Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Wymm Tea
This shou pu-erh brews with a rich and honey flavor and long-lasting jasmine rice aroma. Full tea leaves from high mountains in Menghai County, located in west of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, are picked to make the tea in 2008. Pu-erh tea has the potential to ferment over time, and this tea has been post-fermented for 6 years since production. Post-fermentation gives the tea vibrant flavours and richer aroma as well as deep wine colour.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Menghai Wangshuji Shou Pu-erh in Seventh Grade 2008 is the fourth of the teas that I was sent by Wymm Tea in their lovely sampler presentation package. These samplers come beautifully wrapped in a milk-carton shaped box. (You can see the box in this review.)
As I’ve mentioned many times: pu-erh just isn’t my favorite type of tea. But, after trial and error, I learned the ways to best brew pu-erh to my liking and I’ve come to appreciate it. It still isn’t my favorite, but I can say that I enjoy pu-erh tea.
When it comes to pu-erh, though, I find that I tend to prefer sheng to shou. What’s the difference? Well, I’m no expert on the subject of pu-erh, but what I’ve come to understand is that sheng tea is raw tea material that has been aged while shou tea is cooked tea material which seems to accelerate the aging process a bit. Why do I prefer sheng? Because while my experience with pu-erh is rather limited (again, I’m no expert!), my limited experience has taught me that shou pu-erh tends to be the pu-erh that sometimes has a briny or fishy flavor and the shou pu-erh tends to be the earthiest tasting (as in, it sometimes tastes of dirt).
But NOT this shou! This is LOVELY! This is so lovely that it has me rethinking my stance on pu-erh!
Sweet! Mellow! Smooth! All those words come to mind as I sip this. I taste no brine, no fish, no strong earthy dirty flavors. Just wonderfully mellow flavors. A sweet honeyed undertone with hints of burnt sugar caramel. I taste notes of earth but not dirt. This is more like damp, woodsy notes, evoking thoughts of a walk through the old-growth forests here in the Pacific Northwest after it rained. (We get some rain up here.)
I also taste very subtle hints of rice. The description of the tea suggests a jasmine rice note, I don’t know if it’s jasmine rice that I taste (I’m very familiar with jasmine rice as it’s my go-to rice in my pantry), but then again, this is only my first cup – perhaps those flavors will reveal themselves in later infusions. For now, I find myself in awe of the beautiful honey notes. So sweet. So delightful.
With my second cup, those aforementioned jasmine rice notes begin to emerge. I taste less of that honey flavor, but more of the sweet rice flavor and that’s quite pleasant. The flavor is still very mellow and smooth but it’s deeper and stronger than the first cup. I taste notes of burnt sugar and rice, hints of flower and a soft woodsy note. I love that there’s not even a hint of astringency or bitterness here. Just lovely!
I enjoyed this tea immensely! The later infusions (I got eight infusions out of this tea!) were just as mellow and smooth – but with each infusion, I found a deeper flavor. I never really experienced any strong earthy notes – bonus! – and I enjoyed a lovely sweetness from the notes of rice and hints of molasses and honey. A truly remarkable shou! This is the shou I’d recommend to someone who has had some unfavorable experiences in the past with shou pu-erh, this tea will change your mind about shou!