Norbu Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

91

To be honest, I was kind of upset that I pulled this tea out to drink (I have a box of 100+ samples to try so I grab whatever I get first).
Thankfully, this is actually pretty good. Not only is the tea a smooth ride down from my mouth through my throat and to whatever it ends up, it actually taste quite nice. Nice and mellow with a splendid aroma that is faint but pleasant.
I cut this one short at 10 steeps

Dr Jim

OOps. This is one I was going to send you as a sample. If you like the style, there are similar ones I could send?

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90

I normally drink a lot of Taiwan teas, and it was fun to give this Nepalese tea a try.

Really solid tea, unique character of Nepal for sure. Give it a try.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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9

Really? I filled up my gaiwan for this…I can smell what I call “mall puerh” a mile away, that incense-y store flavor you can find in a million cakes on EBay and Taobao. This is just sad, leathery old poor quality “tea” to which a few young “white buds” have been added in as a sprinkling. Some of the tea is just black leaf along with brown, leathery leaves. You can talk to me all day long about brewing it “cooler,” but nothing will improve this leaf. I can’t believe a company online which is trying to be nice actually would put their name on this cake, but whatever. I’m a person who wants to like a tea, but I’d rather drink dandelion greens from my yard than this.

From the Sheng Traveling Tea Box.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
TeaBrat

hmm. wow. I haven’t had a bad tea from Norbu myself but have never tried this one.

DigniTea

This is a good example of that “tastes vary” comment I made the other day. As you know, could be many different variables involved here but many people have enjoyed this particular tea (although I know nothing about the condition of your particular sample). Also, agree with TeaBrat and say that Norbu is a fine tea seller.

Cwyn

Not a tastes vary situation. This is about quality of base material and this one is intentionally deceptive in its creation. There are fresh young buds on top of old, poor quality tea. If the whole sample is evenly bad I could question the sample. Norbu seems to mainly source from India, the deception here is in China. This tea is either not what Norbu sampled for purchase, a bait and switch, or just unscrupulous wholesale source.

Dr Jim

Wow. I’ve got to jump in on the side of “tastes vary,” since I’m the one who put it in the box. This is one of my favorite teas, though it doesn’t really taste like a pu-erh: more like a white tea with character.

DigniTea

Cwyn – I must respectfully disagree for my experiences with this tea (I own a cake and I have enjoyed it at least six times) are totally different from that which you describe. After reading your comment, I pulled out my cake to look at it again. My cake is full of buds throughout. While I do not have your particular sample, I can say that I have shared this tea with a few people and reading over the other Steepster notes posted, your experience is definitely an outlier. Since you pulled it from a teabox, is it possible that somewhere along the way moving from person to person it might have been switched or mislabeled? As I am sure you already know, this is a rather light delicate tea and I have found that it performs better at a temperature below 205 degrees.

Dr Jim

The temperature is a good point. I found it OK at 200 degrees, but fell in love at 185. I also looked at my beeng, and it is salt-and-pepper. I then looked at a Mandala silver bud and saw the same thing. They both seem to be about 50% bud. I think it’s just the style.

Dr Jim

BTW: I checked my notes on the S&S TTB and I don’t think this was a tea that I added (though I own a beeng and considered adding some). Stacy from Butiki provided some tea to help start the box, including a sample of “Norbu cake”. It is possible that this tea isn’t white buds at all, but a different Norbu cake?

Cwyn

Really I have no idea, DigniTea, this was a sample with loose tea and a small chunk, and not a cake with the wrapper. I did not get 50% bud at all though. Maybe 3 white buds and a gaiwan full of leathery brown leaves.

The idea of the TTB was to choose some teas from the box and write reviews. This was my observation of the leaf and I don’t think the temp will change the leathery brown leaves. I can respect people may not agree on teas, but I’m not going to change my opinion.

Cwyn

Dr. Jim, increasing the temp and pushing the tea is a way to test if the tea breaks down under the pressure. Good base material will not. This is a normal way of testing puerh tea, the sample is mostly puerh tea.

