78 Tasting Notes
Catching up on my tea notes and cupboard. Purchased this cake very fresh, love the price tag at $22 for a 200g cake. A surprisingly bitter tea, I have some Mengsong Gushu that I used to make a batch of shou and it was mild compared to the Chawangpu cake. Unlike the Hekai Gushu which I want to drink entirely while fresh, this Mengsong is a better tea to age. If I were younger I’d be picking up a tong of this to put away.
I’m impressed with the processing, very little char in my cake and have found that to be the case for most of the house label teas from this vendor, with the exception of the Lao Yun which is a farm production. Chawangshop teas remind me again this year that I don’t need to settle for dirty tea and sticks from some high production factory or other.
Flavors: Bitter Melon, Hay
Catching up on my cupboard and notes. I can’t believe I’ve drunk up nearly half this cake so far this summer. But it has been my go-to daily drinker for a couple of months now. This cake is packed full of buds and has that champagne grape profile of higher tier Yiwu, but at a fraction of the price. A nice change from apricot sheng if you know what I mean.
The tea is a little bitter when pushed, but I like this fresh profile while the tea is new, and less so once it hits a year old, so I’m trying to drink it up young. No expansive qi or terribly subtle qualities. In the summer, I get overheated on a daily basis and struggle with water retention from heat and BP medications. This tea cools my body in two cups, yep hot tea. Very yin. My interior heat cools, and I begin to pee out all the water my body is holding. I feel immensely better just after a couple cups. Yeah kinda gross, I know, but we all have our symptoms.
I get maybe 8-10 steeps tops, so I can finish this off in an evening or maybe a couple cups left the following day. I tried cold brewing this since the hot brew is such a nice light yellow/green, but it doesn’t really hold up cold. The brew turns dark and more bitter in the fridge.
Gotta recommend this for the higher tier flavor and budget price tag. My pick for a daily drinker from the 2015 Chawangshop house teas, but not an age-r. A better choice for aging is the 2015 Mengsong.
Flavors: Green, White Grapes
8 grams in 100-125ml, the higher amount of liquid as the leaves expanded. Brewed on the boil for one rinse, then at 208F for the duration. Tea opens bitter and astringent with some char in the gaiwan, typical sheng profile until steep 6 or so when the bitterness departs and the spicier notes emerge. I notice heat and fullness in my belly long after drinking this tea, almost tricks me into thinking I’m getting a tummy ache but that isn’t the case.
This tea is extremely warming in the gut, and as I’m not a gut person I have to mentally remind myself this is a tea sensation and nothing more. It is a tea to drink with the body more than anything else. Surprisingly cooling in the throat though. Again, a mix of experiences and flavors.
I got tea stoned in my face and sweaty in the pores of my hair on those first six steeps.
Very complex and changing throughout the session. Definitely a cake for a collector looking for a new experience. I have a feeling the experience will vary for everyone. Still steeping this out at 16 steeps now.
The Tea Filth version of this review is on my blog http://deathbytea.blogspot.com.
Flavors: Bitter Melon, Green, Honey, Nutmeg, Vanilla
This is a very tasty puerh tea made from the Camellia Taliensis varietal in Simao. The leaves are light and silvery and produce a peony flavored puerh tea with mild bitterness. I’m impressed with how long steeping this is, I’m at twelve steeps and the tea hasn’t quit yet. I got a lucky 25g sample with a purchase. The leaf is often used in blends with other teas to add thickness, resulting in a syrupy brew. Good tea to try at least once to recognize the profile in other puerh blends.
Right now a 400g cake of this tea is only $59 making it a good bargain. I wrote more about it on my blog. It is a good cake for people who like to drink fresh puerh and have a mild experience.
Flavors: Floral, Sugarcane, Vegetal
This is a true old arbor gushu puerh tea with a predominantly Yiwu floral flavor and a Menghai base flavor. Leaves and stems are large and thick and this tea steeps fifteen times or more. I used 5 grams of leaf in about 75-100 ml water, and this was too much for me due to a powerful head effect similar to what I experience with hydrocodone. Two cups and I was sweating, foggy headed, and heart palpitations, and had to sleep it off a couple times. Younger people might not need the nap, but one other person has confirmed the painkiller effect to me on his sample.
This tier of tea has layers of things to taste.I got mostly the floral Yiwu, some bitterness and astringency, along with hot pepper, grapes, aspirin, Chinese medicine, Apple vinegar and I don’t mean in a sour way, more that flavor of apples fermenting in wood casks. I’m certain as I continue to drink this tea I will find even more things to taste. The tea seems more bassy than last year’s, a bit more base than bud which to me adds more of those darker notes and rounds out the profile nicely. The painkiller effect is new, I’m certain that it wasn’t in last year’s edition.
I checked with TwoDog and he said the tea is the same arbor as last year, just different leaf of course. This cake would be interesting to see a Chinese medicine doctor try and learn about how it might be used as medicine. I hope to get a full cake myself. This is the best quality, highest tier of puerh tea we can acquire in the west. The best tea, period. I will never find better in my life than this.
A cautionary note for drinkers with heart issues, I believe I would be fine with a dosage of 3G/100ml but no more. You can read more on my blog http://deathbytea.blogspot.com and also take note of the reader comment who experienced a similar effect.
Flavors: Apple Skins, Floral, Grapes, Lemon, Peppercorn, Vegetal, Vinegar
I steeped a 99g weight gourd of this tea because I am unable to chip off any of this highly compressed tuo. I wasn’t just doing it to be funny, this is how I had to access the tea. And sometimes I eat an entire box of chocolates too. Cuz I want to. Cuz it is yummy. This tea is light and delicate enough. I steeped this using a 900+ ml Bonjour borosilicate teapot.
