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Recent Tasting Notes
Free sample with my last order, thank you CLT. I used it to test the effects of one of my jian shu teapots compared with a gaiwan, and honestly, prefered it out of a gaiwan.
The teapot stole some of the sharper higher notes, and in this case the higher notes made this tea better. This tea is very clean, no off-flavors and no fermentation. I don’t remember any smokiness or bitterness as others have reported. Perhaps those notes are already transformed and this tea has moved on?
Classic sweet date flavor, mildly complex, and the aftertaste wasn’t too long, but there was a little. I preferred this much more than the 2008 Bulang shu which I bought a brick of, don’t get me wrong the 2008 is good but I like this 2014 vintage better. The brick still has more fermentation whereas this 2014 version has none.
This tea agreed with me and was easy on the stomach.
I don’t remember any chi from the first day I drank this. But the following day I mixed the tea from both gaiwan and teapot and grandpa brewed it and experienced a strong wave of energy and goosebumps, power, and strength. It was invigorating.
Decent longevity, it outlasted me and carried over to a second day. If there’s any left, I’ll be adding a brick to my next order.
I purchased a sample size of this to try it along with a brick of the 2008 Imperial Bulang, a 220ml gaiwan, and a Basset Hound tea pet.
The dry leaves have a very clean scent. Almost non-existent. After a ten second rinse, the leaves have an earthy fermentation scent often associated with a ripe. There is definitely a wood scent as well.
First steep, the color is a lighter brown. Cinnamon caramel brown, perhaps. The taste is very light. You get just a hint of that woody flavor that relates to the scent of the wet leaves. Smooth too. Slides right down the throat.
Further along, the color deepens a bit. The flavor intensifies as well. I am a man who works with wood often. I cut and chop wood. I burn wood. I walk among the woods. This is very much a woody puerh. Think about walking in the woods and finding a tree that has been downed for a bit. Use a hatchet to split it open along the grain. Lean your nose in to that freshly cut wood. That is what I’m getting here.
Clean, earthy wood. I think that sums this up nicely. I don’t get much that says sweet but it is very smooth.
Flavors: Earth, Wood
I believe this tea is pretty much my introduction to Jingmai sheng. I tried it both in my gaiwan and Jianshui teapot – I think it was better in the gaiwan. In this instance, the slower pour from the teapot didn’t do the tea any favors and it got some bitterness to it. So this note is really just going to be for the gaiwan session.
The first two steeps surprised me with their strong fruity notes, followed by a bit of a grassy finish. I couldn’t really place the fruit, though it was slightly reminiscent of apricots.
After those first two steeps, the fruitiness faded to a degree, with a grassy/hay flavor taking the fore. These next three or four steeps had a light and crisp flavor, with an only slightly thick texture. They were very refreshing.
The tea got a little bit lighter in flavor for the remaining steeps, though still nicely drinkable. The flavor became more grass/hay with fruity and floral echoes in the aftertaste – not the kind of aftertaste that completely fills the mouth really.
This is a pretty good tea – I think it would be especially awesome during the summer. Pretty simple – not a whole ton of change throughout the session (this is not a bad thing really), with a lighter texture – seems more about the high notes to me for sure. I didn’t notice a great amount of energy from this tea personally.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Sweet
I liked this last year, so I was excited to try again.
The leaves are long and lightly compressed. I take a deep inhale and identify sweet and woody tones with a back draft of smoke and very faint blackberry. The leaves carry dark and heavy scents. I warmed my teapot up and placed a fair amount inside. The warmed leaf gives off fragrant aromas of wet wood, nectar, crystallized honey, dough, and some bitters. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The brew begins sweet and very tasty. I can instantly pick up strong floral characters, for I can even smell flowers in the liquor. The brew is potent and thick with a brief huigan and some slight sour tones. This tea is quite good. The qi is instantaneous with calming and an alert feeling. I call this type of “talk tea”, for I suddenly had the urge to converse, haha, My friend and I had a political debate while I was drinking this which fueled the qi even more. The brew warmed and settled my stomach and refreshed me. I was quite happy while drinking this brew. The later steeping yields almond tones with some honey. The qi beautifully developed further and further and caused caught a zooming sensation. I liked this.
Note: My second session was not nearly the same. The tastes were off and muddled. The qi was more aggressive. The aromas were faint. I don’t know what the problem was. It may have been storage conditions, for it became much colder than my first session.
Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Dark Wood, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Nectar, Smoke, Sweet
This tea is a bit more compressed than the rest of the 2016 lineup. I can hint at a light aroma of sweet wood, some green bean, and light honey with floral characters wafting off the leaves. I warmed my gaiwan up and placed a bit inside. The scent expanded to asparagus, some smoke, and a slightly sour tone. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The first steep has some minor sour characteristics, faint smoke, and a heavy vegetal base. This is a very bright tea, for the later steeping brought about an incredible amount of lemon flavor. I can take in some basil and other herbaceous tones. The huigan is swiftly brief but potent. The brew continues in this manner and doesn’t develop much further. The sweet aftertaste lapses between sips. I liked this tea, and it reminds me of spring. It’s a decent easy sipper. I did not note any qi apparent in this session.
Flavors: Asparagus, Floral, Green, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon, Smoke, Vegetal
I really don’t know where to start with this review, and this tea has me perplexed. It was my favorite of the 2016 offerings but nonetheless, I cannot describe it very well. I just enjoyed it a lot.
Aroma of leaves was green, fresh hay, a tinge of lime zest, and the freshness you experience from fresh cut pine or cedar or even mint. There has to be some phenol or natural alcohol in this tea giving that effect.
Gongfu brewing, gaiwan, flavor matched the name “whisper”, there was an ethereal quality about this tea, a softness, like a whisper. Imagine the feeling sitting in a quiet room, in the late afternoon, gazing out the window, as the heaviness of the sunlight fills the room and warms the air. You start to see the little particles of dust floating around in the sun beams. Its that complete stillness hugging you as you simply sit and just “be”. Literally, not waxing poetic, the name is totally befitting for this tea.
Again, why I like this tea I cannot articulate. Not much in the way of flavors, but there is a full body, velvety, thickness to it that is all pleasantness. It was relaxing, not sedating, and it made me comfortably dose off and fall into a gentle sleep at my desk, but I was not tired or feeling sedated.
This is a GREAT evening tea, its not intense, flavors are muted, its nice. The flavor is akin to smoke, not ash, but a gentle puff of smoke.
After about 10 steepings I started to push it and got more greeness and flavor, started becoming a bit drying in the mouth, but still pleasant. There is a gentle cleanness in this tea.
I didn’t even realize how much I enjoyed it until the next day and I wanted to drink it again. I approached this tea searching for specific qualities but this tea caught me by surprise. It didn’t have anything I was looking for, but I enjoyed everything it offered me and ordered a cake.
Not often I repeat the same tea two days in a row. Each other tea over the next few days just didn’t compare, there was something ethereal missing in those other teas that Whispering Sunshine has. I don’t know what it is though. It just kept calling me.
This tea reminds me of a jingmai pearl I once had from 2015.
The leaves are large, dark, and slightly aromatic. I pick up soft tones of Sichuan pepper, peppercorn, spices, and an underlying syrup sweetness. The Sichuan pepper note immediately brought me back to the jingmai pearl. I warmed my teapot and placed a fair amount inside. The scents changed into a roasted green, smoke, and bitters aroma. This tea brings about spice. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste begins heavy on the smoky side. This brew is fairly meaty with some grainy textures. The brew moves into some bitters, vinegars, and faint background of sweetness. Personally, I am not one for pungent tea or smoky. It’s just not up my alley. So, I did not continue my session. The aftertaste was odd, and I couldn’t quite place it.
Flavors: Bitter, Meat, Smoke, Vinegar
I still really like the packing of these samples. I like the idea of reusing them to wrap random chunks of puerh I have in jars.I let this one settle for some time; because, I haven’t had the chance to get to it. The leaf is moderately compressed and dark green with scents of fresh greens, roast, and tobacco. I warmed up my teapot and placed a chunk inside. The scent expanded into some bitters, smoke, deep forest, heavy herbaceous tones, and roasted greens. I would describe the aroma as rough. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste differed from the aromas, for the initial flavor was light and an easy sipper. I took in some soft grass tones and slight smoke in the aftertaste. The flavors were not too complex, but I hinted at some huigan in the back of the tongue. The tea was an easy drinker, and the qi was very faint. Although, the brew continued for quite some time. I was able to pull a lot of steeps out of my teapot. I’d describe this tea as “whimsical” and something easy to sip on.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Green, Herbaceous, Roasted, Smoke, Tobacco
FINALLY getting into my samples from CLT’s 2016 lineup. I feel like I ordered them months ago, but I’ve been out of state, so only got to unbox them about a week ago. I’ve been meaning to try some of their stuff basically since I got into puerh. I’m glad to report that this first one does not disappoint! The leaf from this one was pretty nice looking, and had a sort of floral hay aroma – I think I smelled a bit of smoke on it after a rinse, but that didn’t persist into the flavor of the tea.
