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83
drank Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
181 tasting notes

This tea is nice, light, and fresh. A wonderful brew of mild grain/grass with a honey sweetness. Definitely a good white tea, holding up to a high temp with a longer steep (accidentally).

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75
drank Dian Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
181 tasting notes

Sweet with notes of pine and flowers. This is a great white tea. I used a gaiwan and the entire sample pack and let it steep in 195 water for about 30 seconds. A very nice and complex flavor.

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Simultaneous taste test with 2 other teas from the GCTTB4

I think this was another one of Ubacat’s teas (seriously, Uba, you’re hitting it out of the park!).

I had this with a Bi Luo Chun from YS, but this one paled in comparison. Literally (it was lighter in colour) and figuratively (it was the weakest of the three teas I tried).

I found that this didn’t make much of an impression on me. Somewhat nutty, somewhat vegetal, but there wasn’t a lot of there there. Steeped 1 tsp for 3 min in 80c water.

Ubacat

This tea smells delicious dry but I’ve tried brewing it so many different ways and feel the same as you. It just seems too weak.

Glad you’re enjoying some of teas I put in the GCTTB4!

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82
drank Xue Ya by Nannuoshan
181 tasting notes

A very pleasant tea with warming qualities. I feel like the taste is more of a green with vegetal notes of cucumber and grass. I brewed this gong fu style for 30/45/60 at 195 degree water. The resulting liquid is relatively light in color, looking much more like a white. This is definitely a tea to wind down with.

Flavors: Cucumber, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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92
drank Tie Guan Yin 1993 by Nannuoshan
875 tasting notes

The dry leaf is dark green, verging on black, and twisty, but not rolled into balls. It smells woody and earthy, with hints of orchid that contrast in a very interesting way.

Steeped, the leaf smells intensely floral and woody. The tea soup is a pale amber colour and very clear. It smells very faintly of honey and wood.

On the first steep, the wood note is dominant, with honey and orchid in the background. I steeped 1g in 50ml of 90C water for 30 seconds, as per the steeping directions, but the flavour seems a bit light. I think this might have benefited from a quick rinse and a bit of a rest, to let the leaves open up a bit more, or just a slightly longer first steep.

The second steep is amazing. Everything about this steep is stronger and deeper, with well balanced notes of wood, roast and honey forefront, backed up by a lovely orchid. The finish is long, with a honeyed, tangy vegetal note that develops long after the sip. The texture is creamy and smooth.

The third steep intrigues me. The steeped leaf has taken on an almost acrid, charred wood note that I find unappealing. But the flavour of the tea is incredible. There is more roastiness and less honey than on the second steep, but toward the end of the sip there is a melted butter and brown sugar taste that contributes to the rich, creamy impression from the mouth feel.

The fourth steep once again seems lighter on flavour than it should be. While the flavours of the third steep are present, they are mild and a bit muddled.

For the fifth steep, I didn’t bother timing precisely and just let the tea sit until it seemed like it was ready. The butter, brown sugar and orchid are back to being more prominent, but at this point the leaves are staring to lose their flavour.

This is an amazing tea that shows its age through the fine and complex flavour. While three of my five steeps were not all that impressive, I was quite blown away by the second and third, and I think it is well worth drinking for those steeps alone (and I think with some tweaking of steeping technique and parameters, at least three incredible steeps could be had.)

I drank this and made my note without looking at anyone else’s impressions, and it’s so interesting to see the variety of different experiences people had with this tea. There’s a great deal of diversity in the flavours that people picked out.

While this may not be an every day kind of tea, it is one that is absolutely worth trying.

30s, 30s, 45s, 45s, 1min+

Sample provided by Nannuoshan.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Creamy, Earth, Honey, Orchid, Roasted, Smooth, Tangy, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 g 2 OZ / 50 ML
Liquid Proust

The direction really say 30s? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an oolong with less than a 3 minute advisory.

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drank Ban Tian Yao by Nannuoshan
137 tasting notes

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85
drank Jin Si Dian Hong by Nannuoshan
86 tasting notes

I liked this tea…malty and smoky, but smooth at the same time. I steeped it for 2 minutes, and it seemed to work out well. This tea also had more of an earthy flavor than the other Dian Hong’s I’ve tried. Thanks for the sample, Nicole!

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85

Today I’m sampling Taiping Houkui and Taiping Houkui Superior next to each other. The difference between these two teas is that the regular one is processed partially by machine and the superior is entirely hand processed. There’s also a fairly significant difference in the price, to account for the amount of extra labour that goes into hand processing.

I believe this is my first time having Taiping Houkui.

The dry leaf varies in colour from medium to dark green. While it is quite flat, it is not perfectly flat or uniform. There are some large pieces in my sample, but also quite a few broken bits. The smell is rich, with strong umami and seaweed qualities, and just a touch of roasted character. I am reminded a lot of a good quality sencha. Compared to the standard version, the leaf is less uniform in shape, size and colour. This smells slightly sweeter and richer.

