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Recent Tasting Notes
4g in Gaiwan.
Dry leaf: Dark brown. Med/high compression. No aroma. Square shaped.
Wet leaf: Bird cage/chicken hut old aroma; creamy.
Summary: An interesting aged tea that shows how the development of flavour can distinguish it from other teas that show that raw beetroot flavour.
5s – Light/medium. Lightly earthy. Not particularly flat; it has some roundness in the earthiness.
10s – Medium brown. No bitterness; no astringency. A buttery taste accompanies the still mild earth. Liquor has a grainy texture, which may be the specs of tea leaves.
15s – Med brown. More earthy/soiliness. Very mild with nothing standing out. Finish is subtly sweet; body is soft.
20s – Med brown. Ah that’s better. Raw beetroot has appeared in the finish, which is bright but subtle. A swill around the mouth reveals mild earthiness and mild raw beetroot. The finish at the last sip is spritely; it is slowly gaining pace.
25s – Darker med brown. Much brighter raw beetroot; mild earthy in background. The buttery base sits on the front of the tongue, while the raw beetroot shifts towards the back of the throat in a fashion likened to liquid man T-1000 on Terminator 2 passing smoothly through the bars. Raw beetroot is left in the mouth.
30s – Med brown. Buttery base on the front of the tongue; bird cage has joined the beetroot on the finish. This is interesting: the tone of the raw beetroot has dropped and merged with the bird cage.
35s – Med brown. Grainy thickness. Very smooth; raw beetroot shines again.
40s – Darker med brown. It has some thickness. It is very enjoyable. It is mature in it’s form: it is smooth and has not rough edges. More the bird cage; the raw beetroot has softened.
60s – Med brown. Streams of raw beetroot flavour rise to brightness, then sparkle in the finish. Bird cage can still be found.
3 minutes – Med brown. Soil; buttery; bird cage.
This was a free sample with my order from Pu-Erh.sk. Sample labelled 6 and containing 8g.
4g in Gaiwan.
Dark brown; high compression. At a guess, very light herbyness.
Rinsed Gaiwan: Dusty smoke; wood burning.
Wet leaf: Electric smoke; some fruit. The rinse was light brown suggesting some humid storage.
Summary: Tasty with it’s sharp bitterness and early smoothness.
5s – Light brown liquor. Must be humid storage. Liquor is thick; there is a little smoke in the background. There is a balance of honey and tobacco. Incredibly smooth with a delicate soft sweetness.
10s – Light brown liquor. More smoky, peppery smoke and bitterness. This has some Menghai flavour profile, but the smoke is a little heavy and a little thicker than what I expect.
15s – Bronze liquor. There are raisins. It has a slightly bitter, sour finish, and that is when the raisins really come in. The smoke is easy off. The finish is good: it has a good bite with the bitter/sour notes against the sweet raisin fruitiness.
20s – Light brown. It is sparkling on a woody base with a very tasty sour finish. I had a look at the leaves in the Gaiwan and they look like plantation stuff: small green leaves and stems, reminding me of my Menghai tuo. Menghai tuo with humid storage. I’m guessing cheaper leaves have been aged in an environment that has improved the tea greatly.
25s – Lighter brown. The bitterness/sour flavour stays with you and there is some tartness. This tea is juicy and makes the mouth water with its crisp, sharp bitterness.
Dry leaf: Slightly fishy; smoked fish.
Wet leaf: Burnt wood; not strong in aroma.
5s – Medium light brown liquor. No fishiness. Subdued, creamy milk and some background milk chocolate. Soft.
10s – Medium brown liquor. Multi-layers. Earthy floral sits on top of a creamy, wooden base.
15s – Darker medium brown liquor. Creamy sweet, burnt wood with something interesting in the background…
20s – Medium brown liquor. Solid, sweet and creamy Shu.
25s – Medium/dark brown liquor. Not so creamy now. It has some bitterness and an almost treacle like taste. That flavour in the background appeared briefly – chicken shed?
30s – Medium/dark brown liquor. It is milk creamy, but it also has some dark chocolaty notes.
35s – Medium brown liquor. Light on flavour.
2 minutes – Medium/dark brown liquor. Solid; some cardboard.
35 minutes – Medium/dark brown liquor. Wet wood; mild creamy.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Milk
3g in Gaiwan.
Dry leaf: Loose leaves; looks like dried grass.
Wet leaf: Smells like sencha with hints of high mountain Dayuling.
Summary: A Korean green tea, which provides a sencha-like flavour with an unusual boldness.
Note: This is my very first Korean green tea so my description might not be that good.
No rinse. First brew is well below boiling; then each subsequent brew has a slightly higher temperature.
