I thought I should finally get around to reviewing this shu as I’m half way through the tuo. The leaves I am using for this session are the bits and pieces that have collected in the wrapper and the box from breaking apart the toucha. Smooth and creamy is the first adjectives that come to mind. The smell of the dry leaves also has a sweet cream scent, which is accentuated when adding the dry leaves into a warmed yixing. After an initial rinse the warm leaves now have an essence of a library or or a used book store. The surprising thing to me is that even using the bits and broken pieces of the remnants of a dozen session the brew is still smooth and clean, the liquor is not a translucent red as with usual infusions, but cloudy. The infusion is every bit as fluid and viscous and flavorful as usual. Later infusions have a less creamy and more mineral quality, almost stone like not earthy so much as a quality of a glacial cirque filled with boulders, and granite escarpments with hints of moss and lichen. Not that I’ve ever hiked into a glacial cirque and eaten rocks or lichen, but that is the essence I feel as I drink. Wonderful.
28 Tasting Notes
I’m not really entirely sure why I’m posting this review as I am confident my palate is off today. I’ve been sick for a couple of days and decided to do a bit of sheng pu drinking today. I’ve had this beng for about 3 years now and each time I have it it becomes more drinkable. I’m not quite sure if I really like the tea or if it just average. I’ve had both good and bad tasting sessions over the years. The early times the tea was an astringent mess of bitterness. One other time I had a session and can recall very pleasant young apricot like flavors. But during this current session I’m ot getting anything as far a flavors but simply a sweetness, a sensation at the rear of the mouth by the tonsils (if I still had mine). There is no astringency or bitterness at all, but not a lot of flavor either. I take several deep breaths from the yixing and can feel the same sweetness and coating in the olfactory gland inside my nose and the same coating sweetness in the rear of my mouth, but again there is no discernable flavor. Strange. But with all that said there is discernable chaqi and a bit of tea drunkeness, maybe tea tipsy is a better term as I’ve had teas with much better qi. At any rate, this is likely a throw away tasting note but even mediocre sessions provide context.
I’ve had this tea for probably 4 or five years and it was my first exposure to puer when I first purchased it. I remember opening the can the first time and thinking this stuff smells like the little pellets I feed my fish. Upon the first brew it didn’t taste any better than it smelled, very much a dui wei scent that I really did not like. I felt duped for paying what I thought at the time was a high price for yucky tea. Price paid was $13 USD for 96 grams. I did not like it at all so back on the shelf it went. I have tried it a few times over the last few years so I thought I would review it. Opening up the can tonight did not reveal any fishy smell. I smelled the tea in the tin for nearly 5 minutes trying to place the scent I knew it, but couldn’t place it. It has a very clean aroma, reminding me of a water fall with the scent of a forest and a scent of the negative ions around a misting waterfall. So strange how tea can literally transport one if given a chance to reflect.Rishi suggests on the tin to steep a TABLESPOON of tea to 8 ounces of water? Seriously? Who could or should waste so much tea? This tea consists of very very small leaves common among higher grade shus that I have tried over the years. My brewing was about 5 grams (eyeballed) in a 200 ml yixing 212 F water flash rinsed and then sitting for a couple of minutes. Again I smelled the warm wet leaves, with my nose deep in the yixing, breathing in the scent for a couple of minutes, trying to get a grasp on the scents. Again, a the best way I would describe it is a very clean earthy aroma, not dirt, but forest like, with a light hint of tobacco. Tasting it, it is a smooth tea, like butter, coating the mouth especially in the cheeks near the rear teeth. The experience is not bowling me over and knocking me upside the head even at this advanced hour, but rather a feeling of calmness and awareness that I have experienced with other higher grade puers. I really had low expectations for this tea, and it nearly ended up in the trash, but on this night I’m ever so glad I kept it. Five infusions and 45 minutes later I’m in that happy spot from a good tea and ready for some sleep. Well played Rishi, well played.