I steeped 1g of leaf in 50ml of 80C water, three times, for 60 , 60 and 90 seconds.

Steeped the leaf smells sweet and umami with no grassiness. The variable sizes of leaf and leaf fragments make for a less visually stunning steeping experience than the standard version.

The soup is pale yellow green, and very clear. It is slightly paler than the standard version. Smell is mild, slightly tangy and vegetal, but present.

The flavour is complex. Notes of seaweed, umami, and nuts, with both sweetness and a vegetal tang. There is a hint of caramel in the cheeks. The flavour is pungent but more delicate than regular. The body is quite light, and one of the most noticeable differences between these teas.

After the first steep these teas diverge quite a lot. The second steep is more bold than first – tangier, more vegetal and pungent. Also sweeter, with more distinct caramel. The finish is nice and tangy. The third steep is less sweet and less tangy than the first two. It has a mellow vegetal, grassy flavour. Toward the end of the sip there’s a bit of roastiness that comes out. Compared to the standard, more umami and nuttiness remain in the third steep.

I feel that if I were so inclined, I feel that I could get another steep out of these.

Both of these are excellent teas. I am reminded in many ways of sencha. While they are very similar at first, and I’m not sure I would notice the difference if I had not had these side by side, the differences show in later steeps. I enjoyed the Superior slightly more, although I’m not sure the difference in the tea is big enough for me to personally justify the price difference. However, supporting the art of handcrafting might be.

Samples provided by Nannuoshan.

Flavors: Caramel, Grass, Nuts, Roasted, Seaweed, Sweet, Tangy, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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83
drank Taiping Houkui by Nannuoshan
875 tasting notes

Today I’m sampling Taiping Houkui and Taiping Houkui Superior next to each other. The difference between these two teas is that the regular one is processed partially by machine and the superior is entirely hand processed. There’s also a fairly significant difference in the price, to account for the amount of extra labour that goes into hand processing.

I believe this is my first time having Taiping Houkui.

The dry leaf is beautiful. Large, uniform, very flat and thin, in an intense medium green colour. These leaves are definitely unique and interesting. They smell of seaweed and umami, with just a hint of maple. Compared to the Superior, the smell is less sweet and slightly less refined smelling.

I steeped 1g of leaf in 50ml of 80C water, three times, for 60 , 60 and 90 seconds.

Steeped, the leaf smells nutty and grassy, with lots of umami. The leaf is truly beautiful – the long, flat leaves turn int bright green ribbons in my gaiwan.

The tea soup is a pale yellow green and crystal clear. Smell is very mild, almost non-existent. The faint whiff that I do catch is vegetal.

The first steep is delicious, smooth. The dominant flavours are seaweed, umami, nutty, with a touch of grass. The light colour of the soup belies the pungent, mouth filling flavour this has. The intensity of the flavour fades quickly in the finish, and a milder, tangy edge lingers in the mouth for a while. This has a medium body, one of the most noticeable differences between these teas.

After the first steep these teas diverge quite a lot. The second steep is mellow, nutty and a touch astringent. The umami remains. The third is quite grassy and the sweetness is gone. The astringency builds a little bit, but still remains mild and pleasant.

After three steeps, I believe these leaves are done.

Both teas are excellent. The differences are hard to pick out at first but really come out after the first steep. I enjoyed the Superior slightly more, though if you focus strictly on the experience of the tea, I think this one is a better value. If you factor in the handcrafting, well, I think everyone values that a bit differently in their tea experience.

Samples provided by Nannuoshan.

Flavors: Grass, Maple, Nutty, Seaweed, Sweet, Tangy, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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92

I am a giant slacker, I should have written about this tea yesterday like I planned, but by the time I got home at 9 o’clock last night, I was so pooped that I just flopped on the bed and refused to move. Well, that and Ben has been a total computer hog with his play-testing work (and researching a new game he is interested in as well) but that is ok. Yesterday was a blast, I went out for lunch with Ben and his parents and then we went to Costco where I got several things, but most excitingly I got the most massive jar of Kalamata olives, it was epic! I cannot wait to cut loose on them, it will be like eating squishy, purple, sour, potato chips. Other than lunch and shopping I got to catch up with an old friend while painting at Tabletop, so life is good as usual.

Today is the last of the teas from Nannuoshan, my adventure comes to an end with an aged tea, a Tie Guan Yin from 1993, that was a long time ago! It was an awful year for me, if I can remember my timeline correctly (and I know my mom, who always reads my blogs, will correct me if I am wrong) 1993 was the year I almost died from pneumonia, oops. I am hoping that a Tie Guan Yin, THE Oolong that taught me that tea could be art and not just a drink, will change my opinion about this year. Unlike other aged Oolongs I have had, this one has only been baked the once, back in 1993, so it is not one of those teas that is relying on its roasted taste, rather it is relying on the tea itself to shine through. The dark leaves are quite lovely, like a mix between curly and balled, they almost look tumbled, the aroma is quite fascinating, and certainly not like any TGY I have ever sniffed. Blending notes of dried peaches, fruit wood, distant flowers, spices, and a rich woody wine cask aroma that adds a level of headiness to the leaves. At the very finish there is a sharp, nectar sweet, note of lychee that lingers a bit.

