2015 Autumn Misty Peak Sheng Pu’er – Tea Review

There was some drama with this 2015 Autumn Misty Peak pu’er cake. It was first out of the gate by a month or two compared to other tea sellers who do Autumn sheng pu’er. It was sold exclusively as being freshly picked and pressed, only a couple weeks old! To some, that sounds really cool. To others, they were wondering how they were able to ship it that fast out of China and how much moisture is in the tea.

I had got this sample just after this cake came out. I was super curious about the new Misty Peaks pu’er and requested a sample with my tea blogger powers. Unfortunately, Misty Peak Teas doesn’t sell samples. Closest they have is the rolled pu’er balls. I am unhappy with this lack of sample buying situation – I have a price point that I will buy a whole cake without sampling and the pricing on this tea is past that point.

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Unfortunately, with me busting my ankle and all good tea drinking got delayed and then Christmas rush began. I finally tucked into the first session early December and round two today – December 31st – the last tea of the year.

After the first release of the 2015 sheng, Misty Peak teas has come out with a double mountain shaped cake. The sample I am tasting is the round cake. One day I’ll have my owl shaped cake that no one will want to drink because it’s too cute to pu’er pick its face off.

Dry Leaf

The sample was stone pressed so it is easy to break the tea. The leaf has a nice sweet, floral and grassy leaf scent.

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Session One – Tasting of 2015 Autumn Misty Peak Sheng

For this session I did 200f water temperature, 8grams of leaf in a 120ml gaiwan, the standard 1gram to 15ml ratio. Misty Peak Teas cited a 3 gram serving which made me scratch my head, that means I’d need to use a 45ml teapot or gaiwan to follow the ratio which is really tiny. I will stick to my guns here and go with what I do with all my young shengs.

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The tea steeps up a light yellow colour with a light scent. Smelling the lid of the gaiwan has a woodsy cherry scent.

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First and Second Infusion: The tea has a thick body like cream. The flavor is really light. I can barely pick out a forest floor and sweet creamy milk taste. These infusions is mostly just feeling the body than taste. The aftertaste is a bit of floral of starting to bloom cherry blossoms.

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Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: Thick and heavy still coating my mouth in sticky floral as the dryness increases. The dryness is a good one, hopefully one that a pu newb drinking could see how nice dry can be. The flavor is now stronger at a more dectable level of mineral light wood, creamy, butter green leaves and floral. Like I steeped up a cherry blossom branch that I just snapped off a tree. But still really light for a pu’er.

Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: I got bored with how light the tea is and jacked the water temperature to boiling. I also steeped these infusions for a couple minutes each. The flavor is stronger, I probably should of pushed this tea sooner, but still very light. The notes are quite vegetal here and totally like avocado, matching the thick creamy body. I lost the floral notes as I think I cooked the leaf, haha!

Hmm, is this tea really from China, it is totally avocado tasting that I can almost taste the California broken dreams on a fresh avocado loaded lengua burritos. Hold the hot sauce! Obviously I am now getting the pu’er qi tea drunk as I caught myself laughing at the thought of tea packaged like hot sauce.

The gaiwan is also crazy full. How is it so bursting but so little intensity of flavor?

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Tenth Infusion: I did a 10 min steeping and it’s dead. There’s just a bit of creamy and avocado, just as light as the first infusion. Bleh. I could probably milk one more with a 30 minute steeping, but I am totally not getting 20 infusions as stated in the product listing. Boo.

Session Two 2015 Autumn Misty Peak Sheng

You know what? I was really unhappy with the first session due to the light flavor and length of the session. I didn’t want to just go with what I wrote above and I debated for awhile on how to play with the tea ratio and temperature. I tried again a few weeks later, this time with boiling water, 9 grams 90ml. 1 to 10 ml and flash steeps. Actually, more like 9.5, I just dumped the rest of my sample in, I do not fear sheng gut rot! The tea pot is almost half full!