Dr Jim

Sorry to re-open this, but I found a few grams of the Norbu that was added to the tea box (I removed a few samples before sending the box out). This is definitely NOT the 2011 Spring Norbu White Buds, as it has virtually no buds, while my beeng is full of them (though the bud to leaf ratio appears to be about 1:1). I can’t address Cwyn’s comment on the quality; she’s much more experienced in drinking pu-erh than I am, but at least we can say that Norbu is not mis-representing the tea.

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I have an interest in bamboo puerh teas because the method of production is so intriguing – fill sections of bamboo with tea leaves and then steam, roast, dry and age in the bamboo. The bamboo is reported to provide a unique sweetness to the leaves. I am able to appreciate the process by looking at this photo of a farmer making bamboo puerh: http://www.michaelfreemanphoto.com/-/galleries/the-galleries/countries/asia-australasia/china/yunnan/-/medias/ed820fb8-090f-11e0-bee4-852ca0e067a1-bamboo-tea?gallery=b6bf0ad4-0192-11e3-99e7-2bf391fc38b8&hit_num=1&hits=2&page=1&per_page=50&search=bamboo&search_in_gallery=1
The scent of this YiWu dry leaf is sweet with an interesting spicy note. The tea soup is deep dark gold in color. The wet leaves are whole and nearly 2 inches in length. The tongue and mouth feel alive and tingly after the first few sips. The initial taste sensations are earthy and spicy. The honey-like sweetness works well with a light woodiness. A bit of astringency is found in later infusions but not at all off-putting. Interestingly, I did not detect any remaining smokiness in the smell or taste. These leaves produce cup after cup of highly flavored sweet mellow tea. Multi-layered – sweet and woody with a light spiciness. This is a very approachable raw puerh.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
Stephanie

Neat picture! Intriguing tea.

DigniTea

Steph – yes, helps you appreciate the tea even more. Don’t you think?

Stephanie

For sure!

tea123

This tea sounds unique.

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98

Most of my white tea experiences have been with white teas from my local Asian grocer. This tea is bright and flavorful in ways I haven’t had before. I’m truly pleased!

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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75

Another tea from this morning – i’m still enjoying this one, though i was lazy today – choosing to brew it western with a longer steep. Still a smooth, average puerh. nothing spectacular, but nothing to complain about either. Just trying to drink some of my older teas before an afternoon ride in the sun!

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75

Another tea that i have a bunch of, but haven’t had many opportunities…wait haven’t TAKEN many opportunities to drink. This was one of my teas from today – a woody sort of puerh with a little sweetness to it that made me forget for a moment that i was drinking a puerh. Later steeps take on much more of a black tea sort of vibe.

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75

sad to say that i had this one earlier today but have since forgotten what it was like. Thankfully though i’ve got lots of it left and this month i’m making a concentrated effort to get through more of my older puerhs that i bought to “sample” and then never got around to trying haha

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83

Oooh. This is FANCY. Thanks Sil for the sample!
And this sipdown puts me at 150! Woooo!

It’s really rich and lightly smoky. I should have had this a few months ago when it was bitterly cold as this tea would be greatly comforting on a freezing night. It’s a little sweet, but I think I’m getting mushroom-y notes in it as well.

Fancy. This tea is fancy.

Sil

haha

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89

Sipdown! 153

Thanks Sil! I was surprised by how much I liked this one! It’s very light and refreshing, but still dark enough to give me that black-tea kick that I need! It’s strange, but with the chai/mint combo, I’m getting a bit of a licorice flavour to it, but that just mean that it tastes cool and refreshing. I could easily drink 50g-100g of this one!

Sil

:) you’re going to catch up to me at this rate…i can’t seem to get sipdowns in and things are incoming lol

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There is something about this tea that I absolutely love. It has a wonderfully creamy feel to it, & there is a taste there that I can’t really describe, but thoroughly enjoyed.
Another sample from Sil, Thanks!

