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Recent Tasting Notes
The write up of my first clumsy, but not entirely successful experience with pu-erh is up:
I received a small sample of this from LiberTEAS (thanks once again!)
The initial fragrance was a bit musty in the package but, once allowed to breathe, it became cleaner and moss-like.
I “over cooked” this a bit, but it still turned out pretty awesome. (I love a forgiving tea.) The color is copper but approaching garnet. The fragrance mellowed to something that was earthy and I also detected a slight salinity. Finally, the flavor was very mellow and even. Sometimes pu erhs have a mushroom (fungal) taste but this had notes of vanilla and caramel with just a faint metallic after taste.
There are simply too many great pu erhs to try that I don’t see myself repeating a purchase of any single one. However, if you like finding and sticking with a few of choice, give this one a try.
I remember trying this well over a year ago and got another sample of it last week. Contrary to my last review…I do really like this!
It seems it’s the better of both worlds…Genmaicha and Matcha! Both are visible! Both are pretty nifty! After infusion…the liquid is VERY murky but very flavorful! a brothy and hefty green tea. Hardy Roasted Puffs, too! This gets a thumbs up from me!
I waited till I had a whole afternoon to play with this one, primarily because I wanted to prep a decent review for www.itsallabouttheleaf.com, and secondarily because I understand that pu-erhs keep going and going and going and going …. will be writing about it more gracefully elsewhere, but it surprised me that it wasn’t as peat-moss tasting as I had expected.
When I opened the small bag in which the leaves were held, I was immediately intrigued by how different this sheng pu smelled, compared to other pu’erh I have had recently (including other sheng). The aroma of the dry leaf tends toward more of a mossy smell with some tobacco notes. Definitely a crisp smell.
To start off the process of making this intriguing tea, I rinsed the leaves briefly and then went for a 30 second infusion. (I should mention that I am using a small gaiwan.) A lot of the leaves seem to be a bit broken up, but this could have been on account of some transit issues, as there are quite a few large leaves as well. The smell of the wet leaves still maintains its mossiness, but also smells of coffee and tobacco.
The first steeping produced a very light brew. The smell remains the same, which is why the flavour caught me completely off guard. Very rough edges combine with much stronger tobacco notes to almost overwhelm any remaining moss flavour. Then there comes a bit of a sour taste, which was a bit unpleasant, yet somehow fit with the general flavour of this tea.
Time for the second steeping. While the aroma has not changed at all, the edges of the tea have indeed smoothed out. The sourness still remains a bit on the aftertaste, but is not as prominent anymore. Toasted flavours of tobacco and that little bit of moss taste still remain.
Steep number three brings a diminished smell, which I found a bit strange. It was as though the smell had all but disappeared. The taste too has been muted a bit, yet still the same as the previous steeping. Some would call this muted-ness “smoothed”, but I disagree. It is definitely lacking for flavour now.
I put the leaves through another steeping, this time leaving it for a few minutes, to see if this would improve or affect the flavour. The result was not much different. This was a decent pu’erh, but quite green, and had a flavour to match that fact. I give it an 80/100 on my enjoyment scale.
For the preparation and consumption of this tea, I used a small, 6 oz. gaiwan and boiled water.
What struck me concerning the leaves of this particular pu’erh was that some are whole, while others are chopped, ripped, and torn. This typically is not a good sign, as ripped and chopped leaves tend to “steep-out” faster. The smell of the dried leaf is vegetal and green…a leafy smell, not grassy. A bit loamy.
The first thirty second steep produced a medium brown liquor, with a soft smell. The earthy flavour bursts in the mouth, but it brings with it some distinctly rough edges. The aftertaste of this first steep is strong, but the but it has a weak forward taste.
The second thirty second steep brings with it an earthier smell that is also smooth and deep. The tea bites a bit on the aftertaste leaves a hard flavour under the tongue. The flavour of the tea is still full, but not strong. One feels that this steeping is relatively light.
On the third steeping of the same time as the others, the smell is “dirtier” now. The colour is a golden brown, and that bite has almost completely gone away. The flavour is smooth, but a bit weaker than before. This tea certainly lacks forward flavours and much “personality.”
I go on to steep it three more times. The fourth is much thinner and lighter; the fifth is no different; and the sixth, which I left sit for multiple minutes, barely changed anything.