I went 8 rounds on this tea and the flavor justifies the “cake” name with thick yellow sweetness. As it happens, yellow butter Poundcake has been my favorite birthday cake most of my life, and only the nuns took the trouble to learn this about me and baked them for me, bless them. The tea here is sweet, motor oil thick, with notes of cloves and nutmeg on the early steeps.
After round 8, at 208 F temps, I’d literally stewed the tea. The leaves began to disintegrate into mush, rather like over cooked canned asparagus. The tea is probably best respected in the lightly compressed cake form which is what is available to buy, rather than the highly compressed tuo available only to tea club members. If I had the tea again, I would brew this at a far lower temp, maybe even as low as 170F to try and keep the integrity of the leaves. I think this is why the flavor dropped off for me well before the color or body of the liquid. The leaves seem like lettuce picked after a rain.
Having said that, I find white2tea’s house productions to be a memorable experience. I get why the fresh experience of this leaf makes it special. It is really easy to drink a big pitcher of this tea because it is so gentle, not bitter, not sour, just sweet and thick. In fact, I’d have a harder time drinking a pitcher of lemonade or beer compared to this. Spring honey all the way with this one. Drink fresh, it is not one to hoard to age.
Flavors: Cloves, Honey, Nutmeg
Received a sample of this tea with a purchase and just noticed it in my pile. Brewed two teaspoons in about 100 ml gong fu in a kyusu pot for 30 second steeps.
I didn’t notice any special flavors to this tea, to me it just tasted
Iike a regular black tea. Ceylon tea is in many tea bags I’ve had over the years. But the caffeine kick in this is pretty powerful. I had taken an ibuprofen for a pinched nerve in my back and have been doing this for days now. This tea had a sort of Excedrin effect and really boosted the ibuprofen tab.
Honestly this is the best pain relief I’ve had in days. Gonna hoard my little Baggie of this tea. Will recommend this for the caffeine because it is definitely one of the stronger teas I’ve had lately.
I ordered two ounces of this tea for a crazy low price of $3.55, along with an order of Lin’s Teaware. The Teasmith’s Lin’s collection is mostly half price right now, I find the cups amazing with their heat distribution qualities. So I ordered cups, then turned around and ordered one more cup and this tea as well as some Rou Gui I have yet to try.
This tea blasts my nose with pine smoke when I open the bag. Western style steeping produced better results for me, my gong fu just ended up too light. I tried two different infusers after that, the Eva Solo and then just one from a Nissan insulated thermos which would likely classify now as vintage since I’ve had it 20 years. Finally I just dumped some of the leaves loose into the teapot and this produced the best brew. My son came downstairs to get a brownie from the pan I baked earlier.
“Mom come out here.”
“What,” annoyed because I’m drinking tea and typing which means leave Mother alone.
“I smell a brat cooking.”
“It’s my tea.”
“It’s not your tea, just come out here.”
But it was the tea. While I was thinking of the piñon incense I used to buy in New Mexico, my son who has never been to the southwest identified the scent of Wisconsin cheesehead childhood. It is his reference. I had him smell the bag of tea, and he was uncertain. He continued to hang a little on the stairs with a little wistful and crestfallen look, he kinda wanted that German brat he smelled to be real. He felt so sure he smelled grilling. Well of course we use wood briquettes to grill, or I cut green maple branches for smoking fish.
Because of my experimenting with parameters and adding water along the way, I can’t say exactly what I used but about 2 tbsp of tea for 28 ounces of water in a 31 oz Bonjour glass teapot. This was more tea than I really needed so I dumped less than half into the pot after the gong fu didn’t work out. Brewed at 208 F, my kettle is set for that temp.
Smoke is long and loud and the tongue tingles. Sweetness from the tea follows only with the long steep. The pine smoke is strong now and needs time to integrate more with the tea. I plan to tin up this tea and let it rest. The vendor site has a couple reviews on using this tea as a rub for meats and fish prior to cooking the meat. One person dried out the used tea and saved it for cooking too.
Flavors: Oak wood, Pine, Smoke, Smoked
I wish I had read the Steepster reviews before buying this. The reviewers mention the sugar syrup or sugar whatever added to the tea. This isn’t mentioned on the website description at all. It just says sencha plus cherry blossoms and petals. What the tea really has is cherry marshmallows, like the kind of dried marshmallows in cereal like Lucky Charms. They dissolve completely in the brew. The website should have mentioned added sugar, instead it gives the impression of an herbal sencha blend, which this is NOT.
Leave it to my idiocy for not checking what my fellow Steepster people wrote. Actually it didn’t occur to me, I thought this was a new tea and wouldn’t be reviewed yet.
The tea smells like the cherry marshmallows but the cup fortunately doesn’t really translate the sickly sweet smell. The dry tea smells like a ton of flavoring and sweetener was added but maybe it comes down to controlling how many of the marshmallows you put in the pot, because the actual sencha appears to be just pure leaf.
I’ve had American Tea Room’s Sencha Ashikubo before, and for the price it is not too bad. This one tastes more vegetal in the cup than cherry or sweet. The sweetness might help with bitterness if oversteeped, but again it might change depending upon how many marshmallows you have in your brew. I could taste the spinach-y sencha and if I hadn’t smelled the bag or seen the marshmallows I wouldn’t have known from the taste that anything else was added. So that means I can stand to drink it and will likely finish the bag. I won’t buy it again, but I can at least recommend it as a pretty spring sencha that is mild and pleasant with no overpowering notes.
Flavors: Spinach, Sugar, Vegetal