281 Tasting Notes

This is a very good tea and an excellent example of YQH quality productions. It is an authentic single origin Yiwu gushu. This is the first of the 2004 season’s premium Yiwu harvest – a Pre-Qing Ming or Yu Qian tea. Nice whole leaves. Fair amount with stems attached to one or two whole leaves. Sweet, smooth and silky with a very balanced taste and no astringency detected at all. It is worth noting that there is a blend of tobacco and old leather sweetness throughout the session (albeit more dominant in the early sessions). Definite sense of chaqi hitting by the 3rd cup. Overall this tea yields a more delicate, light tasting soup (i.e., not thick) – very appealing and enjoyable to me but not a complex heavyweight. Since the tea is on the lighter side, you can push it without fear. On one steeping, I intentionally used half the water and it still produced a delicious cup which was definitely thicker than the previous cups. A final comment on the tea’s longevity – this is an impressively durable tea. I’ve steeped it 10 times now (during 2 sessions) and the leaves are not yet fully open and my longest steep time has been 15 seconds. These leaves have much to offer!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
jschergen

Late commenting on this, but I’ve had three sessions of this tea in the past couple weeks. Your review sums it up very well. It’s lighter than the Dingji and Chawangshu but I find myself liking it even more than those heavy-hitters. Really phenomenal tea and I think it stands above most of Yang’s catalog. Just top of the line Yiwu… mmmm.

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Ban Pen is a BuLang village found close to Lao Ban Zhang and Lao Man’e. It is home to the LaHu minority people who earn the majority of their living from tea and ancient tea trees surround the village. Reported to have less bitterness than Ban Zhang but a fast huigan and a lingering feel in both the mouth and throat. Medium sized, spindly, dark and twisted leaves. Fresh clean scent (tangy and sweet) from the dry leaf. Clear golden yellow tea soup with a sweet herbaceous aroma. The first sip revealed a fresh pure taste with a light hit of bitterness. A few sips later I began to detect a warming sweetness which became stronger and more dominant in successive steepings. Buttery mouthfeel builds up throughout the session. Overall, healthy balance of sweetness and low level bitterness; good strength of character – complex and rich; calm and relaxing chaqi, invoking a peaceful state. Included in TU’s “Bulang Maocha Tasting Set” or you can buy a 50 g packet of just the Ban Pen.
Update: Endurance – good for 6 steeps than it fades rather quickly.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML
TeaExplorer

This sounds like a really nice sheng!

DigniTea

Yes, it is not what I would classify as a bold powerhouse but I found appealing complexity within the subtleness of the tea.

TeaExplorer

Overall, healthy balance of sweetness and low level bitterness; good strength of character – complex and rich; calm and relaxing chaqi, invoking a peaceful state.

That was the part that caught my attention.

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Sometime during the summer I was fortunate to receive 3 samples of Bulang gushu maocha from Tea Urchin’s 2015 spring harvest. I’ve let them sit and develop a bit and now ready to taste. This HeKai sample is a rich and potent young sheng. The dry leaves are whole and project a fresh sweet aroma. After (2) 5 second rinses, the tea liquor from the first steeping is a clear yellow-gold. The taste is fresh and clean with a honey sweetness and fruitiness dominating the early cups. A pleasant taste-sensation follows in the later infusions as the tea becomes simultaneously bitter and sweet. Good body feel with a lingering sweet vegetal taste in the mouth and throat. Happy to have tried this very appealing tea! Looks like you can try this solid example of He Kai leaf in TU’s “Bulang Maocha Tasting Set” or you can buy a 50 g packet of just the Hekai.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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Yesterday I spent time throughout the day enjoying a 2004 Yiwu. A few months ago, Essence of Tea offered a “sale” on a few very special somewhat aged teas they had introduced on a very limited basis. I picked up a few different 25g sample packs and this ChangYuHao Yiwu was one of them. Whole leaves from old trees nicely darkened by 11 years of aging – genuine non-plantation leaves; careful storage in Malaysia; and all the characteristic aromas of true quality YiWu material. The aroma from the wet leaves is sweet and rather pungent. Very clean tea liquor with sweet and spicy umami. Definite throatiness and a lingering aftertaste in the mouth. A smooth, heavy, sweet tea with feel good cha qi – I am happy to have an opportunity to session this 2004 YiWu. This is a good tea!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 95 ML
tea123