I’ve learned to enjoy sheng cha quite a bit more in last year and I still like this and even more appreciate the quality. I’m finally learning the difference in what makes a enjoyable sheng including harvest altitude, varietal. I’ve had a few professional cuppings of other sheng and this holds up very well with some of the better offerings I’ve had. I can’t really ofer a whole lot more than what I described last time other than the bitterness has all but been eliminated, whether by brewing method or an additional year I’m not sure.
So how good can a tea for $3.99 for a pound box of loose “leaf” tea, purchased on a whim at an Ethiopian market be? It turns out far better than I was expecting, and even better than other higher priced assam teas I’ve had. I typically drink Chinese teas and I didn’t have a typical english style tea pot to brew this in the proper english style, so I resourcefully used my trusty gaiwan. The dry tea has peat potting/ soil look to it and a malty scent, similar to a golden monkey or some of the Yunnan blacks that I’ve really enjoyed. My first cuppa, I went pretty heavy on the leaf, a heaping teaspoon in a 6 oz gaiwan. I steeped the tea in 210 F water for a little over a minute and poured out a very bright brilliant red cup of tea. I let it cool for a bit and took a sip expecting an insipid, soup of tannins and bitterness but was rather instead treated to fairly complex maltiness, followed sweetness detected at the point the mouth meets the throat, followed by a brisk yet mild astringency. The tea is actually smooth, and fills and coats the mouth entirely. It is rare for me to drink the same tea throughout the day, but I have enjoyed 3 sessions of this tea trying to figure out why I really like this tea. I am so glad I took a chance on this tea, I’ve taken chances before on Asian market teas and gotten burned. But I like this tea far better than other assam teas I’ve had at many times the price…
Thought I’d update this tasting log. For the last few weeks I’ve been doing all of my brewing in a gaiwan instead of a yixing. After drink a couple of steeps I reviewed my previous tasting note from about a year ago. This tea really seems to be aging, the color of the dry leaves have changed from a green hue to a very shu like brown appearance. As I mentioned before, the leave material is heavily processed meaning that the brick is made up of material in tiny pieces almost like it was run through a mulching lawn mower , but it still brews a very clean orange cup ut will gather a bit of sedimentation in the bottom of the cup. One thing that I noted this time that I did not mention before is the smokey aroma of the wet leaves. The astringency is all but gone and the tea is now much smoother than what I recall and has lost a lot of the young sheng characteristics. Not sure but I’m guessing the mellowing has to do with the size of the material in the brick. Also the leaves seem to give up after just 4 or 5 infusions but those first five are very enjoyable, a smooth feeling hat envelops the mouth, with apricot present and some flavors of a tippy black tea. I’m finishing with my sixth infusion now doing a very long 2+ minute steep to see if I can get just one last cup out of it. Nope.
What a beautiful tea two small leaves and a bud with lots of orange tips. Sweet flavor of malt and grains in initial infusions. Scent of cocoa on the lid of guiwan but no flavor of chocolate in the liquor. Subsequent infusions become more fruity with notes of orange pith . On this day it is hard to imagine a better black tea. It does seem to give up after about 4 infusions though but sublime up until that point.
I’ve been on a iced tea kick, trying all of my teas iced, instead of the traditional hot. I still brew in my yixing but i have a 20 oz plastic cup that I completely fill with ice. I double the amount of leaf in the yxing and my 200 ml yixing fills up the cup and melts the ice as it cools.
Using double the leaf makes for one tasty brew that is perfect for a hot day and I get multiple infusions. My experience with both green and oolong and something I learned at World Tea expo is good tea is usually good tea both hot and cold… though I’m not sure about Pu (lol0. At any rate this tea is great iced. Initial infusions are very cream like and coat the mouth with an almost viscous quality that entire envelops the mouth truly cooling and truly quenching… just perfect. Growing up in the southern US (overly) sweet iced tea is a staple, a near food group until itself I never dreamed that unsweetened iced tea could be as sweet and refreshing as this tea is. What a joy to experience a healthy summer iced tea pleasure.
