277 Tasting Notes
Did I think it would taste good? No.
Did it taste good? No.
Kind of drinkable with a bit of cream. I taste crummy, earthy black tea. Not astringent, perhaps just because the water from the hotel wasn’t boiled – cooler than that for sure. Not a whole lot going on. I can see the Bergamot oil on the surface, but I can’t taste much of it. Used two teabags in a ~16oz thermos.
Why did I drink this? Shut up, I’m roughing it in a hotel. ;)
I bummed a bit of this from my girlfriend and have been drinking it Western style (brewed in a thermos) at the hotel the past few days. It’s really quite tasty and easy to brew. I’ve just been using water from the hotel’s hot water machine. I’m able to get three infusions out of the leaf as well. It’s a sweet and slightly nutty and vegetal with an overlying sweetness. I also detect some floral notes buried within the taste. Great value and a really pleasant daily drinker if you’re a fan of Chinese greens.
Flavors: Broth, Floral, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal
This is the first puerh I’ve gotten into from my Farmerleaf order. I was very pleasantly surprised by this. It’s really dirt cheap, coming in at about $0.06/g if you buy a 357g cake. The aroma off the dry leaves, which looked nice and green with some silver strands in there as well, was sweet and floral. After a rinse, I smelled mostly tobacco, and a green floral note, maybe with a bit of honey.
This tea is a light one – maybe the best illustration I’ve seen thus far of the differing characteristics of Autumn vs. Spring puerh. It’s got an airy sweetness to it – with boiling water, it was a bit grassy and vegetal. With 200F water, that flavor was more of a clean corn sweetness (it still vexes me that I can’t list that as a flavor on Steepster). The finish, bleeding into a slightly lasting aftertaste, is a rush of aromatic floral taste. Not sure what kind of floral it is – maybe honeysuckle? There’s also a barely tangible fruity undertone present throughout most of the session – it came and went, and I couldn’t pin it down. Probably the fruitiness which is often part of Jingmai teas. It has a surprising longevity to it, going 15 or 16 steeps. Despite the light and crisp, almost green tea-ish flavors, it does leave a bit of a lightly oiled feel in the mouth, especially in the earlier steeps.
I really need to do something to get my different floral flavors down – anybody have any suggestions? Should I go to a florist and just smell all the flowers, taking notes like a weirdo? Should I chew on them? Incense? Oils? Anybody have any experience with this? I guess it sounds a little crazy. I can tell that different floral flavors are different, but can’t place them due to lack of experience.
Anyways, regarding this tea – It’s a great value for a light daily drinker. After seeing that this is indeed a quality tea, I’m really looking forward to getting into the rest of my Farmerleaf order.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grass, Nectar, Sweet, Vegetal
This morning I drank a tea which I received in a reddit swap with some fellow in Germany – all the teas were unlabeled, so it’s been a little mystery package for me. This one was clearly a rolled oolong. The dry leaf had a bit of a creamy pineapple tone – I thought it might be a Jin Xuan at this point. After a rinse, it was a bit milky smelling, with hints of pine and some sort of fruit.
The tea tasted pretty good too! It didn’t quite match the aromas I was detecting however. It had a crisp vegetal note on the front of the sip, pretty cucumber-ish to me, followed by a green floral aftertaste. Later on, the cucumber turned into more of a melon flavor, but was still nice and crisp. The tea had a decently thick texture, but I wouldn’t call it milky. A pretty decent green oolong – no idea what it is or where it came from though.
Just finished a sample of some random 2005 Xiaguan Iron Cake I got from mx-Tea. It was one I picked out to try, not one which was recommended to me. The dry leaf smelled leathery and a bit spicy. After a rinse, it still had that camphor on the nose, along with a bit of a barnyard aroma.
My first session was really dusty, so it got pretty strong right off the bat. There were some pleasant notes, including, a bit of that camphor and some dark fruit in the finish. I also tasted leather early on, though that went away quickly enough. The tea did get pleasantly thick and sweet. Most of the session was just a slightly sweet and thick earthy taste. It was enjoyable, but nothing special or really even noteworthy. Didn’t notice any qi building up.
