255 Tasting Notes

Dayi knows shu puer and they usually do it very well. This tea is one of the staples in my shu tea cabinet -smooth, powerful and enduring. A distinctive, quality Dayi product. Always reliable and it is a fantastic everyday shu! Produced in small 150 gram cakes and very affordable. Rather complex flavor profile – wood, honey, vanilla, nuts, cream. I brew it heavy; it yields a syrupy cup; it lasts all day through many resteeps.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
looseTman

YUM! Pesticie-free or EUROFINS compliant?

tea123

Good review – ordered!

DigniTea

looseTman – I’ve not seen any comments to confirm this.

tea123 – I’m drinking this one again this morning. Hope you too enjoy it.

mrmopar

A good one for sure.

tea123

This suggests this is EUROFINS compliant – scroll to the near bottom.
http://m.alibaba.com/product/701770977/2011-Dayi-Wu-Zi-Deng-Ke/specifications.html

looseTman

tea123, Excellent news! Thanks!!

looseTman

150g cake Ordered!

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Yi Chang Hao is the flagship product line from the Changtai Tea Factory and contains teas made with raw material from mountains in the Yiwu area. With material from arbor trees reported to be 500-800 years old, the JingPin is a pleasing mellow aged tea with a full body and sweet overtones – very smooth. The tea is not just elegant, its power is easily felt. Moderate compression makes it easy to pick off leaves for brewing. Mix of whole leaves, pieces and a few stems. The aroma of the dry leaf is mild with the hint of nuttiness and wood but surprisingly in the mouth the tea is sweet and fruity with a hint of camphor. While the sweetness is clearly found in the sip, the fruit is more on the subtle side. Through my 6-7 infusions (with enough strength to support additional steepings) the flavor profile continues to mix fruit, honey, nuts, wood and camphor in a very rewarding way. Overall impressions – interesting mix of flavors; respectable Qi; enough power in the leaf to endure many infusions; lingering pleasant aftertaste. For those of you seeking the “heavy hitters”, this one might be of little interest but for all the other pu fans, this is a worthy tea from a factory with long established traditions – old processing techniques and stone pressing. Purchased this cake from The Chinese Tea Shop online store and you can purchase smaller amounts of this tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I have had great fun with this tea throughout the day— stressful day and I chose this special tea as both an escape and a reward. It worked oh so well! High quality Yiwu material; good storage; nicely aged. Full of flavor; smooth with enough complexity to make it interesting; nice longevity (six infusions so far and my maximum steeping time has been only 8 seconds). An expensive tea but well worth the investment. This will not be a daily drinker for me but one reserved for those I would consider more special or important tea sessions. I am really excited about this one and highly recommend!

Note: Can become astringent and smoky when over-leafed or over-steeped.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
JC

Sounds like a treat at work. I’ve done that on heavy days :)

DigniTea

JC — It’s a special tea! Was not at work, by the way, but I agree with the point you were making. Family issue has taken all my time over the last 2.5 days.

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Xia Guan has extensive experience blending teas over many years. Many know them for their Cranes, Iron Cakes, FTs and Tibet Mushrooms but this Blue Mark is not part of these more familiar series. Although we often think of younger Xia Guan products as carrying too much smoke in their aroma and taste, the mature teas have had time to work through this. Twelve years of aging has allowed this cake to mature into a softer, smoother tea with only the slightest hint of smoke in the scent of the dry leaf and not any to be found in the taste. Built from high grade maocha, there is more than enough in this tea to hold your interest. Good sized leaves with a deep brown color. A proper orange soup that is bright and clear. No sourness or bitterness. Rich, low fruitiness in the first infusion. Over successive infusions, the tea works through a heavy, robust sweetness. There is a nice coating in the back of the throat and a slight honey-like aftertaste. This tea is smooth yet it has depth and a good energy. I’ve spent the weekend with this one and I find it to be a comfortable and comforting tea to enjoy now or later.

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

I have a 2003 dry stored Xiaguan iron and this one still has some of the smokiness, but not as bitter as I expected. However, I think the production overall is more of a one-time thing for my cake rather than a recipe. I noticed the Blue Mark on finepuer last week and the price is amazingly low.

JC

I agree your assessment that most if not all the smokiness is gone by that age, Cwyn makes a point that the more drier stored versions hold on a bit to them, I feel like ripes loose it a bit faster over the other notes. W2T’s tea club Xiaguan Tuo also has some aroma of smoke but I have to admit the taste wasn’t smoky, rather it had progressed into other more woody-medicinal notes.

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Overall the tea is fairly smooth and easy to drink. Smoke detected in the aroma of the dry leaf but this barely appeared in the tea soup. Orange liquor with a woody base, hints of nutty notes and a light sweetness. Not much (if any) bitterness found and no astringency. Good mouthfeel with a nice tingling on the tongue. The flavor held up nicely through 6-7 steeps. My experience with this tea was rather pleasant and enjoyable for sipping through the day yesterday.
—-Some recent tea notes for samples obtained from finepuer mentioned dry, flavorless tea and I can say that for this one, I opened the three sample boxes I had and dumped the chunks into a small yixing crock to sit for two weeks before trying. When I opened the boxes and plastic bags, there was really no aroma but after storing in the yixing for two weeks, there was a sweet, floral aroma with a little smoke and the results of brewing the leaves were very pleasant.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
tea123

It’s good to see someone else reviewing the same tea.
I’m surprised you say the smoke barely appeared; I found the tea was overwhelmed by the smoke. I shall re-try a third time.

mrmopar

That’s why I have the storage in the pumi before I get into them. I think being in bags all zipped up doesn’t do much for the tea.

