298 Tasting Notes

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.

tanluwils

I’m very happy with this one. I got lucky since it sold out just as it arrived at my doorstep! This tea affects me physiologically than any other in my collection. After a few sips, I’m inclined to do nothing for the rest of the day. :)

DigniTea

I agree with the mellow feelings after drinking this one.

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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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Time to revisit this Dayi shou favorite. Menghai Dayi has developed a solid reputation for good ripe teas and this one is a good example. A tightly compressed cake with a welcoming earthy aroma. Started with a 10s steep and stopped at 30s for the sixth steeping. Steeps a deep ruby-red liquor which is bright and clear. The sip is rich, woody and very smooth. A sweet creamy caramel note emerges in later steepings. This is a good tea to use as a cold weather warm up or to share with non-puerh tea drinking guests.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
tea123

Creamy – there it is :)

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The cake is beautiful and full of pleasantly dark brown whole leaves which offer a nice sweet aged scent. The overall appearance of the cake is neat and uniform. Easy to pick off whole leaves for steeping. I had heard that Yi Bang tea was of the small leaf variety and that is found to be true in this particular cake.
The tea liquor begins with a deep gold color and with additional steepings providing more and more oxidation, the orange and red highlights emerge. The first two steepings had a light bitterness but the tea seems to really open up after this and becomes quite sweet. Very smooth and well balanced with pleasant fruit notes and a gentle honey taste. I experienced a pleasant aftertaste in the mouth and throat and this lingered for quite awhile after finishing the tea session.
Overall the tea is very easy to drink and it reminded me a bit of Jingmai and Yiwu teas. Nicely balanced flavor profile – bitterness and sweetness, fruit and honey with a bit of a nutty accent as well.

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

I miss this one :’(

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This is a tea with nice power – the power of rich content. It begins with a bit of astringency and smoke but quickly they both fade away. Next, the herbal and grassy notes move forward and become more prominent with a lovely sweetness poking through. The sip becomes very smooth by the third or fourth steeping and the sweetness begins to break through. After drinking three cups, I am left with a distinct dryness in the mouth and throat. This cake is definitely made with good raw material but it still has room to mature with more age. I’m going to move this one to the back of the humidity monitored sheng cabinet and let it sit for another year or two before trying again.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
tea123

This is one of my favourite teas. When the sweetness and darker flavours appeared an octave apart that ‘ringing’ was much appreciated :)

MzPriss

I love this tea so very very much.

DigniTea

It is a very nice one! Also looks like this will be one of his upcoming price increases.

jschergen

I really like this tea too. Good review and I agree with your assessment.

DigniTea

Nice to see that our tastes align around the good ones, James! ;-)

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The aroma of the cake is quite gentle. Actually, it has a hint of “old library” aroma but rather distant. Lots of nice whole leaves throughout the cake. A lovely clean and clear tea liquor with a distinct orange hue. Low and dark in its sweet aroma and taste – a little nutty and fruity mixed with mellow-earthiness. Good mouthfeel with a smooth texture. Nice full chaqi producing a very relaxed feeling. In about the 9th infusion the tea begins to fade. Interesting tea session which I quite enjoyed. I would not describe this as an “exciting” tea (in other words, it won’t knock your socks off) but I must say that I found it to be delicious and extremely comforting.

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

I had a bit of this and it is not bad. Doesn’t have the punch of a 7542 for sure though.

DigniTea

Agreed!

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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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