Many teafriends I’ve spoken to online have issues with Lincang teas, but I have only had good experiences with them thus far. They tend to have a really nice sweetness and, again in my experience, not a whole lot of unpleasant bitterness or astringency.
The first two steeps here were floral, with just a touch of bitterness in the first steep. Soft and sweet with a literally mouthwatering huigan I tasted mostly in the corners of my mouth. That aftertaste was definitely the highlight at least of the early part of this session.
In the next three steeps, the floral notes dropped off a bit, displaced by a bit of a vegetal taste – the tea was still sweet and thickening up some. I noted just a minor astringency in a couple of these steeps. The aftertaste remained strong, having received most of the tea’s floral bouquet along with a sugarcane sweetness to round out the sip.
I got another 11 or so steeps out of this tea – that’s another thing I’ve noticed with Lincang teas, they seem to just go forever – all of which had mostly the same character. They were slightly bitter on the front of the sip, though this faded as I got towards the end of the session, with a vegetal or maybe herbal flavor, followed by a sweet finish – between floral and sugarcane. It maintained a moderate thickness. This tea never got super oily or creamy thick, but I could appreciate the body. If I had chosen to, I probably could have gotten a few more steeps off of it as well.
I found this better in the 100mL Jianshui teapot I also just got from CLT than in my gaiwan. I’m glad that I enjoy what it does with sheng so far, because it’s so pretty that even if it didn’t make as good of tea, I’d still find it hard to stop using it! After trying Hidden Song, I’m excited for the rest of CLT’s 2016 lineup, all of which I have samples of cakes of. Their sample packaging is also pretty neat – at first I thought it seemed a little insecure, but opening/closing the packaging a few times without spillage has assuaged my doubts.
When this tea was first released, CLT had a contest of sorts, in which anybody who could guess the song that was printed on the wrapper would receive a tong of this tea as a reward. During a google hangout with some teafriends, we spent probably a couple hours trying to guess what the song was using only the notes which were visible from the front of the wrapper, as none of us had a complete cake. Needless to say, we failed, but while drinking this tea, I found myself chuckling at the memory a couple times :)
I don’t know if I was supposed to keep that a secret or not – oh well.
Flavors: Floral, Smooth, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vegetal
Sample obtained through the Pu’erh Plus TTB and prepared in a gongfu session, with a ceramic gaiwan. I gave the leaf a 3-second rinse and no rest. Steeping times: 5 seconds, 8, 10, 12, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 45, 60, 90; 2 minutes, 4, 10.
I’m going to kick off this review my saying that, during the four months since I took the sample from the box, I think I inadvertently dried the humidity out of the leaf.
The dry leaf smells of tobacco, light apricot, and black pepper all at once. Having sat in the pre-heated gaiwan brought out more apricot and a little smoke. The wet leaf in the beginning of the session smells of the field grass, then changes to apricot in the middle.
The soup color is golden. Infusions 1 through 4 are incredibly sweet with apricot – with a little bitterness underneath – and have strong huigan. After the second, the soup has energetic mouthfeel. 3’s texture is thick and oily. I reheated the water to boiling since the temperature had fallen to 195-200. I would later confirm that infusing the leaf in 200< degree water produces sweetness. Boiling brings out bitterness as well. Infusions 5-8 taste of camphor and black pepper as well as a continuing apricot. The more I let the soup sit in my mouth, the more peppery it is. There is a cooling effect upon swallowing. At this point and this point only I feel qi, which is induces relaxation. (Maaaaybe because I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. I started feeling nauseated just before my break – HEY I ACTUALLY NEED TO EAT, I remembered. Quickly fixed.)
After the first break, I go through 9-11. The soup tastes more bitter – same intensity as the apricot note. The bitterness strengthens in the aftertaste. The texture has become creamy.
Another, longer break. 12-14 mostly have bitter, grass notes with slight huigan. (I didn’t feel like boiling the leaf as the website suggests because I was hungry (just came back from exercising and all).)
This tea has a very pungent fruity smell with a light mint finish to it. It reminds me of menthol or light smoke in the smell. The apricot is distinct and delicious as well. I could only wish to have this bottled into a perfume of some kind. The taste is crisp, clean, clear, and most of all delicious. The vegetal flavor with its smokiness makes it a unique tea experience. This tea deserves to be drunk gong fu style and no other style. There is very little to no astringency in this tea which makes me love it so much more.
