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Recent Tasting Notes
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
Um, wow. I think maybe nope. It’s definitely musty, wet smelling and tasting. On the second steep it’s musty with a touch of fresh string beans when you string them. Or maybe fresh Lima beans. Some bitterness, a beautiful amber liquor—like a light bourbon.
I don’t think this is my thing, but…it’s honestly not totally unpleasant after it loses that “wet rag” smell and taste with additional steepings. Drying to my mouth though.
Probably I wouldn’t choose to drink this again.
Definitely interesting! No clue how to rate this, as it’s my first aged sheng.
So I’m new at pu’ehr—bear with me here…
This is part of a sample pack I got from Crimson Lotus (who, btw, has amazing packaging!)
This is one of my first shengs, and the first one I enjoyed. I think it’s delicious, and so interesting.
There’s a hint of smoke, some oddly mouth refreshing bitterness, and a bit of cooked asparagus. On the second steep, there’s a bit of tobacco. But the mouthfeel is the shiz! It’s refreshing, cooling and pleasant. Not minty, but cooling nonetheless, and it lingers after the tea is gone. The water I drank afterwards was even more refreshing and cooling than usual.
I don’t know how seasoned pu heads like this tea, but I think it’s fascinating and delicious.
My stupid iPad won’t let me rate this, but at this point I’d say 90? I really dig it.
EDIT: I’m 4 (5?) steeps in. Just wanted to say that this is bitter, so if you don’t like that, this won’t be your fave.
OMGsrsly was generous enough to send me one of these orbs. Thank you so much.
I’ve been finding that I like sheng better with less leaf than is normally recommended. So yes, I broke this in half.
About a week ago I used one half and did a gongfu session with it. It was nice and light. I didn’t take detailed notes – but it was good. Maybe just a hint bitter with a little grassy – but not excessive.
Today I’ve taken the other half and dumped it into a steeping basket and a Davids perfect mug. I know, I know – but western steep works for me sometimes. This is one of those time. This is really good with short – 15/20 sec. A little creamy, really smooth, just a hint of the sheng mustiness. With this preparation, this is right up there with my favorite shengs.
Thanks to Crimson Lotus Tea for supplying this as a sample in a recent order. I enjoyed this last night. Didn’t pay super close attention to it as I was busy stoking a fire and engaging in conversation/reading a horror book out loud while drinking it. Did that sound pretentious? I guess it kind of did… But honest to goodness that was what my night consisted of. It was lovely.
Anyway, this tea was very smooth. It didn’t seem as dark as I imagined it would be. The first steep after two rinses was still pretty light. The sample chunk opened up on the second steep so the second and third were a bit darker in color and flavor. It lightened up a bit after that. The main thing I noticed about this tea overall was the creamy smoothness with no overt smells dominating. I enjoyed it quite a bit and could see it being a really good every day type of drink. Overall, I was able to get about 8 steeps out of this one.
Received this today. Pretty excited as it is the first sheng I’ve bought at the suggestion of Crimson Lotus Tea to pair with an 80’s style horror book for my tea book club. Giving it a test run tonight.
First rinse, 3 sec. Wet leaf smells a bit like a smoky seaweed.
First steep, 10 sec. Liquor brews up a nice golden honey. Faint smokey flavor on the front of the tongue with perhaps some… menthol bitterness? Is that the camphor people speak of?
Second steep, 10 sec. Same color on the liquor. The menthol bitterness is a bit subdued but still a numbing on the tip of the tongue. Scent of the liquor is slightly sweet. Leaves now certainly have that medicinal camphor type scent.
Third steep, 15 sec. Scent coming off the liquor remains sweet, almost floral this time. Could just be my imagination but might be feeling some of the stomach agitation that some have mentioned as famous of young sheng.
Skipping some steeping notes. Talking and drinking this with the wife has distracted me…
5th steep 30 sec. Slight bitterness but overall good smokey flavor that both my wife and I are enjoying. My wife reports no stomach irritation. I feel like there might be something that almost makes it feel like I have hunger pains but I’m not hungry. It is not painful or bad per se but it is there.
6th steep, 35 sec. It’s strange. I feel like the bitterness is fading but is it? I mean, it is certainly still there. It doesn’t FEEL as strong but is that due to a tea buzz? A weakening overall of the tea? Maybe it is just better rounded at this point versus being more pointed in the first few steeps up front.
