I know the title may sound a little odd, ‘The Thin Sheng’…what the frack right? Well you will soon understand. The review I am going to do is frankly the thinnest Puerh cake I have ever seen, especially in consideration to it’s weight and size.
Last year while I was window shopping for tea (as you do) I came upon a website called Real Puerh who offer a range of authentic Chinese teas. I will admit that as much as region I am also drawn to Puerh for it’s packaging. That was my entire reason for clicking on the green half face that reminded me of a Kabuki mask. It looked foreign yet friendly and inviting, plus it had a price that was easily affordable (just over £10) which honestly was also inviting.
Opening the link I was met with a note that made me look twice, something I thought was a mistake … until I looked at the pictures.
This full radius cake weighs 120 grams and is just 4 mm in height.
Scrolling down revealed that 4mm in height was not a mistake. My brain tried to work out why it was so thin and why; before I knew what had happened I had already clicked to add it to basket and checked out with lightening speed.
A short time later it arrived and I have been lovingly airing and storing it ever since. But today is the day I try it. It’s been aired and aged for an additional year to hopefully bring out a little more flavour. I do this with most new Puerh.
So, Qian Jia Zhai is from 2015 and from the Yunnan Province by manufacturer Ning’er Xing Long Cha Chang.
Opening the packet reveals a thin cake with rather full leaves including silver tips that have a high shine. I can see a few sticks/stems but on the whole it looks good.
Scent wise it’s extremely subtle in it’s raw state, slightly wooden and earthy but very little to speak of.
Steeping Parameters: 100ml Gaiwan, 7g leaf, 95C water.
This is going across 8 steeps and will start with a rinse before the first initial tasting.
Steep One – 30 seconds
Very light and floral with a buttery finish.
Steep Two – 20 seconds
Honeysuckle notes with a grassy after taste that remains fresh and sweet. Perhaps a tiny bit astringent.
Steep Three – 25 seconds
Rich, honeysuckle and peony notes with butter and some bitterness. Full of mouthfeel and slightly dry.
Steep Four – 35 seconds
Increasing in strength but still rather soft. The honeysuckle is still strong and there is an increase on the bitterness, though it’s not bitter by any real sense of the word. The after taste also becomes rather dry but not too bad.
Steep Five – 35 seconds
Alright this is different, the strength has increased..well..five fold. The honeysuckle is darker and the butter is nothing more than a slight sweetness among an increasingly bitter and earthy steep.
Steep Six – 45 seconds
Rather bitter though still an underlying sweetness. Floral faculties have become nothing but after taste. The mouthfeel is richer though. Not too bitter considering the steep number. Getting a grassy, mineral quality though a bit more.
Steep Seven – One minute
Alright, the bitterness is dominating at this point though luckily it doesn’t last long. It lightens into a dry, floral slightly sweet after taste that coats my mouth and tongue.
Steep Eight – Two minutes
Funnily enough as quickly as this became too bitter it’s actually petered out in this steep. I sipped with an expectation of bitter and was instead met with earth, flowers and a musky finish.
This Sheng was much more floral than I was expecting. It remained consistent throughout the eight steeps and even gave a pretty good tea high. I feel as though I’ve had a few espresso’s, part of me is literally buzzing.
The leaves were nice too, they opened beautifully to reveal themselves.
It didn’t offer many creamy tones or anything unusual in terms of flavour, but it was a nice every day ‘pick me up’ sort of tea. The type of thing I can have at work and forgive myself for if I let it go cold.
I have a feeling this tea will age nicely. It may have to go back onto my shelf for the time being to mature a little more.
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