I recently bought a new cup on the Pu-erh.sk website and I got a 25g sample as a nice bonus. The sample I got was a sheng puer from 2016: the GuShu HeKai 16. Some people might say that it’s too cold or too rainy for sheng puer but it doesn’t really matter when you are drinking a solid one. Let’s find out if that is the case!
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GuShu HeKai 16
As mentioned above, the GuShu HeKai 16 is a sheng puer tea from 2016. The material that they used to make this cake was from a 2016 first Spring picking. It’s classified as puer tea, which means that it comes from Yunnan Province in China. The tea is called ‘HeKai’ so it is from Hekai in the Bulang mountains. It’s one of the biggest ancient tree gardens planted by humans. A final aspect worth noting is that this tea is from the pu-erh.sk house brand as they produced this tea themselves and there were only 24 250g cakes available.
The dry leaves have a greenish-brown colour and I also see some fuzzy buds in there. These are some beautiful leaves and stems of a fairly large size with a loose compression. The aroma is a sweetness but it’s a fresher and sharp sweetness.
The aroma of the wet leaves is really different from the dry leaves. It’s a bit bitter, almost like dark chocolate but I’m also getting some fruity notes. After infusing, they have a khaki green colour and I see that it’s mostly medium-sized.
- Water 90°C
- 6.5g for a 150ml Jianshui teapot
- 1 rinse
- 9 infusions
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I started the session relatively easy by doing three infusions of 15, 20 and 25 seconds each. It started out subtle with a soft sweetness and some light herbaceous flavours in the finish. It became sweeter during the second infusion and I also experienced some of the gushu qualities. The aftertaste was herbaceous and even a bit minty. The third infusion was completely different as the liquor got a darker colour and the flavours were also more intense. The sweetness was not as prominent but it got edgier and sharper.
I did not want to increase the brewing times too much so I did another one of 25 seconds, followed by one of 30 and one of 35 seconds. The fourth infusion was sweeter again so I was quite happy I did not increase the infusion length. It had the right balance of flavours for me. It was sweet and lightly herbaceous in the finish. The fifth infusion was not that different as it was sweet as well. I thought it couldn’t be sweeter but apparently, it was possible! The sixth one had a delicious sweetness to it without any herbaceous notes. The sweetness had traces of light honey and even some golden raisins.
The end of a session with a tea like this one is always interesting. I usually don’t really keep track of time during the final infusions. Infusion 7 was around 40 seconds and infusions 8 and 9 were several minutes each. The sweetness diminished during the 7th infusion and the flavours changed into more herbaceous ones again. For infusion 8 and 9, the flavours shifted again and it was really sweet, although a different kind of sweetness. It became a more fruity sweetness with a sweet and fruity aftertaste. I could also feel the power of this tea as I got a really warm feeling throughout my body.
Even though the weather was not perfect for sheng puer, I thoroughly enjoyed this session. For me, the early and final infusions were the best. The middle ones were decent as well but I prefer the sweetness I got, especially during the final two infusions. Experiencing this tea was a true adventure and I’m happy I got 25g of it so I can explore it further in the upcoming weeks and months.
If you want to go on this adventure yourself, click here to go to the pu-erh.sk store.