Crimson Lotus Tea Spring 2015 Jingmai Midas Touch Sheng

Origin: Mangjing/Manghong, Siamo
Harvest: Spring 2015
Elevation: 1300m
Tree age: ≈600 years old

Glenn of Crimson Lotus Tea included a sample of his 2015 Jingmai Midas Touch, a tea I had my eye on, but was just a little bit out of my budget as well as another of his more expensive shengs, sadly no Special Sauce. Nevertheless I was excited to try this tea, but before I was decided to sample it I really did not want to fall in love with it. While this is not an outrageously expensive sheng I am more used to buying young shengs in the $30-50 range. Crimson Lotus Tea describes this as:
The old growth tea forests of Jingmai ( pronounced 'jing my' ) are nothing short of idyllic. These ancient forests border Burma and hide smuggler trade routes still in use today. The biodiversity of the region and the nearly untainted old world methods and rituals of tea cultivation and harvesting make this area unique among world tea production. Large tea trees planted before Columbus discovered the Americas are commonplace.
This year we had the pleasure of meeting a tea farmer in Jingmai called "The Bulang Prince". He's quite a unique character. He is young and highly educated for a tea farmer. He is passionately dedicated to perfecting his craft and has spent time traveling and learning from other tea farmers in Yunnan. He is a rare breed. He worked with roasting masters in Bingdao to polish his skills. 
His 'royal' hands were responsible for roasting this tea. The material is good to begin with, but in his hands we felt it became something extra special. We decided to call this one "Midas Touch" because we feel he has the skill to turn his leaf into gold.
This tea is strong despite the young age. It has the beginnings of the honey aroma Jingmai is known for. This tea brews both gentle and strong at the same time. It can surprise you. Stick this on a shelf for 10 years and you will have a truly amazing tea!
·         Prefecture: Simao
·         Village: Mangjing / Manghong
·         Tree Age: ~600 years old
·         Elevation: 1300+m
·         Wood Fired
·         Hand Rolled
·         Indoor Sun Dried

Dry Leaves: My sample is loosely compressed at first I thought it was maocha, but after viewing the image on CLT’s website it looks like the cake is pretty unique, it looks like there is a lot of variety in this cake. There are what appear to be some large leaves as well as some twisted leaves. Visually it reminds me of Bai Mu Dan because of how varied the tea appears to be. It looks like there are a few stems in the cake, but my sample is all leaves.

First Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: Five Seconds
Aroma: Smoke and Fruity
Flavor: Apricot, Green Beans, and Hay
Tasting Notes: This was rather interesting, but simple start. While it does not have that smoky taste a lot of young shengs can have it does have a bit of a smoke/char aroma. It does have a nice bitterness that disappears around the sixths or seventh infusion after that it becomes very sweet. Other than that there is a wonderful apricot taste as well as some green bean and hay notes.

I know green bean flavors in young shengs can be a warning sign, but this tastes very different from any of the young shengs I have had before. I don’t feel confident in predicting how this will age or even if it is worth aging (since it is a very drinkable tea as it is), but this stands out to me for some reason that I cannot exactly put my finger on.

Second Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: Ten Seconds
Aroma: Burnt Wood, Camphor and Fruity
Flavor: Apricot, Green Beans and Hay
Tasting Notes: Still there is some bitterness, but not a lot to turn off someone off this tea; but not enough to be that memorable. There is quite a lot of sweetness that dulls the initial bitterness. The flavors of this sheng are pretty similar to the last infusion still very simple, but at the same time very nice.

The aromas have changed a little. There is a new Camphor smell that was rather nice, the fruity scent is pretty much the same; but the Smoke/Char of the last infusion is more like Burnt Wood. Not necessarily like burning wood, but more like the smell of a living tree that has been hit by lightning.

Third Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: Fifteen Seconds
Aroma: Burnt Wood, Camphor and Fruity
Flavor: Apricot, Green Beans and Hay
Tasting Notes: Again the flavor and aromas are pretty much the same as last time, the strength of the Camphor smell is a little stronger, but the Burnt Wood smell is still the primary aroma. The bitterness is still there, but it quickly disappears. Overall this is a rather nice experience; it has a nice bit of bitterness, not necessarily kuwei, which is balanced by the sweetness.  So far this tea is meandering somewhere in the middle of the road, it is not one of those supper easy sweet and floral teas that probably won’t age well nor is it one of those rough teas that may have a bright future.

While this sheng takes a while to become more complex the early infusions have these amazing simple tastes. While I do focus on the early experience with any tea that I look at for this blog, this tea may sound a little like a daily drinker because of its simplicity and relative slow start, but it doesn’t start to shine until the fifth or sixth infusion. At the time of writing this Crimson Lotus Tea is currently selling 200g cake of Midas Touch for $80 and I hate how much I like this tea. While the price and lack of samples may defer those who are interested. I do not know if I’d purchase an entire cake of this since Crimson Lotus Tea has quite a few shengs that I want to sample, but this is definitely one of their nicer 2015 teas. 


Just a guy who likes tea.