My friend Daniel, at www.TheChineseTeaShop.com has some tea that he's had for a while. He was sent it accidentally when he ordered something else. He doesn't like selling tea he doesn't have accurate information on, so he's giving me a good deal on all of them.
This is labelled as Tung Ching, but it could be anything. Sometimes you just don't know.
What we do know, based on look and smell:
It is very very tightly pressed, by machine. It is a Sheng Pu-erh, though it has so many older leaves, and so few young leaves that looks like a Shou.
Upon filling the teapot with tea and water, I found that it is so tightly packed, the leaves unfurled to overfill the pot. Just to close the lid, I had to remove a small palmful of leaves.
The wet leaf is a little green, like any good Sheng. The leaves are quite large with a quantity of stems in them, which will lend a little nuttiness to the smoky flavour as it ages.
The liquor is dark, so dark that I keep questioning, what if it is a Shou. or if there were such a thing, a half-Shou. The only thing that brings me back to Sheng is that the flavour is so smoky, and slightly green.
There is no bitterness. If I oversteep it, it just gets more smoky, but never to the point that it is undrinkable.
This is a great tea to drink this year if you like predictable. I haven't been surprised after the first few steeps. The flavour is constant and easy to predict. The smokiness makes me certain that anyone who likes Lapsang Souchong would Love this tea.
If you like aging tea, then I also suggest this tea. I am having a fun time trying to predict what this will end up tasting like. My thoughts are that it will settle into a smoother, more apricot kind of taste. Where the smokiness will translate into a more milky caramel kind of sweetness. I don't expect any plum flavour to come out, even after 20 more years.