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Recent Tasting Notes
Dear GOD this is an incredible tea. One of my goddamn favorites from the batch of 2016 stuff, that’s for damn sure.
This is a wild tea. It’s definitely in the same bitterness family as a lot of purple puerh. But, while purple stuff was one of my first loves, a lot of the times it’s just big and fun and dumb. Like: fat satisfying bitter warmth, but not much evolve.
This stuff on the other hand: this is the magic stuff. This is the real goddamn deal. This huge central bitterness that just emanates weird life, radiating this ever-changing tentacles of sweet and vegetal and other stuff.
It’s interesting – it’s a very different bitter than the Lao Man E’s I’ve been drinking. The Lao Man E’s tend to have this more rubber/quinine note, quite distinctive, that rides over and above the more conventional puerh vegetal flavors. This stuff, on the other hand: the bitter is the center. Everything is connected to the bitter. Everything binds into and comes from the bitter.
Also: this is brain-zap tea. I was intending to actually, you know, get some work done, and instead ended up basically collapsed, draped over the side of my couch, blasting the new Frank Ocean album, joyously zonked. This is MASSIVE tea. This is tea to put into your skull and blast some thick, textured tunes to.
I kept texting my wife while I was drinking it. “Oh shiiiiit.” “Oh this is legit.” “Holy crap… THIS TEA.”
Also, weirdly, underneath, elegant. Something about the texture and overall… cleanness… reminds me of the ultra-delicate W2T Last Thoughts.
Anyway: thank you Crimson Lotus people. This is the real stuff. You have brought a new kind of joy into my life.
no detailed notes today (#workdaysteeps), but this is my first session with this tea and i am enjoying it very much. lots going on flavour- and texture-wise in the early steeps especially. good longevity for that phenomenon, and getting some interesting head- and body-feels. very nice.
This puer has notes of honeysuckle, unripe apricots, wheat barley, and later steeps a little tart. Steep this tea for awhile and it does get bitter, but it gives you plenty energy to not care. It also packs quite a strong taste. The texture is quite nice with a thick body, later on developing an interesting cooling effect in the mouth, and then getting a bubbly sensation.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2016-jingmai-love-crimson-lotus-tea-tea-review/
I’ve had a lot of good experiences with the Crimson Lotus offerings (8, and counting), and this was no exception. It’s rather interesting that the exact history of this tea is unknown. From all the reading I’ve done, and the samples I’ve had from various individuals, it’s apparent that this tea was stored quite professionally. One generous sample & four melons later, and I’ve acquired a tasty alternative shou (to my usual daily cups of Cloudy Days). It’s not another version of a nutty flavor, though there is a lingering sweetness that stays with the steeps (once you are past the initial bitterness). This tea gives a generous amount of steeps. Overall, the quality is obvious, and at a really good price.
This is another one of my daily drinkers. For me, smooth and relaxing barely begins to describe it. Very pleasant initial mushroom taste with a wonderful nutty aftertaste. Pretty generous on the steeps and easy on the stomach. I find this to be a gentle tea, its strength is in its calming effect. Glad I bought two tongs.
really pleasant aroma of dry leaves like tart fresh apricots and green apples.
After two rinses, aroma changed to rich fried sugary treats, like funnel cake.
Flavor was similar to the tart fresh apricots, green apple, a bit of sugar and honey in there, a wild taste I couldn’t put my finger on that is like sour twang but not really sour, and a malty undertone. Tiny bit of astringency on the finish. not bitter at all. nice longevity, lasted about 15 steeps before it faded. Didn’t get huigan, kuwei, or chi.
Hello Tea Friends,
Today I will be reviewing an interesting and somewhat traditional Tibetan tea called Holy Flame. This tea is intended to be used as the base for Tibetan Yak Butter Tea (Po Cha) which is consumed daily in Tibet. I have tried some instant mixes for Yak Butter Tea in the past and honestly found them disgusting, though saying that I am not a buttermilk fan in general. I found it to be far too salty and sickly that I couldn’t drink it. Perhaps having it fresh would make a difference but I may never find out. Either way when I saw Holy Flame for sale and the intention for the tea I was immediately interested to try it. I may not have liked Yak Butter Tea but I may like the Sheng base. I also like the idea of drinking something that is common in Tibet and actually what they would drink themselves. Though I have never visited, Tibet has always been a wondrous place in my mind
Opening the packet (which has awesome wrapper art by the way) I can note the Chinese characters for Xiaguan which is a district in China as well as being a town near the Southern end of Yunnan. Primarily speaking this region is very well known for their tea production and have some wonderful teas to boast. The brick is rather dark in colour with a hue of brown, dark brown and dark green colours. I can also note some stems/sticks are present and the leaves are a mixture of sizes as though they were loosely chopped before processing. It smells musty and wooden though subtle with a hint of smoke.
