I recently started working at a tea shop and nearly everyone working there doesn’t know a lick about the vast world of puer and oolongs. I’m also having a field day educating everyone about why these types of teas are my obsession. One thing that nearly sent me over the edge was when one of my co-workers stated that the only puers she’s tasted, tasted like fish so she doest like them! Um, what??! Not all puers taste like fish and not all puers are gross. The puer that sparked this discussion was a photo of White2Tea’s Brown Sugar.
My co-workers have no idea what White2Tea is, much less what Brown Sugar taste like. To be fair, not too many people know what to expect when they get the brick. So guess what that means? Today we’re going over Brown Sugar!
The wrapper is beautifully designed, but one drawback is how fragile the paper is. After opening, I had a hard time trying to re-cover the tea with the wrapper, and almost decided to store it without it. In my opinion this is a turn off because if I plan to keep Brown Sugar for storing, how well will it be protected over the years? I would expect a paper to be in this condition after years of aging; not something i’d expect from a new production.
On another note, I must compliment this brick on how easy it was to break it apart. It’s compression was light enough that I could easily pick away the right amount of tea needed.
Like always, I started this tea off with a quick rinse to get rid of any dust and debris, and decided to steep it with boiling water. My first impression of this tea is how damp and woodsy it tasted. It tasted a bit light and also a bit smooth, but needed a few more steeps to really open up. One thing I want to point out is that right off the bat, I noticed there’s something that’s hiding behind the woodsy notes but I couldn’t really point it out.
After this tea opened up a bit more the damp wood notes were much stronger. There was also a light bitterness that lingered on my tongue after drinking this tea. The bitterness wasn’t noticeable at first, but after a bit of concentration it’s something that you can pinpoint. Another thing I noticed was that this tea kept getting smoother and smother - It felt like a nice cozy blanket going down the throat. However, the taste of wet wood stated to develop into a strong punch around the sixth steep. On the other hand, a light sweetness that brushed against my cheeks, but this could easily be overlooked due to the teas heavy punch.
Around the ninth steep, the woodsy started to mellow out and the grittiness quickly disappeared. Unfortunately though, the faint sweetness that I noticed towards the beginning also faded away with it. By steep twelve this tea was finished. If I'm being honest, the way this tea lost its flavors was a bit underwhelming and made me wish there was more.
I took my vessel and dumped the wet leaf. After dissecting the leaves I was surprised to find that the leaves were huge! I was taken aback by this because shou puers usually have leaves that are either too small or too mingled to pick apart. This just goes to show the quality of tea that you’re really getting from White2Tea. Five points for Gryffindor!
Overall, I Think that Brown Sugar wouldn't be a tea I’d re-order. Because Brown Sugar is relatively new, I think it has a long way to go before it develops into something wonderful. I believe this tea has potential to age into something great for two reasons. For one, it still had a light bitter undertone which means it has a lot more aging to go. Second, there was a light sweetness that tried to break its way thought the woody punch, which tells me that once this tea calms down it’ll be substantially more noticeable and hopefully tasty. I have three bricks of Brown Sugar and I plan on aging them to see where their flavors go. According to White2Tea’s master curator Paul, he said he’s keeping his fingers crossed that it’ll taste like plums in ten years.
Tea Drunk Level:
This tea punched me in the gut when I least expected it! It was like ‘wham bam, thank you ma’am!’