Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: compressed, varied greens and browns
Steep time: 10 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold
I received a generous chunk of this tea with a clay teapot that I purchased from someone on ye olde TeaChat. Stargazer is a Hekai sheng that was harvested in the autumn of 2017. Crimson Lotus Tea often includes easter eggs in their tea wrappers, and this one is no exception. It features a star-field showing the night sky at the tea garden where this tea was picked. How cool is that!
My sample of this tea was not very tightly compressed. The leaves were mostly whole, with varied shades of brown and green. Downy golden buds were scattered throughout. A pleasantly woody, hay-like aroma was apparent as soon as I opened the packet. I opted to use 8g of leaf in my porcelain gaiwan, leaving enough for one more session. I am finishing it off now as I write this review. Following Crimson Lotus Tea’s brewing recommendations, I started my infusions at 10 seconds and gradually increased with each round.
Stargazer brewed up a deep gold color. The hay aroma that I picked up in the dry leaf translated to more of a sweet alfalfa note in the cup. It reminded me of the time I spent working with horses in college. A grounding earthiness in the background kept it from being too grassy. The mouthfeel was thick and viscous. Lovely floral notes in the finish end with a crisp minerality. There is some bitterness, but it is the kind of bite that I enjoy in sheng puerh. The hui gan more than makes up for it.
This tea packs a punch but in a really nice way. I would particularly recommend it for those that are fairly new to sheng and looking to explore more. At $36.99 for a 200g cake, it is an affordable way to get a taste of autumn Hekai.
On March 13th, I’m joining Crimson Lotus Tea for a live tea session on YouTube. Reminders will be posted on social media when the time comes, but I thought I would mention it if anyone would like to save the date.
Have you tried Stargazer? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!