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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you Marcus Reed for this sample. While I didn’t feel any noticeable effect from this tea it is quite good. It was sweet with little bitterness and just a little astringency. In fact there were notes reminiscent of honey in this tea, not quite but close. This is a tea I would consider buying. I’ve been meaning to order from Chawangshop for a while now.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.9g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and about a 15 minute rest. The leaves were very densely packed. It was not until the third steep that they began to open up. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
Catching up on my tea notes and cupboard. Purchased this cake very fresh, love the price tag at $22 for a 200g cake. A surprisingly bitter tea, I have some Mengsong Gushu that I used to make a batch of shou and it was mild compared to the Chawangpu cake. Unlike the Hekai Gushu which I want to drink entirely while fresh, this Mengsong is a better tea to age. If I were younger I’d be picking up a tong of this to put away.
I’m impressed with the processing, very little char in my cake and have found that to be the case for most of the house label teas from this vendor, with the exception of the Lao Yun which is a farm production. Chawangshop teas remind me again this year that I don’t need to settle for dirty tea and sticks from some high production factory or other.
Flavors: Bitter Melon, Hay
Catching up on my cupboard and notes. I can’t believe I’ve drunk up nearly half this cake so far this summer. But it has been my go-to daily drinker for a couple of months now. This cake is packed full of buds and has that champagne grape profile of higher tier Yiwu, but at a fraction of the price. A nice change from apricot sheng if you know what I mean.
The tea is a little bitter when pushed, but I like this fresh profile while the tea is new, and less so once it hits a year old, so I’m trying to drink it up young. No expansive qi or terribly subtle qualities. In the summer, I get overheated on a daily basis and struggle with water retention from heat and BP medications. This tea cools my body in two cups, yep hot tea. Very yin. My interior heat cools, and I begin to pee out all the water my body is holding. I feel immensely better just after a couple cups. Yeah kinda gross, I know, but we all have our symptoms.
I get maybe 8-10 steeps tops, so I can finish this off in an evening or maybe a couple cups left the following day. I tried cold brewing this since the hot brew is such a nice light yellow/green, but it doesn’t really hold up cold. The brew turns dark and more bitter in the fridge.
Gotta recommend this for the higher tier flavor and budget price tag. My pick for a daily drinker from the 2015 Chawangshop house teas, but not an age-r. A better choice for aging is the 2015 Mengsong.
Flavors: Green, White Grapes
Got this one out for brewing tonight. I picked 9 grams off for the gaiwan. I gave a quick rinse and then 3 quick steeps as fast as I could pour.
The liquid is a very light yellow color. It has an almost tropical aroma as some one mentioned. Vaguely like an aroma of pineapple.
The tea is mineral and vegetal in the first cup. There is some light citrus and it has a medium body mouth feel to it.
Second steep(s), The tea opens up a bit more. It has a bitter punch that goes sweet and back to a faint bitterness. It starts to give a little tongue buzz on the tip and sides. Just a wisp of smokiness in there as well. Very nice leaf opening up in the gawain.
Flavors: Bitter, Mineral, Pineapple, Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal
I guess I’m the first review on this one. I had a friend mention it in a blog and another had it in their cupboard and another post on how good this shop was. I agree.
I got 10 grams out and gave a quick rinse. I did 3 steepings and put them in a big western mug. I read the sellers description and started sipping.
The brew is light golden in the cup. First sip gave a touch of bitterness that faded quickly a wisp of smoke and the closest note I can find is cotton candy on the taste buds. It gives a bit of tingle on the tongue as well. The 3-6 steeps were as far as I got today but the bitterness is increasing in the later steeps.
This is a very interesting tea for sure.
Flavors: Bitter, Cotton Candy, Smoke
A co-worker of my husband’s gave us half a kilo of this tea (at least, I’m pretty sure it’s this tea…) and it was amazing. It only needed to be steeped for maybe a minute or two and the flavor was already very strong. It was chocolate-y, and even after five steepings, the flavor was still quite strong with milk and sugar added. Looking forward to enjoying this tea for a long time!
Vanilla and camphor play together in this tasty and gorgeous offering. Leaves the mouth full of the camphor “shuang”… and vanilla. Smells great. Has some bitterness in the later infusions and very slight smoke in the first couple. It’ll give you at least 10 infusions and once it gets going only takes about five seconds. It’s a drinkable cookie, with the bitter tweak that characterizes most raw pu’er.
