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Recent Tasting Notes
Another solid sheng from CLT! It was one of the greener feeling sheng from the CLT lineup – not meaning it seemed really young, but just that it had some flavors I associate with greenness. . .I guess. The dry leaf smelled mostly floral, but after a rinse I also picked up a bit of a marine, seaweed aroma, along with straw. The rinse left a slight sugarcane aroma in the cha hai.
The first steep opened up with a bit of a seaweed note. I also tasted a pretty distinctly sweet grassy flavor, along with a light apricot aftertaste. The second steep saw the seaweed recede a little bit, a floral layer replace the grassiness, and a pretty thick creamy texture emerge. By the third steep, the creaminess was so intense, and the associated with a bit of a vanilla taste, that I was drinking custard – or so it seemed. Pretty friggin delicious.
Unfortunately, custardtea didn’t last long. The next three steeps were still quite sweet and thick, just not in the right proportions to get that real custardy vibe I got earlier. The taste was vegetal in the front, kind of brothy, with a slight lettuce bitterness, followed by the sweet vanilla floral creamy flavor.
The tea took another turn around steep 7, taking on more of an herbal quality in the front, but still with a sweet aftertaste. For the next few steeps, there was a slightly citrusy flavor in the finish, with the sweetness moving more into the front. Probably more lemongrass than lemon.
As it began to wane, the tea got more uniformly sweet. It went on with relatively pleasant sweetness and thickness through around 14 steeps.
I think my favorite steep of this one was the custard sweet one. The whole session was quite good – deep and creamy sweetness buried under a vegetal (emerald?) sea :P
It was also enjoyably complex, with a lot of different flavors and changes going on through a session.
Flavors: Apricot, Broth, Creamy, Custard, Floral, Grass, Lemongrass, Lettuce, Seaweed, Thick, Vanilla, Vegetal
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Flavors: Bitter, Herbs
I say this after multiple sessions and a decent amount of thought: This tea deserves the 100/100 that others have given it.
Large leaf. Easy to brew. Forgiving. Savory. Medium viscosity. Great resteep ability. Beautiful before and after the session. Aroma of sweet Jingmai.
All around, this is something that is easy to enjoy for anyone.
Brought this to a new pu’erh drinkers house and it was fantastic, even better than when I drank it alone.
So… the dried leaf is interesting looking, quite dark and speckled in color. The aroma is not very distinct, but different. Wet leaf is even more vibrantly hued and a strongly unusual aroma of some herb I can’t identify and a powdery smell. O…kay. Well, that’s certainly new, let’s try some!
Starts off predominately citrus with a strong creaminess that is both texture and taste. I’ve heard pineapple notes in reference to this tea, and I can see that, although without the sharp acidic tang flavor I characterize the fruit with. By the 3-4 steeps, the milk/cream flavor is getting stronger, almost cloying, and lingers heavily throughout. The tea seems to begin to commit to those predominant sour fruit and cream flavors more heavily, removing a lot of the muddled flavors I couldn’t identify at the very start that made me lean toward pineapple, save for an odd herbal aftertaste/body, maybe some mix of basil and something else. A mineral sweetness blooms behind the dairy, but I can’t get over that weird sour, curdled milk taste that I am NOT digging at all.
It’s not very bitter or astringent despite that sourness, so eventually, I cranked up the heat to boiling in a bit of a desperate attempt to somehow get rid of that flavor/flavor combination by later steeps (somewhere around 6-8) after consulting with other people who have had a better time of this than I was. Success! The seriously “off” milk taste and texture is now gone, at least, with that predominant sour citrus lemon taste remaining and sharpening, giving room to a nice throat feel and a more center stage for the sweet mineral flavors that swiftly follow. The cream is still detectable as it blends with the herb aftertastes, but is more of a lingering memory that it was there and much harder to discern, which is completely fine by me.
All in all, this tea was a bit of a ride for me, and leaves me a bit torn. It is complex, unique, and very different from anything else I’ve ever had with many interesting feels and taste transitions that wow-ed me, but at 205 F, the predominant taste to me was almost exactly like my childhood memories of pouring cream AND squeezed lemon into my complimentary watery hotel tea, resulting in a pretty disgusting cup of curdled milk-lemon-tea-ish something which I drank anyway because I was seven and it was my own creation, goshdangit.
Perhaps it was my water. Perhaps it was the brewing parameters. It’s generous, but I was definitely getting to the tail end of the steeps when I made the change to hotter water, so I feel a bit of regret I didn’t have that idea sooner. I think I’ll have to try this again with the hotter water from the get go before I really form an opinion one way or another on the taste, but so far, was not a fan.
It does have a nice qi though, in my opinion, although not the stoner kind that I’m used to in a lot of strong sheng, more chatty and aware and pleasantly… acutely observant feeling, which was nice, as I like to be able to walk around and do things after tea. I do suspect it to be quite a strong effect, though, as it shucked off the limoncello buzz I had going before starting this tea like peeling off a layer of onion before wrapping me in its own special warmth of emotion and clarity that I quite enjoyed, despite being unable to really fully process it.
Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Cream, Herbs, Mineral, Sour, Sweet
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Flavors: Apple, Lemon Zest
Deep and thick, the first few cups feel like drinking the results of boiling a delicious oak log, but it quickly yields to an almost sweet, rather fruity, cup after eight or nine infusions. Excellent for studying or trying to get things done!
Flavors: Floral, Oak wood, Wet Moss, Wet Wood
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Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Nuts, Walnut, Wood
Got 17g of this from Haveteawilltravel’s stash.
The dry leaves have a faint smoky smell that carries over to the wet leaf, when some earthy aromas start to emerge. It steeps to a nice amber color.
Super smooth, a little smoky, definitely a light flavor to start. Faintest hint of some buttery notes at the very end. After a couple of the early steeps some dryness settles in and I start to feel the qi.
Around steep four or five the texture starts to thicken up, and I start to get that fluffy mouthfeel I’ve seen people talking about. It feels even thicker and fluffier if I let it cool.
This tea carried me through most of the day—from late morning through lunch with the SO and into the afternoon. I didn’t really get any sweet or fruity notes, but I enjoyed this and I am glad I have enough left for a couple more sessions.
Flavors: Earth, Smoke, Smooth, Thick
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Flavors: Mushrooms, Nuts, Wood
Solid ripe. There’s a reason nobody has rated it below 90.
This ranks in my top 5 ripes that are on the sharp notes with fermentation as opposed to the woodsy/dirty ones.
Highly recommend purchasing it, but feel free to read reviews and contemplate all the ripes out there; but know that this is one of the best options out there for the higher end pu’erh. The price of $22/200g is wonderful as well
I pulled this tea out today hoping for a calming experience. I lit some incense from Japan, donned my silk Chinese robe, turned on some instrumental music and brewed up some of this tea.
I gave it a 10 second rinse. First steep I went for 30 seconds. The brew was very light in color and flavor with only hints appearing. The second steep went 30 seconds as well. Same story. I was starting to wonder if this was just a very light shou.
On the third steep I was able to back off the time to 20 seconds. Then the dark, rich, smoothness of the tea came out. Little, if any, fermentation flavor. For some reason, my palate is off today and isn’t picking out any distinct flavors. Everything seems to be melding into one delicious and creamy shou. That is fine by me.
At any rate, you can tell this is a high quality tea. I am glad I bought a sample of this to try. Now I know I want to buy this tea.
I’ve had this brick for about a week it’s my daily drinker has a thick mouthfeel , dark brackish look to it but that gives way to a very pleasant cup buy the 3-6 steep. This is my third shou and fourth loose leaf or brick tea since giving up on tea bags . I highly recommend this tea, CLT is out as of 11/4 I should have stocked up.
Gorgeous leaf and liquor, a deep gold mixed with sunshine and a lovely visible thickness to it. Not much scent off the dried leaves, but I spent some time just admiring the pretty colors, especially as the compression was quite loose, so it was easy to pick the leaves apart in my sample without turning it into dust.
Extremely fresh and floral smelling, this baby sheng was prepared at 205F as it has a strong bitter bite to it (some moderate astringency, mainly in the roof of the mouth and top of the tongue) if you brew it for even just a second too long. Strong throat coating quality, even as it opens up.
A very clean and green tasting tea to me (particularly with the notable green tea umami quality at the beginning), it starts off mainly vegetal—light, with a bitter floral at the back that opens up into a sweet nectar-bordering-fruit background taste by the middle steeps that lingers in the mouth and throat, particularly as it cools in the cup.
Still quite raw feeling and tasting, I think it needs more time to settle, but it was quite enjoyable still, with a throat coating dryness that made me want to keep drinking more (although I got a pretty strong body heavy/disorient tea drunk from this one that led me to dropping my gaiwan lid a couple times so I probably should have slowed it down a bit). This tea was also quite generous and held up to overnighting in my gaiwan with a refresher rinse quite well, surprisingly, as I steeped it out fully over the course of three days.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Nectar, Sweet, Vegetal
In an effort to like sheng, I brewed this one at half strength to calm the flavors down a bit. It worked a little bit. This one was like light green vegetables and a little sweet, so I’m thinking snow peas or something similar. There were some floral notes as well, but I was distracted by the sheng taste in the background that reminded me of soap.
*Disclaimer: it’s probably not the tea’s fault. I dislike sheng.
Got a 20 gram sample of this to try at teafest (which was awesome, btw) along with a few other things, although we didn’t linger too long to do tea tasting as Glen and Lamu already looked super busy with the large turn out, heh.
Opening up the bag to take a sniff comes out with a very strong dried hay scent, although not musty enough to quite take it into ‘barnyard’ territory. It definitely benefits from airing out for at least a week, though (having tried it both ways), as that strong hay storage flavor kind of dominates and threatens to overwhelm the tea if you try it fresh out of the bag.
Super compressed and a bit brittle, I gave up trying to break this up for the most part and just threw a roughly 1/3-ish sized piece into my gaiwan and did a long rinse. Steeped the first steep for a good 15 seconds at least and then let it steam open some more while I went to poke the wood stove fire.
