Sheng cha production is actually pretty simple, compared to its counterpart.
As always, sheng cha starts off as maocha (see previous post for details on maocha).
The only thing that is changed about the maocha, after blending, is its shape.
"If the producer wants to keep the maocha loose, it is first aged for about 3 months, and then packaged and sold. Whoever purchases it can decide to either drink it then, or age it themselves.
If the producer decides to make a cake, tou, brick or any other shape, the production is as follows;
-The maocha is placed into perforated containers, which are placed over a steamer. This moistens the leaves to make them pliable.
-The now soft maocha is then shaped by placing it into cotton bags, which are shaped and then put under pressure to mold the leaves.
-The shaped cakes are then set to dry and then wrapped."
Again, this is adopted information from the STI manual. I kept is somewhat short for the benefit of you readers.
This loose sheng cha was graciously given to me by the founder of Tea Source.
He was one of the teachers of the certification course.
The dry leaves smell of red cabbage and marjoram. They have a sufficient amount of down on them and have a clean scent. The particles are pretty broken up due to the transportation of the leaves from California to New Mexico.
The liquor's aroma is a mix of steamed spinach and mint. It also presents a clean / pure smell.
The taste is quite light, as well as its color. Floral notes sing while mint is kept on edge.
It is quite smooth and sweet for a young sheng.
In the second infusion, a mild bitterness comes out, but it still possesses the same basic profile.
The third infusion brings out the chalky mouth feel that most shengs have. The taste is still the same, but a tad subdued.
The tea has a great endurance.
It went for 10 infusions with the same basic tastes before it decided to quit on me. I enjoyed each infusion very much.
The purity of this tea is incredible.
The leaves do look a bit broken up, but that is due to the transportation, as I stated above.
It tells nothing of the quality, which to my tastes is above par.
I enjoyed this tea very much.
It is the closest to a green tea that any sheng has come in terms of attributes.
Maybe it is time for a contact for more of this..?