244 Tasting Notes

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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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.

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

Have you tried any of the cakes currently offered at puershop?

DigniTea

I think the Dadou and the Sandou are both reliable blends (most Douji aficionados have both in their collection). PS offers a sample of the 2008 Bulang so there is little risk there but I’m not a huge fan of this one. I have that fragrant brick but I’ve not tried it (good price point and all Spring material – could be something special).
The general Douji style is darkness, heaviness, and tobacco; kuwei (a decent throaty bitterness); after a few infusions you find a lovely honey-like sweetness. Generally good for 10-12 enjoyable steeps.
-——Warning: I’m a big fan of Douji. For my tastes, they make enjoyable, complex puerh. Thus, question my objectivity.

Rich

I have a sample of the fragrant brick, I’ll try that soon. And there’s no such thing as objectivity when it comes to tea! Well, maybe a bit…

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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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Cwyn

I thought this tasted sour when I first got it. Revisited it after about 6 months, now it tastes quite good. Needs airing probably.

DigniTea

Cwyn – I agree with you. I was not very excited when I first received it which is why I have only a small bag with little remaining in it. Now I really enjoy it and I wish that I had more.

Cwyn

I have the 2008 and 2012 in sample sizes and just put both together into a porous clay storage jar for the airing.

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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.

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

I have this and it is still one of my favs. I broke mine up and crocked it. Then put the loose into a ceramic jar, have since drunk up all the loose. Mine improved with airing for sure!

DigniTea

Good to know. This was a sample Daniel “encouraged” me to try. I have not been able to decide if I want to spring for an entire cake.

JC

“Sticky tea liquor so I did three quick rinses” lol I love Puerh, I feel like this is the only occasion I would feel related and ok with that phrase in something I’m about to consume.

DigniTea

You know that’s true, JC. ;-)
Interesting tea. Have you tried this one?

JC

No, but I really want to try it. Sounds really good. I had a 1980s XiaGuan tuo that was the same way at first sniff ‘ahhh the scent of something that hasn’t been opened in decades, this should be good’. lol

Where can I find some of this?

DigniTea

I thought I had mentioned the source in my note but it looks like I forgot to do so. I recently picked up teas from The Chinese Tea Shop in Vancouver. Here’s the direct link to the online store:
http://store.thechineseteashop.com/1990_s_Ding_Xing_Hao_Pu_erh_Tea_Cake_Raw_Sheng_p/pugc-dxh-90.htm

JC

Thanks! I’ll check them out. Its always cool to find new places to try. :D

DigniTea

Great. Good place to pick up teas with decent age on them. Fast processing and delivery.

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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.

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

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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!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
tea123

A gift from Paul?

tea123

The new amerykah was sold out when I made my order, but Paul was kind enough to include a free sample of it for me :)

DigniTea

I too have found Paul to be very generous with samples.

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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.
http://teadb.org/2009-yongde-daxueshan/

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

Good review. Big fan of this one (I picked up five)! I feel like it is very undervalued for the quality.

DigniTea

FIVE – you are a tea hoarder, James. ;-)

jschergen

I know right? After my initial two, I tried it three more times (all excellent) and talked myself into buying at tong-quantity!

DigniTea

Have no fear, you are in good company my friend.

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Away for a few days without any enjoyable tea so I am delighted to be back home and digging into an interesting box of samples from a good tea friend. The samples included this HLH shou which has been on my shopping list for some time. Trying it today so that I can make the final decision to order a cake while the 12% sale is active at YS.
This is an easy drinking, rather enjoyable ripe puerh. A smooth blend of three different harvests (2003, 2008, 2009) which helps to balance the flavor profile and give it a little more depth. One is hit with the sweetness and then a slight oiliness appears later which is quite complimentary rather than offensive. This is a lighter fermentation cake which helps it to be clean with no off flavors of any type. Therefore, this tea is made of quality material and comes across as rather tasty, solid, and enjoyable. I plan to purchase and set aside for 2-3 years for I think it has the potential to mature with a bit of age.

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

I liked this one.

