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Recent Tasting Notes
Brewed up 9 grams in about 110 ml water, two rinses and long 30 second first steep. This tea cake is only a few months old, essentially fresh green tea leaves and not really fermented at all yet. My tong of this tea is quite fragrant sitting in crock storage.
Laos tea cakes are often compared with Yiwu because the Phongsaly area of villages is just over the border from Yunnan. The tea doesn’t disappoint in this comparison, very floral and mellow, with lemony undertone. I pushed the tea because I am used to a much stronger puerh brew.
My shoving of the tea got me 5 good steeps before showing signs of fade in the soup color. No real smoke here to speak of. The leaf quality is excellent, with buds and whole leaves. I am not sure why this tea cake costs less than half the price of the neighboring village cakes which Chawangshop also sells, maybe this cake is just more mild. But the $22 price tag drops to $19 per cake with a purchase of a tong of 5, I paid $96 for the tong. I think this is a great steal either way if you want a mellow Yiwu flavor.
At the same time, Chawangshop’s own 2012 Yiwu costs only $12 for the same size cake. I have that cake too, but don’t feel it is fair to compare Yunnan with Laos cakes even though the border is a political division and not really how tea trees decide where to grow. We do know about the Laos cakes as the government there strictly bans any pesticide or artificial fertilizer use in the region on tea trees.
Great choice of tea cake for people who enjoy fresh “puerh” cakes. Gulp without guilt. Works for me.
Much different narrative than this plus a couple photos at http://deathbytea.blogspot.com
Flavors: Floral, Green, Lemon
A fruity sheng made entirely from You Le Mountain tea leaves now aged over 10 years – a very nice tea for a decent price! Tightly compressed cake with many whole leaves and buds throughout. The material used is from an autumn picking and yields a clear golden yellow tea liquor with a spicy scent. The first infusions offer a fruity flavored tea but it carries a tart sweetness (a sweetness with a bite). Later cups are more mellow and fruity – berries and peaches. The aftertaste is long and sweet.
Produced in the Jinuo Mountain tea factory of Xi Shuang Banna. Handmade by the Jinuo minority group inhabiting the You Le Mountain area. Cakes are made using classic traditional methods developed over hundreds of years of tea growing.
This Nannuo Mountain tea is sun-dried and fairly potent yet easy to drink. There is an appealing bitterness and it provides a surprising spectrum of tastes – aged-worn leather, forest wood and tobacco but there is also a bit of fruity sweetness (maybe plum) present. The gold tea soup was a tad cloudy and there were a few stem pieces in the mixture of leaves I picked off from the moderately compressed cake. Nice huigan which builds throughout the session leaving an aftertaste which offered a pleasant cooling effect. I found this tea very easy to like. A good moderately aged tea at the very fair price of $39 for the 357g cake.
I purchased this tea looking for a less expensive comparison to white2tea’s 2005 Naka which is a real stoner tea. Chawangshop doesn’t make claims about this tea, but it appears to be the wild mountain leaf tea just like the other Naka I like. This tea has been dry stored, and has no humid smells, but it is very green, tightly compressed with hardly any aging. It comes wrapped in paper rather than in the bamboo.
I don’t taste any bamboo flavor which is slightly disappointing, but the apricot taste is pleasant and not smoky. Psychoactive effect confirmed, not as intense as the other Naka I like, but there. I ate a bag of chips afterward. At $7.50 per 100 grams, this is a value buy and I don’t expect to see it in the shop long. I just wish it were a bit more aged, and that I would have time left to age it.
More and comparisons with other Naka teas on my blog: http://deathbytea.blogspot.com
Dry – Sweet, faintly flowery and fruity, refreshing.
Wet – Honeyed sweetness, faint bittersweet floral notes, some thickness, fruity.
Liquor – Golden/Light amber.
