Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Simple Loose Leaf
Sheng Cha is an oolong tea grown at 1,100 m elevation and is grown wild. Sheng Cha is made from tea plants left to grow for decades in the wild, this imparts a more earthy palate to the leaf. Look for notes of sesame seed biscuits, toast and wheat.
Learn more about this tea here.
Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Co-Op Membership here.
I’m liking this Sheng Cha Oolong Tea from Simple Loose Leaf a LOT! I’ve tried a lot of different Oolong teas over the years and the ones that really stand out to me are the ones that are different from the rest. This is one of those teas.
To brew it, I used my gaiwan. I measured a bamboo scoop into the bowl of the gaiwan and then added just enough hot water to cover the leaves (180°F water) and let that steep for 15 seconds. Then I strained the liquid and discarded it – that is known as the rinse or the ‘awakening of the leaves.’ A lot of people overlook this step, but I’ve learned over the years that the rinse is essential for getting the best flavor from Oolong teas (this is also true of pu-erh teas!)
Then I filled the gaiwan with more hot water and steeped the first infusion for 1 minute. For each infusion to follow, I added another 15 seconds onto the steep time.
My first cup is comprised of the first and second infusion. With this cup, I’m already discovering that the description above is pretty spot on, I’m getting an earthy flavor to the cup. I taste nutty notes that remind me of toasted sesame seeds and whole, multi-grain toasted bread. It’s sweet and warm. It has a nice, roasty-toasty flavor – it’s a comforting, cozy sort of flavor that you just want to curl up to.
The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) was a bit stronger in flavor than the first. The first was still quite a robustly flavored Oolong – ordinarily with Oolong teas, I find that my first cup is somewhat delicate in flavor but that wasn’t the case with this Sheng Cha. This second cup is even stronger than that first cup was. It is only slightly astringent, but I am noticing more astringency than with the first cup – where it seemed almost non-existent. This time, I’m experiencing a slightly dry astringency at the tail – slight, yet it’s there.
This tea is savory as well as sweet. I taste the sweet, nutty tones, but the bready notes and the warm, toasted flavors have a savory quality to them. It’s quite a nice contrast, and with this second cup, I’m noticing more savory than sweet.
Mmm! My third cup (infusions 5 and 6) proved to be my favorite of the three cups that I brewed of this tea. The astringency has gone back to the ‘almost non-existent’ that I experienced with my first cup, and I’m also tasting more sweetness than I tasted with the second cup. This cup still has those savory notes too. Sweet, nutty, toasted sesame and whole grains. A slight earthiness and a woodsy note. It’s a really comforting tea to sip. It has an autumnal flavor – so it’s something that I find especially rewarding to sip on a chilly evening.