40s – Very faint yellow liquor. The aroma is quite strong. The flavour is sencha-like with a grassy sweetness. It tastes very much like sencha with the grassy sweetness, seaweed and umami. The sweetness roof and back of the mouth. The liquor has some thickness to it. The finish is very smooth and lingers for some seven seconds. Very pleasant.
55s – Faint yellow/green liquor. The lower temperature is really bringing out the soft sencha-like sweetness. Swirling it around the mouth reveals a range of sweet flavours. There is no taste of artificial sweetness; it is mainly fresh.
1 minute 10 sec – Very light green liquor. Liquor is fairly thick; sweetness has a little astringency.
1 minute 25 sec – I have increased the temperature and it has capped the sweetness and gives it more boldness and astringency.
1 minutes 40 sec – Poured from the kettle, which boiled minutes ago. It has taken the hot water well. The sweetness sparkles a little and it is active in the mouth. It is bold and stimulating. It’s interesting how this tea has taken the hot water; sencha would have tasted overly bitter at this high temperature, plus it would not have lasted as long. I find sencha (from O-Cha) generally makes 3 good brews.
1 minute 30 sec – Boiling water. Still sweet, but more like the base for Genmaicha without the roasted rice.
Flavors: Grass, Seaweed, Sweet
Dry leaf: Small chunks, lots of dust/tiny bits of leaves. The aroma is earthy and light raw beetroot
In a rinsed Gaiwan: Burning wood; very dusty; toasty.
Wet leaf: Pigeon loft / Chicken shed; church; some bright notes like subdued polish (Mr Sheen in UK). I know the aroma of polish as I just polished an hour ago.
Summary: A tea with an aged flavour, well controlled; some peppery smoke develops; an Islay whisky finish develops.
5s – Light brown liquor. Very bright on the first sip; it feels like it sizzles in my mouth. Flavour has some pigeon loft / chicken shed, but it has dry fruit and has cinnamon on the swallow. Soft and almost chalky mouth-feel. The finish lingers with some chicken shed, and the feeling I get is peaceful. Snow has landed softly on the ground to rest.
10s – Medium brown liquor. Not a thick mouth feel. Perhaps the chicken shed is the storage flavour? This reminds me of 1980’s Tong Qing Hao Tea Cake by SampleTea. There is a little bitterness on the swallow, which adds a nice finish to the body which is smooth, chicken shed and remarkably controlled. This differs from younger shengs in that there is no harsh bitterness and is not as bright; this tea is very mellow in tone. I can still taste the chicken shed when finishing the cup, when swallowing and when breathing out.
15s – Darker brown liquor. It’s interesting that I seem to feel the effect of the tea while it is in my mouth and before I swallow, almost as if swallowing is superfluous. It makes me feel relaxed.
20s – Darkish brown liquor. Some spice and peppery smoke give it a kick. Chicken shed faintly, but still in the background. Thin liquor. It is fruity, rather than woody; wet rather than dry, and fresh more than stale. The finish is slightly drying, spicy and has some similarities to an Islay whisky finish: that being slightly smoky, strong, some tobacco and complex.
25s – Medium/dark brown liquor. Definitely some dark chocolate, even glimpses of 100 cocoa. The smoke is fairly dry, but not overwhelming, though it does give some heat.
35s – Some sharpness appearing.
40s – Almost raw beetroot. The spiciness reminds me of 2005 Wild Tree “Ye Sheng Cha” Raw Puerh Tea Brick of Dehong by Yunnan.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Dust, Tobacco, Wood
4g in Gaiwan.
Dry leaf: Colourful; smells of straw/hay.
Wet leaf: Med/high compression. Bright, hot strawberry jam; concentrated herbyness.
Summary: I rate this highly because of the hardcore bitterness and energy. This tea produces the thickest liquor I have come across so far.
Note: I have previously given one of the White2Tea teas a low score for being singularly green – 2012 Ruiyuan NanNuo Old Arbor. That may have been due to my lack of tea experience at that time. This Naka tea is not singularly green and that is why I score it highly. If I ever buy some more of that same White2Tea tea, I will re-review it and possibly score it higher.
5s – Light yellow liquor. Very thick and soft in the mouth – interesting. Complex. There is a light lemon flavour, which suggests an easy drinker, but underneath there is a whirlwind current beginning.
I’m beginning to feel energised: my head feels lighter; my ears have almost popped. Is that the tea or the gin (Hendricks) I had earlier?
10s – Pale yellow liquor. Bit cloudy. Thick and lemony. It is quite bitter on the swallow. It is sweet until the swallow.
15s – Pale yellow liquor. Cloudiness gone. Interesting mix of sweet and sourness; the sourness is the dominant one. I’m getting energised from this tea. It is smooth, lemony, thick and goes down nicely. On each swallow it seems to add more energy.