The initial cups are sweet that resembles mellow honey and has subtle fruity and floral notes. The body is medium to full, but not the most lasting. I would describe it as being full initially and keeps a medium body as it washes down. The broth is sweet, fruity,floral and mellow with a smooth body and some thickness. The bitterness is very subtle, almost non-existent at this point.
Mid session the liquor has some more floral notes and the sweetness is not as strong as the initial two or three cups. The Honey notes are still there, but take a backseat to the floral that is still gentle and smooth, the liquor maintains a medium body and is mostly smooth with minor astringency appearing at the end of each sip.
The final cups have an initial floral with faded fruity notes and some ‘vegetal’/green notes with some astringency. There’s still sweetness left in the cup, just not as apparent or as forward, but still enjoyable. The tea is holding up pretty well for the age and most of the young notes are herbaceous with astringency.
A very nice tea, specially for the price range. This is a recommended for those who enjoy mellow teas or people still getting used to Puerh. It isn’t flashy, it is subtle and mellow with not much change in the session. The huigan fairly lasting and the final astringency is not overwhelming at all.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey
Got a sample of this with my recent Chawangshop order, based on a positive review from the Half Dipper. It is indeed a power pu, nice and thick, some real bitterness at certain points in the brews, and good flavor, though not outstanding. It gives and gives. I liked it, though not enough to order a cake. I’d recommend giving it a whirl if you order from them.
Full steam ahead!!! This has got to be the most hopped up I’ve ever gotten from drinking a tea. I bought this on a whim, since the description implies it is similar to Mangfei teas. I love the Yunnan Sourcing Mangfei teas, which also get me quite hopped up, so I thought I’d give this one a try. It is pretty good. It holds up well, has a nice golden color. Some sweetness, astringency that you might expect in a young tea, and good all around flavor. It’s not stellar, but I like it quite a bit, especially for $22 a cake.
This tea is fairly strong, bitter, and astringent, but seems like it might age well. It is sturdy. Light and crisp, citrusy, but with medium body. I wouldn’t care to drink much of it now, it is quite young. But it definitely has character. I will put it away for a few years and try it again. And it is only $17 for 200g.
I purchased this tea with a recent order from Chawangshop. It was only $6.50 for a 250g brick, and I love Langhe teas, so I decided to give it a try. It is also wrapped in bamboo, so how could I resist? It is a pretty good tea, and a great bargain. It is a light ripe, burgundy color. Not heavily fermented like other Langhe ripes I’ve tried. But it is clean tasting and has that Langhe smoothness to it. If you like light ripes, this is a great one to try.
Lubitsch and Guangdong Feng Huang Dan Cong Wudong Song Zhong: a mouthful one is not likely to forget!
I sip this rapturous oolong while watching pre-code Ernst Lubitsch musicals. The flavors in the cup seem to flirt, wink, intermingle like the characters on the screen. Innuendos of passion beneath a flowery dress. Always hinting at something all-together naughty and wild. But, ah, here is the mouthfeel, honeyed as if sung by Maurice Chevalier himself. With eyebrow raised. Irrepressible sweetness, notes of Turkish Delight, fresh apricot, tiger lilies, dancing girls, glitz, and clever wit.
The brick looked more green than another Fu Zhuan I’ve had. This tea was comprised of mainly cut leaves and stems; there were quite a bit of stems. As I started to separate chucks of tea from the brick, I noticed “Jin Hua” or “Golden Flowers” growing on the inside. The brewed leaves smelled musty and sweet.
The brewed tea was medium brown, and smelled sweetly musty just as the leaves did. The flavor was light, sweet, a bit earthy, grassy, and nutty in the aftertaste. On the second sip, mossy undertones were also noticeable.
This brew was more full-bodied than the first, and wasn’t as sweet. There was a fungal flavor present in the aftertaste this time. The mossy qualities had gone down, but a light earthiness was still present.
This steeping smelled a bit sweeter than the second, and tasted likewise. A coppery fungal flavor was still present in the aftertaste. The nutty and woody flavors mingled well. The third sip reminded me of honey.
