a rain – it just has a freshness about it.

Preparation

Teakan recommends steeping Moonlight White in 90°C (194°F) water for 2-3 minutes if steeping western style and 25-30 seconds if steeping gongfu style. For my own personal preference, I opted to steep Moonlight White in the western style for an initial steep of 2 minutes.

First Taste

As you can see, Moonlight White steeps quite a pale yellow in the initial steep. The aroma of the steeped tea is very similar to the dry leaf – sweet and floral. The floral is really light, but doesn’t taste as being like a floral perfume which is a huge plus. I enjoy the gentle sweetness in each sip and it has a great mouthfeel to it, just a lightly thickened texture to it. A pleasant and smooth cup of tea to drink.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Moonlight White a total of seven times (eight steeps total with the same leaves). The tea itself got darker and more golden yellow as I did more resteeps, and the flavour skewed more towards floral while I think the level of sweetness remained fairly similar to the initial steep. There was also more fruity notes as I continued steeping, but it remains floral-forward. It reminds of the fruity flavours of lychee if I needed to give it a label.

My Overall Impression

I loved Teakan’s Moonlight White. This is such a pleasant white tea and I feel like it was just so giving – so good to resteep, a great flavour with a natural sweetness, and just makes for a nice cup of tea. I would highly recommend resteeping this if you have the time for it because it’s well worth it. Beautiful leaves with a beautiful flavour. This is the type of tea that just makes me really appreciate the tea plant in its purest form.

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