Leaf Type: Pu-Erh
Where to Buy: Yunnan Sourcing
A classic Xinghai ripe tea produced from the late 90’s until. Xinghai tea factory is the 2nd producer of ripe tea in Menghai town (after Menghai tea factory), and has an excellent “wo dui” fermentation process. Our 2006 Golden Peacock was aged Donguan town in Guangdong. It’s a “Guangdong dry-stored” tea that has already lost it’s “wo dui” (fermented) taste. The tea brews up a deep, dark but clear burgundy-brown tea soup. The taste is sweet with a expansive lubricating taste and feeling in the mouth. Both subtle and complex at the same time, a high quality tea leaf was used, each session lasting many infusions.
Learn more about this tea here.
Hello tea friends!
Whilst sorting (more like rummaging) through my tea cupboards I spotted this tea had been pushed to the back. Probably when I had my aversion to all Pu-Erh tea at the start of the year. I cannot say what made me feel that way but it does happen from time to time, at the moment I dislike Jasmine teas but give it a few months and that will change. Perhaps it has something to do with the change in weather? I digress, this tea was still sealed in it’s sample packet and the words ‘Golden Peacock’ left me with some fascinating images in my mind. That is how I settled on reviewing this tea today. I also want to made a note before I begin that I am not at home while I do this review, I’m at my parents house dog sitting for the day while they go shopping in Birmingham and may not be back until late. I mention this as it changes a few things, I do not have filtered water for an example, nor do I have a self boiling kettle for each steep. At least I bought my tea ware with me in preparation.
Opening the packet is tricky but I do it eventually. Once opened I pull out a large piece of cake which has remained whole despite it’s journey. There are quite a few golden tips present on the outside of the cake and a beautiful shine. Some of the golden tips have downy hairs that I can stroke, as though the Pu Erh were an animal. I don’t know why I decided to stroke it…perhaps the heat is getting with me? Further inspection shows dark brown leaves the colour of old, dark chocolate. The cake remnant bares a soft, dry wood and clay scent.
Steeping Parameters: 220ml Glass Gongfu Teapot. Tea Leaf 12g. Boiling Water. 2 Rinses each of 15 seconds.
First Steep – 15 seconds
Colour is golden orange with a soft clay scent.
Flavour is mild with some sweetness and an earthy, dusky wood tone toward the after taste. The more I drink the more I can define the sweetness to being brown sugar like.
Second Steep – 20 seconds
Still soft with brown sugar and dusky wood tones, but with added dryness.
Third Steep – 30 seconds
Darker though still soft. Less sweet and more musky now, with old wood and dry earth notes that linger in the after taste. Also the tea liquid is dark at this point too, like red soy sauce.
Fourth Steep – 45 seconds
Slightly sour in this steep and the wood is coming through with some cocoa notes. Still dry and mildly sweet.
Sixth Steep – 1 minute
Similar to the previous steep though with more clay and dryness. It reminds me of autumn, the dry, musky leaves crunching under my feet as I walk through a forest. The smells of an autumn forest match this flavour quite nicely.
Seventh Steep – 2 minutes
An increase of musk though still soft and the sourness is slight. Very wooden.
Overall – I found this Shou to be mild and delicate throughout the steeps which made it difficult to describe the flavours. At least it was consistent throughout. I would say this is an everyday Shou for Pu new drinkers or those that prefer softer teas. Personally I like strength and depth in my tea which this just didn’t have, though despite that it was drinkable and pleasant enough. I had some difficulty breaking up the cake piece so I did it by hand in the middle of my steeps, partly to see if it increased strength.
I honestly cut this steeping short, originally I planned on 10 steeps rather than 7. Don’t get me wrong, it really isn’t a bad Shou when it comes down to it; my personal preference is just that and I can’t like them all. I still think that for the price it’s a decent every day Shou for new drinkers and would recommend it for that. If I can be nothing else then at least I’m honest.