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Recent Tasting Notes
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!
I’m not sure that I like this one as good as the one from Siam Tees but I’ll compare them together soon :) look at my blogsot for it I hope my pics turn out good! http://toadsteablog.blogspot.com/2012/10/lan-gui-ren-ginseng-oolong.html
Thank you ESGREEN for offering this tea for me, and also for giving me this free sample!
Taiping Hou Kui is a wonderful tea to begin my Saturday morning. The weather’s nice today as well.
The leaves were very thin, and very long, much like the other Nie Jian I’ve had. They were very aromatic as well; each leaf smelled very floral and sweet. In direct sunlight, I could see through some of the reddish stems. Each one was composed of a bud and two other leaves, pressed almost paper thin on a grate. The brewed leaves smelled grassy and vegetal, and also like nectar.
The brewed tea smelled light and sweet, and was a pale yellow-green. In a glass, it looked almost completely clear. It tasted very sweet and floral, and a tiny bit like melon. The end finish tasted of nectar.
This one was more floral and sweet. I always seem to like the second brewing of Taiping Hou Kui more than the first. A wonderful pale yellow again, completely clear.
This is a great-smelling, and great-tasting tea. I’m glad to know that another company is selling this tea as well.
I’m way behind in my reviews…So I’m not letting myself try new samples until I can catch up on the old teas and allow myself to focus on the new ones. And with that, I will catch up with this pu’er. I steeped the whole sample (I think it was around 4.5 grams or so) in my 100ml gaiwan. I got through about 10 or 11 steeps total. There was a great deal of intrigue in this tea, with a very unique flavor profile. From the first four-second steep, I received notes of mushrooms, cedar chips, a certain grape-like tartness, a faint earthiness, and flavors of overripe fruit. The liquor smelled like old, worn-out leather and age. It actually came out kind of frothy, which was interesting to me, as the height I poured it from wasn’t any higher than normal. The mouthfeel contained a slow and drawn-out huigan that began sparkly and tingly and transformed into a bitterness. There was also a lingering metallic feel to it here.
Into the next steep, all the above flavors increased in intensity while notes of camphor and what totally reminded me of Dr. Pepper were added to the mix. The mouthfeel turned into something fierce in this steep. It was stronger, more potent, and it made the tip of my tongue feel like it was on fire or that it was vibrating or something. Very tingly. This mouthfeel remained like this with somewhat less intensity throughout the rest of the steeps.
As far as flavor goes, the rest of the steeps went downhill from here (at least for me). The next steep was incredibly sour-tasting. And instead of showing up and then fading, it actually expanded and became more intense after a sip. It was kind of like biting into an unripe lime, complete with a great deal of astringency. Bleh. I don’t know what happened here, but it only steeped a second longer than the previous steeping. At any rate, it calmed down into the next couple of steeps, but it was still very apparent.
The steeps faded out with a great deal of earthiness, a bit more spice, and some notes of that overripe fruit taste. Overall, I really liked the tastes it put forth, and the mouthfeel was highly stimulating, but the metallic feeling and sour tastes were just too off-putting for me. However, I did really like the leaves of this one. Although there were a TON of stems in my sample, the leaves became quite green when wet and the ones that happened to be whole had some beautiful veins. The leaves’ aroma was also quite nice. Hints of florals, grapes, ripe fruits, and some nostril-tingling tartness.
I can’t find this one on their website anywhere but here are my thoughts on it.
It kind of smells like worms after a fall rain.
I rinsed it twice and there are still floaties/particles.
The color is a very nice red/orange/brown color…warming and very fall-like.
The taste is really good! It’s mellower yet still sweet and woodsy, a bit earthy, and even a hint of malt. As it cools – it’s more and more mouth-watering.
After my adventure with the golden flowers you might think I would be leery of another puerh. Nope. Not gonna happen. Wouldn’t be prudent. Steeped this one for about 30s. It made a light amber cup with a burgundy tint. Took one sip and wow has this got a bright metallic taste. So I added some Splenda – the great equalizer – to calm it down. This is still quite bright and young tasting. As the cup cools I realize what I thought was metallic is actually the beginnings of earthy notes. I like this. Nice sticky lip feel. In my attempt to learn about puerh I have stumbled across information that leads me to conclude this will make an excellent cup once it has more time to age.
