290 Tasting Notes

I have come to appreciate and admire Paul at White2tea because of his firm commitment to uncovering fine teas at very fair prices – this little guy is a great example. I actually picked it up months ago when I placed my first order with him. I could not believe that an aged tea at this low price could be worth drinking. This is definitely a tea to be valued and enjoyed.
I was able to pick off quite easily layers of tea from this little brick. There is definitely the aroma of smoke in the dry leaf but it is not overwhelming – more of an accent. Two short rinses and then let it sit for 15m while the leaves opened a bit. That low level of smoke remained but it was even more subtle when leaves were wet. The tea soup is rather clear with a solid brownish orange tint. The sip offers a woody flavor with that light smoke accent and a bit of camphor thrown into the mix – complex enough for my palate to make it very enjoyable. Note: I would not describe this as a “sweet” tea but the flavor is quite appealing.
Due to all the recent chatter about this tea, I used a lighter amount of leaf (5g) but I think I’ll increase the leaf amount by 50% during the next session just to discover the difference.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Sil

awesome. thanks for this! i’ll have to take a look at their offerings :)

Cwyn

I got a couple of these bricks too, they are so cute I don’t want to unwrap them.

mrmopar

Yep 2 in my cupboard also.

DigniTea

Given the 100g brick size definitely worthy of upsizing to the size of a real cake!

Stephanie

Exciting :)

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Smallish leaves in this cake with mixed brown coloring. Very clear light yellow tea soup after two quick rinses. The tea has a little bitterness followed quickly by a gentle sweetness; offers a pleasant mouthfeel which seems to linger; grabs you quickly and gives you a modest kick. I experienced a little dryness in the mouth and throat and a bit of warmth moving through my extremeties.
The first two steepings present flavors of butter, pine, and mushroom blended together – interesting and enjoyable profile here. The next few infusions become more like a sweet tobacco with those pine and mushroom accents remaining. By the sixth steeping, the sip produces a woody base with hints of flavor – pine, spice, a rather mild fruit – and continues to be a pleasant cup of tea. Does not seem nearly as full or powerful as it did in the beginning of the tea session. I believe this Bulang is a more gentle tea than most from this area but I must say that I rather enjoy it.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
JC

How do you feel about it overall? I’ve had a few ChangTai Lately and even though they were pleasant, I didn’t come out a fan. I’ve had this one, the Lao Ban Zhang and a Six Start. They seemed fairly similar with the Six Star one being the most different in that it lacked the stronger tobacco/medicinal notes (mushroom?) and perhaps was more fruity. I’ve yet to find something I fall for from ChangTai.

DigniTea

The final words of my tasting note are “I rather enjoy it” and I think that is my first overall impression. Certainly not my favorite sheng but seems good for my palate. I’m likely to re steep these same leaves again this afternoon. I’ve noticed Hobbes tasting notes so I decided to begin exploring them. Don’t have the LBZ and I’m not familiar with the Six Star. I did quite enjoy this one: 2005 Changtai Chenhongchan Yiwu 

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Dayi introduced this tea to offer an improved version of their classic 7572. The tea produces a clear red-brown broth with sweet mellow flavor and a nice creamy aftertaste. Cake is of medium compression and fairly easy to pick apart; dark brown leaf with a good amount of golden buds. The “staying power” is most impressive – the leaf keeps giving and giving. The leaf quality is so high that I could begin with flash steepings – add water to 5g of leaf and pour it right into the cup. I’ve done 2 rinses and five infusions and I’m only up to 5 sec. A cake worth owning.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
DigniTea

Shorter life than expected; did not get as many flavorful resteeps as I had hoped for but the first six are definitely good. Maybe more time needed beginning with #7. I did 15s on #7 and then 25s on #8.

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This is a highly regarded Dayi shu and I now understand why – smooth and mellow; very easy to drink over and over again. Medium compression of dark leaf with golden tips sprinkled throughout. Fairly easy to pick apart. Red-brown tea soup; flavors of cedar in early cups becoming more like oak in later cups; sweetness found in each. The tea is lightly fermented – ready to drink now but due to this lighter fermentation, also likely to continue changing as it matures. Therefore, I am enjoying and sharing this cake now and I have another cake on the way to me to hold for 3-5 years. This is a solid shu with a very appealing flavor profile – not complex but a very clean, nice sip.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
MzPriss

Sounds yummy!

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This tea offers a smooth texture with a simple cedar wood flavor. Earthy with an interesting mouthfeel – spicy, sweet, nutty and leathery. Medium compression. Mostly whole leaf with a reasonable amount of stems. Initial scent of dry and wet leaves is reminiscent of walking through a damp forest. Not as much depth and complexity as I prefer but all in all a rather enjoyable tea session.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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This sheng has character :
-nice whole Yiwu leaf;
-pleasant dry and wet aroma;
-good mouthfeel;
-nice cooling effect on the tongue and roof of mouth;
-decent huigan;
-staying power – 8 steepings so far.
A solid Yiwu cake with almost 10 years of age at a fair price ($46 at PuerhShop)!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 125 ML
Cwyn

If it’s the one I’m seeing in puerh shop, it is the 400 g cake? That is 43 g more tea than the usual beeng size. Seems like a really good value for Yiwu, hmmm.

DigniTea

That should be the one. Agreed – good price for what seems to be an authentic Yiwu.

DigniTea

Cwyn – Should have mentioned that the 2005 Changda Hao Yiwu Mansa Gushu at PuerhShop is also nice; same price.

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Overall this is a surprisingly enjoyable tea. The 100g tuo is a classic Xiaguan ripe puerh. I’ve had it aging a bit for the past year. Tight compression but careful picking made it fairly easy to break apart. Very dark leaf without any golden teabuds. Dark tea soup with a pleasant aroma – did not detect the typical Xiaguan smoke (a plus for me since I am not fond of the smoke in my puerh). The sip is smooth and woody – a bit leather like. The flavor profile presents a bit of spice in the background. This recipe was originally made for export to France and has maintained its consistency. This is a budget friendly tea (purchased in mid-2013 for $6.50) and offers a favorable quality/price ratio. Definitely a respectable daily drinking shu.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 145 ML

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Sweet and mellow with nice energy and it produces a lovely aftertaste! After reading an older note on Hobbes’ blog, I was intrigued by the history and attributes of this particular cake. I was determined to find this tea but I was somewhat doubtful that I would — then I actually found it at Puerhshop.com.

I was not familiar with Manluo Tea Factory (now Changdahao) but apparently back in the day they were highly regarded. This particular cake is made from high quality leaf gathered from an ancient tree farm on Mansa’s high mountain (in the Yiwu tea growing area) and is part of their 2005 Six Famous Tea Mountains collection. Produced using very traditional hand processing and stone pressing. The dry leaf is beautiful – intact large leaves throughout – moderate compression making it easy to pick off a small amount. Clear yellow-gold tea soup that tastes honey sweet with a nice huigan. A little pepper on the tongue in the first few cups. Nice balance and very pleasant in the mouth. I have thoroughly enjoyed this one over the past two days. Gotta love tea blogs maintained by experienced people (e.g., Hobbes) for great tea discoveries!!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 125 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. Surprised to learn what a passion I have developed for all things tea related.

I enjoy most tea types but I cannot handle jasmine or other florals and I’m not particularly fond of bergamot. Started with flavored teas but moved quickly into unflavored blacks and puerhs. Now most of my purchases are puerh cakes for aging. My cold brews for iced tea tend to be a fruity green, white or rooibos but every once in awhile I’ll chill an oolong or puerh.

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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