Into the pot it goes! The now soggy leaves blend notes of dried peaches and apricots, woodiness, and the distinct smell of a wine cask. It is woody and sweet, and I really like that wine note, I wish I knew more about wine so I could say exactly which one it reminds me of, I can say it is a slightly spicy red one. The brandy colored liquid (a very lovely color, reminds me of a sunrise) is woody and fruity, with distinct notes of peaches and spice.

The first steep is a think of beauty, do not go into this tea expecting it to be like any other teas, it is unlike anything else. For all that the aroma is super sweet, the tea itself is only subtly sweet, and most the sweetness is in the aftertaste. The tea itself is woody and a bit sour, like biting into an unripe fruit, this causes a great salivary effect. The midtaste is a bit spicy, like mulled wine, and delightfully woody, reminding me of a freshly broken apple wood branch.

The aroma of the second steep is rich, with a blend of freshly broken apple wood, dried peaches, spicebush, and a tiny bit of distant flowers at the finish. The taste is much like the first, but more so! The sweetness is throughout the entire sipping experience this time, the sweetness of dried peaches and the sourness of freshly broken green wood. It has a lingering aftertaste of spice and fruitiness, and a tiny hint of orchids once it cools.

For the third steep, the aroma is very peachy and sweet, in fact it is primarily peachy, with a hint of spice and a touch of woody resin, like myrrh. The mouth is much drier for this steep, and the taste is woodier, reminding me of red wine and a touch of resinous wood. This transitions to dried peaches and a slight sourness like unripe peaches. This tea is beautiful, I would love to buy a large pile of it to age, each year I would taste it to see how it changes, I have liked every aged Oolong I have tried, I crave more!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/03/nannuoshan-tie-guan-yin-1993-tea-review.html

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80

Update on the cold/allergy/flu/oops I made Apollo angry again front, I seem to be recovering nicely, still pretty sniffly and feverish, but other than that I am mostly fine. This makes me happy, working on my Oppressor also makes me happy, especially since I got the ‘eyes’ to look like creepy deep sea creature eyes. I wanted to make it look like it has those translucent blue-white eyes, so many coats of varnish tinted with white and blue, and I think I have captured it. Also I came to the hilarious realization that when a Harbinger is carrying an Oppressor it cannot sit on a flight stand because the Oppressor is that big.

Continuing on with Nannuoshan week, today’s tea is Qing Ming Bi Luo Chun, that delightful fuzzy and curly green tea from Jiangsu, China. This particular Bi Luo Chun is a Qing Ming tea, meaning it was plucked between April 3-5th, making it almost a year old, happy almost birthday, tea! The name Bi Luo Chun means Green Spring Snail, though that was not always this tea’s name, originally it was called Xia Sha Ren Xiang, which means Scary Fragrance. The reason for this name is kinda hilarious, years ago a tea harvester ran out of room in her basket, so she stuffed the extra leaves in her cleavage, the now warmed leaves let out an astounding fragrance which startled her. I feel like that is a great ‘well what were you expecting?’ moments, later on it was renamed by the Kangxi Emperor renamed it after naming it a tribute tea. I have a tiny bit of trepidation with this tea, see, Bi Luo Chun is best when it is fresh, and it is one of those teas that loses its potency really quickly, with this tea being almost a year old, it might not taste as intense as it would have several months ago. The aroma of the tiny curly leaves (so tiny and cute!) is fairly faint, a delicate note of lychee and gentle greenness of broken leaves. There is really not much there in the aroma department, it has a dry, papery note, but that is fairly faint as well.

Tossing the leaves in my gaiwan and giving the tea a steeping, the now very soggy leaves are still very faint, with delicate notes of lychee and spinach, with a tiny whiff of nuttiness at the finish. Bi Luo Chun is a delicate tea, but not usually this delicate. The liquid is mostly artichoke and a bit of distant sweetness.

First steep is subtle but quite delicious! The tea is cloudy and has a ticklish texture because it is just loaded with trichomes, Bi Luo Chun is super fuzzy, and tends to molt its fuzz off at any chance it gets, I am sure if I used a fine mesh screen I could get perfectly clear water, and would have a nice fuzz ball in my screen, but I don’t mind the fuzz and hate fussing with filters. The taste starts out sweet and nutty, with notes of chestnut and lychee, this moves on to a brisk vegetal midtaste. Sadly the tea fizzles out and does not leave a lingering finish.