I steeped a total of 5 mugs in my western style. Each cup bacome a little darker and a little sweeter than the last. Conclusion – I like me some young raw puerh.
I am not going to do a normal review. See Cody’s comments on this one as he did a much better job at putting it in to words. However, I will say my conclusions are a bit different. This reminded me of back in the day when I bought a quality bottle of burgundy wine. By wine standards it was still a cheap wine but compared to my normal fare it was a giant step up. I opened the bottle. Poured in to the crystal wine glass. Swirled the liquid around the glass. Smelled. Took a sip and realized, I much preferred a cheap sweet white wines or the cheap concord grape wines made locally. I was not sophisticated enough for such a hoity-toity glass. Same here. I found this puerh to be too musky, musty, earthy. I love horse leather. Musty, not so much.
If you look close this leaf has a few yellow dots on it. This is a fungus growing on the leaf. It is known as golden flowers and is apparently considered desirable in some collector circles. Is it the source of the strong musty smell and taste? I don’t know. I appreciate the opportunity to taste 10 year old leaf and learn about golden flowers but just not a fan.
Score based on trusting Cody’s review.
Thanks to ESGREEN for this sample!
I’m still pretty new to pu’er, so the first thing I did was go to ESGREEN’s website for any brewing instructions. When I saw “10-15g in a gaiwan” I thought I was misreading something. So I weighed the sample I received and found it to be 7g. I shrugged and poured the contents into my 100ml gaiwan. I went with the rest of the guidelines on the website and did two washes of three seconds each. The liquor was DARK. I began thinking 7g was too much, but went on with the first steep at four seconds. I bid my time and sniffed the wet leaves first. They were extremely pungent, smelling of old, worn-out leather, dusty books, dirt, and hints of overripe plums and a touch of florals.
I turned back to my foreboding cup of deep, dark, brown-crimson liquor, and sniffed it. Earthy and musky. I took a sip…and sighed in relief. I guess I was expecting something like turpentine since it seemed like there were way too many leaves in the gaiwan. Turns out it was just the right amount. The resulting brew wasn’t potent at all, and it never did become unpalatable if steeped too long in the later steeps. A slightly familiar “sheng” flavor introduced itself. It was earthy and musty. Meh.
But then….whoa… This tiny bit of astringency I first detected hiding somewhere in the tea exploded, making my mouth and throat tingle all over like ants were marching back and forth across my palate. An excellent sensation of huigan. The liquor was silky, smooth, and had this interesting salty/slippery feeling to it. The tea becomes more complex over time, increasing in sweetness, introducing flavors of fruits and florals, and becoming much like a shui xian into the fifth steep. The mouthfeel becomes even more complex, though. All kinds of tingling, sparkling, smooth, salty, and coarse textures assaulted my tongue and throat, appearing and disappearing with reckless abandon. I took this tea into the twenties for steeps, finally rounding out with flavors of peppercorn, camphor, earth and wood, tiny hints of chocolate, and florals and fruit. Towards the end of its life, it left a beefier aftertaste, and the huigan was slower and subtler.
The leaves were quite massive. By the end of my steeping session, the lid of my gaiwan was resting on the leaves, and couldn’t even close completely. There was also a ton of huge loose stems and quite a large ball of broken pieces that had formed at the bottom, resembling mulch. The leaves that were whole, however, had held up nicely through aging and were very strong and thick.
Other things I noticed: around steep five, the liquor became kind of murky, and was actually gritty. At one point I ground my teeth and heard a crunch. Also, through steep four to around six or seven, tea oils were clearly visible resting on the surface of the liquor.
Very good tea, Starts off light and grassy with bitterness then goes a little darker almost like a ripe Puerh with no grassiness but still some bitter in a good way, it keeps getting a little darker each time but with a pretty consistent typical aged raw puerh flavor until finally it starts slowly fading away.This is one of those feel good teas to me that gave me the “High” “Happy” feelings that I love so much. I can enjoy this tea for its taste and that wonderful feeling. I’ll end up getting more of this one I’m sure :)
this green pu-erh is exquisite. the only one that i can think of off hand that i enjoyed more is the same from a 1995 vintage. it’s earthy and robust as you would expect from a pu-erh yet not overwhelming. it’s dynamic in flavor as the bold notes of nut and earth make way for subtle hints of fruit and chocolate and finish off with the green vegetal side of this complex brew. i love this tea!