7th steep, 45 sec. So, my buzz has made me REALLY interested in examining the leaves in my gaiwan. So cool how some leaves have opened up and yet there are still some fairly tightly rolled tube shaped leaves. One thing is for sure. This tea is making my wife feel extra sassy tonight. Haha.
8th steep, 1 min. This is my favorite steep thus far. Bitter harshness is gone. Drink goes down easy. Still has that smoky camphor which I am beginning to really dig. Almost like a cool eucalyptus type vapor is enveloping my upper body, if that makes sense. WTF am I talking about. Of course that doesn’t make sense. Unless you are a tea head, probably.
Wife and I took a break after the 9th steep to relax and enjoy the energy given from the first hour and a half with this tea.
10th steep, about 2 minutes. Super smooth. Really enjoyable. I was just instructed to add that if you stick with this tea that you will be rewarded with a smoothness in the later steeps.
11th steep, 2 minutes. This one, the leaves have a sour/tart smell. It shows up in the taste of the liquor as well. Not sour patch kids sour… Just tart. Still drinkable.
12th steep, 3 minutes. Pretty thin. Calling it a night on this one.
My first real experience with a compressed sheng. It was fairly enjoyable with a mild effect on my stomach (wife reported no such discomfort) though that is probably to be expected for someone with Ulcerative Colitis. This (and other shengs) will probably be a once in a while type enjoyment but nothing I drink too often, given my ailment. I’m sure more age/better quality would be better. Either way, this was an enjoyable evening with my wife so that is the most important.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Floral, Smoke, Tart
This shou is nicely fruity, without any bitter or dry notes. I did get the chocolately notes, along with some fruity dates. There is some sourness in the first 5 steeps, but once you get passed that the shou is quite nice. I would buy this one to drink later, it needs some time to lose that ferment essence.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2014-gu-ming-xiang-bulang-gushu-2-0-shou-puer-crimson-lotus-tea/
A very fine aged tea. There is a consistent mouthfeel that persists well after my cup is empty. The energy overflows steep after steep, my head races back and forth as my body cools to a soft chill.
The main taste of this tea is somewhere in the middle of astringency and bitter, but not either one more than the other. Grass, mild smoke, tobacco flavors stand out to me as the dominant flavors. It almost tastes like a burnt flower would, a little charred but full of beauty and underlying fruitiness.
This is stronger tea in almost every facet of it. The liquor is browner than most teas this age. The thick liquor leads for a superb mouth buzzing effect. Lastly, the feeling behind the tea is an energetic and clear headed one.
I am back from vacation!
This is my second attempt at brewing this, for the first time wasn’t all that great.
This session was much better. I got a new teapot as a gift while on vacation, and it seasoned very nicely. I dedicated the yixing to large leaf fresh spring sheng. I opened up the wrapper and reveled a very tightly wound little orb. The planet has a slight spiced green scent. I warmed up the yixing and popped this orb inside. i let it sit in the pot for some time to soak up the steam. I opened the lid and took in a wonderful fresh sweet scent. I washed the orb three times to allow the leaves to begin opening up. The taste began light and sweet, with a nice golden color. The brew progressively grew darker and yielded some more deeper flavors. The beginning of these tastes were intensely fresh; this orb is pure spring. I tasted some strong grassy notes with a wonderful sweetness. The brew has a brief peppery kuwei and a nice huigan that follows the drinker. The brew grew into some light roasted tones with a warm slight nuttiness in the aftertaste. The grassy tones kept consistently strong throughout the entire session; however, I also noted some woodiness in a later steeping. The drink has a beginning bite and then soothes with a sugarcane sweetness. The final steeping had a dry grass tone covered with a wet wood and warm sweetness. The qi is nice and warming with an alert effect. The sensation begins behind the eyelids and flows throughout the body. This warming feeling cools down to a percolating stimulate and gives the drinker a nice buzz. I liked this little orb. I would categorize this as a nice treat for traveling, but it isn’t something I’d keep for a staple. The price point is a little high for this tea. I enjoyed my session, and I’m happy that I gave this another chance.
Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Green, Sugarcane, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal, Wet Wood
No notes yet. Add one?
This one was on my wishlist and dexter did me a favour by sending my a little to try…or maybe it’s not a favour since i think i really enjoy this one. I’ve been drinking it this morning while doing some things around the house. We’re trying to decide if we want to go to niagara for the later afternoon/evening :)
My first steeps of this one were creamy., smooth and dark and delicious. In later steeps i get a litle more cacao, that same smooth strength and a bit of sweetness coming through. Going to keep going with this one over the afternoon i think. thanks dexter!