The aroma of the second steep has a much stronger presence, with notes of lychee, chestnut, and a distant floral note that adds a level of depth. The taste of this steep has a stronger presence as well, which is not very surprising, the first steep is always a prelude (unless you rinse your teas, which I don’t except for Puerh) showing you what is to come. It starts out with a sweet, fruity start with a blend of lychee and a touch of sweetgrass. This then transitions to a sharp green taste, blending artichoke and fresh broccoli (that is one I don’t get very often) with a bit of spinach. The finish is delicately sweet lychees that linger for just a little bit.

Steep number three! The aroma is sweet, a blend of hay, chestnut, and just a hint of lychee and spinach. It is fairly faint this time around, but the notes are distinct. This steep is mostly sweetness, with honey and lychee, and not really much else. It tastes like distant fruit nectar, it tastes like a finished tea. I certainly enjoyed the tastes in this tea, though I wish I could time travel and taste this when it was fresh, I bet it would have been a fantastic Bi Luo Chun!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/03/nannuoshan-qing-ming-bi-luo-chun-tea.html

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drank Tie Guan Yin 1993 by Nannuoshan
449 tasting notes

this tea is a part of the samples for review . thank you so much NanNuoShan tea for the great opportunity to taste such wonderful tea.
i used the whole sample.
6g 100ml porcelain gaiwan 195 F
rinse/pause/10/7/5/5/7/10/15sec etc
I brewed this tea for 2 days,increasing temp to 200F and steeping time. Its very giving.
The roast done beautifully. its not stale, overly charcoal. Just right. Sometimes aged oolong leaves some scratchy aftertaste on my throat. this is not the case.

It is very smooth and fruity. So juicy, peachy, maybe even nectarines and some raw nuts. later steeps reveal some citrus notes.

i was very happy with this tea and would consider ordering it.

http://instagram.com/p/0DSSYxBwlC/

http://instagram.com/p/0DT20Rhwnk/

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
DeliriumsFrogs

Gorgeous photos and really lovely sounding tea. :)

boychik

Thank you * DeliriumsFrogs* ;-)

TheLastDodo

This was my favorite sample from Nannuoshan! I am so glad I got more.

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This is a sample , part of generous package sent to me for review.
Non Smoky Lapsang Sauchong.
i used my usual parameters. Entire sample of 6g
6g 100ml porcelain gaiwan 200F
rinse/pause/ 5/3/5/7/10sec etc
This tea is rich and sweet like dark chocolate. No astringency or bitterness. Sweet and smooth and pleasure to drink. Some may add drop or two of maple syrup (I have to always mention Sil and Terri since its not my idea). it rounds up all the flavors.

Thank you so much NanNuoShan tea for your wonderful samples

http://instagram.com/p/0F9yOFhwn1/

http://instagram.com/p/0F_AbkhwqS/

http://instagram.com/p/0GAxtShwtX/

http://instagram.com/p/0F_f35hwrI/

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Dexter

I would love this. Happy that you are enjoying it. :)

Sil

i need to try this one… sounds yummy!

boychik

Sil, you tried this tea ….

boychik

Thank you Dexter. Im having a lot of fun sampling. But then i have to write reviews….

Sil

hahahahaha i so didn’t see my tasting note when i went to check lol

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drank Da Hong Pao by Nannuoshan
449 tasting notes

This tea is part of sample package sent to me for review.
i went with entire sample which was about 6g
6g 100ml gaiwan 195F
Rinse/ pause/ 5/5/7/10/15 sec
This tea is medium roast Da Hong Pao.
Its nice ,sweet and not overly roasty .
I would say its very safe for the people interesting in yancha but afraid of roasty or punchy flavors.

Thank you so much NanNuoShan for the opportunity to try your teas

http://instagram.com/p/0BWxOThwq-/

http://instagram.com/p/0BYWEfhwt9/

http://instagram.com/p/0BZBNKhwvb/

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
JC

Tea looks really good and I like that cup too. :)

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94

Today was the first playtest of SeaFall! It had a slightly rocky start with some printing problems, but once that was settled things went smoothly, and I achieved the goal I had for this game, which was exciting. But what we are really here for is the Oppressor!!! Yes, my connection at AdeptiCon was able to bring me one back, meaning I have one before anyone else, and yes I plan on painting it and bringing it to my game on Monday, extra fun because I play another Scourge player. I must be the Alpha Scourege! Ok, enough nerding out, time for tea!

Thursday seems like a good day for Yancha, specifically Nannuoshan’s Ban Tian Yao, they have several Wuyi Rock Teas, but as tempting as it was to pick an old favorite, I wanted to try something new. Expand my appreciation of one of my favorite forms of Oolongs, and of course give my Yancha teapot some love. Ban Tian Yao’s name translates, roughly, to ‘waist halfway to the sky’ because this tea is grown way up on the side of the cliffs, practically halfway to the sky, very poetic. The aroma of the nice curly leaves is very rich, strong notes of tobacco, mineral, and cocoa with moderate aroma notes of honey and char, with a gentle finish of woodiness. This Yancha certainly has the ‘rock’ aspect of the Rock Oolong title, being one of the most mineral heavy of the ones I have tried, there is very little sweetness, it is robust and strong, and I like that. The mineral notes were actually the first thing that drew me to Yancha, and what brought me around to absolutely loving them.

