49 Tasting Notes

56
drank Yunnan Golden Pu-erh Tea by Teavana
49 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.

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56
drank Yunnan Golden Pu-erh Tea by Teavana
49 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
49 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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81

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

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 9 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
boychik

i have so much fun reading your blog ;)

Cheri

I do like that your blog post is so different from the post here. Good read! And the tea sounds good, too!

Cwyn

Thanks! The tea is actually really good, for a new tea. It is a shame collectors don’t view Laos cakes favorably when really it is the same tea as just over the border. However, I have read that Yunnan factories buy this leaf for filler in Yunnan cakes, who would know the difference?

DigniTea

Your note is very timely. I’ve been curious about Honza’s offerings from Laos so I think you’ve given me a reason to try them. By the way, I love the 1st paragraph on your blog post for this one – let’s just say that I took it personally. ;-)

mrmopar

She is a trip!

Cwyn

O€O. It is hard work picking teas, cuz I don’t have a Chairman Meow who wants to help me. Thanks guys!

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80

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

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 75 ML
Cwyn

I have the photo to add, but either the new iOS 8 for IPad or the photo software on Steepster isn’t loading the photo, it just spins. Will try again another time.

Sarsonator

I gave up and had to just do it from my laptop. Kind of annoying tho!

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77
drank 2004 Jianshen Tuo by White 2 Tea
49 tasting notes

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

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Yang-chu

pu’er boarding school… that’s a good one.

apt

Sounds like I gotta pick one up.

Ag

I picked up one of these in my first White2Tea order and it accidentally became my default study tea. Tasty, strong, helps keep me awake/focused without actually getting tea buzzed/drunk, and lasts forever. I think it took me close to three days to steep it out. Gotta get more at some point.

Cwyn

Omg yeah 3rd day in and I can’t steep out that Jianshen, well past 20 steeps.

Ag

“The Jianshen is like a young boy toy who won’t go home and doesn’t seem to sleep.”

I fell out of my chair from laughing so hard at that description in your latest blog post. So hilariously accurate.

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77

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

Flavors: Apricot

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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92
drank 2005 Naka by White 2 Tea
49 tasting notes

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

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

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86

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

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 2 OZ / 70 ML
jschergen

Sounds like a winner!

You’ve been coming around to traditionally stored stuff!

Cwyn

As you can see, not a moldy tea in the blog photo. I think your Ding Xing Hao cake is a braver drink than this.

apt

god I really want that pot. hopefully he’ll reserve one for me. maybe no tea buying for a couple of months would justify that purchase

Cwyn

Wait, what? Did you say pot? I’m missing something over here. :P

apt

the 70ml Yixing from Tony

Cwyn

Oh that. Lol. Hope you get one, the coupon gets the price below $100.

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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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