Bitterleaf Teas put the risk in risqué this year with the release of their 2019 Full Frontal — a 2019 Jingmai Sheng Puer that depicts a Renaissance-like depiction of Eve on this tea’s wrapper (Botticelli's Birth of Venus). Bitterleaf Teas has been flashing the idea throughout the past few years that nudity in tea or tea ware can be a tasteful event. And when it comes to tea, they always present their offerings in a way that’s pure and closet to nature. So for their 2019 Full Frontal, did they harvest tea from the right bush? Let’s find out!
Dimensions — 4.6g of tea for a 70ml shibo
Water Temperature — Boil
Number of Steeps — 14
Price — $44.00 USD per 200g beeng
Music Pairing — MassEducation by St. Vincent (2018)
MassEducation is the follow-up to St. Vincent's 'MASSEDUCTION' -- which is an album about taking pride and gaining strength in your sexuality. The album touches themes of relationships and depression as well. However, St. Vincent did a re-recording of every single song off MASSEDUCTION' and recorded it with just her voice and a piano. She got word that people were misinterpreting her album as 'MASS EDUCATION', so she went with the joke and MassEducation was born! This classical and vocal stylized album is fun, sexy, and embraces the idea that it's not always okay to be okay. And for this tea being 'full-frontal', there's no better way to pair this tea with a stripped-down re-stylized version of a traditional pop album.
Steeps 1 — 7
With the first infusion, Full Frontal disrobed its outer layer by providing the hints of fresh green grass with a cloudy and misty mouth-feel that radiated throughout the mouth. After a few more infusions, this tea became nippy in the mouth as a stripped-down note of stevia-sweetened that brushed the base of the tongue while leaving an echo of bitter and astringency behind in its trail. However, Full Frontal’s texture lubed the inside of the mouth with an oily finish as a floral note danced around the green grass notes of a soup.
Steeps 8 — 14
Full Frontal’s bitter and astringency began to settle as this tea’s green-grass base began to strip down to notes of hay. The floral notes from earlier kept dancing with the body of hay, and as the steeps went on, the more of a lasting subtle sweetness it left. However, this tea’s body was robust and seemed to keep expanding — digging further in the cheeks of the mouth. However, by the end of the session, Full Frontal rounded up to hit a bliss-point that led to puer meditation, which left me feeling rather exposed. By the fourteenth infusion, this tea was fully-clothed and out the door.
2019 Full Frontal is a Jingmai sheng puer from Bitterleaf Teas that’s stripped down and gets straight to business. One aspect of this tea that I liked was how direct it was with its notes. Another aspect I liked about this tea was the price point for the quality you get. This is a tea that’s versatile in the sense that you can have a go-with-the-flow session with it and wing it, or study this tea in a more serious setting and it still is flexible enough to enjoy it both ways. However, one drawback for some of the pickier puer hobbyists is how fresh it still was. If fresh sheng isn’t your thing (which shouldn’t matter because this tea is excellent as is), then this might be a tea you should sit on for a little bit before diving in.
Overall, 2019 Full Frontal has provided multiple enjoyable gong-fu sessions and is a tea that I’ll look forward to drinking again. However, if I recommend so myself I suggest you do what I did which is go outside, strip down in the freest form possible (without getting the cops called on you) and be at one with this tea and connect to the nature that provided this tea. We sometimes take for granted that tea is a beautiful gift given to us by mother nature. So get down to your birthday suit, go hug a tree, drink this tea, and fade into the air that surrounds you..