I wanted to write about how I was surprised with a beautiful new teapot, gifted from the aether, or how Ben got me a book from one of my favorite authors (Randall Munroe, if you are curious) or how my sunlamp seems to be working and I am feeling better…but, all of these pieces of awesome news are dulled but sad news. The other day music and acting icon that helped shape my childhood David Bowie passed, and then today I woke up to Alan Rickman, whose acting I have been watching since I was tiny (I was raised on Die Hard!) having passed, these losses to the arts are sudden and tragic. They were not just icons of nerdity ( as Jareth and Snape) they were icons! They have left this life, but left us a lifetime of entertainment that has cemented their immortality.
I have had several teas from Crimson Lotus Tea, own a small army of tea frogs from them, and have had many excellent conversations with them, but I have not written about any of their teas and that is kinda terrible of me. So I am rectifying that today with 2008 Bulang Imperial Grade Shou Puerh! From my experience (limited as it is compared to the real Pu-heads) Shou from Bulang is usually quite sweet and rich, so let us delve into the tea notebook and see! The aroma of the leaves is indeed quite rich! Notes of loam and wet leather mix with burnt sugar, wet bark, cedar loam, and a distant touch of dates. It blends sweetness with earthiness in a rich dance that is pleasing to the nose.
Into my shou pot the leaves go for their rinse and short steep. The aroma of the wet leaves is super strong and intense, I lifted the lid off my pot and poof, face full of forest floor, with wet loam, a bit of peat, some wet pine loam, and a finish of leather. The liquid is sweet and rich, with notes of pine loam, mushroom soil, burnt sugar, molasses, and a finish of dates.
For the first few steeps, the real focus of this tea was its mellow loam and earthy notes. It has a subtle sweetness and a touch of mushroom soil, but as my notebook says, it is loamtastic. Blending pine loam and more deciduous leaves with gentle notes of distant molasses. It has a thickness which is nice but not overpowering.
Several steeps later and the aroma and taste really become intense, very strong earthy notes of loam and mushroom soil, wet wood, leather, and a deep heavy sweetness in the aroma. Sniffing this tea reminds me of sinking into a nice nap in a sun warmed forest. The taste is loamy and rich, but there is also a creamy sweetness like molasses candy and dates. It is thick and heavy, definitively a very rich shou!
Towards the end the aroma is still potent and loamy, notes of pine soil and molasses blend with oak wood and a touch of leather. This tea outlived me, I stopped at steep ten but I know it could have kept going for more steeps, please don’t think less of my stamina. The finishing steeps bring in more sweetness, molasses and brown sugar with dates and a resinous pine sap finish. It oddly reminds me a little bit of horehound candy on the finish with more of an earthy leaf loam and mushroom soil note. This was a wonderful shou, one I could see myself buying a brick of to slurp on cold nights.
From the Pu’er TTB (I think it was 2nd round?)
A really floral sheng! Early steepings were fruity pineapple and floral, with middle steepings developing a bitterness, steamed greens and even more floral. The last steepings, around 12 or so (I lost count) was creamy fruity and guess what, more floral.
Very much a spring inspired tea session. This one isn’t a gentle sheng either, it’s got a good amount of punch to it, perfect to pull you out of any winter blues.
Admittedly, I am far from a pu head. I normally drink green teas and light oolongs. Cannot stomach black tea and the few times I’ve tasted puerh I spit it out because it tasted like dirt to me.
So it was with great trepidation that I tried this sample received in a recent swap. I have to say this one was actually quite nice. It tastes like a strong white tea with prominent hay, grass, and marine undertones. The earthiness is there but it isn’t off putting nor offensive and starts mellowing at the 3rd infusion. The seaweed taste also fades away at this point to make way for light vegetal notes and a hint of pleasant bitterness. The earthiness tamed down by the fourth infusion which was most enjoyable one yet. I wondered if perhaps I was starting to acquire a taste for puerh? Fifth infusion was a lighter, green tea-ish flavor and the final two steeps tasted metallic.
I got a little hopped up after drinking it (in a good way), so this is a good one if you’re looking for caffeine. Overall, this was a great introduction to sheng for a beginner like me. While I doubt I’ll turn into a puerh aficionado any time soon, it’s opened up my tea experience and made me more willing to try other puerhs in the future.
Thanks to Stephanie for a great sample!
Flavors: Dirt, Dry Grass, Hay, Vegetal