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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m having a hard time getting motivated this morning. I’m leaving town on Thurs, & even though I’ll only be gone 5 days, there is SO MUCH TO DO before I leave, & I’m feeling overwhelmed, which only makes it harder to get started because then I can’t decide what to do first. In fact, I was also feeling a little overwhelmed about what tea to start the day with, I have so many teas I still haven’t tried. Decisions…decisions…LOL. So I relaxed, took a few deep breaths, & opened to the universe…
And chose a gongfu session with this one! I can’t remember if this was a free sample (& if it is, thank you Gingko), or if I purchased it, but anyway, I have 10 G here, so I put 5G in my tiny 4oz teapot (the pretty white porcelain one I got from Garret, with the blue lotuses on it), & gave it my usual treatment of 5G + 4oz (rinse) X 15/35/45 sec/1min/2/3/4/ etc
The first cup immediately had good color & strong energy, going straight to the throat & third eye. The flavor was sweet wood, the mouth all a tingle…ahhh I needed this!
With the 2nd cup the flavor becomes rich of toast, cedar, malt, & forest, with a camphor sensation as if I were drinking a puerh…
I combined steeps 3 & 4 into one mug. There was a slightly sour edge to this one, like a sourdough rye bread. Chewy, dense, & sweetened, but not heavily, with a dark molasses, and I can almost taste orange peel, a little clove, & other spices. This is the deep woodwind & low string group: bassoons, bass clarinet, english horn, cello, bass, marimba, wood block, bamboo wind chime…
In the 5th steep a little bitterness, but its the kind that comes with a really dark chocolate. I’ve got a really good tea buzz going on now. I love the sensation of a really good cup, spreading out into my extremities…every breath…
Next cups: Definitely a more chewy, peppery savory tea now, spicy even. The bitterness is gone.
I’d like to close my eyes & meditate. I have a nice mindfulness thing going on, a good vibe in every cell, feeling much more peaceful. I might go with a few more cups of this, but for the final note the flavors of spice & such have mellowed, & it’s a sweet creamy elixir, reminiscent of Yabao.
The rest of this sample goes to Sil, so this is a sip down.
I’ve been busy all day. My grand daughter came to visit, we made raspberry chocolate chip almond flour muffins, we had tea, & for the most part, all of the teas I drank are teas I’ve reviewed numerous times, so I’m not writing anything about them.
Then there was this!
One of the oldest teas in my collection, & merely a sample (from Life in Teacup), I’ve pulled it out a few times, ready to give it a go, only to realize that it might be better to wait. This is a tea I really want to savor, to dedicate my full attention to. So this was how I spent my afternoon & evening.
The dry leaf is compact & brown, with no real aroma.
Warming it up in a hot yixing, it bloomed into a marine aroma, but not necessarily in a bad way. Basically, it smelled a lot like spiralina, & as I breathed it in, I also smelled Matcha…
I gave it a rinse & then started in with short steepings, with were immediately a beautiful orange amber color, & I only took a few sips before I was instantly transformed to a cosmic state of mind. The first cup or 2 tasted of aged clean straw & chalk, but with successive steeps there was a rapidly growing menthol quality, a vaporous sensation, wood, leather, & gratefully not a trace of anything undesirable.
I lost track of the number of cups I drank, but somewhere in the middle I passed through a tangy citrus/tangerine element for awhile, followed by a slightly bitter round which passed quickly, a briefly soapy taste, & then a pristine sweet spring. That’s where I’m at now, & I dare not drink any more tonight. Tomorrow I’ll probably give a rinse & see what else I can wring out of these leaves with some longer steeps. The color of the tea is still a beautiful bring amber orange. Absolutely gorgeous!
This tea is part of the Life in Teacup sample set #7, shu of 9 years & Above.
When I first sampled Puerh, it was Shu. Initially it was in blends, my favorite being the tea spot’s Bolder Breakfast. There was something about the earthy taste of it that really appealed to me, in the way that the aroma of damp earth appeals to most gardeners. I love the smell of the earth, of the compost pile in the spring, of both fresh & aged straw, of rain.
Even though the puerh was only part of those blends, it spoke of those things & I crave it.
