133 Tasting Notes

91

Thank you Stacy at Butiki Teas for this wonderful sample!

Where do I start here? There are so many thoughts concerning this tea and it’s uniqueness. Let me state as we see with this tea, like many other things, it’s possible for other cultural groups to adapt and adjust it to their own region.

Wikipedia voices the following http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pu-erh_tea:

Please note, I consolidated the main parts from this article to illustrate the theme of processing provinces.

“Pu’erh tea is a variety of post-fermented tea, specifically Dark tea, produced in Yunnan province, China… There are a few different provinces, each with a few regions, producing dark teas of different varieties… Those produced in Yunnan are generally named Pu’er, referring to the name of Pu’er county which used to be a trading post for dark tea during imperial China. While Yunnan produces the majority of pu’er, other regions of China, including Hunan and Guangdong, have also produced the tea… In addition to China, border regions touching Yunnan in Vietnam, Laos, and Burma are also known to produce pu’er tea, though little of this makes its way to the Chinese or international markets.”

As one can see, this tea doesn’t necessarily follow these normal sources for production and in my opinion, makes this tea even more intriguing!

Using the full portion of the sample in my gaiwan with boiling water, allowing for 7 seconds steeps, I found a sweet fermented sourness to the sip. Yeah, I thought that too – sounds weird, tastes GREAT! You can smell and taste a soy likeness with sauteed onions and roasted corn. Definitely reminds me of some teriyaki dishes that I’ve had from time to time, of which this makes the tea a very nice mid-afternoon or early evening. I could see this being a “dinner tea” in contrast to a “desert tea”. The difference is you could bypass a meal and easily substitute this tea for a soup of some kind.

After the 2nd or 3rd infusion (sorry, lost track), I started letting the leaves steep a tad longer – somewhere around 30 secs. This brought out a bitterness and taste that resembles acorns (yes, as a child I was curious:), then turned to a good astringency. With the longer steeping, it is certainly a full bodied tea, with a lingering tangerine/grapefruit citrusy.

Overall, I must say I’m pleasantly pleased with this tea. Very nice! Thanks again, Stacy for this wonderful addition to your offerings.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Sil

thanks for the great review! Looking forward to trying this in the future

steelhead

Nice review!! I have been interested in this “puerh”, and I look forward to giving it a try.

Butiki Teas

Ah yes, acorns. I think that might be more accurate than the chestnuts I have written in my notes. Glad you enjoyed it.

mrmopar

great pu-erh review!!

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93

What a wonderful and delightful tea from Butiki Teas!

I was quite surprised by the recommended water temperature for this one, as it appears to be a much greener oolong for that temp range(normally speaking). One thing I have learned and never hurts to try, is the company’s steeping instructions. The instructions did not guide me astray. They were perfect!

The tea’s leaves are medium darkness, but certainly leans more to green than roasted. Once you add the water and give the leaves its first rinse, you really see the nice spinach color come to surface.

The taste is sensational, with its floral, creamy and very light, but thick fullness. There is a cleanness, almost mintiness to the tongue. Has a lot of similarities to a First Flush Spring Green Tea, yet with a butteriness. Very satisfying and comforting, especially to the tummy. I really need this tea right now, so I’m glad to have this one on hand to keep me relaxed. Last week was a very long one. Monday’s are usually the days that we feel the impact of the preceding week. Glad for this cup.

One last thing, I’ve been working on these same leaves all day and they show no signs of depleting its great quality liquor. I will definitely have to come back to this one again later on in the week. It has a great character and shows great promise to becoming a favorite. Thanks again, Stacy at Butiki Teas for your excellent service and outstanding products!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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87

For the full review and pictures, see: www.southern-sips.blogspot.com

There was plenty for me to learn concerning this tea, most importantly of it potency. This was my first Xiaguan tea, and I guess they are known for their strength. No words could describe or indicate the pungency and bitterness from this tea. I prepared it with the same amount of leaves as my other puerhs and oolongs – enough to cover most of the bottom of the gaiwan. This I found out was not such a great idea! My mouth was insulted with its bitterness and my stomach began to speak to me as well, because of this dreadful brew. After trying several infusions, there was no found “mellowed/sweet tea”, again promised by the retailer. This almost discouraged me altogether pursuing this tea at this time, maybe more time is needed to allow this sheng to age.

I must say that the owner of the online shop, was most helpful and willing to guide me to this tea’s sweetness and mellowed taste. It only took me a couple more settings with this tea to finally get what was desired. The trick all came down to lessening the amount of tea used. It really only took about 1/4 the leaves of what I normally use and shortening my steep to 5 seconds instead of 15, to bring out the best from this Tibetan brick. There really is a sweetness and very nice savoriness to this tea, once all the right conditions are met. I’m glad that I now do not have to wait a few more years to try this one again – it will certainly not last that long now!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I’m drinking a Xiguan as I’m reading this and loving it. Why do I always smell the gum that came with baseball cards with most Sheng? Weird

Thomas Edward(Toad)

I have one similar to this,Very Nice :)

TeaBrat

Did you try it with yak butter? :)

Thomas Edward(Toad)

Goat milk butter ;)

K S

I am impressed you sought out what you were doing wrong rather than just saying this is nasty and moving on.

