191 Tasting Notes
I brewed this tea from a sample that came in a ziploc bag after sitting around the previous owner’s house untouched for a few years so lacking air to breathe this tea’s “real age” is probably younger than 4 years. The first thing that struck me was the mixed grades as while I can taste the sweet mellowness of the gongting puerh on the outer layer it is mixed with a stronger almost rubbery maltiness of the cheaper grade of puerh that made up the center of the cake. While this is normally a practice that I heavily frown upon as deceptive of hiding lower grade puerh in the center where it can not be seen till its broken up, this time, maybe because of the extra age it has rounded out with more complexity to the brewed tea than a pure gongting grade puerh. Maybe cakes like these just need a bit more age than the very short lifetime that puerh generally has around me.
My first high altitude grown ripe puerh but not much different as I picked up most on the lighter fermentation levels used in this tea. This one takes a bit more skill to brew with good results than most ripe puerh as it does best with very short infusions otherwise one will find it a bit disappointing for a premium product. It has a nice light taste to the brewed tea and is good for a lot of short infusions. Although in the end it is not a puerh that I would see myself buying again as while it is a good puerh it fell short of my personal preferences.
A very enjoyable high quality ripe puerh cake with a more mellow and mild taste than the previous Mengku ripe puerh that I’ve had. The brew has a thick and smooth texture with an overall very mellow taste with wood flavor notes and maybe a touch of smoke, with a good balance of sweetness that is not overwhelming.
Finding puerh at my local grocery store was such an excitement I could not resist buying a box of puerh teabags even though I had my doubts as to their quality but figured that worse comes to worse they could be used for travel where not the best puerh is a lot better than no puerh. When I brewed my first cup from the $5.75 box of 100 teabags I was impressed with the quality. While it is not at the level of a puerh that can stand up to the rich smooth mellowness of an upper end Menghai or Mengku puerh cake, it is a lot better than a number of the cheap puerh bricks and cakes that I’ve had over the years. As with most puerh teabags I brew them long and will double them up to ensure a single good brew, the result was a slightly earthy (but not to the musty point) cup of puerh with a slightly sweet and smooth taste. I can not complain at the lack of complexity and while this is not one that I would brew in my yixing pot when I am at home it is a puerh that is good enough that I would not feel deprived if it was my only tea on a vacation.
I was given a box of Tazo Zen teabags from a friend who knew I enjoyed tea and while I typically avoid teabags this one is pretty good. While the presence of the lemongrass and spearmint partially masks the taste of the likely cheaper base green tea, it produces a nice overall effect in how the sweetness of the spearmint and lemongrass nicely complement the green tea. Almost good enough to make me consider picking up some more Tazo teabags to try if I can find any variety packs as Zen is one box of teabags that I will not have any problems finishing off from how enjoyable it is to drink.
While it has improved from the last time I had it when it first came out, this is nowhere near being a good example of a fine puerh. While age has caused it to loose its unusually strong sour taste for a ripe puerh, it has mellowed out to be a fairly plain and boring tea with remaining but much softer lingering sour notes. It goes to show how there is limits to how much age can help a ripened puerh that was not the best to start, not to mention if after 4 years it is still not the best one would be better off buying green puerh to age than a ripe tuocha like this one which has very little to show for itself after 4 years.
This tea has a very smooth almost creamy and sweet richness to it with the classic “Menghai scent” notes as one would expect for any Menghai ripe puerh. A very wonderful example quality ripe puerh at its best with a light silky texture in a sweet mellow taste. Just be careful about using too little leaves the first time I brewed it I did and it came out a bit plain tasting and disappointing but the fault was mine and not the tea.
I bought this 5th grade dark oolong with the plans of using it as an ice tea tea only to find that it is almost too good to use for iced tea. I’m blown away at how this $12.50 a pound oolong can hold its own against other dark rolled oolongs that I have on hand that were double to triple the price or more. It has a medium roasted body with nutty notes with a lingering sweetness. The later infusions became sweeter overall while maintaining enough of the roasted notes in the background to remain interesting.
Brewed gongfu this is not the best Oriental Beauty out there as it has a light and sweet dark oolong taste that comes off as plain and almost borderline black tea as their is no roast taste to make it more interesting like wuyi. Although it is a cheap oolong it makes a great ice tea in the ice tea maker which is one of my summer staples.
I found Scarlet Robe to be a really enjoyable Wuyi oolong tea. The roast is subtle but strong enough to be present in the tea while not being overpowering. I am not sure if I would agree with the vendor’s claims of floral undertones but I would say it is an enjoyable lighter roast with a lighter than most smooth sweet taste that is enjoyable. When brewed gongfu I got 6 wonderful infusions out of it and probably could have gotten out a few more if I wanted to but I didn’t bother because the taste was starting to decline, still it is significant as I was able to get more infusions out of this one than I do from most of the other Wuyi oolongs that I’ve had before.