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Recent Tasting Notes
Having this grandpa steeped. Absolutely delicious. It’s really comforting for some reason, reminds me of my first Taiwanese Oolong that I loved so much, a simple Four Seasons oolong. It was so delicious, floral, sweet, light and refreshing. The first tea that I fell in love with, it was so comforting to steep a nice mug of that Four Seasons after a long, freezing winter day.
As I sit here, sipping this tea in late August it brings me back to those freezing February days, where my escape was a cup of Four Seasons Oolong.
This is obviously the better tea, as it has a better sweetness and more pleasant aftertaste, along with steeping out more and having a thicker body. The light roasting ties it together.
I’ll really miss Origin Tea, just made my last purchase there, a Yixing pot. They closed their tea sales about a month and a half ago and there really isn’t a replacement for them. They had an incredible and unique selection of Oolongs, Yancha, and aged Sheng Pu’erh. They had rare, traditional Taiwanese teas that you can’t find anywhere else. They had tons of aged oolongs. And it was very affordable, for the most part (1980s raw pu’erh for $12 an ounce, genuine high grown Alishan and ShanLinXi teas for $6-8 an ounce).
This puerh is from the Kunming factory, a place that is almost never mentioned online. This tea was stored in good dry storage and was positively reviewed by a lot of people so I bought it with my first and last Origin Tea order.
You know, me and puerh have a long history. Years ago, in kung-fu class, our discussion somehow turned into a ton of poop jokes. My instructor told us that he drinks a tea called “poo-er”. That was absolutely hilarious to me. He told me how he bought a 1960s cake for $300, which completely blew my tiny little mind. Next class, he brought in a teabag of puerh, obviously horrible quality ripe as he gave it to me. Being me at the time, I ended up flushing it down the toilet. I’m sure I would have loved it, I had a very diverse diet of hotdogs, pasta, and bagels at the time, my palate was definitely ready. Puerh was never mentioned again, until I told him that I was getting into tea. He showed me gongfu tea the next week, having me taste an Alishan Oolong, an Oriental Beauty, an old bush Shui Xian, and a ripe puerh. I couldn’t stand the ripe puerh. I still can’t.
Origin Tea specialized in premium high-mountain oolongs, raw puerh, yancha, and a small amount of hei cha. They still sell Yixing. I decided to pick up some of each, wanting to give puerh a last shot. You better do this right puerh. Don’t fuck this up or I’ll have your head.
Puerh didn’t fuck this up. Good job, Kunming Factory. Good job to whoever stored this. And good job Tony from Origin for sourcing this.
This puerh is a combination of sweet, bitter, spicy, and earthy. The dry leaf? Earthy. The wet leaf? Sweet. The liquor’s scent? Spicy. The taste? All of the above. It opens up spicy and earthy, then some bitterness (not too much at all, a pleasant amount), and then, after you swallow, it becomes sweet, like the sweet aftertaste an iced pastry has, except it makes you feel better instead of giving you a stomachache and helps you lose weight instead of helping you gain weight. This is COMPLEX. I can’t even begin to pick out the flavors. Camphor? Dried fruit? I don’t know and I don’t care.
Speaking of not caring, this tea’s Cha Qi is a carefree, uplifting, and relaxed mood. I’m smiling right now, I smiled during my first session. This tea makes me want to put in WORK! Notice how long this note is? Do you notice how long it is? It’s HUGE, especially for me. I really wish that I could buy a cake of this, I’m sure that it will become even better with a few more years under its belt. I should definitely look out for Kunming Factory offerings, I didn’t know factory puerh was this good.
Thanks for opening my mind to puerh Tony and Kunming Factory workers.
This is the best gaoshan I’ve ever tried… my friend said it was better than the Alishan that was given to him by a Taiwanese tea judge and the teas tried on farms in Alishan….
it’s creamy, floral, and sweet. the finish isn’t overly floral like some gaoshan teas I’ve had. I’ll miss you, Origin Tea. Thank god I have another packet of this.
