Hou De Asian Art & Fine TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Liquid Proust Group Buy of Aged oolong. I"m not certain that this is the correct tea, since there haven’t been any reviews for 5 years and this was a good-sized group buy.
1st is slightly woody, but the floral flavors are stronger. Rich roasted flavor appears on second sip. Very interesting tea: the flavor changes as it moves through my mouth. All of the different flavors are pleasant, but they range from light to heavy. Heaviest in the finish, where the roasted flavors dominate. 2nd: It’s obvious that the lighter floral notes are at the front of the mouth while the roast appears at the rear. Astringent at the finish. 3rd steep: Roasted aroma, and the roasted flavors hit earlier in the taste but are not overwhelming. There is still a sweet, floral note, which is strong at the finish. Later steeps became gradually less interesting as the astringency grew and the complexity lessened. I got about a dozen good steeps out of it before getting distracted and doing a 15 minute steep.
I used an unusual approach to steeping: 3 grams of tea in 50 ml with about 5 steeps of 20 seconds each before gradually increasing the steep times up to about 1 minute.
This is a very solid tea – both welcoming and encouraging. A fairly young tea although the “greenness” of the leaves that you would find in younger sheng has dissipated. There is a floral and deep honey aroma coming from the dry leaf. Tea liquor is light gold – very clear with a nice sheen to it. The smell from the cup has notes of hay, dried wood, and a light honey. First cup is sweet with a bit of astringency. There is also a slight metal hit coming through in the first brew but this disappeared in the other brews. The taste lightens up in the following infusions to become very smooth with a longlasting finish and no astringency; quite effervescent on the tongue. Now offering an appealing sweetness with fruity overtones and the aroma is both floral and fruity. During the fourth cup I could detect a quiet relaxing qi settling in. Overall the tea is complex enough for me to feel that this is a rich and powerful tea which offers a pleasant worthwhile session and interesting possibilities for aging in the years ahead.
XiZiHao (XZH) is a high quality “boutique” brand of puer. I set out to taste their 2013 “Que Zhen” and “Xuan Xi” shengs in order to make a purchase decision. Nicely compressed whole leaves with a few buds mixed in. Appealing aroma coming from the dry material which yields a clear and bright golden yellow tea soup. This gradually darkens as the air works on it. There is a honeylike tone and good body in the sip. An appealing sweet finish with a pleasant mouth-watering effect and a cooling aftertaste. Sweet and fruity top notes with a darker base. Good longevity – no signs of weakness after ten brews. This is a tasty quality tea which provides a pleasant experience. Worthy of a purchase but I opted to add the Xuan Xi to my collection instead of this Que Zhen.
Note: Both samples acquired from Houde http://houdeasianart.com/
This is the first year of production for the Mu Shu Cha and this premium cake is now seen as a classic production from the Shuangjiang Mengku Tea Co. Early spring material from the Shuangjiang region in the county of Lincang. Stone pressed – a mix of many whole leaves with stems and pieces. The tea liquor is a rich deep golden color and the early infusions are very aromatic, pungent and slightly astringent, with a mature sweetness. Strong aftertaste and thick mouthfeel. The tea becomes a bit creamy and fruity in later infusions and rather full in the mouth with a thickness that stays long on the tongue. 2005 was a particularly good production year for S.Mengku and many of these teas have become highly regarded mid-age shengs. The prices are very fair given the quality of the material and the age. This tea sells for $72 (500g = $0.14/g) and last year I purchased the 2005 DaXueShan (Big Snow Mtn.) from White2Tea for $60 (357g = $0.17/g). Two very good semi-aged teas. If you happen to run across either at a good price, definitely worthy of consideration.
Puerh Tea TTB. This is a nice example of a semi aged tea. It looks like it is no longer available from Hou De. It has aged a fair bit. It has no wet storage taste that I can discern. There is some bitterness and some sweetness to it along with a fair amount of astringency. I also detect a little bit of smoke but not much. I’m not getting much cha qi off this one. It is interesting to sample something from Hou De Fine Tea as I have never tried anything of theirs before. This qualifies as semi aged in my mind. The tea liquid has started to turn brown but is not fully amber yet.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8.4g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, anad 30 sec.