So, into the Yancha pot for my customary hot-short steeping, Nannuoshan recommends a 60s first steep, but personally I go for flash steeping with Yancha, brewing them with a longer steep certainly still tastes good, but this is my personal preference. The aroma of the soggy leaves is less char and tobacco and more rich, sweet, cocoa with notes of baking bread, molasses, limestone, and a faint floral note at the end that is a mix of spicebush and hyacinth. The liquid is quite sweet smelling with a blend of cocoa and slightly citrus notes, with an accompanying strong note of char and mineral.

First steep is intense! Oh man, those mineral notes are exquisite, it is like drinking tea made from from mineral water while being steeped in a limestone teapot, I can taste the mountainside in this one. There are also notes of char, which moves on to a rich tobacco and molasses at the middle. The finish is cocoa and of course mineral which lingers for quite a while.

The aroma of the next steep is very strongly mineral with an accompanying note of char and woodiness with a sharp cocoa finish. This steep in general has a sharpness to it, the strength of the mineral and char notes are still just as strong, but the molasses and cocoa sweetness from the first steep are almost entirely replaced with tobacco and woody notes, with a tiny bit of loam at the finish.

The third steep is like a blend between the first and second, the aroma starts out sweet and a bit spicy, but moves quickly to mineral and char, with a bit of cocoa at the finish. The taste takes its notes from the aroma, blending the strength of the first steep with the sweet and slightly mellow tones of the first, the strong mineral notes are still very much so present, but they are mellowed out some by cocoa and a bit of yeasty bread. The finish has tobacco and woodiness, with a spicebush aftertaste. I like this Yancha (no surprise) it has some serious Cha Qi to it, and a very robust taste, I do not think this would be an everyday kinda tea like Shui Xian, but on a day you need to spend completely absorbed by a tea, this could very well be the Yancha for you.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/03/nannuoshan-ban-tian-yao-tea-review.html

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100

Predictably I am still sick, though I am feeling a little less terrible than I did when I wrote my last blog post, so I consider that a huge win! Currently I am watching Achievement Hunter’s Minecraft Let’s Play of a Legends of the Hidden Temple map, it is nostalgic good time, and excellent mindless fun. I always wanted to go on one of those silly Nickelodeon shows, Legends of the Hidden Temple being my favorite, because who didn’t love the idea of raiding a Mayan temple?

Continuing the adventure with Nannuoshan today with Anji Bai Cha! I will admit, of all the teas I requested, this was the one I was most excited to try. Anji Bai Cha, whose name means White Tea from Anji, is not a white tea, it is a delicate green tea, though it does have a mystery about it (like the white or green Xue Ya mystery from Monday) is this an old tea that has been made for years, an old tea that was lost and rediscovered, or a tea that has only been made for about 20 years? The answer is, yes. Ok, that is not helpful, but as so often is the case, the internet cannot give a straight answer. Is this the delicate tea from Anji written about by Lu Yu or is this something new and delightful in its own right. In the long run it does not matter, what only matters is how enjoyable it is, though the history is something fun to ponder while waiting for the kettle to heat up. Though to be honest I spend kettle heating time ogling the leaves, Anji Bai Cha is such a pretty tea, in all of its stages, and it smells really good too! The aroma of the slender leaves is mild, with notes of green beans, chestnuts, distant flowers, and a tiny bit of a sharp asparagus finish. You can tell that this tea is super delicate, just from the aroma alone, because even though the notes are very clear and crisp, they are delicate, not a tea that slams you full on in the face with greenness.

The now soggy and much bigger leaves have a very pleasant aroma, with distinct notes of sweet chestnut and distant flower nectar with delightful notes of artichoke and asparagus. I am in a happy place, it has been far too long since I had Anji Bai Cha, and it is just as pleasant as I remember it so far. The delicate liquid is a blend of green and sweetness with notes of green beans, chestnuts, and a bit of bamboo and sweet pea. My nose is happy because this tea smells like spring.

The first steep is like nectar, delicious green nectar, like something celestial maidens drink while lounging around clear pools in bamboo forests. I love this tea so much, it starts out sweet like flower nectar, then pretty swiftly transitions to greenbeans, peas, asparagus, and a finish of artichoke. The mouthfeel is very smooth leaning towards thick, this is a delicate tea that has a definite presence.