The aroma of the dry tea cake is earthy but I notice a much softer earthy aroma in the brewed tea which I appreciate. I think it is the strong earthiness in the aroma that I often find off-putting in a pu-erh, especially in the brewed liquor. With a much softer earthiness here I find this very easy to drink.
It’s very sweet and mellow. Incredibly smooth. No bitterness, very little astringency, just a very mild flavor. Deep caramel undertones. It is earthy, yes, but, the sweetness from the caramel gives depth to the earthiness.
A very enjoyable pu-erh… going to take this for a few more infusions!
I have been a bit quiet the last few days. My tea time has been largely devoted to this tea. Sample provided by Esgreen.
The nose is musty leather. The first cup is lighter than expected with leather and wood notes. This morphs nicely through 6 (12oz) mugs and ends as mushroom, leather, and hints that make me think chocolate. Not overly complicated but nice and comfortable.
I am still putting together a review of this for the blog. Here is the meat of it -
The first thoughts I had were mellow and rich. Those two descriptions don’t seem to go together but you have to trust me on this one. When it is hot it has a pleasant earthiness to it and only hints at leather. There is a slight tingle on the sides of the tongue but this is not bitter and does not seem the least astringent. It seems to coat the entire mouth with a sense of slickness – not in an oily way. I am also getting a feeling of grit (slick and grit – two more descriptions that shouldn’t go together). I hate to use the term because there is nothing gritty in the tea. This is a sensation not an actual thing. As it cools the earthiness and grit subsides and the leather picks up. I also notice a cooling like menthol or mint would give, without the actual flavor. The bamboo leaf adds a bright wood flavor. This is a winner.
I great mini bing for the best day ever. Well it wasn’t really, but it was a good one. Horse tack – need I say more? Of course I do…
The pod is nice sized eyeball with a white cornea and a pink iris. Well at least that is what it reminded me of this morning. I put it in my press and poured 12oz of boiling water over it and waited for the display. This one opened oddly. It resembles a pineapple. The flower is surrounded by tea leaf but beneath it is a big bulb. I examined it closer and the bulb is wrapped in string so this is intentional. It looks like a big freakin’ spider. There seemed to be a large amount of leaf coming loose from the pod.
The color of the liquor is light yellow with a green tint. It is very clear. The scent is green tea.
The sip has only a light touch of what I think is globe amaranth. This pleases me as I find it can turn a tea sour tasting. This is not sour. In combination with the tea leaf this takes on a very unusual taste that is a bit like oak or maybe nutty. It reminds me of young sheng with out the bite. That is as close a match as I can come up with. It is mildly sweet, lightly floral, and feels milky. Actually it feels more silky than like milk. This is the first blooming tea I have had that was not jasmine. I don’t miss the jasmine.
After a few cups, I cut the string on the bulb and set the leaf free. There is a lot of leaf in this pod. My press looked like a giant gaiwan. It was stuffed with leaf.
Normally I like the display of blooming teas and tolerate the taste. Here the display was just ok, but I actually enjoyed the taste. It is a pleasant uncomplicated tea with a very light floral taste.
This is an interesting Sheng Puerh because it has a very strong earthiness to it – stronger than I’m used to with a sheng. This is much more like a shu to me. But it has a lot of interesting flavors to it – sweet, bitter (which also surprised me, this savory bitterness), even sour notes that morphed into a gently sweet aftertaste.
A rather unusual but enjoyable Puerh. I look forward to trying more from this company!
I dont usually have much to say for green teas because I just don’t drink greens very often because they are my least favorite. This tea is really good tho it is not very “grassy” or vegetal like some greens it is very delicate and floral sweet. The aroma is slightly vegetal and floral at the same time. Very enjoyable tea :-)
This was a nice puerh to me, very dark and earthy yet smooth and clean tasting, sometimes earthy can mean “dirt” tasting which is not always bad this one has a rich earthiness that is very clean and pleasant, This is very enjoyable for people who enjoy a puerh/dark tea Those who don’t care for Dark teas may not be able to enjoy this one. Also it gets slightly sweeter with each steep.
(FREE SAMPLE PROVIDED BY ESGREEN, THANK YOU!)
