33 Tasting Notes

81

In continuing to play the field of producers, I settled on a Xing Hai brick from Bulang, which the seller says was comprised of 3-5 grade leaves and possesses “some smokiness” that dissipates after the fifth infusion. Ahem. Xing Hai started up in the early part of the century and won the coveted “Pu’er King” (ripe) award at the Annual International Tea Expo in Guan Dong.
As with many raw bricks you need a chisel to break the leaves apart. I threw about 6g of shavings into my 120ml gaiwan and got to werk, infusing for about 20s the first time and aroud 15 the next few infusions. The liquor is a solid goldenrod. The broth, true to the sellers confessions, is thick. The taste is true Bulang: in your face big instruments played loudly in a French cafe where everyone chain smokes… and then they smoke some more. This is the smokiest offering I’ve ever had. It doesn’t drown out the pronounced sweetness, but it certainly doesn’t play second saxophone either. The astringency, of which there is a bit, comes as a welcome counterpoint to such a voluble ensemble. Ten infusions in the smoke still lingered, even as the liquor faded to a pale yellow. This brick is a real contrast, if a bit jarring, to the Jing-mai, Xi-gui, and Yi-bang I’ve been gulping down of late. Anyone into lapsang suchong would love this is my guess.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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87

Very tasty and enjoyable sheng. It is sweet and full-bodied with a bit of cheer. Held up to numerous steepings, lets say at least 8. Perhaps hints of citrus in it. Don’t recall much bitterness at all. Infusion time was between 5-10 sec. Leaves were on the small side, but I understand the cake was packed tightly, as is also the case with the 60 ripe version. Lots of personality to this one. Wife enjoyed it too. Big thumbs up.

Flavors: Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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88

Got a sample from Vicky up by Toronto way. Roasted, malty and floral. No bitterness or astringency. You cold steep it for a year or gong-fu style. It’s up to you. Spectacular Yunnan Gold/Dian Hong. Not robust like you might prefer, rather soft, delicious, the best that could be produced from such fragrant and downy leaves. Think of it as the Yi-wu of dian-hong and then you’ve got the idea. Dry, it is floral like a cross between wild chrysanthemum and rose.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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84

I instantly fell for this pu’er when I smelled its baker’s chocolate depth, richness, and allure. Where many cakes usually need some airing out to let some of the “duiwei” to dissipate, this one didn’t seem to have much of any at all or that which it did have only blended nicely with its overall medley of aromas. The first sampling of the cake was good enough – See more at: http://universotea.com/content/2012-chengshan-golden-peacock?ovr=1#sthash.FdV57MeJ.dpuf

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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80

2006 Bulang, Tiandiren Teavivre
I mentioned a couple weeks back that I had this after someone mentioned having it. I noted that it tasted horrible. I was flash steeping at 195 and it tasted like cigarette water. Yeah, I’m from Iowa and I went through my tobacco chewing days like everyone else. The worst “chew,” as it’s called, imho, is the sawdust stuff that comes in a hockey-puck called Copenhagen. This all to say that brewed at that temp, this Bulang conjured memories of Iowa and I was only too eager for the right time to try again at my normal raw tea temp of 175. Big, big, big difference. Positive. Much sweeter, a hint of sour. The cigarette, not necessarily tobacco but yes, taste lingers in the background, not unpleasantly.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 120 OZ / 3548 ML

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76

Orange peel, sandalwood, must, must, must, bitter, dry, orange peel.
Wet-stored treasure that is dry through and through. Very potent cha-qi, all head and not heat. Astringency, after all these years. Paul Simon would be please. Added time with each infusion.
Characteristically gorgeous brew colour: limpid, inviting, brassy red. Lingering taste of orange peel’s bitterness.
Tastes like a grown-up’s tea. Thanks for the sample JC.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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80

Curiously, I had read about this tea last week, when my tea amigo showed up with a sample of this for our monthly Bamboo and Loquat tea session through Meet-up. I flash steeped this puppy up with water at 195. Just as the article I read noted, it smells like cigarettes, contrary to what the author noted, through several infusions, it tasted like cigarettes as well. Not smoky, but astringent, slightly sour and acrid. This tea delivers a wicked cha-qi and my tea amigo noted that this might be a good one for folks who are trying to kick the habit, but neither of us found it terribly enjoyable or tasty after four infusions.
I’d recommend this for folks who want a long lingering buzz, much longer than a cigarette and long for that cigarette taste… if that what it can be called.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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81

2011 Dashu Bulang White2Tea— Nothing short of very tasty. I see that it is no longer on the site but the 2013 is there. It’s a serious price performer. I found it to be sweeter than bitter, but with hints of smoke and a bitterness that builds. This was another sample from JC. Highly drinkable in oppressive heat, refreshing, what a Bulang should be.
Flash steeped. I’ve been experimenting with 195 degree water and flash steepings of around five seconds with good success. This one works well that way, no overwhelming bitterness and little astringency, a kind of slickness is evident as with other highly alkaline teas. Not as bitter as I would expect a Lao Man E tea to be.
Yum.

Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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81

Nice punch, great Bulang personality. Very enjoyable ripe. Some astringency. I gave it very, very short steepings, basically rinses. I think it held up for more than five infusions.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
Cwyn

You think? Too tea drunk to remember? Lol.

Yang-chu

It was actually more than a week when I had it. It usually takes me two days to get through any given tea. Now that I’ve been cold-brewing stuff gets used for that purpose after two days, whether it’s cashed or not.

Cwyn

Uh huh.

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82

This is part of a revolutionary series that I suppose I’m gathering. Though the description says that it is dry-stored, that is most certainly NOT the case. This cake was received on April of 2014. Upon sampling, I was duly unimpressed. First, it just didn’t taste very good and second the lingering haunt of must made me feel like the cake had been stored in someone’s dank basement. Whatever questions the cake posed diminished, as the moldy taste only seemed to emerge more forcefully and there was much astringency to boot. – See more at: http://universotea.com/content/dragon-phoenix-tea-company-great-village-old-teashop-%C2%A02011#sthash.GrZfelNe.dpuf

Flavors: Butter, Metallic, Mint, Musty, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Bio

I’ve been drinking Chinese tea since the early 90s when I was a student at Peking University.
My attention has focused on pu’ers, since by profession I’m a doctor of Chinese medicine and sometimes find it a useful lifestyle addition.
From there, I started importing, mostly for patients and other health professionals but also as an interesting hobby that can deepen individuals’ understanding of Chinese medicine.

Location

Los Angeles

Website

http://universotea.com

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