115 Tasting Notes

88

Leaf Quality:
The long, dark leaves were quite fragrant. They smelled slightly smokey, floral, and fruity. The brewed leaves smelled fruity and sweet. The smokiness wasn’t present as in the dry leaves.

Brewed Tea:
The Oolong was a reddish-brown color. The tea smelled buttery, floral, and fruity. The first sip tasted like honey. Then I began to taste the buttery sweetness from the aroma, as well as the fruity and floral notes.
Second Steeping
The second brew was again buttery-sweet. There was a long-lasting floral aftertaste between sips. The fruity notes changed a bit from the first steeping, but were still present.
Third Steeping
This brew was a golden color. It was also the fruitiest tasting. The aftertaste was more like honey than it was floral. The tea was very smooth, and crystal clear as well.

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79

The tea was packaged in a small bag, which was encased in an ornate silk bag.

Leaf Quality:
The leaves of this Oolong were lightly compressed into a small square brick. I was able to remove every leaf whole by gently wiggling the brick. The leaves were dark green and black, with some white tips showing. The brewed tea smelled very fruity. It reminded me of plum, blueberries, and perhaps a citrus.

Brewed Tea:
The brewed tea smelled fruity and floral. The brew’s color was a light golden-brown. The tea’s flavor was very delicate. It was sweet, floral, and fruity. The aftertaste was long-lasting between sips, and tasted of honey.
Second Steeping
This brew tasted more fruit-like, both during sips and in the aftertaste. A hint of smokiness was also present.

This was a very light and fruity Oolong.

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77

This is my first review of the year 2013. This is a dark tea, but it’s not a pu-erh. It will be interesting to see how the age has effected this tea.

Leaf Quality:
The leaves were pressed together and were easily separated from each other. Most of the leaves were dark brown, however some looked a dirty green. The tea smelled slightly sweet, and had the earthiness of a ripened pu-erh. The brewed leaves smelled leathery and earthy. They expanded, showing some leaves were quite long and others shorter.

Brewed Tea:
I “rinsed” the tea once, but decided to keep that water in a separate cup. The rinsed brew was a light golden-red color; the first brew was a deep red. The tea was very aromatic. It was mossy, woody, sweet, and fruity. After each sip came a slight earthy aftertaste.
Second Steeping
This steeping was smooth and sweet. The earthy aftertaste was still present, and the moss and wood notes held strong. The brew was very clear, which was unexpected given the storage conditions of the tuo cha.
Third Steeping
In this steeping, the tea had mellowed down a bit. I noticed a more floral aftertaste, and a fruit-like quality different from the previous brews. It wasn’t as smooth as the second steeping, but it retained all the mossy and woody notes as before.
Fourth Steeping
The color of this brew was gold. The earthiness was prevalent, with woody and mossy notes following. The tea was again silky smooth and floral. I liked this steeping the best.

Tabby

Good lord, a tea this old must have been expensive! I mean, my parents were still in high school when that was picked. o_o

Scharp

When I saw the year, I knew I needed to try this. I was going to buy the more expensive full tuo cha, however they recommended trying a sample first. So I just tried the sample, which isn’t nearly as expensive as the full thing thank goodness.

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92

This, on 31-Dec-12, is my last tea review of the year 2012.

Leaf Quality:
I opened the sample bag to find a generous sample of this Fu Zhuan. Immediately, I could see that there were “Jin Hua” or “Golden Flowers” covering the surface of the sample. As I carefully separated the layers, I found the Golden Flowers to be everywhere, inside and outside. Most of the brick was comprised of leaves, however there were a few stems. The dark leaves smelled sweet. After brewing, the leaves smelled like baking flour but remained sweet and floral.

Brewed Tea:
The brew was a light golden brown. Some of the Golden Flowers managed to float on top. The tea smelled sweet, a bit musty, and floral. It tasted sweet, floral, and had a lingering aftertaste of sweet mushroom. This tea proved to be very delicate.
Second Steeping
This brew was sweet and floral. In the second sip, I noticed a bit of “zing” similar to the sensation of tasting a lemon peel. This same “zing” quality I noticed in another tea that had the “Golden Flowers”. I could also taste the baking flour note more in the finish. There was a slight aftertaste of sweet mushroom. The aftertaste actually reminded me of a ripened pu-erh.
Third Steeping
This brew was very floral. The sweetness remained the same from the second brew, and balanced out the almost grassy aftertaste. There was also a spiciness to this brew, almost like cinnamon. Each sip brought on new flavors.

What a great tea to end the year with. The aftertaste changed with each brew, and new flavors were unlocked with each sip.

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75

Thank you Vicony Teas for the free sample!

Leaf Quality:
The dried leaves were dark black with some bits of gold showing on some of the tips. They were very thin and smaller than other black teas. Their scent was of malt and perhaps like cinnamon. The brewed leaves smelled floral, malty, chocolaty, and savory.

Brewed Tea:
The brewed tea was amber brown. It tasted floral and malty with a chocolate finish. The flavor was very light and delicate. Each sip had a very long lasting aftertaste.
Second Steeping
This brew brought on notes of grapes and wine. This steeping was also floral and fruity.

What a delicate Hong Cha. This tea would go great at any time of day.

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85

Leaf Quality:
The dark, fragrant tea leaves of this Oolong were tightly compacted into a miniature cake. Before brewing, they smelled fruity and floral. Once brewed, the leaves smelled more chocolaty and sweetly smokey.

Brewed Tea:
I brewed each cup for several seconds with great results.
The brewed tea had an amber-red color. Its aroma was similar to the dried leaves, only a bit milder. It tasted sweet, fruity, smokey, and floral.
Second Steeping
The second brew was also smokey and sweet. This tea had all the attributes of a Wuyi Oolong.
Third Steeping
I really liked this steeping. It was wonderful with fruit notes and sweetness with a chocolate-like finish.

