Essence of Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

As you open the tea you’re hit with the scent of roasted brown rice, toasted grains and some chocolate as well. Upon infusion the liquor becomes very roast and mineral prominent with some of the cereal like grain notes as well. There is a nice milky mouthfeel that just lingers there for a moment. Six infusions before this wanes with the third infusion my absolute favorite. It’s at that moment it just felt everything great about this rock oolong was present. Beautiful charcoal colored large leaf and golden brown liquor with intensely green wet leaf in the end a reminder of what this was when first plucked. An absolute favorite and well worth the extra ducats.

Exactly 5g, 150ml gaiwan with about 100ml of 190F water and a 30s first, 15s second, 30s third, 45s fourth, 60+ for five and six at 200F and one bonus steep that will sit for an hour at least to enjoy later cold.

The dry leaf:

The session:

Wet leaf/ nearing the end:

5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Really want to try this. That price though :D


Rasseru considering the amount of leaf used and the number of infusions the extra cost wasn’t all that bad.


And compared to something like alcohol its a bargain :) I would end up spending a fortune there on only a few samples though… one day I will treat myself though. I need to do some sipdowns first

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From the Puer TTB 4

This is a pretty light sheng. The taste is very clean, with a gentle fruity sweetness. I got around 9 steepings, with the final ones being a touch dry, giving a squeaky clean mouth feel, with notes of steamed grass. A good sheng for someone who likes whites, greens, and delicate young shengs.

I didn’t get much cha qi, actually this one made me sleepy, haha!

200 °F / 93 °C 1 g 1 OZ / 15 ML

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This was a very interesting tea. I enjoy most of this company’s offering, and the ones I don’t still add up as an unique experience. This cake comes out and is dark and shows its age very well. I can see the tips are bronzed and the leaves have muddled; however, I can still place some dark forest green. The bing gives off a powerful eucalyptus and menthol aroma with the classic wood and leather aged scent. I warmed up my gaiwan and placed a chunk inside. The cake did not differ or expand in scents, for it only grew in depth. The warmed tea gave off a deeper leather and menthol aroma with the tang of tobacco in the background. I washed the leaves and prepared for brewing. The taste begins sweet and oily. A nice sugarcane and stone-fruit taste washed over my taste-buds. I can note some astringency lingering in the background. The brew still carries a green punch, but it is subdued by a drifting huigan. The taste becomes sharper and filled with wooded tastes and some light fruitiness in later steeping. The drink gives my mouth quite a dry feeling. The qi is pretty solid and really gets me moving; I can note a nice warming and rushing sensation filter throughout my body. This tea is pretty good, except there isn’t much complexity. I believe that this tea shouldn’t be drunk just yet. I think in a few more years it can develop into something truly worthwhile.

Flavors: Eucalyptus, Leather, Menthol, Smooth, Stonefruits, Tobacco, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Another overdue review from Puerh TTB #4

I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This is just the type of tea I enjoy: lots of different flavors vying for attention. First steep (10s) was very rich for a first steep. Powerful apricot flavor with a hint of earthiness underneath the fruit. Very good mouth-feel, depth, and finish. I probably should have waited for the second steep, as the finish from steep 1 was still very strong in my mouth. But I didn’t. Second steep had a strong nose with hints of wood. The wood is more obvious in the flavor, along with a lot of smoke. Builds in the mouth to a huge finish. This is not for the timid! I’m also feeling the cha qi in my chest and shoulders, though not so much mentally, which is how it usually affects me. As the cup cools, the apricot comes forward and the smoke and wood recede a bit, though are still present. The cha qi has now reached my head and I’ll need to take a break after drinking 4 ounces. Powerful tea in multiple ways. After about 10 minutes, the finish was barely noticeable, and the qi had faded enough for another cup.

3rd steep: Tremendous. Apricot dominates, with wood underneath, and a hint of bitterness at the finish. The flavors are less separated than before. Still tons of cha qi. The tea still fills the mouth, but feels a bit more acidic in the mouth. In the 4th steep, the wood is dominant, and the smoke tastes a bit like ashes underneath the wood and fruit. This is more noticeable in the finish but is subtle enough so that it isn’t unpleasant. Strange rhythm: the odd steeps have been dominated by fruit but the evens were more woody. No idea why.

Around the 8th steep, it became very sweet. Taste is more like corn than apricot with some wood underneath. Less powerful, but no less pleasant or interesting.

Thanks very much to Essence of Tea, who donated the samples for the tea box.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

Sounds really nice


I have this one from the TTB (and a bunch of others too) that I need to drink and review. It sounds yum, can’t wait to try it.

