Saturday, January 26, 2013

Esgreen, 2005 Shu Tou-Phoenix Old Tea Tree

Esgreen description:
250g/pc, a complete pack including 4 pieces.
Shape: Tuo Cha-Tea Bowl/Nest
Type: Shu Cha Ripe/Cooked
Vintage Year: 2005
Weight: 250g x 4 per Package
The Region of Harvest: Yunnan Province, China
Plant Type: Old Yunnan Big Leaf Tea Tree
Tea Factory: Yunnan Hejian Tea Factory
Brand: Phoenix

Sample provided by Esgreen for review.

My Review
This is one of those mornings I probably shouldn’t be making tea. I scrubbed up my press and my cup. Got out my tea. Started heating the water. Then noticed I had put the leaf in my mug instead of the press. Oh man, it’s time to wake up. Maybe I really NEED tea this morning. So let’s get started.

This was very lightly compressed. It came apart very easily without any tools. The leaf is all rust/dark chocolate colored. It reminds me of bark. No discernable odor from the dry leaf. I put the leaf in the press where it belongs this time and poured maybe half an ounce of boiling water over it then swished it around to wake up the leaf. It has a somewhat strong odor and I probably should have poured the wash off and started fresh but I didn’t. I added the rest of my water and let it steep for about a minute.

The brew is not the burgundy I normally associate with shu. It is Tetley tea color.The typical orangish color of a cup of grocery store orange pekoe. In other words, it just looks like tea. The aroma is not overpowering but has a shu poo scent. If you drink puerh, you are shaking your head in agreement, because you know what I mean. If you don’t drink puerh, you are going eew. I understand. It is a tough hurdle to get past the first time but is often worth the effort.

The first sip gives the impression of fruit. No, it makes me think of grape leaves. This is quickly replaced by wood, like an old damp fallen tree in the forest. Next I get leather. Not the horse tack leather I normally think of with shu, this is like an older leather jacket. There is nothing foul, barnyard, or fishy, in the taste. Certainly no bitterness. The back edge of the sip has rough edges. Again, this reminds me of bark.

The second cup at 30 seconds was darker and smoother. More refined leather and some kind of fruity and spicy notes.

Third cup at 30 seconds continued on even smoother and very sweet.

That’s all I had time for today. I thought this was pretty good.


Day two with the same leaf. When I put the chunk in the press yesterday it sure looked like whole leaves. Today I see almost entirely small broken pieces. I steeped cup 4 for a minute and a half. The brew is darker than the first cup but no where near as dark as the 2nd and 3rd. This tastes very bland today. I have to work way to hard to catch much of anything. Looks like this is a three cup steeper done western style. On to the next.

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