41 Tasting Notes

92

This tea was an interesting experience for me. I bought a 10g sample and have a session with a half of it, and remember it being all that spectacular. Today I wanted to have a session with a really high quality tea and LBZ is supposed to be the cream on the crop so I decided on this one when going through my collection. I used the final 5g in a 150ml gaiwan. The first three steeps were a disappointment. There was not much flavor that stood out. No bitterness or smokiness, but nothing really stood out it was kind of neutral for me. Then it started to creep in… I started feeling the cha qi, a stony kind of tingling in the body and brain. The tea has quite a bit of astringency to it. The camphor flavor and astringency finally saturated my tongue and mouth and it’s like the tea came alive! Once my mouth was all numbed up from the first three steepings, the next seven were lovely! Once the numbness in the tongue and mouth had taken hold, the tea had a thick mouth feel and several flavors became noticeable. The tea had incredible balance and which flavor stood out depended on which I was focused on at the moment. Apricot, honey, honeydew melon, a mild kind of spice there was a lot to pay attention to. This tea certainly made an impression and I am glad to have been able to experience it. Given the price of $380 and rising, it’s not worth it IMO unless you are looking for a piece for collection and long term storage of 30+ years. This one will be a gem in the 40s and 50s! As for one to drink now, given the price it’s not worth it to me.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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90

What a find! This one is a great daily drinker and a wonderful value. It’s one of those that’s so cheap you can’t even get a sample, so I’m glad it turned out to be a good one. At $15 for a 400g cake I feel fortunate to have found this one. It says gong ting, but it is actually a combination of gong ting, te ji, and 1st grade leaves but it behaves like a gong ting. It comes out strong. After the first steeping, the next couple can almost be flash steeped. 2-5s is sufficient enough to produce a dark rich liquor. The tea is smooth and rich, yet soft and not overpowering. Specific flavor notes did not stand out too much, it was just a nice rich smooth shou pe erh. The description says it has a nice cha qi, but I didn’t notice too much. It was pretty mild if anything. Being a fine grade leaf, the pot steeps out after 6-7 steepings for me. This cake is just about perfect for my morning tea and at $15 a cake for a tea with already over 5 years of age, I’m pretty happy I found this one.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 15 g 200 OZ / 5914 ML
DigniTea

Generally I enjoy S.Mengku’s Mu Ye Chun productions – decent quality at a fair price.

awilsondc

I agree! I’ve mostly had their sheng, this is the first shou from that brand that I’ve tried but they certainly are a favorite of mine!

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72

Going through the samples of my recent YS order. I let this one air out for 3-4 days before trying it this morning. 12.5g in my 200ml yixing. I got this since it was one of the high end YS shou productions, but in the end I’m not a fan. That’s not to say the tea isn’t good, because it’s pretty tasty and the reviews here and on the YS site certainly bear that out, but because it has a particular flavor in it I don’t care for. I tried my hardest to pin down exactly what flavor it is and this is the best I could come up with. It comes on the back on the tongue and palate and is a sort of grainy woodsy malty raisin flavor. I’ve tasted this in other high quality shou before like Mandala’s year of the dragon 2012 and it’s just a little off putting for me. It reminds me of when I was a drinker and could not stand beer that was brewed using copper malt. Overall the tea is good, but this one flavor ruins it for me.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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50

Errrrr. Ummm, not too impressed with this one. After pouring the first steeping I always smell the wet leaf and I knew right away I wasn’t going to like it. It had a kind of dirty aroma and flavor to me, like… dirt. I just didn’t like it. I’m going to let the other portion of my sample air out and see if it improves but so far this one is a no go for me. I’ll update this if my opinion improves when I finish the sample I got.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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92

I read some glowing reviews on this one so I picked up a 25g sample from YS on my last order. I used 8g in a 150ml gaiwan. My portion was near the center punch, but the compression was loose and it broke up easily without breaking any leaves. Steep times were something like 10s, 5s, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 25s, 30s, 45s, 60s but I didn’t specifically keep track. Initially I noticed a honey flavor and a vegetal flavor that seemed to balance each other out. In the first few steepings a noticed a strong apricot aftertaste which I liked, but it was only there the first few steepings. Great mouth and throat feel, and not much bitterness or astringency. I noticed as the steepings progressed the honey flavor and vegetal flavor were initially pretty distinct, but began to blend together and became more one smooth flavor. The fully brewed leaves were mostly intact, medium size, and gorgeous!