Then I tried it alone. I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert, but I do enjoy sampling things. Some of the samples I’ve tried have reeked of ammonia or mushroom, or even fish. Others have been like sweet molasses. Other’s gave me a serious buzz! My favorite Shu are the ones that taste similar to this one. The aroma is sweet & rich, the early steepings are cream, cinnamon, & sweetness. A woody aromatic, like cedar, builds, leaving that ‘after aroma’ effect that I really like in the soft palate & sinuses. I’ve been through several steepings of this now, while watching “How to Tame Your Dragon” with my 25 year old son, so however many 4oz Yixings you can go through in a couple of hours. Currently the flavor is a very ‘clean’ forest floor, with a sweet aftertaste that reminds me of agave with a touch of Maple.
I’m sure I can get a few more rounds out of it!
First tea of the day, enjoyed while I was fixing breakfast. This comes is 5 G beautiful bright red packets, & I bought 5. The leaf is a mix of black with gold, & of course, I love these small leaf Fujian teas anyway, so I’m sure I’ll love this one!
5G + 8oz X 1min/2min/& 5min
I plan to sample this tea using all of the methods that I enjoy, & see which one suites it best. I really wanted to go with the gongfu session, but I have things to do, places to go, people to see, so that will be reserved for maybe next time.
This session was very nice, & without going into to too much detail, the resulting tea was delicious: Somewhat floral, with a lightly tangy & shiny sensation on the top of my tongue, sweet & juicy underneath.
Now I’m off to move some rocks with my sons.
I must have not been into it last night when I steeped it as this oolong did not steal my heart away. It was roasty? yes. Tieguanyinny? Yes. (Tieguanyinny is totally a word meaning vegetal tasting with a these-leaves-went-through-so-much-suffering-to-bring-you-light oolong flair). Did it resteep nice? Well, it did! So what was wrong with it? Absolutely nothing.
But it did fail to steal my heart away. I think I just wasn’t in the mood. I remember some unique, salted caramely and even weak-chocolate notes trying to communicate with me last night but I just waved them away. I need to try this again soon and then remember to write about it! I should be writing “revised” or “returning” tasting notes more often. I almost never do that!
I thought this tea had at least two listing. I picked one and went with it. Then realized it was in the wrong place. I’m not OCD but I fixed it anyway.
Scouring through my drawer today I stumbled upon this one. Apologies to Life In Teacup for misplacing it. It’s all good as today was the perfect day to sit with this lovely tea. The leaf pellets are very tiny and dark but really expand. The wet leaf is highly roasted in scent. The sip is medium to light roasted. I really like this one. It is sweet and tastes like roasted honey (can you do that?). I can definitely see why some called this nutty. After reading it, I totally agree. Seems thick like milk but has more glide. Not sure that makes sense either. This is light and refreshing and not the heavy chunk of roasting I normally associate with darker oolongs. I taste the Taiwan mountain oolong in the lingering aftertaste but it isn’t super floral or latex like some. This is just all around a nice cup for a rainy dreary day.
It was such a stormy day today! I believe the entire day was nothing but rain and storms, of course the plants loved all the nitrogen from the lightning. The tree buds seem to have become full leaves and everything is vibrantly verdant. Even though I was stuck in bed most the day I really enjoyed the weather and the smell of rain wafting through my window.
Today’s tea is Life In Teacup’s $1 tea sample for the month of April, 2006 Chang Tai “Seven Star-Alkaid” a Sheng Pu Erh made from Menghai leaves. I am still in the total noob stage when it comes to Sheng Pu Erh, since I have tried a grand total of five different ones, I not entirely sure how I feel about them as a whole yet, I certainly find them intriguing and want to try more! The aroma of this Pu Erh is really intriguing, blending sweet notes of anise, pine needles, hay and wet oak wood. It smells really clean and nature like, the sweetness is that of new growth and anise.
The rinsed and steeped leaves are very sweet, blending anise and pine resin, in fact there is a myrrh like resinous scent as well that blend really well with the anise aroma. There is a little bit of a wet pine wood and wet peat smell as well, I really enjoy the aroma of this Pu Erh’s wet leaves. The liquid’s aroma is a blend of sweet anise and wet wood, very light and unassuming.
First steeping sip time! The taste is very light and quite smooth in the mouth. The taste is one of sweet hay and honey that fades to a bit of peat. At the end of the taste there is a quick sourness that does that great salivary response I have come to associate with Sheng Pu Erh. Basically there is a sourness that causes you to salivate a lot, this in turn makes the remaining liquid in your mouth to taste very sweet. I believe that this sensation is called Hui Gan.
