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Recent Tasting Notes
I received a sample of this excellent cake a few months ago and at that time did not feel like trying it. I told myself to wait for the best occasion, as this is what has proved to be a good thing to do. Once the moment comes, everything is perfect. This little sample showed me something very important. I tasted some younger old-tree leaf in autumn 2011 and did not find special pleasure in tasting the leaf so young. This one recruited me!
It is very good, true, but I cannot say it is so much better than other young old-tree leaf samples I drank before. I guess I probably was not ready for appreciating it. Or maybe I was looking for something very specific, something to be found in more aged leaf.. I am now discovering a plethora of flavours which to me seemed a bit boring before but now I simply welcome the change.
This yiwu cake was produced (almost on my birthday) last year by Chawang Shop and you can read all the important information above. I found the leaf to be very nice, rather light green with lovely hairy tips here and there. The light green colour shone beautifully especially after the first rinse and throughout the first hour of the session before it started to oxidize. I enjoyed taking the lid off many times just in order to see the young spring energy embodied in perfect shape.
The flavour is really delicate. It is floral, sweet but very special, it almost reminded me of greener type of oolong from Formosa. I used to drink them a lot few years ago and did not miss it but now, it was as if with each cup I was going through the pages of my old diary. It is quite aromatic, the element I never looked for when drinking shengpu. I however enjoyed every sip of this little wonder. It is a cake with great potential but I cannot say if drinking it in a few years time will be even more satisfying, I can only tell that at this moment it is really worth it.
2011 Chawangpu Yiwu GaoShanZhai Xiao Bing
Flavour: sweet, aromatic, floral, light
Aroma: sweet, fresh, floral, pleasant and promising
Bitterness / smokiness: none
Aftertaste: pleasant, refreshing
To read the whole review see: http://teadropping.blogspot.com/2012/01/2011-chawangpu-yiwu-gaoshanzhai.html
A bit about this one at: http://jakubtomek.blogspot.com/2012/01/several-pieces-from-chawangshop.html
I generally rather enjoyed this one. Nicely aged, very smooth and pleasant.
This is a very nice and “proper” Jinggu tea, I presume it is made from wilder and/or older trees. Clean taste, pleasant, silky bitterness and, considering it is Jinggu, very above-average amount of character.
This cake is a nice piece of sunshine conserved in Chinese leaf. Youle has easily become one of my favourite areas, I like its bittersweet taste, changeable profile, it is never boring and as far as I can say thanks to my brand new experience, it ages nicely.
As I do not have much experience with aged tea, I really cannot say much about its expected characteristics. I can only tell that to me, it tasted almost like some lighter excellent shupu. It is rather sweet and earthy, less fruity and flowery but still sweet. It smells wonderful, like a mixture of old wet leaves and soil with all its richness and beauty.
Drinking this tea, I enjoy the sweetness which turns into bittersweet aftertaste at the back of the tongue. I left the leaf longer than I usually do as I wanted to taste the whole potential of the tea, it reacted nicely. When steeped longer, the amount of bitterness develops and brings with a tone of bitter almond.
To read the whole tea session review, see the blog:
Another real bargain from Chawangshop. I really like pu with a strong character and I like to hunt for them. Yes, it’s pretty unique sheng: decent price for an aged cake, outstanding aroma/taste of boiled prunes, unusual pu area (Mengma).
Very similar to aged Xiaguan tuos, but more interesting for my taste. I’m not sure but I think that it’s a purple puerh. Hard to say because leaves are almost black :)
What a wonderful smell of brewed leaves after ending tea session! Love it, just an example to me how good aged sheng can be!
P.s I recommend to do few rinses with boiling water before brewing. It helps to remove all odours of wet storage. But then you should brew tea with water slightly cooler than usual to get more flavour and more delicate taste.
Probably one of the best (and safe!) buys. If you are going to make an order at Chawangshop (or taobao maybe) I recommend to try this pu. Highly recommended to anyone. At this price, it’s a steal!
I didn’t expect that cheap Mengku cake could be SO good. I tasted a lot of Mengku young shengs: different vendors, different villages, different prices. This cake is a winner!
When I smelled the sample, it was outstanding! The strongest “floral & honey” aroma. When I tasted the soup, I was surprised again… Beautiful scene without any doubts! Reminds me a lot of a mix of the best of Mengku, excellent Nannuo and good green tea.