20s – My head is beginning to race. I was slightly dazed watching this one being poured into my cup. The Streets – ‘Lights Are Blinding My Eyes’ has appeared in my head. That tune is taking over the more mellow -Manu Chao ‘Bongo Bong’. This is one powerful tea. I feel heat in my chest and face. On the swallow it was astringent and bitter; the tea is reminding me that it is strong.
25s – It’s easy drinking now. Lemony with bitterness. Mouth is left dry and bitter.
30s – Lighter yellow liquor. Astringent and bitter, with lemons. The bitterness goes under the tongue; the sweetness hits the roof of the mouth. On the swallow the whole mouth becomes dry and bitter before becoming dry and sweet with sugary sweetness.
35s – Some bitter raisins have appeared. Lots of bitterness. What started as a gentle, sweet, drink is now hardcore sheng. Peter (the seller) said this is hardcore and he is correct.
~40s – Bitterness on the sip, some sweetness, then heavy on the bitterness.
40s – I can taste some base sheng material, so the end is close.
1 minute – Colour is fading. Mainly bitter, which fades slowly into some sweetness.
2 minutes – Bitter with steady sweetness.
Flavors: Bitter, Lemon, Strawberry
Dry leaf: Loose leaves; dark, dry and twig-like. Aroma is very much like milk chocolate: it is smooth and creamy/milky.
In hot Gaiwan: Not much; subdued dust.
Wet leaf: Cooked pastry, sweet, oil.
Summary: This tea is very good. It has aged into something very interesting to drink with it’s aged flavours and moreish texture.
Rinse was dark brown.
5s – Med brown liquor. It sizzles in the mouth. I have drunk nothing like this before. Very smooth, soft and supple. There is no bitterness. It evokes a sense of calm as it reveals it’s flavours gently, melting and subtle sweetness, before disappearing. The finish leaves a constant low buzz; the mouth is left dry and I can almost hear the buzzing after taste.
10s – Med/dark brown liquor. There is a lot going on here. There is a small amount of bitterness; there is a warehouse/musty flavour. There is some beetroot developing, but not much. As an aged tea I am not getting any church/bird cage flavours.
15s – Darkish brown liquor. Rolling it around the mouth reveals some old flavours such as mustiness and a hint of the British Library – the Ancient Greek section. The form is interesting: it is smooth and simple at first, and then on swallowing it seems to reverberate/oscillate/fluctuate up and down subtly.
20s – Darkish brown. It has a fizzy, lightly spiciness on the sip. Liquor is not particularly thick. It lingers quite strongly of the flavour of the tea.
25s – Darkish brown. There is some dark chocolate and a little spice, then some bitterness. It fades away slowly, leaving the mouth dryish and full of the flavour.
50s – Darkish brown. Brewed for longer increases the bite, gives more thickness, and gives more bitterness, which gives it a better mouth action.
How does it pair with Camembert? Not so well, as the ammonia taste of the cheese swamps the tea.
I recently made my first order to Pu-erh.sk, a pu erh vendor based in Slovakia. I first heard about this vendor from TeaDB (thanks James) and read some reviews by Hobbes. Anyway, after some excellent communication with the seller (Peter) I put in my order. The order was received in less than one week and the packaging was impressive: the box was double cardboard and the contents were padded with foam bits. This is the first tea I have reviewed; there are others on the way…
4g in Gaiwan.
Dry leaf: Loose compression. Nectar/pollen sweetness. A flower on a summer’s day.
Wet leaf: Strong concentrated syrupy sweetness, that is emitted as a constant aroma, rather than one that fades away.
Summary: Soft, sweet and floral/perfumy.
Notes: This session was accompanied by some cheese (Old Amsterdam) in later steeps.
5s – Light, pale yellow liquor. Soft, floral sweetness. Sweet raisins. The flavour swells; the finish fades slowly leaving a sweet raisin finish.
10s – Light, pales yellow liquor. The raisins are brighter. It leaves the mouth dry, but it is not astringent. It makes the mouth water. It is developing a syrupy thickness. It is pleasantly sweet. Not complex. I’m feeling warm. The effects of this tea appear slowly.
15s – Light, pale yellow liquor. A bunch of raisins now. Bitterness cuts through the sweetness to provide friction, which make it interesting. There are no obvious lemons.
20s – Light, pale yellow liquor. Becoming astringent. Lemons have appeared. Raisins in the finish. Dry mouth.
25s – Darker, pale yellow liquor. Raisins on the front of the tongue; this lingers. Astringent at the end of the cup.
30s – (Eating Old Amsterdam cheese) The raising sweetness softens the strong mature flavour of the cheese.
35s – There are some similarities between tea and cheese, mainly the rounded, sweet flavour.
40s – Has a syrupy consistency that can be felt in the throat on the swallow. Flavour is very much light floral.
1 minute – Dark pale yellow. Base sheng taste of stewed leaves and plums. That means the end of the session.