This is one smooth tea even being a new shu. The first infusion is a creamy almost vanilla flavor that completely fills the mouth coating it with a viscous cream sensation. Infusion number two brings out some cherry tobacco notes. I would also argue that a coffee drinker might enjoy this tea due to it’s viscous heady nature. The color is beautiful reddish brown almost the same color as my yixing pot. However the party lasts a short time as this tea gives it all and is finished by the 4th infusion.
I believe I like this tea better this time around in fact significantly so. The tea fills the mouth with incredible flavors, still with young sheng qualities and still the green banana flavor. Wet leaves have a distinct smokey smell and I cannot describe the intensity of flavor this. Incredible really. After an infusion the flavor last and lasts. Taking a sip of cold water only accentuates the experience. This is everything I’ve found that a young sheng should be.
Decent cake that brews up clean no, bits to cloud the cup and it. This tea has a real viscosity to it, almost whipped cream like. It very much reminds me of some of the more popular/famous DaYi offerings like say a 7572. This tea gives a real sense of calmness, contemplative and almost sleepy feel to it. Actual size of the leaves are quite small and leaves are heavily processed and machine harvested. I have nothign bad to say about this tea. There are teas that I like better but it’s a good solid choice to explore puer.
Maybe it’s just today but this tea makes me sleepy. It is interesting to consider how long ago this tea was picked and processed, America had Pac-man Fever and John Lennon was shot in New York and I was in 1st grade. Now to the tea: the leaves are large and a chocolate brown color until they are infused at which point they actually turn greenish brown. Initial infusions are just plain smooth at least at first then, the the mouth feels coated with earthy goodness, and a bit of Unami. The mouth coating feel ends yet a distinct drying sensation is left in the throat, drying, almost desert like, i get the same sensation when getting into a car that has been sitting in the sun on a 100 degree F day. It makes me thirsty. And it reminds me of the scent of my first car which ironically was a 1980 Ford it has that aged pleather and dried out car feeling. As strange as this description is I really enjoyed this tea.
This tea on the first infusion was completely unexpected. The flavor I tasted was initially just smooth and mouthing fillingly viscous, almost a buttery texture and . But what happened next was completely unexpected, sweetness came in and then a distinct flavor of dried pineapple. And the empty cup smells of sweet clover honey. A second shorter infusion was less than stellar and had a bitter and astringent quality to it, though the sweetness and pineapple flavor came back, but not as intensely. The mouth feel now is similar to the mouth coating quality of artichokes. Third infusion still has some of the fine white hairs from the leaves floating at the top of the cup. Third infusion was also less bitter and a almost as good as the first.
This is my first aged sheng that I have purchased. I’ve been drinking it every few days for about the last month and the initial rinse smell comes across as the flavor of hominy or maize which I find odd because I don’t know that corn is a component of Asian cuisine. In fact I’m quite certain it is strictly “new world”. At any rate the tea has a good number of sticks in it but as mentioned the leaves are huge and seem to be rolled length wise so that even the leaves take on the appearance of sticks until infused and they open up. The wet leaves even after a few infusions seem to feel dry, and not supple which is likely because of the the age of the leaves. The liquor of the tea is very smooth and mouth filling, and almost crystal clear amber to a darker more stout like color depending on the amount of liquid in a white cup.
I bought this cake as just an experiment to see how similar it was to other 75xx recipes I’ve had and at $10 for the 5 YO beng I thought I’ve bought crappy tea before. I’ve now brewed this tea two or three times and I have to say it is indeed excellent. Todays brewing struck me as being creamy… I did a brief rinse infusion and drank the second infusion. I was amazed when I perceived a thick and creamy with a distinct flavor and texture of sweetened whipped cream in the first infusion. This continued through the second as well though the color of the liquor was a much deeper darker red. I would not call this a complex tea but I would call it a very good to excellent tea and just as enjoyable as the more traditional (and pricier) Da Yi 75xx offerings.
I found what appears to be the exact same tea locally at an Asian Market here in Salt Lake. The Beng has the same wrapping but the exterior gift box is different. The color and generally leave size, and general look of the material is consistent between the two cakes as is the scent of the cake. What is different though is that the level of compression of the two cakes… the one that I bought in So Cal was a hard mass of near mortar like material while the local cake was so loosely packed I was able to break off whole leaves by hand without a pick.
