908 Tasting Notes
This is an unusual Gui Fei in that it is not very sweet, rather bitter and vegetal. It has some obvious objective quality, but I am not sure how much I like it personally.
Its dry leaf aroma reminds me of baked fruit (apple pie and pear), roasted nuts, apricots, magnolia flowers as well as shellfish. Wet leaves smell more floral (a bit like Mediterranean bushes), herbaceous (thyme), and earthy.
The liquor is bitter and biting with a cooling aftertaste, but it doesn’t bring so much engagement in terms of particular flavours.
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Biting, Bitter, Earthy, Floral, Herbaceous, Magnolia, Marine, Pear, Roast Nuts, Shellfish, Thyme, Vegetal
Every session with this tea is a special and unique one. It has a superb depth of flavours and overall gives an intense experience with strong presence in the mouth and a long-lasting aftertaste.
Often as pu-erh tea ages out of its youthful stage, it loses a its floral complexity in the dry leaf aroma. I don’t find that to be happening so much. There is a good complexity to the sweet, herbaceous scent with a note of tropical fruits. After the rinse, the scent reminds me of old green tea, but also peat, chicory, compost, bay leaves, and apples. The tea leaves a strong aroma also in the cup, where one can smell honey notes.
The liquor has a buttery, numbing and mouth-watering presence with an astringent finish. The taste is brothy and savoury at first. There is a vegetal aftertaste with notes of leek, peppers and umami that is also a bit spicy and sort of salty. Later steeps are more floral and bitter and remind me of FF Darjeeling tea a bit. There are also flavours of celery stalk, sugar beet and amber ale. The aftertaste becomes very intense at times. It’s character is mix of sweet and savoury ones.
Flavors: Apple, Bay Leaf, Beer, Bitter, Bread, Broth, Celery, Chicory, Compost, Floral, Green Bell Peppers, Herbaceous, Honey, Leeks, Peat, Pepper, Salty, Spicy, Sugar, Sweet, Tea, Tropical Fruit, Umami, Vegetal
This is quite a sweet tea for an aged oolong. It also has the espected metallic and medicinal taste, and a soft buttery mouthfeel. The aroma is fruity and toasty at first. After the rinse, it gives off notes of peat, angostura bitters and orange.
Flavors: Apricot, Fruity, Medicinal, Metallic, Orange, Peat, Sweet, Toasty
This is a very floral and bitter tea. It shares similarity with pu-erh from proximate localities such as Naka and Hekai, but it is noticably less mineral than the former tends to be.
The aroma is nutty and vegetal with notes of wild garlic and ghee. The tea has a watery texture that’s unremarkable, and a bitter-sweet taste with cooling high floral notes. The aftertaste is quite long-lasting and floral again. It brings also a strong drying sense. There are further flavours of apples, bay leaf, baked lemon, and green olives. Throughout the session, I also feel a pleasant chest warming sensation.
Flavors: Apple, Bay Leaf, Bitter, Butter, Cooling, Drying, Floral, Garlic, Lemon, Nutty, Olives, Sweet, Vegetal
A decent rock oolong that is pretty easy to brew and enjoy.
This one has a multilayered aroma when dry; including notes of brownies, fruits, nuts, coffee, and orchids; unlike later in the session. The first infusion tastes sour, yeasty and milky, with an aftertaste of nectarines and sweet wood. The tea has a nice mouthfeel that’s astringent but not abrasive. The rest of the session gives a more warming and floral vibe. There are some more savoury steeps with butter flavour. Interestingly, I find it impossible to overbrew this tea, which is certainly not a given among yancha.
Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Coffee, Cookie, Floral, Fruity, Milky, Nectarine, Nutty, Orchid, Sour, Yeasty
Another Lao Man E, this time a white tea. Even though it’s from 2023, the oxidation level is fairly high.
While one may expect that for white tea, the quality of the material is paramount, here we have a plantation tea that works very well as a white tea.
Dry leaves smell of sawdust and fur, while wet ones more like cumin and incense. The tea is medium bodied and has a really distinctive character that sets it apart. You have the classic grapefruit bitterness present in many Lao Man E teas, but also many woody, nutty, mineral, and herbaceous notes. It is both smooth and a bit astringent, sometimes reminiscent of gin, at other times of burnt butter. The aftertaste is then more sweet and flowery with notes of apricot and gardenia flowers for instance.
Flavors: Alcohol, Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Burnt Food, Butter, Cumin, Fur, Gardenias, Grapefruit, Incense, Mineral, Nutty, Sawdust, Smooth, Woody
This must be one of the most expensive shou I ever tried. While it is surely a nice experience, not lacking in any respect, it also doesn’t have any particular wow factor. Thus in relation to the price ($0.84/gram) I cannot recommend it. Overall, I find that this tea has a higher degree of fermentation than what I often associate with my favourite examples of the category.
The leaves offer a very fast extraction, but one need not worry about excessive bitterness. The taste is nutty and savoury rather than bittersweet. It is metallic and reminds me of Guinness at times. The aftertaste has notes of yeast and meat broth, but also a very long-lasting brown sugar sweetness. The liquor texture is a bit watery overall, with some drying and pulling sensations that stay for a long time and provide for an engaging session. Cha qi is pretty noticeable too, but I wouldn’t buy the tea because of its energy either.
Flavors: Beer, Biting, Bitter, Broth, Brown Sugar, Drying, Metallic, Nutty, Olive Oil, Sweet, Umami, Yeast
This tea deserves one’s attention for its stellar aroma if nothing else. There is so much to uncover there. Dry leaves smell of dried fruit, port wine, and earth. During the session, it becomes much more fruity and flowery.
On the other hand, I found the texture to be a bit boring for the most part. Nevertheless, the mouthfeel does have a pleasant numbing and tingling sensation. Also, after swallowing I detect a curious mixture of throat-warming and mouth-cooling sensation.
The taste is brothy and mineral at first. It has a touch of sourness that makes me think of coffee, but also a good umami. It can get quite bitter when brewed too long. The aftertaste is generally pretty strong and lasting. It is a bit abrasive and biting, and bring flavours of baked lemons and cherries.
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Broth, Cherry, Coffee, Dried Fruit, Earthy, Floral, Fruity, Lemon, Mineral, Red Wine, Sour
This tea has a lot of character, I can recommend it to anyone looking for a complex Mengku pu-erh without the hefty price tag associated to Bing Dao or some of the other more famous villages.
The aroma is really engaging – herbaceous, sweet, and grassy when dry and more fruity during the session.
The rinse is not so representative of the whole experience. It tastes a bit like sencha, with sweet, sour and grassy notes. The first proper infusion is then herbaceous with a very sweet and nutty profile. The mouthfeel is thick and very soft and creamy.
Later on, a lot of florals develop, including mild bitterness. Sometimes, drinking the tea reminds me of a summer meadows, which is slightly dried out. The aftertaste is very sweet and aromatic. It bring further notes of bread and barley.
Flavors: Bitter, Bread, Creamy, Dry Grass, Floral, Grain, Grass, Herbaceous, Meadow, Nutty, Soft, Sour, Sweet, Thick
I just opened this package and the first session didn’t leave a strong impression, even though it was quite pleasant tasting and woke me up very well.
The tea has a sweet aroma that reminds me of green apples. The liquor is biting, but has a lighter body overall. There are umami, bitter, and sweet grassy flavours, as well as a gin-like aftertaste. Overall, the tea is quite fragrant and only a bit floral.