The description on YS said this one had less cha qi than other similar teas buuuuuuuut I disagree! I was doing some cleaning up in between cups when the cha qi hit me. It was very grounding, centering… I became more aware of my joints in motion and my movements. A very “in body” experience. This was a nice contrast as a lot of sheng pu erhs produce more of an “out of body” experience for me. I was even having a little trouble typing this up due to it’s effects.

I really liked this tea, but the $120 price tag as of writing this is a little steep but for a high quality sheng with 11 years already on it what do you expect. I’m on the fence about getting a full cake for long term storage. I’ll finish the rest of my sample in 2 more sessions and then decide. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one found its way into my collection.

Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
mrmopar

Love this one.

tanluwils

I’m surprised those vegetal notes are still there after 10 years.

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90

This was a nice large leaf shou from a smaller tea factory. I got a 25g sample from YS and used half in a 200ml yixing. Lighter fermentation perhaps, but I felt the need to steep this one longer than usual. I prefer a rich cup when making shou and this one took twice as long to produce a nice rich liquor than most shou. It seems to be a trend with these large leaf shou pu erhs so I’ll just chalk it up to that. Excellent flavor, smooth and sweet with some flavors of mild tobacco and wet wood balanced with some cocoa and spice overtones. With the longer steeps it started to give way after 6-7 steepings but the smooth slippery sweetness on the back of the tongue in the latter steepings was a nice treat. As of writing $28 for an 11 year old shou is a pretty good price. I’ll likely be adding this one to the collection in a later order.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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92

I bought this in 2013 and have had it in storage for a couple years, but never tried it. Since it’s around 5 years old now I thought I’d try it out. I used 10-12g in a 200ml yixing with boiling water and longish steeps of 12, 7, 10, 15, 30, 60, 120. This tea was really smooth and well balanced. Not too bold, but plenty flavorful. Notes of bitter sweet cocoa, dark leather, and a faint mineral earthiness were evenly prominent and blended together very well. It had a decent little hui gan too, I noticed a gentle mouth numbing in between cups. There was a mild relaxing cha qi, but not much. I liked this one a lot more that I thought I would, so much so I may buy another cake or two. Although the 2011 has sold out on YS the 2012 is available and at $7.20 for a 200g cake it’s priced right to be a solid daily drinker.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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90

A solid shou, I like this one a lot! From what I understand, Yong De area leaves are not the highest quality or most sought after but I really like shou produced from Yong De area. The taste is great for a daily drinker. Smooth, dark but not too rich, some dark notes of dark chocolate and molasses but balanced with lighter notes of toasted straw and a smores / lightly spiced pumpkin pie taste (I’m tasting some toasted graham cracker in there). Tastes like a combination of a Dayi (say, a 7452) and Mandala’s Noble Mark. I’m just finishing my 25g sample today, but I have a cake in the mail. Delicious!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 13 g 7 OZ / 220 ML
jschergen

Nice! I like this too. Hits the right chords for me. Still pretty damn cheap too.

mrmopar

Agreed on all points.

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95

My favorite Menghai shou recipe! Even more so than golden needle white lotus, dragon pole, 7572, 7262, etc. I just love it! Smooth and sweet, dark and rich, creamy and earthy, this one gets me every time. I fell in love with the 2008 version, but this 2007 is a notch better I believe. It’s not a “magical” tea per se… only a mild cha qi, but it’s a solid daily drinker, one I’ll keep in my rotation for years.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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Chiropractor, mountain climber, husband, father… chinese tea lover.

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