The leaves of this Shou Mei are stunning. This tea shows off a vibrant mix of green, yellow, and brown hues. I am always amazed when I see this tea! When dry, the leaves are fuzzy and crisp. When wet, the leaves melt into pure glossy velvet. After an initial rinse, this tea smells of fresh hay sweeping in on a spring breeze. There are strong vegetal notes, and even a bit of pepper.
The first 3-4 steepings produce a shining yellow liquor. I find that shorter steepings with water around 170 degrees bring out the best of this tea initially. From steepings 5 and beyond, this tea tolerates water temperatures between 185 and 200 extremely well. The later steepings bring out a glowing golden hue. You’ve got to see this!
The taste of this tea starts off sharp and crisp: sweet hay backed by an incredible vegetal medley. I also pick up some roasted squash, but maybe I’m crazy 🙂 After 3-4 steepings, the flavor mellows out and melts into pure pleasure. The liquor of this tea is silky and extremely enjoyable to drink. A very pleasant aftertaste is left after a session with this Shou Mei. Every time I inhale or clear my throat, the flavors fill my senses.
The energy of this tea is fantastic. It’s uplifting without being overly stimulating. There’s a dreamy quality to the feel of this tea: it’s mildly transcendental. After a session with this Shou Mei, I’m ready to let my mind drift off into sunny dreams.