The Chinese Tea Shop’s Ancient Camphor Wild Tree Loose Leaf Pu’erh

Ancient Camphor Wild Tree Loose Leaf Pu’erh by The Chinese Tea Shop
Pu’erh / Straight
$18.00 for 20g

First Impressions

I know, I know, I bought pu’erh. It’s just so out of character for me! I’ll reach for basically any other type of true tea before pu’erh (I’m terrible, I know). Ancient Camphor Wild Tree Loose Leaf Pu’erh is a purchase that I made from The Chinese Tea Shop at the 2020 Vancouver Tea Festival that I actually made on impulse. (That may apply to most of the purchases I made at the tea festival… if I’m being honest).

Ancient Camphor Wild Tree Loose Leaf Pu’erh comes in a resealable plastic pouch with a simple label on it. I found from the product page online that this tea is from Yunnan, Xishuang Banna Region, it’s considered a sheng (or raw) pu’erh, and it was harvested in the 1990s.

The leaves are dark, there’s a bit of colour variation throughout the leaves which is nice to see. The aroma of the dry leaf is a mix of earth and mushrooms with a hint of mineral quality to it that reminds me of the smell of mineral water. It’s basically intriguing and also one of the reasons that I wanted to buy it – who doesn’t want to drink tea from the 1990s?

Preparation

The Chinese Tea Shop recommends steeping pu’erh in 95-100°C (203-212°F) water, and also recommends using the gongfu method of steeping tea (which is basically seconds for very short steeps. I opted to do an initial steep of Ancient Camphor Wild Tree Loose Leaf Pu’erh for 1 minute (60 seconds) with 100°C (212°F) water as I was steeping it in western style tea pot.

First Taste

Ancient Camphor Wild Tree Loose Leaf Pu’erh steeps to a golden peachy colour pretty quickly. There’s a strong earthy flavour to it that continues to remind me of mushrooms with a subtle sweetness throughout. It’s pleasant and enjoyable, which I do find to be a surprise to me since I normally don’t gravitate towards pu’erhs but here I am – buying and drinking it.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Ancient Camphor Wild Tree Loose Leaf Pu’erh six times (seven steeps total), adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the flavour got stronger in resteep 1 and 2, and then got weaker after that. The flavour of the tea remained consistent throughout all the steeps.

My Overall Impression

I loved The Chinese Tea Shop’s Ancient Camphor Wild Tree Loose Leaf Pu’erh. While I did make this purchase on whim – because why not? – I found the dry leaf aroma and the steeped tea to be both intriguing and inviting. I really enjoyed the flavours from this raw pu’erh, and it was really nice to get the opportunity to try out a tea that’s been aged. I think the flavour is really nice with that earthy quality, and I really liked how well the tea resteeped and stayed pretty true to the initial steep.

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The Chinese Tea Shop’s Blooming Green Tea

Blooming Green Tea by The Chinese Tea Shop
Green Tea / Flavoured
$35.95 for 200g

First Impressions

The Chinese Tea Shop’s Blooming Green Tea was a purchase at the most recent Vancouver Tea Festival (and I’m just writing about it now – shame on me!). If you’ve been reading here for a while now, or following me on Instagram (@onemoresteep), you will know that I’m a sucker for a good blooming/flowering tea. The unfortunate thing about blooming teas is that they are just not cheap – it takes skill to make them and they’re just beautiful to watch unfold and bloom in your teapot. I always recommend steeping one of these in a clear glass teapot (or teacup, if that’s more of your style) just so you can watch the magic happen.

So the bag I had bought contains seven different shapes (designs). These tea leaves are tied together, by hand, using silk thread. There’s not even a little hint from the dry tea ball about what colour the flowers are on the inside. The aroma from this little ball is sweet floral, with a light background of the green tea.

Preparation

There weren’t any steeping instructions on the packaging. I filled up a glass teapot with water that was heated to 79°C (175°F) and dropped the ball in. I waited until it had fully bloomed prior to pouring myself a cup – the whole process took about 2 minutes (120 seconds).

First Taste

Blooming Green Tea steeps to a pale orange, with a pleasant floral aroma. There’s a nice sweetness to this tea, which is capitalized by the fact that there is no bitterness or astringency given the length of time I steeped it for. This flowering tea made for a smooth cup of tea and it was very pleasant to drink.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Blooming Green Tea twice (three times total) and found that the floral flavours stayed present throughout. A few petals and tea leaves were knocked loose each time I filled up the teapot, which wasn’t too much of a hassle for me to pull it out.

The flowers are really quite beautiful. I’m not an expert, but I believe they are globe amaranth, chrysanthemum, and jasmine.

My Overall Impression

I loved The Chinese Tea Shop’s Blooming Green Tea. There is just something really relaxing about watching a ball of tea open up and ‘bloom’. If you’ve never had the opportunity to try one, I definitely recommend it. It’s just a lovely experience to watch – and the fact that the tea is tasty and holds up to resteeping doesn’t hurt either!

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The Chinese Tea Shop’s 2006 High Mountain Shou Mei

2006 High Mountain Shou Mei by The Chinese Tea Shop
White Tea / Straight
$11.95 for 25g

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First Impressions

It’s another one of my Vancouver Tea Festival purchases, finally making its way to One More Steep. This tea comes from The Chinese Tea Shop, which is a fantastic tea shop located in Vancouver, British Columbia. I picked this one out because it just smelled so good.

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This is the 2006 High Mountain Shou Mei, which is a straight white tea. The packaging is fairly simplistic, primarily showcasing the tea itself. As you can see, the tea is primarily whole dried leaves. There is some broken tea leaves throughout – I’m not sure how much of that is because of how I had it stored (squished between other teas). The aroma that comes from the dry leaf is primarily floral, with a light sweetness to it.

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Preparation

The Chinese Tea Shop has so much information on their website regarding tea culture, and steeping tea. For this white tea, I opted to do an initial steep at 175°F (80°C) for 2 minutes. If I’m not too familiar with a type of white or green tea, I try to keep the water temperature as low as possible and do short steeps, this helps to prevent astringency and bitterness!

First Taste

High Mountain Shou Mei steeps to a fairly pale yellow for the initial steep. I found that the aroma from this white tea to be quite floral, with a slight fruity undertone that reminds me of apples. When drinking High Mountain Shou Mei, I found it to be smooth, with a sweetness that I wasn’t expecting. I could taste the floral and fruity (definitely apple!) notes, but there was a sweetness that was present. It wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet, it was just enough to highlight the fruity flavours and accents the gentle apple flavour that I get from this tea.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped High Mountain Shou Mei six times (seven times total), adding an extra 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. Shou Mei got to be a deeper, darker golden yellow with each steep, the colour peaked at the third resteep. I found that the flavours got stronger as the colour got deeper. After the third resteep, the colour and flavour began to fade, but was still palatable by the last resteep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved The Chinese Tea Shop’s 2006 High Mountain Shou Mei. This straight white tea was a delight to have over the course for a long morning tea session (which is apparently what I do when I wake up at 5am not on purpose). I loved tasting this tea over and over again, it resteeps so well and has such a great flavour. The apple-y sweetness was nicely balanced with the floral notes, I just love the natural flavours of this tea. This tea can be on the pricey side (although cost per gram goes down if you buy a larger quantity), but the quality is so high that I think you can definitely get your money’s worth out of each steep, especially if you push it to its limits like I do with multiple steeps.

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