Wild flowers, dried apricots, fresh cut grass, very slight hint of tobacco.
This tea offers a quick glimpse into a wide variety of young budget-friendly sheng's typical characteristics. It is light, floral, sweet, fruity, and slightly bitter, without any of those flavors really taking center stage until later steeps when the tea begins to fade and the sweetness takes over. In the earlier steeps, a slight bitterness was detectable, but was not aggressive or overpowering.
While I enjoyed brewing this tea gongfu style, I have to say that I preferred it grandpa style in Teabook's glass double-walled tumbler, which is how the company advertises the tea on its website. Grandpa style, this tea was bright, sweet, buttery, and floral--and still tasted really good even after sitting for ~30 minutes, which really surprised me.
This liquor felt really slick, especially in the early steepings. As the session went on, there was a slight bitterness which dried the mouth a little, but it quickly turned into a lingering sweetness.
I was fairly tea-drunk by the 5th steeping. Granted, I was also drinking from the tumbler for a side-by-side comparison, which definitely expedited the process. Jeffrey McIntosh, Teabook's CEO, tells his customers to focus primarily on the body when evaluating his teas. With that in mind, this tea was relatively relaxing.
This tea gets the job done. It's not overly complex or necessarily intended for an advanced drinker looking for a special occasion tea, but nobody's claiming that it is. Teabook offers higher-end Denong teas for the self-proclaimed connoisseurs, and openly advertises their house-brand puerhs as entry-level teas. When viewed in the proper context, this sheng really does taste crisp, clean, and flavorful. As I said earlier, I really preferred this tea grandpa style, but that's just me. For new drinkers, especially those who have yet to pick up their first gaiwan, this tea is a must. Its ability to preform well grandpa style is a huge selling-point, and will really help ease newcomers into the vast and seemingly endless world of puerh. I really like that this was pressed into 100g cakes and not full 357g beengs, because it allows beginners to enjoy the full experience of unwrapping a cake and prying apart its leaves without having to settle for a pre-packaged sample (not that I'm hating on samples, but they aren't nearly as satisfying). All in all, this tea stays true to Teabook's mission: "to provide access to clean, affordable, and tasty teas, allowing more people to have a simple and enjoyable experience with loose leaf."
*Sheng Gut has no affiliation with Teabook; this review was not commissioned. However, this tea was sent to me for free (plus shipping) for the purposes of being reviewed. That said, this review is no more or less biased than any other, except because this tea was free it is definitely slightly more biased than if it wasn't free. I mean, I didn't lie. It's not like you have to discredit the whole kit and kaboodle now that you know the truth. I'm still a trustworthy source. Just because I'm famous now doesn't mean I've changed.