299 Tasting Notes

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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This morning’s shu. The brick is made of quality leaf picked from high mountains in Menghai County during the early spring season (Ming Qian Cha). Considering that this is a brick, it seems quite easy to pick off material to use in the tea session. Chocolate brown (after 9 years of aging in China) whole leaves mixed with pieces and stems. After a 5 second rinse the 10 second infusion produces a clear mahogany colored liquor. Very pleasant sweet, earthy sip with a hint of spice and a creamy essence. The aroma is rich and full. Good for at least five very flavorful infusions. Found at Tea Spring.

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

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Very easy to separate into a nice pile of unbroken leaf. Primarily whole long, healthy-looking leaves mixed with only a few pieces and stems. Pleasant aroma from the dry leaf. The wet leaves smell sweet – honey-like but a complex and full aroma. Clear, deep gold tea liquor. The scent of the liquor is surprisingly light – leather and tobacco with sweet and floral notes mixed in. Crisp, bright and clean flavor in the sip. Lighter at first but it intensifies in later infusions. A quiet sweetness with a complimentary spiciness. Full and powerful mouthfeel. Good texture throughout the first 5-6 infusions and then it fades. A pleasant bitterness builds which eventually becomes mouth drying. Nice aftertaste but it does not linger too long. Good Cha Qi and the tea left me with a welcomed calm energy. I only picked up a sample from YS because these cakes have been sold out for a long time. Even if the cake was still available, I doubt that I would purchase it for the tea lacks the complexity and durability I would expect of material from the Banzhang area.

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

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Revisiting this 2006 DXS Yongde maocha pressed in 2013. The dry leaves are thick, large, whole and vibrant with a clean and crisp scent (raisin-like but a tobacco smell comes through as well). The tea soup is a rich clear orange color and emits a sweet fruity aroma. A thick soup coats the mouth and provides nice mouth activity. A tart grapefruit taste comes through with a sweetness that serves to balance the tartness. A light bitterness builds up after several cups but takes little away from the overall sweetness of the brew. This is nicely complex with good qi. Floral and sweet taste but for me the lingering aftertaste is the best part of this very special tea. This is almost as good as one of my favorite shengs, the 2009 Yongde DXS from Finepuer (unfortunately now sold out).

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

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I have an interest in bamboo puerh teas because the method of production is so intriguing – fill sections of bamboo with tea leaves and then steam, roast, dry and age in the bamboo. The bamboo is reported to provide a unique sweetness to the leaves. I am able to appreciate the process by looking at this photo of a farmer making bamboo puerh: http://www.michaelfreemanphoto.com/-/galleries/the-galleries/countries/asia-australasia/china/yunnan/-/medias/ed820fb8-090f-11e0-bee4-852ca0e067a1-bamboo-tea?gallery=b6bf0ad4-0192-11e3-99e7-2bf391fc38b8&hit_num=1&hits=2&page=1&per_page=50&search=bamboo&search_in_gallery=1
The scent of this YiWu dry leaf is sweet with an interesting spicy note. The tea soup is deep dark gold in color. The wet leaves are whole and nearly 2 inches in length. The tongue and mouth feel alive and tingly after the first few sips. The initial taste sensations are earthy and spicy. The honey-like sweetness works well with a light woodiness. A bit of astringency is found in later infusions but not at all off-putting. Interestingly, I did not detect any remaining smokiness in the smell or taste. These leaves produce cup after cup of highly flavored sweet mellow tea. Multi-layered – sweet and woody with a light spiciness. This is a very approachable raw puerh.

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

Neat picture! Intriguing tea.

DigniTea

Steph – yes, helps you appreciate the tea even more. Don’t you think?

Stephanie

For sure!

tea123

This tea sounds unique.

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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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