For the second dance with this tea the aroma is nutty and sweet, but certainly stronger than the first steep, with a blend of artichoke, sweet peas, chestnuts, greenbeans, and a finish of crushed leaves and vegetation. I think my favorite thing about Anji Bai Cha is how incredibly clean it tastes, there is very little sweetness this steep, it is mostly green and fresh, with vegetal notes of peas, green beans, artichoke, and bamboo leaves. The finish does have some sweetness, like flower nectar, with accompanying

For a bit of fun, instead of a third steep, I decided to brew some in my travel steeper, mostly because I had to go to gaming and someone was being impatient, it is not my fault that the tea was really good and distracted me! Anji Bai Cha was my epiphany tea for experimenting more with teas in my travel steeper, before I had an infuser that was made for making tea and tucking the leaves out of the way, now I have one where the leaves are always in the water, so you have to plan accordingly. As expected, letting this tea sit in my travel steeper and infuse the water with its green goodness was a wonderful plan, deliciously sweet and green with delicate floral notes and distinct vegetal notes. If you have not had the opportunity to try Anji Bai Cha, I cannot recommend it enough, especially if you are a lover of delicate Chinese green teas.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/03/nannuoshan-anji-bai-cha-tea-review.html

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88

My dear friends and readers, I have a terrible confession, I am rather ill and a little bit worried. At first I had a sniffle and sore throat and I just assumed allergies (which apparently I don’t have, still weirded out by that) but nope, this is something much more annoying. Not sure if it is a terrible cold or what, but it has decided to move to my lungs (like they always do) and I am coughing and wheezing up a storm. So I am unhappily living on lots of cold meds, expectorants, antihistamines, and my inhaler…long story short, I am super loopy and so glad that I take really long winded notes in my tea notebooks! It was actually me becoming ill when I first started my tea blogger that I came up with the idea of logging all my notes in a notebook ahead of time, certainly one of my better decisions.

Day two of our Nannuoshan adventure takes us to Yunnan, home of Puerh and a ton of other fascinating teas. One such tea is Dian Yin Zhen, a silver needle white tea whose name translates to Yunnan silver needle, very direct this time. It is important to distinguish that this silver needle is from Yunnan, because it is way different from its Fujian twin. See, Yunnan teas are definitely distinct, they have one of the more defined ‘terroir’ markers of tea with an at times really intense camphor to menthol note in taste and aroma, and if you are really lucky a distant smokiness. And sniffing the leaves did not disappoint, I found notes of hay, lettuce, melon, and a distinct note of sharp camphor and a hint of smoke. The aroma reminds me of a Sheng Puerh with a fruitier, sweeter tone to it, such is the beauty of tea from Yunnan!

Brewing the leaves is an adventure, the aroma really had me confused, if I had closed my eyes and sniffed I would have at first thought it was a Sheng. Upon closer nose examination I can detect notes of melon and crisp cucumber, along with that is the signature hay and strong camphor and faint smokiness. It is a pretty potent smelling pile of wet leaves. The liquid is fruity sweet with notes of melon and peaches with a bit of hay, and of course, crisp camphor.

First steeping, and let me say, if you are a fan of young Sheng you would love this tea. It is crisp with an accompanying fuzzy tingling from trichomes and gentle smoothness. It starts with a rich camphor and smokiness, this moves to hay and a bit of spinach, and a finish of lettuce and cucumber. This tea has a nice hui gan that really lasts and cools the throat.

Second time around this tea’s aroma takes on a slightly bready, yeasty, almost sourdough tone along with sweet straw and a bit of smoke and camphor at the finish. Tasting the tea, the camphor and smoke notes have definitely mellowed out a good bit, they are still present, but this time they are only at the finish. The beginning of the sip is sweet and fruity, with notes of peaches and hay, this moves to a yeasty bread sweetness along with a hint of sourness that transitions nicely to the camphorous finish. I have really mixed feelings on Dian Yin Zhen, it is a fascinating tea with intense flavors, but I am not sure if I like it, and this is definitely not the first Dian Yin Zhen I have had where I spend the entire sipping session not sure if I like it or not, and I certainly foresee many more sessions like this.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/03/nannuoshan-dian-yin-zhen-tea-review.html

Tealizzy

I really liked this one! So unique! I hope you feel better soon!

TeaBrat

Feel better soon! Try some sage tea for your cough if you can get a hold of any.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I did not know sage tea helps a cough! I will definitely have to get some because I love sage in things, thank you for the tip!

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88

Today is the day I fight Ben in the league, against his old UCM army we were evenly matched, but now that he has switched to the Shaltari, I am afraid. I cannot win against that faction, even when I have a perfect army for crushing them, my dice betray me. I know the Shaltari are pretty, but come on dice, stop being dazzled!

It is time for a theme week! I am really on a kick with these lately, they are just too much fun. A couple months ago company Nannuoshan offered samples up for review on steepster, of course I pounced on the offer like a cat with a pile of treats, the samples were sent out in a staggered pattern and yours truly was very close to the bottom, but my samples arrived and all that anticipation gets to be paid off in a Nannuoshan week! Today I am looking at Xue Ya, also called Yangxian Xue Ya and Snow Bud, which is a very delicate white tea. Though, depending on who you ask, this tea could also be considered a green tea, of course researching further seems to present a very even split between calling it a white and green, and my own examination shows that it looks like the world’s most fuzzy green. Me thinks I will spend a long time researching this one, in fact the reason I selected this sample is because when I was working on that 30+ page list of teas from all over the world (really need to get back to that and other tea research) this one caused me a bit of trouble. So, how do these delicate little buds smell, well, pretty good actually! The leaves are a blend of crispness, sweetness, and floral notes, with a strong peony presence accompanied by honey, cucumbers, and a bit of melon. The notes are very distinct while retaining a level of subtlety.

