220 Tasting Notes
After a 15 second rinse, the tea leaves smell sweet and floral, a bit like chamomile, and with a bit of a fruit note. I’m already sensing some similarities in aroma with WYMM Tea’s Mangnuo Cane Tea, which is truly a prized tea to me.
I am drinking the initial rinse infusion of this tea, because after testing it, it tastes great. It is light and honey-like with a floral nectar kind of character to it. The liquor is a beautiful golden yellow and smells like honey too. There’s no bitterness present and the flavor is light and refreshing, leaving a slight cooling sensation on the tongue.
The second infusion has a bit stronger floral taste and isn’t quite as sweet. Again, I’m reminded of chamomile somewhat, though of course it’s also got the complexity and variety of “green” flavors that is unique to sheng Puer. Still, it tastes quite like I’m drinking a flower tisane.
By the third infusion I realized how clean this tea tastes and how clean it feels in the mouth. It isn’t really strong in flavor. It has just a bit of lingering bitterness at this point, but it’s a clean and enjoyable bitterness. The flavor overall is mild and sweet at first, then gives way to the bitter finish, which is to be expected from a young Puer. The next infusion is a bit sweeter, and despite the accompanying bitterness, there’s a lingering sweetness. Further infusions maintain a balance between a subtle floral honey-like sweetness and a lingering clean bitterness. A lingering sweetness follows much longer after the bitterness subsides. This Puer seems like one that would be really sweet and light after aging. I like how smooth it is, especially in the first few infusions. This one definitely has my attention. I think it has great aging potential!
Flavors: Floral, Green, Honey
I’m always happy when I get samples from WYMM Tea. Their teas have a really unique and pure quality to them. I feel an impression of closeness to the source.
The leaves in a warm gaiwan smell like dried fruit with a little hint of fennel. After a 20 second rinse infusion, they smell much more like dark dried fruits, fig or plum, and a hint of perfume. I’m reminded of high quality artisan incense from Japan crafted with rare resins (like those you might find from the 300 year old Shoyeido company).
With raw Puer, I often taste the rinse infusion to see how it is and if it’s good, I’ll drink it. With higher quality ones, I find that the rinse tastes just great. This one is no exception. The rinse infusion tastes like dried fruit, similar to golden raisins. It has a really juicy, wet mouthfeel, no drying astringency or bitterness at all.
By the second infusion, the flavor is more robust and the texture more juicy and mouth-filling. The taste is still of dried fruit. This is a really gentle and easy tea to drink, despite its depth of flavor.
The third infusion seems to exhibit a hint of bitterness, though it’s subtle. The flavor is less intense overall, so I will let it infuse a bit longer on the next.
On the fourth infusion I’ve let it steep a bit longer, and while the flavor is more full, overall it is less sweet and fruity than the first two infusions. It has a hint of bitterness that lingers, but it’s still really subtle.
The fifth infusion is a bit more fruity sweet but still with some lingering bitterness, a bit stronger now. I could see these flavors registering as “apricot” and “smoky” to many Puer drinkers. I see these descriptors used a lot for raw Puer. Sixth infusion is similar. The seventh is even a little more bitter and the taste has a bit of a tropical fruit note to it. From here forward the flavor tends to wane and if you try to push more out of it, it gets somewhat bitter.
Overall, this tea tasted best early on. I enjoyed the first few steepings so much. After that its flavors diminished a bit, but it was still enjoyable.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Perfume
So this is my first experience with drinking loose yerba mate in the traditional style with a mate gourd. I ordered one and a bombilla finally and seasoned the gourd with this tea. I figured I’d like this kind more than regular mate because it is unsmoked and has a more green flavor than most mate.
The flavor is really intense with a gourd full of leaves and a narrow canal down the edge filled with water. The flavor is really foresty and green. There are hints of evergreens trees. When this yerba really reaches its pinnacle and is brewed its strongest, it has an incredibly savory umami flavor like a vegetable broth, and it’s also a little salty. It has some natural bitterness too that is not very present if you brew this more like a regular tea with a small amount in a cup rather than in the traditional “gourd full o yerba” method.