Rinse = Honey, coffee, vanilla
1st ~25s: Sweet, sour, vanilla, coffee
2nd ~30s: Coffee, spice, sour, vanilla, astringent finish
3rd ~50s: Like 2nd, but better
4th ~1.5mins: Same again but very sweet with spicy undertone finish
5th ~2mins: Vanilla and spice… Cinnamon buns perhaps?
This tea is a simple one and a great one. It has everything a gao shan should, including flavor complexity, mouthfeel, and aftertaste, with a light huigan. Yet, not many of these aspects were necessarily noteworthy, besides a perfectly proportioned astringency to add interest and stimulate salivation, without full-mouth drying, and an intense cooling sensation that filled the entire mouth, and lingered between steeps and after the session ended. Unfortunately, it’s major shortcoming was a lack of staying power across steeps, becoming weak around the fourth steep, and not putting forth much when pushed past that point.
This is a great example of gao shan oolong with traditional style.
I found the Cui Luan Lishan to be unique in its roasted qualities, which were very well integrated with the leaves’ properties and did not overpower in flavor. However, I found the aromas and flavors to be less powerful than the other two Lishan samples (Hua Gang and Shan Lin Xi), especially in the dry leaves’ scent, which was a fresh and floral base and undertones of the roast. The aroma of the leaves sitting in the heated gaiwan was the kicker, however. Rich roasted almonds and hints of stone fruit. Floral qualities became subdued, though were not lost completely.
The liquor had strong roasted-green qualities with a depth of flinty sweetness. It had a tendency to become a bit too tart for my tastes, although it transferred into a very nice, strong and thick aftertaste, with a lingering salivation and very few drying characteristics. More of my attention was drawn to the powerful throaty coolness (more than the Shan Lin Xi, but less intense than the Hua Gang, although the Cui Luan’s cooling lasted much longer throughout steeps). The empty cup was thick with a hefty roasted barly and caramel scent. As far as the form went, it was fairly basic. Each sip produced a steady rise through the opening into the development in both flavor and mouthfeel, granting a medium complexity. The finish, as mentioned above, was most noteworthy, given its length, strong mouthfeel and aftertaste, and potent sensations.
Preface: This summer I tried a variety of gao shan samples from Origin Tea via a sampling round hosted by Tea Chat. Recently, I received a sampling round of similar specimens from Teavivre, so I decided to post the notes on Origin’s teas first to determine a baseline.
I am the biggest fan of this Shan Lin Xi. I found its aroma the most interesting, with this undertone that reminded me of apple skins. To me, it had a most interesting huigan, although its aftertaste was outmatched by the Lishan samples. I also loved the Shan Lin Xi’s buttery textures that lasted throughout the entire session, and its multi-faceted textural form, rapidly evolving from opening to finish.
The dry leaves are very sweet-smelling and highly floral. Sizes are varied and all leaves are rolled somewhat loosely, with some leaf fuzz on a few, a high gloss, and each stem clearly apparent. Wet leaf aroma is powerful and wafting, with a certain vegetal pungency and stone fruit sweetness. In contrast, the liquor has a faint aroma, nearly absent. Liquor is bright and has excellent clarity. The mouthfeel is buttery smooth and presents a long-lasting, sweet aftertaste right from the start. The empty cup scent is subtle, with a low roasty, sugary scent.
The form is complex and entirely unique. It begins with a sweet, floral smoothness, proceeding with a deeper smoothness and gao shan characteristic complexity, with deep, vegetal sweetness. Towards the end of the development, greener qualities shine through, with a faint tartness in the rear of throat. Each sip finishes with a very sweet-tasting and cool-feeling mouthfeel, which quickly transforms into a stone-fruit, gao shan aftertaste with potent huigan.
After one short rinse, and 2 10sec infusions, woody forest flavours give way to sweet 70-80% dark chocolate with a hint of strong caramel, bitterness giving to underlying sweetness, so smooth and satisfying.
Then, adding ~5-10 sec per infusion, the tea thickened while the bitterness mellowed out from infusions 3-6 giving way to nutty and a hint of vanilla tones in the dark chocolate
Now adding 30 sec per infusion until infusion 12, when the flavour had weakened to the point of stopping.
I used a 120mL gaiwan, so yixing would probably enrich this tea much more and get more infusion out of it.