Pureleaf

Amy oh & Tommy the Toad – You guys need to share the info behind this yak vs goat milk! What am I missing here? lol

KS – that’s the only way. Some teas demand more attempts and time to master developing the best taste from its leaves.

Charles Thomas Draper – that’s a great observation! I think you may be right and I have know idea. Now you got me anxious to taste some more and search for this taste. :)

Pureleaf

I have no idea why I typed “know” instead of “no”. lol

Thomas Edward(Toad)

lol, I make Butter tea with this type of tea sometimes, I was just replying to Amy Oh that I use Goat Milk Butter cuz We don’t have any Yaks on our “farm” lol I think I got a post about Butter Tea here on Steepster somewhere. :)

mrmopar

like ks said great job on further exploration till you found the comfort zone. tommy gave me a butter tea recipie that i can’t wait to try!

ashmanra

In Tibet, they add salt and yak butter to their puerh! I understand the salt helps replace minerals lost sweating as they climb about the Himalayas, and the butter provides much needed calories and fat to keep warm in the brutal environment.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

Yep, In Tibet they have to do it that way, thats exactly what I read about on the internet, thats how I ended up stumbling upon Butter Tea recipe lol I’m sure ours tastes way different from real Tibetan tea but I try :) I guess I could have explained what it was was, Thanks Ashmanra! Sorry Pureleaf didn’t mean to jack your thread ;)

Bonnie

I have a butter recipe and tried it before and like it very much. Nice on a wintry day with snow outside. Comforting like a broth. I was talking to a friend in California, an older woman almost 70 who went to Mongolia this year and drank a bowl of yak butter tea. She was offered another bowl but said the bowls were so big, she couldn’t drink two. I think she had guts! She spends all her time helping the poor, visiting the sick, doing without frills in her own life for the good of others.

meliorate

This sounds fascinating… Inspires me to try butter tea myself!

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91

Extra leaves, hotter water temp and shorter steep time takes this one to a different taste range! There is a citrusy pungency that shocks the senses, then heightens the taste buds for the next transition of taste – pumpkin! Imagine that, what a brilliant concept – Pumpkin Creme Brulee to taste pumpkin-y.

As stated in my first taste log, this is a very nice tea with nice quality to its leaves and liquid. Really nice way to start off the November as we now see that 2013 is almost here. On that thought, I need some more tea! Way too much to do at the moment. Good times.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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96

Rating going up!

After a few more times of actually trying this tea at several steep times, using more leaves and varying water temps – this is a great tea! This tea taste even more wonderful as it cools. There is tons of unique fruity flavors that come out from the liquid, that range from appley to peachy to apricots. Very interesting and delightfully delicious!

See my previous tasting notes for an expanded review.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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89
drank GenmaiMatcha by Zen Tea
133 tasting notes

Thank you Zen Tea for this very nice sample! It is much appreciated.

This tea combo of Genmaicha and Matcha is a very nice treat,when looking for something more than the traditional green or oolong tea. There are faint toasty notes from the puffed rice (which would satisfy the longing for an oolong:), however there is much more complexity than most teas in this class.

There is a fresher, more fuller taste to the tea than other Sencha grades that are usually coupled in the Genmaicha. Zen Tea’s claim of “made from only Ichibancha (tea from the first harvest of the year)”, seems to hold up to its claim. The brew tastes more like a smoothie of some sort, which may be attributed to the addition of the matcha. Whatever may be the case here, it is really good and stands alone in the Genmaicha category.

You can really taste the green tea, yet with a creaminess and very smooth, non-bitter sip. The quality of the leaves are not disguised behind an extra dose of roasted puffed rice, intended to hide it’s shortcoming. I like the fact that you can evaluate the tea, well – for its leaves.

This tea may not be for everyone, especially if you do not normally like the taste of greener teas – this is certainly a GREEN tea and that’s what you get. If however, you love perfecting the lower water temp to ensure the sweeter, buttery and creamy characteristics of a green tea – don’t pass this one up! You can really play with this one quite a bit. I actually used about twice as much as normal in my gaiwan and shorten the steep time and found great success. Very tasty!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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90

Revisiting this one after quite some time. For some reason, I have developed a strong liking to Ginseng Oolong. Maybe, it’s because my taste are still developing. It’s possible, this development is due to try several different ones. Nonetheless, this tea is excellent and my previous rating must be adjusted. With the quality that I find from multiple infusions, the rating is now raised!

It’s hard to compete with a yin/yang type of taste during and after the sip. The first texture is brisk, yet a good dryness, almost bitter – that carries an overall ginseng taste. The dryness swells and becomes sweeter, then more minty. It is a very nice lingering tea.