Thanks to Grill for this sample!
Right from the beginning, this tea has a spicy and slightly smoky aroma. It also tastes spicy and smoky, but not overpowering. It’s a very savory brew, and thick and oily. I love the oily ones! It reminds me a lot of the Xianshu LinChang cake I have from puerh.sk, but the smoke is much less pronounced. It really caused me to sweat, so serious Qi. Overall, I wouldn’t mind drinking it again, but I like the puerh.sk one better.
I really need to start logging more teas. I’m drinking tea, I am! The problem is a bunch of the ones I’ve had recently are not in the Steepster database, so I have to go through the trouble of adding the tea.
Anyway, I did it! Thanks to Grill for this sample!
I haven’t developed a taste for sheng with some years on it, but this one ain’t bad! Very clean taste. Brews up amber in color with a slightly minty aroma. Tastes kinda fruity, like dried fruit! Mmm! It has some bitterness, especially in early steeps. Not super thick, but decent. It’s also very reasonably priced. I really like the dried fruit taste, so this one is wishlisted!
8 grams in my hongni xisha pot. I didn’t write down extended notes on this one but this tea is a masterpiece. Just about 15 years of age have this is a great position to drink now. It’s thick, sweet and mellow. Little bit of woodiness but it more on the fruity end of the spectrum. Becoming more and more of a northern tea fan. Great throat, chest, stomach action on this one. Can feel the tea going down the throat and settle in your stomach. Still this teas best attribute is the powerful qi. Wasn’t expecting it at all since I’ve never felt it at that level in a tea this old before. I was all settled into have a relaxing mellow session but the tea had other idea. She slap me and slapped me around good. By the 6th cup I was so tea drunk that I had to get up and walk away for a good 20 to 30 minutes.
Amazing session, one of my favorites with any tea to date. Wish this was a touch cheaper as it ranges from 300 to 400 dollars. Would rank this up with White2tea’s blue mark as my favorite shengs with 15 plus years on it
7.5g 100ml Yixing. Second time drinking this and both times it floored me. Super thick and coating, like liquid pudding. A silky smooth mouth feel and a very full body make this tea enjoyable on just those merits alone. It was sweet and mellow but not without lacking complexity. No astringency in the steeps I drank, I was only able to get 6 or 7 down before I waived the white flag of total tea drunkenness . I pushed it (more like over steeped, not on purpose, was already pretty tea drunk) for a steeping and did get some bitterness but it wasn’t at all unpleasant and gave good balance to the thick oily sweetness.
Feeling of calm and relaxation started creeping in quickly, as soon as the first steep. It slowly intensified till that over steep when it hit me like a truck. I melted into my chair, muscle tension went poof. I am a ball of jelly floating along in a sea of qi. If I was on my couch I’m pretty sure nap time would have followed soon after. Eventually I return back to earth and drink a couple more steeps before my thirst for being tea smashed has been sated.
As I’m sure you could guess, I’d recommend this tea to anyone and everyone. This along with White2tea’s 2015 Last Thoughts and XHZ’s ‘06 black wrapper LBZ have been my favorites among puerhs I’ve tried.
Thanks for reading and I hope you all get a chance to try this great tea one day.
Easy drinker! Smooth and sweet. Great flavor. Nice rich smell – rather aromatic straight out of the wrapper. Beautiful cake. Easy to pick apart for brewing (mix of pieces and whole leaves). Yields a clear orange liquor with a penetrating taste without any smokiness. Offers a decent mouthfeel but it is slightly drying/astringent. Endearing notes of floral and fruity sweetness with a subtle amount of bitterness in the background. If I had to criticize something, it would be the modest longevity – 7 to 8 enjoyable cups before it becomes thin. Seems to be a solid tea for its current price of $49.50.
This pu’er was unlike any I have had before. Instead of an earthy taste, this one has a very strong woody taste to it. The more I sipped it, the more I liked it. It has a very complex, yet very appealing taste to it that I found I enjoy tremendously.
Nice, calm, balanced. Not especially old, but this one has quite mature Qi.
The taste is soft, round and harmonious, first steeps had sweet aftertaste which diminished in later brewings.