I made my first order to essenceoftea and are really looking forward to trying their teas. Problem is I’ve been waiting over 3 weeks. David thinks my order might be stuck at customs :(

DigniTea

Don’t know about the customs thing but I can say that it takes me a long time to receive EoT orders – shipped to east coast of USA. Waiting 3 weeks has not been unusual for me.

tea123

Ok. I’ll hang on a bit longer then. I have actually ordered the 2005 version of this tea.

tea123

My essence of tea order finally arrived and the other re-sent box the day after. I am drinking the 2005 version of this tea now and i think your notes are spot on. Are you on instagram?

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This is a high quality cake made with material from ancient trees in Lincang. The beautiful whole leaves are “picked” off the cake very easily. Gold colored liquor with a pleasant aroma. The taste is smooth and sweet and full in the mouth; balanced with pleasant bitterness in later infusions making the cup more complex. Decent longevity – I’ve taken if for 8 rounds. This is a very solid production for which the price has risen steadily over the past two years. At this point, it might have risen a bit too high.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
AllanK

I have one of these in my pumidor. It is really good. Thought about buying another.

DigniTea

I can understand that. Lots of very fine teas out there – 2013 and 2014 productions are quite fine. In the 2013 selections, I think I might prefer the Nan Po Zhai and San Ke Shu over this one. In truth, in spite of my $ comment, they are all decent value since they are high quality material and 400g rather than the now frequent 200g or 250g cakes.

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This is Wymm Tea’s most expensive offering and I have been curious about it for some time. I was delighted to receive a sample with a recent order during their Mid-Autumn Festival sale. High quality, carefully rolled beautiful whole leaves. Mild but solid aroma coming from the dry leaf. After two quick rinses, the wet leaves offer a dark earthy scent. First cup or two seem bitter and tart but the tea liquor smooths out and turns sweeter in later steepings. Thick mouthfeel. After three cups, my mouth is left rather dry. Nice longevity. This is a strong tea with a bite to it. I do believe that it is made of very good raw material but for my tastes, it will need to mature over the next few years. At that time, I am quite sure I would find it very appealing.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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Difficult to accept that it has been 3 months since I posted a tea note. Although I have been drinking tea regularly and checking into Steepster every day or two, I have not been able to spend time writing notes. We all know that life happens and at times we have other responsibilities which keep us away from more pleasurable activities. Hopefully my life will now ease back into my normal patterns and offer more time to enjoy tea in a more thoughtful manner.
For some time now, I have been a fan of teas from the Mengku area (think Bingdao, DaXueShan, MuShuCha teas). The ShuangJiang Mengku Tea Co. has made a reputation specializing on productions from this area. A few months ago I stumbled upon this gem and I must say that it is a very fine production from S.Mengku’s factory. I’ve spent the last two days enjoying these beautiful whole leaves from high mountain trees found in a single grove of “ancient tea trees”. Loosely compressed cake with over 8 years maturation in China. Smooth drinking, brass colored tea liquor. Apricot-like nectar with good mouthfeel and an appealing cooling effect. Nice longevity as well – 10 rich steeps. This is a good one!

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Corrected Tea Notes:
Earlier today I wrote a tea note on this S.Mengku sheng. Unfortunately, the tea I had enjoyed so much over the past two days was labeled incorrectly (these two teas were mixed up in the small tasting bags I had prepared last week.) My correct notes now indicate that this is a solid, more typical S.Mengku production, with nice age on it. Good leaf quality – mix of nicely rolled large leaf pieces, stems and a few whole leaves. Reported by the manufacturer and confirmed by Yunnan Sourcing as quality material from organic old trees high up on a mountain. Two quick and rinses and 4 steeps into the tea now. A bit astringent with a bite to it; a bit of tongue tingling; after four cups, my mouth and throat are rather dry. Quite a decent production and I have enjoyed my session with this tea but I may hold out for a year or so to go back to it and see if it might smooth out a bit more. My 68% – 71% storage should help it mature into something even better.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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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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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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