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Recent Tasting Notes
One of my harp students, who also happens to be a friend now (most of my grown up students end up also becoming my friends) stayed for tea after her lesson today. First we shared a pot of Russian Caravan from The Tea Spot. Then I handed her my Tea Index and let her pick one. The last time she stayed for tea we ended up trying a purple black tea (I can’t remember which one), so today I answered her questions regarding puerh, shou vs sheng, purple teas, etc. Then she selected this one.
She just left, after 6 or 8 rounds in sets of 2, and I don’t really have much to say. (I hate that I’m the first to review this….really?). It’s good: nice buzz, a little bitter, a little sweet, kind of smokey, a little rough on the stomach (I had to take a break after 4 rounds to share an apple, and now after a few more rounds I’m reheating my leftover breakfast soup). There’s a nice tip of tongue numbing, sinus clearing aromatics, and though it has mostly been a savory tea, the most recent rounds are yielding a sweeter taste.
Thanks to Tea Explorer for the generous sample :)
This is a nice tasting ripe tea. It has got quite a lot of fermentation flavor left to it. I’d say it lasted into the fifth steep. It was dark and rich in the early infusions too. It was sweet with little bitterness. I’m not sure if I’d say notes of chocolate but it’s not out of bounds. I steeped it eight times and it developed a fruity flavor in the end. This is a very inexpensive ripe from Puerhshop. It cost me only $16.99 so I’m not upset that it was only good and not spectacular.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8.6g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. It still had a dark color to it in the eighth steep. I could I think gotten about five or six more steeps out of it but I’ve had enough caffeine for today.
Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Sweet
I was lazy and didn’t have a lot of time this morning so I brewed this up western style. This tea has a fair amount of fermentation flavor left. It has a nice sweet flavor. Not really getting the specifics on this tea but it is pretty good. Puerhshop doesn’t get a lot of press on Steepster but they have sold me some good tea over the last few years. Not all their teas are great but this one is pretty good.
I brewed this one time in a 160z Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 15 seconds.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
I didn’t have time to drink enough steeps in one sitting, but big changes in flavor and mouthfeel since my earlier review prompt this revision. This tea allowed me to see the importance of consistency in aftertaste and flavor, and that I should only submit reviews after using up that session’s tea leaves.
I’ve brewed 8 g of tea leaves from the brick’s sample in a 170g yixing teapot.
Sweet, smooth mouthfeel and pungent aftertaste, this tea surpassed my expectations. The dried leaves are sweet and the wet leaves have that classic orchid fragrance found in quality shengs.
The first steep has prominent notes of sugar cane and flowers, accompanied by a rich, soft and buttery mouthfeel and pungent cha qi. I felt almost tipsy during that steep. The tea soup is pale yellow and very clear.
The 2nd and 3rd steeps, in contrast, are far more complex, with all the notes of the 1st steep, but with tart/bitter/spicy notes of green apples, tannin, and arugula, which balances the initial prominent sweetness. The bitterness expands in the mouth becoming almost umami-like and provides a warm, calming, and intoxicating sensation from the cha qi. Tea soup is a cloudier golden color and the leaves are more open with a sweet orchid fragrance and are dark olive-green.
Major changes after 6th steep. Buttery mouthfeel gives way to graininess that I’m not okay with, although this could be due to it being a tea sample which tend to have more tea dust. Tea soup is a cloudy, darker yellow. Flavors mellow out fast with hints of sugar cane, sage, and pine wood. Huigan fades quickly, but richness, body and cha qi remain.
Final impressions: The brick is worth its price — I still think these are old tea tree leaves, but 400 y/o gushu?…probably not. Carefully watch water-to-leaf ratio, this tea is powerful. Initial 4~5 steeps need to be less than a second or else the teas attributes change too drastically, which is a downer in my book. Drink without distractions and not on an empty stomach. I’ve lowered my rating from 93 to 80.
This came as a sample in the mail. From the first sip, I can tell it’s an autumn tea due to its mellowed sweetness and lack of edge or sharpness. The initial steeps are sweet, crisp, clean, and calming. It has a very pleasant warming effect, or cha qi, that moves down the throat towards the gut and spreads throughout the body. This was enough to force me to stop what I was doing and pay attention. The wet leaves have that deep forest sweetness that is indicative to their untamed natural origins along with a slight smokiness that adds more interest to the tea. The empty cup is quite fragrant.
