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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Having tasted another Dan Cong tea in the past, I set myself up to taste something similar to that: smoky, strong, bitter. This tea absolutely blew me away.
The first taste is slightly bitter, but then the end and aftertaste are sweet and floral. There’s a lovely lingering orchid flavor that I did not expect.
This tea also stands up to multiple steepings. I’ve done 4 and it’s still fairly strong.
Overall I would highly recommend this tea and it’s reasonably priced as well!
Free sample provided by ESGREEN. Thank you!
I received about half a dozen of samples from ESGREEN two months ago and I wanted to try this Pu Erh ball with gaiwan which I didn’t have at that time, but I was fortunate enough to have won 3 Oz gaiwan on eBay auction recently, for quite a bargain price of $4.25 with free shipping.
I did a total of ten infusions with my 85ml gaiwan with water temperature of 90-95 Celsius. This 9,5 gram Pu Erh ball has a faint earthy touch with minty note in front. Reminds me of mini tuo cha but with more serious look about it. With two washes
of ten seconds each I did my first steep with like 15 seconds.
1st – 15s
What I got was dirty brown and pink-ish infusion that could/should have been another leaf wash, but I drank it anyways. It had a nice flovery (or should I say ‘orchid’) note with roasted background finishing with a hint of pleasant bitterness. When I thought about it few moments later, it reminds me of liqueur as I picked up an alcohol-like note radiating from my throat. After a few sips I start to get a tingling, almost pricking sensation in throat with numb, sore throat sensation as I finish the cup. There is very little sediment at the bottom.
2nd – 15s
In second steep I got a deep and thick brown-red liquor that is typical for well infused ripe Pu Erhs. For some reason I associate this appearance with that of strong black coffee. Earthy note is overpowered with roasted impression and you can sense a decent orchid fragrance at the very end. Liquor is smooth with strong character and long lasting roasted note. Coffee, anyone?
3rd – 20s
Appearance of third infusion is identical to that of the previous one. In terms of tasting it’s almost identical to third infusion but with a certain dryness on tongue root with diminishing orchid note. As I was careless to drink this tea on empty stomach I started to feel a punch so I had a quick bread and dry meat snack to prevent any further discontent.
4th – 25s
Identical to previous one and it really goes well after a meal.
5th – 30s
The best infusion! It’s identical to previous two but with more balanced notes and really nice thickness.
6th – 40s
This is where I started to increase from additional 5 to 10 seconds and it really proved out to be a good decision. Enjoying a rich cup of dark brew!
7th – 50s
At this point I start to get a feeling that liqour color is slowly fading out as I could see a circle imprint on the bottom of the cup. It’s still deep and tastes nice without any significant changes though. The ball shape of leaves has completely dissolved by now.
8th – 65s
Raising time for additional 15 seconds. I’m definetely sure that it’s loosing more of color intensity. I thought that this would be a sturdy, monotonous Pu
Erh, but no, citrus rind note emerges out of the blue along with peppery sensation on tongue and notable mint-like freshess airing from throat.
9th – 75s
I did only 10 seconds increase on this one because I got a feeling that I might be ‘squeezing too much of the juice’. What I god was a nice minty aftertaste with faint citrus and peppery notes from previous infusion.
10th – 90s
I really thought that liquor color would fade to pink hue by now, but it isn’t. It’s keeps decreasing in intensinty but still it’s like 5 more steeps away.
Oh well, this is going to be my last infusion for this session. I feel that my senses (and stomach) are saturated. Mineral note is prominent in this one, and when I look
back it started to apear around 8th infusion but I really didn’t pay that much attention to it.
All in all this is the best Pu Erh I’ve had so far in terms of strong and roasted character. It has much to deliver and it can be a bit dull in first few steeps but it has a few nice surprises later on if you stick with it.
I was careless enough to forgot to smell the wet leaf. Bummer.
Backlog* I tried this one the other day.
Good for drinking many times this one makes a dark thick tea with a smooth clean taste and delicate aroma, this one would be nice for those who want to try a nice Pu-erh but don’t like the strong earthy notes of Pu-erhs, This one is slightly earthy and wonderfully Clean tasting , I would recommend this one to beginners for sure.
Now you can buy just one cake instead of the whole stack :)
I have not been that much of a fan of Shu Cha (ripe/cooked pu’erh) until trying this one. I have said it before and I will say it again, the mysteries of pu’erh are never ending!
8 steeps, 10-35 seconds.
2. A rich, musty smell and a dark amber color. Fairly mild flavor, but with some chocolate notes in the taste! Despite the “ancient” smell that many pu’erhs have (including this one), the taste has strangely made the flavor of my water even cleaner than when drinking it plain. This is a difficult quality to wrap my head around, as I have no idea how a tea can give off the flavor of fresh spring water, while adding such a dark red color to it. But that is what I taste. There is also a kind of nutmeg spice aftertaste, sort of like mexican hot chocolate.
3. Darker color, yet distinctively cleaner taste with this next steep. This is one of the most palatable Shu pu’erhs I have had yet. Though it definitely tastes better when the water has cooled a little. When hot it gives off a slightly bitter smell, like an unripe avocado.
4. An agave sweetness emerges with a hint of red pepper.
5. Sweeter still! This cup leaves a satisfying taste in the back of my throat, like after a filling sushi meal.
6. Suddenly, all the color has gone out and is now very pale. The taste is still fairly sweet with a hint of salty as well. The sweetness has come around to something that reminds of blueberries without the tartness.
8. Same, but less.
Other tasting notes: Vanilla, hazelnut, avocado pit.
(Free sample provided by ESGREEN. Thank you!)
This one is from a previous sampler. Few days ago I received samples for March but I intend to test my patience since I have a gaiwan on the way.
Dry leaf is small, tightly rolled well scented and judging by its texture, well roasted. There are few white tips and fewer leaf stems. I used 3 grams of dry leaf with 250 ml of water on 80 Celsius, and did two 1 minute steeps.
First steep brought out clear and light golden infusion that’s very aromatic and it sits on palate for quite the time but isn’t overpowering. It’s just to my taste actually, and I’m not big fan of strong scented jasmine tea. After swallowing you can feel a certain sweetness resting on root of the tongue. For some reason, first few sips seems to have that note of those sweet bubble gums with sports sticker wrapped around them. Maybe it’s just me. As I finished the first half of cup I felt a slight tingling sensation on tongue with some grassy and roasted notes in background. What a delicious cup of jasmine tea, and to my taste too.
Second infusion is a bit more sweet with less pronounced jasmine aroma than the first. Here’s where it gets more refreshing and savory. First infusion tends to dry out the tongue, but this doesn’t. I’m surprised that the most of the leaves are whole with some tear and oxydation or purple pigment and I could find a few that have up to three leaves on stem – kind of close to oolongs in appearance.
Wet leaf has a fresh air about it with decent amount of soft jasmine. Even after two infusions about quarter of leaves haven’t completely unfurled which promises another good or at least decent infusion.
Although I’m not a big fan of jasmine scented teas this is just to my taste and but if I wanted a jasmine scented tea in my cupboard just for me this would be it.
I prefer dark teas and Liu Bao is one of my favs This one ranks right up there with most of the rest, 2 or 3 rinses is needed for this tea I learned that the hard way lol but after proper rinse and steep this one proved very nice Liu Bao. It was nice and earthy without tasting “dirty” with a sweetish after taste, smooth mouthfeel. Would have been great to have seen some gold dust on it but most loose Liu Bao I’ve had don’t have that for some reason. Great tea to me!