Dr Jim

Remember to write reviews of the EoT and Misty Peak donations when you drink them (subtle hint #2)

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I love a good Jingmai. I had my first taste awhile ago and ever since I’ve been in love. I opened this bing up and took in a whiff. The leaves have become very dark and let out a distinct smoke and lingering red fruit aroma. The crisp leaves give off a sharp leather tang along with some pipe tobacco. This a stenchy and potent tea. I warmed my jianshui up and placed a generous amount inside. The scent deepened into some dry wood along with a mild eucalyptus aroma. This displays a lot of classic aged scents. I’m hoping there is some unique body though. The aromas were good but no overly intense sensations. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The body is smooth with some drying feeling. I experienced some slight creamy tones with a brief huigan. The brew keeps a nice and smooth body; however, I note some astringency and bitter wood in later steeping. The fiery orange liquor smells of soft wood. This brew becomes a decent mix of sweet and sour tones with a good amount of age behind it. The brew keeps this consistency and develops no complexities. The huigan dissipates quickly and is delayed. The qi is extremely slow moving until after the session it washed over me with far reaching heat head waves and a nice serene and relaxing sensation. Altogether, this is good daily drinker, but it displays nothing a superb 10+ yr old sheng should display.

Flavors: Dark Wood, Eucalyptus, Leather, Pleasantly Sour, Red Fruits, Smoke, Tobacco

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Taste started out soft, sweet and fruity (not quite apricot, but close) with a good finish. My whole body is feeling the cha qi. Decent body: I’m feeling some thickness on the tongue. I’m noticing a bit of acid under the flavor, and a bit of what I think is smoke riding on top of the fruit. Very interesting.

The 3rd and 4th steeps were balanced between sweet and bitter. Flavor is more woody than fruity, though I see hints of fruit. Still lots of cha qi. I reduced my usual steep times for the 5th steep, and found that the astringent woody flavor receded while the fruit came forward. I preferred this balance, so did relatively short steeps. Still going strong at #8.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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Puerh TTB

I had high hopes for this tea – I love everything about jingmai teas. Unfortunately, this tea is all smoke and age. Great underlying flavors and amount of aging for 15 years, but there’s so much smoke that the tea is overpowered, even after 11 steeps. I can’t, in good conscious, say that this is a “good” tea or that I would ever try/buy it.

Flavors: Smoke

6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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From the Puerh TTB #4

I’m trying to lead by example in producing reviews of the donated teas. When I got the Essence of Tea donation, I immediately pulled 4 grams from each, packed the rest into the box, and headed for the post office. The samples then sat in a box waiting their turn with all the other samples. They finally made it to the head of the line.
1st steep (10s): This is amazingly well-integrated. No rough edges. Delicate nose and flavor, but the flavor builds in the mouth. Good finish. The cha qi kind of stuck up on me: at first just a feeling of well-being, but now my entire body feels energized, yet at the same time relaxed. 2nd steep (10s ) Rich nose of leather and a hint of smoke. There is a really full body in the mouth, and sweetness that extends into a long, tasty finish. Much more powerful than the first steep but still perfectly smooth. This is what I picture a fully aged puerh tasting like. 3rd similar to the 2nd but more woody, with camphor appearing.
This is the style of tea that I enjoy: not too harsh or bitter, but with complex, interesting flavors. I’m usually not a fan of camphor, but the subtle hints of camphor I noticed here just add complexity and interest. The cha qi was obvious, but not to the point where I needed to take a nap, though perhaps too strong to want to drink this tea at work. The overwhelming feature for me, though, was the absence of rough edges. This is one of the few puerhs I’ve had that I didn’t feel was too young to drink.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

Definitely trying this one!

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2015 Autumn Guafengzhai Maocha – Essence of Tea


Price: £0.32 ($0.46) / g .

16g free sample received with my order.

6g in Gaiwan

Summary: Aesthetically, the best looking set of leaves I have come across so far. Flavour-wise, it initially provides a fresh, lively juicy mixture of flavours. I feel it does lack thickness.

Dry: Bright, concentrated herbal, darker base – White2Tea New Amerykah 2 comes to mind. Loose leaves, grey and brown, long and spindly.

Wet: Bright and lively, sweet, but with a pungent note.

10s – Light yellow. Fresh, lively, juicy, but has a deep base to it. Sweetness lingers. This has some complexity.

15s – Light yellow. Med bitterness, light herbal. Quite nice. The sweetness lingers, but not heavily, which is a positive for me.

20s – Light yellow. Not so full in the mouth. Very clear liquor. Only very light smoke. No astringency.

25s – It is resisting the high mountain Oolong sweetness, but it’s coming.

30s – Honey sweetness. Still resisting high mountain Oolong sweetness.

10s – There is some juicy currents.

15s – Good body, becoming very sweet.

6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2000 Kai Yuan Green Stamp – Essence of Tea

Price: £0.52 ($0.77) / g ~£140 ($206) / 357g cake


8 grams in gaiwan.

Summary. An excellent tea which comprises a tart fruity note blended into softened smoke. The tea shows a mature flavour profile with a clean taste, possibly due to good storage. It is thick and oily in early brews with a thoroughly enjoyable mix of aged fruit and well integrated softened smoke. It lacks longevity and power.

Dry:Very dark brown and flatly compressed. Very mild smoky cheese.

Wet: Complex. Medium cloudy smoke; log burning smoke; beefy, deeper base. Bright, light furniture polish, old building – no bird cage. Warm soil. Soft pastry.

Rinse: Very clear light gold.

