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Recent Tasting Notes


revisiting this tea after part of the cake has aged broken up in a paper canister for 5 months.

The flavor is more deep and fruity. It feels less cold on the stomach.


How do you like breaking up a cake vs storing it as is?

Asaf Mazar

Thats a good question. I need to compare both to tell. Mt feeling is that it wont be much different in just 5 months time, especially since the compression is so light on many modern cakes.
Due to higher compression in the cetner, I suppose there might be a difference between center of cake and outer part.
According to Daniel from thechineseterasop.com, breaking up a cake and storing in pourous container is the most dramatic thing you can do to speed up aging (aside from moving to a different climate, I suppose)
In any case- this cake is still too immature for my stomach.
What I am enjoying the most these days is 15-20 year old sheng, especially from essence of tea. These may be less fresh and floral than young tea, but for me at least, the comforting, comfortable, calm nature of the aged leaf is much much more pleasant on the body and mind.

Charles Thomas Draper

I love that racy freshness of a younger cake…. I wish I could afford the 15-20 year old or have the restraint to age my young ones….


Asaf, I agree with you. Modern cakes are so tight that aging takes longer. I bought some young tea a bit over a year ago and broke one to put in a Yunnan clay put and the other as it was. If I were to compare them, I’d would have to be side by side, otherwise I wouldn’t notice the difference. But the one in the pot is getting more mellow slightly faster. But I imagine is only good for improving a tea, not so much for long term storage.

Charles, I don’t love really young Puerh, but I long for it some times. I feel like its ‘roughness’ wakes me up with energy. But treat yourself to an aged one from time to time (As a poor guy, I buy one and its my reward tea. Sort of like opening an expensive champagne bottle to celebrate accomplishments :P ).

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tried it twice so far in the usual 180 ml duan ni pot.
first time was outdoors on hot day with a 5-6 g piece from center of cake using spring water.
second time was in office with filtered tap and using un-weighed piece towards outside of the cake.

first session:

1.first few steeps were very floral.
2. first few steeps had a milky color.
3.dry leaves after first rinse smelled like night queen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphyllum_oxypetalum
4.sensation of strong wave of fresh energy coursing through upper body immediately upon first sip.

none of the 4 characteristics above occurred during the second session.

Going to experiment more with this one and will update results here.

UPDATE: tried again in glass pot. none of the milky color or floral aroma of first session. this one is is still young for my tastes. hoping that a few hot humid israeli summers will mellow out the cake and bring out some riper flavors. Ever since I sampled a few 12+ year old shengs I am not in a hurry to drink anything younger.

EDIT: after experimenting a bit more with this tea, my conclusion is that the flavor/aroma are too light for my tastes. On the plus side, it has a certain amount of qi to it. I will put the rest of the cake aside for to age for another few years and hope for the best.

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Predominant characteristic of this tea is a fresh, clean, sweet, pastry dough aroma and flavor. Very pleasant aroma indeed. Good thickness and mouthfeel.
Seems to have practically zero caffeine.
I am not feeling any cha qi on this one. No obvious body sensations or noticeable change in mind state. Just a pleasant smooth sweet clear gentle drink.
EDIT: having experienced it some more, I would say this tea induces a subtle feeling of well being. There is a long lasting feeling of having consumed a delicious pastry, without the full stomach or sugar effects.

I tried it a few times gong fu style short steeps.
last night I experimented with the following system:
4 grams to approx 180 ml. no rinse.
I guess I steeped it for around 30s 30s 50s 40s 5min.
3rd steep was too strong and the 5th was weak.

this is the pot I used: 225 ml yixing http://www.pu-erhtea.com/TeaDetails.aspx?TeaID=631

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Asaf Mazar

DELETEless than a minute ago
The more I drink this tea the more I like it. It feels nourishing to the body and has other pleasant effects that are hard to describe. In has the wholesome good pure life energy that can be felt when kneading whole wheat dough.
This morning I tried it with quick rinse then 3,3,3,5,7,10,15.
100-120 ml to 4.6 grams. This has given me the best results so far. last infusion was weak. will try a 30 sec final infusion next time.

Charles Thomas Draper

I think I read a review from you about a sheng on the Essense of Tea site. Your thoughts are always insightful…

Asaf Mazar

Thanks Charles.
you might want to get a few grams of this stuff before it runs out http://www.essenceoftea.co.uk/tea/puerh-tea/1992-da-ye-loose-leaf-sheng-puerh.html
Essence of the are some of the most through tea vendors I have come across. If you read on their blog they actually test for pestecides on the mao cha they buy and even returned the leaves to one supplier because chemicals were detected at very low concentrations.

Asaf Mazar

By the way I must have not timed it right the first time. Last night tried exactly 4g in exactly 100ml water 3 seconds was too light. seems like it should be starting at around 10-20 seconds as described on the awazon website

Charles Thomas Draper

I have purchased from them. I bought a whole cake of the 2012 Bulang which is superb. I may take your advice and buy the ’92. There is a new maocha single tree which they say is very special that I am also considering….

Asaf Mazar

Just finished off the last 4 grams of the ‘92 da ye loose leaf. Very prominent camphor qualities, sparkling texture and calming qi. In Later steepings the camphor fades to reveal distinct wood qualities. Its got some musty storage notes, which I don’t mind.
seems like another place to get good old tree sheng is awazon.
I just sampled this $20 cake over the weekend:
Its got some potent qi and floral aroma.

Charles Thomas Draper

They sound like they are right up my alley. Thanks

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This cake si QiuCha, 秋茶, tea picked in Autumn (despite confusing information on the vendor’s site) which is also composed of very long stems and large leaf. I was interested in both, the Autumn Yiwu harvest as well as the stems effect. Some people praise the stems for adding a special ingredient to both aroma and flavour and I was wondering how different it could be.

This tea asks for attention from the very first touch. It is simply beautiful. When separating the stems and leaves, they fell apart willingly and spontaneously as if they were giving me the permission to taste them. I must say this is a very special cake in all aspects. It smells wonderful, sweet and fresh. I was trying to figure out the aroma during the whole tea session and unfortunately did not come with anything better than sweet old Yiwu (how poor, I know).

The first rinse was of very deep colour, I therefore expected the first infusion to be the same and it really was.The first infusion has a very deep sweet tone within, it covers all the tongue and throat and it is very promising and calming. The flavour is however as if covered under the lid. There is almost immediate huigan though, sweet, mouth watering, intense and nearly infinite. It brings a special tone of almond skin, coming from sweet to slightly acidic with nutty background trace, offering a symphony of tastes.

This tea is definitely a nice surprise. Its chaqi is very friendly, warming and relaxing and it nicely underlines the whole smooth and pleasant character of the cake. I have had just one single chance to meet this interesting piece but I am sure it will always be a special encounter in the future, especially with such a name (GuanZiZai is Chinese for Avalokiteshavara)

2006 GuanZiZai “Nanlahe” Yiwu 605 [Autumn harvest], 400g
Date of production: November 2006
Type: Raw selected large leaf and stems from YiWu area
Flavour: Sweet and fresh, very interesting
Aroma: Sweet and fruity
Astringency: None
Bitterness / Smokiness: None
Aftertaste: Very long and pleasant

To see the photo documentation or read the whole review, follow the link to my blog:

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