Then I allowed myself to remember the Liu Bao and I was saved.
This is a tea, I am told, that in China is brewed without even measuring the leaves,(they are insanely light) but with handfuls thrown in large pots and boiled and re-boiled throughout the day and night. With that spirit in mind I put 'large-ish pinch' into my favorite Jian Shui pot and started with the just-under boiling water, first and second steeps just rinses, third steep I remembered I was told to let it sit for a bit, so suffered through a seemingly endless two minutes before pouring out what tastes like steam from hot sidewalk mixed with forest undergrowth, resplendent with tones of pepper and peat, of rocks and what a low hanging patch of fog might taste like trapped high in a mountainous crevasse.
There is no acidity, no animal pee, the leather, no barnyard, nothing of the sheng or the shou. This is pure natural earthiness.
The leaves are amazing to touch after four steeps, like they have barely changed their density, still crisp to my fingertips.
I can only imagine what this tastes like when brewed right, for the chances of my having done it 'right' are fairly low. Someday I'd like a master of this tea to make it for me. Until then, I am absolute thrilling to the taste, smell and feel of this wonderful tea that awakened my senses so competently when I thought the chances were slim to none for a good tea session to end my day.