Nannuoshan recommends brewing this tea at 195°F (90°C) now if this really is a white, then that is awesome, I am a huge fan of using hot (same temperature I use for a lot of red teas) water rather than cooler, this is why I think a lot of people say white tea has no flavor, because if you crank that temperature it becomes a thing of beauty. If this tea is a green I should be afraid, because that might end poorly for me! The incredibly beautiful wet leaves (so vibrant!) have a complex aroma, with notes of peony, melon, lettuce, sage, and an unexpected nuttiness reminiscent of Long Jing, that sweet toasted sesame aroma with a savory edge to it. The liquid really has a fun surprise to it, it is sweet and light, almost fluffy. The sweet note reminds me a bit of meringue, blended with peony and chestnuts, with just a whiff of savory green spinach at the finish.

The first steep is light in both taste and color, so it is certainly starting like a white tea, with a smooth mouth ending on tingly from the trichomes. The taste starts out with a blend of honey, lettuce, and cucumber. This moves on to a subtle melon and a hint of chestnuts. The finish is sweet peony nectar with a slightly nutty aftertaste.

Onward to steep two! The aroma this time is much greener, with chestnut, sesame seeds, and artichoke with a finish of peony. The taste is also much greener, is the white tea in fact a very strong green that can hold its own against a higher temperature? The tea has a more crisp mouthfeel this time, with starting notes of artichoke and toasted sesame seeds. This moves to a slightly meaty, umami taste of sauteed green beans and a hint of cooked mushrooms. The tea finishes with gentle sweetness of melon and lettuce with a lingering note of peony that stays around for quite a while.

Third steep, and the aroma is still on the green side, in fact I would say all traces of the more typical white tea notes have vanished and I am left with artichoke, green beans, sesame seeds, and a nice finish of meatiness. The taste has also bid a fond farewell to the white tea aspects of this tea, it is all green now, baby! It is a tasty green at that, blending savory notes with rich greenness. Starting with notes of sauteed vegetables and mushrooms then moving on to a crisp artichoke and fresh kale, imparting just a hint of that vegetal bitterness you get from kale. The finish is sesame seeds and a delicate sweet honey note that stays as an aftertaste. Xue Ya is still a mysterious tea, but I can safely say it was a very tasty mystery!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/03/nannuoshan-xue-ya-tea-review.html

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79

Sipdown (143)!

This was the last of my Nannuoshan samples; and again I’m sorry that I was a little bit late getting them all up.

Did a shorter Gong Fu session with this one in my CS Gaiwan when I got home from work. Not counting the short wash I did, I had three very nice infusions. I probably could have gotten a fourth, but it’s just past midnight now and I’m thinking I should probably stop drinking tea and go to bed soon. I keep yawning; and the caffeine from this is probably gonna kick in soon if I don’t fall asleep first – and that’d really mess up my sleep pattern.

What I did when drinking this one was take a whole bunch of jot notes, similar to what I did for the Hua Xiang Rou Gui from Nannuoshan, and then go back and kind of condense them and make them a little easier to read. So, these are my compounded thoughts from each infusion:

- 5 Sec. Smells very sweet & fresh; quite different from most Pu’Erh I’ve experienced. Strong notes of buttery spinach or green beans, kind of creamy. Floral finish. Just the tiniest bit astringent/bitter.

- 10 Sec. Buttery/Spinach Notes – Wondering if I jumped the steep time up a bit too much; this is a little more bitter/astringent that the first steep, though still not something I can’t handle. Floral with sugarcane and honey notes. A little bit woody. I keep expecting a musty/earthy taste which is what I’ve come to expect from most Pu’Erh but this is so much more different.

- 10 Sec. Finally identified the strong floral note I’ve been experiencing! It’s Lily! Fairly bitter; dry wood notes. Still kind of buttery/creamy, but not nearly as much spinach notes.

If I had continued with a fourth infusion, I don’t think I could have gone for the full 20 seconds like recommended; even ten was a little too much for me. Overall, I thought that while this was very different, it was really good. I’m not entirely sure if my ‘tea vocabulary’ is extensive enough to 100% convey what I was tasting – but hopefully I’ve done an apt job.

Thank you again Nannuoshan for all the samples! Of the four I requested, the Rougui was my favourite, though all of them were good and great learning experiences!

OMGsrsly

That sounds like something I’d like. A loose raw puerh. :)

nannuoshan

Thank you Roswell Strange for the review and no worries for the delay. One day delay is no delay.
This pu’er was different than the other you drunk because must probably those where ripe pu’er (shou cha). This tea is fresh (sheng cha). In 10-15 years, it will eventually develop in the direction of those you have drunk before.

