Now that we’re being thrown right into Fall, grocery store isles begin to fill with pumpkin spice and salted caramel. As each year goes by, the pumpkin spice fad grows larger and larger. A lot of people drink pumpkin spice in the fall because it signals that winter is coming, and more importantly, summer is over. As we make the long and narrow path into winter, it’s time to warm things up a bit! There’s no better way to warm up than to drink a warm tea. Shou seems to fit the bill, and further, so does Old Reliable by White2Tea.
When I first opened my beeng of Old Reliable by White2Tea, I thought it looked rather odd. This was my very first ripe puer and was surprised at the jumbled mesh of brown leaf I was looking at. Furthermore it possessed a peculiar odor - dirt with a hint of smoke. To my surprise, this beeng broke off pretty easily, as I broke off 6.5g of this tea to use in my 100ml vessel.
On my first infusion, this tea immediately hit me with a mix of dirt and Earth, with a sweet aftertaste of cedar tree bark. It was also very smooth and continued to get richer and richer. Along with the tea getting richer, there was also a note of tobacco hiding behind the sweetness which mixed beautifully well with the earthy notes.
The liquor of this tea got noticeably dark.The strong taste of earth started to phase away as rich notes of wood and tobacco took over. Another aspect of this tea that taught my attention was that it’s smoothness started to really stand out. It glided past my throat and could easily be felt in my chest as it made its way to my stomach. Around the ninth steep though, I started to break out in a sweat as my nerves started to calm. Every time I drink this tea, I start to break out in a hot sweat because of this teas energy. Although this tea is calming, its quick to hit my system with everything that it has.
Steeps 8 - 12
Old Reliable started to calm down as the body of this tea started to disappear. On these longer steeps, a caramel-like tasting note slowly made its way to the surface as the cedar and earthy notes started to phase away all together. Although this tea’s body started to weaken, it’s sweetness was still present and made itself known up to the last infusion. It finished off with a light and sweet tobacco finish that left me disappointed when it was gone.
Overall, I think Old Reliable is one of the easiest shou puers to drink. On top of that, I also think it’s one of the best. For the price of this cake, I’m blown away at the quality of this tea. The tasting profile was rich and complex, but wasn't too complex that a new tea drinker wouldn’t be able to detect everything thats in this tea. To add, I’ve even gone through an entire beeng of this puer and already ordered a few more to replace it! This was one of my favorite shou puers in my collection because not only is it a daily drinker, it’s also an excellent tea. There’s no other shou like Old Reliable…
Rating - 9.6