Flavors: Camphor, Smoke, Sweet, Vanilla
Dry – Bittersweet, slightly earthy, vanilla, cocoa beans rich bitter notes.
Wet – Bittersweet and sweet, dates, starch, cocoa bean bitterness, thick and dark fruits. Some fruity notes develops with some steeps.
Liquor – Red amber to very deep burgundy.
Initial steeps start sweet, quickly transitioning to bittersweet notes with good complex middle that wears vanilla, cocoa bean and dark fruit notes with a thick body and a pleasant smoothness as it washes down, it feels like it goes from a creamy thickness to a more silky (maybe lightly oily) mouth-feel. It has a good sweetness at the end with fruit notes and a slight camphor. Steeps 2-3 got more camphor at the end, not overwhelming just present and refreshing at the end.
Mid steeps (4-6 maybe 7) Are Bittersweet on the front that transitions to sweeter notes that resemble vanilla, molasses and warm sugar before giving hints of the cocoa bean notes, dried dark and red fruits with a thick middle body and maintaining that transition to a smoother, almost slippery sensation when going down. A refreshing sensation of camphor lingers with fruity sweetness.
Final steeps (7-9, some instances up to 10) The tea starts collapsing by the 6th steeps and sometimes by the 7th, requiring bigger time adjustments and giving you a watery steep in the middle of this transition. Once you adjust the tea recovers many of its characteristics including the bittersweet to sweet transition and a vague thickness sensation, but remains mostly smooth with sweeter notes of vanilla and dried dark and red fruits. At this point there’s a starchy note and sensation that can come from the small buds starting to fall apart a bit.
VERY good tea, it does have as much ‘chocolate’ or ‘cocoa’ as I initially expected, but it does have more complexity that most ripes, even some well outside its price range. I would drink as it is, but I can see this being really good if you store it in a container to ‘harvest’ some of those complex notes.
Flavors: Camphor, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Sweet, Vanilla
i got a sample recently and decided to try last night.
This tea is really good. it has no storage smell or taste. at all. just aged ripe shou, extremely clean but i wouldnt say its flat . its rich,creamy, fruity( more like red fruits),some malt and super clean. its a pure pleasure to drink 2002 tea without any mustiness or fermentation flavors. if only Chawang shipping wasnt that tricky.
This is the huang pian cake in the 2012 Chawangshop Yiwu line of cakes. I purchased it in 2014 for $12, it is now $14 in 2015. Read the vendor description carefully so you know what you are getting because the cake name is a little misleading. The tea is supposedly 1/2 Yiwu leaves, and all the leaf is supposed to have been picked prior to April 8. Leaf quality is thin and papery.
I packed a lot of leaves into my gaiwan, expecting this to be on the lighter side, which it is. The first two steeps confirm the smattering of Yiwu leaves but I notice on steep 1 that boiling water kills the tea and flattens the flavor. 190-200 is more ballpark for this. On steep 3 and subsequent steeps the other “half” of the leaves emerge with a rather ordinary plantation apricot flavor. The little Yiwu sister is chased away by her bigger and badder brother.
Not much body here, in steep 5 I’m swishing the leaves to add a little steep time. And nothing offensive in the tea, very light overall but I’m disappointed at the rather ordinary taste. I wish this had kept the Yiwu leaf throughout or even some Laotian leaf for that other half. But then the low price speaks for itself. Given the amount of leaf I used, I can probably use up this 200 g cake quickly.
Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Hot hay
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I think this was the tea Stephanie so generously sent me a sample of! It was really interesting at first. During the rinses, frothy bubbles, like from champagne, were in the liquor. It bothered me a bit because I’ve never seen that before, so I rinsed it a few more times and that went away, leaving a nice clear golden liquor. Phew! The taste was absolutely delicious…fruity sweet and smooth like butter. It actually had a buttery mouthfeel, which became more pronounced in later infusions. I again, lost count of the infusions. That happens to me a lot when I am enjoying a sheng!
I’m not certain this is the right tea. It is the tea that I ordered, but I received a sample envelope with “2011” written on it instead of “2008”. I think the error may be in the envelope, since 1) CWS doesn’t sell a 2011 version, and 2) the tea seems to have more than 4 years age.
