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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea has the qualities of a classic ripe pu-erh taste (earthy and smooth). It also has a rich mossy smell that comes across in the taste and sets it apart from other aged shou that I have tried. It has a quality all it’s own. I hesitate to say it, but it smells almost musty (but that turns out to be a good thing here).
I found that when I steep this tea at 185 for 60 seconds initial brew I get a much more pleasing flavor profile of chocolate, raisin & nut. With this tea you have to use more leaf than you are accustomed to in order to get a strong flavor. The dry leaf aroma is amazing! I eventually will, on my 6th infusion, steep for up to 3min at 185 each infusion. Formosa Yancha does change to a fruity almost malty flavor after the 5 th infusion. This has been a converter tea for me. I make this tea for people who have never experienced loose leaf tea or Oolong, and are only familiar with the typical mass produced bagged black teas. This is a tea that will impresse new tea drinkers without overwhelming them. I still drink this tea, it is a wonderful cold weather or foggy morning brew. There is a welcome astringency & a comforting quality about this tea. I have at times picked up a note of mint, I have even had those I made the tea for ask if there was mint in it.
Disclaimer #1: My experience with puerh is limited to cooked (“shou”) varieties. Disclaimer #2: Astringent brews are, for lack of a better phrase, not my cup of tea.
My first taste of this green puerh, which I brewed at 212 F for 1 minute in a gaiwan, really hit me in the back of the throat. No bitterness – but it was astringent to the point of being almost “chewy.” In the light of my disclaimers, one might conclude that this purchase was a mistake. Au contraire. Amidst the sharpness, I detected a clean, crisp flavor – like sun-dried linen – with subtle vegetal undertones. Adjusting the steeping time to about 15 seconds made all the difference. I’m surprised at how easily the leaves yield up their flavor. I have yet to discover just how many steepings this puerh offers, as my stomach always tells me that it has had enough (apparently 8 infusions is my limit) before the leaves become exhausted. Looking forward to drinking this cake over the next few years.
Based on the description and the price I was initially concerned with what I was going to be getting when I ordered this tea. Fortunately, I was delighted to find it was an incredibly great tea! This is a tea I’ve frankly been avoiding posting on here because I didn’t want too many to find out about how awesome this tea is. Basically the second I first opened the bag it comes in, I knew it was going to be something delightful – the aromas coming from the bag a light earthy tone with distant smells of camphor and menthol. The leaves themselves are in good shape as well. The aroma of the tea when wet is very pleasant, invoking feelings of nostalgia with the light earthy smells. The taste is one of the key things to this tea that I find hard to pass up. This is a very reasonably priced and well made aged puerh from the 1990’s. The aging has been done perfectly, and this comes through in all facets of this tea.
When I made this up with some friends, we basically came to a conclusion on this tea that it is “a perfect introduction to puerh for many, and one that is both affordable and of high quality”. While I’ve had aged puerhs from as far back as the early 70’s, which are amazing, this is a very good puerh for every day consumption that won’t hurt your wallet.
Just another note – this is a tea that takes a while to lose all flavor, so I find myself steeping it many more times than other teas. It opens up nicely after the first few steepings and mellows out very nicely after a while.
I’ve come to really enjoy this tea more and more each time I prepare it. I’m amazed at how crisp and mellow this tea is at this stage. The leaves of this cake aren’t just large they’re HUGE. I compared this cake with another cake from Nannou from 2007 (this cake is 2006) and was very impressed with this cake in comparison. In general top notch flavor, it’s not bitter, and it’s great tasting now – but I plan on keeping some for aging purposes.
For steeping it, I’ve found the higher temperatures seem to work well with it, I prefer to use a yixing pot with it, and let it steep for a long time after the first few times. This is a very approachable pu erh, and as noted, I’m enjoying this tea more and more with each tasting.
Update: The first time I steeped this, I didn’t use enough leaves which prevented much of the flavor and aroma from coming out. After giving more time and more leaves I found it to be a very good tea, and had to reassess my initial post. I could smell an apple vinegar aroma off the tea, which was very pleasant, and yet this scent didn’t translate into a sour taste or anything unpleasant with the tea taste. The taste was very pleasant, upon steeping for nearly an hour it became very fruity in both aroma and taste. Very good tea! I’d disregard my initial posting below, and leave it as a cautionary note about using the right amount of leaves when steeping.
I really wanted to like this tea more, but while it is a good tea, I didn’t find it particularly exceptional in any area. The chocolatey aroma of the dry leaves left me initially impressed, but after steeping it, I didn’t find it open or expose anything amazing in the flavor department. The taste was pleasant with smooth well balanced flavor notes, the chocolate aroma accented with a slight nutty and earthy flavor was good. Despite this, compared to some other cliff tea I’ve had – it wasn’t as strong for flavor as I would like, so I may try steeping it with more tea next time and that may help. Again, certainly not a bad tea, in fact a very good tea, but just not one of my top ranking teas either.
This is a tea produced by Tillerman Teas and sold by Bon Teavant Market. It may now be out of stock as I can’t find it now on either web site.
Opening the package, I was hit by a very un-white tea scent. The tea is dark and has a heady, rich scent that reminds me of raisins. Is this really a white tea?
On brewing, it reminds you that yes, it’s a white tea. The liquor is very pale, a very light yellow, and it has the hay-like scent of many other white teas.
The flavor, however, is where this tea is special. I thought my first sip was fairly similar to some of the white peony teas I’d had, a slightly hay like flavor, refreshing and light. Or it did, until the finish, when a dark fruity flavor developed on my tounge. Like raisins, but not sweet. It’s a BIG white tea, where the flavors come as a surprise.
The tea does not have the buttery mouthfeel of some other whites I’ve had, like silver needle, but does have a nice body to it.
Overall, this is an emensely enjoyable white. It might help some of you who tend to think that “white tea is just slightly colored water” find a tea you like.