The tea has some steeping instructions on the website.
Use 5-10 grams of leaves and brew with 75-150ml ( 2.5-5oz ) of water at or near boiling. Rinse once for a few seconds. Start with quick steeps under 10s. With each re-steep adjust the steep time to your taste.
My steeping parameters: 100ml gaiwan, 7g leaf, boiling water. I will also rinse the leaf as suggested.
First Steep – 7 seconds
The tea soup is light brown in colour and bares a dry earth and smoke scent.
The flavour is mild in comparison to it’s pungent aroma. There is a smoky taste with some astringency in the after taste that leads to some dryness. Further bowls show an increase of depth and it becomes stronger though not by much.
Second Steep – 7 seconds
The astringency is stronger and now bares a wooden must that somewhat matches the scent. It’s certainly strong and powerful considering such short steeps. The smoke still lingers in the aftertaste.
Third Steep – 10 seconds
This is a more balanced steep in terms of astringency and smoke, either that or my pallet is used to it. However, the dryness has increased in the aftertaste and leaves my tongue almost dry.
Fourth Steep – 15 seconds
The first sip comes across as astringent but it quickly softens into a smoky melody that envelopes my tongue and dances on the taste buds. Also the dryness is still present though not much of an issue.
Fifth Steep – 20 seconds
Even on this steep it’s strong with ever pressing smoke and astringency. Also some sweetness coming through in the after taste.
Sixth Steep – 25 seconds
This is starting to relax in strength but it’s still at a nice level. Smoke and wood with astringency still hang in the aftertaste.
Seventh Steep – 30 seconds
It’s certainly starting to calm down but still has each flavour present.
Eighth Steep – 40 seconds
And the flame burns out. There is little left in this steep apart from subtle smoke, a distance memory of a once lively Holy Flame that burnt bright.
Conclusion: This Sheng packs a pleasant punch with a lot of mouth feel that makes you wonder what each steep will bring. Like the flame of a candle; it burnt brighter and intensified until it inevitably burnt itself out to leave a smoky finish. Alright that is enough fire talk, I will extinguish any more fire based puns before I get on someone’s wick.
On a more serious note, it promised to be a strong tea and it delivered. Not only that but considering I used average leaf weight for minimum steep time it produced eight successful steeps. While this may be cheap and intended to be used as a base tea I like it as it is. It’s very suited for an everyday tea and I know I will end up taking this to work to drink so I can close my eyes with each sip and pretend I’m in Tibet.
Until next time, Happy Steeping!
This one is a fascinating comparison to, say, WT2’s Tyler. If you just listed off the tasting notes: vegetal, grassy, dry-toast cracker, etc. – they’d sound like the same tea. But they’re like mirror-universe versions of each other, and perfect examples of the house styles. Where Tyler drops you into the oily, rich sweetness of grassy umami, only occasionally emerging into sharp cracker, Whispering Sunshine is all crispness and subtle prickles on the tongue and lifting up, up, into brightness.
My gut says that Crimson Lotus came, like me, into puerh from the green tea/white side, because Whispering Lotus has some of the pleasures, sort of, of long jian or certain white teas, and the energy of that fresh green crispness, where Tyler starts you in the green and throws you down into a well of quiet richness.
Both are great teas, and it’s kind of worth tasting them side-by-side.
I’m not normally a jingmai person – it’s nice and all, but I tend to prefer dancong for my gentle floral aroma. That doesn’t seem like what sheng is for, you know? But this stuff, this stuff totally floats my boat. Thick and honey and vibrant, layers of subtle shifting sweetness and than this wild, raw weirdness. It reminds me like tide pools or sea urchin roe or something, and it’s totally unhinged. Love this stuff.
This is pretty much the second time I have had pu’erh, and it is being enjoyed immensely. This tastes like wet earth, like others have said, but maybe a bit vegetal too. I get the sweetness of this, and in later steeps the wet earth taste was less and the sweetness got a bit stronger.
Flavors: Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wet Moss
4g:60mL, porcelain equipz. drank the rinse. workday steeps; simple notes.
sweet to start, shifting into lightly vegetal with a lovely floral-ish sweet aftertaste. kinda dry-mouth after sipping, making me want more tea.
very nice. sweet and light but has depth of flavour. nice smooth texture, filling the whole mouth.