Definitely delicious! I’m glad I tried this one again!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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91

Let me start by saying that I’m not that much of a flavored tea type of drinker. There are few that I’m willing to try, and those are usually peachy or citrusy blends. This one is an exception, mainly because it is very fitting for the transition into the fall season. The other motivating factor in selecting this tea was its appeal to non-tea drinkers that are searching for new “fall flavored” drinks – by this, I mean my wife. She will NOT try any of my other teas, of which is disappointing and frustrating at times. My only shot of persuasion is using other trusted friends to peer-pressure and offer teas that are flavored to drinks that she loves already. Maybe – one day. So far, no luck on this one. She did say that she MIGHT try it. Let’s hope.

Let me now tell you the dry leaves smells very chai spice-like at first, however this changes quickly as they are steeped. It’s as if the natural flavoring and tea leaves come alive and transform into something entirely different. It smells almost identically as to what you taste during the sip. The infusion produces a medium dark red colored brew, that is smooth and brisk with a semi-mellowed body. The crème brûlée flavoring adds an extra creamy thicken texture, of which pushed this one over the top in winning over my taste buds. I actually was a little sad to not have time at the moment to get more than three cups of this down before leaving for work.

Even if I am not successful on convincing my spouse into trying this tea this go around, it certainly got me on board. Another great creation by Stacy at Butiki Teas. Very nice!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
MsWhatsit

I think you’re on the right track. As a former hater of black tea, I have found flavored teas a kind of gateway into the tea world. That background flavor eventually becomes a familiar presence.

Pureleaf

MsWhatsit thanks for the input! I’m certainly going to continue to persuade. There MUST be one, someday that will win her over. Let’s hope! :)

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91

I’m really sad that this box is now done! It’s hard to believe some tea fairies have stolen my tea in the middle of the night and now I’m left longing for more of this wonderful cup! :) Seriously, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t even share this tea, other than a second steeping with the kiddos. I was such a hoarder. It will be missed, at least until I can get some more. One of the best, smoothest Indian teas that I have ever had. IMO – it’s a cupboard keeper or must.

See my first tasting note for further info or description on this tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Guilt, guilt. You need another stash!

tunes&tea

Hey, you DIDN’T even share that one with me…

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93
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
133 tasting notes

Thanks, to my good friend tunes&teas for sharing this with me.

At last, I finally get to try this lovely Laoshan Black tea! The dry leaves are so dark, twisty and shimmery. The smell of the pre-steeped leaves are chocolaty and sweet.

It’s so hard to comprehend the diversity and variety in the black tea family (all teas for that matter), such as – the region that it is picked, altitude of origin, soil conditions, climate, season of harvesting, level of oxidation, method of processing and many other things. You can really have unlimited options to try and experience. I truly enjoy this about our shared passion of the leaf. It’s teas, such as this one, that truly drive the point home and make you aware of the complexity and potential of great tea. Even smelling the dry and wet leaves, knowing all the info concerning the tea and it’s background – none of these things replace the experience of tasting the tea for yourself!

This tea truly delivers all the hype and advertising. Once the leaves are infused and you try it for yourself, you find that it is far greater than what the smell or aroma indicated. Yes, you taste the rich cocoa base, but there is a cinnamon creaminess that is present as well. The brew is full bodied and has a nice texture or feel inside the mouth. Very smooth.

I started with 3 sec steep on the 1st, then 7 sec on 2nd, 12 sec on 3rd, 17 sec on 4th, 23 sec on 5th, 30 sec on 6th, 2 min on 7th. Each of these produced a very tasty cup of tea and there was no found bitterness during each of the infusions. One interesting thing that I noticed, was that after 3 or 4 steepings, the wet leaves had more of a fresh hot pepper smell to them – green Thai peppers or red habaneros. I didn’t not, however notice any of the spiciness in the brew. That would have added an extra little kick!

This is a great tea and is best suited for a time when you are not in a hurry and can allow the tea give all that it is desiring to release. Of course, you can drink it on the go! Just don’t throw the leaves away. The rested leaves while you are gone will be more than ready to pick back up where you left off. Very nice tea indeed!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Kittenna

Laoshan Black can withstand SO many infusions (and I do them western-style, too!) Delicious!

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Profile

Bio

I’m a southern boy that relocated to the Mid-West that has an intense love for high quality loose leaf tea! This is no doubt, a passion I intend to enjoy and pursue for the rest of my life! I love the art of tea, and the expression of it’s culture in each cup.

You can also follow me here:

Blog:

http://southern-sips.blogspot.com/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/southernsips

Typically, I’m a straight tea and loose-leaf type of drinker. Black teas (especially Taiwanese blacks), Greener Oolong and Sheng Pu-erhs are top on my list!

Don’t get me wrong though, I do like me some darker, roasted oolongs, shu puerhs, greens and whites are a must as well!

I guess the only way to get the bigger picture is to start with that I love tea. Almost all traditional teas are welcomed, and I have been know to try a few flavored or blended teas.

Location

Mid-West USA

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