The intense savoryness of this tea really reminds me of gyokuro prepared in the traditional method. I imagine gyokuro lovers would enjoy this. I have to admit, I’m not used to that intense savory flavor and I cringe a little when I drink it (same with gyokuro), but I’m also kind of intrigued by it and drawn to it, and continue to drink it… so I have a strange relationship with it… not something I’d really go for often, but something that works in the right mood.
I really want to try roasting some of this in a pan and drink it that way… kind of like home-made houjicha but with yerba mate. That would be fun.
Flavors: Green, Pine, Rainforest, Umami
Okay, it’s time for me to stop being in dragon mode (hoarding it all to myself) and review this. I didn’t want to hype it too much b/c I hadn’t had the funds to order my fill yet, but I just placed an order for the rest that I foresee myself purchasing, so here goes.
Oh boy! This tea has interesting written all over it. I was first drawn to the packaging, as I love the stag artwork on the wrapping. After reading the description from PuerhShop and the other review here on Steepster I knew I should give it a try, so I ordered a sample.
The first sniffs of the dry leaves in a warm gaiwan are wonderful. It has a really soft fragrance with the scent of flowers and fruits. I’m getting hints of magnolia, and maybe some cherry, plum, or nectarine. Definitely a stone fruit scent.
The scent of the wet leaves is more complex and hard to describe. It’s predominantly nutty and vegetal, but with a nice fruity tanginess in the background. It reminds me of really high quality green teas from china. Maybe a Bi Luo Chun. There is also a subtle floral aroma if you inhale deeply. This is lovely.
I gave the rinse a little taste. Even just sipping that there is a lingering floral taste in my mouth. Wow. I’m not going to describe the other flavors of it. I’ll do the first infusion first.
Something about the scent of the brewed tea makes me incredibly nostalgic. It smells very perfumed and flowery. the taste is more vegetal, buttery, and nutty, with green bean notes, but the lingering floral taste and aroma is what sets this Puer apart from others of its kind for me. I can definitely agree with the other reviewer here who said it reminds them of oolong tea. I can tell it is sheng puer from a mile away, but it definitely has a lot in common with oolong in its floral and green notes.
In the second infusion, the tea has become a bit more buttery and nutty. It still has a bright vegetal and floral note, but it is not as powerful as before. It is very prominent on the nose still, however.
The third infusion is a little more sweet and floral. Less of the vegetal, nutty. Still pretty buttery and smooth. I should mention that this tea has zero bitterness and is a really great raw puer. Very warming qi.
If you go with this tea for about 7 to 8 infusions or more, it starts to mellow out substantially, and any hints of young puer bitterness it might have fade away. The predominant flavor is of honey and flowers. The taste and fragrance are something sort of like orange blossom water. It just goes on and on this way for many infusions. It’s so gentle and lovely, I can only imagine how great this tea will be in a couple decades.
I’m buying a handful of cakes of this to age… the first tea I’ve done that with! I have seasoned one of Master Weilong’s one of a kind unglazed interior gongfu teapots with this tea. It smells so nice inside now. This is a tea I’ll be taking with me for the long haul.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green, Stonefruits, Vegetal
These buds sure are pretty, golden, curly, fuzzy and soft. They’re in good shape. In a warm gaiwan, they smell heavily of cocoa, and after the first infusion the buds smell like cocoa still but also like honey and flowers.
The first infusion is surprisingly pale for a Chinese red tea. It’s actually a bold, golden yellow color. Granted, that’s only after 15 seconds, but with the same weight in leaves, red teas are usually at least orange or amber after the first infusion Gongfu style. The tea liquor smells great, like subtle hints of chocolate and honey and pastry crust. I’m reminded of greek pastries like baklava or galaktoboureko, maybe with some chocolate thrown in em for good measure. The taste is exceptionally smooth and delightful. It’s sweet and gentle with flavors of honey and cocoa. Sort of has a “cookies and cream” nuance.