The liquid’s aroma for the second steep is much more pronounced (as expected) with stronger notes of anise and pine loam with a very faint hint of peat. The mouthfeel again is very smooth, and the taste is sweet with anise at first and fades to a rich peat taste. It has a very clean taste, which seems odd when you describe something that tastes like peat, but it tastes like clean peat and not moldy, rotten, peat.
The third steep really comes alive, the aroma of the liquid is more like the wet leaves, having notes of resin and anise with a strong peat presence. This steep has a bit of bitterness to it that fades to sourness and immediately explodes into sweetness. There is a taste of anise and cooling effect that makes this steeping very interesting. The finish is peat and earthy with a touch of old hay. I really enjoyed the complexity of this steep.
For the fourth steep’s aroma I notice that it is sweet with a bit of anise and straw, the aroma has a cooling effect on my nose which is very refreshing. The taste is sweet with an earthy backdrop. There are the notes of hay and anise, a bit of peat and a bit of loam.
The fifth and final steeping has a very warm aroma, like sun warmed hay and anise, it is much milder than the previous steep’s aroma. The taste is much milder as well, a bit of faint anise and warm hay, there is a bit of bitterness that explodes into sweetness that lingers. I really enjoyed this tea experience, certainly a good investment of a dollar!
I have WAY too many teas on my backlog list now, so I might start reviewing them first thing since opening my laptop, right?
This oolong was a little odd. Green pearl-shaped dry leaf gave a light, straw-colored infusion that tasted pretty vegetal and a little astringent (which was that odd part – I didn’t expect it to have such a bite). I also got some milder roasty notes there. I remembered it smelled slightly funky. I am pretty sure I resteeped it at least once but the resteep didn’t yield any new notes.
It was enjoyable but nothing that could enter my Oolong Hall of Fame. But then perhaps I was too distracted when I had it. I still have more of this, so I will definitely try it again.
EDIT because I found I typo
Dry – Wood and earth notes, some thin sweetness.
Wet – Wet wood notes, some faint sweetness, faded floral.
Liquor – Dark Amber
1st 7secs – Woody, damp floor, musky and some savory notes up front. As it goes down, it has some hints of sweetness but doesn’t quite delivers much, it feels thin and somewhat flat.
2nd 7secs – Cleaner woody, damp floor and some savory ‘mushroom’ notes up front; it feels cleaner but still not that pleasant. As it goes down, it has some more sweetness, but again it is flat although over some time there’s a faint floral note.
3rd 10secs – Same body up front and going down, the finish is slightly better, but still nothing I’d look for in a Nannuo cake.
This cake had to be stored in wetter conditions, it has lost much of the Nannuo character for its age and it feels rather flat, while I expected something sweeter, floral and thick with some age taste. It is a good tea if you like those wetter notes with out overly aggressive notes of really humid storage.
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Thanks to J.C. for this one, I hope I have added my tasting note under the correct tea…
I don’t always know what to do with white teas to make them shine, I feel like they sometimes end up tasting liked boiled straw. For this tea I ended up steeping it in a gaiwan for about 45 – 60 seconds with a water temp. less than boiling. This has produced a very gentle, sweet tea which has a light creamy quality. I am liking this one very much. Something about it is very relaxing. Maybe it’s time to check out some offerings from Life in Teacup? Thanks for sending this J.C.!
It was last night’s sip down. There went my ounce of it. I have a whole bunch of Eco-Cha’s Dong Ding to try now, so… I’m not panicking! Dong Ding stock is under control.
However, I must bring the rating of this one down quite considerably. While this was a delicious oolong, the ounce that I got from Life in a Teacup never actually managed to excite me as much as initially did the sample of this they sent me before months ago (See the previous note). I am not sure if this was some different batch or if something happened to my taste buds then. It’s yummy, vegetal oolong with a wonderful flowery aroma, but I feel I can’t rate it 99 anymore.
I absolutely love this. It could be my favorite oolong, as of today.
It smells like brown sugar, plus there’s a definite floral element. The way it tastes emulates the aroma almost in every detail. Sophisticated vegetal-floral sweetness that just stays in your mouth for a while after each sip. It gets itty-bitty bitter as it cools down (but that is barely detectable) and the smell of it turns even sweeter. An amazing experience.
I swear that some oolongs feel more like desserts than the “dessert teas”.