Starts off as a very sweet and mild straw taste as it’s opening up, then brews up a lovely middling thickness of darker red-brown rust soup with hints of dried date and bamboo at the edges of the hay once it’s fully opened up. Persistent undercurrent of aged taste and aroma and a dark, damp earth/soil flavor, contrary to the energy of this tea which makes my forehead feel light and airy, like it might start floating off of my shoulders at anytime (in a pleasant way! :P). There is not much bitterness or astringency to this tea at all.
My SO really enjoyed this. I enjoyed it as well, but just based on the sample pieces, I don’t know if I’d want to wage battle with this tuo to drink it very often, haha. This was very suiting to a chilly Fall day next to a crackling fire, but I think I prefer something a little less straw and a little more punchy in my general day to day tea. My favorite part of this tea was the very relaxing yet happy energy that made my cares melt far far and away and slough off like water and ducks and something else, :).
Flavors: Bamboo, Dates, Hay, Musty, Sweet, Wet Earth
This is another I got from Haveteawilltravel. The dry leaves don’t give off a strong scent, but once wet, the liquor is very earthy, smells a bit like charred wood and ends up being a much lighter color than expected
The first steep isn’t entirely up to strength, but it smells like evergreen and the SO says it tastes like a Christmas tree. There is a bit of a camphor-like sensation and aftertaste, and the mouthfeel is smooth and thick.
The flavors seem to really carry through steep after steep, even after the mouthful starts to thin out a bit. I’ve got another tea that this one has sort of reminded me of, and as we’ve got enough left for one more session, I plan to do another tasting of them both soon.
Flavors: Camphor, Char, Earth, Fir, Wood
Nice, Smooth and a bit sweet.
Sort of mellow and very pleasant to drink.
The sweetnes is hard to place, not quite sure what it is but there is a sweetnes to it that I rather like.
Reminds me of going past a small pool, stream or pond in a forest on a nice day with the sun shining in spring.
Flavors: Cocoa, Decayed wood, Earth, Peat
Another very nice tea from Crimson Lotus. The leaves had a grassy and vegetal aroma. This one was pretty forgiving, so I was able to brew it either in a gaiwan or in my Jianshui pot.
The first steep had a hint of spice to it, followed by a crisp vegetal note, like peas or celery.
I didn’t get any spicy notes after the first steep, but the vegetal remained, followed by a fruity, perhaps citrus flavor. It’s a kind of flavor I’ve only encountered in one other puerh, Yunnan Sourcing’s 2013 Wu Liang Ye Sheng. There are differences in the flavor, but when I got that distinct hint of citrus, that’s immediately where my mind went. This flavor profile went on for about seven steeps or so. The citrus sometimes intermingled with a creamy floral note and the occasional hint of caraway. It’s hard to describe the floral flavor – it reminds me of a few things. First is lemongrass, partially I’m sure because that flavor is listed on Crimson Lotus’s website. At times it also made me thing of Elderflower – which has a citric/floral/fruity flavor. Finally, it sort of reminded me of Starfruit, an interesting fruit which I haven’t had in years but with a distinctive and memorable flavor.
The fruity citric flavor dropped off for the most part in the second half of the session, though the floral aspect remained in the finish. The mouthfeel got pretty interesting at this point. I think part of it was the remnant of a slight citric inclination, but it reminded me a bit of pinesol (without all the cleaning chemicals). Like my mouth had been oiled with a citrus flavored furniture cleaner. As weird as that sounds, it was good! This interesting texture dropped off a few steeps later, and the remainder of the session was characterized by smooth and light vegetal and floral notes.
This was a very interesting and tasty tea. The texture wasn’t notable for most of the session, and I also didn’t get any noticeable qi off of this tea. I think this one is more based on flavor and aromatic qualities, which it has in bunches. A fun and interesting tea to drink, but at the same time easy drinking and a forgiving steeper. I don’t think it would have really been possible to make this tea come out bitter.
Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Lemongrass, Vegetal
5.5g, 100ml gaiwan, 212F
Overall, I felt this tea was too new, too raw for me. I think it needs a little more age to knock off off some of the bitter elements I tasted.
5s – citrus, sharp, thick, finest edge of bitter/sour
5/10/10s- citrus, thick, oily, hint of dryness, green. Energy to head already.
10/20/25- didn’t like drinking this very much so I stopped. Could be I increased time too fast, could be it needs more time to mellow. I have more sample, so I’ll try again later.
Flavors: Citrus, Drying, Green, Thick
So this is the first of my samples from Crimson Lotus, just trying a few things out.
6g, 100ml gaiwan, 212F
Rinse- citrus, bright
Started off soft and green with just the edge of bitter, bright and lemon. Middle moved to bittersweet, mouthcoating. I really felt the qi in these steeps – floatly and a lot of energy in my jaw.
Once I was past the flash steeps, sweet and green. A little bit drying, sweet, smooth. I lost time here.
Sweet, citrus and bittersweet continued until the end.
I like this one, probably better with a little more age though.
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Green, Lemon, Smooth, Sweet