If you are a Seattle local and caught the time to have tea with Crimson Lotus Teas (often Phoenix Tea on Fridays) last year, you might have tried Moon Princess sheng in maocha form, with a promise of it being pressed into cakes in 2017. I had it a few times and was impressed how aromatic it was, excited for this tea to be released. When it came out, I immediately purchased a cake of 2016 Moon Princess sheng puer.
However, I felt this tea got neglected by the tea community. Everyone descended on Crimson Lotus Tea’s exclusive TKG, Secret Sauce, and Planets, and I’ve heard next to no buzz about Moon Princess. The tea unassumingly sits in the corner as a low-moderate priced cake, that I figure most thought was for new puer drinkers. Or maybe others passed as they wanted 2017 Spring material over 2016 Autumn Lincang.
Dry Leaf and Steeping Method
2016 Moon Princess sheng smells sweet and floral. Quite a fragrant tea – it was the best smelling out of all the teas from my Crimson Lotus Tea order.
I used 1 gram of leaf to 13ml vessel, gongfu style, steeped in boiling water. I went a little heavy on the leaf as the piece I pried off came to a perfect round number. The hot leaf smells like floral and hot corn.
Tasting of Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2016 Moon Princess Sheng Puer
First and Second Infusion: Moon Princess sheng puer sips in sweet and vegetal, similar to green corn husks and snow peas. There is a light bitter background. After each sip, the flavor lingers an orchid peach. I love the body texture as it sips thick and creamy. Some sips, with the combination of the thick texture, strangely remind me of creamed corn.
Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: Moon Princess sheng got strong. The flavor is a touch crisp and brighter and cleaner, tasting more like orchids with a soft bitterness. However, I think the orchid flavor is purely the aroma overpowering all flavor. This bracket of infusions was amazing. It checks boxes for my personal tastes of good body and potent aroma.
Seventh and Eighth Infusion: Moon Princess still tastes overwhelmingly floral, but each infusion the bitterness popped out a bit more, trying to beat the orchid notes. The body is still slick and balmy feeling. Despite having a lot of bitterness here, it is still enjoyable as the orchid note is sharp too.
Ninth and Tenth Infusion: Long infusions here at around 10-15 minutes. I spoke too soon as this got very bitter that it is close to undrinkable, but I tolerate it as the aftertaste is that strong orchid aroma. Moon Princess is noticeably astringent now too, with my tongue and back teeth feeling gritty. After all this floral talk I want orchids, but I excell at killing them and any plant that requires watering.
Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2016 Fall Moon Princess sheng puer is a vegetal leaning, high orchid floral aroma puer. It has a thick body and excellent lingering aftertaste. This puer is an absolute match for those who enjoy floral teas. Oolong drinkers would love Moon Princess. For a young puer, it isn’t too bitter or dry, nor stewy or grassy. It is great to drink now too, and for my purposes, I will be drinking this cake over aging it as I quite enjoy it as is.
I would call Moon Princess sheng a killer budget White2Tea’s Tuhao AF, which is another heavy floral aroma puer. Comparing to a recent oolong-like puer I reviewed, 2017 Da Zhong Shan from Yunnan Sourcing, Moon Princess has more aroma and is not grassy.