It’s time for more sheng puer, and the 50/50 blend of tea materials from He Beng, Yunnan, China, and Guo Gan, Myanmar, is an intriguing experience on paper alone. Enter Dream Scene Smuggler; A 200-300-year-old gushu from Mei Leaf that is a treat to sip alone and share with friends! Not only does the tea provide a wonderful experience, but the cake’s wrapper also features a beautiful illustration of a pangolin and brings awareness to conservation efforts. Allow me to introduce you to both the pangolin and this gushu blend!
The only truly scaly mammal in the world, these armored anteaters scoop up ants with their long, sticky tongues and curl into tight balls when alarmed or threatened. Little is known of pangolins, and there are only a handful of species throughout the world.
Pangolin populations are in decline due to severe poaching and trade within the African and Asian markets; utilizing their meat and derivatives in cuisine and traditional medicine. See more one this as well as just how adorable these animals are in the YouTube video below!
If you’re interested in learning more and getting involved in supporting pangolin conservation you can visit IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group .
And now, let’s take a look at Dream Scene Smuggler!
Season: March 2019
Cultivar: Da Ye Zhong
Origin: He Beng, Yunnan, China / Guo Gan, Myanmar
Picking/Processing: Bud + up to 3 leaves
Elevation: ~1000m (He Beng) / ~1350m (Guo Gan)
My Brewing Parameters
Leaf to Water Ratio – 6 g for 100 mL
Starting Temp – 95°C
Infusion time(s) – 15 sec. +5
My Tasting Experience
Eyes Dry: Sun-kissed copper stems, trichome heavy and thick espresso brown leaves, flashes of silver haze
Nose Dry: White chocolate crisp, apricot, rhubarb pie filling
Nose Wet: Unripened banana, cookie crust
Eyes Liquor: Pale yellow-green
Mouth Texture: Thick and smooth, pillowy soft
Mouth Taste: Sour-sweet stone fruit, creek petrichor and dry rock
Nose Cup: Sweet rice, condensed milk
Mouth Finish: Clean and present with a thick dry lingering sweetness that melts like caramel or chocolate
Eyes Wet: Open verdant green leaves, romaine tones, and an elastic give to the leaves
Body Sensation: Buoyant in mental acuity and mellow bliss
With a 15-second starting brew it starts off light but quickly grows into the strength and astringency those familiar with sheng may resonate with. A dry aspect leaves me craving more.
The melt begins! Familiar to the senses by now, the liquor is quick to sink in and throughout the mouth in a white chocolate sweetness, complemented by bright flavors of fruit. There’s a sensation of jumping into the local pool, descending deep and witnessing sunlight reflecting off the lapping waves; casting shadows that dance along the textured bottom. Sweet rainwater persists.
Open waters here as I am free to explore altering parameters to draw out different facets of the material. Cooler temperatures keep each infusion smooth and milky sweet, while longer brews with the water striking the cha dan revitalize a peppery texture that excites the tongue.
WAKING FROM THE DREAM
With this 200 g cake clocking in around $0.46 a gram and lasting well over 12 infusions, one can happily have their dreams smuggled away. I used 6 grams per 100 mL, slightly over the recommendation based on my preferences. One session totals to $2.76 for at least 40.5 oz. of tea! Beautifully mineral and refreshing, this sheng puer blend reminds me that two thoughtfully curated teas, when brought together as a whole, are greater than the sum of its parts. Throughout many sessions with Dream Scene Smuggler, I’ve found it to be a comfortable tea to enjoy any time while also being called to listen and feel more closely, eager to discover more. It’s been a pleasant daily drinker for me during this year and I feel it’s accessible for those dipping into raw puer.
If you’ve tried this tea or have some in your stash and want to taste it together, let me know! You can find Dream Scene Smuggler from Mei Leaf HERE. For every cake of this tea sold they are donating £3 toward Pangolin conservation through IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group