Though this tea had many stems and is comprised of 2nd quality material, I still enjoyed it. This offers quite a good tasting experience given the price. I’ll let the rest of the brick age as it will be quite interesting to see any changes.
This tea was packed in a small bamboo basket. I decided to brew the tea using two separate methods in one full review. The first method is without the bamboo wrapping, and the second is with the bamboo wrapping. It will be interesting to see the differences between the two.
As I opened the top bamboo basket, I was welcomed to a sweet fragrance. The short, dark tea leaves were mostly caked lightly together, however a few on the top were loose. The brewed leaves smelled sweet, chocolaty, and a bit woody. The leaves softened up quite a bit, and some revealed themselves to be a dark brown rather than black.
Without Bamboo Wrapping
The brew was a reddish brown, and completely clear; it smelled sweet and mossy. The flavor was sweet, floral, woody, and very smooth.
This steeping was sweeter than the first. There was an aftertaste similar to a nutty honey. It was lightly floral, and remained woody through the finish.
The color of this brew was much lighter than the first. The nuttiness had increased from previous brews. A sweet smoky flavor had also developed in the aftertaste.
With Bamboo Wrapping
The complexion was much the same as the brew without bamboo wrapping. The flavor difference was apparent immediately upon sipping. The tea was sweeter, smoky, woody, and just as smooth. The aftertaste was more noticeable, and tasted the same.
This steeping was sweeter than the first, paralleling the brew without wrapping. Though the separate methods result in similar qualities of flavor and aroma, they produce different combinations of each. The different combinations of flavor and aroma made this steeping of the bamboo wrapping-infused tea more full bodied and concrete than the other. It tasted woody, sweet, and a bit smoky, but also a bit grassy and nutty in the finish. This steeping had more character.
I noticed a bit of earthiness in this brew. Perhaps it was the mossy and woody qualities mixing together more. There was a definite nutty aftertaste which lasted quite long.
This tea was very smooth, woody, nutty, and sweet throughout both methods. I prefer to enjoy the tea with the wrapping.
In order to remove the tea, I had to peel the bamboo shell away from the tea. There was quite a bit of bamboo dust caked on the outside of the tea, and it looked like an insect had previously burrowed tunnels throughout the inner wall of the bamboo- perhaps that was the cause of the dust.
After removing as much bamboo dust as I could, I split the cylindrical tea into little cakes and separated the leaves from each other. There were a little bit of “Jin Hua” or “Golden Flowers” growing on the leaves, but the fungus was scarce. The brewed leaves smelled earthy, woody, mossy, and had a slight hint of baking flour aroma.
The brewed tea was dark brown with a slight reddish hue, and smelled nutty. It tasted earthy, woody, and sweetly grassy. Each sip left a long lasting nutty aftertaste. The tea was very mild
This steeping was very earthy and nutty. The flavor reminded me of mild pu-erh. The aftertaste this time was sweet and mossy. Each sip was silky smooth and the liquor was surprisingly clear given the bamboo dust that was previously caked on.
This brew was the mildest. It tasted malty along with the woodiness and earthiness from the earlier brews. It wasn’t as sweet, and the nutty aftertaste had returned. The grassy notes were completely gone.
I decided to brush off any remaining bamboo dust from the rest of the dry tea and stored it in a separate container for further aging.
The long, dark leaves were quite fragrant. They smelled slightly smokey, floral, and fruity. The brewed leaves smelled fruity and sweet. The smokiness wasn’t present as in the dry leaves.
The Oolong was a reddish-brown color. The tea smelled buttery, floral, and fruity. The first sip tasted like honey. Then I began to taste the buttery sweetness from the aroma, as well as the fruity and floral notes.
The second brew was again buttery-sweet. There was a long-lasting floral aftertaste between sips. The fruity notes changed a bit from the first steeping, but were still present.
This brew was a golden color. It was also the fruitiest tasting. The aftertaste was more like honey than it was floral. The tea was very smooth, and crystal clear as well.