The smell of this tea reminds me of the first shou I ever tried, which I think was some kind of Numi puerh. It reminds me of crab boil, so I’m guessing it smells like one of the spices in Old Bay Seasoning. I just don’t know which spice it is.
Fortunately, this smell didn’t really translate into the brew. I was expecting the brew to be much fuller bodied, but it was very light. It tastes woody, smoky, and sweet. There’s also a bit of lingering spice, perhaps sandalwood? I’m not good with spice identification.
After steep 10, it starts to get less woody and more smoky, sweet minerals. Very enjoyable, but nothing I would buy to keep around.
Flavors: Mineral, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
A very powerful tea. If you brew this with >5g/100mL with flash steeping you’re in for a bitter and sour brew – which for me was enjoyable! Underneath the bitterness and astringency is a lot of aroma, with tonnes of fruit and floral notes, very complex and enjoyable. The aroma notes come through in a strong sweet and sour aftertaste that lingers and lingers. Underpinning all of this is a full body, a little oily and some mineral notes. The tea will go on and on, getting slowly but surely sweeter and fruitier as time passes.
Finally the qi, strong and warm, I felt like I was wrapped in cotton wool, high as a kite and happy as Larry :)
A tea that can be enjoyable now, if you’re into this sort of thing, or I think a worthy ageing investment :)
right now im drinking the last of this bulang. i have about 4.99g for my raw yixing ive dubbed, Enkil, the ancient vampire of anne rice’s books- the vampire lestat, and queen of the damned. i just love those books, so i thought id honor my pots and her characters, making Enkil my sheng pot, and Akasha my shou.
ya anyways.. after a quick rinse, the tea has loosed lots and is giving off a strong sort of sweet-hay smell.
first steep, and the brew is light, sweet, strong and palatable, with a light yellow liquid.
with just a few sips, the tea qi is already oozing out of me, and i feel soft like a pillow, ha. i wonder if its just that im excited to be back at my gongfu table.. maybe im getting a contact high..
second- the liquor has darkened and the smell is somewhat smokier now which i love, however its not a burning wood smoky, but more like a burning field. the tea has become richer and heavier feeling in the mouth. lots of the initial bite you would expect from a young sheng has actually given way to a rounder, more complex brew, with some astringent activity part way through the sip.
well the tea has come apart in this third steep. i love the strength of the aroma.. this is astringency i like; rounded with some sweetness, but very in your face. < that is from the pot. the cup is less in your face, as you would expect. some bitterness digs at the middle of my tongue and stays there when i sip. the heat & the bulangy-ness is making my feet sweat and i fear my tongue is drying up.
fourth steep- im picking up some cedar on the nose. less astringent, still very flavorful and a little sweetness to balance.
this tea is really great and i think ill be ordering more in the future, as i am now out of it. it always helps me wake up when i feel groggy. i love how this is active in the mouth and tart as f***.
im feeling wide awake and hot and kind of fidgity.. strange how fast the qi hit. im going to drink on, but the review ends here.<
Wild look. Wild aroma. Wild taste.
Comparable to a wild oolong more so than a young sheng. Light and savory in a way that says ‘welcome to my jungle like taste’
A wonderful treat meant to be drank asap as many wild teas before the wild things are lost in the jungle.
A very nice apricot smell.
The flavor’s got some lingering bitterness that’s very, very nice and some floral notes that sometimes feels fruity. After like 7 steeps the bitterness goes away and for the rest of the tea (and believe me, the tea goes on forever) it’s just a very pleasant flavor.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Floral, Fruity, Lemon
Backlog 12 August 2016
Another tea gifted/swapped with CWarren. Thank you for this!
I shared this tea with a friend, so my notes are subtle, but there are a few details on the leaf color and flavor profile. I had tasted a lot of fig, Asian pear, stone fruits, and earthy minerals. After a while, there were notes of honey and dry grass/leaves. I noted, “This reminds me of an autumn walk in the (maple tree surrounded) woods.” The liquid of the tea became “the color of honey” and flavor reminded me of an “autumn morning walk, with the leaves crunching beneath your feet; the smell of dew covered dry leaves arising to your nostrils.”
I apparently began composing a story after this last note, titled “Autumn Morning.” So having a tea which inspired me to write again is worthy of making a note on here.
Anyway, my friend and I had sincerely enjoyed this tea together. We had many similar notes of the depth, flavor, aromas, and thoughts about Autumn while sharing this brew. It is a worthy treat to have for the Autumn-loving-individual, and it’ll make your mind wander to those lovely morning walks, while listening to the leaves crunch beneath your feet.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dry Grass, Fig, Honey, Mineral, Pear, Stonefruits