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Recent Tasting Notes
Grabbed one of these when I ordered some teaware from CLT. I’ve heard about its reluctance to open up so my first few steeps were long and included me steaming the ball in the gaiwan as well as manually trying to pry the damn thing apart. I managed to do so and then realized it’s much too much leaf for the gaiwan I was using. I think maybe you need a 200-250 ml container? I removed about half of the leaves to continue steeping later but then lost them in a tragic fridge accident that also managed to take a large chip out of one of my gaiwans :(
The first few steeps of this I got pure apricot. It was quite possibly the most apricot tasting thing I’ve ever had including most actual apricots. I was a little suprised by this as I don’t remember it being mentioned in anything I read when I decided to pick one up. The second steep was almost a bit smokey which was strange. Later steeps continued with the apricot along with some light drying astringency coming out. Then it mellowed out into honey. It steeped for awhile, but I lost count with all the fumbling around with the leaves and the mess I made. I’m steeping out the last of it in the fridge now to see if I can’t get a bit more.
It’s more leaf than I really need at one time for home use but I would love to see how this fairs in a travel mug for all day at work. I’m a little bummed I didn’t grab the set of five…one lonely planet indeed.
Flavors: Apricot, Honey
Beautifully clear golden liquor with a strong savory pu erh scent. I really enjoyed this one, it had a good, meaty mushroom/earthy flavor throughout most of the steeps that really accented the sour apricot/stone fruit flavors that showed up in the middle.
At ten grams per ~90-100 ml, this had a nice savory, cleaaaan mineral body that served as a good background for the plethora of interesting flavors that played across the steeps—I detected a bit of smoke and some wood at the beginning, something like barley and mushrooms and earth in the early to middle steeps, and then various stone fruit, sour apricot, and hay for much of the rest, emphasizing the mild sweetness.
Many of these flavors revisited and played in and out in various strengths and roles with some mild to moderate astringency across steeps. Not much of a body buzz, but it had a nice relaxing energy.
Flavors: Earth, Hay, Metallic, Mineral, Mushrooms, Smoke, Sour, Stonefruits, Wood
I started drinking this earlier this afternoon, but wasn’t able to sit down and have a few cups before heading out to work. I just had my final cup for the evening (steep # 6), and I might get to the rest of it for the morning. As far as my week has been going, I need a solid tea to help me wake up tomorrow.
Anyway, this is good. I like the wet Earth aroma and flavor to this tea. Aged teas are mostly to my liking. They remind me of hiking and the outdoors; which, now that the late winter may be over, can happen. I must admit that the gym isn’t as appealing to me as being out in nature can be. This tea has a solid flavor, thick soup, and a not too overly drying mouthfeel. I might try to find a larger quantity of this tea so that I can enjoy it more often on days like today.
Side Note: On the plus side, I’m nearly done planning the one man trip in August. I want to do something with a lot of exercise (Appalachian Trail?) , historical (Gettysburg? Williamsburg?), and fun. I thought I’d have my wife join, but she’ll have to work, and we won’t have the foster kids, yet. So, since my summer schedule is in, I have to take the time to go somewhere before vacationing becomes less frequent.
Side-Side Note: Cat Steven’s “Tea For The Tillerman” is the album for tea sipping today.
Here’s the track, “Wild World:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj4ibL1VqDo&list=PLtS_jNy6-K_ceZvwxJH93XrWUqu1huEAV&index=11
Listening to this on vinyl is especially enjoyable :)
Flavors: Wet Earth
The tuo has a smell unlike any raw puer I have encountered, almost like shu. There is an undercurrent of the distinctive Xiaguan aroma, but not as strong as in dry-stored tuos of similar age. The leaf is age-darkened almost to black. The dry leaf in a warmed gaiwan has the Xiaguan scent (tobacco? leather?) a little more strongly.
The tea is not old enough for the soup to be really red: it’s more of an orangey-bronze. The rinse and early steeps leave more of a floral dry cup scent than I have found with other Xiaguan teas, though this one is probably higher-grade starting material than any of the others I’ve tried.
It is going pretty good by the 3rd infusion. The characteristic Xiaguan taste and roughness is there, but is not overwhelming. There is more sweetness than I have previously found in Xiaguan tea, and some floral notes near the end of each cup. How much of this is down to the quality of the tea v. the storage I cannot guess. I am not tasting humid storage at all.
Things fall off pretty rapidly after about the 7th steep, and by the 9th I am lengthening the infusion time, and again after the 11th. Still, considering that I would discard other Xiaguan tuos by that time it’s doing pretty good. There is still some tartness, sweetness, and that distinctive Xiaguan whatever-it-is when I’m up to 2-minute steeping times, at which point I give it up.