Flavors: Anise, Apricot, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Dates, Floral, Marshmallow, Smoke, Vegetal
Finally home to drink this sample which was graciously sent to me a couple months ago by mrmopar. I’m pretty sure this is the right tea. My first tea from CLT, and the second session in my new Jianshui teapot from CLT, which I’ve already fallen in love with. I haven’t quite gotten the pour timing down, so some of my early steeps were a bit intense, but nothing I couldn’t handle!
The leaf smelled a little bit smoky, but this didn’t really come through to a great degree in the flavor. The first three or four steeps held a pretty hefty bitterness to them, but also got floral and honey sweet notes to finish. I also sometimes picked out a nutty note on the front and the occasional resinous piney inclination. Over the next few steeps, the bitterness began to recede, and this became very sweet, but still powerful feeling in a nice Bulang-y way. For these steeps I was getting almost all sweetness as far as taste goes, with honey and mineral notes most notable. The final five or so steeps became a little less flavorful and also lost a bit of their edge, taking on a more gently sweet taste/feeling.
This tea was decently thick in the mouth through most of the session. I also picked up some qi, which made me feel just a touch jittery – quite possibly due to two tea sessions in rapid succession rather than this tea only – but it definitely has some power to it. I quite enjoyed this one, and I look forward to drinking through my samples of CLT’s 2016 lineup to get a better feel for their style and their teas.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Resin, Smoke, Sweet
I’ve come to really appreciate Bulang pu-erh. I have had CLT’s 2014 Bulang (raw) and really appreciate the flavors, aromatics, and tea drunkenness often brought on by the sessions. However, I’ve finally opened the sample package of this one, and I must say that I’m fond of this tea.
The first steeps are layered with earth, wet wood, and a pinch of dirt (not the unplesant kind, though). I had had 8 infusions before I had to increase the temperature and steep time; although, I had added only very little leaf (which was eyeballed) into the gaiwan (roughly 4g/120ml) compared to the gaiwan size.
As the last three steeps—3 minutes, 4 minutes, and 5 minutes—were increased, I had more flavors jump out from the liquor. I’ve discovered that there were ‘dark fruits’ (cherries?) and dark rich flavors dancing on the tongue—perhaps chocolate mixed with wood chips? Either way, it really decided to open up with a vast newness that had yet previously shown itself in shorter steeps. So, with the conclusion, I might try experimenting with the rest of the sample—to see what’ll happen if I Western-style brew this; compared to flash steeps starting from 5s-30s, and beyond.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Dirt, Wet Earth, Wood
I haven’t had Dogs yet, so this review will only be for Cats.
This brick smelled and tasted amazing! It first started out strong and still tasted really fresh. The first 4-5 steps were very green with a bite that followed it. After it had a chance to calm down, it showed a great taste of fruit and tasted like the kids cereal ‘Fruity Pebbles’. I got a good amount of steepings with Cats and none of them we’re a disappointment.
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Green, Sugar, Sweet
Midas Touch has got to be one of the highest-energied teas I’ve had to date. After I completed my session, I was completely tea drunk. In fact, I was blitzed off my ass and felt high as a kite. This is the second time a tea has ever done that to me.
Midas Touch starts out very strong, and stays strong through out its session. At first, it almost smells and taste like tire rubber. I think its because its so fresh, but it left an odd odor. As I progressed with this tea, notes of strong sugary sage emerged with warm and woodsy undertones. In fact, it almost resembled a scotch. Besides the flavor, this tea would slap you in the face if you over steeped it, and would bring you to the carped if you brewed it too hot.
Overall, I would say that this tea is NOT for beginners, or tea drinkers who are just starting out. I would also suggest eating something before drinking this tea because it’ll probably make you feel sick if you don’t.
Flavors: Alcohol, Dark Bittersweet, Sage, Thick
I received a sample of Old Warrior on one of my previous samples. Shame – that caused my wallet to suffer the expense of buying more of this tea.
At first, I was really surprised that this tea was from the year 2000 because the quality was superb. For a shou, especially such an old shou, this tea was insanely clean and pure. Hell, even most of the leaf and stem from the material was still intact!
This tea lasted multiple steepings and could withstand various temperatures and steeping times. Overall, this has got to be my (new) favorite aged shou.
Bravo Crimson Lotus!
Flavors: Earth, Sweet, Wood