Flavors: Floral, Perfume, Raisins
After initially sampling this last year I was so impressed that I had to get a whole 250 gram Tuo. My review score may seem very high, however I only reserve this score for what I consider to be the better puerhs I have tasted. A day off from work today and I decided to chip away a big 14 gram chunk and steep it in my 250ml teapot. Here are my notes.
I use boiling water throughout…this tuo breaks up quicker than the Wild Quarter brick I recently reviewed. I sniff the wet leaves…deeply rich aged aroma, sweetness but there is a robust strength there too. I already have a good feeling about this tea session.
After the quick rinse I do my first proper steep at about 15 seconds. Already the liquid has become a lovely dark red/orange. I let it cool down for a minute or two and slowly sip the brew. Clean, smooth, clear and precise. Liquid is already thickening up very nicely, a trait that I always enjoy in my puerh. Rich, robust aged taste. Numbing sensation already beginning to develop on my tongue…I take a deep breath in maximising the cooling affect.
Second steep I decide to push the puerh at 30 seconds. Colour of the liquid is now basically dark red. The same rich, robust aged taste. Noticing some pleasant sweetness at the back of the throat, however there is a pleasant tartness there as well, probably due to the slightly longer steep. The tartness is not bitter or unpleasant, it complements the sweetness and creates a rather interesting taste sensation at the back of the throat. Liquid has now starting to become really thick creating a lovely coating in my whole mouth. Bursts of sweetness, tartness and deeply aged flavour=YUM.
I continue to steep this with varying times past a litre and am rewarded with the same great taste. I honestly have nothing negative to say about this puerh. It is exactly what I expect a good quality aged puerh to taste like. It is an old puerh, but still has the tamed strength of youth. You can do what you want with it…if you want a milder brew 10 seconds is good, if you want a more powerful, flavourful brew 30 seconds or more.
I personally think the leaves are not particularly high grade, however my feeling is that the storage was impeccable. There is not too much to say except I think this is an excellent example of drier stored puerh, that is ready to drink right now. I could attempt to age it a bit more but I don’t really see the point. It has the perfect balance of aged and youth.
Price wise it is not inexpensive at a cost of 165 euros per 250 grams, however it is a fair price for a puerh of this age. I consider this to be one of the best aged examples I have tried, only being beaten slightly by EOT 1991 Private Order. I would love to keep this and save it for special times but the reality is it does not stay on my shelf too long before I want more of it. Definitely worth at least one sample to try. I have a feeling that the price will shoot up at some point and I will kick myself for not getting another Tuo. Anyway I have said enough…for me this is puerh heaven.
Many thanks to Peter at pu-erh.sk for this excellent example of dried storage puerh.
Flavors: Camphor, Sweet, Tart
It has been quite a while since I have posted a review, however I have managed to find some spare time this evening to write up a few notes on this aged puerh.
Besides the 2002 White Whale I don’t really have that many bricks in my puerh collection. I have had a 25 gram sample of this for a while now, courtesy of pu-erh.sk, but have not had an opportunity to dedicate an entire evening to tasting this. Tonight I decided to brew up a big 12 gram chunk in my 250ml teapot and here are my notes.
This puerh is tightly compressed and takes a good few steeps for it to break open. To put things into perspective I have already drunk a litre of this and it could easily go on for another litre or 2. Highly durable.
Smelling the wet leaves I am finding it difficult to describe what this smells like…to me it has a good aged aroma, probably drier storage as I am not getting any of that “mineral” aroma you can get from wetter storage. This makes a good change for me, as lately I have been drinking a lot of wetter stored puerh.
No issues “punishing” the leaves with boiling water…in fact I found boiling water to be the best way to slowly break this 12 gram chunk apart. First few steeps start out a little thin, but by the third steep the liquid has become a beautiful, clean, dark red colour. Slowly sipping this it reminds me of drinking a good Yiwu…there is a lot of warmth and comfort. The liquid tastes clean and crisp, with a hint of sweetness and a gentle aged flavour. I am not detecting any hints of spicy camphor. I find the gentle aged taste very pleasant, however not overly complex or exciting.
You can be generous with your steeping times on this one. Sometimes I steeped it for 10 seconds, other times 30 seconds or a bit longer. Longer steeping times means a bit more powerful brew, however it never tasted bitter or obtrusive. I am feeling some Qi, not the aggressive type or “drunken” type but more a feeling of calmness in my mind and body. Very relaxing and again comforting.
It has a pleasant finish, the gentle aged taste sits there on your tongue and at the back of the throat. I think the puerhs greatest asset is its comfort and longevity…you can steep this over and over again.
