196 Tasting Notes
Got this out of the Puerh TTB. It was pretty good, though not particularly remarkable.
Dry leaf smelled lightly grassy, wet leaf smelled more mushroomy or like forest floor. Slight disclaimer regarding mushroom notes: I’m not particularly fond of mushrooms themselves, and am thus not intimately familiar with their flavor, so when I say something tastes mushroomy, I’m not sure how accurate or whatever that is – it’s a bit of a savory flavor with some similar characteristics to forest floor/wood/moss notes for me.
The first steep tasted lightly grassy with a slight vanilla sweet note. After that, the mushroomy flavor started coming to the front of the sip, at times becoming more vegetal. The vanilla finish lasted for only a couple steeps, later replaced by a slightly citric sweet note that I struggled to place – maybe a bit like pineapple. The texture was decently thick, though I don’t think I’d call it creamy or oily. The flavors balanced out after around 6 or 7 steeps and it became harder for me to pick out individual notes. The flavor began to die out around 9 steeps, though it did yield a few softer and lighter tasting infusions after that. A pretty good tea, but probably not one I’d want to pick up a cake of, though the price is reasonable. I’ll need to try some other stuff from Chawangshop in the future!
Flavors: Dry Grass, Grass, Mushrooms, Pineapple, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal
I liked this tea a lot more than I thought I would! I used 7.5g in my 120mL gaiwan with 200F water. The dry leaves, which looked quite interesting, with different shades and large leaves and stuff in there, smelled slightly of honey and a bit sour. Once rinsed, they gave off an interesting aroma, part sour plum, honey, and a bit of a medicinal aroma.
The tea didn’t break apart quite as readily as I thought it would – took probably 6-7 before it was most of the way broken up. My first three steeps were plummy with those same medicinal notes and a honey finish. I also detected kind of leaf-litter autumnal flavors in there too. The plum note started to fade after these initial steeps, but throughout the session the sour aroma remained kind of in the air whenever I took the lid off the gaiwan. This flavor sort of reminded me of oriental beauty, but this was way better than the oriental beauties I’ve tried.
A couple steeps later, I started pushing the tea a tad bit more, and it got a bit drying with the medicinal flavors taking more of the fore. From about the 7th steep on, the flavors (still honey, medicinal, autumn leaf) seemed to be in constant flux from steep to steep. One steep the honey would be the front, the next the medicinal, etc. It was pretty interesting and fun to drink.
I’d be interested to try more aged white teas. Apparently the next W2T club shipment is going to be a white tea cake, though from this year I believe. Interested to see how that’ll turn out. I would definitely put this on the same level as sheng puerh as far as how enjoyable I found it. At least from this one example.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Fruity, Honey, Medicinal, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Sweet, Thick
This tea’s description confuses the crap out of me. It says it’s Gyokuro, but in the description, it says it’s a “gyokuro-like fukamushicha.” So it’s shaded in some way I guess. This was good, but not as good as the other Gyokuro I have tried recently. Pretty simple with just some grassiness and a bit of spinach. Slightly creamy but not to an impressive degree.
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Spinach, Sweet
Woo! A ripe that I like! This one came out of the LP Mystery Group Buy.
To my tastebuds, this guy was pretty much totally clear of any weird fermentation flavor. The rinsed leaf smelled like wet wood, but not funky. There was also a slight bit of a bready note perhaps. First three steeps I got earthy notes of wood with a slight cherry note as well. I got about 8 steeps from this one. After the initial steeps, the cherry note went away, but it did get a little bit sweeter. The leaves seemed quite small, so I’m not surprised it was rather short-lived. I probably won’t buy any more of this, just because I’d still prefer a good sheng to a good shou. It seems like for me to like a shou, it has to be pretty well cleared of fermentation funk. This is probably the first one I’ve encountered that it.
Flavors: Cherry, Creamy, Earth, Sweet, Wood
This tea is an interesting one. My first real foray into any of W2T’s higher tiers. It took a couple sessions with this one for me to really figure it out at all. After the first session, I was slightly underwhelmed. The flavor seemed a little bit lighter than I expected and it was rather unremarkable. I think I just didn’t pay it enough attention the first time, as the second session was much better. To me, this tea was a bit more about feeling and texture than overt flavor. I think I was more homed in on this fact the second session, which helped me get more out of it.
I didn’t find this tea particularly bitter, as some people have mentioned. There certainly is some bitterness to it, but was rather tame to me. Flavors were vegetal, normally with a slightly fruity finish. In later steeps, it was more like wet hay in the front instead. If I had to characterize the fruity notes more specifically, I would say like dried pineapple, but nowhere near as sweet. In early steeps, I also got an interesting sweetness I would say is reminiscent of baking spices…like I was drinking a snickerdoodle.
As I said above, I think this tea was more about the feeling and texture than the taste. It was thick, but not oily. In some steeps it seemed to be an almost buttery texture. Made my mouth feel tingly and numb for most of the session. In some of the middle steeps, I could also feel it more in my belly – not tingling, but like a warmth (separate from the actual warmth of the liquid) dropping down there. It was a relaxing tea, not making me feel hyper, like some teas do.
This is definitely a tea I had to pay more attention to than I do many of the other teas I drink. I think I’m going to find that the case with most of the higher end sheng that I’m starting to get into trying. This one kind of struck me as Milk, Cream, and Alcohol’s bigger and more complex brother. It is more subtle, but has some of the same attributes going for it. Perhaps unsurprising, as they’re both Menghai material from the same year sourced by the same person.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Fruity, Spices, Straw, Thick, Vegetal
I think I got this one from a reddit swap or sale. I used 5g in a 100mL gaiwan with 200F water. The dry leaf, which was comprised of larger than average little nuggets, had a nice and creamy “green” aroma. Once rinsed, I smelled notes of sugarcane and popcorn.
