65 Tasting Notes
Really? I filled up my gaiwan for this…I can smell what I call “mall puerh” a mile away, that incense-y store flavor you can find in a million cakes on EBay and Taobao. This is just sad, leathery old poor quality “tea” to which a few young “white buds” have been added in as a sprinkling. Some of the tea is just black leaf along with brown, leathery leaves. You can talk to me all day long about brewing it “cooler,” but nothing will improve this leaf. I can’t believe a company online which is trying to be nice actually would put their name on this cake, but whatever. I’m a person who wants to like a tea, but I’d rather drink dandelion greens from my yard than this.
From the Sheng Traveling Tea Box.
I ordered a 100g cake of this to go with the 2013 Spring and 2014 Autumn I already own. I also am not quite believing this is really Spring pick from Jan or Feb.
The cake is rather brown and loosely compressed and looks exactly like my Autumn cake. This isn’t spring pick, it might contain some spring tea from previous years, and then pressed from loose into a cake in 2015. But it isn’t fresh spring tea. I have my 2013 Spring to compare also which I can tell was pressed fresh, it is tighter and clearly had a lot more moisture. So it is maybe spring maocha PRESSED in 2015. So I explored tea selling and relative truth in my blog post using this tea and another tea. Http://deathbytea.blogspot.com
Having said that, I like mild teas with floral Yiwu profiles, they are kinder on the stomach. The strength of this one doesn’t approach the intensity of something like Last Thoughts at white2tea, but is similar to Chawangshop’s Ban Payasi. The Ban Payasi is from the Laos side of the border, but has the same trees as the Yiwu side of the border, and the price point is lower than for a Yunnan tree. Anyway, milder Yiwu profile teas are one of the few young sheng teas I like to drink. The leaves on my new cake show browning so I know it is a blend with older tea.
I didn’t feel guilty breaking up this new Misty Peaks cake and adding it into a crock canister with the other Misty Peaks teas I have. The level of aging is about the same for them all. And hopefully they are indeed single-origin! I’ve been looking for a nice crock for my Misty Peaks tea for some time and finally found a nice one which looks lovely on the shelf.
Happily my new teapot set arrived from Camellia Sinensis, and my heart sank to find this 09 tea as the sample in the box. Of all the tea types, Darjeeling is one of my least favorite. So I approached it with some fear and trepidation. My familiar tea experiences are primarily with puerh tea. So naturally I’m far more comfortable with dirty, musty, moldy tea containing dried bugs, pods and pubic hairs. Really I am just not sure what to do with clean tea. Do I rinse it? Or is that sacrilegious?
Neon green in the cup. Tastes like sour corn. Guess I won’t be rating this.
My first note got eaten by Steepster…:(
This shou is friggin’ awesome, and I believe I got the parameters down perfect. I aired out this shou for six months. My tea pals can tell you how long it took me to learn that aged offerings need airing!! I’ve learned that the aged teas from white2tea require this kind of patience but to trust TwoDog on his choices, if it ain’t good then I didn’t air it long enough or I didn’t brew it right. The longer an aged tea has been stored in China, the longer it really needs to rest and air out after arriving to really be the best.
I brewed up this 20 g melon in 180 ml Zhuni clay teapot to let it expand but then I used about half the water! So about 100 ml water after doing four rinses. The lump of shou sticks up above the water line. I’m on day 3 STILL flash brewing past 15 steeps. Smells earthy in the pot but the taste is the reward, mushrooms, dates, cherries, cacao, thick port wine flavored brown brew of goodness and double happy dance. Brew it thick and thicker with less water, this tuo is 20 g for a reason and the makers knew what they were doing when they made these! Oh yeahhhhh….
Flavors: Cacao, Cherry, Dates, Mushrooms, Red Wine
I’m confused now where I got this sample, I’ve received many samples lately. The tea was in a Baggie and then a small labeled box. Something must have happened to it. This tea had no scent, no color in the cup and no flavor. It Refused to Infuse.
I tried to refuse samples from Wymm mainly because I’m just too old to expect to age out tea this green. But they decided that makes me a challenging customer to win over. I suggested the Laohuangpian in the hope of getting some of the older and sweeter leaves, at least it might be a tea I’d consider purchasing. Plus it is one of their least expensive Sheng offerings.
