49 Tasting Notes
Sweet mother. I just drank this tea again after drinking a 1988 oolong (courtesy of Cloudwalker Teas of course). I floated off into never never land and suddenly it was two hours later. Good stuff. I blended it with a pu erh called Joy which has a similar energy/taste/aroma but helps to keep the bits in the pot since Great Ocean is quite broken up and Joy has larger leaves. Oh, flavours, aromas (sometimes I forget these when the chi is so potent). Earthy, dark, hint of spice, cinnamon maybe? Aroma matched the taste. As with most pu erhs: hot, hot, hot. And for steep time, 30 seconds at first, increasing by “felt” increments from there ensuring the colour stays dark red and the taste remains strong. I do like a strong cup of good aged, sheng, wet-stored pu erh…
The nutty clove with smoke is unmistakable, and makes this tea particularly interesting to drink. The nutty flavours really make it buttery smooth as it washes across the palate. The scent matches the flavour with a touch of nutmeg. I really, really like this tea. So good. Energy is calming. I started drinking in a particularly foul frame of mind and by the end of the session I was calmer, more at peace and not even thinking about whatever I was in such a bad mood about before I started drinking it. And THAT is why I drink tea. For aged sheng, wet-stored pu erh I usually steep it for thirty seconds at first and then adjust accordingly. For this one I increased by about 15 second intervals with each consecutive steep and I’m fairly certain I got between 8 and 10 steeps out of it in my tiny early republic Yixing teapot.
My tea master friend in Taiwan sent me this tea to try some time ago. I’ve been saving it. As I knew it was particularly special already I waited until I had enough time to sit and properly enjoy it, i.e. this fine Saturday morning. I heated my water to a fisheye boil, started up my Lin Ceramic stove and poured the hot water into my Lin kettle and placed it on the stove to keep it hot. I then prepared all of my tea making utensils, chose a tiny, 80 year old, yixing purple clay teapot which I have used for plenty of pu erh over the years, and sat down on my yoga mat in front of my gong fu set for a good tea session. I put enough leaf in to completely cover the bottom of the pot. I poured off the first rinse of liquor (standard practice really), then settled in to pour the perfect cup of Great Ocean tea.
Let me say that this tea comes by its name honestly. After the first sniff and sip I was gone, floating away to never never land (or into an ocean oblivion). The energy of this tea was overwhelming. It rolled through me like an electric charge, leaving me completely blissed out and high as a kite. Every so often I would become aware that I had paused in mid sip, with the cup raised to my lips and had no idea for how long I’d been sitting like that. I should mention that the duration of this tea session was over an hour and a half.
It was hard to concentrate on the other aspects I usually look at when evaluating a tea, however, here they are as best I can remember. The aromas. This tea is indeed complex. Aromas were spicy, bringing memories of cinnamon and oranges with a hint of walnut. Also just a faint waft of jungle floor plant matter. The flavour was full and very robust. The spices and nuts blended together in an incredible mouthful that left a very smooth, clean finish that was almost sweet.
All around, one of the best damn teas I’ve probably ever had.
I drank this tea after a particularly smooth 30 year old wet stored pu erh. Needless to say, I was already feeling pretty frisky.
I haven’t had this particular tea in some time and forgot how complex its aromas are. After the first steep, I could smell a hint of charcoal smoke as it poured from teapot into tea pitcher, then as I raised the smelling cup to my nose for the first time… nothing… for just enough time to be confused before an explosion of nectarine, apricot, honey and wildflowers assailed my nostrils. The transition between each distinct aroma took a total of about 60 seconds, I think (didn’t have a stopwatch on hand). Then the flavours, a balanced fruit sweetness with a hint of nut, macadamia perhaps? As I continued drinking this tea, and it the steepings seemed to go on forever, I gradually slipped away from reality. The energy, though light, packs a pretty potent punch. If you’re looking to accomplish anything for the rest of the afternoon, forget it.
All around a well-balanced tea. Now to firmly plant my feet back on planet earth…
Definitely intoxicating, in every sense of the word. This tea had naturally occuring aromas and flavours that overpowered the senses. Poured from an Yixing teapot at near boiling water I nearly couldn’t put my smelling cup down. The aromas were like a rainbow wafting between honeycomb, plum blossom, and spring flowers and back again and they seemed to linger forever. The flavours were sweet with extremely long lasting hui gan. It wasn’t until hours later and after I’d eaten some pizza that the flavours finally started to leave my tongue. This tea may not last long on Cloudwalker’s main page because it is so fine. As for the chi, it quite literally cleanses the mind of all extraneous thoughts and allows a zen calm to fill the body and spirit and left me in a state of total relaxation. This may very well be one of the best teas I’ve ever had (and I’m usually a pu erh kind of guy). Expensive but worth every single dime.
Wow. I just drank this tea again, it truly is unfortunate that I can no longer procure any as it’s extinct in Asia. I would love to be able to share this tea with others. But I think I have only about 10g left. Sigh.
The review: I tend to steep this tea a little longer than most after rinsing, thirty seconds generally and increase by a half-minute with each following steeping. This tea is absolutely best appreciated through the gong fu method. The aroma opens from strong spring flowers into a very sweet apricot that lingers in the cup for nearly a minute and a half, gradually fading to honey. The flavour is similar, sweet, smooth and the hui gan exceptionally long lasting on the tongue. After drinking two other high grade teas, the chi energy in this one left my head spinning. It brought a whole new level to the meaning “tea drunk” or “high on tea”. Wow. I stared into space for nearly thirty minutes once finished this tea. I think I’m still a little high…
This wild pu erh has a smoother, milder flavour than many pu erh’s I’ve tried. Earth, certainly with a hint of nut, perhaps almond? The aroma reminds me of walking in the woods on a spring day, pungent but not overly so, and fresh. It leaves a very pleasant hui gan (returning sweetness) on the back of my tongue. After rinsing, my initial steep was a little longer than I do for most pu erh at roughly 20 seconds, adding fifteen seconds to each progressive steeping to draw out the full breadth of aromas and flavours.
As advertised, this is a pretty high grade oolong. Crisp, clean, fresh flavour and a strong scent of wildflowers and honey. The energy is light and playful, and with progressively longer steepings after the initial 30 second steep, it has real drinking longevity. Expensive, but worth every penny.