I discovered the shop of Essence of Tea relatively late. The quality of their own production of young shengs is particularly good and the prices are also ok. Since it is an European based shop I can avoid the high shipping fees and custom, and this is not a negligible criteria for me.
With my first order also came a free sample of the 2011 Mansai. Among the 2010 production the 2010 Mansai was my favourite so I was curios if the 2011 will have similar qualities. The sample was enough for two sessions after which I had to admit that it is maybe even better than the one from 2010.
5g/ 90ml gaiwan
10s, 3s, 3s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 1min, 2min, 3min, long
The dry leaves are pretty and offer a potent young sheng aroma from the hot gaiwan; combination of mainly lower notes and some fruitiness. After the rinse the smell is strong and sweet inducing salivation.
The tea is loaded with sweetness and depth, the liquor is full and has a nice mouth coating effect.
There is some nice kuwei but no astringency. The huigan appears early and it is getting stronger with every infusion. A combination of fruity with broad tobacco base, highly enjoyable. Most of the young shengs become rough and astringent on the later infusion, but not this one, even the last long infusion delivers a sweet liquor still having the character of this sheng, what is a good sign for me. The qi is calming what I experience rarely with young shengs.
The leaves are nice: big and thick, it is a pleasure to look at them.
Some of them are really magnificent.
I think there is no need to conclude that I like this sheng. The tea has young and wild character in a not offensive way. If you sample a couple of young shengs in a row, you will remember this one as impressive. Of course, I can not tell how it will age but it has the potency so I am optimistic. I bough a cake but after another few sessions (and the fact that there is no custom and the shipping fee is low) I took another one, so now I have one for drinking and one for ageing.
PS: It is only february but I am already waiting for the 2012 production of EoT shengs, it will be again an exciting period going through the new production.