In a third monthly shipment of tea samples sent to me by ESGREEN I got this TGY. There are other goodies like Hou Kui and Dan Cong, so I’m hoping to review those soon as well.
I’m not keen on drinking Tie Guan Yin, and I guess I can blame really low quality leaf that was first introduced to my palate. It was about two years ago that I ordered some cheap TGY on eBay and I barely drank a third of quarter kilo bag. It was too flowery and astringent to me although I tried to make it in different ways I always got similar results. So I gave the rest to my friend saying that if he don’t likes it he may throw it away, compost it, or whatever he wants.
Anyways, I’ve tried two nice TGY’s recently, and this is the latest addition. I must say that I was surprised when I read on ESGREEN’s site that TGY should be brewed by using 1 gram of dry leaf per 50 ml. So far I got used to overcrowded teapot, using a whole 7-8 gram foil bag, but it seems that I might pull off three sessions with single bag now.
Gaiwan (85 ml)
Leaf – 2 grams
Water – 100 Celsius
Time – 55 sec, 45 sec, 70 sec, 100 sec
Leaf & Infusion:
Dry leaf – Leaf is somewhat small for an average TGY and tightly curled with some thin brown stalks. It’s pale emerald tone reveal that this might be one of those low roasted TGY’s that have a prominent orchid aroma and short shelf life. Deeper sniff reveals some buttery notes.
Wet leaf – Thin with dull green tone, slightly oxidized on the edges. Most of the leaf is whole but there are some ripped and broken ones due to its delicacy.
Infusion(1st) – Clear liquor with light emerald tone and touch of yellow hue. Orchid note is subtle but consistent with some buttery notes in background. Taste is light and crisp, astringency-free and long lasting flowery aftertaste.
Infusion(2nd) – In second steep, light and aromatic refreshing profile is being boosted by some grassy notes and there is a light tingling in throat with short linger.
Infusion(3rd) – As orchid aroma fades buttery notes take the lead, giving a more of saturated aspect to this infusion.
Infusion(4th) – In this infusion almost all of flowery fragrance is lost and buttery note seems to lost its intensity as well. In return, this made a way for a sweet finish to develop and linger for some time.
Infusion(5th) – Identical to previous with slow decline in overall taste.
Conclusion – Although I didn’t pushed this TGY to its limits I really enjoyed sipping this, and it seems that I’ll be finishing the rest very soon. I was really surprised with its quick taste shift in first three steeps and I think that it’s a good candidate for TGY introduction and those kind of people that don’t like to wait for too many steeps to notice the difference in taste.
(Free sample provided by ESGREEN. Thank you!)
It’s been a while since I’ve written any notes on Steepster, and the reason behind it is that I’ve been under some stress – college, looking for new flat to move into has put me away from refining my sribbled tea notes. I’ll try to write tasting note a day (or every other, at least ) since I have a lot of samples waiting for some time.
Glass teapot (250 ml)
Leaf – 2,5 grams
Water – 100 Celsius 180 ml
Time – 3 min
Leaf & infusion:
Dry leaf – Black with very little red hue, glossless and broken. Has a honey-like syrupy aroma with faint flowery hint. I’ve never experienced a broken Keemun with this many fine nuances such as this one.
Wet leaf – Wet leaf is ripped, thin, with dark reddish hue with only few leaf stalks to be found. A simple sniff reveals warming honey aroma.
Infusion – Liquor appears to be of ‘default’ black tea tone, coppery-reddish and deep. As this grade is more of a blending ingredient it lacks a light body of more fine Keemun and rolls over the tongue more as medium-bodied.
Surprsisingly, this broken grade is very sweet and flowery, especially at the end, where sweetness sits for some time while a faint flowery note diminishes.
Fine notes of honey linger over the palate as freshness in throat starts to develop, quite a surprise actually. After a few sips a roasted aspect with hint of molasses comes into play with just a tiny vegetal hint that can be detected with some concentration.
Conclusion – For a broken grade this Keemun is quite a treat and surprise, too. I guess I wasn’t expecting that much fine notes that are usually involved with finer grades of this tea. I usually tend to judge a leaf by its grade, looks and price, but every now and then some harsh looking leaf shows up and slaps me into face, or better to say – palate.