I am going to attempt to compare the two more than anything just because I think it is an interesting experiment. First off let me start by saying I have no idea if these teas are the same tea, just because they have the same beng wrapping and came in similar boxes for a similar price. This is a first for me as far as side by side tasting notes so should be fun and that’s what it’s all about.
I will call the Pu from Salt Lake SLC and the one from San Gabriel SG. SLC was purchased last week, and SG was purchased in January Both are brewed in a gaiwan. After the initial flash rinse the scent SLC is creamy while the scent of SG is more forest with a bit of pine and cedar Initial infusion of the both give nearly identical colors and clarity but the taste is different, almost incredibly so. SLC gives a very vanilla creamy thick mouth filling brew very similar to the 2010 Menghai 7582 I had yesterday. While the one from SG is more of a compost and cedar with sweetness but not as full both are pleasant but I will say SLC wins this round.
Second infusion has the flavors of both evening out. SLC still has a hint of the creaminess but it is less pronounced there is a bit of leather and the flavor of those Alfalfa vitamin supplements. Notes of leather also appear with the SG brew. Both colors of the brew are consistent and honestly much more pleasing to look at than my initial brew of the SG about 3 weeks ago. I have started to use less leaf so perhaps that helps a bit with the color of the brew the color is very similar to one of my orange hue yixing. And as I experienced with SG previously the liquor is extremely clear no bits to cloud the cup, you can see the bottom of the white cup with a bare minimum of bits.
3rd infusion the wet leaves are virtually identical in scent, size and texture the scent is not exactly the same but so similar it is had to differentiate the exactly what is different… And it is the same deal with flavor and color. I am trying so very hard to pinpoint the differences but ultimately I’m going to bet that this is exactly the same tea. The same leather notes exist in both I will also add that the tea is about finished by the third infusion and I attribute that to the lesser amount of leaf I’ve been trending toward but I believe that this tea may need more leaf to get
I attribute the difference in the initial infusions and scent to be a difference in the compression and likely storage conditions but there no appreciable difference between the two by the 3rd infusion, and the forth infusion was basically colored water.
I will honestly say that SLC wins over all the vanilla creaminess of the initial infusion was awesome. This has been a fun hour sampling both of these teas… what a way to start the day.
When I ordered this tea I also ordered the lower grade “premium” and indeed there is no comparison. In all ways this is the absolute best TKY I have ever had. The scent is of the dry leaves is incredible, floral, buttery, not at all like any other TKY I’ve ever had. tea was prepared in 200ml yixing(like) pot using just enough of the tightly rolled leaf to cover the bottom of the pot. I make a habit of drinking even the initial flash infusion of expensive teas and even a 10 second initial cleansing infusion the intensity of the tea is more pronounced than most teas get from much longer infusions… After the second infusion an intense awareness of everything going on around me subsequent infusions up to and including the final infusion after allowing the leaves to sit overnight was still enjoyable. I easily got a liter plus of tea of tea through 15 infusions from the yixing out of these leaves making the tea, while seemingly expensive, a great value in my book. I will be getting more of this. It’s hard for me to think about a better tea. But there’s always tomorrow…
I bought this for price only and to give it a try. I am not a big fan of young sheng but I can see this tea being something really good in the future. Theres no question that this is a high quality tea. The brick itself is a loosely compacted brick with huge leaves. The dry leaf had just about zero scent even after the initial rinse still no appreciable scent. But after a couple of rinses I finally got a around to drinking and the first infusion had some pretty strong astringency and a bit of bitterness and made my tongue numb. Not entirely pleasant. The next few infusions brought in citrus and stone fruit… not really a apricot or a peach flavor at least not a ripe peach or ’cot but more of a tart less ripe cot. Neither pleasant nor unpleasant. Third infusion brought sweetness and bitterness both, though the latter was much less than the second infusion the flavor which seems to be typical younger sheng completely engulfs the mouth… the flavor is intense and complex with the numbness still present but less. I can see where this tea will improve with age becasue even with my general aversion to young sheng i still look forward to drinking this in a year or so and giving it more time and consideration. No question thought with the sheer intensity and complexity that this tea will be excellent in the future.