Brewed up the single session sample, got about 8 decent steeps. Might have got the tea to go longer but I was already nearly a good two minutes steep time. It is huangpian so I don’t expect these leaves to have a ton of power. I was impressed at the initial bitterness which always bodes well for aging, and the grape flavor instead of apricot. To me the grape champagne is a better tasting leaf in drinkable young sheng, if not always the best ager.
I’d be happier with this cake at a $30-35 price point but it was pleasant enough. The packaging though gave me a huge blog topic to write about and for that I’m very grateful for the sample. My longer post is at http://deathbytea.blogspot.com
Flavors: White Grapes
7 grams of this gave it up early with a heavy Bulang brew. Leaf quality is excellent for a factory cake, many buds. Supposedly this tea cake contains 10% Laobanzhang. In my observation, I would say the 90% Spring Bulang is carrying the cake flavor-wise, and the LBZ is chop, appears to be either autumn or summer or just leftover chop used as filler. I get the full flavor of the bitter Bulang with apricot tones. The leaf has a sourish smell, and the soup is cloudy which tells me the beeng is busy fermenting.
The leaf quality and flavor bring to mind white2tea’s Amerykah cakes, and other higher quality Bulang I’ve tried. Gave out around 8 steeps for me, after that I could push it and get the bitter but not much depth left.
A point of ponder for me is the current price tag. It is $129 for 400 g at Tea Urchin which puts it on par with white2tea price-wise, aside from any reassurance people might get from the testing white2tea does on their cakes. One can expect the price of this cake to go up yearly. However, I don’t think the LBZ in the cake, which is what will drive the price tag, is enough here to justify the price. For me the question is whether I want to pay $129 for Bulang. Even though this would age well, I’m more inclined to purchase a decent 7542 factory recipe with 10 years age on it at this price point, and look for an all-Bulang cake at a far lower price. I’d feel more comfortable with this cake at around $80-90 which won’t happen because of the LBZ. The truth though is this is really a Bulang cake in the end in terms of how it goes with flavor now and later on.
Overall this cake needs 15 years which is too long and a deciding factor for me. However, I’d look around if I’m in the market for a young Bulang to age, I think I can do better on the price.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Grapes
This one still needs a couple more years to clear up and lose the funk. Has a nice port smell I’m not tasting in the cup, mostly getting earthy and woody flavors. I’m surprised at how similar this is to 7572, flavor-wise, but more twiggy. A little disappointing a “tribute” cake is this twiggy. But it is early days with this cake, a couple more years and it could be stunning.
I am really grateful for the generous sample, since this cake is now costing $70 from Berylleb. I think this price is 2x too much to pay at this point, but perhaps the cake is getting scarce and that is the reason for the high tag. Paying for the label? But right now I can buy white2tea’s 2014 Lao Cha Tou, same gram weight as a full cake of this tea, for half the price, and a much better cup. Still, that thought won’t stop me from drinking this up.
Flavors: Decayed wood, Earth
Received sample from a friend. The dry storage on this is excellent, the tea has lost none of its original scent and flavor. Highly floral, still rather green. Brewed up about 7 grams.
Very sweet honey aftertaste, bitter edge but not terribly astringent.
I’m drinking this 10 years into the life of the leaf and it is in the process of changing from a young tea to a teenage tea. The tea is a dark yellow. In fact the tea is slightly cloudy and I smell and taste a malty ferment. The smoky char is also changing. This tea is in flux, which a good sign. I’d be pulling out this cake come summer and let it get full-on humidity.
Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Malt
Bravo on these nugs, got 300 g and dunno if I have enough. I reviewed these somewhat on my blog, but now today after steeping a small amount of this tea for 3 days, 20+ steeps, I’m gonna boil the leaves. Five minutes of a boil in an enamel pan. I got a thick coffee colored brew that tasted very minerally.
Gushing on these nuggets because they taste great, and are an incredible value at $5.50 for 50 grams, 3 days of steepings plus a boil or two after that!
I’ve been (tea) Pimped!
I took photos of the boiling, I don’t know how to post links, I’m new to tweeters and Grammies but I’m cwynsdeathbytea on Instagram.
Flavors: Chocolate, Mineral, Plums