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First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Infusion: LOADS better! Dang! Thick sticky texture, with notes of fresh vegetable cream soup being eaten with a wood spoon underneath a cherry blossom tree. The flavor is nicely potent, I’m getting buttery peas, avocado, wood, and a fresh fragrance of cherry blossoms.  There is a sweet bitterness present that a new pu’er drinker might not like but if you like pu’er bitterness it is nice.

Fifth steeping and I’m feeling weird. Like the tea is massaging my brain with one of these wire scalp massagers. I’m shivering and feeling weird, I am pretty sure I shouldn’t drive – I started the New Years party early! The tea qi is potent!

Seventh Infusion:

Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh Infusion: This tastes just like the first session’s 7-9 steeping – creamy avocado tea, however much drier than the previous session. Very tasty as I love avocados and what makes living in California great – avocados cheap and everywhere! Dammit, I want an avocado lengua burrito right now!

Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth Infusion: Super light avocado and mineral flavor, with a stiff bitterness and high amount of dryness that runs down the tongue and down the throat.

Fifteenth and Sixteenth Infusion: I steeped these for 15 and 30 minutes. The flavor is a wistful amount of creamy avocado with a dry burn finish. I might be able to milk a couple more steepings but it’s New Years eve, this has taken longer than anticipated, and I really want to go eat a burrito. But yeah – here’s close to 20 steepings but it took a lot of leaf, not 3 grams unless I was using a gaiwan for elves.

Tthe tea pot is super dense with leaf, hahahaha!

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2015 Autumn Misty Peak Sheng Pu’er is a light, very approachable pu’er. I’d say this is a great new to pu’er young sheng, with some interesting character for regular sheng drinkers. However, price point wise is not great for pu’er newbies at $39 for 100 grams (at the time of writing). Misty Peak had some excellent sales at launch and during Black Friday, so it seems best to jump on those sales if you want this tea (and before it jumps in price, the previous years are really expensive).

If you are new to pu’er and prefer a lighter more delicate tea, go with the the 1g:15ml ratio, but I found the 2015 Autumn Misty Peak can take a beating with more leaf and boiling water. This tea jumps more in price if you are running high leaf and not the 3gram number they cite. However, keep in mind this is pretty fresh tea, it’ll change.

What I find interesting is the range of flavor intensity of all the 2015 sheng pu’er I’ve tried throughout the year. Light, but not as light sheng would be 2015 Pin White2Tea (noted here that this tea had extra water content due to recent pressing). If you want the polar opposite for the “Punch in the Face” intensity – 2015 Wild Monk Reprise Mandala Tea (to be reviewed soon).

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(tea provided for review)

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  • Geoffrey Norman

    I followed the conversation regarding the early rollout of the Autumn 2015 cakes. All the other vendors were crying foul. Well, here’s the deal … I know Nick. Hung out with him a few times. He had moved to Yiwu in Feb. of this year. Onto the farm. So, I more than believed he had early access to those cakes, and was able to conduct an early rollout directly.

    That said, I think this stuff ‘s awesome.

    • Geoffrey, I bought a cake of the tea. It wasn’t freshly picked puerh.

      • Geoffrey Norman

        I had the chance to taste various years, and plucking seasons of the same year. Granted, my puerh palate is nowhere near as Jedi as yours .. but I know this tea pretty well. Tastes pretty darn fresh to me.

        • I will defer to TwoDog who wrote that spring tea in Yunnan was not ready until late March. Scott Wilson has also said the same. In addition, tea cakes need to rest at least a month. Misty Peaks first cake was shipped in early March. The cake I bought from this cannot possibly be Spring 2015 as advertised, period. My photos speak for themselves showing browned tea. New raw puerh is green.

          What Nick clearly wanted to do was be the first to offer 2015 tea. But it was not fresh spring tea and could not possibly have been at that date. Was it spring 2015 or autumn or winter tea? I don’t know. I have three seasons of Misty Peaks samples or purchases and I agree it is decent tasting. But I’m no fool.

