299 Tasting Notes

Revisiting this “gentle” tea built upon Manzhuan material found in the broader YiWu area. Softer and definitely less aggressive taste with a pleasant rather sweet lingering aftertaste. I always enjoy drinking it on a low-key day. Nice big leaves which have remained in-tact in the loosely compressed cake. Golden yellow tea soup with a sip that is not at all bitter and tastes of light stonefruit. The tea becomes a little sweeter with successive brews but it is never “powerfully” sweet. Not an earthy tea but should be considered a sweet tea carefully processed with high quality whole tea leaves.

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

I like this one.

DigniTea

Yep – a comforting tea! Besides, quality material always wins out with me.

Cwyn

I’ve just broken this one up, what is left of it recently, since my cake was starting to fall apart. I have it in my Lin’s Ceramic jar. It is all the more precious now since white2tea didn’t do another production of it this year.

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Smooth and easy to drink shupu and a very affordable everyday tea (currently selling at $12 for a 250g brick). So many shu bricks are impossible to pry apart but this one was actually easy to chunk off. Clear syrupy tea liquor brews the color of a nice port. Offers a clean and sweet sip with spicy and nutty notes (rather like almonds). This is a good one!

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

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The eye appeal of this cake is spectacular – great wrapper; nicely processed cake; beautiful whole leaf material (small leaf gushu). XiKong, Manzhuan and Yibang are all located in Mengla County, Xishuangbanna and understandingly their teas share many of the same characteristics. The scent of this cake is a subtle floral (rather like wildflowers). Light gold, clear tea liquor with the delicate scent of sweet floral and a granary sweetness in the taste. Decent mouthfeel with a low level bitterness on the edge of the tongue. The qi begins to make its presence known during the third steep. The mouth feel becomes thicker and pleasantly astringent as the tea session progressed. This most definitely is not a “knock your socks off’ sheng in terms of bold power but rather a delicate, sophisticated sheng that seeks to impress one with its underplayed subtlety (subtle aroma, subtle sweetness, subtle bitterness). The quality of the material is evident from beginning to end. This tea is best enjoyed when you can give it your full attention and drink it slowly so that you can appreciate all aspects of its elegance.

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

Gosh I love TeaUrchin stuff so much! And the block print wrapper on this cake…someone needs to hire me to design and print wrappers! :D

JC

Yes! This. I love XiKong for those exact reasons, is a definitive bouquet of floral, honey and fruits with a good body, but it is all done in a very delicate and subtle way. I feel like Regions like XiKong help us properly define that subtle and delicate are no synonym of weak.

DigniTea

well put, JC – subtle/delicate does not mean weak!

DigniTea

Steph – yes, you can always count on TU to produce high level cakes always processed carefully and made with quality material.

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New acquisition from an experienced collector/private tea seller of aged pu’er. The dry leaf smells aged and nutty. Easy to pick off good-sized whole leaves for brewing. Clear orange colored tea soup with a tiny bit of cloudiness in the first two steepings but this cloudiness disappears after that. Lovely scents coming off the soup – somewhat sweet, a bit plummy and a little nutty. Smooth but full taste without bitterness. Appealing mouthfeel. I quickly begin to feel the tea – peaceful and relaxed. Nice longevity – 7 infusions so far; only up to 10 seconds; leaves have more to give. Lingering aftertaste to satisfy me until I continue tomorrow.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
JC

You can try letting it air in a humid environment for 3-4 months. helps with the cloudiness. :)

DigniTea

Yep – the whole cake is stored away now. Not worried about it just a note as I had a session today with the 2nd half of my original sample.

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Finally breaking into my ChenSheng Hao teas after keeping them in storage for the past year. This particular selection is one of their mid-grade productions and is made from high mountain organic old tree leaves. The cake itself is beautiful. Moderate compression allows for easy picking and the leaves remain whole and intact. The leaves produce a dark gold tea soup which is clear and bright. Not particularly fragrant but the scent revealed is clean and sweet. The mouthfeel is light, fresh and floral with a heavier strength in the backend. Sweetness becomes more evident in later infusions. This sheng is not terribly complex, but it is straightforward and easy-going. At the end of the tea session, I was left feeling rather relaxed and quite happy.

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

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Tribute Tea sources many things from Jeff Fuchs, the same man whose 100g tea cakes form the basis for the Jalam Tea Club selections. This aged Yiwu arrived as maocha rather than a pressed cake. Perhaps this explains why I was a bit disappointed by the tea during my first session –loose tea does not seem to age nearly as well as pressed cakes. I am a fan of YiWu material and I have several aged YiWu cakes but this one does not compare to those teas. The leaves are quite attractive and appear to be whole. Not much scent from the dry leaves (a bit earthy) but that is not unusual with YiWu material. However, there is not too much flavor in the cup and I must say I expected more. A nice dark golden color is found in the tea soup which appears to be quite clear. Earth and leather flavors come through clearly in the early brews which is rather smooth. Eventually a little sweetness appears but this turns quickly to a woody tone. I do not doubt that this is authentic Yiwu leaf but, for my taste preferences, it has lost it lacks the oomph I find in most Yiwu Shan selections.

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

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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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Bio

I drink mostly puer and sometimes what we as Westerners think of as black tea.

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 simply comments reflecting my impression at that specific point in time. They are helpful to me and if they happen to be useful to someone else that is good.

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.

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