I brew this in 1,5dl glass pot, and around second brewing I started to get slightly dizzy. Qi isn’t aggressive, the tea is past its youth. In a way this tea is right now at a very boring age, it isn’t young and arroganta and interesting, but it hasn’t yet reached the deep wisdom and calmness of elder pu’ers.
I ordered a one ounce sample of this, but it doesn’t seem to be available anymore. Here is a link to a blog post about the tea: http://houdeblog.com/?p=140
This is the first sheng puerh I have tasted. The aroma puts me in mind of wood, smoke, earth, creosote. The flavor is brisk, woody, smoky, herbaceous. Full bodied but not as thick as I was expecting. Creates almost a physical sensation at back of throat. Very lingering flavor.
This definitely intrigues me…I can’t wait to try more sheng puerh.
In addition: I have had this twice, and both times felt a tad queasy after the second cup. This feeling went away after a minute or two, replaced by a very settled feeling. Has anyone else had this experience?
Dry – cooking herbal blend, Chinese medicine blend.
Wet – Woody, Chinese medicinal herbs blend(dry), books, slightly sweet and camphor.
Liquor – Orange to red Bronze.
1st 5secs – Slightly sweet, Chinese herbal medicine hints with faint woody notes up front. As it goes down, it slightly resembles a Shou woodiness but not quite like Shou, rather it is herbaceous woody instead of the earthy woody of a shou (licorice root?). The aftertaste is cleaner with a slight sweetness with faint woody notes and some camphor.
2nd 5secs – More Woody/Chinese medicinal/Licorice root and slight brothiness up front. As it washes down, it has a woody-herbal medicinal taste with a slight peppery hint that also wears the slightest hint of sweetness. The aftertaste is cleaner, slightly sweeter with woody notes that resemble Licorice and has camphor (slight spiciness as well), gets a bit sweeter with time.
3rd 7secs – Woody, medicinal herbs blend, herbaceous earthiness and hint of sweet up front. As is washes down, it slightly feels brothy/savory then resembles Licorice root and has a spiciness hint. The taste is more apparent in the throat at this point. The after taste is slightly sweeter with stronger herbaceous-earthy notes and some camphor. There’s more sweetness after a while passes but the medicine taste remains and is stronger.
4th 12secs – Woody, medicinal herbs, herbal-earthiness up front. As it washes down, it has a slight camphor spiciness before the brothy woody character sets in again. The woodiness turns slightly sweeter and has some spiciness. The aftertaste is woody, herbaceous-earthy and slightly sweet; there’s some spiciness in the camphor.
5th 15secs – Woody, medicinal herbs, slight herbal-earthiness and licorice notes up front. As it washes down, it is herbal-earthy with medicinal herbs taste and strong Licorice and slight sweetness. the aftertaste is slightly sweet, herbal-earthiness and camphor.
6th 35secs – Woody, medicinal herbs, herbal-earthiness slightly savory up front. As it washes down, it has a stronger presence in the throat and lingers there; in the mouth the herbal-earthiness and woody medicinal taste lingers through the aftertaste. The aftertaste is slightly sweet and medicinal tasting and very strong and present in the throat.
This tea has very strong cumulative camphor and throat presence. The taste becomes more apparent in the initial sipping of the second steep but the throat presence becomes more obvious at the end of the second steep and grows more apparent from then on. It is very important to allow time between steeps, the taste is great but the real reward becomes after the tea has gone down.
I’m glad I bought this. I’m also glad I bought the sample. I think it’s a really enjoyable experience and learning experience, but I don’t see myself drinking this over and over. It’s great, it just isn’t what I pursue in a Puerh.
I was doing a blend at home with herbs and roots(people coughing around are starting to gain on me). And I stumbled across Licorice root and then Ginseng root (both dry of course). So if you’d like to have a better idea of what I mean when I say ‘Chinese Medicinal herb scent/taste’, think Licorice and Ginseng somehow fused.
Fans of Oriental Beauty will love this tea. As I understand it, Guei Fei is a newish tea, developed after Taiwan’s 1999 earthquake, when tea farmers were too busy rebuilding fields to apply pesticides, so tea plants were attacked by a kind of cicada, which makes the tea plant produce a protective juice that gives the tea a characteristic honey flavor.
