8 Tasting Notes

75

I’ve waited a while to review this – never felt like I was getting the brew just right based on other’s feedback. Today, think I nailed it, partly because I let a 62% humidipack sit in with this. Should preface by saying I live in the desert, so relative humidity is very low here.

Western style – hot taste and smell of barley and faint raw pistachios. Flavor follows along on the same notes with a thin mouthfeel that becomes more astringent as it cools. Lemon zest notes that others have mentioned come forward as it cools, as does a general vegetal taste and a dry dustiness and hay. About a halfway through the cup I’m a bit bored.

Flavors: Dust, Hay, Lemon Zest, Nuts, Roasted Barley, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML
DrowningMySorrows

Nice to see someone else is using humidifier packets in their tea. It’s not quite desert here but the relative humidity stays around 20-25% in my house. I added Boveda packs to my tea boxes about a year ago and I think it’s helping my tea stay delicious. I put in Boveda Butler hygrometers too so I can easily check if I need new packs or to air out the boxes for a while or anything.

Chris Blanton

This is the kind of hard-hitting tea knowledge that gets me moist! I’ve been using Boveda packs for cigars and cannabis for a long time now and have humidity levels from 62-72. Going to play around with what works best for what teas but I think I’m going high humid in the puer and lighter in other stuff to start. I think the salt-based chem of these is perfect for tea – I’ve never noticed any taste effect from the packs but I give almost every tea a quick bath before steeping as well. ShuPu gets more bath time.

Chris Blanton

One more thing – you can revive Boveda packs in a ziplock with a paper towel soaked in distilled water. This trick works indefinitely.

derk

I’m repeating myself here since I just this evening commented on another Steepster’s storage:

I’m too lazy to bother with humidity packs and techno-hygrometers. My smaller crocks are airtight, the large ones meant for kraut are covered with loose-fitting terracotta saucers that I keep damp with distilled water, monitored with a basic hygrometer-thermometer. My storage isn’t intended to age sheng pu’er, but to keep it at adequate moisture levels during our long, dry summers.

Chris Blanton

Oh man I’m too lazy for all that terra cotta business and my crocks are busy w the sourdoughs but that sounds medium-pimpin

DrowningMySorrows

I have the big 65% packs in my pu-erh and pressed white tea boxes but my humidity readings are usually a bit lower than that. I don’t think my Sterilite storage bins with gasket in the lid are completely airtight so that might be why it’s usually closer to 60%. I haven’t noticed that the packs leave any taste on the teas either but I don’t have them in direct contact with the tea leaves. I haven’t had to revive a pack yet but good to know it works.

derk

It’s simple for me since I keep my large crocks stacked at the foot of my bed. Basically when I put clean sheets on the bed, I touch the terracotta. Dry? Pull out the gallon from under the bed and splash.

Guh, sourdough, drool. Haven’t tended to that in a while. Ever ferment teff for injera?

Chris Blanton

DrowningMySorrows – that seems like a good humidity to me! Cheers and happy brewin!

Chris Blanton

derk – love me some sourdough bread, I’m eating some toast n eggs right now with a fantastic cup of Ancient Green Tuo from Arbor. I nailed this brew and am getting some incredible returning sweetness. Cannot wait (he said mistakenly) for my first order of W2T to get in!!

derk

Have fun exploring white2tea! His teas’ character seem to draw out my inner writer. Looking forward to your experiences :)

Chris Blanton

Holy crap me also!! I get the feeling like it’s going to be a while, or maybe I convinced myself of that, but in any case I hedged my bets with two sheng cakes from Crimson Lotus’ Seattle inventory to ‘hold me over’. :D

DrowningMySorrows

Chris – both of my White2Tea orders took about a month to arrive. Not sure when you ordered or how much Chinese New Year is slowing things down this year but it might not take too long for your teas to arrive. My Yunnan Sourcing orders took much longer, 2-3 months I think…it felt like forever.
Which teas did you get from Crimson Lotus? I haven’t tried any of their stuff yet but I’ve been contemplating an order.