In the second infusion, floral flavors emerge to accompany the others. It’s really buttery. The third infusion offers more of the same flavors, but more rich. It continues in this way in later infusions. This tea is pretty mellow and easy to drink. It has a sweet onset and is overall light, then finishes with a lingering taste of cocoa. I think chocolate lovers will love this tea, and those who like their red/black tea on the light and crisp side.
Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Floral, Honey
These white tea leaves dry in a warm gaiwan smell like a churro. If you don’t know what that is, Google it, and find some in your area, and treat yourself to one ASAP. I am enamored already, and I can’t stop smelling it just to enjoy that scent. The scent of the wet leaves after the first infusion is like fresh cucumbers and champagne with a hint of perfume.
The taste of the first infusion is really delicate and sweet, yet strangely mouth-filling. There’s a bit of a sweet corn taste to it. After the second infusion, the leaves smell quite a bit like lychee fruit to me. The tea tastes like lychee too. It’s really sweet, crisp, and delicate with fruit and floral notes (lychee taste both fruity and floral if you haven’t had the chance to try it before). Another way to describe this tea is that it tastes quite a bit like the aroma of pure frankincense.
The infusion color of this tea is a really pale yellow, really subtle and pretty to look at. I’m really impressed by the intensity of the flavor, and the complexity of it, considering how delicate and easy to drink it is. This one’s definitely going to end up in my next order from What-Cha. I think that in terms of flavor, this tea even rivals my favorite tea, which is another white tea from What-Cha (Kenyan Silver Needle).
Four infusions in, I’m tasting more of a bosc pear or golden apple flavor. After that, the infusions become a bit less sweet and more tangy, though I’m certain I could push many more flavorful infusions out of it. White Peony style teas tend to start getting really fruity again with these short Gongfu infusions after the first 8 or so.
Flavors: Champagne, Lychee, Pastries, Perfume
I’m lacking the energy for a detailed post tonight.
Short version: This tea is smooth, clean, and the flavor is fine. It isn’t bitter or harsh at all. It’s good, certainly priced nicely. It would be a great Wuyi oolong for beginners who are new to Wuyi teas and would like a cheap one to test brewing methods with. It also doesn’t really taste or smell like cinnamon to me. The scent reminds me more of char and cigar tobacco, while the flavor is not far from a cigar either, and neither taste nor smell come off terribly complex to me.
Like a cigar, but healthy. How bout that?
Of Wuyi oolongs I have had, this one gives one of the least pronounced impressions. It’s a typical representation of Wuyi oolongs, great perhaps to someone new to the world of fine loose teas, especially because it is affordable, but to compare this to the finer Wuyi teas I’ve had would be unfair from both ends.
But then, when you sit and analyze a tea, and compare it to others, instead of just enjoying what you have in front of you, well, some would argue that’s missing the purpose of tea, and I’d tend to agree with them.
Though reviewing has its merits, especially for the forgetful, who are otherwise blessed to get the best of their blunders.
Flavors: Char, Tobacco
The dry leaves in a warm gaiwan smell nutty with a hint of cocoa. After the first infusion, the wet leaves smell like flowers and apples, just a touch of cocoa at the end.
The first infusion is really sweet and honey-like. The flavor isn’t really complex. There’s a hint of white grape and maybe orange. It’s subtle and smooth. The second infusion is much more floral tasting than the first, with a hint of the lingering white grape flavor as before. What’s really interesting about this tea is that it doesn’t taste like tea to me… It tastes like water sweetened with honey and infused with fruit. It’s kind of unique in that way. It is very clean and light, quite easy to drink.
I did a few infusions with this, brewing a bit longer each time. Even if I brewed it really long the flavor never became overpowering.. It was always floral, slightly fruity, not bitter at all.
I must admit, this tea has me nonplussed. I’m not sure what to make of it. I have tried a handful of Darjeeling teas now and have never really been wowed, nor have I disliked them. I’m not sure if Darjeeling is for me. There always seems to be a little something missing, as far as complexity goes, and maybe I’m just not that big on grape flavor. I also brew it Gongfu style like a weirdo, though I’ve tried it in the Western fashion, which is the usual method for enjoying Darjeeling, and I didn’t like it as much that way. This tea is good stuff though. It’s light and easy to drink.
