33 Tasting Notes

78

Had this tea again this morning and It seems to me 9-10 years is the point where sheng finally loses its astringency. In the subsequent years since my last review of this I’ve had dozens of decade old sheng and this one starts out very subtle but becomes very enjoyable after the cumulative infusions. Flavor initially sees very weak but has a nice vanilla orchid and anise scent. Astringency is gone and the tea coats the mouth nicely with a mellow sweetness. I guess the best thing about this tea is that the infusions eventually become cumulative leaving a very nice feeling. infused leaves have a scent of anise. I look forward to continuing to check back in with the tea over the next few years. I have roughly half of the brick left and the leaf color has darkened substationally.

Flavors: Anise, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 200 OZ / 5914 ML

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82

This brick was one of my first forays into sheng and I’ve really enjoyed seeing this tea change over the years. The green young smokey puer flavor has given way to a smooth aged puer showing me that sheng indeed does age into something more like a shu. Over the 9 years that I have owned this brick I’ve used a little less than half of the brick. The scent of the wet leaves is literally that of an old antique book store, all of the smoke and bitterness and astringency of the early years of this brick are nearly non-existent. The liqueur is no longer a pale green shu but is now chrystal clear leather brown. As I mentioned in my earlier reviews, this brick is made from heavily processed material but even with mulched material the liquid is clear. I brewed this time in a 125ml yixing with 210 spring water. 30 Secs first infusion 10 for subsequent infusions.

Flavors: Leather

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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86

I received this tea as a sample. I’ve been experimenting with sheng recently so I thought I would try a session. The tea leaf is pretty beat up lots of bits and pieces which reminds me of the tibetan flame from the dame year that I have on hand, but this one is better.dry leaf smelled like smoke, similar or a lapsang but not quite as much pine tar. The Guoyan is very good, not great. The tea elicits a foggy feeling, and some tea drunkeness. the infusion fills my mouth with a brothy consistency indicating umami. I have not detected any bitterness in my 205 degree 30 second infusions. This is one of those teas that really grows on me, the first infusion was unremarkable in any way, but as I have been tasting through now the 5th infusion there is getting to be more to like. 6th infusion a sweet coating is taking hold in the back of my mouth, and now there is a cooling effect in my mouth. This is being brewed in a 175 ml yixing with about 10 grams of tea. Indeed, I like this tea a lot. And honestly it is a shame it is now gone.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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86

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.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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93

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.
Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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78

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.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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71
drank Taj Mahal by Brooke Bond
33 tasting notes

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…

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec

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I’ve been drinking tea for about 15 years now. I started out with a couple of orders from Harney and Son and some local vendors and living in Utah good local tea vendors are very hard to come by… makes me think we might need another one, maybe mine?

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