Essence of Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
I am quite fond of material from Da Xue Shan (DXS). After several years of careful maturation, this particular collection of DXS leaves in the E from ancient trees has developed into a fine tea. (These Essence of Teas cakes are pressed using lightly aged maocha.)
Lightly compressed so that it is very easy to pick off beautiful whole leaves. Clear crisp tea liquor. Nice texture and body. Taste complexity; both fruit (dried dark fruits) and appealing sweetness found in the sip. Good mouthfeel (active and buzzing) that lasts. A welcome positive qi arrives quickly with energy that begins in the mouth and quickly spreads throughout the body.
Very good for about seven brews and then it goes rather flat. I wonder if that is becaused aged maocha was used to form the cakes? I am very glad to have a 20g sample to enjoy but given the combination of price and limited durability, I am unable to justify the purchase of a cake at this time.
I decided to get a full cake of this from Essence Of Tea about a year ago, and to be honest when I tried it I didn’t think too much of it. I felt it was good, but it did not excite me. It had a very good relaxing QI, but I felt it lacked a little on flavour and taste. I have never been disappointed with any of my purchases from David and knew that this puerh’s quality would eventually shine through. So, I decided to let it sit and have stored it for a year without going back to it. Tonight I felt like some semi-aged puerh and felt like revisiting it to see if there have been any changes. Well, I can happily say there are some BIG positive changes. Here are my notes…
I carefully used my puerh pick to get a nice 8 gram chunk from the cake. For tasting I have used a 130ml yixing and waited 5 minutes for the boiling water to cool down a little. A quick rinse and I smell the wet leaves…very malty, with balm-like qualities. The malty character is quite strong and dominates the aroma…it almost reminds me of when I used to live very close to a beer factory 20+ years ago. I am also detecting a mild aged aroma there in the background.
I do another quick rinse and then do my first proper steep at 15 seconds. As David states on his website this puerh starts out a little thinly and then begins to thicken…this definitely rings as true. I sip the amber liquid and smile…the year of storage has done wonders for the taste. I prefer savoury/bitter over sweet in my puerh, and the first thing I notice is the rich savoury/salty/malty taste. It hits my tongue at 100mph and dominates the first sip. There is the flavour that I felt was lacking a year ago.
Second steep for 30 seconds and now the amber liquid is really starting to thicken. Sipping the brew the mouthfeel is more robust and dense, the salty/savoury quality is still shining through very nicely. I am beginning to notice some interesting vibrancy on the tongue…a tingling sensation followed by a lovely coolness when I take a deep breath in. The QI I remember from this puerh is starting to develop nicely, relaxing my mind and body. This is the start of a great tea session.
2 hours later I am still sipping this wondrous brew and began to lose count of how many steeps I had done. It is still delivering on flavour and is still rich and robust. The salty/savoury overtones are still there however not as prominent, but I am now getting a nicely aged taste which is very pleasant. The QI has taken over and I am glued to my chair. Yet another amazing puerh experience.
So, overall I am stunned as to how much this puerh has developed and changed over a year. I personally think that this puerh is going to be perfect for long term storage. I would like to see more of the aged taste coming through in another 4-5 years. This puerh is great to drink now, but I think it will be exceptional with more patience and time.
From a price point I think this is a really good deal. I remember paying £72 for a cake of this a year ago and now checking on the EOT website it is still £72. I am really tempted to get another one and let it sit for 10 years. I am not the most patient person in the world, but this puerh deserves patience and time in order to reveal its full character. Many thanks to David at EOT for giving us a chance to try out this amazing, complex puerh.
Flavors: Malt, Thick
I decided to sample this bing this morning. The compression is a little tighter than EoT’s 2012 Bangwei but still low enough to break off full intact pieces. I use about 5.2 grams to 100 mL of water. A subtle floral aroma with hints of citrus emanates from the beautiful wet leaves. The liquor is of a golden amber colour with little to no cloudiness… a very clean tea. Taste wise, this tea is very clean and pure with a soft sweetness (a sweetness than I generally associated with the Lincang area) that tickles the taste buds. I’d say the overall mouth-feel is well balanced. There is a nice hui gan and calming chaqi with this tea… pretty nice overall experience. 81/100