Thick and potent for a Mengku sheng. Definetely more “beefy” than most of Mengku. I can only imagine how good is pure Xigui gushu. Maybe I’m wrong but I believe in aging potencial of this cake.
One of my everyday choices. Usually I blend it with something different: something nutty (jingmai) or something solid as a rock in terms of taste (menghai/bulang) or something fruity (some autumn youle/yiwu). Everytime the result is great!
Surprisingly good offer from Yong Pin Hao for it’s price.
The taste is pretty unusual for yiwu: rice (very unusual for spring cake!), little bit of honey and cinnamon. Creamy and balanced with sweet aftertaste.
It’s “dark” version of yiwu pu and reminds me more autumn youle than spring yiwu.
Anyway it’s well-valued cake.
I read a lot about Yibang and I know that many people like it. But all Yibang pu I’ve tasted are the same. Pretty sweet yellow soup without any traces of bitterness (and flowers/honey/mushrooms) and it seems boring for my taste.
Just not my kind of pu.
Excellent stuff! Premium spring arbor maocha without doubt.
I started to cough after tasting first cups of GSZ. It’s very powerful and complex!
Main notes: strength, thickness (slightly oily), vegetal profile.
Even more potent than some BanZhang I tested. Recommended for all Yiwu fans (like me).
The best hei cha I’ve ever tasted. Spicy (strong “orchid/cinnamon” aroma) and very sweet (thanks to golden flowers). Reminds me good dark oolongs but in a more interesting way (not so aggressive).
If you like dark oolongs and/or chinese black tea (hei cha) you have to taste this product. Recommended!
I have had the cake at home for a few weeks already and have been coming back to it once in a while to get a more complex impression of its character. It is a nice cake with quite dark broken leaf which had been chopped on purpose (this is at least the official story from the vendor). Some cakes with large leaf are intentionally pressed with the leaf broken which is said to be the tradition, or in order to age well. In my personal humble opinion this tea would be more interesting if pressed more carefully and less traditionally.
The smell of dry leaf is sweet and fruity, and it is not hard to identify the typical Nannuo aroma, it is intense fruity and spicy. The cake is pressed medium light, it is easy to separate chunks of leaf. Due to its rather broken character, it is however quite difficult to get a regular sample and separate the leaves well. After unwrapping the cake there were quite many small particles and fragments of what used to be leaves, and since it was stored in dry environment it is also quite fragile. It seems to contain some amount of stems and huang pian too, yellowed leaves which are normally culled from Pu’er maocha before pressing, but may be worth brewing nonetheless .
The colour of the first infusion is very dark despite short steeping time, it even resembles some hongcha (red tea) in both taste and look. It is sweet on the top of the tongue and very citric afterwards. The citric and a bit minty flavour is so intense that it even paralyzes the tongue for a while. It seems to be the former astringency transformed through some years of aging already, as there are still gentle bitter-astringent tones present in the flavour.
Despite the lemonish trace, the flavour is still sweet and fruity, thirst quenching and refreshing. The leaf is very potent but due to the rather broken character of the leaf it is easy to overbrew it. Everything comes out of the leaf particles immediately in water, you can taste the whole complex character of the tea in the first few infusions. The later infusions are less intense, more mellow but the overall characteristics of the flavour and aroma develop quickly. The rest of the session you can enjoy less citric and more fruity and sweet tones and go like this for approximately ten or twelve infusions, depending on the amount of leaf and water.
Too see some photo documentation of this tea session and to read the full review see my blog entry: http://teadropping.blogspot.com/2011/11/2005-nannuoshan-menghai-banzhang.html
This is one of the most incredible teas I have ever had. The apricot notes are out of this world and yet the roast of the tea is so smooth and well rounded. each infusion was a slight variation on these flavors. I drank this tea for 5 infusions but I have no doubt that it could withstand 10-15 brews. I look forward to my next session with it which will hopefully be a cha xi with my dedicated phoenix pot.
Delicious tea, resembles a mixture of spice (maybe cinnamon), nuts and herbs. The colour is dark red-brown and transparent, the taste is so rich that it is extremely hard to describe. Good tea for colder days despite the fact that hei cha is considered a “cooling” kind of tea. It works well with gongfu style, this kind of preparation allows you to fully enjoy the abundance of tastes of the tea.