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Recent Tasting Notes
Sigh. This one isn’t working for me.
I started my session with a close inspection of the dried leaves. The sample was made of one large intact chunk from the tuo, so I was happy to see fully intact leaves and minimal chunks n’ dust at the bottom of the pouch. I was about to take my pu’er pick out and divide the sample in two, but as I took the chunk out of the bag, I realized it was quite flexible. Either the tuo was very loosely compacted or the sample really loosened up on its way over the ocean.
Yet, as I was pulling intact leaves apart, I noticed a very thin, black object. Thinking perhaps it was a stem/vein I gently tugged at it and the leaves around it so as not to break anything. But then I observed it continuing up and over the other leaves and it’s sheen made it apparent it was not leaf/plant derivative. Oh boy… I pulled it out from between the leaves and was left with a two inch long black stringy object tapered in its diameter. Hmmmm, hair or string? While both are generally considered to be “okay” if found in pu’er from what I’ve read, the fact it was in a sample and also present when processing (since it was within the leaves) seems to indicate some poor quality.
Well, in either case, I was going to taste this sample (minus the questionable object) and hopefully I would enjoy it so much that the prize I discovered would be rendered moot. Yeah, that wasn’t the case.
I used half the sample with boiling water in my gaiwan. Wash was around ten seconds, the first steep was fifteen. This is probably the greatest example of incorrect first impressions. The first steep was awesome. There wasn’t much to it, but there was this interesting nuance that I’ve never tasted before in tea, especially not in shu pu’er. It lingered gently on the tongue and roof of the mouth after a sip and passed in and out of taste during a sip. It was some delicate amalgamation of sweet, nutty, woody. There were also notes of coffee and I think cocoa. While it wasn’t incredible and was weak-bodied, it seemed to suggest these flavors would be enhanced or transformed. I excitedly performed my next steep at twenty seconds…
And got nothing. Ughhh it was so disappointing. One dimensional, weak flavor, barely any aftertaste, oily mouthfeel, and a dry feeling in the throat. Worst part was that the interesting flavor completely disappeared. Okay, maybe I didn’t steep for long enough. Upped the time to half a minute for the next steep. Meh. New note of apple and a more metallic aftertaste. Tastes kind of burnt. Still quite weak. There was also a bit of a sparkling mouthfeel, which I liked, but didn’t make the steep much better.
Okay, let’s bring it to one minute. Nada. 5 minutes? Nope, just tastes burnt. I probably would have received better results if I would have used the entire sample, but still…
So what did the leaves have to say? Could they explain this disappointing session? Quite so. The “leaves” were made up of about 20% blackened stem, 75% black halves of leaves that disintegrate with slight rubbing, and 5% greenish brown leaves that practically rip from their own weight. Actually, when I attempted (and easily succeeded) to rip one of these lighter leaves, the topmost membrane of the leaf face separated from the body of the leaf. Ew.
There’s a good chance that I won’t be drinking the rest of the sample. Maybe I just got some really bad fluke, which I’m hoping for the sake of the other Esgreen tasters on here. I’m anxious to see what you all have to say.
So this is a backlog from ages and ages ago… I just never got around to logging my notes and the new tea samples kept rolling in soooo yeahhhh. I suppose it’s best to catch up with the old ESGREEN samples before I get around to the new ones. :) Thankfully this was a memorable tea and I wrote extensive notes on it!
Anywho, this was a pretty tasty tea. In line with the name, this tea is quite “dark,” indeed. The wet leaves are pungent, smelling of age, old books, damp moss, and rich fruits. They’re pretty mulch-like, kind of like coffee grounds. The liquor’s aroma is much like the wet leaves’ but with added buttery notes and an apple-like finish. The addition of the bamboo makes it pretty interesting. It’s like some hybrid of a shu pu’er and a medium oxidized oolong.
As far as flavor goes, this tea is well-balanced. And I’m surprised I find myself saying this, because I would think mixing aspects of green flavor spectrum and the darker aspects of the earthy and spicy flavor spectra would not mesh well. Yet, the greener qualities remained subtle enough as undertones to mold the overall flavor, without causing conflict. Overall, this tea is very sweet and rich. Earthy, peaty flavors are very strong and remain that way, more or less, throughout the eight steeps I took this tea to.
For the first half, a strong peppery taste greeted me during the first steep, and then gradually faded with each steep until it became hardly noticeable. Subtle tones of grass and vegetal qualities remained present until the fifth steep where they just seemed to have dropped off. Woody notes became apparent into the second steep in addition to smoky aromatics that snuggled in between the greens and the woods.