For an autumn tea, I’m quite impressed by what this had to offer, though I can only imagine that its spring counterpart would be that much more impressive. Being that it’s a Mangzhi tea I can understand the price, but I would rather invest in teas with more edge. Overall, while this was an enjoyable tea, the experienced puerh drinker may be left wanting something more.
I really like this type of shou. First steep – strong caramel/brown sugar aroma – taste super caramel, vanilla & pecan; second steep brought more depth and some noticeable spice; third steep – thicker, woodier and spice.
Flavors: Caramel, Pecan, Spices, Vanilla, Wood
Smooth and easy to drink shupu and a very affordable everyday tea (currently selling at $12 for a 250g brick). So many shu bricks are impossible to pry apart but this one was actually easy to chunk off. Clear syrupy tea liquor brews the color of a nice port. Offers a clean and sweet sip with spicy and nutty notes (rather like almonds). This is a good one!
Bought this recently after seeing some good reviews on it. While I’m not sure I found the notes of cherry it was somewhat chocolaty. It had a fair amount of fermentation flavor and was very thick in the early steeps. I started early on this today so I wasn’t so much worrying about caffeine. I gave this tea ten steeps and I’m sure it would have gone a few more. This was an excellent and enjoyable tea for a bargain price. I don’t think that expensive teas I have bought were a level better than this as their price would suggest. This was good.
I steeped this ten times in a 180ml teapot with 10.3g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
This tea is one of my very favorites. I’ve owned it for over a year and it’s changed considerably. When I first got it, it had a more “roasted” flavor – very delicious. Now it’s very, very sweet, creamy, vanilla, caramel and with a lot more character than any tea in this price range. Will have to amend this review while I’m actually drinking it to provide a more accurate taste profile
The brewed tea smells rather odd and the closest I can get to describing it is – grass and raw acorn squash. Although I love acorn squash, I don’t expect ripe puerh to smell like it. There are some other more pleasant spicy aromas and mouth sensation after the 3rd or 4th steep but unfortunately, not coming through in the taste. One thing I can say about it, you can brew the hell out of it and it is still very smooth. I might have to experiment a bit more with it… less water, more brewing time?
The one has the distinct taste of Menghai Shou puerh and is one of the smoothest puerhs that I have encountered in some time. If you are also one that fondly remembers the older style shou which was often described along the lines of smooth, creamy or silky when brewed thicker, this is a fine sample of what is sadly becoming harder to find as time goes on. So I am very thankful that Jim of Puerh Shop has produced this for his shop.
I decided to purchase MGH 1206 Green brick since the 1109 Mangfei and the 1214 Eco Big Tree left a good impression on me. Turns out this one is even better.
I’m using a yixing teapot dedicated to raw pu’er (the result differs with the type of brewing vessel). The wet leaves are have a pleasing flowery, honey-like fragrance. There’s no bitterness or smoke here. It has notes of ripe fruit, honey, camphor, minerals, thyme, and a very long sweet aftertaste that can last for 5 mins or more. Lots of good body with this one and a very pleasing feeling in the throat.
Honestly, I did not expect this to be THIS good, and I can’t believe how inexpensive it is ($9). I think I’m also better gauging the appropriate water-to-leaf ratio. Essentially more leaf (2 teaspoons), 5 sec short steeps with hot (non-boiling) water.
Breaking this out after about a year and a half in the “pumidor”. I remember this smelled nice and had a very light color to it.
I am back sometime later for a proper review.
First noticeable thing is this has become a bit more loose and easier to chip off. The color hasn’t seemed to vary that much on the dry leaf from what I remember.
I got about 10 grams off the brick to brew in the easy steeper that I have. I gave about a 10 second rinse due to the fact that bricks are more tightly pressed and take a bit longer for the water to get in there.
The rinse water actually looked a bit more amber than the green I recall. It is a 5 year old so it is still “teething and growing”.
I gave two 5 second steeps with about 5 ounces each. The brew is giving a scent of warm wet hay and a whisper of smoke. The tastes are of pine and some bitter that fades into a caramel touch of sweetness very quickly. A bit of astringency that leaves quickly. Swirling the tea in the mouth gives you that thick feel across the tongue.
A very nice brick from them and I think it is progressing along nicely.
Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Pine, Smoke, Sweet
Brewed this western style this morning and it is good. This is one of the best cha tou nugget teas I have drank. It has very little earthiness left to it. It has largely cleared. I would definitely buy more of this tea and might buy more in my next order to puerhshop, don’t know when that will be. This tea is sweet with fruity notes to it, no bitterness, no camphor, no smoke to it.
