227 Tasting Notes
Drinking this now and I dare to say that I am really enjoying it! Jinggu is an area for tea leaves with which I am not terribly experienced or familiar. The main thing I know is that the Jinggu area has many mountains and villages producing high quality teas (many from older tea trees). The aroma of the dry leaves is clearly aged – mostly whole (rather large) leaves with a few stems mixed in. The tea soup is dark orange, with a hint of savory brown in its color. The texture is thick – smooth on the lips and filling the mouth with vibrancy on the tongue. Overall, there is an enjoyable mild bitterness but it is also quite sweet to the point of being nicely balanced; active in the mouth and throat; nice warming effect; lingering pleasant aftertaste.
This is a nice looking cake full of large whole leaves – there is some serious content locked into these leaves. Age has darkened the color to a deep brown. Two quick rinses to wash and awaken the tea leaves and we’re ready to be impressed……. The soup color is a mature orange tone and both floral and wood fragrances come forward. A smooth thick tea soup that presents a gentle rather complex mix of fruit (berry-like), honey, nuts and camphor. This mix of flavor sensations feels quite refined and pure and light with a lingering rich mouth feel. This is an enjoyable tea and it has it all
- taste, mouthfeel, lingering aftertaste, energy and endurance. The discovery of a well aged cake such as this makes me very happy!
The raw material in this cake is from ancient, wild trees (800-1000 years old) on Wuliang mountain and the possibilities drew me to the tea. I was not disappointed. The leaves brew a lovely clear liquor and the wet leaves smell powerfully sweet, fruity and complex. The first brew is reasonably thick with a very interesting fruity sweetness – no bitterness or astringency detected. Some Wuliangs I have had before revealed smoke in the flavor profile but fortunately I did not find that in this tea. The strong sweetness is the main feature here – sweetness mixed with spice and citrus suggesting the healthy characteristics of the trees and environment from which it comes. Rather full in the mouth with nice, gentle, but long activity on the tongue promoting a lubricated mouth feel with a persistent warmth. An interesting “wild” tea – sweet, soft, lovely in its gentle aroma. The stamina of the tea is quite good but later steepings became a little thin in taste for me so I did not push the tea past 9 steeps. The tea’s primary taste is rounded and smooth – some people might say that it is too smooth but I found a strength of character which provides the tea drinker with interesting and complex textures. I am definitely a fan!
Received a very generous sample of this shou in a recent YS order. 2007 raw material used to form this brick. Easier to pick apart than many I’ve had. Clear dark burgundy tea soup which gives off a mushroom sweet aroma. Very smooth from the very first sip with a flavor profile mixing creamy mushroom and brown sugar. No off-putting fermentation smells or tastes to distract from the rich tea flavors. Decent longevity which provided me with eight enjoyable infusions. Currently $27 which seems like a decent price for a brick of this age and quality. Seems to be a solid shou for everyday drinking.
Douji is also known as the Yiwu Zhengshan Tea Company. This is a small 75g brick with tight compression. Very limited aroma coming from the dry leaf. Ten second rinse followed by a 5 second rinse and while it sat idle the leaves began to loosen a bit. After sitting for about 90 minutes, I went back to the yixing to prepare my tea and was happy to be hit with a very sweet and fruity aroma as soon as I removed the lid. In addition, there seemed to be a very subtle hint of a tobacco scent in the background. The tea soup has a very rich dark gold color. The sip is rather creamy with the complementary themes of fruity sweetness and nutty essence. The body is solid and produces a pleasant mouth-watering effect followed by a cooling, throaty aftertaste . What dominates my my thoughts of this tea session is the persistent sweetness that penetrates the mouth which I find to be characteristic of tea made with solid Yiwu raw material. This is a very smooth tea with plenty to enjoy.
I am fond of both Douji and Chen Sheng Hao products (IMO both offer high-quality factory productions). While they used to be more widely available through our normal channels (e.g., Puerh Shop and Yunnan Sourcing), now both companies rely upon more limited distribution in the marketplace. I mention this here because I see that Puerh Shop still has four different 2008-2009 Douji products in stock. If you have any interest, take a look at these for you will have great difficulty finding Douji once they are gone.