The first steep was vegetal with a bit of sweetness – it actually reminded me a bit of broccoli. After that, I got about seven steeps of creamy, milky, floral, sometimes sugarcane flavors. The tea had a nice thick texture to it, matching with the milky flavor. It also had a bit of a throaty feeling for a couple of those steeps. Less regularly, I got nectarine aftertaste and an occasional cucumber note. I gave it three more steeps after that, but those ones were pretty flat and dead. This one wasn’t as crisp as some High Mountain oolongs I’ve had, but it was still quite nice.
Flavors: Broccoli, Creamy, Cucumber, Floral, Green, Milk, Peach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thick
This is a sample I took from the puerh TTB. I used 7.8g in a 120mL gaiwan with boiling water. The dry leaf smelled smokey and a little leathery. Once rinsed, I got more smokey and peaty notes with hints of fruit. I also smelled a menthol aroma in there, but this never translated to the flavor of the tea for me.
The first three steeps were smoky and peaty…not in a totally off-putting way, but it wasn’t particularly good. Slightly sweet as well with some fruitiness and leather. Second steep saw a bit of bitterness enter the mix. If I had to pick one word to describe these early steeps, it would be “abrasive.” Just the texture mixed with the flavors was a little bit rough to my senses.
Over the next couple steeps, the smokiness dissipated a bit, becoming a more palatable woody note, still with light fruit notes in the background – plum or prune I’d say. The smoky peaty flavor is still there, but more in the background.
Steeps 6-10 were probably the best of the bunch. The sixth actually got a bit of a nice creamy texture going with some sweet fruitiness, though still retaining a bit of a rough edge. The next three were progressively smoother with sweet wood and fruity notes.
I gave it a couple more steeps at the end. These ones were back to being kind of rough, smoky…not too fabulous. The leaves were pretty chopped up – I don’t know if it was just my sample or the nature of this tea normally, so I’m not surprised it didn’t go any further.
I would guess this is a tea which needs more age on it. Steeps 7-10 seemed like they were a bit of a sneak preview into how this tea might taste in a further aged state. As it is right now, just too smokey and rough for me to enjoy a great deal.
Flavors: Fruity, Leather, Peat, Plums, Smoke, Wood
Best Gyokuro I’ve had yet. I did steeps of 2m at 140F, 10s, 20s at 175F, 25 at 185F, and 30s at 200F. The dry leaf is a beautiful dark green color, and once steeped, become a bright and vibrant green. Gorgeous to look at.
First steep was extremely sweet and umami (is umami an adjective – like should I say the tea was umami, like I would say it’s sweet? Or should I say it has umami?), with beany and grassy flavors and a buttery thickness. Soo good. Feels very deep.
Next steep was buttery, grassy and sweet. I would even describe it as milky in texture and flavor. There was a very slight astringency in the finish of this one now.
Third steep was slightly more astringent, and the grassy taste was a bit more prominent and nasal in quality. There is a bit less depth and thickness to this steep.
Steep number four was a little weaker, with astringency developing into a slight bitterness, complimenting a slight grassy sweet taste remaining as well.
The last steep was just a light grassy sweetness. I probably could have gotten one more alright steep, or this last one could have been better if I’d done it for a minute or so instead of 30s. The steeped out leaves also taste pretty good, with a bit of bitterness followed by grassy sweet-ish taste.
Flavors: Beany, Butter, Creamy, Grass, Milk, Sweet, Umami
I ordered this one as part of a small order that I’m using to try out some of Puerhshop.com’s productions. This one is quite affordable, because it is huangpian leaf. I’m not sure whether I like huangpian yet – I believe the only ones I’ve had so far are 2016 Fade from W2T and now this one.
The Dry leaf and the rinsed leaf have a slight sour aroma to me. From the brewed liquid, I get some sourness with fruity notes – maybe slightly citric. The first couple steeps were pretty watery, but after that the texture did pick up a little bit in the next few steeps. I started to also get a bit of a hay note, still with a sour-ish finish. A couple steeps later, the hay flavor turned into more of a corn note, though not too sweet or anything.
This one wasn’t as sour as Fade was, but then again it’s five years older. I will have to try a couple more huangpian puerhs, but so far, I don’t think I’m particularly fond of them. Maybe the sourness ages out after long enough? I don’t know. This was drinkable, but not spectacular.
Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Sour
I drank this one during a teafriends google hangout today :) I decided to give it a try after some recent discussions about Lincang Gut Bombs – apparently this region doesn’t agree with some people! I haven’t had any stomach problems from sheng so far, so I saw this as a challenge almost. Happy to report I had no digestional distress as a result of this session.
Having never brewed a sheng teaball before, I referred to the nice instructions that Crimson Lotus Tea has for their Planet Jingmai ball. After getting it to open up, I got about a dozen steeps from this ball.
First 3-4 steeps were sweet and creamy, with an interesting finish that I found hard to place – maybe piney, but not smokey. After that, the astringency started to pick up a little bit, but it was not overwhelming in any way. There was still a good underlying sweetness as well. Not as much of the “maybe pine” flavor anymore. The last 5-6 steeps were smooth and drinkable, still slightly astringent, with slight honey sweetness and some whispers of apricot.
The leaves of this tea were beautiful, as I have rather come to expect from White 2 Tea’s productions. It was cool seeing these big and nice leaves coming from the previously tightly compressed little ball. I’m glad to see that my gut doesn’t disagree with Lincang material as well! Sorry to those who do have that problem!
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Creamy, Honey, Pine, Sweet