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78

Sipdown (149)!

First to review this one!? Really!? Did no one else request it or am I just the first to get to it…

Anyway; I’ve got a few queued tasting notes to get to but it was important to me that I write this one first ‘cause I know Nanuoshan really wanted reviews up by the 19th – which was yesterday, and due to some stupid decisions (which I’ll get to in another tasting note) that didn’t happen with the last two samples from them, despite what I thought was a well thought out drinking schedule.

I drank this one Gong Fu in my CS Gaiwan; I picked it out because I also got the other Rougui that they were offereing, which was new to me as well, and I wanted to sort of compare and see the differences between the two. And basically what I did was just write tons and tons of jot notes while I drank this one and then went back afterwards and edited them into more concise, easy to read paragraphs. I also did a wash for this one, though took no notes on that step.

- 30 sec Roasty, Mineral, very brisk/dark and a quite astringent w. charcoal/ashy notes? Some cinnamon – it’s very ‘dry’. Leaves opened a little; leaf in the gaiwan smells strongly roasty/ashy and reminds me a bit of bitter, black coffee. Overall kind of reminds me of the smell of a campfire AFTER water’s been poured on it to put it out; wet/damp, ashy/smokey still…

- 30 sec Smells less harsh and a bit sweeter with cinnamon notes. Lost most of the astringency/charcoal notes. Still has mineral notes and a touch of roastiness. Definitely sweeter; some floral notes are starting to emerge near the end of the sip & in the aftertaste. Has a bit of sharpness to it; very pithy.

- 60 sec No roast/mineral notes, but some astringency and bite from the bumper crop of pithy notes popping up. Floral notes are more amped up with an underlying, softer fruit flavour than the citrus/pith that’s been present so far; maybe a stonefruit? Cinnamon note is the same. Pumpernickel bread notes? Leaves are totally opened up now.

- 90 sec Very floral and still a little bit mineral and cinnamon tasting; still reminds me of stonefruit a little bit. Most of pumpernickel flavour is very toned down and while I still taste some citrus/lemon there’s no longer that bitterness/‘tang’. This is the ‘gentlest’ tasting infusion thus far with a very soft, smooth mouthfeel.

I think, between the two different types, I enjoyed the other one a lot more; it was sweeter/fruitier and I liked the nut notes in it, which I didn’t observe with this one. However, this was still very good and absolutely had similarities while still being different overall. Much more floral, and I think the first infusion was a lot more abrasive than Rougui.

Wish someone else would review this though (if anyone else grabbed a sample of it?) because I know I’m not that experienced with this variety and I’d like to see how others viewed it, and how my observations line up. The fact no one else has written for this one unnerves me a little. I hope I’m not missing another page for this tea, with other reviews…

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85

Dry the leaves were very dark and spindly. I brewed this western style this afternoon.

What I noticed first about this tea was how bready/malty it was. It had a pretty good caffeine kick too but I’m a bit sensitive to caffeine so I would feel it more than some. There were stone fruit notes right away. I think I accidentally got the temperature a little higher than I meant to (I was brewing this at work) but it still was very good. As it cooled the chocolate notes came out along with raisins. I didn’t get any of the smoke taste others got but that was fine with me as I don’t like smoke in my tea. It was very full bodied and flavourful.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Malt, Raisins, Stonefruits

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drank En Shi Yu Lu by Nannuoshan
1108 tasting notes

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drank En Shi Yu Lu by Nannuoshan
1108 tasting notes

This was a sample sent with a couple of other Steepsterites group order. They passed it along to me because they know I like greens.

It is really good! Reminds me of a Japanese green…maybe even a gyokuro. Super sweet and vegetal. Delicious!

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drank Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
1558 tasting notes

This is the last of the white tea samples I received from Nannuoshan (Thanks!). I saved the silver needle for last as I love silver needle. This one wins the award for best fragrance as the gorgeous dry silver haired buds hit the hot damp teapot. It has the usual hay fragrance but amped up and more wine like with fruit – apple I think.

The liquor was only slightly yellow tinted after a 30 second steep. The wet leaf is fresh and green, having an almost toasted scent. It also seemed slightly malty.

The taste was at first like scraping the white part of the rind of a watermelon slice. Next was cucumber. I caught notes of grass and hay, as well as floral and fruit. The floral was described by one reviewer as honeysuckle. It is light and glancing notes but there.

The second cup (45s) was darker in flavor, slightly more intense with a peppery note up front while hot. The aftertaste of both cups was hay and floral.

Sadly, I don’t have time to take this further today. I am running out the door for praise band practice. I have invited an awesome guitarist friend to come worship, jam, and otherwise have great fun with us. I’ll try not to make my wife too upset by rolling in really late, but no promises.

To wrap this up, this is one of the top silver needles I have tried. Once you get near the top I don’t know if you can single just one out, but this is definitely in the running.

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