The summer temps are climbing in Western Montana and the fire season is ramping up. It's not nearly as hot as the Eastern and Midwestern states, but it is hot enough that I find my behaviors and cravings changing in accordance. In addition to swimming/drifting down 1/4 mile of the Clark's Fork River in town and sucking down a great deal of iced Aperol and soda, I've been drinking mostly young sheng pu. I don't know if that's because it is genuinely cooling or if it's just some idea I have or if somehow the general flavor profile of young sheng is more tolerable than other kinds of tea when it is hot outside.
Aside from Jakub over at "T," I haven't seen many reviews of Essence of Tea's 2012 puerh pressings. I'm not sure if folks have not got around to (or are avoiding) trying them, or are withholding negative opinions out of politeness. Maybe people are simply tired of the hype that attends products from this company. The prices this year were hard to swallow. I enjoyed the few sessions I had with the Bulang bing, but I tend to enjoy bitter teas. I had a somewhat less successful session with this year's Bangwei/Bangwai (I've seen it written both ways) today. The tea has a sourness that I find unappealing. The dry leaf smells good enough. The brews present a decent bitterness as well as a cool sweetness that lingers in the throat. As far as flavor goes though, the tartness breaks like a wave over whatever other characteristics this tea might possess. Maybe, as Jakub suggests, these leaves need to rest awhile to take the sour edge off. Maybe this tea is a diamond in the rough and years down the road will be a pleasure to drink. Unfortunately I won't have any left to drink then because I'm not going to buy more than this wee sample.
I have had many enjoyable sessions with EoT offerings-- for example the Bangwei from 2010. This was not one of them.
Inspired by a session with the "Shi Dai Mao" from Brett, I've ordered some sheng samples from Scott Wilson's enormous cache. My tea tastes are so fickle. After a long break from young sheng pu, it's what I most crave. Go figure.