Jasmine Sheng Puer Coins – Molihua
This tea is a combination of extra-grade sheng (raw) puer and jasmine blossoms (molihua). The soothing fragrance of jasmine and the lingering sweetness of raw puer reinforce and complement each other. Unlike jasmine-scented green teas that often get completely overcome by the strong taste and aroma of jasmine, sheng puer can easily fight its way to your palate, ensuring a memorable and relaxing tea drinking experience.
Why we like it?
Whoever first thought of combining raw puer with jasmine deserves a special place in the tea hall of honor. Raw puers are famous for their bittersweet taste and jasmine is well-known for its uniqueLY imposing fragrance. Combining these two allows to diminish the bitter aspect of the former and the dominance of the latter. This is possible because sheng puers possess that lingering sweetness called huigan (回甘) or liugan (留甘) in Chinese. Basically, when you take a sip of this tea, you immediately get hit by an all-engulfing wave of jasmine. A few seconds later, as that jasmine tsunami gradually recedes deep into background, you start noticing the subtle sweetness left by the undertow of raw puer. The great thing about this sweetness is that it’s very subtle, i.e. not sugary at all, and that it can stay in your mouth for up to ten-fifteen minutes. Some people like to drink a bit of warm water soon after their last sip of this tea to make the most to bring the appreciation of this lingering sweetness to the next level.
Roman’s personal score: 90/100
Miha’s personal score: 90/100
The scores above represent how the Daoli co-founders Miha and Roman feel about each particular tea. The ratings are given on 0 to 100 scale and are absolutely subjective. We simply translate into numbers our first impression about this tea.
A few words about the manufacturer
Laocang is a small, family-based, puer-oriented Yunnan tea establishment particularly famous for their tuocha, i.e. small, round-shaped nuggets of pressed sheng and shu puer. Roman has been friends with the owners for nearly five years, and in this time he came to know them as tea makers of impeccable integrity, a high sense of responsibility, and adherence to long-standing traditions. Laocang’s selection of puer is immense, ranging from very cheap to fairly expensive. We have decided to draw from the middle and upper-level varieties. The cheaper round-shaped nuggets are made of puer that contains 30% buds and 70% leaves, while the more expensive coin-shaped nuggets are 90% buds.
Basic facts about puer
There are two kinds of puer tea: shu (ripe, cooked, heavily fermented) and sheng (raw). Shu puers undergo an extensive (several months to a year) fermentation process, whereas sheng puers are not fermented at all. Shu puers produce dark brown infusions quite similar to black tea. The color of sheng puer tea may range from lime to intense yellow – the spectrum typical of green teas, but that’s where the similarity ends. A typical sheng puer has a pronounced bittersweet flavor and a lingering mellow aftertaste called huigan (回甘) or liugan (留甘) in Chinese.
Some people are discouraged from exploring puer teas because of erroneous perceptions that all puers taste like earth or have other unpleasant qualities. This only applies to low-quality puers that were either made of bad leaves, processed in a wrong way, or stored under inappropriate conditions. Brewed properly, good quality puers may seem unusually strong to an inexperienced palate, but they should not feel disagreeable in any way.
Shu puer tea is often divided into supreme (gongting), extra, 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades. Sheng puers are sometimes classified into extra, 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th grades, but this system is far from universal. The grade of puer tea is primarily determined by the buds vs. leaves ratio, as well as the size and shape thereof. Supreme-quality shu puer (aka gongting), for instance, is supposed to be buds only with each bud averaging up to one inch in length. Extra class shu is 50-60% buds and 40-50% leaves. First grade shu puer is approximately 30% buds and 70% leaves. Third grade has leaves that are larger in size and the bud content is accidental. Fifth and seventh grades are almost entirely made up of leaves, the main difference being in size, thickness, and texture of tea material used. Shengs follow a similar pattern, but, again, standards vary significantly among manufacturers.
General Steeping Suggestions
Tea can be steeped in a tea pot, gaiwan, or a strainer placed right in your cup. Feel free to experiment with time, temperature, and quantity. If tea feels a bit strong or bitter, just use less leaves or steep it for a shorter period of time. The purpose of the first brew is to rinse the leaves, so it shouldn’t last more than five seconds and should be discarded. Pour the hot water again. This time, steep it for longer periods. Avoid leaving the leaves soaking in water between brews, because it makes tea taste bitter and steals a lot of its flavor. If used properly, about six grams of tea leaves can yield several middle-size cups of excellent tea. Chinese people enjoy the original taste of tea, so they never use milk, sugar, or lemon.
Steeping suggestions for Jasmine Sheng Puer Coins
Start with this, then experiment:
- one serving: 1 nugget
- water: ~ 80 °C, 100-250 ml (~ 175°F, 3-9oz)
- time: 20-120 seconds
- number of infusions: 5-6
- discard the first brew
This is a delicate tea with a lot of buds and fine leaves, so it’s good idea not to steep it for longer than 30-45 seconds for the first couple of times. Time of infusion can be increased later to maintain a desired level of strength.
Have you tried this tea? Do you have any comments? Please use the space below to share your thoughts and ask us questions.