The other day I decided that one of the hills in Ramble needed a small Victorian mansion, like the kinds I ogled a lot when I lived in Mechanicsburg. Somehow this turned from Victorian to an eight story sprawling Tudor Revival estate, not really sure how, but epic. This led me to think that I need to study architecture styles so I can incorporate more into my buildings, currently I am working on building the La Serena Lighthouse in Chile, my first Spanish Colonial Revival build, so far so good.
No tea gives me as many problems when it comes to reviewing like Sheng Puerh, you really can't get a good feel for how the tea is going to evolve in the standard three steeps my blog has evolved into, and as much as I tempted to go back to my old ways of epic long 14 steeps worth of detailed notes, I will leave that nonsense to my personal tea notebooks. See, drinking a Sheng is not just a standard enjoying a tea session, it is an experience! From new to old, you don't just drink this tea you FEEL IT! No tea has driven that home quite like White2Tea's 2015 Bosch. From the first sniff I knew it was going to be trouble, it blended those seductive notes of camphor and cedar with hints of smoke and spinach, there is a subtle distant sweetness that is really hard to pin down...but sorry, I was lost in camphor and smoke. By the tea gods I love smoke in my shengs, it makes me feel rugged.
Giving the customary rinse and a flash steep, the aroma of the leaves now looses all the smoke, but what is left is strong camphor (well my sinuses are happy) and pungent wet hay, spinach, honey, and a complex juiciness that is damn hard to describe. It is dancing, there is a dancing teasing tea spirit that is luring me down into the cups. I think this sheng is a siren. Good heavens, I am just sniffing it and the tea drunk is starting.
In the beginning there was light, it was like drinking a firework, not in texture of course, that would be unpleasant, but the combination of taste, qi, and texture lights up my brain like a smack to the head. It starts with drool inducing slight sourness that makes my teeth sharp, it then brings out gentle sweetness that lingers in my throat and with each exhale I feel the sweetness. Camphor, spinach, wild roses, apples, yeasty bread, pine needles, rice cakes, and caramel. This tea is telling quite the story in its infancy.
Several steeps in and I am really feeling this one, it lights my belly on fire like what I would imagine eating icy-hot would feel like, it cools but it burns. My limbs feel like jelly and my brain feels like it is stuffed full of fluff, there is tea drunk and there is tea stoned. Later in the steeping I get a lot of subtle notes, it is a very nuanced tea, with notes of wildflowers, camphor, cedar, apricot, bitter melon, honey, pepper, and a killer pungent wet hay. Later in the steeps there is a mouth drying bitterness that causes a sweet salivary explosion, it coats the mouth, and as young shengs can go this is not terribly bitter.
In the later steeps, yeah I am beyond tea stoned, I am about to float off to another dimension, forget muscle relaxers and pain killers just give me this tea. Actually no, this baby did to my stomach what an Advil does, sure the rest of my body doesn't hurt, but I am feeling a dull burning ache in my stomach that ended up lasting several days. So glad I ate before I started in on this! As the tea finished off it lost pretty much all its bitterness, I just had sweetness and camphor, cooling and burning, inducing a decent amount of drool in the process.
There is a lot going on, it is a beautiful tea whose memory will live large in my brain, and maybe when I am a little richer I can justify getting a cake, because Puerh is an employed person's passion, though I will say, if you get the chance to try it, do it! Bosch outlasted me, I had to throw in the towel at steep 11 before I passed out. At the very finish notes of mineral and gentle distant (I might be hallucinating) smoke danced with honey and pepper. The aftertaste, qi, and oily thickness lasted for a long time after I finished...pretty sure I could still taste it the next morning, but it could be I was still tea stoned.
This tea was a gift.