I can’t wait for another steeping of this, but before I make another cup I will take a nice relaxing bath… Oh, this is going to be a lovely weekend. I hope it is going to be just as good, or better, for all the Steepsterites :)
Quite smooth. Nice aroma. Notes of fruit-like sweetness and wood. This is a surprisingly calming tea. Lasting, pleasant throat.
Update: I’m about thirteen or so infusions in… does this tea ever end? Wow…
Slight side note: I just want all my sheng to age about 40-50 years… like…. right now. Gosh, that would be heavenly.
So first of all, I totally blew it on my database, leaving out teas (that thought I’d already added) from 3 friends. Now that my negligence has been corrected, my actual starting teacount for today was 382 teas (shut up, Sil, I can hear you laughing all the way in St. Louis!)
This is sipdown # 5 for today, # 39 overall since Saturday, and my NEW total, subtracting everying I drank today so far, is 377.
This is a sample gererously sent to me from KS. Thanks! I’ve wanted to try teas from Life in Teacup for awhile. The description says this is a traditional green oolong. The dry leaf of this smelled a bit like Nori to me. Warmed up, the leaf smelled of wonderful caramelized stone fruits & charcoal. There wasn’t really any fruit flavor to the tea itself, more of a bready charcoal taste, with an after feel of mintiness.
OK, folks, I feel like I’m slowly getting caught up. I’m only like two months behind at this point. It’s happening … I’ll get caught up. No matter what Sil says! hahaha!
A gentle, earthy aroma to the dry leaf of this tea. Not an off-putting earthiness. It’s a subtle and even a sweet earthy kind of scent.
The flavor is gently earthy, sweet, woodsy … with even … a slight “wild” sort of taste to it. Notes of fruit. A pleasant, mellow Sheng.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/12/02/2005-lao-lin-cang-ancient-arbor-sheng-pu-erh-tea-from-life-in-teacup/
Just finished a cup of this and immediately made another. I’m impressed. I ordered a few of the free samples from Life and Teacup and so fr I’m 2 for 2. Absolutely delicious! Very smooth and fantastic quality. I think this is one of the best oolongs I’ve tried so far. I will probably be purchasing a few ozs of this in the next week.
this is a nice mellow Phoenix tea…it is probably the least astringent one I have tried…the flavor profile is typical Mi Lan Xiang(slightly subdued)with good qi…it’s quite easy to brew and it would be a great introduction into the realm of Phoenix/Dancong teas…110ml gaiwan 7g tea…
Just before Christmas, I received a wonderful surprise in the mail…goodies from K S! In all the hubbub and getting decorations up and then down and then having the wedding, I didn’t get started on them. But hubby suggested we do yoga together tonight and I thought this one looked like a prime candidate to sip between sets and after cool down.
The first pot was a combination of four steeps made by youngest. I had given her a short steeping time because I thought it smelled like it could get strong, but instead this was cool, clean, clear snow melt,with a hint of baby sugar snap peas. We drank all of that and wanted more, so I took the remainder of the sample and made four more steeps. I gave it a little more time and now it is a little more assertive, more like green bean hulls. I wouldn’t have noticed the light smoke if I hadn’t read about it, but as I swirl air around in my mouth I pick up on it.
Thank you, K S! This was a perfect tea for relaxing tonight. Lovely!
I’d like to thank KS for sending me a sample of this one to try out. I’ve wanted to try several of the teas from Life in Teacup for awhile now. I love Roasty Wuyi oolongs! Opening the package, the smell of the dry leaf is yummy fruity & sweet, like dried apricots have been simmered down to a rich compote. The dry leaf is a rich mahogany color, long twisted strands. Poured into a hot dry yixing, the aroma quadrupled & became thick & tangy. A quick rinse, which I drank (how could I not?) yielded a hint of what was to come. Let the steeping begin!
5G + 4oz yixing (rinse) 10sec/20/30/40/50/60/2min/3min/4min/5min…
10 sec – This is a sweet infusion of hazelnut butter & gently tart apricot. With each steeping new layers were added: creme brulee, a sprinkle of cinnamon. Steep number 4 took on a shiny smooth quality, like obsidian. Then the tanginess faded briefly, replaced by a creamy pudding. Then the tanginess returned, so that my mouth felt as if I’d been eating tart berries. The last steepings were like a sweet nectar, a gentle sweet artesian spring, flowing into a rock fountain, with faint notes of peach, hazelnut, & cinnamon.