55 Tasting Notes

74

Got a sampler pack of this in a swap. The leaf looks exactly as the photo, dark roast but then some lightly roasted pieces mixed in.

Brews up a light yellow, more like a white tea. Honey flavor is dead on, intense and long sweet finish on the tongue and lips. Don’t brew this western style, it can turn bitter when oversteeped and lose all the delicacy. Instant warm feet, literally like pins of warmth throughout my feet, faster delivery than my feet could adjust to!

Not the sort of thing I would buy as I tend to prefer darker and more robust oolong if I’m going to the trouble to brew oolong. But it is a perfect accompaniment to cakes, fruits and cheeses, a superb tea for guests who don’t want to drink puerh that smells like gym socks.

Flavors: Honey

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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80

I bought a tin of 2014 harvest last year and am just getting around to drinking it now.

The leaf is dark, very chopped and thin compared to Chinese leaf tea, like tea leaf flakes. I’m drinking it gong fu in a gaiwan, but with every pour my inner logic keeps saying “get out the kyusu,” because I keep losing too many bits into the cup. However, I’m lazy and a kyusu just says spring and right now the winter is holding fast. This tea definitely needs a strainer. That is the bad part.

The good is the taste is very unique. The tea brews up golden brown rather than red, and has something of a maple syrup, burnt oak and ginger taste profile. Recently I’ve also been drinking a black tea beeng cake from Yunnan Sourcing which tastes more like Tetley or ordinary black tea, but this Charleston tea has nothing of that usual black tea taste I’m familiar with. It doesn’t have the thickness, but lasts a good six flash steeps or more.

It is, however, kind of like a bag of snacks I keep eating long past what I really need or want. After I get my six or seven steeps, I dump the leaves and start again fresh. I can go three sessions a night on this stuff compared to one or two of the Chinese counterpart. A good tea for lightweights or newbies, an interesting taste profile for the regular tea drunk who usually drinks a whiskey sheng and is now making do with Pabst. Crumple the can, throw it in the bucket and grab another and whoops, I guess that twelve pack is history.

The tin is cool and I plan to keep it. This tea is sold out from last year and you have a couple months window maybe to get one. Bought mine right from the company website. I have the green also left to taste.

Flavors: Ginger, Maple Syrup, Oak wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

I actually have the 2014 spring, there seems to be multiple entries for this tea on Steepster and I don’t want to add another one just to change the year. I’m guessing this tea is probably fairly consistent per harvest, and you can get spring, summer or autumn pickings of Laoshan green.

Probably should have started drinking this earlier but I lost my enthusiasm somewhat when shipment of this tea was delayed by two months, and getting this spring harvest required a pre-order. I can’t fault Verdant for delays in their tea shipment from China, but I do fault not updating customers until we complained individually. Enough of us complained individually that Verdant started doing weekly updates. By the time I got the tea I was just glad it was all over and I didn’t need to keep track of it any longer.

I opened this today after receiving a gift of a Zojirushi water boiler from a tea friend who had it and was using another system to boil water. What a great gift! I feel like I have a Kwik Trip next to the bed now. I’m still experimenting with the settings, and it will take time for the system to lose the off taste that most electric kettle systems have when fairly new. I’m thinking of adding one of my pieces of charcoal bamboo which would be sooo awesome if it works out to improve my water even more!

Anyway, the Laoshan green has a beautiful slightly rolled leaf. I used a heaping tbsp of tea in my 140 ml gaiwan. I’m not getting any of the oat cereal flavor the description mentions. To me it smells and tastes rather like sencha or gyokuro, like a raw spinach. I’m brewing a little hot at 208 F but I’ve learned to do that with spinachy teas or else they are just gaggingly sweet. I like it a bit bitter, more of a tea taste as opposed to wet salad.

My rating here reflects the quality of the leaf. I think these types of greens are a matter of acquired taste and not for people new to tea. What is to be appreciated are the early spring nutrients, fresh green flavor etc. The leaf quality is exquisite, since it is first flush it resembles other first flush pickings with delicate, small and fragrant leaves. My personal taste leans toward strongly fermented tea or highly oxidized blacks lately. This is after nearly 15 years of drinking a pot of green tea every day for health reasons. Wish I had this tea back then, but I’m glad now that I can get this tea and fermented teas even more to my taste.

Flavors: Spinach

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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77

I had some physical issues with drinking this tea but didn’t go into too much detail on my blog because it’s a little gross. But I feel better talking about it on Steepster because people examine the physical effects of tea and sickness more directly and without any fanfare. Another issue is this tea has been so much discussed in the past on blogs and forums, and I am feeling like past discussions deserve a new look because I’m not convinced the tea is the same today as it was 5-10 years ago.

