August 03, 2016
Teanami - Bu Lang 2011 Raw
I feel like I am living like the boy in the picture book Fortunately. Do you know the story? Fortunately I special packed my ITEI Tea School textbook, Tea by the Camellia Sinensis Tea House, so I can complete homework assignments. Unfortunately, the movers packed my binder of tasting notes and I can't find it. Fortunately, I record personal tastings in a separate notebook. One of the teas I've tasted on my own is he Bu Lang 2011 Raw from Teanami. It's part of my exploration of new teas, especially of sheng puerhs. I have prepared this tea a couple of times but this review is based primarily on the second session.
Sweet and fruity like cassis liquor is what I noted each time I opened the tin which holds the dry leaves. If you inhale very deeply, you get a whiff of mushroom and dirt. I steeped 5 grams in 200F water in a 150 mL/6 oz gaiwan. The smell of the leaves after rinsing is of jam plus camp smoke, tobacco, and leather
The dark dry leaves transform to green after infusing them. The infused leaves smelled great -- cassis, jam, tobacco, and leather. The liquor from the first infusion was a pale apricot color. The sweet, stone fruit flavor did not emerge until the end of the sip. The front notes are of leather, tobacco, and wood smoke. The second infusion had a similar profile with the addition of hay and possibly truffle at the end of each sip. The liquor was dry. The first two steeps were 30 seconds long. The third infusion was 40 seconds long and yield similar flavors plus a bit more of a dirt note like when you buy vegetables with soil clinging to them. The flavors softened with the fourth infusion which was 50 seconds long. The tea was very drinkable. It was also very dry especially on the roof of my mouth.
I infused the leaves for 60 seconds twice consecutively then for 2 minutes and finally for 5 minutes. The liquor was dry with a slightly astringent finish. I still detected tobacco and leather and the stone fruit had a roasted quality. Towards the end of the session the astringency was followed by a puckering effect in my cheeks. The final infusion yielded an additional note of dried autumn leaves.
For points of comparison, during the first session the fourth infusion was 20 seconds and yield a sweet starchy flavor which reminded me of my brother's sweet potato casserole. This is a very good thing! Also during the first session, the seventh infusion was 30 seconds long and yielded a liquor with faint flavors. What does this all mean? Use significantly longer steep times later in your sheng session to extract more flavors from your leaves. I haven't yet made the bold step of using more than 5 grams of leaves. I have read posts and watched videos that use 1 gram per 15 mL. Should I use 10 grams of leaf the next time?