15 Tasting Notes
I wanted to like this tea, because it was a free sample that I received with an order, however, I just couldn’t.
The dry leaves were very chopped and very tightly compressed. They had a typical pondy, off smell that one associates with shu-puerh. The tea soup was a deep ruddy-brown with the aroma of wood, chocolate, raisins, and sewage. Honestly the flavor was not bad: sweet chocolate flavor with notes of wood, wet leaf, and raisins; but right after I swallow heavy notes of pond water show up, making the tea taste incredibly…odd.
The ‘pondy’ taste remained through the 4th infusion. I couldn’t bring myself to drink anymore so I called it quits. I should also note that I don’t like the flavor of chocolate, which was heavy in this tea. On the other hand, the mouthfeel was incredibly smooth and thick. Full-bodied and very rich. There was also a minty-cool quality to the aftertaste. I just couldn’t get over the chocolatey-pondiness of it, but if you’re a fan of that then I guess this would be a good tea for you.
This is a real pu-erh tea that holds nothing back.
If you are one who likes to walk into a deciduous forest in fall after a light rain and lick every surface clean, then this tea is for you. Robust, bitter, and unrelenting. It may have been because I steeped it in a gaiwan or maybe my greenhorn taste buds are not mature enough for such an aged pu-erh, but my god was this tea bitter. Bitter in the woody, leaf-pile, pine needle, stick, compost heap kind of way. I truly felt like I was walking through a forest after rainfall. It was also very dry in the back of the mouth.
I’ve drank it twice now, both times from a gaiwan. I’ve only steeped it for a total of 5 infusions each time, only because I couldn’t bring myself to drink anymore. However, there was enough strength in the tea for at least twice as many infusions, if not more.
Even though I did not enjoy the tea very much, I could tell that it was something special. Very complex in flavor with great strength, mouth-feel was OK, and it was still very calming and warm; however, definitely not for the faint at heart.
UPDATE: I’ve taken the advice from Nadacha and decreased the amount of leaf I used and steeped it this time in my yixing pot, the results? Simply fantastic.
The harsh bitterness is gone and what is left behind is a soothing, earthy, woody piece of delightful drinking. Impeccably smooth and creamy without a hint of dryness. It has a deep and complex flavor with notes of earth, wood, wet leaf, vanilla and leather. The aftertaste is full and coats the back of the mouth with a vanilla and wood-like bitter-sweetness.
Amazing what 14 years can do for a good tea!
This is a very robust tea. The aroma of the leaves after the wash could be smelled from a few feet away.
The tea brewed a nice rust-orange color with a heavy roasted aroma. The flavors were rich and deep. Roasted bittersweet rock taste, with a clean finish, and a florally bitter aftertaste. A faint spice flavor showed up around the 5th infusion while staying smooth, full-bodied, and without any dryness. The flavors began to mellow out and harmonize with each other towards the end, with a nice cinnamon taste showing up as the tea cooled down.
A very rich, full-bodied, and robust tea from start to finish.
Steeped in a 180ml gaiwan. 25s,30s,40s,60s,60s,25s,180s
This is the first real sheng pu-erh tea I’ve had so I can’t say that I have anything to compare it to. However I did find this tea very enjoyable.
The leaves let off a very strong peachy sweet aroma after the first rinse. The tea soup was a nice golden-yellow color. The tea itself was full-bodied, velvety smooth and sweet with notes of peaches and flowers. The finish was clean and there was no astringency at all, even at the 12th infusion. There was a bit of chalkiness, but not in a displeasing way.
The strength was nice throughout the whole sitting with the peachy sweetness coming in still at the end. There isn’t a whole lot of complexity to the tea, but it was still very pleasing and enjoyable. A nice daily tea, and for the price I might actually buy the whole cake.
Steeped in a 180 ml gaiwan for 12 infusions.
This was the first ‘real’ pu-erh tea that I have tried.
After reading all the criticism of shu pu-erh and brick pu-erh, I was surprised at how this tea was pretty good. The bricks have a little bit of a fishy, pondy aroma but given a week or two to air out and the smell virtually goes away.
After the first rinse the leaves, very chopped, give off a very deep, woody and earthy smell, without any of the pondiness. The same goes for the flavor. Like drinking a piece of forest in Fall: woody, bitter, earthy, smoky and a little sweet, with a slightly astringent finish in the throat. The aftertaste is a long lasting woody bitterness.
The tea soup is a very deep, dark, murky orange brown, which clears up to a clear orange-brown after the first two or three infusions.
The tea begins to give off a sweet flavor in the back of the mouth at about the 4th infusion. The tea does not infuse for too many times, at least not when I have tried it. Towards the end, the woody earthiness is very faint, with a sugar-water-like sweetness on top of it.
It is enjoyable and the price is pretty good ($1-$2 for 10-12 little tile-like bricks); however not a tea for those long tea-steeping sessions.