Cwyn

I was thinking of the HLH 2006 because of the sale but honestly I probably don’t need anymore tea.

mrmopar

Aw Cwyn, go ahead I am. You can always will it to me and Allan and DigniTea as we will drink it for sure or will it on later. ;P

Cwyn

I’m torn cuz it is $45 and I want the Yongde from finepuer too…

DigniTea

Cwyn: Confused – 2010 HLH As You Like It Ripe is $24 at YS China but YongDe DXS sheng is fabulous!

Cwyn

It is the HLH 2006 I want, that is $45. The Yongde DXS is $58.

DigniTea

Got it. Since my tasting note was about As You Like, I assumed that was your focus. I didn’t go deep enough into the comments to see that you had mentioned the 2006 earlier. Actually I am hoping this 2010 can mature into something close to the 2006 Jin Hai Lang which at the moment is clearly the better of the two IMO.

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I am continuing my exploration of Gedeng shengs across a fourteen year period of harvests. Earlier this week I began with my oldest cake (1999) and today’s tea is made from the youngest material (2013). Clearly the younger leaf does not have the power of the older leaf material. I am a firm believer that, for the most part, today’s harvests do not produce the same level of power in their teas. There are, of course, exceptions but as a general rule it is my operating assumption and explains why I now focus on finding tea with nice age. This is certainly not an original idea of mine for I believe many (if not most) collectors share this notion.

That said, I did enjoy this tea session for the dual purpose of education and enjoyment. This is a Changdahao tea. Changdahao is a brand from the well established Yiwu Manluo factory. The leaves are on the small side and mostly whole. With almost two years of age behind them, they are beginning to turn and darken and offer a nice clean aroma – no intimidating scent here. The tea soup is gold, clear and bright with a light fruity scent. No truly distinctive fruits come forward but I would describe the impact as fruit-like. The flavor is not powerful or intense but rather soft and welcoming. There is a bit of astringency to counterbalance. The sip is easy to swallow and quickly offers a warmth and sweetness in the mouth and throat.

This is not a particularly complex sheng (perhaps explained by the more limited scope of modern plantation teas that have been processed) but the flavor and aroma are enticing. Pleasant taste and decent Qi. The real question for me is whether it will age into something magnificent. Probably not but I have enough confidence to go ahead and purchase the whole cake (I am now drinking a sample from Puerh Shop). Also it is particularly difficult to find cakes or bricks from GeDeng Shan (革登山) and I want a few in my collection. Two additional GeDengs to try in future sessions.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
tea123

Interesting question of whether something will age into something magnificent. I guess that is part of the magic of pu-erh.

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Have you tried a Gedeng puerh? This is my first experience with a sheng using raw material from Gedeng Mountain and I must say that I quite enjoyed it. I enjoy learning about and trying teas from areas about which I know very little. Gedeng and XiGui are two areas I am working on at the moment. Gedeng Mountain is one of the original six famous tea mountains. It is located in Mengla County in Xishuangbanna in close proximity to Youle, Jinuo, Yibang and Mangzhi. Due to over harvesting, there is now limited production and decent Gedeng material is rather limited.
There is nice age on this brick and the leaves appear to be aging nicely. There is a wonderful ‘dry’ aroma and the leaves look quite healthy. Pungent aroma from the wet leaf with fruity overtones. The tea liquor is a shimmering orange-gold. The sip offers a rather complex mix of flavors which quickly transforms into a sweet palate. The tea is thick and heavy. You can feel a little bitterness going in, covering the mouth, and after swallowing, the huigan comes quickly. The cha qi is not obvious at first, but after three or four infusion it hit me hard.
Overall impressions: Sweet and smooth with decent Qi which left me very relaxed and moving toward a tired state. After the session I decided that this material is somewhat similar to a good Manzhuan tea. Very drinkable and enjoyable!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
jschergen

Cool! Thanks for the notes. Much enjoyed as always. We really don’t hear much about Gedeng compared with many of the other areas in Mengla County.

To your point of overharvesting. I think there’s also a Marshaln post that talks about that area and how there’s alot of rubber trees where the tea trees used to be.

Have you tried the 2010 Yunnan Sourcing Gedeng yet?

jschergen

blah. you answered that question. Sorry!

Curious what you think when you get to that tea as it’s been on my radar.

DigniTea

jschergen – I have the YS cake you mentioned but sadly I’ve not yet tried it.

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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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