The fifth steep really changed it up. There was this mixture of pepper, cornmeal (I wrote “like a tortilla”) and a new, but very slight beefy flavor that churned out a pleasant steep with a sparkling texture. After this, things circled back to the beginning with sweet earthiness most pronounced, buttery pepper flavors underneath, and barky, smoky flavors bringing in the rear. A tingly spiciness was felt on the tongue.
In regards to mouthfeel, I really enjoyed this tea. For most steeps, the texture was milky smooth, but every other steep introduced a slightly different textural element. First it was an evolving bitterness, which transformed into a subtle huigan, then a cooling sensation, then the sparkling, and finally spiciness. Considering the $19/450g price, it’s a pretty great deal. I would definitely stock up if it weren’t for the horrendous shipping prices… Still, very happy I was able to taste it!
I have enjoyed this sample. I think this is the fourth session and the last. It is not as full bodied as the TeaVivre versions but the browned cocoa notes that drive this are quite nice. I didn’t get up with the intention of having this. It was setting beside my kettle and just kind of pushed itself on me. Glad it did. It went well with the cinnamon crumb cake (breakfast of champions).
Just curious – anyone ever seen a Cheapster Steepster Dian Hong in a bag for lazy or gotta run days?
I love Dian Hong. The leaf smells malty and that is not lost in the cup. The main flavor is browned cocoa. There is a little roastiness in the background that gives it the browned note. The second cup shifts gears. The first cup flavors step back and allow straw and horse tack to come into play! These are not heavy notes like in puerh but they were definitely there. Third cup changes again – very sweet and the taste is milk chocolate with fruit notes. I really liked this one.
This has gentle Yunnan Black notes with a cocoa powder type taste to it and a Golden Buds type BANG mixed in. It’s slightly floral and fragrant as well as slightly fruity and even has a spec of sourness in there – almost like sour milk – but not enough to be disturbing. It works! The after taste that lingers contributes an oh-so-slight bit of smoke.
This is different but good!
YES!!! I’m a little behind…somehow these ESGreen samples dropped to the bottom of my YET-TO-BE-SAMPLED Box. Oops!
So…I’m trying to make-good on that today!
Here’s the first infusion on this one…
Smells like a woodsy, smoky, slightly fishy pu-erh once infused. It has a nice medium brown/orange color to it.
It has a softer earthiness to it – more of a dirt than a leaves or wood, really, but still it’s softer and more pleasant. It has a wheat-like flavor working side-by-side with it, too. There is a bit of maltiness that I’m diggin’ too! I’m liking this one more than I anticipated!
2nd infusion notes coming soon…
This has a slight wormy aroma like some pu-erh’s I’ve tried, thankfully, it’s on the mellower side. It has a velvety yet woodsy flavor. There is a quick sweetness in the middle of the sip that jumps in and out really quick as if it were playing “double dutch” with the woodsy flavor. There is a ‘greenness’ to this that I really like. It’s naked, it’s real, it’s original! This is pretty good!
Thank you mrmopar for this mini Pu-erh Tuo cha!
There was an old woman who made a China Lapsang Souchong, smoked pepper, Urfa Chili meat rub (one plain and one with brown sugar)…
then made a Earl of Anxi infused simple syrup which was ladled over a warm golden yellow cake…
followed by lemon pudding infused with cream of Earl Grey, poured and set in shot glasses… chilled…
ending with a viewing of Pixar’s, ‘BRAVE’ while sipping infusions of
sweet, smooth ripe cassia Pu-erh. (I’m like ‘The Old Woman Who Lived In The Shoe’ however, instead of too many children… I have too much tea I don’t know what to do!)
Layers of tea to cook and bake with, then a relaxing Shu Pu-erh to watch the animated Scot’s Princess fly through the forest as the brave heroic figure in my movie.
Who says you can’t enjoy such things at my age. Ach!
The little tuo cha was delicious. A small cake-like dessert Pu-erh, not earthy at all. Mild, smooth and easy. Slightly sweet.
I steeped 2 quick 30 second steeps in my Gaiwan and took a taste then in the mug they both went. A full mug of Pu-erh (which I soon repeated)! kicking back.
A good ending to a lovely day with no creative mishaps!
Thank you Esgreen for the free sample!
The leaves of this raw pu-erh smelled a bit mushroomy or fungal, and a bit earthy. Every leaf had downy white hairs on them. The leaves were green, white, yellow, brown, and others were black. The rinsed leaves smelled earthy, fungal, vegetal and smokey. Once brewed, they smelled more fungal and woody.
The brewed tea smelled smokey, mossy, and had a light earthiness. The light yellow-green brew tasted floral, of mushrooms, and was mossy. I was very pleased with the first brew.