I brewed this up super strong, 8 grams per 125 ml yielding a thick brew, a bit orange from my Yixing pot. My inner tea drunk swang like a monkey over 8 steeps. The tea was not steeped out yet when I quit, and I kept the leaf for several days before throwing it out. If I could’ve steeped it out, I would have. This tea packed quite a punch of bitter with that undertone of floral I like so well in the black tea versions of this same leaf (light roast and regular roast. The brick has everything we would want in an age-er.

Yet the writing about this brick from 2005-8 indicate a sweet, gentle brew and people who own those years today say the brick turned flat and tasteless. That it is a drink-now kind of tea. Is this really the same tea? The one I tasted is a kick in the gut, not a kind and gentle brew by any stretch. I was flash brewing gong fu too. We’ve read about how recent droughts have concentrated tea leaves. Do you guys think this tea has changed at all, is the leaf stronger now? Or am I just a lightweight? Or will other people who drink Bulang raw or young Xiaguan use these as a comparison point for wild purple?

I paid for my tea drunk with a complete bowel clean out the next day. Before I blame the tea entirely, two other factors must be noted, one is bowel cramping from menopausal menstruation, another is I took naproxen (an NSAID) for back pain. Have any of you had issues with NSAID use and raw sheng puerh? Otherwise, I normally drink more highly aged tea and better quality tea leaf than this which won’t affect my gut, so maybe it is the tea.

I paid $30 for a tong of bricks and this 2013 edition is now sold out. Without the physical issues, I have to say I love this leaf. Seems like people either love it or it is a meh. But I might tuck these away for my son someday and stick to the black tea version if the raw really causes me distress. Too bad for me, it is one tasty cup.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Green Wood, Rose, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 125 ML
boychik

i didnt try 2013, but 2008,2010 are not harsh at all. and no “pipe cleanse” unfortunately.

Cwyn

Wow, okay. I should probably send this one out in swaps then so people can compare. Let me know if you want any.

boychik

thank you so much for the offer but already have one brick :) didnt try it yet.

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Oh crud, I did what several other reviewers did here and oversteeped this one. It’s deceivingly strong compared to the color. I am used to getting a dark brew with high fired oolong teas, this one has a strong flavor when the soup color is just a light sienna. I got 4 strong steeps from this but long brewed just about all. Probably could have squeezed out 8 steeps from the sample had I not overdone the brew times. Pretty tasty stuff, the leaves are yellow green once the roast steeps out.

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81

I’ve had this cake since last spring, and sort of forgot about it. Though it has been trying real hard to get my attention because it is extremely fragrant and I realize it has been one of the stronger smelling cakes in my tea fridge.

Brewed up 9 grams in 125 ml water, got a very thick orange syrup with the usual Yiwu floral, grape and vegetal notes. This tea is definitely one of the thickest shengs I’ve had to date. I’m not sure if the cake just turned over the summer, but reading DigniTea’s note on this from 5 months ago, am noting a honey yellow brew in DigniTea’s session. Mine is definitely orange with a red ring around the outside. At 12 years though, a cake is due to finish up the faster part of its fermentation and then slow down for a number of years afterward. Maybe the cake is just at that stage.

It’s a good tea, and I’m glad to have it. More middle of the road for Yiwu, better than the low end, but not long steeping like white2tea’s 1998 Yiwu or 2014 Last Thoughts that steep out past 30. I’m long brewing at 10 steeps with this Yong Pin Hao. Or maybe I’m just getting to that stage of puerh addiction where I just need more and more tea to get that tea buzz going. Four cups of this and I’m not there yet.

Seems like the 2003 Yong Pin Hao 100 gram tuos comprised of Yiwu tea bits for $6.50 might be a better way to go for regular drinking. The Yiwus I have now are special occasion teas. I don’t have the time for that kind of thinking. Drink it up!

I did post a photo of the first steep on my blog if people want to see the color of the brew that I got from this one.

http://deathbytea.blogspot.com

Flavors: Apricot, Grapes, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 4 OZ / 125 ML
boychik

pleasure reading your blog as usual;)

mrmopar

+1 with boychick’s comment.

Cwyn

Thanks guys! The post wouldn’t have been as much fun to do without a couple of Steepster peeps having reviewed this tea earlier this year, so I wanted to make sure I have a note here too.

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56
drank Yunnan Golden Pu-erh Tea by Teavana
55 tasting notes

I did. I went into a Teavana for the first time today. Up til now I’ve been a Teavana virgin but not anymore! Chose this tea even though it looked dirty in the can because nothing else interested me much. The brew took so long, even though I know to expect that, but it is tough to see a long brew of a leaf meant for flash steeps.