Overall I think this is a very good example of an aged brick, that would appeal to novices and veterans alike. As I have said I don’t think it is overly complex, but is perfect to just sit and relax with for a good few hours. From a price point I think it is fair…a 300gram brick is 99 euros. When you take into consideration how many steeps you will get out of it you will realise this is a good deal. A 25 gram sample is only 11 euros so it is definitely worth trying out at least once to see if you will enjoy it. Definitely recommended.
Many thanks to Peter at pu-erh.sk for yet another really good aged example.
Out of all the puerh that I have this is only the second Autumnal cake that I own. I tend to steer clear of Autumnal puerh mainly because I have generally been pretty disappointed with what I have tried in the past. This cake, courtesy of pu-erh.sk, really intrigued me when I saw it on the website. It had a minimal description, and was quite a bit cheaper than the other cakes Peter had to offer. I am always interested in finding decent quality Yiwu, so I thought that 53 euros for a 250 gram cake was a decent deal if I enjoyed it. In short this autumnal cake does not disappoint. Here are my notes…
Picking apart this cake is fairly straightforward as it is not that tightly compressed. The dry leaves smell lovely…very, very sweet. I take a 7 gram sample and prepare my 130ml yixing with a short 5 second rinse. The wet leaves aroma is beautiful, again loads of sweetness with fresh fruity overtones.
I do my first proper steep at about 8 seconds. The yellow/gold colour looks really inviting. I take my first sip; Massive Yiwu sweetness, dense, rich, buttery mouthfeel, slightly fruity texture in the background. Clean, crisp, pure. Very long sweet finish at the back of the throat. This is lovely stuff.
Second steep and I am getting more of the same, however the fruity overtones are becoming a little more present in the taste. I am still getting that massive Yiwu sweetness. Damn, I love Yiwu…it has that “warmth” that emits feelings of comfort that you don’t find in most puerhs.
Third steep and the balance of fruity tones and sweetness are now perfectly in synch and are singing together in harmony. I am still getting the rich, buttery mouthfeel. The sweetness at the back of the throat is still there and will not go away. My body feels positive and calm…the Yiwu warmth has charmed me.
I push this puerh up to about 8 steeps and I bring my session to an end. The bottom line is that this is an excellent example of a young Autumnal Yiwu. I have no idea how a Spring Yiwu of the same year would taste, however I could not see it being any better than this. As I have said before in my reviews I tend to prefer bitter over sweet, however in Winter time I make an exception to this rule. For me in Winter there is nothing better than sipping a good quality Yiwu or shu.
Today I went onto the pu-erh.sk website and this Yiwu is still for sale at 53 euros. I cannot believe it has not sold out. Which reminds me, I only have half a cake left of this lovely puerh so I think it is time to get another one. If you enjoy your puerh sweet, with that typical Yiwu warmth and character then I think you should at least get a sample of this to try. As Autumnal puerh goes, this is the better, if not the best one that I have tried. Many thanks again to Peter at pu-erh.sk for another great puerh expereince.
Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Sweet
Another day, and another pu-erh.sk review. I was very fortunate to get a cake of this last year. The pressing sold out very quickly, however Peter managed to find a couple more cakes and was kind enough to set one aside for me to get. I quickly drank up half the cake last year as I enjoyed it so much, but have let the other half sit for the whole of 2014. Tonight/this morning I decided to break off a nice 8 gram bit of it and see how it is coming along. Here are my notes…
Smelling the dry leaves I am getting honey type sweetness and fruity tones. Smells rather inviting. I prepare my 130ml yixing with a short 5 second rinse of the leaves. I smell the wet leaves which are not far off from the dry leaf aroma…plenty of honey sweetness, fruitiness and a faint hint of “biscuits”.
My first proper steep is only 7 seconds. The liquid comes out a beautiful, clean yellow/golden colour and I begin to sip. It tastes very fresh, very clean and very pure. Honey sweetness and fruit start dancing around nicely on my palate. This is a really good start, and is exactly what I remembered from a year ago.
For my second steep I brew for 10 seconds. Now the texture of the liquid looks more golden than yellow/golden, so I am expecting a stronger taste. The puerh does not disappoint and now I remember why I drank so much of this last year…there comes that strong bitterness that I enjoy so much. The bitterness does not overstay its welcome, and I begin to get a lovely returning sweetness after the bitterness has passed. The liquid is a lot thicker, more dense and rich.
The third steep yields very similar results, however I am beginning to notice dryness beginning to develop on my tongue. I don’t find this to be a bad thing at all, for me it actually creates a very pleasant “taste sensation” as all the sweetish, bitter notes are now dancing around on my tongue. I am not getting much QI, but my body is feeling positive.
Subsequent steeps I am getting more fruity overtones , the sweet finish remains for a long time at the back of the throat. One thing I will say with this puerh is you need to get a good grasp of it’s steeping times. It is pretty potent and punches hard. Brew it for too long and it will be too bitter…it requires a little trial and error however when you get it right you will know straight away as you will get that lovely returning sweetness. My tea session ends and gives me time to contemplate on this rather excellent puerh.
