49 Tasting Notes
Had this tea today after the 1960s Oolong. Pairing such potent energy teas has some interesting effects sometimes. I was already happy as a clam with the oolong, but adding this one has made me feel a bit, well, surreal. Everything around me is super sharp and focused. I can feel my own chi pressing on my third eye. This sometimes happens when I do Tai Chi or soft Kung Fu, and occasionally when I drink high energy teas, especially back-to-back. Zen calm is a good way to describe my being just now. Ok, past the energy, the tea itself smells of decomposing fall leaves and a dry sweetness, and the flavour is similar, but very, very smooth on the tongue from front to sides to back. My mouth feels extremely smooth and clean right now (a feeling you should always have if the tea itself is clean and without pesticide). All around an excellent tea. Now I have to focus on my day.
I took the day off from work today. I didn’t much feel like going in and besides, I wanted to drink some tea. So I did. I started with this one, which I haven’t had in awhile and was immediately pleased with the choice (of course). Oolongs have a special place in my heart because of their long lasting and widely varying aromas and flavours. The dry leaves of this tea smell of malty roast. The liquor scent has extreme longevity in the smelling cup. It seems to go on forever smelling of exotic sweetness with a hint of spice. The flavour is, as I mentioned in a previous note, malty, and smooth on the tongue leaving a long lasting hui gan (returning sweetness in the back of the throat). When I exhale I still get the flavour of this tea and it is very pleasant. The energy hits with a wallop as well. You don’t so much feel it coming as simply sink into the moment and completely lose track of time. I have a feeling drinking such high energy teas the past few days is having a cumulative effect on me. Everything around me seems crisper, clearer and more focused. An excellent tea, to be sure.
I’ve gotten into the habit of getting up early and sitting and drinking good pu erh teas gong fu before going to work and it’s been a great way to start the day. This tea is, as I’ve stated before, dark and earthy in flavour. It leaves a very smooth feeling on the front of the tongue and a hint of tang on the rear. The aroma is that of rolling in the hay of a freshly cut farmer’s field. The energy is strong and not understated, making it very easy to clear the mind of earthly thoughts and focus on each movement of the making of the tea with intention. Good stuff.
I don’t really have enough time to be logging this tea this morning, largely because I drank this tea this morning. I totally lost track of time. I cannot believe I haven’t logged it before. This was the very first aged, sheng, wet stored pu erh I have ever tried and it is smooth. The initial steepings have just a hint of bitterness, but otherwise it is quite sweet for a pu erh. The aroma is of dampness on a moonlit evening in a farmer’s field and the energy is potent and lasting. Every time I drink it I’m reminded of my introduction to excellent, vintage teas. The tea master sprang this on me, and man it’s good.
I tried this tea after my 20 Year Old oolong from my own store: what a pairing. The combined energy of the two teas left me mute and seeing energy fields. The tea itself is dark and nutty with a depth of flavour unlike any of my other pu erh. The aroma is reminiscent of that smell just after kicking into the air a pile of freshly raked oak leaves.
Good grief. This tea is smoooooooth. If you’re into pu erh, which I am, this is surely one of the best sheng, aged, wet-stored pu erh I’ve had. The liquor is smooth on the palate, leaving a lasting hui gan (returning sweetness in the back of the throat); it is almost sweet forward on the tongue, but with that infamous hint of dark forest floor. The aroma hints at the flavour, but with a just detectable foreign spice. Upon smelling the first cup I was immediately hit with the chi of this tea and sounds of the world faded away as I drifted deeper into meditation with each sip.
I drink this when I’m looking for something closer to the more complete fermentation of a black tea, while still wanting a hint of the pu erh earthiness: Dian Hong always delivers. The aroma is indeed sweet smelling for a pu erh and the flavour speak of hints of chicory and perhaps black licorice. Energy is light and breezy.
I highly recommend this tea for those interested in trying pu erh, but have traditionally not liked it. This is a good tea; trust me.
This tea. Wow. Upon the first whiff of the perfectly formed, dry, luminescent green leaves I knew I had something special. A sample was sent to me by a friend in Taiwan, but no note as to what it was so my first taste was completely blind. It wasn’t until afterwards that I discovered just how special this tea is. The first steep was fast, less than fifteen seconds and I needed very little leaf in the pot to get a really nice aroma and flavour to naturally show. The scent was of apple blossoms in springtime, just as they open, when they are at their freshest and this smell lingered seemingly forever. Then the flavour: crisp and incredibly clean. This tea left my mouth feeling silky smooth with a lovely returning sweetness on the tongue and in the back of my throat. The flavours were reminiscent of green apples blended perfectly with honey and a hint of cinnamon. I was able to re-steep at least 8 times, but I lost count so don’t quote me on that. It presented well after innumerable steeps.
And the energy. The greatest quality I look for in any new tea I try: it left me speechless and a little dumb-founded. This tea presents the energy of a well aged pu erh, and it’s fresh! I’m very used to high energy fresh oolongs from Formosa, but this one was explosive and left me seeing stars. The energy was probably enhanced a little because I used a fresh-oolong, well seasoned yixing, red clay pot from the late Ching dynasty to drink it (a pot made with clay from the lost clay process), but having also consumed it through a gaiwan, I know it presents almost as well without the yixing.
I have since learned that this tea has year after year been graded the highest grade oolong in Formosa and is grown with the strictest of organic standards. I will probably never have the chance to try it again beyond the small sample I have left as the waiting list to procure any is apparently ten years or more, but I will forever be indebted to my partner for finangling this small sample to try.
I had this tea for the first time when I was living in Taiwan and visiting with the tea master from whom I procured it. I knew upon the first whiff of the dry leaves that it was special and unique. It stands alone in the oolong family of teas proudly with its smokey sweetness and very smooth finish. The energy of this tea is incredible, very uplifting and calming at the same time. An excellent Tibettan tea for sure!
I started my oolong experience with this tea today and it was a great beginning. Along with the tea description I wrote above, it leaves a crisp, clean feeling in the mouth, suggestive of particularly high grade formosa oolong.