What-Cha’s description says it reminds of red wine. I would have to say it reminds me more of a white wine (maybe because I brew it more lightly), something sweet like a Gewurztraminer.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Orange, White Grapes
The leaves of this tea have a great mix of gold tips to darker leaves. Lots of pretty gold tips. The dry scent of the leaves in a warm Gongfu teapot reminds me of chocolate and french fries… which is awesome because I love french fries. Seriously, they’re like my second favorite food after sushi. After the first infusion, the leaves are bursting with aroma! There are hints of black cherry, plum vinegar, chocolate, raisins, apricot, and maybe even a bit of wood and flowers. It’s complex and intense.
The taste of the first infusion is incredible. It starts with an apricot taste and ends with a really interesting dark chocolate bitterness. There’s a little bit of plum too. Reminds me of one of those chocolate oranges you have to whack to break apart, but better. The mouthfeel and taste of this tea are exceptionally clean. It has a really wet, juicy feel, and the bitterness that lingers at the end is really enjoyable. It’s a unique kind of bitterness that I haven’t experienced before… kind of tingles and stimulates the tongue. It’s more a sensation than a flavor. It doesn’t really taste bitter.
After the second infusion, there’s more apricot flavor, and a bit of malt flavor creeping in. As I steep to a third and fourth infusion, the fruit tastes back off and more malty flavors arise, reminding me of the red and black tea flavors I’m used to, but as it cools, there are still hints of the apricot and even a bit of fresh ginger.
Overall, this is a really nice tea. It shows its best features on the first infusion, and after that it’s a smooth ride. Still, I’m incredibly eager to find out what this will taste like in my red/black tea seasoned yixing pot. It has a great tendency to smooth out the flavors, cut out the bitterness and make things more robust and sweet. That’ll be a fun one.
I was absolutely amazed by the first infusion, but later infusions didn’t quite live up to the standard it set for itself. If they had, I’d have rated this tea near perfect. Still worthy of quite a high score!
Flavors: Apricot, Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Plums
Yellow tea is a rare creature. It’s not a common tea type because it doesn’t differ too greatly from green tea in a lot of cases, and it is more labor intensive and expensive to produce. This one is unique among yellow teas I’ve seen in that the leaves have a pretty dark appearance, sort of yellowish olive green.
The dry leaves smell really roasted and toasty. After a rinse, the scent of the tea leaves is very complex. It smells really roasty like houjicha but with a note of yellow mustard. The scent of the brewed tea is a more mild roast taste with creamy notes.
The taste of this tea is quite smooth and unoffensive. I think this may be the first “true” yellow tea I have had because it achieves the effect most articles on yellow tea mention the purpose of yellow tea being… to make a tea with similar flavors to green tea but curbing the grassy notes for a more mellow flavor. This tea tastes like a smooth, sweet, mildly roasted green tea, and by golly there is the faintest hint of mustard or dill even in the taste. Maybe there’s a bit of toasted sesame in the flavor. It’s hard to describe. It has a subtle cooling sensation after the sip, and a lingering sweetness.
The liquor color of this tea is a pale yellow. I’m brewing it in a small thin-walled porcelain gaiwan. On the second infusion, I’m getting more toasty flavors with the subtle tanginess of dill. The packaging describes this tea’s flavor as “hazelnut with mango notes”. I can definitely see hazelnut, but I’m not getting the mango notes. Maybe that’s what registers as dill to me. I left the room and came back in and it definitely smells like hazelnuts in here.
This tea reminds me of a lot of houjicha in its taste and aroma, so if you like that, you would probably enjoy this. The flavor doesn’t change a whole lot from one infusion to the next, just becomes more rich. There’s no bitterness at all. It’s mellow, a comfort tea. The third infusion is more sweet and lacking the tangy dill-like note from before.
Infusion times were 15 seconds starting out, then 10 or so on the second infusion and increasing on each one by 10 or so as needed.
Flavors: Dill, Nutty, Sweet, Toasty