The tea had a red brew and a bit of a Lipton taste, but also something sweet that isn’t in the tea. Maybe the tea ware used to brew it had some residue of a previous brew. I tasted rubber band aids.

Oh well, it was a diverting experience to finally go to one of these shops. They have some rather scientific looking tea brewing devices, but I am still just a simple girl.

Posted a photo on my blog, as gamers always say “pic, or it didn’t happen.”

http://deathbytea.blogspot.com

AllanK

Teavana does not do puerh well. Its as if they try to go out of their way to find the worst puerh. They do flavored whites very well.

awilsondc

I tried teavana once and ordered this exact same tea. I agree it tastes like lipton or some standard black tea. I looked it up and turns out it is a pu erh blend mixed with black tea. The whole 90 second steep thing bothered me too, but it was to be expected. They really shouldn’t call this pu erh IMO.

Cwyn

The girl was steeping several teas, the steep was more like 3 minutes.

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56
drank Yunnan Golden Pu-erh Tea by Teavana
55 tasting notes

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Received one of these small ripe pu squares as a sample with a recent order. These squares should be up soon at white2tea.com, and I’ve already ordered a double on this. I don’t think the tea contains any chocolate, they just look like little candies because of the shapes, squares and little hearts ranging from 4 grams to 8 grams apiece. An order consists of a bunch of varied sizes.

I jumped on an order of these after giving the one sample a try, because I think this is a bit of benchmark history for puerh, a time when ripe puerh still contained some wild arbor or wild tea leaf. Camphor and a cooling finish indicates the trees grew near wild camphor bushes. The little bricks are dry-stored which will be good news for people who hate traditional storage. I can smell a bit of old paper smell, probably from paper wrappings or box storage, but I expect this to air out of the tea eventually.

Soup is brown and crystal clear. White2tea selections have been notable for me with clarity, I just haven’t yet had a murky tea from them. No chocolate flavor, but a nice smooth shu in a size I can take with me on travels and when I don’t feel like picking apart a cake. I plan to share a few of these with friends.

Got some photos of my little bricks and the brew on my blog at http://deathbytea.blogspot.com.

Flavors: Caramel, Paper, Tea, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Cheri

Ooh! This sounds good!

boychik

you are hilarious. i enjoyed your blog as usual. And white2tea subscription is something I’m looking into. i just wished it would a little more specific about amount of tea

Cheri

He said that it’s going to vary by month, sounds like at least 30g, but it could be as much as 300g.

boychik

Thank you Cheri for letting me know. i think im sold,haha

Cwyn

I’ve been getting occasional lucky samples of stuff with my orders, tea that is not offered on the website. If it is anything like these off-the-shelf samples, I think we are in for a treat. I feel like I’ll be getting personal tea shopping services every month.

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drank 1992 Big Tao Hong Mark by White2Tea
55 tasting notes

Received this sheng puer tea as a sample with a recent purchase, but I don’t see it on the white2tea site at the moment. Perhaps it will be offered soon. Quite lucky to get a 10g sample of something older like this.

Loose compression of tea leaves, huang pian and sticks. Brewed up the full 10 grams in Yixing gongfu pot. Traditional wet storage, but not heavy, rinsed off with two rinses. Tea soup brewed up that lovely dark brown color we all want to see in our aged sheng. Got quite a bitter brew still, this tea has a lot of aging potential left, nowhere near flat nor tired. Very cooling on the finish, and I know that I’m tasting some of that old tree stuff that is hard to find nowadays. Two cups and surprisingly I got a heavy dose of caffeine, all too often aged sheng has nothing left of the caffeine and I start to yawn afterward but this baby had me up doing laundry and looking for lunch. Just those two cups and I can save the leaves for later. Dunno how many brews to go, but will find out!

More trouble I got up to and photos at http://deathbytea.blogspot.com

Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
mrmopar

Huang pian brews nice a lot of times.

Cwyn

Yeah I definitely haven’t steeped this out yet, the whole sample is a lot of tea to fully rehydrate. Good flavor on this and the storage is just right.

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Profile

Bio

Convent trained, PhD, strong background in herbal infusions during those years. Started drinking green teas almost 20 years ago to address a kidney issue, now in remission, and never looked back. Seeking friends and curators with interests in premium and small batch teas. I drink all greens, and maintain a small collection of sheng and shu cakes. I am interested in first flush, wild leaf, ancient leaf, teas for and by monks and nuns, and difficult teas. My appreciation is high for subtle palates, though my own is rather average. Always interested in unique teas, brewing and storage issues.

Avatar photo credited to oolong-tea.org, I bought this vintage duan-ni tea caddy from them and own it.

Blog: http://deathbytea.blogspot.com/

Location

Midwest US

Website

http://deathbytea.blogspot.com/

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