255 Tasting Notes

Early spring material from Wan Gong (high altitude Yiwu village located near Gua Feng Zhai) which is supplemented by 10% from LBZ and Bing Dao. The cake itself is beautiful – beautiful whole leaves which have been well handled and carefully processed. Smooth and sweet from the first sip with a light buttery mouthfeel. In later steepings the bitterness increases but certainly not in an unpleasant way. There is a lingering sweet aftertaste to remind one that this is primarily YiWu area material. Nice mellowing Qi hits after the third cup. These leaves are excellent and the tea offers a very appealing mix of sweet and bitter. The tea is a winner and I definitely must give it a high recommendation. Note: I was fortunate enough to purchase one of the last 200g pressings of this cake which reduced my cost. I just checked the website and it seems they are now selling only the 357g cakes.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Another tea recognized as a star in the Dayi shu lineup. This one is an appealing blend produced since 2005. For my taste preferences, this one lives up to the high expectations. Tight tea buds with golden tips are found throughout the cake. The leaf yields a bright, ruby red tea liquor with a sweet and bready aroma coming from the wet leaves. The taste is smooth, sweet and flavorful with a caramel overtone. I should note that I found this to be more of a low level sweetness which is fine with me. Rich and creamy with no bitterness and no unpleasant scent or taste. Lingering aftertaste. I quite enjoy this tea. Good longevity – I took it through two rinses and eight flavorful infusions before moving on to a sheng. There was pleasure to be had throughout the entire session.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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This is an appealing Dayi Factory shu blend with a nice amount of age on it. Smooth taste with no perceivable trace of bitterness. Decent richness and flavor found in the taste. My only criticism is that the leaf becomes rather thin by the seventh infusion but then again “cooked” leaf never has as much to give as raw leaf, does it. I actually think I might try using a little extra leaf next time. Thick and tasty dark soup that brings great enjoyment. In my opinion, this is a Dayi shu worth owning.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
tea123

Menghai invented shu and I look forward to trying more. Is this light/dark?

tea123

Also, is this from Dragon Tea House?

DigniTea

I purchased my cake almost three years ago from a seller who no longer carries it. The cake sold by DTH is probably OK but simply a guess on my part.

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I must admire cakes made with traditional stone-pressing and high quality material. This cake is built with leaves from 100-300 year old tea trees growing near Bingdao village. Clean, pure and perfect processing. Lovely whole leaves. The wet leaf releases a lovely sweet and floral aroma. The taste is predominantly fruity sweetness with the slightest, slightest bit of bitterness which serves as a nice balance. Nice Qi – this is a “good mood” tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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Revisiting this “gentle” tea built upon Manzhuan material found in the broader YiWu area. Softer and definitely less aggressive taste with a pleasant rather sweet lingering aftertaste. I always enjoy drinking it on a low-key day. Nice big leaves which have remained in-tact in the loosely compressed cake. Golden yellow tea soup with a sip that is not at all bitter and tastes of light stonefruit. The tea becomes a little sweeter with successive brews but it is never “powerfully” sweet. Not an earthy tea but should be considered a sweet tea carefully processed with high quality whole tea leaves.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
MzPriss

I like this one.

DigniTea

Yep – a comforting tea! Besides, quality material always wins out with me.

Cwyn

I’ve just broken this one up, what is left of it recently, since my cake was starting to fall apart. I have it in my Lin’s Ceramic jar. It is all the more precious now since white2tea didn’t do another production of it this year.

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Smooth and easy to drink shupu and a very affordable everyday tea (currently selling at $12 for a 250g brick). So many shu bricks are impossible to pry apart but this one was actually easy to chunk off. Clear syrupy tea liquor brews the color of a nice port. Offers a clean and sweet sip with spicy and nutty notes (rather like almonds). This is a good one!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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The eye appeal of this cake is spectacular – great wrapper; nicely processed cake; beautiful whole leaf material (small leaf gushu). XiKong, Manzhuan and Yibang are all located in Mengla County, Xishuangbanna and understandingly their teas share many of the same characteristics. The scent of this cake is a subtle floral (rather like wildflowers). Light gold, clear tea liquor with the delicate scent of sweet floral and a granary sweetness in the taste. Decent mouthfeel with a low level bitterness on the edge of the tongue. The qi begins to make its presence known during the third steep. The mouth feel becomes thicker and pleasantly astringent as the tea session progressed. This most definitely is not a “knock your socks off’ sheng in terms of bold power but rather a delicate, sophisticated sheng that seeks to impress one with its underplayed subtlety (subtle aroma, subtle sweetness, subtle bitterness). The quality of the material is evident from beginning to end. This tea is best enjoyed when you can give it your full attention and drink it slowly so that you can appreciate all aspects of its elegance.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
Stephanie