This brew was much more floral than the first, and exhibited less mushroom notes. However, it was just as woody and mossy as the first. Each sip had a slight earthy finish.
This brew was smokey, floral, and a little spicy. This cup tasted more like an aged pu-erh. Mild earthy notes crept into the last sip.
I really liked this steeping. It was extra floral and sweet. A tiny bitter nut flavor followed. The fungal notes had gone.
The steeps were still holding strong. It reminded me of the third steeping. Smokey, lightly floral, and a bit earthy.
Thanks again for the tea sample!
I received this as a free sample along with my pu-erh gift order. Thank you Esgreen for the sample!
This tea came in the form of compact tea globes. The leaves themselves were easy to separate whole from the ball for easier brewing. The scent was nice, earthy, and mellow. The short rinse I gave the tea globe got rid of all of what little stems there were. The rinsed leaves smelled very mellow as well, and had mossy and malty tones to them. After the first brewing, the tea carried the faint scent of barley and earth.
The brewed tea had a mild mossy flavor with light smokey undertones. This tea has definitely mellowed out over the years. The dark amber brew was very smooth and left a sweet and malty aftertaste.
The second brew was much the same as the first. Mellow, earthy, malty and sweet with slight smokey undertones. The aftertaste was a bit different. Muscatel notes shown through.
The smokey undertones mellowed out quite a bit for this brew. In stead, it was replaced with an aftertaste similar to mushroom or fungus. The liquor is getting silkier with every steep, with about the same amount of earthiness thus far.
This steeping had more body then the others. There was a heavier earthy presence along with a woody finish.
This brew was very sweet and had a stronger essence of cooked mushroom.
Though brewed longer, this brew was substantially lighter than the rest. The color was a pinkish-amber. This steeping was as sweet as the previous, but the earthiness had completely left. There were more wood tones.
This was very mellow and sweet. Nice woody notes still held strong.
This was a great tea. This aged rather well in my opinion.
This tea came as a sample along with my Pomelo Pu-erh gift. Thank you Esgreen for the sample!
The dried mini-bing smelled very light, and not very earthy. As I unwrapped it, I noticed a slightly nutty aroma. The brewed leaves smelled very mild and mossy. I could already tell that this would be a very mild pu-erh.
This tea produced a very nice red amber color after the first wash. On the first sip, I noticed the tea was mildly earthy, nutty and sweet. I’m not used to such quiet pu-erhs. The earthy tones blended very well with the other notes.
What a consistent tea. The flavors were much the same as the first, but much more developed. This tea was not bitter in the least, and actually very pleasant. I very much enjoyed this brew. The finish was slightly buttery.
This tea has very even tones; each quality balances itself out with the others. This steeping was very sweet, and nutty.
I really enjoyed trying this tea. It was very mellow, but still a bit earthy with mossy and nutty notes.
This was a gift from a friend which I am very thankful for.
What an interesting tea. First off, I’ve never had a Pu-Erh aged in a pomelo before; it’s a rather interesting idea. Secondly, I’ve been wanting to order this, so it came as a nice surprise to find it in the mail.
When I opened the box containing two Pomelos, I immediately got a smokey fragrance like pinewood. It wasn’t too smokey however, and was rather enjoyable. I unwound the metal wire around the fruit and opened the top to find a dark brown bunch of leaves tightly compacted on the inside. Upon braking portions of the tea up, the smokey-pine aroma quickly transformed to that of a smokey citrus. There were some stems, and very compact leaf. Much of the leaves crumbled a bit, while others came out in tiny chunks. The earthiness was not as noticeable as other pu-erhs.
I “washed” the tea for 15 seconds, but kept the liquid in a separate glass. The liquid was light, and mildly sweet with a smokey aftertaste.
This brew had a dark tan color. The first steeping was not earthy in the least, which was quite unexpected. In stead, it was smokey and sweet, with a hint of citrus in the finish. The flavor reminded me of a Wuyi Rock Oolong, but less fruity.
The second steeping was again sweet, but more so than the first. The smokiness carried itself through lightly. Citrus notes only showed up in the pleasant aftertaste.
This steeping was very light, and the citrus notes were more prevalent. The sweetness seemed to increase from brew to brew.
This was a very interesting and wonderful pu-erh to try. I’ll definitely enjoy drinking the rest.
