I realised this week that I am out of young shengs. All my cakes are back home in Slovakia and plus some unopened packages are waiting in my room, while here in Milano the samples are gone. I have a full cake of the delicious 2011 Mansai with me but I can not drink it every day, I prefer diversity.
As I was searching for some sheng to drink I found the sample of 2011 EoT Bulang which I ordered last year. I remember the bloggers writing about this tea as strong, overpowering, violent, superpotent, and after my first session I could just agree with them. After 10 water-in-out infusions the bitterness was still covering most of the other characteristics. I left it to rest for 2 months or so and using less leaf the result was better. Almost one year has passed and the open package with the sample has been sitting in my room (also during the summer which is hot and humid here). It is time to take it out and see if it managed to settle down a bit.
10s rinse, 3s, 3s, 3s, 3s, 3s, 3s, 3s,10s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 1min, 2min
As I take out the opened bag and take a sniff, the smell of the dry leaves is intense even in the cold room. The wet leaves are on the lower side, nuttiness with tobacco. The "3s" means water in and immediately water out steeps but even this seems to be too long :). The first 2-3 infusions are bitter as I expected, reminding me some herbal tea I used to drink for upset stomach. Even the aftertaste which suppose to be sweet is bitter. But than it starts to be more interesting, around the 3-4 infusion sweetness kicks in, the soup is thick-oily, and my throat and backs of the mouth is heavily coated, having some silky mouth feel(?).
The bitterness is still more than decent but turning to sweet aftertaste with some higher notes, it is really intense. The qi is particularly strong. After the second steep I already felt a "bang", I was just sitting sedated and watching out from my head, being sleepy. This changed after the next few infusions as the qi turned to an uplifting - energising feeling. Six steeps was enough for me to be tea drunk so I interrupted the session for a few hours and continued at the afternoon.
Drinking this tea is a particular experience, but I am not sure if it is already enjoyable. It is not that kind of sheng which one could drink at the evening to relax, at least not now but after few years or a decade it will most probably change.
Anyways, I recommend to try or re-try this Bulang with less leaves and 2-3 rinses at the beginning. The EoT sells the full cake for 51 GBP what may seem to be a bit too much, and while it is not that suitable for immediate drinking, it is almost a safe bet for long term ageing. However it is out of stock now, what maybe isn't that bad because I would buy a cake in one of my weak moments :).