When I sat down at the tea table this morning I was planning to bang through several of the new EoT samples. This is a lot of what I've been doing lately with the large pile of new sheng samples I've been acquiring. It's not that I don't prepare them carefully or pay attention to what they offer, but given that I don't particularly enjoy drinking these young puerhs I'm not in it to savor a tea for a long time. Rather, I'm looking for first impressions. I guess you could call it a "meet and greet" approach (speed dating?? haha!). I'll prepare just enough infusions to get an initial sense of a tea, paying particular attention to how it's affecting my body. If all goes well I'll sit longer with a tea to see what more it has to say (so to speak). The unintentional, but very positive side effect of this approach is that it has effectively moved the whole "taste and smell" aspect of tea from front-and-center to something only peripheral -- enjoyable certainly, but not the dominantly defining characteristics of a tea. Drinking the 2012 QiShengGu has been a great reward in this effort. Though I had planned to sample several of the new EoT offerings, this one caught my attention immediately. No need or desire to rush on to others. The QiShengGu is very pleasant company, indeed :)
As you can tell, this tea sat very well with me. A real pleasure to drink. The broth slipped through my mouth with ease and fullness, a pleasant light oiliness to it. The aroma not too loud, but interesting and complex nonetheless, lasting throughout. But the thing that got my attention most, even in the first few sips, was how this tea sank very deeply, opening the throat and filling the chest and torso with warmth. But it was interesting in this respect. 'Warmth' is not really the best word to describe it. It was more of a feeling, not just a sensation. Yes, there was warmth, but there was also a deep calmness about it. A silence, if you will. Very, very nice. It was enveloping and boundary-blurring in the way that some of my favorite aged shengs can do. I can't help but wonder if this is the magic of gushu that one often hears about.
But while this tea has that deep silent quality about it, I can also feel it's youth. It has much activeness about it, and while it sits well with me I can still feel that ball of energy in my core that I've come to associate with young sheng. There was a good deal of activity in the mouth and in taste as well, as the infusions increased in number. In this way it was a real joy to drink. At the end of my session I had this funny but utterly delightful combination of deep silence in my core and a wide joy-filled smile on my face.
This will be a great tea to follow through it's development and maturation, I think. I look forward to the next time I sit with it.