I tend to brew hotter than instructed, but this summer tea doesn’t like very hot water; it makes for a more floral aroma but a bitter taste. “Shrimp eye” or “fish eye” water yields a more perfect balance of taste and aroma. Of course, the honey is there, but also that buttery caramel of a high mountain green tea. It also has a wonderful texture. It felt “oval” to me; extraordinary balance, warm and floral, lots of depth. The experience is comparable to Oriental Beauty but more subtle, I think, more complex—lighter roast and much less fermentation.
This is a hand harvested tea as is evident by the wet leaves, which open quickly and fill the entire pot. Spent leaves are a beautiful dark green with mahogany edges and intact stems.
This is the only version of Guei Fei I’ve tried so I can’t compare. But this should definitely be listed among the really great Taiwan teas.
Sampled this sheng from Hou De, very nice large leaves…from what I’ve read, the larger fatter leaves and juicier thick stems suggest an antique plantation which has been partially recaptured by nature. Initial aroma of dried leaves are somewhat fruity and musty. After a quick rinse, the leaves smelled almost like smoked fish, I was a bit worried by this. But the smokiness dissipated with the first infusion—sweet hay, peach, hazelnut skin. Very smooth and getting good and relaxed off of this one. The second infusion was more of the same. Leaves starting to unfurl more and more. Lots of thick stems and twigs. Very few broken bits. Aroma from the steeped leaves is somewhat horsey and gamey. But tea liquor is beautifully complex and haunting, very smooth and silky. I brewed it 8 or 9 times gong fu style over the course of two days. Could have pushed it 5 more times, probably.
I know a lot of you enjoy various kinds of bamboo tea. I just stumbled across this video on the Hou De blog site and thought you would enjoy seeing the tea-making process.
I found it very beautiful.
I’m amazed at how tightly the tea is packed and how gentle the roast is.
I guess I expected the bamboo to burn.
Some of the best Yanchas I’ve had have been from Hou De and this Shui Xian is excellent. It is grown in an area of Wuyi where the soil composition consists solely of weathered rock, which I’m guessing is what gives it its characteristic strong, malty, minerally flavor. That and some heavy roasting.
I played with it a bit, searching for its tea soul.
My Yancha pot is biggish — 160 or 170 ml — and I filled it three quarters full of leaves. First infusion at 190-ish degrees, pour quickly after 15 seconds. First taste was leather and chocolate, almost dank but in a pleasant way; from the taste I would have guessed I was drinking an aged oolong. But the mouthfeel was a bit thin and the taste lacked complexity. I was slightly disappointed with the first cup.
Second infusion I decided to use almost boiling water. Wow. The heat brought the smokey charcoal taste right up front. Strong but pleasant. Lots of pepper and spice and a great roundness in the feel — a kind of mineral feel. Heavily oxidized as well as heavy roasted, I think, and I would bet this tea is from old bushes. Beautiful dark red color. Both color and taste were puerh like. I think it’s correct to call this tea as Yan Gu, “rock bones,” which describes such depth of flavor.
Third and fourth infusions, back to 190 degrees but I let it steep a bit longer — maybe a minute but not much more. Exquisite. Much more balance between the spice and charcoal. Cloves and nuts appear. Some fruit peeking through, dark berries; definitely charcoal and nuts and berries, maybe vanilla, too; more complexity. Very full feel, round and thick and a nice lingering dryness.
The soul doth rise.
I don’t know about you guys, but up until recently I’ve sought for the “correct” way of brewing yancha. Lately, however, I’ve gained the confidence to challenge convention. It’s kind of thrilling to taste what almost boiling water can do, for example. Or using more leaves than normal. Or shorter and longer steeps.
Also, I think staging teas is important. For example, I was drinking Taiwan dong ding the entire day before I tried this Wuyi Shui Xian tonight. The lighter tea with vegetal tastes set parameters which made the dark, spicy Shui Xian all the more vivid and challenging. In the morning maybe I’ll look for a more fruity tea.
I’m thinking that a tea’s soul is more differential than we’ve been told.