To close the Teacuppa tasting, I present three shengpu samples, identified as D, E, and F. I am even worse at tasting shengpu than I am at tasting shupu, so I suggest that you consider my stumbling as more of an entertainment piece than an informational one.
4.7g leaf; 90mL gaiwan; boiling tap water; 7s wash, 10s, 10s, 12s, 15s, 12s, 13s, 14s
Quite loose, like all the shengpu samples. Fairly light-colored leaves. None of the samples had enough aroma to really comment on, possibly because of the plastic baggies they have been sitting in.
1: Some astringency, some smokiness. Nice body.
2: Less astringency, otherwise similar to first infusion.
3: Slightly floral, perhaps. A bit more bitterness than before.
4: Even more bitterness.
5: Slightly floral again, softer astringency, and better body. Has a sweet taste not found in earlier infusions.
6: Similar to 5th infusion, but smoother.
7: Similar to 6th infusion, a bit weaker.
Decent-looking leaves, but not as pretty as some other pictures I've seen. There were a good number of whole leaves, and they felt nicely tender.
Drinkable, but pretty boring and unchanging. I don't know if this is what everyone calls energy or "cha qi," but I did feel a bit light-headed after the session. Overall, I'd give this a 3/10.
4.6g leaf; 90mL gaiwan; boiling tap water; 8s wash, 7s, 8s, 9s, 9s, 10s
Darker leaves than sample D. Lots and lots of twigs and stems, which is even more noticable in the wet leaf. Loose leaf, doesn't seem like there was much compression involved.
1: Very smoky tasting, and a bit sour (not a bad sour, though). Smooth, but boring.
2: Almost a creamy flavor. More astringent than the first infusion.
3: Similar to second infusion, less astringent.
4: Thinner body, but still smooth. A bit of a grain flavor, which I enjoyed.
5: Same as 4th infusion, with a harsher sour note.
As you can see, there are many, many stems here. The leaf pictured isn't exactly representative-- this was the biggest one I could find. Most of the leaves were largely intact, and often attached to their stems.
I'm no expert, but I thought this tea was actually okay. Not great, mind you, but not as bad as the other samples I've tried in this tea tasting. The creamy taste I thought I tasted was refreshingly different. Overall, this tea gets a 4/10.
5.0g leaf; 90mL gaiwan; boiling tap water; 7s wash, 8s, 8s, 10s, 10s
The best looking leaves of this tasting event, in my opinion. Nice colors, and fewer stems than sample E.
1: Fruity aroma, smells like plums. Tastes similarly plum-like, which is somewhat enjoyable. Slightly bitter though, and otherwise boring. There is a slight cooling sensation on the tongue.
2: Fruity sweetness, but very sour. Aside from the sourness though, fairly smooth texture.
3: Overwhelming sourness masks everything else.
4: Similar to 3rd infusion, even more sourness.
Mostly broken pieces. The picture here shows the fullest leaves I could find, which as you can see is not stellar.
I had high hopes with the first infusion, especially after the nice fruity hints. However, it quickly turned sour and was almost unpalattable near the end. I'd give this one a 2.5/10.
Though I was disappointed by these samples, I did think they were a little better than the shupu samples in the first part of the tasting. I also have essentially zero experience with shengpu, so who knows.
I have to be honest, my reviews may have been negatively influenced by others' thoughts. I am pretty late in posting these reviews, and I found it difficult to avoid reading other reviews. Still, I did taste each tea before I read about it, so the tasting notes you see here are genuinely mine.
As for guessing which samples are which, I'll play along this time. I'll put them in alphabetical order, because I'm guessing this is the most likely order in which they have been labeled. Thus, my guesses are:
D: 2005 CNNP "Big Blue Mark"
E: 2005 Jiangcheng Yesheng
F: 2005 Simao Yesheng
Anyway, this tea tasting is over, and I have to say I'm glad. While I appreciate Teacuppa's generosity and had a good opportunity to learn about puerh, it was a bit of a chore to taste these. Hobbes has relayed to me that the kind people of Teacuppa purchased their puerh stocks before they had a lot of experience with it, and I think this is quite forgivable— I don't think I could do any better anyway. They also sent out a free sample of Rou Gui, which wasn't half bad, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.