Essence of TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
So… catch 20/20 here… this was in the TTB so I should review it, but it was so ‘eh’ that I have had nothing to say for the last week about it. I thought to myself, ‘just let it pass and don’t review’ but then I realized I got to do what I got to do.
With so many different sheng out there and what not, and being that I’ve had a ton: Either this is something that isn’t very noteworthy or it needs time?
The TTB is due to return to me today, so I’m looking through my bag of samples for teas I haven’t reviewed yet. This is my last EoT tea sample. Strictly speaking, it isn’t puerh, but I’m going to review it as though it is.
My initial impression was somewhat negative, as I’m not a big fan of the damp storage style. The taste and smell was largely earthy, reminding me of the smell of the woods after a heavy rain. As I sipped, Ithe tea started to grow on my. I noticed a bit of stone fruit and spice, and the taste was smooth and well-balanced. After a couple of steeps, the fruit faded, but the spice remained. The cha qi was quite strong, leaving me somewhat drowsy. 95 score on the cha qi.
This was an interesting tea. I’m not used to tea that is fully aged, but this seemed to be the case. I was impressed by the smooth clarity, but the flavor didn’t appeal to me.
From the Puerh TTB:
Very astringent, but also pleasantly sour, which I quite like. Despite being very pleasant going down, huigan is nonexistent for me. I don’t taste any smoke, but plenty of tobacco, camphor, and leather.
This is not a strong tea at all; considering its age, it’s one of the lightest in terms of flavor that I’ve had, even when pushed. Speaking of pushed, I don’t find it particularly bitter either, but not particularly noteworthy. It’s not bad at all, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase more.
Now, having said all that… it might be that it’s Friday night. It might be that my wife bought me cronuts, or that she’s giving me The Look. But nine steeps in and I must say I am in an exceptionally good mood.
Puerh Tea TTB. This tea did not have the strong leather and tobacco notes of other aged puerh but they were there to some degree. It was very astringent. There was some smoke present. And the note of dark wood on the write up seems accurate. I didn’t get any qi off of this. Gave it eight steeps.
Steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 6.8g leaf and boiling water. Gave it a 10 second rinse. Steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. I still have not found an aged sheng that I really loved the taste of. Some that I liked for their qi but I don’t seem to like the taste.
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:
Wet leaf/ nearing the end:
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!
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
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.
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.https://www.instagram.com/p/BCvPanJTGUh/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel
Flavors: Dark Wood, Eucalyptus, Leather, Pleasantly Sour, Red Fruits, Smoke, Tobacco
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 Pu-erh.sk’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.