The tea was packaged in a small bag, which was encased in an ornate silk bag.
The leaves of this Oolong were lightly compressed into a small square brick. I was able to remove every leaf whole by gently wiggling the brick. The leaves were dark green and black, with some white tips showing. The brewed tea smelled very fruity. It reminded me of plum, blueberries, and perhaps a citrus.
The brewed tea smelled fruity and floral. The brew’s color was a light golden-brown. The tea’s flavor was very delicate. It was sweet, floral, and fruity. The aftertaste was long-lasting between sips, and tasted of honey.
This brew tasted more fruit-like, both during sips and in the aftertaste. A hint of smokiness was also present.
This was a very light and fruity Oolong.
This is my first review of the year 2013. This is a dark tea, but it’s not a pu-erh. It will be interesting to see how the age has effected this tea.
The leaves were pressed together and were easily separated from each other. Most of the leaves were dark brown, however some looked a dirty green. The tea smelled slightly sweet, and had the earthiness of a ripened pu-erh. The brewed leaves smelled leathery and earthy. They expanded, showing some leaves were quite long and others shorter.
I “rinsed” the tea once, but decided to keep that water in a separate cup. The rinsed brew was a light golden-red color; the first brew was a deep red. The tea was very aromatic. It was mossy, woody, sweet, and fruity. After each sip came a slight earthy aftertaste.
This steeping was smooth and sweet. The earthy aftertaste was still present, and the moss and wood notes held strong. The brew was very clear, which was unexpected given the storage conditions of the tuo cha.
In this steeping, the tea had mellowed down a bit. I noticed a more floral aftertaste, and a fruit-like quality different from the previous brews. It wasn’t as smooth as the second steeping, but it retained all the mossy and woody notes as before.
The color of this brew was gold. The earthiness was prevalent, with woody and mossy notes following. The tea was again silky smooth and floral. I liked this steeping the best.
This, on 31-Dec-12, is my last tea review of the year 2012.
I opened the sample bag to find a generous sample of this Fu Zhuan. Immediately, I could see that there were “Jin Hua” or “Golden Flowers” covering the surface of the sample. As I carefully separated the layers, I found the Golden Flowers to be everywhere, inside and outside. Most of the brick was comprised of leaves, however there were a few stems. The dark leaves smelled sweet. After brewing, the leaves smelled like baking flour but remained sweet and floral.
The brew was a light golden brown. Some of the Golden Flowers managed to float on top. The tea smelled sweet, a bit musty, and floral. It tasted sweet, floral, and had a lingering aftertaste of sweet mushroom. This tea proved to be very delicate.
This brew was sweet and floral. In the second sip, I noticed a bit of “zing” similar to the sensation of tasting a lemon peel. This same “zing” quality I noticed in another tea that had the “Golden Flowers”. I could also taste the baking flour note more in the finish. There was a slight aftertaste of sweet mushroom. The aftertaste actually reminded me of a ripened pu-erh.
This brew was very floral. The sweetness remained the same from the second brew, and balanced out the almost grassy aftertaste. There was also a spiciness to this brew, almost like cinnamon. Each sip brought on new flavors.
What a great tea to end the year with. The aftertaste changed with each brew, and new flavors were unlocked with each sip.
The dark, fragrant tea leaves of this Oolong were tightly compacted into a miniature cake. Before brewing, they smelled fruity and floral. Once brewed, the leaves smelled more chocolaty and sweetly smokey.
I brewed each cup for several seconds with great results.
The brewed tea had an amber-red color. Its aroma was similar to the dried leaves, only a bit milder. It tasted sweet, fruity, smokey, and floral.
The second brew was also smokey and sweet. This tea had all the attributes of a Wuyi Oolong.
I really liked this steeping. It was wonderful with fruit notes and sweetness with a chocolate-like finish.
I’ll save the other cake for aging to see how it changes in a couple of years.