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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DavidsTea’s Golden Dragon Pu’erh

Golden Dragon Pu’erh by DavidsTea
Pu’erh Tea / Straight
$12.98 for 50g

First Impressions

Golden Dragon Pu’erh is a pu’erh that I picked up on a whim when I was throwing together an online order. I’m not sure what I’ve done with myself, but apparently I buy pu’erh teas now. What can I say? Pandemic isolation has resulted in me behaving very strangely.

Golden Dragon Pu’erh comes in regular silver pouch from DavidsTea. The ‘golden’ part is reflected by the golden paper wrappers around each individual ball of tea. 50g gets you 8 balls in a pouch, so each one is 6.25g (and makes it $1.62 per serving as each ball = 1 serving). DavidsTea describes this as being a shou pu’erh (‘cooked’ pu’erh) from Yunnan province, China. On the online product page, there’s further information from this tea being grown in Menghai and is described as one of the first regions of China to pu’erh tea (all the way back in 1500BC!).

The leaves themselves are tightly balled up – with varying shades of brown ranging from light caramel to deep chocolate browns. The aroma really reminds me of cooked down mushrooms – just very earthy, the smell of dirt after a good rainfall. It really isn’t the most appealing, but I’ve played this game with pu’erh before so… onto the tasting we go.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Golden Dragon Pu’erh in 95°C (200°F) water for 4-5 minutes. I followed the steeping instructions and did an initial steep for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Golden Dragon Pu’erh steeps to a very deep brown with slight reddish tones. The aroma is very earthy and that is also reflected in the taste. It’s earthy, with just a hint of sweetness, and a really nice balanced flavour overall. There’s just something about Golden Dragon Pu’erh that makes me think of mushrooms, earthiness, post-rainfall freshness. There’s plenty of smooth umami qualities and it has a quality about it that reminds me a lot of the type of pu’erh that you might find served to you when you go out to eat at an authentic Chinese restaurant (especially during dimsum hours).

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Golden Dragon Pu’erh a total of seven times (eight steeps total) and it honestly got better with each steep until about the third resteep, then started to decrease in flavour (but was still worth drinking by the end). The tea takes on a more thickened liquor feel to it, lending itself to a pleasant mouthfeel experience. The flavour remains well-balanced and continued to remind me of a pu’erh that I might have been served at my favourite dimsum restaurant.

My Overall Impression

I loved DavidsTea’s Golden Dragon Pu’erh. There’s just something about this tea that gives me very strong nostalgia for memories of eating out with my family, which is honestly probably why I like it more than I feel like I should. It has a great flavour profile, is well-balanced, and resteeps incredibly well, so I wouldn’t mind recommending this (and continuing to drink it over and over again). Definitely worth the time to resteep it and have throughout the day (and night!).

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DavidsTea’s Sheng Pu’erh

Sheng Pu’erh by DavidsTea
Pu’erh Tea / Straight
$10.98 for 50g

First Impressions

Sheng Pu’erh is not a tea that I would have necessarily picked out for myself a few years ago, but 2020 is a year of confusion, mystery, and Michelle trying new things. Because why not? Sheng Pu’erh comes in a very familiar silver pouch from DavidsTea – sealed and resealable. It is a larger bag than you’ll usually find 50g of tea in, which lends me to believe that it’ll be an airy tea and just a very ‘light’ tea overall.

The leaves of Sheng Pu’erh are lightly twisted and have a range of colours from dark brown to a reddish brown colour to even a cream colour for the leaves that show some feathery bits to it. Sheng Pu’erh consists only of sheng pu’erh tea from Yunnan Province, China. The aroma is a mix of earthy and roasted nuttiness. I found out from the DavidsTea website that their Sheng Pu’erh is only a year old, so there’s still room for improvement on the tea itself if you allow it to age.

For those new to pu’erh, there’s two basic types: sheng and shou. Sheng is raw while shou is ripe – sheng is less processed and shou is more processed. I’m still not too familiar to the ins and outs of pu’erh tea and I don’t even remotely pretend to be an expert on it – but I’m in the process of learning! More on that later…

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Sheng Pu’erh in 95°C (200°F) water for 4 to 5 minutes. I opted to do a quick rinse of the leaves first with the same temperature water before doing a steep time of 4 minutes.

A quick rinse is just like it sounds: pour the heated water over the leaves in the tea pot, and immediately pour it out before it really gets a chance to steep. Then continue the steeping process as normal. Rinsing helps to ‘wake up’ pu’erh tea leaves a little bit, and is a common technique when starting a steep of pu’erh leaves.

First Taste

Sheng Pu’erh steeps to a light golden yellow. The aroma is slightly smoky, earthy, and something that reminds me of mushrooms. It has a nice slightly thickened texture, and is a smooth sip. The flavour stays the same throughout the sip, and it just has a bit of a gentle mouthfeel that allows the flavour to coat in the inside of your mouth without an lingering aftertaste.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Sheng Pu’erh four times (five steeps total), and added an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. The leaves really opened up from the dried state and you can see the texture in the full leaves after they opened up after all the steeps. The flavour does deepen as you go and remains fairly faithful to the initial steep. It does get a bit more earthy and the smoky notes lessen with the subsequent steeps.

My Overall Impression

I loved DavidsTea’s Sheng Pu’erh. I found it to be a very pleasant cup of tea, and it really reminds me of a pu’erh that you might get with dimsum at a restaurant (I miss dimsum!). There’s a nice earthiness to it that isn’t overpoweringly robust, and the texture of the tea is just smooth. I would liken this to being a good introductory pu’erh because it’s not over the top in flavour, but it doesn’t lack in flavour either. There’s nothing particularly offensive about it, which I can sometimes find fault in for other pu’erh teas, but just makes for a decent, standard cup of pu’erh (which isn’t to say that as a bad thing, but it makes a nice introduction, and I kind of wish that this had been one of my introductory pu’erh teas myself when I first started branching out).

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