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Recent Tasting Notes
This was a strong and bitter sheng. I gave it twelve steeps and only around the eleventh steep would I say a sweet note started to develop. I had already lost the apricots of a young sheng however. I will wait a year or two on this one and see if it improves.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8.7g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 mini, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes.
This is the first Lao Man’e tea I’ve tried, so I’m unsure whether or not to recommend it. It came at a very cheap price, and puerhshop is not always known for having the best examples of most teas. This one was, in line with the region’s reputation, pretty bitter. It was not really astringent or unpleasant to drink, though perhaps in part due to the age on it. Most of what I got from this tea was a bitter vegetal note, with very little sweetness backing it up. I got no qi or anything off of this tea.
I’ll have to try other LME teas before I can pass relevant relative judgement on this tea, but it was pretty “meh” all around.
Flavors: Bitter, Green, Vegetal
This tea was strong with a bitter character in the beginning. Over the course of twelve steeps it evolved into something nice, you might even say it had a apricot like sweetness in later steeps. But that is open to interpretation. In any case it was good.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8.5g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
This is a fairly nice raw with a bit more age on it than I expected. The tea liquid was a solid orange color and it had some decidedly aged notes to it, leather and tobacco for the first six steeps. It gradually evolved into something sweeter. I am not really sure what to call the sweet note but chestnuts came to mind. That however may not be an accurate description, just what came to mind. I steeped it for twelve steeps and it would have gone a few more had I the desire to keep going. This was a good tea but not a spectacular tea.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 9.4g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
I had two sessions with this one. First one: rinse, 10s, 10, 20, 20, 30, 1min etc. Second session: rinse, f, f, f, f, 10s, 15, 30, 1min, 2, 4, finished grandpa style.
Early steeps were in both cases aromatic: moss, rosemary, citrus, pears and smoke come to mind. Very bitter and astringent at first, which (I was told) makes for a good aging potential. Slightly numbing sensation in the mouth. Undecided about body: it wasn’t very thick nor watery.
In the later steeps the bitternes calms down a bit in favour of subtle sweetnes and a hint of plum aroma.
Even though this tea is probably not objectively bad, it doesn’t agree with me – the initial bitter kick makes it hard to appreciate the thickness, which is gone in the later steeps when the bitternes wears out.
Flavors: Citrus, Moss, Pear, Smoke
This was a nice ripe puerh. It was neither spectacular or bad just about above average for a ripe puerh I would say. It had a lot of fermentation flavor to it. Those with an aversion to fermentation taste probably want to avoid it. It was strong until the sixth steep and to some degree present even in the tenth steep. There were little in the way of bitter notes to this tea, it had a sweet note from the beginning. I wasn’t really paying attention to the specifics just say it is worth the price. At $10 what do you have to lose. It was in my opinion as good as some shous I have paid much more for.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 9.7g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
After hearing so much about jingmai puerh and seeing this cake for a LOT less than most Jngmai I could not resist buying it. This is amazing as it stands out as both unusually sweet and mild when it comes to most sheng puerhs. If this cheap Jingmai cake is so good, I can only imagine how good the premium quality ones will be that I now plan on ordering next.
This is a reasonably nice ripe tea that is sweet from the ripe puerh and smoky from the tangerine peel. Not sure if they smoke the thing with the puerh inside or not. There was a fair amount of fermentation taste that was neither unpleasant or fishy. Because of the nature of the tangerine it was hard to tell where the fermentation taste began and the smoky taste ended. I only gave this eight steeps today but it would have gone quite a few more.
I brewed this eight times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 seconds. If you have never tried Tangerine Puerh I definitely recommend you get some from your favorite seller and try it. I have not found one brand that is better than another but this was quite tasty.
A smooth nutty cocoa malty black tea. An inexpensive daily drinker that I highly recommend for those of you who’re on the go, at work, or longing to be perked up. I’m not one to consume black tea often, but when I do, it must be something such as this.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet
Gongfu brewed in my shiboridashi. Without a doubt Jim has done it again when it comes to producing private label puerh cakes that break expectations for their price range. A darker level fermentation compared to must lighter shous today. A smooth brew with a malty taste that while neither bitter nor sweet is leaning slightly to the sweet side.
This one is interesting as your brewing method determines if it comes off more as a green tea or young sheng puerh. Brewed in either a mug infuser or grandpa style in a chawan, it comes off as a decent green tea. Brewed gongfu style in a shiboridashi and it comes off as a more mild young sheng puerh.
This is from a random sample order I made a puerhshop a few months back. They’re nice for instant gratification pu, as their shipping time is 2 days or less to my house. I ordered this solely because it was Bulang. The dry leaf had a bit of a woody or piney aroma to it – after a rinse, it was woody cinnamon and sage.
The first steep was light, with a bit of pine sweetness. It left me fully unprepared for the second steep, which was almost overwhelmingly cinnamon. It was quite surprising – cinnamon bark with a nice sweet finish. Slightly mouth-numbing. I think it’s the most heavily cinnamon tasting tea I’ve ever had.
By the next steep, the cinnamon had faded, but was still quite present. That along with an increased sweet finish, made this tea taste uncannily like apple pie. That’s really what I got for most of the rest of the session. It got a little bit drying on the finish around steep six or so as well. This tea didn’t have much of any of the bitterness which Bulang teas are often known for. Just apple pie. The mouth feeling was decently thick, but entirely unremarkable.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Pine, Sweet
A sample of this was sent to me and I was curious about it… wasn’t sure if it was a raw or ripe from the package or the smell of the dry leaf. When I brewed it up it let me know it was a ripe though.