I would give this tea an 88/100 on my personal enjoyment scale. The aftertaste really was quite pleasant. A tea such as this goes to show that age is not everything in a pu’erh.
This is the best Pu-Erh I’ve tasted yet. The aroma is not that strong, earthy aroma that sometimes gives me pause and a slight cringe, in fact, the aroma is quite subtle compared to other Pu-erh teas that I’ve encountered. It’s there, but it’s different and quite light.
The flavor is also quite light, and has a delicate flowery note. I am also experiencing the minty sensation as described by Grand Tea. If I were going to purchase a pu-erh, this would be the one I’d buy! That being said, I am sure that one of the things that the pu-erh lovers out there like best is that same thing that I do not, which is the strong, earthy essence. This tea does not have that. It is smooth and well-rounded, but not earthy… it reminds me more of an Oolong than a typical Pu-erh.
I just attempted to visit the Grand Tea website so that I could obtain more information about this tea but it says that it is temporarily inaccessible.
Anyways… this is lovely. I am sitting here with a honey crisp apple and a cup of this tea, and the two compliment each other very nicely. The tea is earthy and slightly vegetative, with an interesting background of sweet and even a little note of savory/sour taste. Complex. Pleasant.
Does this tea smell like dirt? Yes, this tea smells like dirt. But such is a quality beloved of pu’erh. This sheng, or raw, or uncooked (whichever term you wish to use, each variety of pu’erh is a many-named tea) has a clean and clear aroma.
For this tasting, I use a small seasoned yixing pot, filled approximately a third with leaf. The leaves are rinsed and the first steeping is prepared, letting the leaves steep for about 30 seconds. The first taste conveys the earthy flavour well, along with a few vegetal notes. The liquor is light and smells “wet” with a bit of spiciness to it. The aftertaste seems cool and sits lightly in the mouth.
The second steep, of about 20 seconds, is darker in colour. The flavour is not as intense but is far more robust, flowing strongly through the mouth, giving one the full flavour experience. It almost seems as though there is a hint of minty-ness in the aftertaste for this tea. A bit like peppermint, it seems, like a touch of cool spice. One notices that this steeping remains a bit rough around the edges
30 seconds after again immersing the leaves in water, the third steep appears, as dark in colour as the second, and much the same flavour and aroma profile.
Another 30 seconds. The fourth steep maintains the same deep brown, but not quite dark brown, colouration. The flavours, though, are lighter. I cannot escape the strange cool mint-like aftertaste, which is something that barely comes through in the aroma.
Over the next few steepings, various flavours show themselves more dominantly than others. Vegetal flavours, spicy notes, and the complete earthiness all put their best foot forward as the tea continues to evolve.
The seven-years aging has been kind to this tea. If you are looking for a decent pu’erh for regular drinking, this 2003 Qing Yun Hao will surely fit the bill. I rate it a 75/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
Strong earthy scent that reminds me of a walk through an old growth forest – earthy, damp, woody, and even a little mossy.
The flavor is earthy, sweet (a deep, caramel-y note in this tea that I quite enjoy!) Soothing and contemplative, this tea.
I think I may be acquiring a taste for this…
A slightly later harvest, so liquor is darker and the flavors more pronounced. In spite of this, astringency is still quite low.
OK… this tea scared me. I have not been a big fan of pu-erh.
The aroma of the dry leaf is very earthy. The brewed liquor also smells quite earthy.
Taste: yes, it’s earthy. There is also an underlying sweetness to it, almost a floral note and a faint vegetative note.
It’s not bad nor is it as disagreeable as I thought it would be.
This stuff is kind of starting to grow on me. If I let it steep a bit longer you can taste a hint of something sweet but not enough that it lingers for long. Not as bad as it seems when I first got it.
On an off-note, my two boys are big enough to sit up in their Bumbo’s now which makes me excited. If you don’t know what a Bumbo is, then you need to look it up. Probably the single most awesome thing you can have as a parent. It’s just a chair, but you can move it anywhere for them to sit in or feed them in.
I’m still new to tea’s and find it hard to get leaf tea around here without ordering online, which I plan to do soon but for now I got this tea at the local Asian Grocer and its not too bad. I use 1 bag per small teacup and it doesn’t have a lot of flavor but you can tell its more than just hot water. It works for now.