I tried this one a while back, but haven’t had any time to log anything recently. As I think back on the time I drank this, I remember being much happier with it than my notes seem to show. But I was listening to Queen songs on repeat while I drank, so I’m sure that had something to do with the discrepancy. :D
Overall this one was pleasant enough, but not incredibly exciting. I used the whole sample in a 100 mL gaiwan, which came out to be about a third of the way full. The dry leaves had a very sweet aroma, with that characteristic “old” smell very prominent. It also had this “seltzer-y” characteristic, like that smell of club soda. The aroma rounded off with undertones of avocado, old books, and this light sour smell. The leaves were very tightly compacted, appearing almost fused.
The wet leaves were powerfully earthy, very musty, with aromas of peat and dusty old books. After steeping, the leaves pretty much looked like mulch. And there were tons of empty stems. And I mean tons.
Transferring over to the liquor, that sour smell from the dry leaves became very powerful after the liquor was drained from the empty cup. Otherwise, the liquor itself smelled very similar to the wet leaves. The liquor appeared as this extremely red-tinged burgundy color that became nearly black during the middle steeps. It made this beautiful red ring of liquor around the lid of the gaiwan while it was steeping.
As for flavor, the first and second steep were probably the most interesting, at five and twenty seconds respectively. The taste was most predominately earthy. It really packed a punch. However, there were delicate traces of avocado and smoky notes, with a nice sweetness that rounded things out. The second steep was more or less the same, but with additions of peat, salt, and must. The mouthfeel was very smooth and mellow, and it left a spicy aftertaste that could be felt in the back of the throat. However, the body was quite flat for both steeps.
The third steep was the same as the second flavor-wise, but the avocado tones disappeared. The texture became a bit unpleasant—oily and slippery. This was probably the last interesting steep. I went for seven steeps, but I was reallyyy dragging it out (the seventh steep lasted 10 minutes) just to see if I could pull anything interesting out in the end. Instead, I received a taste that was like wet cardboard. Bleh. The mouthfeel became a bit intriguing. Tingling sensations grew in strength into the sixth steep, with a cooling sensation in the fourth. Other than that, however, I didn’t get much from this tea, leaving me a bit disappointed.
2002 Ke Yi Xing Raw Pu-erh this one is nice in appearance when dry I have a sample size of it broke off the brick and ready to be steeped, I notice big leaves folded and just a few stems, dark and light brown colored with a slight earthy scent, after the rinse the leaves are darker brown and slightly chopped looking and I see more stems so what I saw in the dry as folded leaves were actually big pieces of leaves pressed together still to create a folded appearance. The aroma at this point is earthy but not woodsy, forest floor type earthy its more like back yard garden type earthy.
1st infusion is brown and very smooth like a ripe puerh but quite thin, it has the aroma still of the backyard garden with very root-like earthy flavor much like a beet.
2nd infusion is about the same in color but the flavor is much stronger of the earthy beets in fact its a very strong flavor that tastes like big red beets.
I have a very earthy aftertaste in my mouth that is nice.
3rd infusion little darker, I can still see the bottom of the cup if I look close enough but still plenty dark in color but still a thin tea. Still the same earthy beet taste as the previous infusion but this time developing almost spinach type notes, I wanted to not like that taste at first but it’s actually not so bad.
4th infusion still just as dark brown as the 3rd there is a little of the spinach type notes but not enough to replace the beet like taste. The earthy aftertaste is quite pleasant
I want to say here that most folks who drink puerh will understand what I’m talking about in my taste descriptions(I hope) while those who drink other teas may not,This is Puerh and puerh is know to have “Earthy” notes so when I’m talking about beet and spinach flavors and notes I’m not talking about flavorings or anything like that, its not like steeping a beet it’s just the earthy flavor of this Puerh Tea itself is reminiscent of eating beets or spinach to me that’s all, this is just the way I describe this particular earthy flavor, it’s not Beet flavored Tea :)
5th steep and the color just started getting lighter brown but the flavors are still coming through, I’m not sure that this one is going to develop into anything much more so I’m going to end this review saying that this is a very nice and earthy puerh to me I enjoyed it, I’m going to watch a movie now and try to enjoy it a few more times since it was just a sample, I may even want to buy some of it so I can try it again.
When I opened the package of this sample, the aroma was very earthy. I rinsed it once for 10 seconds, and it was still very earthy, so I rinsed it again for another 10 seconds. The earthiness mellowed somewhat by this time so I proceeded to brew it for 30 seconds for this first infusion. I’m glad that I did take the time for the rinsing, because this tastes just perfect for my palate: It is earthy, but not too much. There are sweet, caramel-y tones and a really lovely, mellow flavor. In the background, there is like a “hiding green tea” flavor … hints of fresh, vibrant green tea in the background,almost wild, that are often masked by the earthy overtures and caramel-y undertones, but every once in a while the green notes peek out just to let me know that they’re there and to remind me that this is no ordinary Pu-erh.