My second session had less dust, but a few bigger chunks. Trying to get these to break up in the pot was an exercise in frustration, and I ended up with a session characterized by weak steeps as the biggest chunk refused to yield to boiling water. I lost my patience after a little while and just tossed the tea around halfway through. Next time I get samples or pieces of an “iron cake” I will have to tackle it differently. I don’t think I missed too much tossing this tea a bit prematurely though.
Including link for my own record-keeping, so I don’t reorder the tea next time I make a Taobao sample order.
Pulled a small sample of this out of the Puerh TTB when it was here. This tea is awesome. I can see how some people would not be a fan, but I certainly enjoyed it. The dry leaf had a bit of a sour raisin smell with a bit of a floral lean to the aroma. After a rinse, I smelled just a lick of smoke along with spiced fruit bread.
This tea is BITTER, but hot damn is is a good bitter. Probably one of the most bitter teas I’ve tasted – it was a strong and “clean” bitterness – I didn’t find it astringent or unpleasant. A little surprising at first, sure, but fantastic once I was expecting it. I’d describe it as an herbal or mineral, or perhaps medicinal bitterness. Maybe reminiscent of quinine really. Of course the bitterness wasn’t all this tea had going for it either. After that sharp tang of the bitterness left the mouth, the tea had a rather sweet fruity finish, eventually tasting a bit like peach, but more the rind than the fruit. If I increased the steep times too quickly, it got a bit of an off flavor, but doing flash steeps for most of the session lets this tea go a good 15 steeps or so, which is pretty awesome. The bitter note that I really liked was basically omnipresent in this tea – only started to fade as the tea itself was on its last legs.
This is a great tea for those who like bitter flavors – if you don’t like bitterness, this one would probably be awful to you.
Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Peach
I didn’t get to taste the 2015 Bosch before it sold out, as it sold out right as I was getting into puerh. Of course, that fact along with the rave reviews this tea gets meant I had to add a sample to my 2016 W2T order. The dry leaf had a pleasant aroma – grassy, with a heady floral note. After a rinse it was more vegetal and powerful smelling.
This one is pretty intense from the get-go. Not intensely bitter or intensely sweet, just…intense. The flavor is sweet and vegetal, with an almost woody or root-like herbal quality. I found it hard to describe. It was an aromatic or wet woodiness, but a kind of gently sweet woodiness. I found the taste of Bosch to be very deep, encouraging small sips. Within three steeps, this tea starts to give me a bit of a slackjaw feeling.
After three or four steeps, the tea gets a slight bitter edge to it – not an astringent bitterness. It has almost resinous qualities to it as well, though this could have just come from the combination of the trademark W2T thickness and the woody-ish flavor described above. This goes on for a further three steeps or so, before the bitterness starts to drop off and the sweetness intensifies.
The next eight steeps were dominated mostly by sweeter flavor notes. I got nice apricot in the finish, along with some pine notes and occasional brown sugar. The tea was still nice and thick. I started to feel a bit clumsy with a bit of a pounding in the front of my head. This is certainly a powerful one. After this, I got maybe three or four more steeps out of it before they got so long as to be impractical in a gaiwan. Those were all a bit lighter but still pleasantly sweet with apricot notes. I think this might actually be the most apricot I’ve tasted in a sheng before. It’s not a really bright and “high” apricot flavor, but a deeper one, like a really ripe fruit perhaps.
Since this is one of the more expensive puerhs I’ve tasted yet, I decided to take the spent leaf and throw it in a thermos with boiled water for a few hours. The result may be one of my favorite parts of this tea. It tasted like I was drinking apricot syrup. Just super thick, with sweet apricot and notes of honey to it. So good.
This is the first of the really high-end White2Tea productions I’ve tasted. I think it might still be a little bit beyond me to be honest. Despite that, it was a really enjoyable tea, though I don’t think it’s one I’m going to buy more of. Maybe 2017 or 2018 Bosch :P Also, I have some spent leaf sitting in Vodka right now, so we’ll see how that goes.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Floral, Fruity, Resin, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal, Wood
I picked up a sample of this with my Bitterleaf order, despite the fact their flavor description didn’t really appeal to me, because it was affordable, especially for tea that is over ten years old. When I opened the bag and smelled only smoke, I was pretty sure this tea wasn’t going to be for me. Of course, I could be wrong so I still tried it!
