2011 Kunlu Shan Tea Tasting (Terre de Ciel)

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2011 Kunlu sheng Terre de Ciel Tea Adventures

Lockdown measures are extended in Belgium and everyone has to stay in their house until April 19. In an attempt to make the best of the current situation, I’m trying to go through the box of samples I still have to taste. I really enjoyed the 2012 Naka I got from Terre de Ciel so I wanted to try another one today. I picked the 2011 Kunlu Shan sheng puerh to drink in the comfort of my own garden.

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2011 Kunlu Shan

The 2011 Kunlu Shan is a sheng puerh tea from 2011. As you might have guessed from its name, this tea comes from Kunlushan, which is not that far from Pu’er city in Yunnan Province. This particular tea is produced by Zhang Jian Zhao and he used high-quality material for these cakes. The leaves are first flush spring material from gushu trees. Based on this description, it seems like a very nice tea to have a session with.

The aroma is sooo sweet! I’m getting honey, some golden raisins and even a touch of red jelly beans. The colour is dark brown and I also see some light beige tints of the buds. The size of the leaves is rather small.  

The aroma of the wet leaves is still sweet, but it has some hints of red fruits like raspberries. I see a good amount of stalks, small leaves and a few buds. The colour is dark olive green. 

Tea Tasting

  • Water 90 – 95°C
  • 4.2g for a 95ml Zisha teapot
  • 1 rinse
  • 6 infusions

Infusion 1 (15 sec): the colour of this infusion is fairly light and the flavours are not that intense. I’m mainly getting a subtle sweetness that has some fruity traces and a tiny hint of smokiness.

Infusion 2 (20 sec): the undertone is a bit sweeter and fruitier, but I’m also getting notes of incense. This adds a sharper edge to the rounder and sweet flavours. Definitely enjoyable and I feel that it has a lot more to offer. The aftertaste is fruity.

Infusion 3 (20 sec): it has a rich and full-bodied feel to it when the liquor enters my mouth. Flavours are slightly fruity and sweet, but the undertone of incense is a bit more noticeable.

Infusion 4 (25 sec): the incense flavours have disappeared and I’m mainly getting fruity notes. It’s refreshing and sweet.

Infusion 5 (30 sec): no more sharp notes during this infusion. Soft sweetness and a spicy feeling in my throat. Towards the finish, some fruity notes decide to pop up.

Infusion 6 (40 sec): this one is the best infusion so far. Soft notes of honey and golden raisins. A light astringency in the aftertaste as well.

I did 6 additional infusions and it just became sweeter and none of the fresher and harsh flavours reappeared. This tea can and will definitely take you on a long adventure so don’t brew this one when you’re in a hurry. Keep in mind that the later infusions were also a bit astringent.

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Writing a conclusion for this one is more difficult than you might think. The early infusions were ok, but I didn’t really like the sharper edges and incense notes. I could also sense some fruity and sweet notes, but these didn’t really break through. I felt that they fully showed themselves during the sixth infusion. It was an interesting session because you didn’t know what you would get. From the sixth infusion onwards, no big changes took place and it became sweeter and sweeter. These were the infusions I really enjoyed. I don’t think this will ever be my favourite tea, but I enjoyed the session. In general, this is a decent tea and might be worth checking out of you like smokey/incense flavours and a light astringency in combination with fruity notes.

Interested in trying this tea? You can buy it here

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