10s – Med golden. Sweet sip, a tart fruity note in the body. Very long finish, which is sweet, slightly almond. Minute bitterness. Worn out tea. Smoke is very soft. However, it is currently lightly flavoured. The flavour remains long in the mouth like a grape has decayed into soil: soft, sweet, earthy, but with a gentle bright floral note. This is a special tea. The aged flavours are mature, slightly dry and oily. 88/100

15s – Light brown. Thick in the mouth. The tea leaves an oily residue. There are a variety of aged flavours: furniture polish and old books. The tart, fruity note is there and it blends into soft smoke. 88/100

20s – Light/med brown. Smoke is stronger, but it is very worn down. The fruit note sometimes presents itself as light furniture polish – it becomes that bright; at other times it is darker and fades into the finish. Again, quite oily and the flavours are more pronounced. 89/100

25s – Light/med orange brown. Slight astringency. Log burning smoke has softened. The smoke combines with the fruit note to give a smooth aged taste that lasts long into the finish and remains in the mouth. Here it is not the strong old building, furniture polish, but a heavy and worn down log burning smoke with a mild beefy taste. 88/100

30s – Light/med orange brown. The fruit note, this time is polished wood, appears to buzz in the mouth in the body and finish. The smoke remains steady into and after the finish. 85/100

35s – Light/med brown. The smoky fruit note reminds me of smoked paprika in paella. It’s not as bright, but it has that pungent, woody after-taste. 82/100

45s – Light brown. Thinner. Less smoke. 70/100

1 min 15 – Med orange/brown. Base sheng. Thin. Stewed black tea. Slightly astringent. 50/100

8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

another lovely review!


I see that you use the word oily quite a bit… are you referring to the tea’s viscosity and thickness or something else?


This tea is something else :) By oily I mean a residual liquid. Most teas you drink and they go down. This tea had a thick liquid left behind that I could feel go down very slowly. The 2008 Bulang had the same thing.


i do not think I’ve ever had an oily like tea :O

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2005 Chang Yu Hao – Essence of Tea


Price: £0.69 ($1.04) / gram

Summary: Sounds good, looks good, taste fails to impress.

Dry: Med brown, flat, lots of twigs/stems. Med compression.

Wet: Porridge, clay, powdery smoke. A bit flat. No fruit.

Rinse: Light/med golden.

10s – Light/med golden. Sweet dough; thin. 58/100.
15s – Med golden. Sweet hot milk. No bitterness. Flavour is coming slowly. 60/100.

Stab with a fork to open clump of leaves, gently.

10s – Med golden. Am I going to taste anything this time? Golden sweet fruit. The flavour comes in like treacle: soft, subtle and with some thickness.

12s – Dense med golden. Here it is! Soft, sweet dried apricot. The fruit is well pronounced.

15s – Ok it’s here now. Bitter and astringent grip; it delivers an pungent orange fruit flavour. Good body, but not a long finish. Flavours are a bit too close; its too concentrated. 80/100.

10s – Dense med golden. Strong, deep base with only light fruit that is not clearly coming through. It clearly has good strength and is quality material, but the flavours are too muddled.

10s – Dense, darker golden. Flavour is watery. 65/100.

20s – Med golden. Base sheng material. Flat. Reminding me of 2007 Golden Ribbon – well maybe not that bad.

25s – Med golden. Flavour have lost their edge.

Flavors: Orange

8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2008 Mr Feng’s ‘Selected Trees’ – Essence Of Tea

Price: £0.60 / g £15 for 25 g.

Dry: Med brown with some grey leaves. Med compression. Sweet wood, but they all seem to smell like that from my Essence Of Tea order so far.

Wet: Concentrated herbal, quite smoky, dark fruit. Yiwu-style sweetness.

8 grams in Gaiwan.

Summary: Power house of bitterness, but of high quality material. Full flavour in the mouth unlike the Mengku 2007 Mu Ye Chun light flavour. Gives good energy. This tea does not have a lot of character, and for a 2008 tea it has incredibly strong bitterness, something which surprisingly is not mentioned in the description.

Rinse: Very clear, light golden.

10s – Light golden. Sweet. Very clear tasting. Mild bitterness. I feel like a cool breeze has gone down my throat. Very mild flavours though. Bit like a Yiwu.

15s – Med golden. Strong bitterness and tart sweetness with some smoke. The after-taste is dry bitterness. This reminds me of’s 2014 Naka. It is a youthful, bitter sheng of quality material.

5s – Light golden. Very bitter and energetic. Smoke is clearing slightly. Consistency is thick just as the description says.

10s – Light golden. This tea has a solid body, which is like a rainbow of bitterness.

7s – The bitterness is softening.

The bitterness can be tasted minutes after drinking.

8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

awesome review


it wont let me see the pics

Doug F

Ditto on both counts.


Create an Instagram account, and then follow me. You should be able to see them then. Thanks for the comments.


account name?


tea123 — Your account is set to “private”. Nobody can view your pictures unless they send you a request via Instagram and you then approve it.


Yeah, let me know if you want to see.


those pics were awesome!

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