Sadly, I missed the tasting session of 2010 Black Gold shou puer at Crimson Lotus Tea‘s booth at the Northwest Tea Festival. I am not sure what I was doing, but a bunch of my tea friends was able to taste it. It wasn’t a big deal, as I bought a sample of Black Gold when it was released and it was sitting at home airing out. However, I heard multiple times that Black Gold was incredible so I was sad I missed a tasting without having to open my sample.
There is no way I was going to blind cake Black Gold as it is 200 grams for $89… for a shou. 2017 Stormbreaker is also $79 200 gram shou. At that price, I had to buy a sample just on principle to try it myself. For technical specs, 2010 Black Gold is Jingmai material, the same material as their Midas Touch, a tea I am a fan of and own a cake of.
I love Crimson Lotus Tea’s sample bags, they get the pumidor treatment rather than a tin. I had this sample air out for 2 weeks, then I stuffed it into my shou pumidor for a couple more weeks.
Dry Leaf and Steeping Instructions
I got the beenghole. The scent is faint but the colour has nice gold rippled leaf.
I went with 1 gram of leaf to 11ml of vessel size. I leafed a bit heavy, but I had a nice lump size I didn’t want to smash to dust. Boiling water. I did a single rinse and drank it. All systems go!
Tasting of Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2010 Black Gold Shou Puer
First and Second Infusion: Black Gold is amazingly sweet and smooth. First steeping should have been a rinse as it was just too light to have much flavor. The flavor is sharp, sugary woodsy, with an interesting savory mushroom aftertaste. The texture is creamy and dense. The tea is dense and I can feel it punch through my digestive tract.
It really doesn’t need silver to change the flavor, but in a silver cup, Black Gold is more creamy and smooth. The savory mushroom aftertaste is still there.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: My heavy brewing is showing now as this tea is dark. It is a clear tea but you cannot see the bottom of my cup.
Black Gold is so dark that it doesn’t even glow in silver.
The flavor is strong, creamy and dense. I got wood, molasses, hazelnuts. What it needs is some butter notes and I got a Canadian butter tart. The aroma of this sucker is high – the smell of this tea rises with each sip that my sinuses can taste the woodsy darkness. I don’t think I need a tongue to taste, nor sinus medication every again as this tea is just purging a path through my nose.
Sixth and Seventh Infusion: The insanity that is my brewing has chilled out. Black Gold is sweet and mineral with woody notes. The mushroom notes are mostly gone. I can certainly feel a buzz from the shou. It is churning in my stomach from the amp turned to 11 on my sinuses. I’ve been known to get tea drunk of shou as I still swear there’s caffeine in it. I got maniac business ideas. I think Crimson Lotus could have gone mental and laced gold leaf into this so I can drink dark death shou and poop actual gold.
Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Infusion: There is still plenty to go on Black Gold. The notes continue to soften a develop a fuzzy honey note. The main flavor is woodsy dark, and the aroma is still sinus crazy. I can aftertaste the honey and I feel like I got gut-punched by a log.
I was thinking that Black Gold would be INSANE if there was some gold mold on it. That would turn this tea into crazy town honey crazy. However, you have to be insane to entice gold mold on an expensive shou cake.
Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Sixteenth Infusion: Black Gold went funny in appearance as it oddly shifted to a cloudy ruddy brown. The flavor is soft honey and a little green. With each steeping it got more sweet and mineral. I am enjoying how sweet Black Gold is. I am curious was green this shou was years back.
I keep waiting for Black Gold to die but it refuses to. The colour slips further and further, but I am still getting some flavor and the leaves still have plenty of smell to them. The final infusion I let go for 30 minutes. I likely could get more with a dedicated seasoned yixing that holds high temperature better than my gaiwan.
Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2010 Black Gold shou puer kills it for shou. It is complex in flavor, the aroma is off the charts, has a nice body feel, age on it, and great to drink. Black Gold is certainly a “need to try” for shou lovers to experience what a high-end shou can do. This is certainly too high roller for a new puer drinker.
I must address that Crimson Lotus tea created a disturbance in the force. This shou is $89 for 200grams. $0.45 a gram is bloody expensive for shou. Many puer drinkers I talked to also awkwardly twitched at that price. We are used to drinking pretty banging shou for no more than $40 a 200 gram cake. I think of my favorite shous of all time and they were around $0.25 a gram. You can get a solid shou for around $0.15-$0.20 a gram.
I thought about it awhile. I have no problems dropping the same or more cash on a quality sheng puer. Sheng has room to age and it seems more rewarding of a purchase. Expensive sheng is also a thing seen around often. Expensive shou doesn’t come up much in our North American tea audience. Shou doesn’t have much room to grow (barring less fermented ones), so we are paying for age and material quality. The price makes sense as Black Gold has some age on it and is cheaper than the same material but less age of the Midas Touch sheng. That said, why am I grumbling about the price? Black Gold is banging good tea and one of the best shous I’ve had so far. After more debating, likely my brain is also conflicted as shou is also seen as an aged-cheesed sheng puer of daily drinker value and dirty product that was fermented on the floor. I am sure the same argument could be made by an everyday tea drinker who buys their box of 20 teabags for $5 at the grocery store and wonder how my snooty owl butt rolls “Worth it $$$” on any tea past $20.
Well dear tea readers, expensive shou… that is for you to decide if it is worth it or not. 2010 Black Gold is a good tea. Hey, I got 16 steepings from it, which is impressive for a shou so there’s bang for your buck there. Either way, Black Gold is $10 for a 20 gram sample so try it yourself if you are curious and love shou.