Gosh I love TeaUrchin stuff so much! And the block print wrapper on this cake…someone needs to hire me to design and print wrappers! :D

JC

Yes! This. I love XiKong for those exact reasons, is a definitive bouquet of floral, honey and fruits with a good body, but it is all done in a very delicate and subtle way. I feel like Regions like XiKong help us properly define that subtle and delicate are no synonym of weak.

DigniTea

well put, JC – subtle/delicate does not mean weak!

DigniTea

Steph – yes, you can always count on TU to produce high level cakes always processed carefully and made with quality material.

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New acquisition from an experienced collector/private tea seller of aged pu’er. The dry leaf smells aged and nutty. Easy to pick off good-sized whole leaves for brewing. Clear orange colored tea soup with a tiny bit of cloudiness in the first two steepings but this cloudiness disappears after that. Lovely scents coming off the soup – somewhat sweet, a bit plummy and a little nutty. Smooth but full taste without bitterness. Appealing mouthfeel. I quickly begin to feel the tea – peaceful and relaxed. Nice longevity – 7 infusions so far; only up to 10 seconds; leaves have more to give. Lingering aftertaste to satisfy me until I continue tomorrow.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
JC

You can try letting it air in a humid environment for 3-4 months. helps with the cloudiness. :)

DigniTea

Yep – the whole cake is stored away now. Not worried about it just a note as I had a session today with the 2nd half of my original sample.

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Finally breaking into my ChenSheng Hao teas after keeping them in storage for the past year. This particular selection is one of their mid-grade productions and is made from high mountain organic old tree leaves. The cake itself is beautiful. Moderate compression allows for easy picking and the leaves remain whole and intact. The leaves produce a dark gold tea soup which is clear and bright. Not particularly fragrant but the scent revealed is clean and sweet. The mouthfeel is light, fresh and floral with a heavier strength in the backend. Sweetness becomes more evident in later infusions. This sheng is not terribly complex, but it is straightforward and easy-going. At the end of the tea session, I was left feeling rather relaxed and quite happy.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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Tribute Tea sources many things from Jeff Fuchs, the same man whose 100g tea cakes form the basis for the Jalam Tea Club selections. This aged Yiwu arrived as maocha rather than a pressed cake. Perhaps this explains why I was a bit disappointed by the tea during my first session –loose tea does not seem to age nearly as well as pressed cakes. I am a fan of YiWu material and I have several aged YiWu cakes but this one does not compare to those teas. The leaves are quite attractive and appear to be whole. Not much scent from the dry leaves (a bit earthy) but that is not unusual with YiWu material. However, there is not too much flavor in the cup and I must say I expected more. A nice dark golden color is found in the tea soup which appears to be quite clear. Earth and leather flavors come through clearly in the early brews which is rather smooth. Eventually a little sweetness appears but this turns quickly to a woody tone. I do not doubt that this is authentic Yiwu leaf but, for my taste preferences, it has lost it lacks the oomph I find in most Yiwu Shan selections.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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Bio

For me, tea is magical with its ability to transform by bringing one back to center and inspiring both peace and contentment.

Reformed coffee drinker. Switched to tea as part of my goal to work on living a healthier, more balanced life — haven’t looked back since. I enjoy most tea types but I cannot handle jasmine or other florals and I’m not particularly fond of bergamot. Moved quickly into unflavored blacks and puerhs and seldom drink anything else. Now most of my purchases are puerh cakes for aging.

I no longer assign numerical ratings to teas because our enjoyment of tea is very subjective. Reactions to a particular tea vary from person to person and within the same person across different tasting sessions. My tea notes are now simply comments reflecting my impression at that specific point in time. They are useful to me and if they happen to be helpful to someone else that is good.

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