This is the first of many infusions.
I’ll apologize ahead of time for this rambling…
Ahhh pu’er, you have redeemed yourself. I drank this sample from Esgreen last week, and I was supremely happy with the little cake. The cake was well-compressed and has a faint smell of old leather. I followed Esgreen’s instructions and plopped the little guy in my 100ml gaiwan. I heated my water up to boiling and poured it over the cake, releasing strong fumes of smoke, sweet damp earth, mushrooms, and peat. I took a bamboo chopstick and began breaking up the cake during a ten second wash. This is where the fun really began with me. I don’t know why, but there’s something so enjoyable in this activity.
I poured out the wash and was astonished by this ruddy, rust-tinted, incredibly dark broth. I was thinking that the “10g” cake in such a small volume of water would produce something pretty potent, so unsure of whether to stick with the 20 second initial steep, I took a sip of the wash. Barely anything. The body was actually smooth and creamy despite the overly weak body. With regained confidence, I steeped out a 20 second brew.
And I thought the wash was dark. This was THICK. Not only was the mouthfeel smooth and incredibly thick, the broth poured out of the gaiwan was highly viscous and murky. I took a tentative sip and was rewarded with a well-rounded flavor. Peat and earth flavors were mirrored with smoke and camphor tastes, while salty, almost caramel-y notes brought up the rear. There was also this faint nuance that with the immense thickness of the broth reminded me somewhat of cream of mushroom soup. After swallowing, I was greeted with a tingling tip of the tongue and a unique minty-cooling sensation on the sides of my lips. Excited, I went on to steep number two.
The peaty/earthy notes climbed and burst forth throughout a sip. The smoky notes became quite potent and caught in the nasal cavity. Camphor notes decreased, while a small amount of bitterness surfaced, along with a subtle metallic feel. At this point, the tea’s physiological effects came into play, and I started zoning out, becoming mesmerized by the tea oils. They were so delicate, the translucent spindles dancing under the rising steam against this unfathomably dark background of the broth. I snapped to, took another sip, and tried detecting an aftertaste…and realized there was barely anything. The flavors of this tea evaporate after a sip, leaving almost nothing lingering besides a very, very faint salted caramel flavor. Ah well.
The next steep resulted in essentially the same brew, but with a reduced bitterness. But wow, my head was feeling so thick and heavy. I was becoming so relaxed from this tea. I poured out another steep. A very prominent sweetness broke off from the earthy flavor as a new woodiness began to climb from the bottom. As I was appreciating this new sweetness, I closed my eyes…and found it difficult to reopen them. Why was I so sleepy? I debated taking a nap and starting back where I left off, but brushed off the idea.
The next steep was spectacular. A new sparkling texture arose, with thick sweetness, a more subdued smokiness, increased camphor and wood flavors, a reduced saltiness, and an addition of this ripe fruit taste. Mmmm such a nice balance.
Steep six. Supposedly the last quality steep according to Esgreen. I was anxious to see how this lovely would fizzle out. I soon realized that “fizzle” was a poor verb here. Perhaps sizzle? I was greeted with a great deal of spice, a decent amount of earthiness, and the aroma and flavors of cedar chips and wood shavings. The mouthfeel became extra tingly with that spicy feel on the sides of the tongue. After this, I thought there had to be more.
I quickly prepared a seventh steep. What resulted was a bright and warm brew. Spicy notes increased along with cedar and oaky goodness. earth and peat notes were subdued and smoke flavors were diminished. I could tell my tea was dying, but with great dignity. The texture was as tingly as ever and still sparkling. On a side note, I was becoming even sleepier, the tea seemed to be sucking my energy as it’s own was reduced.
I thought, let’s go for one more. After a seemingly endless time of five and a half minutes, steep eight was ready. Alas, poor Mini Bing! I knew him, Steepsterites; a fellow of infinite depth, of most excellent flavor… He faded out with notes of cedar, aged leather, and peat.
So to sum up all the above nonsense , I was expecting at least over ten steeps with such a high concentration of leaf, so at first I was a bit disappointed. Yet, I soon realized that that’s just not this shu’s thing. It’s simple, tasty, uncomplicated, and extremely easy to brew, as it is very forgiving. I also loved how the flavor changed from something that brought to mind images of a damp, murky, and earthy marsh to something like a dry and woodsy forest during summer. At least that’s what I got from the tea. Also, with that extreme calm feeling I received, I could definitely picture this being a nice tea for before bed or on lazy Sunday afternoons. At any rate, mini bing cha is pretty neat. :) Cheers!