I needed some powerful tea to get my head working, and this one did the trick. At the price, I think I would rather drink higher-grade young sheng from Yunnan Sourcing or White2Tea, but am glad I bought this.
Flavors: Stonefruits, Sweet, Tart
From the Sheng Olympics. Thanks to Liquid Proust for putting it together.
I had this immediately after the Whispering Sunshine. The 1st steep is sweeter with less spice. 2nd steep was more interesting than the 1st steep, but still suffers in comparison to the Whispering Sunshine. Lots of cha qi. By the 4th steep I’m noticing some spice that wasn’t really there before. Also has a bit more bite to it. Really feeling the cha qi. The spice gradually submerged the sweetness as the dominant flavor, but the tea never achieved the complexity of the Whispering Sunshine.I suspect this tea suffered by comparison to the Whispering Sunshine. I found myself liking it better (and raising the score) as I got to the later steeps. It’s a bit more approachable, though and I enjoyed it on an absolute basis.
From the Sheng Olympics. Tip of the cap to Liquid Proust for putting it together.
This is just the type of tea I love: fairly complex but not too heavy or bitter. I liked this immediately. Strong for a 1st steep, with spicy straw flavors and a long finish. Strong cha qi. 3rd steep (20 s): Really good texture right into the finish, which is long and powerful. Taste is still primarily spice and straw, but the exact nature of the spice varies. Got smoother in later steeps but was really nice. The cha qi started to let up after a few steeps, but if I hadn’t spaced out the session over an hour or so it would have hit me hard. I had about 8 steeps before I noticed it was fading. Might have been able to do a few more but was anxious to move on the the other CLT tea in the group.
2016 Sheng Olympics
I love this tea! It’s floral and fruity (grape) with a nice mild honey sweetness. Hardly any bitterness. Very smooth. It’s such a light sheng. I could drink this all day (which I have been today). I’m just annoyed I didn’t buy a cake of this when it was available. Oh, well, I’ve got plenty in my cupboard to sip down.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Honey
2016 Sheng Olympics
Since I enjoyed the Whispering Sunshine yesterday, I thought I should move right into Hidden Song today.
This is very similar to Whispering Sunshine, but I do feel that it is more sheng and less white. If you drew a line between aged white and sheng – this would still be on the white side of the line but closer to sheng than the other one.
It’s pretty sweet, fruity, but it’s sharper (?) – not bitter, not astringent – but the notes are higher (brassier). What I’m not getting is the veggies – lots of others have commented on asparagus, greens, edamame – savoy – vegital. I didn’t find that – I got more fruit.
What I didn’t find in either of these was the earthiness – part of me thinks that pu’erh should be earthy, or at least I want it to be earthy.
I like this – and while I probably liked yesterdays better – this would have more chance of making it back into my cupboard, because it is more sheng like (of course it’s sold out so that’s really a non-issue).
2016 Sheng Olympics
This is really light and gentle. Zero bitterness – zero astringency. It’s pretty sweet, quite a bit fruity (grape earlier shifting more to apricot/peach later).
This is a really nice tea to drink. While I really like this, I don’t think it’s sheng ish ( and that’s probably why I like it). To my tastes this is more like an aged white or a moonlight but not quite as deep of flavors as those are. If I were reaching for this style of tea I would be more apt to reach for a really good moonlight.
Happy to have experienced this – had a couple of really nice afternoons with it – but I don’t think there is a place for this in my cupboard.
This is my first experience with Pu-Erh and I will definitely be back for more. This tea was so great! The leaves lasted for so long, and the flavor was evolving with each steeping. I can’t wait to explore the world of Pu-Erh tea. Regardless, this is a fantastic tea, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Flavors: Honey, Plums, Smoke
2016 Sheng Olympics
Steeped leaves have a slightly vegetal smell about them, first few infusions are really light, a bit sweet, a bit cucumber, fresh taste. I really like the aroma in the aftertaste, something about it was just really pleasant and right – in fact its here right now, Its sweet & fruit & floral all in one, Its really nice! It keeps changing as well, sometimes I think I can place what it is and then it goes away. I just tasted pineapples i think, maybe thats the lemongrass note mentioned.
I pushed it a bit and didnt get sourness or bitterness, always a fresh taste, reminded me of decent mountain water. Always light, a little sweetness, a little leafy, a little citrus or lemongrass and that same lovely after-aroma.
Ive just looked and these are all sold out. Really happy I got to try it, nice on LP for organising this.
Flavors: Cucumber, Floral, Lemongrass, Pineapple
Brewed gongfu style with one rinse and quick, 5 second steeps for the first 3 or so steeps, gradually working up to about a minute. As this tea is only about 3 years old, it has mostly the flavor of green tea or lightly roasted oolong. Leaves are very green once they open, are mostly intact, and the liquor is a pale green-yellow.