Chris Blanton

DMS – I ordered right at the end of Jan and figured the New Year was probably going to be a month-long holiday but who knows? I will continue to wait ‘patiently’. ;) Two-three months is pretty bananas.
From CLT I ended up getting 2019 Low Rider and 2019 Radio KXQM. Oolong Owl’s write up of Low Rider being an oolong-lover’s sheng sold me and derk’s review of the 2018 KXQM sounded really intriguing. Honestly, probably could have tried anything in their Seattle stock and loved it. :)

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90

Trying a different style – using a 1/4 tuo, rinse, western steep for 7m boiling water.

Finally found the bitter in this one and I like it! That’s flavor country! Bittersweet chocolate and peat on the hot. Oversteeped? Sure, but still tasty! Wild Tree just wants love.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Wet Moss

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 14 OZ / 414 ML
derk

Heck yeah. For the several years I’ve been drinking sheng, I’ve never tried western.

derk

Whoops this is shou. Either way, heck yeah :P

Chris Blanton

Haha! She’s a shou through and through with that signature funk in the tuo smell – which I actually love in this one at least. I’ve never tried gongfu but reading all you and other pros notes, man I really should.

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86

The compression on these little young green sheng tuos is all over the map – from iron cake rivets to falling apart in your fingers. The same applies to color and consistency of the tea itself. I’ve been toying with how best to brew this for a week or so and now I go with whatever seems most appropriate for the tuo. For the iron ones, I’ve left them whole, boiling water, short brew time. For the loose ones, I break them in half, reduce temp to 200F (93C) and steep for just a bit longer. I’m going to try to go even lower temp in future sessions to try and drive out the best, given that they’re green. Just be forearmed and know that if you oversteep this, you’re in for a bitter pistol-whipping.
Hot smell is fresh hay and warm crackers. Taste of the soup when hot is just a hint sweet, grass and alcohol; clean and inviting at this point. As it cools the smell transforms into jammy, honey, fruit tree flowers, shedding its lighter character for more depth and astringency. That bright fresh grass flavor is still the mainliner, but now alcohol notes are rushing the main stage with some summer floral character and stonefruit.
This is a real gem if you brew it just right, but mediocre if you don’t and it’s persnickety. it’s a pretty good value IMO, organic and from a shop that supports fair trade practices.

Flavors: Alcohol, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Stonefruits

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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80

Tried this one again with a slightly different approach – shorter time brew time, more tea, slightly hotter. Results were disappointing. Brine is the predominant note in this configuration until the cup cooled, giving way to floral and slightly mineral notes. Go long on brew time with this one to draw out it’s best performance.

Preparation
0 OZ / 0 ML

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86

Light and refreshing with almost no astringency – this tea is delicate yet still engaging without too thin a mouthfeel. Flower and mineral are the predominant flavors, but it doles those out in great balance. Little to no earthy, woody, grass/hay notes in this which I think is a nice departure.

Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Rose

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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80

little knotted leaves smell of kale and unripe melon. The brew smells invitingly polen, floral, honey – a real mood lifter. The soup is pleasantly bitter at it’s hottest point, opening into honeysuckle, pollen, greens, light rye, honey and green melon. Steady astringency provided ample mouthfeel, giving way to hints of sweetness as it cooled. Refreshing and invigorating.

Flavors: Floral, Green, Honeysuckle, Kale, Rye

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 6 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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90

This cute little tuo is my go-to drink right now. The cakes are generally well packed but still pretty easy to break apart and smell delightfully like, well, pussy. The steam coming off the pour smells even better, like fresh dewy moss and sweet malt. The flavor is rich, changing and maturing as the soup cools; stonefruits and warm bread and a nice backdrop of damp deciduous forest, maybe bamboo? It’s mouthfilling with a gentle astringency.

I like to break this over a bed of Arbor’s Makaibari Oolong right now, which adds astringency and hay notes and I think they compliment each other well.

Flavors: Apricot, Malt, Moss, Mushrooms, petrichor

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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