DigniTea

Yes, I definitely agree.

DigniTea

tea123 – there was light smoke which served as a complement to the other more dominant flavor attributes. I say this as a person who is not fond of smoke in my tea but can appreciate it in a light complementary way.

JC

Nice notes! and mrmopar is right, tea123 whenever you order tea, but specially if it is shipping for more than a week, let it air in a place with some humidity to it. I feel like most people are going to be put off by W2T’s tuo because of lack of airing it before tasting it.

tea123

DigniTea and JC – I will re-try this tea again after airing it out.

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Working with another semi-aged Changtai YiChangHao today – the 2005 Yi Bang. The cake is full of dark brown healthy looking whole leaves with low and heavy fragrances. Clear dark orange tea soup. The first sips offer a woody flavor with a fruity-sweetness and a bit of spiciness thrown in. The sweetness is more pronounced, as the tea cools. Later steeps begin to reveal a mushroom taste to increase the brew’s complexity. The brew lightly coats the throat creating a nice mouthfeel. This Yi Bang is smooth and round with a noticeable aged character in its profile and a relaxing qi, not too strong, but definitely there. This is not a “powerhouse” tea but good for those of us who rather enjoy the subtleties of the profile rather than being hit over the head with it.

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

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Complex; sweet and smooth. This is a 500g melon shaped bowl tea with very tight compression and the picking resulted in lots of pieces – even a bit of tea dust. Deep red-orange tea liquor which is rather clear and bright. Fruity sweetness – stonefruit and honeydew on a lightly woody base. No smoke or off-putting tastes found. Nice mouthfeel and the chaqi builds over the session. Overall an interesting aged tea – complex; appealing flavor profile dominated by a fruity sweetness; good longevity. The tight compression is the only negative factor.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
jschergen

Considering its large size, seems like a decent value buy.

DigniTea

Considering age+500g, I would agree.

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Certified organic + authentic ancient arbor leaves from Pasha Mountain means that my expectations for this tea are rather high. It does not disappoint. Attractive whole leaves make up the cake and it is full of silver needle-like tips. Sweet smell comes from the dry leaves but after the first rinse, the smell intensifies. Deep gold tea liquor which is beginning to reveal a light orange hue. The fragrance from the cup is lovely. The tea is mellow and smooth with a cooling sweet sensation after the 2nd cup. Definite tobacco notes revealed in the sip but this balances out the sweetness. Nice mouth and throat feel with good staying power – 10 steeps for me before I decided it was time to move on to another tea. Haiwan produced this 2006 Pasha as both a 200g and 400g cake. I have the smaller 200g cake but YS now lists only the 400g at the high price of $110 (reportedly $50 in late 2012). I purchased my 200g cake from Angelina’s Teas (located right here in North Carolina) at the very reasonable price of $32.

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

Great price!

Dr Jim

Sounded so good that I bought a cake! I have one other Haiwan cake that I’ve really enjoyed.

DigniTea

He can’t have that many left now, so I’m glad you acted quickly. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

MzPriss

I bought two of them

DigniTea

Yeah! Hope you enjoy it.

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I appreciate the Anning Haiwan Tea Factory for their decent quality, fairly priced factory teas (Laotongzhi or “Old Comrades”). This one is a solid, inexpensive ripe pu’er brick, composed of middle grade larger mature leaves. This is a basic, straightforward shupu but pleasant enough to be considered a good everyday drinker. A value purchase since it is a 500g brick with all the characteristics that one should expect from a reliable shu – clear reddish-brown color; a smooth and balanced woody flavor; understated warm creaminess; reasonable longevity. I think I prefer the 2006 Haiwan Chen Xiang Zhuan brick I sessioned last week. Both are in the $33-$35 price range but since the earlier described ’06 shu is a 250g brick and today’s tea is 500g, this “Old Tree” is probably a better value for an everyday drinker (like finding a “buy one/get one” special).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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This is a very interesting selection from Yunnan Sourcing recommended by a few whose opinions I value. Reportedly a special production by the Mengku Tea Factory made with material from 400-500 year old trees. According to YS, the tea is 100% Ban Zhang Wild Ancient Arbor. The leaves of the cake appear to be clean, thick and stout. These leaves yield a dark gold tea liquor which is bright and clear. There is an enticing floral-fruity scent on top of a smooth woody base which is long lasting and powerful. The sip is full and complex yet strongly sweet. There is a pleasant bitterness but this quickly dissipates then a full, delicious, sweet taste dominates and remains in the mouth for quite some time. Dominant presence in the mouth – the tongue and mouth tingle after just a few small sips. The Qi comes forward after just one cup and builds over several infusions. I find this to be a very enjoyable tea.

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

I like this one! I was apprehensive about buying it since I feel for the price tag it has, I would get low grade (since Ban Zhang is so legendarily expensive). But I was glad I did. The first time it did have a pinch of smoke to it, but no other steeps had it. Very good one.

DigniTea

Yes, I quite like it. Did not detect any smoke in mine. That on-going “authentic LBZ” discussion aside, I think it is made from very good material.

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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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