301 Tasting Notes

drank 2005 Naka by White 2 Tea
301 tasting notes

Naka is in the Mengsong tea growing region. Generally I enjoy Mengsong teas and their elegant character. This particular cake has gently pressed leaves and picking the cake apart is very easy. Soft warm aroma comes from the wet leaves and the dark golden tea soup. Early brews are a bit light in taste with a slight hint of smoke but this changes in later cups. There is a light underlying bitterness in the early sips. Even with the first cups, there is a very pleasant aftertaste which continues throughout the tea session. The activity in the mouth is persistent and good. In later cups I discover a low, dark sweetness which is rather enjoyable. The qi is strong and obvious with this one. Lovely tea that works hard to put the mind at rest – in fact, silencing the mind allowing you to feel the peace of the moment. The price is high but the quality matches the price.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
Stephanie

Naka! I keep hearing great things :)

MzPriss

I LOVE this Naka. It was (one of) my holiday presents to me

DigniTea

This one is rather special. Seems like Naka has become quite popular recently. Like any other tea region, the quality of the Naka material used by the farmer/producer varies quite a bit. Good material and almost 10 years of age on this one which explains the high price.

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drank 1998 Aged Yiwu by White 2 Tea
301 tasting notes

This tea certainly is easy to drink. I am fond of Yiwu teas since they tend to be mellow and smooth. This 1998 is the oldest Yiwu leaf I’ve had. Just as expected mellow and smooth with a prominent brown sugar sweetness. The nice full leaves produce a dark bronze soup which is very clear. A silk-like body is found in the sip. Nice aftertaste which lingers. I was left with a little mouth and throat dryness but this often happens when I drink tea. More important to note, the tea left me quite relaxed after the session. Great endurance yielding many, many flavorful resteeps – I steeped the same leaves eight times and I’m still doing 5 second steeps. Overall sweet, dense, and pleasant. The quality of these aged Yiwu leaves is something to admire – this is one amazing tea!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This is a tasty little shou – quite balanced and smooth with no astringency or fermentation smells or tastes. Typical of most Dayi products, it is composed of pieces and stems but there are several goldens to be found reflective of the raw material’s quality. Dark red tea soup. Flavor profile offers touches of honey, malt, chocolate and nuts blended together. The rich taste of the tea spreads throughout the mouth and leaves a nice aftertaste. Very good choice for an everyday ripe tea.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This is thought of as a high-level ripe product from Dayi but I am underwhelmed by this particular harvest. It is a smooth drinking shou but I find the flavor profile quite boring. I do not see how it could mature into more flavor after more aging so I am unable to recommend it. Cakes using this formula from other years are much better.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This is a very nice straightforward tea – clean, creamy and sweet. Moderate compression; very attractive dry leaves which offer light floral notes to please the nose. The tea soup is a lovely clear copper color (dark copper). This is a smooth tea with very little if any bitterness found underneath the dominant theme of sweetness. Little complexity, just an enjoyable sip with pleasant mouthfeel and aftertaste. For me the tea’s effect was quite calming and relaxing, in fact, it made me feel rather tired. Puerh from Jingmai has a reputation for being softer and lighter than Puerh from other tea growing regions and this tea lives up to that reputation.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Stephanie

I like a nice sweet raw. It is so weird how some seem to perk me up and others mellow me out. I guess it is the caffeine/theanine ratio? shrug

DigniTea

I think of chaqi as the energy or feeling you get from drinking the tea so that’s the way I look at this and other teas. Don’t know how many others feel this way but I think “sweetness” is sometimes confusing as we describe tea. For me, saying that a flavored tea is sweet is different from describing puerh as sweet. When I describe a puerh as sweet, it means that it is smooth, mellow, easy to drink; does not make me salivate the way something bitter or sour does. Sometimes I wonder if I might mislead others who are unfamiliar with puerh. Interesting to wonder about what puerh sweetness might mean to different palettes.

Stephanie

I definitely think of some straight teas as naturally “sweet” tasting. I like a sheng with a nice balance of sweetness to bitterness :)

But you’re right that it is very different than a flavored tea or a sugar sweetened tea of any kind!

JC

Nice notes! I have yet to try this one, I’m waiting to receive my order from W2T, but I’m looking forward to it. I agree that ‘sweet’ in Puerh and non-flavored tea in general can be confusing to newcomers, but people get the handle of the description once they’ve been exposed to enough times to Puerh. One of my favorite ‘sweet’ Puerh are Spring Xi Kong :)

DigniTea

JC – I was sampling the W2T Jingmai in an effort to make a purchase decision. Haven’t decided yet so I’ll be curious to hear what you think of it. I agree on the XiKong teas. You refer to which Spring Xi Kong? TU, YS or another?