I’ll save the other cake for aging to see how it changes in a couple of years.

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84

I saw this on the ChaWang Shop website and thought it looked very interesting.

Leaf Quality:
The dry tea leaves were large and felt rather dusty. The appearance looked similar to tree bark or brush on the base of a forest in autumn. The leaves smelled sweetly musty, and with good reason. There were tiny, yellow fungi growing on the leaves called “Jin Hua” or “Golden Flowers”. A bit of earthiness was also present in the aroma. The brewed leaves turned a darker brown from the original grey hue they were. They smelled like earthy, musty honey, and had the texture of dry paper. Only some of the “Golden Flowers” remained visible, as most seemed to have disappeared into the brew.

Brewed Tea:
I “rinsed” the tea once, and then brewed it several times. The resulting brew was a pale golden color. The brew smelled mossy, earthy, and musty. The taste was somewhat similar. The first flavor I noticed was the mustiness that had been present in the dry leaves; the second flavor was rather sweet and earthy. Each sip was completed with a mushroom-like finish. The first brew was very interesting, and rather enjoyable. There was a very sweet aftertaste from this cup.
Second Steeping
This steeping tasted musty and earthy, but also had a bit of “zing” that the first brew didn’t. Each sip rested like lemon peel on the tip of my tongue before I could notice the other flavors. This was a very sweet tea. The mushroom-like flavor and earthiness increased .
Third Steeping
This brew tasted much like the second. It was sweet, musty, earthy, mossy, and zingy.

This was quite an interesting tea. I didn’t expect it to be as musty as it was, but that quality did not detract from the experience. I actually liked its presence among the other flavors.

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94

Thank you Chawangshop for this free sample!

Leaf Quality:
The tea was entirely comprised of golden, furry buds. Immediately upon opening the sample portion, I noticed a chocolaty aroma. The brewed leaves smelled sweet, malty, and chocolaty as well.

Brewed Tea:
The golden leaves created a golden-brown brew. The liquor didn’t have the usual reddish hue of black tea at all. The tea smelled just as the brewed leaves did: malty, sweet and chocolaty. There was a tiny floral hint to it as well. It tasted light, floral, and sweet with a chocolate finish. The malty notes were only present in the aroma.
Second Steeping
The second brew was more mellow than the first, and sweeter. The chocolate and floral notes were again present. This tea was not in the least astringent. With each sip, I started to notice the flavor of honey.

This was a great tea. It’s definitely not a breakfast tea, but can be enjoyed any time of the day.

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84

Thank you Vicony Teas for this free sample!

Leaf Quality:
The sample was comprised completely of tea buds attached to another leaf or two. The flat, green leaves were very fragrant and delicate. The brewed leaves smelled sweet, vegetal, and fruity. Their color didn’t change much even after the second brewing.

Brewed Tea:
The leaves created a very light, pale yellow brew. It tasted sweet, delicate, and perhaps a bit nutty in the finish. The first brew beat other dragon well teas I’ve tried by far.
Second Steeping
The second brew was sweet as well. The nutty finish transformed into a more fruity one. I noticed a tiny vegetal flavor underneath the more floral notes.
Third Steeping
The flavor had not changed much since the second steeping. In fact, the only difference was that it was slightly mellower.

This was a really good Longjing tea. I haven’t had a great one in a while.

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82

Thank you Yunnan Sourcing for this free sample!

Leaf Quality:
The smokey leaves were tightly compacted and were a bit dark, showing some degree of oxidation. The rinsed leaves were smokey, slightly earthy and reminiscent of tree bark and moss. The brewed leaves smelled very smokey and mossy as well.

Brewed Tea:
The first steeping proved to be rather strong given the short steep time. I halved it for the second brewing. Nice smokey notes as well as sweet moss and tree bark were prevalent. The light amber liquor had quite some character to it.
Second Steeping
Though the brew time was halved, I still noticed a little astringency or bitterness at the end of each sip. This wasn’t a negative quality, as I actually enjoyed the way that it blended with the other flavors. Each sip was slightly sweet, but this quality was easily overlooked by the smokiness and mossy notes.
Third Steeping
With this cup, I noticed floral notes. However, the smokiness remained the dominant flavor. Sweet, floral, and smoky were an interesting combination to drink. The bitterness was lighter than the first two brews.
Fourth Steeping
In this brew, I noticed a flavor like that of a fungus or mushrooms. This complimented the mossy and woody notes from the earlier brews. The smokiness was still present, and the floral notes grew stronger with the sweetness. This was my favorite steeping.

I really appreciate a nice Sheng pu-erh every once in a while. Again, Thank you for the free sample.

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Bio

Jared Sharp
I love drinking and reviewing tea. Green, Oolong, Black, White, Yellow, Dark, Pu-erh… It’s all great. In particular, my favorites are Taiping Hou Kui, and Aged Teas.

I’m currently in California, and started my interest in tea at a very young age. Ever since, I’ve looked for exotic, rare, and even newly-developed teas to try.

It doesn’t end there: I’ll try just about any tea new to me that crosses my path.

I typically brew tea in a traditional manner (different teas require different steeping times and water temperatures, ect…). Whichever directions are on the packaging or website, I tend to follow as well.

I’m also building a private collection of Pu-Erh teas and teas good for Aging. Hopefully, they’ll turn out nice.

Companies: If you are looking for a reviewer for tea, I would be happy to sample any of the teas you offer.

Message me for Sample swapping.

Location

California

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