Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: dark with scattered golden buds, tightly compressed
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: very dark, almost black
First, a disclaimer. I photographed this tea the day that I got my new digital camera. Much to my dismay, those pictures did not come out quite as good as I had remembered. Hopefully, you will see things will get better as I get the hang of DSLR’ing.
I am a sheng puerh person but I will occasionally get a hankering for a really dark shou. That is especially true on cold and rainy days. A sample of Plum Beauty was included with one of my orders from Bitterleaf Teas. I immediately stowed it away for such an occasion.
This tea was intriguing because it was made from the same old tree material as their 2017 Plum Beauty Silver. A lot of shou is made with lower quality leaves. The cool thing about boutique vendors like Bitterleaf is that they have the freedom to bend the old rules a bit. It would be super interesting to do a side by side tasting of the two teas.
Plum Beauty was fairly tightly compressed. I was surprised at how light in color the leaves were, almost more like a black tea than one that had been fermented. Lots of golden buds were visible. There was a solid chunk of approximately 8g in the bag so I didn’t even need to break it up before brewing. It brewed up an inky dark color with the slightest tinge of red at the beginning and the end of my session.
The taste was smooth and sweet right from the jump. It had a thick mouthfeel combined with a clean, woodsy finish that really hit the spot. It was earthy but in a way that came across as malty, like what you might expect from a nice Dian Hong.
Later infusions gained an almost fruity note that was definitely reminiscent of plums. It leaned a bit on the sour side but it wasn’t unpleasant. Plum Beauty would be a great choice for those that are just starting to step into the wild world of heicha. It’s not scary or offensive yet offers quite a bit of complexity.
Have you tasted this tea? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!