Sil

i think this is the one we can’t get anymore… maybe. i get confused

Dexter

http://www.norbutea.com/YeShengHongCha_p/yeshenghongcha.htm
Not sure what year you guys had but spring 2014 is available…. just saying :)

Sil

probably was another tea then…they stopped stocking the one i really really really wanted

Terri HarpLady

This one was spring 2012 :)

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This was my second sample sip down today at work…. I can’t believe I haven’t written anything about this before now. I’ve had it for quite awhile…

Today this was really fruity, grapey, maybe even a little wine ish, light, delicate – not bold enough for me. Nice, pleasant but not something that I need to keep in my cupboard.

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98

Day 6 Amanda ‘SoggyEnderman’ Wilson Tea Advent Calendar
I feel like I am drinking melted snow from a cedar forest. This tea is heavenly! There are peachy notes as an after thought. I am in love this tea.

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79

There were several specific years of this tea in the database. Since I couldn’t identify what year this was, what harvest this was, I just created a generic one. Why not.

This is today’s advent calendar tea.

Ya Bao is one of my favorite styles of tea. I love it.

I decided to have this one grandpa style. This tea is good flavor-wise grandpa style, but trickier to drink because the buds float. A wider mouth cup so one can gently blow the tea out of the way before drinking is highly recommended.

This version of ya bao is not as strong or sweet as many others I have had, but it’s still quite nice. The lighter flavors are really good for grandpa style.

Yum!!

http://instagram.com/p/wRhhbvAyTB/
http://instagram.com/p/wRiXSyAyZx/

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Tea with lunch, this one comes from Sil, as part of our BBBBox.
It’s potent & malty, with a woody taste.

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77

Big thanks to TeaBrat for this sample.

This stuff smells like heaven. There’s this wonderful sweet citrus scent to the brewed leaves, or maybe it’s the smell of spiced apples. It’s accompanied by notes of cinnamon stick and pine. This stuff smells like the potpourri smell you catch walking into some quaint little craft shop. It’s nostalgic.

Being made from Ya Bao, the infusion is rather pale, just a hint of yellow. It’s also slightly cloudy, which isn’t uncommon for fermented teas. The flavor is really unique. It has a bit of a smokey and peppery finish, but the main presence in the sip is like a cinnamon-apple peel kind of taste. It’s got a creamy body to it.

The second infusion of this got a little more strong in flavor. It’s got the tangy Sheng Puer vibe now, reminding me less of loose un-aged Ya Bao and more of Sheng. There’s a fizzy quality to this tea. It’s really nifty. In later infusions the smokier qualities emerge more. There’s a lemony tartness to it that I didn’t really think about at first, but after reading other reviews and tasting some more, it’s undeniable.

Flavors: Apple Skins, Bark, Cinnamon, Lemon, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I overleafed this cup so my first few sips were rather astringent. However, now that it has cooled a little, the astringency has subsided leaving behind a malty yet fruity tea. It’s really quite nice. Thank you Sil for the share. It will be interesting to see how this compares to the other Norbu teas you have me samples of. 169.

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78

this is a nice darjeeling! Thanks nicole. :) I don’t really love darjeelings. But there are a few in this world that i can get behind. This is one of them. This is a smooth darjeeling, with just a little sweetness going on here that i’m enjoying. Passing the little cup’s worth that’s left to Cavo since she might enjoy this one. :)

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Nicole sent this one for me to try and i’m glad for it, since I am a fan of trying Norbu teas. Their min quantities are 100g, so it’s hard to get a sense of what i’d like before buying. Thankfully i do have steepster friends willing to split orders or, in the case of nicole (and others!) send samples to me.

This is a very light, refreshing tea. The mint in this isn’t overpowering and blends nicely with the darjeeling. There are under notes of a nature – reminding me more of a black tea, than a darjeeling (yes i know darjeelings are black..but they’re quasi black imo). i like this quite a bit. Thanks Nicole!

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I’m drinking the 2004. It is very good, it’s like cognac and honey. Very naturally sweet and rich.
The tea is very tightly compressed and you don’t need too much tea because it really puffs and opens up to be tons of tea leaves. There are ya bao pieces in the mix along with all sorts of colors and types of wild leaves.
The liquor is cloudy pretty much throughout the whole session in my gaiwan. I rinsed the tea a couple of times but it remained cloudy even after many steepings. You definitely need to use your strainer with this tea.
After many steepings, the leaves could have kept going and going but the tea started to taste twiggy to me so I ended the session.