First flavors are earthy vegetal flavors, somewhat grassy but the fermentation adds a rounder, oolong-ish earthiness rather than the bright grassiness of a sencha or other green teas.
Fair amount of bitterness, but not off-putting. Can be cut with lower brew temps, but at the cost of some complexity. Later steepings round out the flavor and are less bitter. Good Chi. The bitterness and young age may point to a slightly upset stomach for some, but it hasn’t been an issue for me. I don’t drink tea on an empty stomach, though. Not the most complex and exciting tea I’ve ever had but I find it very pleasing when I want something in the green tea vein, and drink it maybe every other day without getting tired of it.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Moss, Round , Vegetal, Wet Earth
Smooth and thick, with a fruity note on the tip of my tongue I cant place. I can see where some people are getting vegetal from as well.
Its easy drinking, even more so than I imagined. I pushed it and it was still nice and didnt go bitter. I also got the resemblance to fresh green tea, it really does taste like it, snappy peas and beans, with sweetness and slight sour you get with some green tea that hangs around the sides and tip of your tongue.
Flavors: Creamy, Green, Peas, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet
Getting this from the Sheng Olympics box.
I pulled the whole sample out to brew this one, a tad under 10 grams.
I got out the and gave a rinse and let it sit for a few minutes. I started out with a 5 second steep and did 3 for the big cup. The brew comes out with a nice gold color. The aroma belies a bit of humidity but not overly powerful.
The sips have a little smoky, just the least bit, and a bit of sheng sharpness with a touch of mineral on the front. The front to middle part of the tongue is where this one seems to go. The mineral goes to a sweet finish. It carries through with some camphor and mintiness in there as well. A nice warming tea on a cold Winter evening.
Flavors: Camphor, Mineral, Mint, Smoke, Sweet
Another one from the Sheng Olympics. :) 4g sample in the gaiwan, trying to only partially-fill (just to cover the leaves). I started with 90C water but upgraded to boiling because it was so smooth and light. This is a lovely easy-drinking fresh sheng. It has a nice balance of sweetness and tanginess, closer to my personal tastes than the Whispering Sunshine I had earlier. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. A little bit fruity, a lot more crisp vegetables and fresh spring water, reminiscent of a fresh green tea. Very clean and light, stands up to long steeps without becoming unpleasantly bitter. Slight huigan building up after drinking several infusions. Another good one for people who like their sheng puer sweet and smooth. :)
My first sample from the Sheng Olympics! Thanks again to Liquid Proust for organizing that, it’s so great to be able to try all these different shengs. I had this yesterday, so this is from memory. The sample was about 4.5g, and my gaiwan is in the 100-120ml range, so I had to get used to only partially filling the gaiwan in order to get the right tea to water ratio. So originally I thought I was getting such a mild flavour because I was adding too much water, but I think this is actually just a really mild sheng! It’s very easy to drink, quite sweet initially, followed by a light, crisp, vegetal note like cucumbers. The finish has a clean and slightly mineral quality, like fresh mountain spring water. Even after increasing the temperature to boiling, I couldn’t manage to get any bitterness out of these leaves, which I found pretty remarkable for a young sheng. The huigan is there, but very subtle. I liked this tea but find myself wishing for bolder flavour and a bit more bitterness. It would be great for people who like their shengs light and sweet though. :)
This shou is quite woodsy, wet earth forest floor, lightly shroom and mineral sweet. It very much so tastes like how the forest smells on a rainy day on the west coast. Later steepings it develops a more mineral and wet stones sweet taste.
A very good daily drinker and a great first shou cake for a new pu drinkers as the price is really nice for 500g. It’s very approachable and easy to drink, not over thick or bitter.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2014-iron-forge-shou-puer-crimson-lotus-tea-tea-review/
i personally love this tea, i started with the sample, and recently received the tuo from glenn at CL, plus a nice sample, thank you!
i dont even designate a rinses for this i just drink every stage. im not sure how to properly describe the notes, but its definitely musty and so smooth with sweetness. i think of this as the “yoda memorial tea” because i feel like the humid atmosphere of dagobah would produce this sort of tea if aged there.. lol.
as the tea develops it actually shows a bit of bite which permeates the surface of the tongue. the qi is chill/relaxing… i really stocked my 125ml pot with 9g, and its seemingly everlasting and strong.
brew starts (if i remember correctly) a dark yellowish colour, then gets rosey, then dark reddish like black cherry, so beaut, and i just got a glass cha-hai so i can see the colour in its entirely.
regarding the qi again, it has crept up on me. after about my second cup i went into the shower, so the shower added to the calm qi feeling. now as i type this the tea is more apparent. trust me a steamy shower or bath plus this tea = not doing much for a while, lol.
i may not be too experienced in the world of tea, but its been a few years and i know enough to know i really like this tea. i rate this a respectable- 91- the year i was born haha peace.
