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Recent Tasting Notes
I love Da Hong Pao, LOVE IT. I have finished two tins from different companies and have started this one and there is another one someone in there that I can’t find right now.
And MY BAD but this one got messed up tonight, and it is a testimony to how great this tea is. Hubby and I headed out to pick up Asian buffet takeout and I asked youngest to prepare the tea, as she often does. She makes a couple of steeps while we are gone and pours it in my large tetsubin with the tea light warmer. I shouted as I left that I had put the tin on the counter and the instructions were in it, not realizing that they were gong fu instructions.
I thought the tea was a little weaker than I expected and asked about the steeping and she said she gave it thirty seconds for the first, etc., just like the paper said. Wow. This tea came out tasting “a little weak” when it was less than a third of the way through steeping? And you know, it was still really palatable.
I almost poured out the remainder after supper but decided to have it with my dessert of orange-lemon pound cake that youngest made. And it was really good! It was so good that I can’t wait to have it again, this time made properly, at which time it will no doubt blow my socks off.
This is a strong young sheng. It was quite bitter in the early steeps. It took a while to mellow out. Not entirely sure what notes I’m getting here but its good. I definitely need to pull something out of the pumidor and find a place for this. My pumidor is packed you see.
I steeped this ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9g leaf and 200 degree water. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
The first steep of this tea is amazingly clear – it didn’t look like there was any color at all! I went to taste it and you could smell the vegetal notes, which come through quite strong even for such a light tea. I really liked this tea, though didn’t find it that much different from a green tea.
I am so behind in my tea notes, updating my cupboard and spreadsheet. I was drinking this one a couple of days ago (?)
I was given this sample by the most wonderful OMGsrsly because I like the new Silver Buds.
This is really nice – I liked it, steeped it a bunch, spent an evening with it. I think the newer one is more “pu’erh” and this one is more “white” and therefore I feel the newer one is more interesting.
Thanks for the opportunity to try it. :))
I’ve been drinking this and another puerh today – lazy style in my finums with short steep times while i map out my paris walking/shoppping/exploring. I am thoroughly enjoying this one, though other mandala’s probably take precedent over this one for me. it’s sort of earthy, leathery, sweet and smooth with a buttery element there in later steeps. I feel like this might work well as an intro puerh….slight nuances, without anything here that would scare someone off :)
seems weird that i have no tasting notes on this one…i’m sure i’ve had it before. I’ve been drinking this all morning as part of my goal to try and work on drinking some of my smaller/older samples of puerhs. This one is delicious as i recall…. initial steeps being slightly earthy but more leathery than anything…bold…deep flvours. Later steeps are more subdued..almost buttery and molasses like… overall delicious!
Mandala order arrived today!!! Yay!!!
So, I ordered this on a whim before “moonlight” teas really registered into my brain, so that worked out well. This doesn’t actually SAY moonlight, but it sure does look like one of them. The leaves are just BEAUTIFUL, and some are white/silver on one side and black on another. This also doesn’t say anything about aged. The couple that I’ve tried have been listed as pu’erh and have some age on them. So is this one or not?!? Dunno but I’m happy to be drinking it right now.
I’m not one to obey the “rules” when it comes to steep parameters but I did read the package and the recommended temp was 160-175F – that seems low to me, but what do I know….
So I used what looked like quite a bit of leaf (shrug) with 75C water for about 1 minute. Sweet, a little hay, a little mouth dry, but really nice and interesting. Where are the fruit notes that I’m looking for? Need to play with steep temp.
Second steep – 85C for two minutes – Honey, less hay, no astringent, a little juicy but no specific fruit.
Third steep – 90C 3 minutes – The hay is back, the honey is still there, and something tangy (sheng like) strange but I like it.
Fourth steep – 90C 4 minutes – totally changed – Honey and a little malty? Weird – I can’t even tell you what this is like….
I don’t really like white tea – I usually find it either grassy or it tastes like nothing. This is one I can get behind. It’s interesting, flavorful, but I think I need to play with the steep times and temp. I really happy with this one, but I don’t think it’s my MOONLIGHT tea.
Thanks scribbles for the lovely sample!
This is such a pretty tea. And pretty freaking delicious. The happy orange liquor is thick, and looks like clear liquid sweet potatoes. I taste roasted sweet potatoes, a hot slice of fresh baked bread, as well as perhaps a light dusting of cocoa. This tea is some serious NOMS. All the little golden fuzzies pack a punch, and got me bouncing off the walls. This was my breakfast tea today, maybe I should have eaten something with this because I am SO friggin wired. heh.
This holds up to many, many steeping in my lil’ gaiwan, so I will be obnoxiously hyped all day longggg :P
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potatoes
So after a few disappointments with my more recent tea hauls, I finally brewed this bad boy up. And wow, what a good little milk oolong this is. Creamy, buttery, with a confusing but lovely burnt caramel/fresh gardenia finish that shouldn’t work half so well together. It reminds me a little of creme brule. I’m a little baffled that it isn’t flavored, to be honest, given the sheer depth of flavor and how well it holds up under repeat steepings. It does seem to evolve into a more floral brew over time, but nothing overpowering.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Butter, Creamy, Gardenias
I tried this gong fu style last night. I found the initial flavors of cinnamon, which slowly dissolved into a sweet almond milk at steep 4, but still retaining some of the spice. The oolong is mineral throughout. It’s very delicious and has a nice amber color brew.
Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Milk, Mineral
Yesterday was Chinese green tea day :P
I had this last night and it’s a new tea for me. The instructions say to use 1 tbsp per 8oz of water, so I ended up using about 3 tbsp for 32 oz, just in case it was going to be strong. The taste is very vegetal on the first steep (30sec) – almost too vegetal for me. The second steep (1min) was more mellow and slightly sweet. I enjoyed the second steep a whole lot more. I probably could have gone with more steeps, but it was already really late when I was drinking this last night.
Soo… I may have just “accidentally” placed a rather big Mandala order. Including this! (And on a side note, I totally forgot to get some Smark Soak to try. WHOOPS.)
I blame the order on Sil. And Dex. And my paypal balance that I was actually trying to save for the next month of Tea Club. :)
So I hadn’t tried this version yet. I have a sample of the 2008 and it is divine. I’m not sure how different, I’d have to test them side by side to see what I think. But I’m really liking this. It’s tea. Definitely tea. Hay and pea shoots. Sweet, malt, hopefully highly caffeinated.
I’m drinking part of the 4th steep right now. I combined 1-3.5 in a travel mug for work. It’s a golden shade, looks lovely. And I used a ceramic mug to be extra fancy. :)
Here’s hoping all the cakes I now have survive my rather shoddy storage conditions (paper shopping bags on a shelf in my room…) until I get to drinking them and sharing them out.
This was my puerh for the day. I may try and see if i can another one in later this evening, but if not, this one has been fantastic to drink over the course of the morning/afternoon. I am really a fan of Mandala’s original cakes. There’s something incredibly satisfying about them. I’ll be picking this one up again.
I pulled this one out to try today. My other half and i didn’t get much done with errands but we did finally get around to cleaning the house – we’ve been letting that slide lately. This has been in my cupboard for an eternity…because i bought a bunch of puerh when i first got into tea and then was too scared to try it. So now i’m focusing on getting through all of the older puerh samples in my cupboard.
First few steeps were creamy…sort of prune like with later steeps being more vanilla and sweet like. This is one i might suggest for someone just getting in to puerh, and one that i should have had ages ago. Just might need to pick up a cake of this with my next mandala order.
Received this as a free sample with my lasts order. Thank you so much Garret for including it.
I’ve been drinking it and playing with the steep parameters all day. I can’t find the sweet spot. The first few infusions seems really bold and in your face, the later steeps seemed weak and uninteresting. Couldn’t find much in between. I don’t hate this, but just feel like it should be more interesting than I could make it. Was nice to spend the day with, but there are much better pu’erhs out there. I’m just going to file this under finicky and move on.
Thanks to KiwiDelight for sending me some of this! I decided to have it gong fu style with boiling water. The dry leaf has a nice, promising cocoa smell. The first infusion was 15 seconds. It brewed up a lovely amber color. The flavor was thick bittersweet chocolate. The second infusion was 30 seconds. It came out darker than the previous steep. Again, lots of lovely cocoa notes. My dad showed up at that point and I stopped taking detailed notes, but I think I got about 7 total steeps out of this one. Later steeps were more malt than cocoa, but still quite lovely. Sipdown!
Incidentally, I thought this was a black tea. Turns out it’s a ripe pu’er. I haven’t had the best experiences with pu teas, but this one is making me think I’ve just been drinking the wrong ones. Hmm.
Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Malt
From the Sheng and Shou TTB.
Brewed the gongfu method with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the tuocha a 20 second rinse. Steeping times: 5, 5, 10, 30, 40, 60, 240.
Luscious aroma: cocoa and sugarcane arise when the tuocha is newly steeped, then loam and damp earth at the end of the session.
The liquor full-bodied, delectably creamy, and very dark in color yet clear. The flavors are bittersweet, a combination of dark cooking chocolate and black coffee. I notice that the chocolate tends to rise to the roof of my mouth while the coffee sticks to the tongue. The flavors sweeten and become less bitter as the session goes on. An earthy note then appears.
The tuocha gives away a rich liquor right away, but too much too quickly, as the flavors weaken after the fourth steep, hence the really long ultimate infusion time. Now, this comes from using a ceramic gaiwan. I’m certain a yixing pot would be more generous.
Ugh, it snowed for most of the morning and some of the afternoon (just flurries but still – UGH). At this point of the year, the crocuses would be in bloom. Even spring migration is stalled! Temple Stairs is definitely a comfort in this delayed “spring”.
Decided to continue with sheng today…
Wow, is this one fantastic…
That hint of smoke is really interesting…and the flavours here are so layered and complex. This is one special tea.
Tobacco is present, but in this mellow sort of way that is completely in harmony with everything else going on… it’s really amazing.
It would be very interesting to taste the 2014 compared to this one….
Thanks for this one, Dexter!
I wish I had more time to write, but I’m in the midst of unclogging drains, doing laundry, cleaning dishes, and sundry other tasks… Ahhh!
But, at least there is tea… and there is THIS tea!
I really did not know I would love sheng so much….
And the way it changes with steeps! (fruity, to buttery and rich…) and the tiniest little bite at the end… it’s so fantastic.
Thank you, Dexter, for sending this my way… another favourite that I didn’t know was a favourite. ;)