          • Geoffrey F. Norman

            I read the dialogic exchange on Steepster. Both vendors claimed he couldn’t have gotten cakes until March – yes, you are right. Plus, they also claimed that – since he lived in Portland – there was no way a delivery (via slow-boat) could’ve made it that soon. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have received cakes until April.

            Well . . . Nick wasn’t IN Portland. He moved to Yiwu . . . in February. When the harvest was happening with his farmer. So he was there, living on the farm, helping with the pressing. Even showed as much in the Fresh Cup spread on him and his farmer.

            Granted, I never tried the Spring 2015, so I can’t attest to its . . . uh . . . green-ness. But I’m currently looking at the Autumn 2015. Pretty darn green, if you ask me. And brown. And khaki. And whatever else. And it still tastes pretty darn fresh.

            When he did live in Portland (back in 2014), I sampled the Autumn pick a month after it was released, and even got to taste the Spring pluck for comparison. Then we backtracked several years. All the way back to 1998.

            There’s been a LOT of hate dished his way from the pu community lately, and – frankly – it’s very un-tea-community-like. You did have a decent bone to pick with them about the weightloss stuff. (I need to have a talk with him about that health claim lean he’s been on.) But as far as the skepticism about when/where/how his cakes are coming in, I’m siding with him on this one.

            And as to the additional claims made by some people that he’s just in it for the marketing . . . I call bulls**t. Plain and simple. You can’t judge a guy until you’ve had tea with him. I have. Several times. He’s about as real as I am, but far less uncouth.

          • Geoffrey, I’m specifically talking about this Spring 2015 release only. I don’t think any questions have been raised regarding autumn releases. I’m also talking specifically about the tea leaf harvest. You can’t harvest spring in winter. That is the reality. Nick wasn’t the only vendor in the area giving witness to this fact of tea growing.

          • Geoffrey F. Norman

            Gotcha. All I can do is give anecdotal claims to the contrary. And, you are right, I haven’t sampled the Spring ’15. So, I haven’t a leg to stand on in that regard. All I have is my experience with the 2014, and so on down the line. But I’m still siding with him on this one, as I said above.

            To coin the old cliche, “Let’s agree to disagree.” . . . And discuss plans for raiding Yunnan Sourcing’s dumpster.

          • Really? You in?

            Nick has a decent leaf tea. I wish he would dump the marketing BS and focus on the leaf quality. He doesn’t need all that subterfuge to sell decent leaf. I continue to buy controversial teas. I’m not as much of a high horse on the principle as I am a fair price for the quality. Some may argue with me on that, fairly enough, but the price isn’t that far out for a decent fresh tea. It isn’t great tea, but then it isn’t priced pretending to be such. Not like other companies selling inferior leaf at insane prices.

          • There was questions about Autumn release, a few vendors called it out saying they had just started picking theirs and there was no way the cakes were dry enough for shipment. MP also claimed the rains made for good tea, but the other vendors said that’s not the case. Edit: also it seems all the other vendors had their autumn raws ready 1 to 3 months after MP, MP was first out of the gate by a long shot.

            However, the topic on Steepster was deleted and he started a new topic, flushing out the questions.

          • Geoffrey F. Norman

            Can you provide a link to the discussion? I’m nosy.

          • It got deleted, and apparently another got deleted after that when more questions got asked. But here’s the only remaining one http://steepster.com/discuss/11810-misty-peak-teas-autumn-2015-green-puer-harvest-online-now that mentions YS has questions about it that weren’t all answered. There was another pu’er seller but I can’t remember who and I never heard of them before.

  • I definitely think that the brewing directions they provide are a bit wonky. When I brew Misty Peak’s sheng in my 150ml yixing I typically use 8g of leaf and 30 second infusions. Your post reminded me that I still need to crack into my sample of the 2015!