Revisiting this one. A very engaging ripe tea which never fails. High quality leaf, flavorful tea soup and strong endurance allow me stretch out the tea session over a 2-3 day period. Purchased loose leaf and I would love the opportunity to pick up more.
Upon opening the paper wrapper, I am hit with a musky smell – rather like walking into an old dark unused library storage room. The cake looks dark and clean with many large twisted leaves mixed with pieces and stems. Easy to pick off leaves for steeping. Stinky tea liquor so I did three quick rinses rather than the usual two. The orange color of the tea soup reflects the age of this cake.
Good complexity. Solid character and flavor profile – sweetness and bitterness work nicely together to achieve a firm base upon which the subtleties of the additional flavors; – hay, camphor, old book leather and stonefruit – reveal themselves throughout the tea session. Most noticeable is the strong Qi in this one – an “energy” that makes me feel very alive and rather happy. Lingering aftertaste. Decent endurance and steep longevity (10-12 infusions) so I’ll likely go back to this little teapot full of happiness sometime over the next two days. Not the most flavorful sheng I have enjoyed but an interesting find indeed.
This is an “old school” Changtai cake. It was made at a time when careful production was offered by well known factories and higher quality material was used. Hobbes blog has helped me to appreciate the value of the Changtai cakes with 9-12 years of maturation. Changtai’s Yichanghao brand produces cakes of different grades – Ji Pin, Jing Pin, Zhen Pin, Zheng Pin. Zheng Pin is reported to be the highest grade in this group.
The cake offers the color and aroma of good aging and contains a mix of long whole leaves, stalks and the occasional tip. Full mouth-feel and flavor which quickly changes to sugar cane sweetness. It has a thick body and a comfortable tea energy feel. Overall, this is a solid blend of decent leaves; nicely aged and decent infusibility (8-10 times); solidly sweet, with a reasonably thick body. This is not a high energy cake nor is it terribly complex but it definitely offers a lovely cup which is solid, quite enjoyable and keeps the mouth watering throughout the session. I have become a fan of these aged Changtai offerings and I feel lucky to have found this one at The Chinese Tea Shop in Vancouver.
Dark leaves in the cake which offer some of the typical peat smell. Many whole leaves combined with bits and pieces of leaves and stems. The clear and bright tea soup is gold with a bit of orange tint and a light floral aroma. The taste is brisk with a little astringency. Astringency then sweetness emerge quickly in the sip – sweet fruity flavor which brings to mind thoughts of stone fruit (peach or plum?). These linger in the mouth and throat but notes of spice are added to give a nice punch to the aftertaste.
Overall this tea is fun to drink and it presents decent body from the first steep onward. Full mouth-feel. Sweet with the flavor of stone fruits and a lingering hint of spice. Palpable astringency with a sweet draw in the mouth. Decent durability – 8 rather interesting steeps with an appealing mix of flavors and sensations.
The gift of a sample from one who knew I had missed out on this one — Thank You!
DaXueShan (DXS) tea is a favorite of some and I include myself in this group. This one is particularly good. Most of the DXS teas we hear of are from the Mengku side of the mountain. This particular cake is from the Yong De side.
Made of decent material (reported to be gushu), now with six years of proper aging. Many intact whole leaves used to make the cake. Deep golden, clear soup. Sweet yet complex taste (mix of stonefruit, wood and leather) giving it a pleasant thick body. Active mouthfeel providing a nice feeling in both the mouth and throat. Many might detect a small amount of bitterness but I think it quickly becomes sweetness and then a nice cooling effect emerges. Solid depth and good Qi found in this sheng.
I have picked up several aged cakes from FinePuer and I have been very happy with each one. However, I must say that this is definitely one of my favorites due to the pure enjoyment of drinking a cup and the surprising thing is that it is the youngest of all my FinePuer purchases. I like this one a lot and I highly recommend it to those looking for fine puer. If you have not done so already, check out James’ comments on TeaDB.