299 Tasting Notes

Surprisingly unusual complexity found in this brick. The tea highlights the beauty of the leaf in repeated brews with full body and strong fragrances. Bold and flavorful is the best way to describe my overall impression of this tea. Clarity is found in the mahogany colored liquor. Built upon a base of musty wood as are many shu puerh but there is so much more here. Very smooth with a lovely berry sweetness. The taste of camphor is definitely found throughout the session and a light tangy citrus note comes forward in the 3rd or fourth infusion. There is clearly a bit of smoky tobacco in both the scent and taste but this subtle feature actually enriches the overall impact of the tea in a very positive way. (And I say that as one who is not particularly fond of smokiness in my teas.) The duration is on the shorter side with solid flavor throughout 6-7 infusions before thinning. Produced by the original Kunming Factory per Yunnan Sourcing. Carefully aged in the dry environment of Kunming. This is a wonderful example of a dry stored shu with nice age on it. Overall we have a sweet woody mouth feel with a mellow, sweet aftertaste that builds over a series of infusions. The flavor profile features notes of wet earth, wood, tobacco, berries, camphor and smoke all working together so very well. This blend is definitely done right and it is a very fine tea!

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

One of my favorites. Only real complaint is longevity.

DigniTea

I agree but those first few are something to behold!

jschergen

Yes. Very good stuff. I just had the 1999 Old Tree Ripe from them over the weekend. It has that camphor taste, but this tea is just much better!

I’ll have to try it again soon.

boychik

I love this one. So glad I bought it last year. I find dried persimmons in this shou

tea123

According to the website: ‘Back side is dimpled and majority of back side is chopped and fannings’. Can anyone comment on this?

DigniTea

tea123 – chopped and fannings?? I do not have any specific information to use in an answer; however, I did go back and look at the brick after reading your question. I see this tea as a high quality factory produced tea and as I find with so many factory teas, there are lots of bits and pieces (rather than whole leaves). It is the flavor profile that impresses and IMHO a factory tea brick worth owning and enjoying.

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This is my second day with a Xi Kong from Yunnan Sourcing which I purchased due to an older tasting note found on Hobbes’ blog. I enjoy both Manzhuan and Yi Bang shengs (from Mengla County of Xishuangbanna) and Xi Kong is located between these two so I was quite confident about my interest in Xi Kong teas. Even though it is from an autumnal harvest, it is powerful and full of character. Beautiful whole dry leaves yield a fresh grass scent. The dark gold tea soup has a pungent aroma with hints of flowers and fruit. The sip has an enticing mix of fruity sweetness and malted wheat grain with the occasional hint of bitterness thrown in to catch you off guard. Solid endurance (11 infusions so far). I think this was a good purchase decision for I do love this tea.
Note: as suggested, I did increase my leaf amount by about a third since this is from an autumn harvest.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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Spent the day with this one – a great selection using fine material from the Hekai tea producing area. Fragrant dry leaves which produce a clear tea soup – dark bronze in color moving toward orange. Thick syrupy mouthfeel with an appealing blend of tobacco, wood, citrus and molasses flavors. This is a rather interesting flavor profile which is noticeably smooth and mellow. All in all this is a great full-bodied, complex sheng and it holds up nicely for many enjoyable infusions. Today I steeped at 195 degrees but I think I’ll push the temperature to 205 degrees when I go back to these leaves tomorrow.

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

I love the Repave. I’m glad it came back.

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Easy drinker! Smooth and sweet. Great flavor. Nice rich smell – rather aromatic straight out of the wrapper. Beautiful cake. Easy to pick apart for brewing (mix of pieces and whole leaves). Yields a clear orange liquor with a penetrating taste without any smokiness. Offers a decent mouthfeel but it is slightly drying/astringent. Endearing notes of floral and fruity sweetness with a subtle amount of bitterness in the background. If I had to criticize something, it would be the modest longevity – 7 to 8 enjoyable cups before it becomes thin. Seems to be a solid tea for its current price of $49.50.

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

I have similar thoughts on this tea. I like it a good deal as a daily drinker. Decent alternative to Paul’s Gaoshan Qingbing.

DigniTea

jschergen – yes, I’m glad I have it. Looks like he is down to his last 3 cakes.

DharmaTea

Great notes, I concur. This is a good daily drinker at $0.125 a gram.

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Drinking this now and I dare to say that I am really enjoying it! Jinggu is an area for tea leaves with which I am not terribly experienced or familiar. The main thing I know is that the Jinggu area has many mountains and villages producing high quality teas (many from older tea trees). The aroma of the dry leaves is clearly aged – mostly whole (rather large) leaves with a few stems mixed in. The tea soup is dark orange, with a hint of savory brown in its color. The texture is thick – smooth on the lips and filling the mouth with vibrancy on the tongue. Overall, there is an enjoyable mild bitterness but it is also quite sweet to the point of being nicely balanced; active in the mouth and throat; nice warming effect; lingering pleasant aftertaste.

Update: Three days later and still working with these same leaves. On the 12th infusion and steeping for 25 seconds. The leaves still have more to give.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Cwyn

This is a good age point to buy into right now, in my opinion. Not as pricey as the 1990s tea floating around.

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This is a nice looking cake full of large whole leaves – there is some serious content locked into these leaves. Age has darkened the color to a deep brown. Two quick rinses to wash and awaken the tea leaves and we’re ready to be impressed……. The soup color is a mature orange tone and both floral and wood fragrances come forward. A smooth thick tea soup that presents a gentle rather complex mix of fruit (berry-like), honey, nuts and camphor. This mix of flavor sensations feels quite refined and pure and light with a lingering rich mouth feel. This is an enjoyable tea and it has it all - taste, mouthfeel, lingering aftertaste, energy and endurance. The discovery of a well aged cake such as this makes me very happy!

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

Classic stuff, sounds good. One quick rinse would do for me, too precious to throw away :)

tea123

Where may one purchase this?

DigniTea

I picked up this cake at The Chinese Tea Shop in Vancouver.

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The raw material in this cake is from ancient, wild trees (800-1000 years old) on Wuliang mountain and the possibilities drew me to the tea. I was not disappointed. The leaves brew a lovely clear liquor and the wet leaves smell powerfully sweet, fruity and complex. The first brew is reasonably thick with a very interesting fruity sweetness – no bitterness or astringency detected. Some Wuliangs I have had before revealed smoke in the flavor profile but fortunately I did not find that in this tea. The strong sweetness is the main feature here – sweetness mixed with spice and citrus suggesting the healthy characteristics of the trees and environment from which it comes. Rather full in the mouth with nice, gentle, but long activity on the tongue promoting a lubricated mouth feel with a persistent warmth. An interesting “wild” tea – sweet, soft, lovely in its gentle aroma. The stamina of the tea is quite good but later steepings became a little thin in taste for me so I did not push the tea past 9 steeps. The tea’s primary taste is rounded and smooth – some people might say that it is too smooth but I found a strength of character which provides the tea drinker with interesting and complex textures. I am definitely a fan!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
tea123

I’m preparing my first order to essence of tea. I read good things.

DigniTea

tea123 – I hope this one is on your list of things to sample. I also like their Bangwei.

jschergen

I like this one too. It’s not face-smashing pu’erh, but a really nice, elegant tea.

JC

I second Dignitea, get this one for sure, if you are into ripes try their Wuliang ripe. ChangYuHao YIWUs are also very good, Long Lan Xu is very good and on the cheaper end of their options.

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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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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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