I always enjoy Peter’s cakes, but for me this was one of my favourite ones from his 2013 pressings. It really surprises you with its potency and richness. The dry tongue sensation was one of the highlights of this puerh for me as I could taste everything this tea has to offer. I don’t think that the tea has changed much with a year of storage…it is just as good as it was a year ago and is exactly how I remembered it. So, it is fresh, clean, pure, vibrant, potent, sweet, bitter, dense, rich and punchy. What more could you ask for in a young sheng? Many thanks to Peter for a great quality pressing.
Flavors: Bitter, Honey, Thick
A big thanks to Peter at pu-erh.sk for the generous 7 gram sample. Last year I bought quite a few of Peter’s 2013 cakes but for some reason did not get this one. I always know that I am going to get good quality puerh from pu-erh.sk so was very eager to try this out when I got the surprise sample. Here are my notes…
Dry leaves are pleasant with a sweet, almost fruity aroma. All the 7 grams worth of leaves go into my 130ml yixing. A quick rinse and I smell the wet leaves…rich, fruity, sweet like honey textures, with a hint of “biscuits” aroma not unlike Bulang.
I do my first proper steep at about 10 seconds. The liquid comes out looking a very pure golden colour. Sipping the brew I get a multitude of textures…rich, thick butery mouthfeel, the honey sweetness that I could smell is there in the taste, and a nice balance of “fruit and flowers” It is very, very good. Second steep at about 15 seconds and now I am starting to get a good amount of pleasant bitterness coming through. Still getting the rich, thick, buttery mouthfeel and fruity overtones.
My tea session lasts well over an hour with this one. Subsequent steeps I am getting a perfect blend of sweetness and bitterness which I find very pleasant. This is a very fine, pure tea. I am certainly interested in getting a cake of this so I go to the pu-erh.sk website to check the price. It costs 149 euros (£117) for a 357 gram cake…it is then I realise why I have not bought a young raw cake this year. Young sheng prices are beginning to worry me when I compare to the prices last year, and even last year I was starting to worry about price. I am not saying that this lovely tea is not worth the price, what I am saying is that it is out of my budget for young puerh. I would rather take the money and spend it on good quality, aged puerh, which these days seems to be more value for money and in a lot of cases works out cheaper.
Anyhow, I really enjoyed this puerh overall. I love the thick, buttery mouthfeel, and the perfect blend of honey sweetness and bitterness. It is a very fresh, pure, clean puerh that is definitely worth sampling. Many thanks again to Peter for giving me the opportunity to try this out.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Floral, Fruity, Sweet
This is another very interesting aged puerh, courtesy of Peter from pu-erh.sk. I found it to be a challenging tea session as there are several changes the puerh goes through, meaning it is somewhat more complex than your standard puerh. Here are my notes…
This tea is VERY tightly compressed and is tube-like in appearance. Breaking apart the puerh requires a bit more work and “elbow grease”. Using my puerh pick I managed to carefully break off a nice 8 gram nugget of this. After 2 quick rinses I smell the nugget…I am not detecting any bitterness at all but rather a lovely sweet aroma with just a very mild hint of smoke. The nugget is still completely intact…the 2 quick rinses could not penetrate it and break apart the leaves.
As the puerh is still in the compressed stage for my first proper steep I decide to let this sit for a full minute. The end result: A lovely thick, golden liquid. I take my first sip and am not left disappointed…very clean, very pure, very sweet and a very slight hint of smoke. I check on the nugget in the yixing…it is still very much intact.
Steep 2 and 3 both yield very similar results…I am beginning to question where is the bitterness that Lao Ban Zhang is renowned for? I check the nugget again…it is still intact, the leaves resisting and refusing to let go.
The 4th steep is when things really start to develop. This time I decide to steep for another full minute and the result it a much darker, almost amber brew which for me looks more like an aged texture. I smell the wet leaves and indeed I am starting to get a nicely aged aroma…still the sweetness in the background with the slight hint of smoke. I slowly sip the 4th steep and this is where the magic begins…there is the bitterness but it has been tamed and matured. It feels thick in the mouth, rich and robust. A lovely aged taste is beginning to develop rather nicely. I am still getting the lovely sweetness, however not as prominent as in my in first couple of steeps. The QI is beginning to develop…not the raw energy you get from young Lao Ban Zhang, but a far more sophisticated, relaxed approach. I look into my yixing and this nugget is still intact. “will it ever let go?” I ask myself.
Steeps 5-6 and I am still getting a clean aged taste, with mildy bitter overtones and lovely returning sweetness. By now my body is fully relaxed and I need to take a break and contemplate. This really is an exceptional puerh.
