August 15, 2018

Global Tea Hut Swirling Mist 2004 Sheng Puerh

It's simply the best when your various passions meld. Like when an avid reader who loves to drink tea receives a tea magazine and a tea that happens to be one of her favorites types of tea. This happened to me when Global Tea Hut sent me a copy Tea & Tao Magazine and a sample of a 2004 sheng puerh.

Like other issues of Global Tea Hut's Tea & Tao Magazine, the March 2018 issue was packed with information. The focus of the issue was Mengsong and four of its villages: Boatang, Nanben, Bameng, and Da'an. Located in Menghai County, Mengsong is known as "the roof of Xishuangbanna". The puerh from this region is classified as high-altitude tea, so similar to Taiwan oolong and Sri Lankan black tea. The "tea of the month" in March was Swirling Mist 2004 Sheng Puerh, a private-order pressing.

Swirling Mist 2004 Sheng Puerh

I had a couple of sessions with my sample. The magazine provided what I interpreted as vague preparation parameters: 98C steeping "longer, flash, flash, then growing (you can only get one flash)". It did recommend the gongfu over the sidehandle method. I used approximately 7 grams of tea and 100 ml of 212F water. I rinsed the leaves in my gaiwan followed by a 5 second steep. The infused leaves smelled like pineapple, apricot, and mushrooms. The peach-colored liquor was light bodied and tasted like banana leaves and banana porridge (sweetened with condensed milk).

The first infusion was followed by two 10 second steeps. The liquor thickened in each case and was smooth with tobacco and dry tail notes. There was a fruit note as well but I could not name it. I combined three 20 second steeps. The result was again smooth and a tobacco note and dry texture, but there was also a root vegetable aroma.

According to the magazine a session with this tea should last for 20 infusions. Even with subsequent sessions I did not achieve this many infusions. A limiting factor might be the temperature I used. 98 C or 208.4F is recommended but I brewed with 212F. I don't think I was conservative in the amount of leaf I used in each session. Seven grams of leaf to 100 ml of water is slightly higher than the standard 1 gram of leaf to 15 ml of water.

At press time, there was limited availability of cakes priced at $150 plus shipping but the tea is no longer available for purchase. I enjoyed this puerh and wish I could have had longer sessions with it.

The March 2018 issue of Tea & Tao Magazine and the sample of Swirling Mist 2004 Sheng Puerh was provided by Global Tea Hut for review.

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