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Pressed in 2012, the mix of large and small leaves is 2007 maocha from 400-500 year old trees. There are light scents of leather and smoke coming from the dry leaf. This is a soft and gentle tea, not at all aggressive. Very friendly and pleasing to the taste buds. It started sweet with a mineral (almost metallic) impression, too, but the tea’s fruity sweetness easily dominates the taste. There is also a light hint of smoke with a little something else as well – citrus I think. Pleasant mouthfeel and an equally appealing aftertaste – neither lasts very long. This is not a “powerhouse” tea but it did provide a clear and refreshing feeling as I drank the cups. At the end of the session, I was both relaxed and invigorated. Fairly priced ($72/400g cake) for this 2007 material pressed in 2012.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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A very decent Menghai Dayi ripe blend. Seemingly typical characteristics of the material used in mainstream Dayi cakes – solid compression; mix of whole leaves, pieces and stems; limited scent in dry leaves. Reported to be grade 3 leaf quality which seems to result in a more interesting and exciting flavor profile. The tea soup for this one is a reasonably clean deep burgundy color. Interesting mix of flavors during different stages of the tea session – camphor, leather, earth, cedar, biscuits, bread, citrus, cinnamon, pepper, cream with a gentle sweetness throughout. No fermentation flavors detected. Solid durability, therefore, good for many resteeps. This is a solid shou for everyday drinking!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Needed a shou today and I decided to pick this one. Very glad I did for it really hit the spot in my effort to balance out all the sheng I’ve been drinking over the past ten days. This one is so very easy to drink. Just enough complexity and a nice balance of sweetness with light bitterness. Flavor profile is a bit of everything – creamy, fruity, earthy, woodsy, tobacco – but not one of these dominates or overpowers. No fermentation found. Reasonable durability to my liking – I believe I had 10 decent steepings. A big recommendation from me!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
boychik

got a sample. i might try tonight ;)

DigniTea

I hope you do. Basic good quality ripe puerh worthy of a proper tasting.

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I am quite fond of material from Da Xue Shan (DXS). After several years of careful maturation, this particular collection of DXS leaves in the E from ancient trees has developed into a fine tea. (These Essence of Teas cakes are pressed using lightly aged maocha.)
Lightly compressed so that it is very easy to pick off beautiful whole leaves. Clear crisp tea liquor. Nice texture and body. Taste complexity; both fruit (dried dark fruits) and appealing sweetness found in the sip. Good mouthfeel (active and buzzing) that lasts. A welcome positive qi arrives quickly with energy that begins in the mouth and quickly spreads throughout the body.
Very good for about seven brews and then it goes rather flat. I wonder if that is becaused aged maocha was used to form the cakes? I am very glad to have a 20g sample to enjoy but given the combination of price and limited durability, I am unable to justify the purchase of a cake at this time.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
JC

I like this one a lot. (I’ve yet to review it here though). To me it lasted a bit longer that than 7, maybe 9 good steeps? then weak, but I can definitely see using aged maocha being an issue, since it basically requires re-steaming it which is basically brewing it a bit and it is bound to loose some flavor/stamina on the process.

DigniTea

JC, I hear you. We both know that lots of different parameters and preferences determine satisfaction with a cup and 7 is not that far from 9 good steeps. Who knows, my next round with a new batch of the DXS may yield 9 or more for me as well. Bottom line, this is a nice tea. If the price was a little lower I would definitely buy the whole cake or if I had not purchased so many very fine teas from good sellers, I would probably purchase it. Just not for me right now. Now I’m trying to decide which EoT to try next.

JC

Yeah and that exchange also hurts the pocket! lol I’m not sure what you had but I would recommend the 2014 Long Lan Xu, 2009 WuLiang Wild Puerh and 2007 ChangYuHao GuShu Puerh (Ripe).

DigniTea

Yes, the exchange rate is tough. I picked up these before the 2014s appeared and I was not interested in the ripes but I do have the Wuliang. I also have the two QiShengGus, a few of Mr. Feng’s and 3-4 others.

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Enjoying my second MengSong sheng in the past week. Smooth and mellow with a gentle fruity sweetness. I’m a fan. Although very enjoyable right now, for me I think this one will benefit from a few years of maturity to reach its true potential. Comparing the 2005 6FTM Mengsong 357g vs. the 2011 Dayi MengSong, I would say they definitely share similar characteristics (as one would expect with material from the same area). Similar in cost when price is calculated per gram so either tea would be a worthwhile purchase. My personal preference is the 2005 6FTM cake since I found a more complex flavor profile and more durability. So my plan is to drink the 2005 now and go back to the 2011 Dayi in two to three years when it should yield a very exciting cup.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

I aged this in the pumidor.It has come along nicely.

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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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