From the first steep I knew this was old tea; thankfully I have had multiple experiences with shou that’s 10-15, 15-20, and 20+ years old. This falls in that range of being in the early 2000s, but if it was wrapped in bamboo than it would probably have a more dry’ish aspect to it. It has a dry wood taste to it with a very surprising kick of fermentation. I haven’t come across an older ripe with this kick in the mouth so that surprises me. The undertones and high notes of bark(old sun beat layer) let me know that it’s older… but I think for most people this isn’t something they want because it was 100% dry stored and by that I mean 30% humidity or something like that.
This is something I may consider buying, breaking up, and storing in a crock for later. The complex taste that comes through the viscosity with sticky stem mixed in with old bark makes this unique while not being too harsh or too weak. With some humidity and bringing to life this could be a gem. Dead serious
This was a very good tasting tea. According to the Puerhshop website is is composed entirely of Spring Leaf from Ancient Trees in Bingdao Mountain. While I cannot confirm the ancient tree claim I also have no reason not to believe it. While I only steeped this twelve times, the leaves would have gone at least four more steeps judging by the color of the tea in the twelfth steep. This tea started out with a lack of bitterness and a moderate amount of fermentation flavor. There was a sweet note from the beginning. I’m not entirely sure how to characterize this note, and it did change between steep one and steep twelve. You might say it had a fruity note in steep 10 through 12 at least. I tend to associate ripe puerh with dates but this is by no means certain. But in the end this was a most enjoyable ripe tea. At $21.99 for a 200g bing it was only moderately expensive. The low price of the cake does make me doubt the ancient tree claim but they could be thinking of 100 year old trees when they say ancient tree. There is no fixed definition for what constitutes ancient tree tea. Still, I really liked the tea.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. Again, the leaves were not done at twelve steeps but I was.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
I started this sample pretty late in the evening. I’ve been drinking down some samples today; however, this session was the longest from the few sessions.
This tea has a darker color than most shengs I’ve had. Not a lot of bitterness. I tasted earthy-mint (with a touch of honey toward the first few steeps) notes throughout the session. I’m not aware of the total number of steeps, but this tea didn’t give even after I stopped after 3 hours….I might be willing to get a whole cake later down the road.
I had purchased a couple of teas from Puerhshop.com a few weeks ago, and they had sent a couple of samples with the order. I decided to drink this tonight since I can’t fall asleep until 2 or 3 now that I work nights. I can’t give this tea a fair rating due to the high amount of broken pieces within the sample; however, I’ll rate it on what I’ve experienced with the tea at the moment. I also acquired a lot of tea dust, too. Very bitter and drying. I stopped after filling the cha hai a few times, but the tea remained bitter/dry throughout the whole process.
Sure you’re looking at your computer screen and/or phone saying, “But S.G., you’re feeling entitled to only have the best Naka; therefore be happy that you even had the chance to try this Naka.”
I am happy to have had this Naka, but it’s just not for me (not today at least).
Notes on the flavor profile: Thick mouthfeel. Sweet and “creamy,” as in the thickness of the liquid makes it creamy…? There were subtle notes of caramel, wood, and earthy undertones.
This wasn’t my favorite ripe or Naka, but it was worth a try.
Flavors: Earth, Thick, Wood
Despite the name of this tea I am quite sure there are no Banzhang leaves in this tea and I am not so sure about the organic claim either. It started off pretty good, nice and sweet. Then as the leaves opened up it became more bittersweet. I didn’t get as far as to steep out the bitterness because I am already having caffeine too late. I only gave this eight steeps. There was still some bitterness in the eighth steep. I’m pretty sure if I gave this my usual twelve steeps the bitterness would have gone away. Despite any false claims about this tea made by Puerhshop, and they did name it “Pure Banzhang” so it seems like they are claiming it to be Banzhang tea. Although I don’t think they actually write anywhere that the tea is from Banzhang. And of course this is a fairly cheap tea, a 1000g bing goes for about $45. You simply could not acquire actual Banzhang leaves in 2010 for anywhere near that amount. This tea does a fairly good job of standing on it’s own. It had only a moderate amount of fermentation taste to it and it got off to a very good start. It is worth the price they charge. It is not good enough to be worth the price of a real Banzhang tea. It is an enjoyable cup of tea. What more can be said about any tea.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10.8g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. This tea was in no way done at eight steeps. It would certainly have gone twelve or more but this caffeine was already too late in my day.
Perfectly wonderful daily drinker, and just what I needed on a chilly morning. There’s a lot of malt, lending to that black tea flavor. There is also a bit of earthiness.
My favorite part is the complexity of this tea. It has a fruity floral kind of scent that’s carried into the flavor.
Really, this is just what I needed this morning.
Talk about a unique raw…
This is literally condensed mushroom soup with some type of herb in it. Very contrast tasting to about all other teas and as a raw it goes on for awhile. Hints of moss, weird smelly things in the forest, and some herbs as well . It’s really hard to even describe to be honest because I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into so I wasn’t ready for this… not any of the three times I tried it in fact. I am glad to be able to share this with others because it offers such an odd taste profile that some other wild may eventually have.
Going to try this again sometime as a soup base : )
Loved this shou. It was extremely smooth and not at all drying. No astringency or bitnerness. It had a nice dark, earthy flavor with a bit of tang that I associate with fermentation. Very sweet and friendly tea. Mouthfeel is creamy.
Ended up sharing some steeps with some coworkers, and everyone loved it!