I actually lost count on how many steeps it took for the leaves to eventually give up and break. This puerh just goes and goes and goes. If you decide to get some of this set some time aside…it will keep you charmed and guessing for several hours before it reveals its full beauty and elegance. The leaves are so strong and potent that you will probably have a few tea sessions that may last several days. You may give up before it gives up on you.
So, the bottom line is that this is an excellent example of nicely stored Lao Ban Zhang. It is very clean and pure, extremely complex in its taste and character, and nicely aged. It will take you on a “rollercoaster ride” with its complexity and reveal itself to you over time.
From a price point this is exceptional value for money. 50 grams is only just slightly over 18 euros, however take into account how many steeps you will get, and when will you be able to try Lao Ban Zhang with age at this price? It is a beast of a tea that has been tamed, but do not underestimate it. A big thanks to Peter at pu-erh.sk for giving us a chance to try this complex puerh.
Flavors: Bitter, Smoke, Sweet
I remember when I first tried this aged sheng puerh well over a year ago, courtesy of Peter at pu-erh.sk. Back then it was one of the better puerh samples I had ever tasted, and although there was still a hint of mild astringency I decided to purchase 2 400gram cakes. This seemed to be a wise decision as the price at the time was 140 euros. Today the price has doubled to over 280 euros per cake which is now out of my price range unfortunately. Both cakes have been sitting for over a year now, so I decided to see how things are coming along. Here are my tasting notes.
In my opinion this quality tea deserves to be brewed in a decent quality yixing…I did not get the same satisfaction brewing this in a porcelain gaiwan. I would also recommend not using boiling water…let the water sit for 5 minutes after boiling before steeping. After 2 mandatory rinses I smell the wet leaves. Beautiful camphor notes fill my nostrils with a nicely aged aroma and sweetish overtones. In short, it smells lovely and inviting.
The first proper 15 second steep reveals a very pure, clean, amber liquid. I slowly sip the warm pure liquid and I begin to smile. The taste has that lovely Yiwu warmth, thickness and sweetness. The astringency that was present a year ago is now gone. Vibrancy on the mouth is very interesting, with a tingling sensation that develops on the tip of the tongue and slowly creeps its way to the back of the throat. This is elegance personified.
Subsequent steepings yield the same results. Camphor notes, sweetness, warmth, comfort etc. I ended up steeping this many, many times it goes on and on and for me never gets boring or one dimensional. I found the QI in this one to be pretty strong, starting with a positive lift in my mood, then giving me a very deep sense of calm and tranquility. The session lasts well over 2 hrs. This is a tea not to be rushed…when and if you decide to get this tea set a few hours aside to fully absorb all its character and beauty.
So, overall you can see that I love this tea. It has such an elegant, pure, clean character that is simply irresistible. If this is what the tea tastes like now, I would love to see what it will be like in the next 5-10 years. I just hope that I will be able to save some as I could easily drink this everyday.
The big question now is “Is it worth 287 euros”. Well that is up to you to decide. If I could afford it now I would buy this again in an instant, so yes I would say it is worth the price. A 7 gram sample only costs 6.50 euros so there is no excuse not to try it out. I would be very surprised if you were disappointed. Beware; its elegance and beauty may just charm you into making a full cake purchase :)
Flavors: Camphor, Sweet
I have been on the hunt for a superior quality shu for quite some time, when I recently stumbled upon this one at puerh.sk. I have bought from Peter a few times in the past, and I have not once been disappointed. For me every time I have drunk shu I have ended up being bitterly disappointed. With good faith and trust I ordered a full 250gram Tuo and discussed with Peter my reservations regarding my previous experiences with Shu. Amazingly Peter said he would give me a sample to try with my order, and if I did not enjoy it I could send him back the full Tuo for a refund, no questions asked. Now, how is that for service and full confidence in his product.
There was much anticipation when my order arrived. Inside my package was the generous sample which I quickly began brewing in my 140ml gaiwan. Here are my notes.
After a quick rinse I smelt the wet leaves. A rich, nicely aged aroma filled my nostrils with anticipation of good things to come. After the rinse I then steeped for 2 minutes, as per Peter’s instructions. The end result: A thick, dense, dark liquid that to me almost looked like melted dark chocolate. The taste, well simply sublime. Not a hint of bitterness, no horrible “fishy” taste. I am not the best person at describing specific flavours, all I can say is that the taste is thick, bold, rich, aged, with a lovely returning sweetness at the back of the throat that lasts ages. It is simply “yummy”.
Further steepings yield the same results. This tea has immense power and flavour that last many, many steepings. To put things into perspective I must have filled up my 250ml cup at least 5-6 times. The liquid goes from the dark chocolate to amber with multiple steepings, however the taste and returning sweetness is still there. The more you push this tea, the more it delivers. No problem leaving the leaves overnight…just rinse and carry on steeping the next day.