Flavors: Honey

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
TeaBrat

I should revisit this one, I have it somewhere!

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This has become one of my favorite morning tea. The dry leaves are long thin wires and have a wonderful chocolote aroma. This tea stands up to long steeping times very well; I use about 3 grams of leaf to 10 oz of water for three minutes on the first steeping, four minutes for the second. This makes a very bold, malty flavor, but with very little astringency and almost no bitterness. Highly reccomended to anyone who likes black tea, but dislikes overly bitter tea.

Flavors: Astringent, Malt

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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83

Interestingly, the leaves have an earthy smell to them that reminds me of ripe Puer tea. After the first infusion, the leaves smell a lot like grapes or wine. The first infusion has a soft, velvety mouthfeel, with a creamy kind of mild sweetness that fades into an earthy taste and hints of cinnamon.

The second infusion is mellower and has more of a classic black tea taste, earthy, woody, dark. The third is more of the same and a touch more tanniny. The first infusion of this tea was really the most complex so far. If it produces any more that are really interesting I’ll update the review, but for now I am going to finish it here so I can relax and enjoy the tea.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Creamy, Earth, Grapes, Wood

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

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91

The first time I drank this tea, it seemed closed-in and lacking in flavor until about the fifth steep. It was okay, but I wasn’t impressed. Looking back, I discovered that I had steeped it at 200 degrees. This time, I used 175 and it seemed like an entirely different tea. I’m really enjoying it.

First steep (15 s; all steeps 3 gms in 3 oz): Tastes like a green tea with unusually good body; grassy/straw flavors. During subsequent steeps (20, 30 s): the grass flavor disappeared and was replaced by wood, with hints of straw and smoke. The flavor deepened and became full and complex.

By the 4th steep (60 s) it was weakening and losing much of its complexity. Back to a light straw flavor. 5th steep (2 min): Rich and smooth. Light but still complex. If 5 steeps seems too little for a pu-erh bear in mind that this 2.8 gram sample has now produced 15 oz of tea, and there is still some gas in the tank.

This tea was an interesting insight (accidental) into how much the water temperature can affect a tea. Also a strong confirmation on the advice I was given to steep young sheng as though it were a green tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 82 ML
Cheri

Sounds yummy!

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I drank this tea yesterday while I was at work. I really enjoyed it! It reminded me of a Kenyan Silver Needles I got from Butiki Teas, with some interesting sheng notes mixed in. Very unique! I finished it up, and before I was going to write my tasting note for it I decided to go stretch the canvas print I had just made…AND I TOTALLY STAPLED MY THUMB! :-O

It was pretty painful. If you want to see, check it out here (not for the squeamish!) http://twitpic.com/ebiscg

Anyway, I never got back to my desk to write this note. My manager took me to the MEC and a doctor pulled out the staple and gave me a tetanus shot and some pain killers. Last night was rough, it was pretty painful and I had trouble sleeping. It seems slightly better today and I am back at work! I could use a nap though…and/or some tea!

Cheri

Ugh. That looks awful. I’m glad it was taken care of by a doctor right away.

Stephanie

I was totally wrapping that stupid motorcycle print, Cheri! And anyone else who was on chat yesterday and remembers me talking about it…

boychik

OMG, I’m so sorry. Bad stapler. i hope you are feeling better. can you ask someone else to do it next time?

Blodeuyn

Aww I am sorry to hear that (Omg that picture!!!). Hope you feel better today!

Cameron B.

LOL the motorcycle! Clearly it is cursed.

I would have stayed home a day. :D

K S

Ouch! I do love living in an age when almost everyone has a camera on them at all times now – and keep their calm enough to take pictures of stuff like this. Hope it heals soon.

TeaBrat

yuck! hope you feel better soon!

mrmopar

I know that hurt! OUCH!

Stephanie

Thanks guys… I’m definitely keeping away from that staple gun for a while!

Terri HarpLady

Just looking at that pic made me grit my teeth!

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