I brewed this once in an 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 12g leaf and boiling water for 1 min.
This is fairly tasty but I used a little too much of the tangerine peel so it’s fairly smoky tasting. The tangerine peel imparts a bit of a sour note too. This only got brewed western style tonight as I am tired and lacking time for a proper gongfu session. This is tasty and hits the spot though. The nice thing about this is you can dial the smokiness back by simply using less tangerine peel or none at all.
I brewed this once in a 16oz Teavana Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 12g of tea and tangerine peel with boiling water for 30 sec.
Flavors: Earth, Smoke, Sweet
I found this to be a very smoky sheng. Pine smoke dominated the aroma and flavor through the first six gongfu steeps before stepping aside and letting it’s true nature come through, although I got some smoke in the retro-nasal exhale through the 11th steep. Once the smoke did subside I found some floral notes in the aroma and a fairly strong and pleasant tart and sweet combination that finally tapered off around the 15th steep.
This sheng has some power and legs, but it’s just too smoky for my tastes.
Flavors: Floral, Smoke, Stonefruits, Sweet
Another Sample from the great and powerful Miss_Phi!
I like the combination of black and silvery green leaves. It combines the look of a white peony and a silver needle. I brewed this in my glass gaiwan at a lower temp, and it was really fun to watch the leaves do it’s thing. The light gold liquor produced a rich bouquet of flavors. I got a rice and fragrant floral, like lilies and orchids. I also got that cold inhale from what I must guess is camphor. I am really surprised by how all around pretty this tea is. It looked pretty, it smelled pretty, it tastes… pretty. It seems ever so slightly girly if that makes any sense to anyone.
I have had a handful of samples from Puershop now, and this may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I may have to put in an order sometime in the near future. idk why I was apprehensive before, part of me looked at the site and thought to myself, ’wow, this looks terribly spammy!"
Now I know not to judge it by it’s cover!
Flavors: Camphor, Champagne, Orchid
I’m looking to start aging some sheng Puer cakes finally. I’ve been into Gongfu cha and loose tea for about a year and a half now and only got my first cake a month ago. I’m surprised I didn’t get more interested in that sooner, but then again it was more that I couldn’t afford to and hadn’t found the right cakes to purchase.
I ordered a sample of this because I love Moonlight White and I’m hoping this one will be nice for aging since it is a really good price for the size of it.
I tasted the rinse infusion just out of curiosity. It had a subtle honey taste and primarily a taste that reminds me of Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka.
After rinsing, the leaves have a bit of musty smell typical of Puer, but they also have a nice charming perfumed aroma with hints of spice. This is the aroma I’m used to with Yue Guang Bai, though I feel like this cake has a bit earthier scent than I’m used to and is maybe a bit more muted.
The first actual infusion tastes similar, light honey notes with a black tea body, the fruity tones I’m used to in Moonlight White are very subdued in this one if they are even present at all. By the second infusion, it’s tasting a bit more like raw honey with a creamy note, but I wouldn’t say it’s sweet. It’s the flavor of honey, not the sweetness. There is still a black-tea-like body present.
This tea is peculiar. It has some nice qualities and some that are not so nice to me. The flavor starts out somewhat enjoyable for me with the honey-like flavor, but the black-tea kind of flavor afterwards is not that enjoyable to me. After leaving the room and coming back, it definitely smelled like I had brewed black tea. With other Moonlight Whites I’ve had, the fragrance is much more perfumed and spiced, almost like a white wine or a nice scotch. This one just isn’t hitting me that way.
It’s not a bad cake. If you like the flavors, the current price is a really good one for such a large Puer cake. Would be good for beginners looking to experiment with Puer brewing techniques, but I don’t think I could recommend this tea for aging. It just doesn’t seem to have the complexity I’d want for a tea I’m going to age. Considering this one is already 7 years old, I don’t really see it developing qualities that would really change my mind.
All that said, if you like black tea with a bit of sweetness, this may be exactly the tea for you.
Flavors: Cream, Honey, Musty, Tea
This is a very tasty lao cha tou nugget tea from Puerhshop. It is sweet and earthy with no bitterness. It would be even better if I had had the time to brew it gongfu style this morning but I am going to work. It rates quite highly in my opinion but is not for those who can’t stand a little fermentation flavor.
I brewed this twice in an 18oz teapot with 7g leaf and boiling water for 30 sec twice.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet