Friday, May 17, 2013

Misty Peak Teas, 2013 Yiwu Spring Sheng Pu'er

Misty Peak Teas Description:
This is a wonderful tea to drink today, and a very ideal tea to invest in to allow to further mature.The tea is produced in Yiwu, Xishuangbanna Yunnan China: the birthplace of tea and the most renowned village in the world for Sheng Chaa Pu’er. Nearly every collector and enthusiast holds to Yiwu Village as their most prized choice for Pu’er Tea.

Price: $74.95, Available is a Bing/cake/disc of the finest Sheng Chaa Pu’er(Green Pu’er Tea). We also have them available in the bamboo wrap, 7 at a time. ONE BING WILL MAKE ROUGHLY 600-800 CUPS OF TEA…THATS A PENNY A CUP, while tea bags at the store are about 75 cents each cup. Inquire for orders of more than 2, as quantity may be limited. Each cake is 357 grams, and was produced this year.

My Review:
Misty Peak Teas offered several Steepster members a sample of their sheng pu’er for review. I jumped at the opportunity. When they said they would drop a sample in an envelope, well, they weren’t kidding. Upon opening the envelope I discovered a large chunk of compressed leaf and a lot of bits of leaf that had come loose in the mail scattered all over. Having never received a sample this way it amused me.

The chunk of leaf is about 7g. I used the entire sample. Normally I would only use 3 1/2 grams and 10 ounces of water per cup. I am not doing my normal thing because Misty Peak Teas has specific instructions they say to follow. I can’t actually prepare it their way either, because I lack a clay pot, so their directions are also out the window. I’ll try to follow the general idea where I can. I used a Finum basket to hold the leaf and a tiny Corel cup to steep and sip from. I will use about 3.5oz of water in the each steep and cover with the Finum basket lid. This serves just fine as a budget gaiwan.

I used boiling water for a rinse of a few seconds to make sure to remove any impurities. Pouring out the rinse, I let the basket set a moment to further wake up the leaf.

1st steep @ 10 seconds
The brew is clear and honey colored. The wet leaf has an earthy kind of wormy smell. The sip, however, starts light then becomes earthy/woodsy and slightly creamy. There is nothing off-putting about the taste. It seems kind of salty. I do notice strong camphor notes at end of the sip leaving a tingling, cooling sensation, with a feeling of a dry coating all around the checks mouth and tongue – I have never experienced it to this degree. This is slightly astringent which is not surprising as it is a young green tea.

2nd steep @ 10 seconds
The leaf is loosening up nicely. The brew is chestnut in color. The taste is less earthy and now becoming more metallic – it reminds me of touching aluminum with your tongue (I was a weird kid). It changes late in the sip - kind of fruity. Feels dry and more astringent. I now notice a sticky lip feel.

3rd steep @ 15 seconds
Is this the same tea? It seems much sweeter up front this go around. Mid sip it has bite, like one would expect from a green or even black tea. Then it melts into a smooth creaminess mixed with some astringency making for an interesting combination. This is nice.

4th steep @ 15 seconds
The leaf is now nearly filling the Finum basket. This is very similar to the 3rd steep but with less bite and more smooth. The main thing I noticed with this cup was how quickly it disappeared! Yum!

5th steep @ 20 seconds
I am slow to pick up on fruit notes in tea unless I am drinking a flavored tea. Even I noticed it in this tea on the second cup. I just don’t know what fruit it is, apricot maybe? Anyway it is quite strong in this cup and the aftertaste.

6th steep @ 20 seconds
The brew is getting darker with each steep as is now a light orange. The cup has changed once again. Now it is more mineral and copper tasting. It makes the insides of my cheeks and my lips tingle. The creaminess has also disappeared.

Ok, that’s between 18 and 24 ounces of tea already. Time for an intermission! I had to run errands and took a break of several hours. I just left the leaf in the basket. Time to get drinking again...

7th steep @ 25 seconds
Pretty much the same as the 6th. Mineral but very smooth and easy to drink.

8th steep @ 30 seconds
This is becoming lighter in color. It now looks like honey. Throwing a tiny amount of sweetener in really brings this cup to life for me. Of course I am a sugar junkie.

9th & 10th steeps at 1 minute
I decided to combine the last two cups I am going to do for this test run. This cup returns to creamy with a woodsy edge. Once again I added a bit of sweetener. This toned down the astringency and made for a great finish to the review. I believe the leaf has more to give but I have run out of day.

Some Final Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this young pu-er a lot. I think it would have survived several western mug style brewings with as much ease as it did gaiwan style.
A cake of this could potentially make 750+ cups of tea if you steep each 5g of leaf 10 times as recommended. That makes this $0.10/cup not $0.01 as noted on Misty Peak’s website. Someone made a simple math error and I don’t think it was me. Even if you only steep the leaf 5 times that still results in a frugal $0.20/cup. A bing really can be economical over the life of the leaf and a good sheng pu-er will only gets better with age and proper storage.

Visit Misty Peak Teas web site.

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