Unfortunately, this one isn’t really my kind of sheng. It’s a smoke-bomb early on, and even when the really woody campfire smoke notes dissipate, there’s still a funky tobacco note dominating the tea. I didn’t find it particularly sweet or bitter.
There are some who really appreciate this flavor profile, but I am not one of them.
Flavors: Smoke, Tobacco, Wood
This is the first tea I went for out of my Tea Urchin group buy. Thanks to Tea Urchin for including this one! :)
This tea is one of my first really high quality oolongs, and…I might be in trouble. It was really good. The dry leaf had a sweet floral (orchid?) aroma. After a rinse, it also smelled slightly fruity and roasty as well.
The first steep had a light orchid flavor on the front of the sip, with a rich and long lasting mineral sweet aftertaste. After that steep, the flavors flip-flopped a bit, with a nice mineral sweetness to start the sip, followed by an explosive aftertaste which was slightly floral for one steep before moving firmly into a fruity category. At first I thought it was something really tropical, like mango or pineapple, but I think that was just my reaction to how juicy it tasted. After a few steeps’ worth of experiencing it, I decided it was pretty clearly a peach aftertaste. It carried on this way for around seven steeps, also accompanied by a slight drying quality. It was not unpleasant, and I believe it may have even benefited this tea. Here’s how: the sip starts off with a sweet mineral flavor, which is followed by a drying sensation which cleanses the palate to make way for the explosive fruity aftertaste, allowing it to shine through on its own, especially since they’re both sweet flavors.
After these first eight steeps, I finally started increasing the steep times from flash steeps – just a little bit at first. These next three steeps were on the lighter side, with the mineral sweet front of the sip taking over a bit more over the faded peachy aftertaste.
The tea went a further five or six steeps, all of faster increasing times now. In these final steeps, the aftertaste passed once again into a more floral realm. They were a bit lighter and airier all around, but still stayed with me for quite a while.
This was a pretty incredible tea. I’m glad I used the whole 7.5g for the session, though it worries me that I could develop a pricey oolong habit if I decide to pursue this kind of tea more. This one also had a very relaxing qi to it – I certainly felt good and teadrunk pretty early on in the session. The explosive, juicy, and long-term lingering qualities of the aftertaste really made this a special tea. I think it was quite balanced in terms of sweet and dry.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Peach, Sweet
This tea’s a little difficult for me to review – I have very little experience with Oriental Beauty oolongs, which this tea is supposed to be similar to. The dry leaf smells malty with just a hint of raisin to it. After a rinse I smell mostly malt with a bit of cocoa. The leaf looks very interesting – rolled up kind of like a Taiwanese Oolong.
The first steep is mostly some malty sweetness with just a touch of pleasant bitterness. Doesn’t really tell you a whole lot about where the tea is going after, but a pleasant enough cup.
After that, the tea moves into the flavor profile which it has for most of the session, dominated by a sweet milk chocolate note. It’s sweeter than a dark chocolate and there’s really not a lot of bitterness to it. It also has a bit of a milky texture – somewhere between skim and whole milk. I know it’s super pretentious sounding to say that a tea has the texture of 1% milk, but that’s pretty much what I’m saying here. This goes steadily for around six steeps. Other flavors try to poke their heads through at times, but are unable to assert themselves for more than a single steep – some floral or honey notes, just a little bit of dark fruitiness, like raisins or dark grapes. I almost feel like I might be imagining them trying to pick out different flavors.
It finishes off with two or three more steeps that are pretty light and a little bit drying. More malt than chocolate in the sweetness by this point.
I would put this one more in the category of a black tea than an oolong. If it is technically an oolong, it’s oxidized almost to the point of being a black tea anyways. The flavors were pretty enjoyable, but I was underwhelmed by how quickly it vanished from my mouth. With a lot of quality teas, I enjoy how long the flavor lingers – this one is pretty blunt, you taste it while it’s in your mouth, then it’s gone. Might linger a few seconds but that’s it. I don’t know why this is the case – I think it’s decent leaf, but perhaps because it’s a summer harvest? Not sure.
This one was good, and could be nice for fans of chocolatey black teas who want to taste one specifically from Jingmai, but I don’t know that I’d recommend it to somebody wanting something like a typical Oriental Beauty style oolong.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Milk, Sweet