I am dedicating my 300th note to this lovely young sheng.
I had two gongfu sessions with a ceramic gaiwan, but this review is based on the third session with my Jian Shui pot. Did a 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 5 seconds, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 25, 35, 50, 70, 90, 90, 120, 150, 180; 5 minutes, 7, 10.
The dry leaf has a powerful aroma – very buttery and sweetly vegetal. The wet leaf aroma evolves the more I steep the leaf, beginning with the same buttery note, slowly becoming sweeter and sweeter, ending with pure apricot.
The soup is light yellow, incredibly clear right off the bat, and medium-bodied. I confess that I didn’t eat much the day of this session, but this would prove that Midas Touch was not harsh on the stomach. It’s easy-going. (ymmv, actually)
The first infusion is light with a slightly bitter grassy note and a silky texture. Between the second and tenth infusions – the bitterness now completely gone (so fast, wow!) -, the grassy, vegetal notes gradually wane as peaches and apricots ever so slightly become stronger, first making their appearances in the aftertaste. At this point, I lowered the water temperature to 190. Huge difference. Pure fruit begins with the eleventh infusion. While no longer silky, the texture is wonderfully smooth.
Of the several 2015 shengs I’ve tried from CLT, this is the most flavorful. It is packed with energetic mouthfeel. I drank nine infusions in only THIRTY MINUTES. I simply kept going without even realizing and had to force myself to take a long break. I drank all 19 infusions between 1 and 5 o’clock. You would think I’d be well over-caffeinated, but as I wrote before, Midas Touch is easy-going for a young sheng so intense in flavor.
I would highly recommend it, but it’s all sold out. This is what I get for only purchasing a sample and then waiting several months before having a fantastic session………
2016 Sheng Olympics
Thinking that this would be just like its cousin I drank yesterday, I was in for some surprises :)
Interestingly enough: This tea has a strong resemblance to cooked squash. While I’ve had some sheng taste like a roasted zucchini, it doesn’t surprise me but it is also some new notes. The vegetable taste for this light sheng are dominant and I’m loving it. This is atually more subtle than what I was drinking last night. I even went ahead and steeped one steep for a whole minute and it wasn’t jumping off and on my taste buds.
This is such a wonderful raw puerh that I’m unsure if there are negative remarks because it brews easy, it has a great feel, the aroma is pleasant, and the vegetable notes pop right out during each sip. While the Midas Touch still makes this one seem normal, this is an example of a raw puerh that even those who are new to the tea variation would absolutely love. I’ll probably look into using this for a taste session in the future because it offers something a bit unique in regards to the taste it provides; as opposed to a lighter tea with a floral touch and not a vegetable touch.
2016 Sheng Olympics
After checking on the shipments and seeing they have been scanned, with many already in different states, I decided that I could finally begin. First up was something I knew was going to be light because it had to be able to pair with dinner and continue throughout the night. I had one tight beenghole for this session.
At first I didn’t know if it was going to work out because it wasn’t breaking up, but then I decided that I needed to give it a little help so I did.
The first few steeps had a nice roasted vegetable tone to it like a bang dong. After brewing it out I realized that it wasn’t as light as a bang dong because the beeghold decided to let me in a bit and taste what it was hiding. A little bit of astringency came out but then faded as I continued on. The lightness of this tea was consistent and that is how I like my sheng. There might not have been much texture to the liquid itself, but it has a proper vegetable taste throughout the session.
This is a great raw tea to drink, but the Midas Touch puts it to shame. That being said, damn you Midas Touch for selling out; but also thank you to those who have offered to sell me one, I’m still thinking about it. I’m curious how this one will compare with the other Baiying cake that was in the 2016 Sheng Olympics.
All of this is to say that I don’t have any negative remarks for this tea besides the beenghole being deceptive on its notes from not opening to fully opening. That issue is something that others won’t experience because I am rather confident that I broke all the material up well and for those who got some dust… it had to happen, but I am pretty sure it’ll be good dust :)
Got this with the Crimson Lotus “What is Puerh? Three Tea Educational Tasting Set”. I haven’t had a lot of ripe puerh yet, but this is by far the best. Came on very earthy and dirt like, with the 2-3 infusions almost black. It then lightened up, mellowed out, and became sweet. A little fruit in there I couldn’t recognize. It reminded me of drinking coffee with Guatemalan Mayans around Lake Atitlan. I can see why this is popular!
Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Fruity, Sweet