47 Tasting Notes
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
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
Brewed up 9 grams in about 110 ml water, two rinses and long 30 second first steep. This tea cake is only a few months old, essentially fresh green tea leaves and not really fermented at all yet. My tong of this tea is quite fragrant sitting in crock storage.
Laos tea cakes are often compared with Yiwu because the Phongsaly area of villages is just over the border from Yunnan. The tea doesn’t disappoint in this comparison, very floral and mellow, with lemony undertone. I pushed the tea because I am used to a much stronger puerh brew.
My shoving of the tea got me 5 good steeps before showing signs of fade in the soup color. No real smoke here to speak of. The leaf quality is excellent, with buds and whole leaves. I am not sure why this tea cake costs less than half the price of the neighboring village cakes which Chawangshop also sells, maybe this cake is just more mild. But the $22 price tag drops to $19 per cake with a purchase of a tong of 5, I paid $96 for the tong. I think this is a great steal either way if you want a mellow Yiwu flavor.
At the same time, Chawangshop’s own 2012 Yiwu costs only $12 for the same size cake. I have that cake too, but don’t feel it is fair to compare Yunnan with Laos cakes even though the border is a political division and not really how tea trees decide where to grow. We do know about the Laos cakes as the government there strictly bans any pesticide or artificial fertilizer use in the region on tea trees.
Great choice of tea cake for people who enjoy fresh “puerh” cakes. Gulp without guilt. Works for me.
Much different narrative than this plus a couple photos at http://deathbytea.blogspot.com
Flavors: Floral, Green, Lemon
Picked up a sample of this about a month ago, letting it air out since then. The tea is described as Hong Kong dry storage, which actually means the tea still has some musty flavor. About the right amount, in my opinion. Brewed up 6 grams of the looser leaf included in the sample.
Tea is indeed musty on the first three steps or so, very minerally, a touch salty. Lively spot on the tongue. Brews up nice and dark brown, like coffee. Yum! Green tea flavor starts to creep in, not much bitterness in this. Starts to fade after 8 steeps or so and I increase the steep times up from the flash brewing.
This tea doesn’t have the wild leaf or anything particularly special to note except for the excellent storage. Tuos take forever to age due to the tight compression, and without humidity this one wouldn’t be as good as it is. Still at $74 for a 100 gram tuo, I don’t think I want to spring the cash for more, I can find similar leaf and storage for a lot less.
Photos on my blog http://deathbytea.blogspot.com
Flavors: Plums, Wet Rocks, Wet wood
I bought a four-pack of these tuos, difficult to buy just one of these because they cost only $9.80 each. The age already on this tea enticed me, I prefer to buy something with some age on it. The other reviewer of this tea gave it a poor rating, but didn’t know to gong-fu this tea.
The positives are this is one Energizer Bunny of a tea, just goes on and on and on. Two days in and I’m wondering when it will end. The shiboridashi is stuffed to the gills and I’ve got more buds and leaves than sticks. Long huigan, thick and full, very bitter when pushed with boiling water and less so with cooler water. Mellows to sweet on the tongue.
Description includes tobacco notes, but this is more of a fresh pipe tobacco. There is no actual char from processing in this tea, so for me this doesn’t qualify as smoky. Not compared to a Menghai or Xiaguan raw tuo. The soup starts out caramel colored and yellows after the fourth steep or so.
One downside is the tea was dry stored and is still so green. It is definitely in second stage and hasn’t turned any corners yet into something I would consider aged. My tea fridge storage doesn’t penetrate the thick paper so well. I transferred the tuos to stoneware. Would love to ship them off to puerh boarding school for a year of humid storage. I like a bit of traditional storage on my tea, but not so much it obscures other flavors. This tea is very strong and could take a year of humidity without losing the other flavors. As it is now, the tuo tastes like a lot of other teas I’ve had, the dusky apricot with caramel notes.
Dunno if I’ll be around when this tea matures into a dark, red/brown love nest, still got so far to go. The material is what we want for aging, but I’m probably too far ahead of this tea myself.
Photos and blog post which is mostly unrelated to the tea itself, at http://deathbytea.blogspot.com
Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Tobacco
I purchased this tea looking for a less expensive comparison to white2tea’s 2005 Naka which is a real stoner tea. Chawangshop doesn’t make claims about this tea, but it appears to be the wild mountain leaf tea just like the other Naka I like. This tea has been dry stored, and has no humid smells, but it is very green, tightly compressed with hardly any aging. It comes wrapped in paper rather than in the bamboo.
I don’t taste any bamboo flavor which is slightly disappointing, but the apricot taste is pleasant and not smoky. Psychoactive effect confirmed, not as intense as the other Naka I like, but there. I ate a bag of chips afterward. At $7.50 per 100 grams, this is a value buy and I don’t expect to see it in the shop long. I just wish it were a bit more aged, and that I would have time left to age it.
More and comparisons with other Naka teas on my blog: http://deathbytea.blogspot.com
This is the most intense tea I’ve tried to date. That is, the stoner kind of tea. 8 grams per 125 ml of this and I become unbearably wonderful. And I can’t shut up. Also, I crave salty snacks and chocolate. After 8 steeps I turn into Spinoza and start writing mystical essays.
I can only attribute the effect this tea has to the small mountain tea leaves of the wild trees on Naka mountain, as opposed to the plantation or terrace type of teas produced in the same area. I compare two cheaper Nakas and even sent a sample of this to a friend to be sure I’m not crazy.
If the price of this tea scares you off, I can recommend the 2007 Spring Naka Qiao Mu Bamboo Raw from Chawangshop which also appears to be the small mountain leaf, and I got a bit of a buzz on that, nowhere near as intense as this tea. But an okay substitute, and I have reviewed that here too. This 2005 Naka has a slight humid storage which I prefer to the drier storage of the Chawangshop bamboo.
More comparisons on my tea blog, http://deathbytea.blogspot.com.
Flavors: Apricot, Wet wood
This early 1980’s tea, if the date is to be believed, is the oldest puerh tea I’ve had so far. Got me a 20 gram sample pack for $25. Broke off 5 grams for tasting in a 70 ml Yixing. Brewed up red and brown, and got dark brown in later steeps. Tasted of wet earth and minerals. Wish I could get a full cake of this! The tea has traditional Hong Kong storage, so you will want to air this out good, and if you don’t like a bit of musty in your tea, then you might have to take a pass on this. But it is really good, well worth ordering at least once!
Full review in my blog at http://deathbytea.blogspot.com
Flavors: Mineral, Wet Earth
This is some good stuff, nice floral roast with minerally fullness that opens up on the tongue and lingers. Some pepper very late. got a sample of this from a friend and will keep it in mind for a purchase.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Peppercorn, Roasted
Oh my, yes it WAS. Can’t resist a Big Zhong. Bought 20 grams of this, and cakes are available for $129. We are getting to the point now where aged tea is really more affordable than the high end new stuff. 8 grams in the gaiwan and 125 ml water.
Still steeping this a day later. The liquor is mostly orange, but a darker red ring shows around the edge of my cup. This is really just turning into aged tea, the next few years will be quite interesting. According to the description, the cakes were stored in HK a few years, and then dry stored after that. There is a slight humid flavor, however much of the tea I’m drinking lately is much more humid than this is. A bit of smoke, but not much.
Great deal on an aged plantation cake if it’s your cup of tea.
The more naughty version of this review plus pics at http://deathbytea.blogspot.com.
Flavors: Apricot, Wet Earth