To say a bit more about the leaf composition the brick is prettied up with some large leaves (one is about 4 inched long. but that covers up bits of chopped up material) but even the chopped up material is 3/4 to one inch in size. The brew color is yellow (at least under the florescent light of my desk. I’ll be picking up some more of this for my next order.
This was a tea I picked up on a trip to So Cal at the San Gabriel Square Mall in you guessed it San Gabriel. When you buy tea at an Asian Market you usually have no idea what you are going to get and more often than not you’ll end up with undrinkable fannings or tea that is not fresh or low quality. I had had enough Puerh to know that CNNP products are pretty consistent so I picked up a Beng and I’m glad I did and honestly I wished I had pick up a couple more at $8 a piece. Now don’t get me wrong there’s no question this is a mass produced big label shu but for the price it has a lot of the characteristics of other quality shus… As far as flavor I describe it as “leathery”. The liquid is really clean not a lots of bits to cloud your cup, but the color is not all that attractive. Initial infusions are really dark, almost like a black coffee, but again very clean no fannings no bits to have to strain out. But by the 10th or 12th infusion the color of the liquor is a pretty blah beige brown not the red of higher quality shu.
This tea pretty much underwhelms me. Basically it tastes like a run of the mill black tea with very little of the characteristics one might expect from a shu. The leaf material consists of smaller leaves that smell like I mentioned before, black tea. I will give this tea cudos for brewing up a wonderfully clean, clear and reddish beautiful cup. But here’s the thing if I want a cup of black tea I’ll brew some black tea… If I want some shu I won’t brew this tea.
I received this as a freebie sample from Pu-erh shop. I always like getting samples especially free. I’ve been drinking pu for over year now and I can say I’ve never had a tea that makes my tongue numb… like novacaine. Truly weird. I’ve had multiple shu from menghai, and CNNP and my favorite Xiaguan and I’ve never experienced something like this. I will say that 2009 is newest shu I’ve tried so maybe that is what it is attributed to. Not a fan of this tea, and since the sample is gone thats a good thing. I did continue to infuse the tea until it was little more than colored water so I think I gave it ample chance but I’m not impressed. If this is a connoisseur tea then I’m really missing something.
I am a big fan of Xinguan tea factory products and this tea is no different. Since this tea is only 3 years old it still has a young sheng qualities to it, astringency but less so than other younger sheng. After the initial rinse and steep I got the distinct aroma of jasmine flower in the yixing from the. the flavor of the tea for the first couple of infusions was indeed floral in nature, with a hint of asparagus. The third infusion surprised me to get a taste of banana, not a sweet ripe banana, or a starchy green plantain, but a banana that will ripen in a day or two. Truly fascinating how that essence came out of nowhere.
Enjoying this tea for the second time. The first thing about this cake is that the brick itself and the leaves have a very Japanese tea appearance as far as size and texture but of course the color of the leaves and the compression is distinctly puerh. Being a sheng pu this tea brews up in a crystal clear orange color that reminds me of a maple tree changing colors in the fall… interestingly, the liquor matches almost exactly the shirt I have on today. Flavor wise it has a lot in common with a Royal Phoenix Stone Oolong that I am familiar with but obviously with a puerh twist. Heavy tones of fruit, specifically citrus, almost pithy in the first infusions. Also keeping with the younger sheng characteritics there is a fair amount of astringency. Deeper down upon aerating the liquor in the mouth there are definite fungal tones, mushroons. As always I am amazed at the variety of flavors that can be attained over different varieties, growing locations, processing and even different infusions of the same tea during the same session. This tea is one of the ones that calms me down, and makes me contemplative. It’s not a “wowsa” kind of cup but it is definitely something I look forward to drinking for years into the future. In fact I can see ordering more in the future.