Jalam Teas He Kai Sheng

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: varied greens, loosely compressed
Ingredients: puerh tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

One of the things I love most about +JalamTeas is that their service gives the opportunity to really get to know the terroir of Yunnan. Two years ago I reviewed another He Kai from them and found very similar tasting notes to this one. Each cake they send is accompanied by a beautiful photograph. There are times that I miss my old lightbox because it was wider which allowed me to include them in my pictures. This month’s card featured a shot of one of the last remaining yak skin boats in operation in Tibet. The fact sheet on the reverse side explained that this is a mid-altitude puerh made by the Lahu people in the Bulang Mountains.

After a quick rinse, I brewed this tea using my standard 30-second infusions. That method can get a bit dicey with young sheng but this one has had some time to settle down a bit. The initial taste was a powerful vegetal, bitter edge with a wonderfully floral finish. Later infusions brought a hint of tart citrus fruits. There was a lot of natural sweetness to this tea but it definitely has a good, strong backbone as well. It stood up well to at least six consecutive infusions and probably could have given a few more.

I don’t keep a lot of tea on hand for practicality purposes. There’s always more tea arriving to replace everything that I finish. That being said, I do have a small cloth bag where I stash smaller sheng cakes that were really enjoyable. This tea is definitely getting added to that select club. I have a hard time waiting for tea to age but this is one that I’m looking forward to trying again in a few years.

I would recommend lowering your water temperature to about 195 or possibly even lower if you prefer to have less astringency. If the tea still has too much bite for you, dial back your leaf volume a bit. I use about 8g of leaves since that is what Jalam Teas usually recommends.

He Kai Sheng provided by Jalam Teas.

Nicole has been writing about her love of the leaf since 2008. Her work has been featured on World Tea News, The Daily Tea, Tea Journey, and other publications. She is the winner of the 2018 World Tea Award for Best Tea Blog.