[from an email to corax. posted by permission.]
I am sitting down now to the first infusions of Stephane's Jiang Cheng Yunnan Wild Puer Brick [sheng 1990], 7 grams in the sample baggie. I used 5g of tea per 5 ozs of water in a small glass gaiwan. Gently boiling mountain water. One quick rinse, five minutes of rest. The leaves are dark and fairly large. The liquor is the color of weak coffee. The smell is earthy but pleasant. The infusion is 15s. The flavor is sweet. The taste is akin to mixed cooked/uncooked I have tried.
The second infusion (15s) is darker (of course). It has a lively flavor. In the swallowing-exhale--through-the-nose and the slurp, the tea contains a characteristic flavor that I use to identify pu'er, the trade-mark or signature of pu'er. This tea seems carefully aged. If the sample’s label did not stipulate raw pu’er, I would swear I was tasting cooked pu’er. This is just like many cooked pu’ers that I have tasted. I will, however, abide by the sample’s label description.
I would, of course, like to know the factory so that the tea could educate my mind as well as add to my experience and pu'er repertoire. There is still a small sweetness and there is the nice wood flavor (I always think birch) that I associate with pu-er of middle age.
Third infusion, 25s. The liquor is even darker! The tea is very smooth and very clean tasting. There is little in it to criticize. I would only suggest that there might not be enough flavors. There could, perhaps, be more dimension to the tea to make is more engrossing. On the excellence scale, I would rate it very high. On the fascination scale, I would not rate it quite so high. What it has is of sufficient strenght, but it might have more flavors.
Fourth infusion, 33s. This is the best infusion thus far. There are more dimensions of flavor now. I can detect a cooling of the mouth that sometimes I think of as camphor. I am still reminded of aged cooked/uncooked mixed pu'er, but this is not a bad thing. This tea lacks only one thing: a certain lively tang. The liquor's color continues very dark. At the parameters I'm using, I suspect I can drink this tea all day. With some pu'er of this type, as the initial flavors subside somewhat, the lingering aftertaste grows ever stronger. By that characteristic I often judge whether a tea is really, really good. I shall be interested to know whether this tea has that growing aftertaste.
Fifth infusion, 52s. The color is much lighter now. The tea still remains very pleasant tasting, but it is not as strong in the pu'er qualities, somehow. Hard for me to put my finger right on this issue. For the fifth infusion, it does taste very sweet and it still retains a good mouth-feel, a nice thickness.
I am very glad to have tasted this tea, and I am grateful to Stephane for having sent it.