As a test I wanted to see the differences between brewing this in a gaiwan and a yixing. I found that when brewing in a gaiwan the flavour was more bold, aggressive and “in your face” so to speak. With a yixing I found that the boldness was tamed, and the overall flavour was more soft, mellow and balanced. In my opinion both are equally as good.
At 99 euros for 250grams this is also a very good deal, considering how many steeps you can get per 7-8 grams. Shu of this quality is a rarity and I am so glad that Peter has made this available for those looking for excellent quality shu.
So overall this is a fantastic tea, probably the best puerh I have drunk this year. For those that are sceptical about shu at least give this one a try. If you are disappointed I will buy it from you :)
I have not bothered to put in steeping times as you will very quickly work out what works best for you.
Brewed in gaiwan (approx 100ml, 10g leaf), boiling water, gonfu style, you know the drill.
First few infusions (1-4) come off as rather weak and a little uninteresting. However, the tea quickly improves, and remains energetic with good mouth feel throughout subsequent steepings. Had to stop after about 10 infusions, but I’m sure this could have survived at least another five (and perhaps more).
A few days ago after a longer period of taste cell capacity loss (flu) I decided to examine myself and taste one of the older samples I have had at home to see if perhaps I have been recovering well. The sample is 2008 Gedeng from pu-erh.sk. For those who might have not known, GeDengShan (革登山) is a famous Mengla tea mountain. As this tea belongs to very delicate ones, having a good olfactory impression would therefore prove the test positive and lucky me, I have smelled something.
It consists of strangely shaped large leaf and some stems, falls apart nicely when using needle in a moderate way. Dry leaf in a hot teapot smells after ripe plums, wet leaf brings a different smell, rather soft and light, something like vanilla or gentle tone of strawberries. The smell is promising, however, I had to struggle with proper brewing method.
It took me a while to understand that this particular tea needs her time, it is a good teacher of Tao. The first time I was probably too impatient and tried to squeeze her up too many times in very short time. The second tea session I decided to use my intuition and dedicated the first infusion 30 second long bath (5g / 80 ml). It was a wise thing to do.
This tea is too delicate to be pushed in any way. You just cannot help it, brewing tea is the real art of conversation skills. I perhaps did not ask the tea properly the first time I tried to make her adapt to my own needs. It should have been done the other way round, I know now with all respect. This tea needs care. If you allow her time, she will give you much pleasure.
Do not expect any intense flavour, the aroma is a sort of clue for your imagination but the flavour keeps its secrets. If you are patient enough, after a few cups it will appear in all its beauty. It is not one of those kinds of tea you can drink without your full awareness. Well, of course you can but believe me, in this case it is a complete waste of time. I cannot tell you much about the particular characteristics, this tea is very hard to define. Each time I try, it simply runs away. It does not like being categorized. It is simply good.
To see the photo documentation and read the whole review, see my blog entry:
The dry leaf is beautiful dark green, long, and easily separable. Wet in a hot pot it smells intensely after raspberry and blackcurrant. The first infusion is rather light yellow, with an ochre tone, it smells after fruit and honey. The taste is very intense, typically NanNuo, something I really enjoy, with absolutely amazing huigan.
This tea is just fascinating. Being quite young, it offers typical bitter kuwei which goes hand in hand with returning sweet and altogether it creates a wonderful palette of tones. The bitterness gets stronger in the second, third and fourth infusions, it is never paralyzing though. After the sixth infusion the taste becomes much more balanced, still accompanied with wonderfully intense Bergamot orange trace, provoking sweet aftertaste and mouth-watering effect. This tea’s got simply everything.
2010 Pu-erh.sk NanNuo
Bitterness / Smokiness: High / None
Aroma: Sweet and spicy, interesting, typical NanNuo
Flavour: Bittersweet, intense with Bergamot orange special bonus
Aftertaste: Intense, immediate, sweet and refreshing
To read the whole review, see my blog:
I like the leaves of this particular sample: clean, easily separable and simply beautiful. The smell of dry leaf is sweet, fruity and ripen, I was even able to identify a hidden tone of chocolate dipped cherries. I truly enjoyed the way the tea broth got thicker, the taste rounder and sweeter with every infusion. The aftertaste came with a nice refreshing citrus trace. The fourth infusion was surprisingly creamy, I was not expecting this to appear and it was really a nice surprise. After the 6th or 7th infusion I could feel a slight trace of astringency and dryness, perhaps due to the little aging of the cake. Nevertheless, it was all in norm and did not affect the regular taste much.
It is in general a very friendly cake and I would recommend it especially to those who would like to try some of the young ancient tree cakes and do not know which one to go first. I must say it is one of the best Yiwu cake samples I have tried so far. However, I seem to run out of words when describing typical taste of this particular area.
If you want to read the whole review, see my blog: