10 Tasting Notes
Not for beginners (as the man says)
My most intense tea experience so far. I needed a break half way through and this has never happened to me before.
The flavour is very pleasant, mild and sweet. The dry leaves in particular have a very clean fresh fragrance. Hits all the right notes, absolutely nothing in the flavour profile disrupted the enjoyment of this session. Nothing to wash out, nothing to wait until it dies down nothing to bypass or get over.
The interesting (and high-price justifying) aspects of this tea are the effects and body feeling. I know it affects everyone different, but I feel stoned. Actually stoned. Properly stoned. Yes, stoned. Light sweating, numb head, floaty feeling limbs. Whilst this may be groovy, it limits when and where I can enjoy this tea. The term “Daily drinker” has never made more sense to me, because this is the polar opposite. I don’t know how often I could sit down and, well basically, consume drugs.
I want to get a cake though! I’m a big Bob Dylan fan and the fact that the name comes from one of his poems (“Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie”) and the entire poem is transcribed on the wrapper…… This may just tip me over the edge. Darn you TwoDog and your cool hipster marketing ;)
Definitely get a sample next time you’re ordering. Just for the experience. And set aside a few hours.
UPDATE: I just ordered a full cake.
I really wanted to like this tea. Aged ripe is perhaps my favourite tea ever. Unfortunately it was not to be. I found it somehow hollow and uninteresting. Did not give up much and ran out of steam rather quickly. Main tasting note was “smokey” and a bit musty (which you expect, but this was not complex musty)
Great colour etc, but the nose and taste were lacking.
90ml gaiwan. 5g tea. Nearly boiling water, probably mid 90’s Celsius.
The dry leaves are quite large and already fairly dark. Medium compression on the cake. Dry leaves in a damp hot gaiwan smell : a lot of high notes. A bit sharp. Strong.
One quick rinse. Smell: a little bit of smoke, top notes / sharp. Hint of roasted tobacco or paper that is just yellowed by a flame. Hint of cream, but not much. Floral too. Complex aroma. Is it possible to get a tea reaction / mild tea high to smelling alone? I feel like I have one, but I have been smelling it deeply a lot whilst I let the wet leaves rest.
Quick steep less than 10 seconds. Probably too light a steep. Dark yellow colour, a touch cloudy. Medium thickness no bitterness. Dry sensation starting on the tip and top of my tongue. Pleasant. Leaf in gaiwan smell: it really is quite complex and is now an enhanced stronger version of above. The flavour is lasting in my mouth quite a long time for such a mild 1st brew.
2nd steep, 10 seconds. stronger colour, clearer. Quite thick but still not a prevalent flavour. The smell is stronger than the flavour. Dry sensation on inside of lips and tongue. Warming at back of mouth and throat. This definitely has a physical engagement with my mouth on a tactile level, but the flavour is not a very attacking. I actually like that. Rather than just tasting floral or phenol or fruit or sweetness, this tea currently has a confident but steady taste profile with no real strong note. The leaf smell remains potent and strong, but this is not really coming through in the flavour, but absolutely in the physical interaction in my mouth. A mild Tea “head” is beginning to form. Aftertaste remains strong between steeps.
15 second steep. Water is remaining at the same temperature of mid 90’s.
More taste and more dryness. It feels like it will be easier to say what it doesn’t taste like! Not floral, not creamy (even though leaf smell exhibits aspects of this) not medicinal, not campferous, not sweet, not nutty, not….
20 second steep
This goes down very easily. It blends with the PH of your mouth and just disappears down your throat. I think I have to say mineral as the flavour.
One thing, I have been brewing side by side with yixing teapot and neutral teaware. Porcelain gaiwan to brew, then poured into glass jug. Half of jug into flavour neutral cup. Half into yixing for 10 seconds, then yixing to a second flavour neutral cup. Then side by side tasting. For whatever this might mean, I can’t taste any difference. I did this method earlier today with an aged sheng from xiaguang and the yixing really took the chemical phenol taste out of it (I used a different teapot to now)
22 second steep
The body has not gotten any thicker from the second steep and is now reducing. Still dry and mineraly. Sensation in back and side of mouth/ throat
40 second steep
Brew smell is becoming a bit creamy and rounded. Leaf smell still sharp but does not relate to liquor flavour. Mm a good one this. Maybe apple core, but with no sweetness. I’m taking my time but the tea really does just flows down SO well. Feels like it is in synch with you.
45 second steep.
The colour has remained consistent throughout, so has the flavour and body. It is very very consistent tea.
50 second steep
90 second steep. This one has a touch of sharpness that is present in the leaf aroma.
2 minute steep
3 minute steep
Wow the consistency is unbelievable. I think if you tasted steep 3 and whatever steep number this is, it would be very hard to distinguish.
5 minute steep. Still the same colour as always. Here you can taste it’s coming to the end. A bit watery. A bit like steep one!
Never once tasted over brewed or too harsh. Very steady and complex with exceptional consistency. Mild tea-head experience/cha chi/ caffeine headache. Dry lips and tongue(tip and top) sensation at back of throat and sides of throat.
I’m struggling to describe the taste, but the physical affects are clear and easy to describe.
This is my third time with this tea and I feel that I’m brewing it well. It withstands heat and brew length with no bad results. Happy to have it I’m my collection (I’d purchase it all over again) and looking forward to seeing how it develops overtime.
Interesting tea! Described as a “bitter-fest” on yunnansourcing, I don’t say they are wrong. Bitter indeed, the same bitter compound that I taste in grapefruit. The tea is not fruity or citrus in any way, just had the same bitter chemical. Light steepings are required to keep this palatable. I let one go too long and it was intense. I have labeled up my package with a note to myself to let this one age a very long time.
Liquorice, burnt caramel, alkaline. Wet pile smell, but not so much on the taste. I think the two quick rinses washed that away quite easily. Thick and clear. This one went to my head quite quickly, which I wasn’t really expecting. Tight compression on the cake.
Aftertaste really is like having eaten expensive, low sweetness, hard liquorice. Brewed leaf smell is like very strong bitter chocolate that has that sharp acidic taste… plus minerals.
Enjoyable definitely. Looking forward to next time.