The aroma is straw with some smoke. Fairly rich taste makes me think that 2008 may be the correct year for this. Good, somewhat earthy finish. It makes an attempt at good texture, but is too astringent at the finish to carry it off. 3rd and 4th steeps were too astringent to enjoy, so I shortened my steeps. The astringency went away and I was left with a pleasant straw flavor with a bit of wood underneath: not exciting, but enjoyable.
Dry – Tart fruits, honeyed and faintly greenwood notes (bitterness).
Wet – Sweet (honeyed), fruity, stonefruit?, orange peel, plummy, mineral and bitter floral-fruit notes. This later evolves into a more invasive Zhu (Bamboo scented) perfumy note, maybe even sandal wood.
Liquor – Dull Gold(no clear liquor) and have a spice? scent to it.
Initial steeps 1-2 (maybe 3rd) Plenty floral honey notes with a muted sweetness that follows it. The mouth feel is thick, but in a ‘waxy’ spectrum of thickness, almost like getting chap-stick in your tongue. The middle develops a savory notes as it goes down that linger a bit into the finish, but develops a floral bitterness after it washes away. The second and third steep have more fruity notes up front with a similar finish.
Middle steeps 4-5 Initial notes are floral bittersweet and floral honey with the same muted honey sweet, but once it starts to develop the fruity notes it also develops this green wood note combined with a bamboo frangrance/sandal wood perfumy note; it is still sort of pleasant, but definitelly more invasive than the previous notes. The finish stays fairly similar with some of tha perfumy/wood note. The thickness is still in there, the savory note however is playful and only apparent sometimes since it is mostly taken over by the wood and floral notes.
Final steeps 5-6+ Although I was starting to disagree with it during the 4-5th steeps, I could still enjoy most of it, but now the Floral bitterness is most of the notes with some honey that it is immediately followed by the perfumy note that still reminds me of a young Zhu/bamboo stored Sheng that has that Sandal wood perfume/incense character to it.
This notes hold the possibility of developing into really pleasant notes 10-15 years, but I don’t think I have the dedication to wait for this one, I’d rather focus on others. I’ll keep this brick around to see if it improves, but I’ll gladly ‘lose it’ if I need more space.
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Flavors: Floral, Green Wood, Honey, Perfume
Drinking this now and I dare to say that I am really enjoying it! Jinggu is an area for tea leaves with which I am not terribly experienced or familiar. The main thing I know is that the Jinggu area has many mountains and villages producing high quality teas (many from older tea trees). The aroma of the dry leaves is clearly aged – mostly whole (rather large) leaves with a few stems mixed in. The tea soup is dark orange, with a hint of savory brown in its color. The texture is thick – smooth on the lips and filling the mouth with vibrancy on the tongue. Overall, there is an enjoyable mild bitterness but it is also quite sweet to the point of being nicely balanced; active in the mouth and throat; nice warming effect; lingering pleasant aftertaste.
Update: Three days later and still working with these same leaves. On the 12th infusion and steeping for 25 seconds. The leaves still have more to give.
This is a nice somewhat aged pu erh. The first few steps were kind of mushroomy, but later steeps were a bit fruity. It had a nice Amber color. The tea held up to many infusions, so I’d say the leaf quality was high. Not much astringency, for better or worse. It’s kind of expensive, $142 for 400g, I only bought a sample.
I once thought that Sheng was feminine in comparison to its counterpart Shu; I stand corrected. This is a powerful brew! I opened the wrapper to reveal a dull green and jade Tou Cha. With pick in hand, I began separating a generous amount. A small and faint aroma of grass and shale emitted from the bird’s nest. I brewed in my yixing with boiling water. The wet leaves emit the scent of smoke, bitter greens and a sweet undertone. I washed the leaves. By the second steeping I was drunk. This brew has an intense overwhelming menthol flavor. It dominated with sharp and bitter with slight astringency. I could only hint at the sweet undertone after drinking and allowing my mouth to relax. I thought maybe that the sharp would die down and the flavor would plateau, but I was wrong. The intensity of this never died down. I assumed it to be slightly deepened, considering its twelve years old. I also came to expect a slightly lower quality considering price. I’m not sure if this Sheng is good or not, I couldn’t muster the strength to steep after round seven. If you enjoy an incredibly powerful sheng then this is for you. Also, as a last note, I do enjoy the box it comes in. I think it would come in handy for storage.
Flavors: Bitter, Menthol, Smoke, Sweet, warm grass