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Recent Tasting Notes
Continuing my extensive (two stop) tour of cheap 2005 sheng this weekend, we come to this tea from PuerhShop. My worry, after my previous Puerhshop experience, is that this tea will have had storage inside a bucket of DampRid and essentially turned into a pile of dust.
Fortunately, this was not the case. The storage was dry, but only in a clean and still punchy sense. This may have been a blessing after yesterday, lest my GI tract suspect I have been plotting to murder it. The tastes were rather variant, which made sense when turning out the pot post-session, as there were green leaves, red leaves, big leaves, small leaves, stems, and a partridge in a pear tree included. As befits an old recipe.
I oversteeped it once, which rewarded me with a harsh brew, but it recovered well. I got spiced plum flavors once, when I slurped vigorously. I recommend slurping therefore, especially if you’re around people who be highly affronted. Viva le slurp revolution!
Of the 4 PuerhShop teas I tried this was definitely my fave. Worth a sample if you like ‘em dry. Bang for the buck, I preferred yesterday’s, but I could easily see others feeling differently.
Overall this was a good tea. That is not to say it had zero negative notes. The initial note of this tea was a sweet fruity note, perhaps apricots or stonefruits, perhaps something else like nectarines. Starting around steep three I also noticed a subdued sour note to the tea. It only lasted a couple of steeps and was not very strong. With a sour note there is always the possibility that it was my taste buds. There was very little real bitterness to this tea. A little crept in after the leaves had opened up around the third steep but it was never very strong. I have generally had good results from the Puerhshop house labels and this is no exception. I liked it overall. The Puerhshop website also says pesticide detection on this tea was negative so that is a good point. Puerhshop tests most or all of their teas for pesticides not sure which. I think they test the finished product where I believe Yunnan Sourcing tests the maocha before it is pressed.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rest. 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. The tea leaves were not particularly watery at twelve steeps. I could have gotten a few more steeps out of them but I had had enough caffeine for today. In the end there was good and bad to this tea, but the good I think outweighed the bad. All twelve steeps were sweet in nature. Only a couple had that sour taste and it was not very strong, I had to really think about it to determine it was a sour note.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Sour, Stonefruits, Sweet
A smooth and mellow shou with little fermentation flavor. Woody with a slight almond note and what I would describe as doughy or yeasty taste. Not terribly complex, but a solid/unoffensive daily drinker at a bargain price.
Flavors: Almond, Smooth, Wood, Yeasty
Brews a dark yellow-orange. It’s hard to believe that 2009 is now seven years ago! This tea has aged fairly gracefully in that time. Theres a strong citrus note accompanied by light acidity, some camphor and mint, and a smooth round flavor and mouthfeel like wild mushrooms. Light bitterness and even lighter astringency. Overall its a fairly nice tea, but a bit thin and one dimensional. If I had a cake I don’t know how often I’d be drinking it.
Flavors: Camphor, Citrus, Medicinal, Mint, Mushrooms
Overall I liked this cake. It did have an unpleasant note in the first steep. Whatever it was, could have been my taste buds, it was gone by steep two. There was a fair amount of bitterness to this tea early on. I’d say it took four or five steeps for the bitterness to steep out. The note that was left was nice, what I would describe as a semi sweet note. Not quite apricots but then again this is a tea that I think has begun to age. The tea liquid was more orange than yellow but it still had some yellow in it. I never came up with a description for the note I liked in this tea. Not sweet in the sense of sugar mind you but sweet as far as raw puerh goes, but not tremendously sweet, mildly so. Some might say apricots but I am not sure about that. I really did like this tea though. Puerhshop’s house brand is usually good in my experience but I have more experience with their ripe teas. This one I think is on the cusp of becoming something nice given another five years of aging.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.7g 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 min. I think if I wanted to push it this tea would go at least another four or five steeps but twelve is enough for me.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet
This is a nice enough tea. It has started to age but is not there yet. There were notes of tobacco and leather in the first infusion but none thereafter. There was a dominant note that was certainly not bitter, but I’m not sure I would call it sweet either. In fact I’m not sure what to call it. What there was none of was wet storage flavors ot smoke. You would expext some smoke from an Xiaguan but none here. I wish I had a name for the main note, it was not unpleasant. The tea’s color had changed just a little, not very much. I felt no qi from this but another reviewer found qi in this tea. Then again I often fail to find qi in a tea I know should have some. Overall this was decent but not as good as the raw I drank yesterday from Puerhshop.
I steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.4g 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, and 30 sec. This tea I am neither going to recommend or not recommend. It wasn’t bad and may improve. It seems to be on the cusp of becoming an aged tea. I will drink it again in two years and see what I think of it then.
Flavors: Bitter, Leather, Sweet, Tobacco
Drinking another tea from my Puerhshop order this morning. This tea is quite nice, although not as good as what I drank yesterday. This one had an aged flavor coming through. Not entirely sure how to describe it. It was not quite leather and tobacco but I’m thinking it was getting ready to become those notes. It was very smooth. There was a sweet note hiding behind the aged flavor. The aged flavor lasted some six or eight steeps and then I was left with a nice sweet note. Not sure how to describe this sweet note. Not really the apricots of a young sheng but sweet nonetheless. The color of the tea on this one was orange in color, indicating it had aged somewhat but was not all the way there. I didn’t really pick up much qi from this, maybe a little. I didn’t notice any smoke or wet storage taste in this one. I think Puerhshop is strictly dry stored material. I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a wet storage note from a Puerhshop cake but I don’t know for sure. Overall this was a nice smooth raw cake with a little bit of a bitter aftertaste and a sweet note after the aged note had faded. There was I think a little bit of astringency but not too much.
I steeped this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.2g 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. The tea was not done at twelve steeps but I want to move on to something else.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet
Bought this a couple weeks ago from Puerhshop. I have not tried too many of their raw teas and this one was somewhat expensive at around $88. It also claims to be ancient tree material about which I in a sense can’t comment. How do you prove it is ancient tree material. It is supposed to be Bingdao material. What it was was really very good, really just short of the best raw I have ever had. I’m not sure what I would call the best raw I’ve ever had but this one was very close. It had very little bitterness, a little crept in around the third steep once the leaves had opened up but was gone by the fourth steep. It had no off flavors of any sort, no storage flavors. Certainly no wet storage flavors. I would say it was predominately sweet tasting with apricots and stonefruits as the main notes. I also performed something of an experiment with this. The first time I steeped my kettle for the first eight steepings I used Iceland Springs spring water. For the second time I filled my kettle I used filtered water from my Zero Water filter. While the Zero Water filter did a surprisingly good job the spring water was better, just not by a lot. This tea also doesn’t have any unpleasant aftertaste to it. It really didn’t have a strong aftertaste but what was there was pleasant. Again this was the best raw tea I have had in quite a while. Puerhshop has some excellent teas, but because they also sell a lot of cheap bargain teas they do not have the greatest reputation on Steepster. This tea if people try it could change people’s impressions on Puerhshop. It was that good.
I steeped this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 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, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. The tea was not finished but I had had enough. There was no indication the tea was getting weak in the twelfth steep. It would have gone at least four or five more steeps had I wanted to continue.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Stonefruits, Sweet
Picked this up in a recent Puerhshop order. It is a nice tea. Overall I think it rates quite high in general. It was not quite spectacular but was quite enjoyable. There was a little bitterness at the start. And there was some fermentation flavor. The fermentation taste was neither unpleasant or fishy. It lasted around four or five steeps. A sweet note did develop with this tea, although I am not sure what to call it specifically. Didn’t really notice notes of chocolate with this one. There was no smoke or wet storage taste. This tea had apparently been dry stored. I think most of Puerhshop’s offerings are dry stored. In the end I only gave this ten steeps because I was using a large tea vessel, a 200ml glass test tube steeper that I got in a recent stash sale and wanted to try out. I think it is a little too big for puerh in general though so maybe in the future it will get used for black and green teas.
I steeped this ten times in a 200ml glass test tube steeper with 16g 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, and 1 min. There were a few more steeps in the leaves but I had already run two kettles full of water through this tea steeper.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Sweet
Brewed this one up western style this morning. I buy mini tuocha specifically for that purpose. This one is fairly good. It has a fair amount of fermentation flavor. That flavor is not fishy or unpleasant. It is sweet with little bitterness. It is good for a mini tuocha puerh tea. I can’t say that it is likely high quality leaves but it tastes good just the same. I bought twenty of these so I didn’t get a lot. I would buy them again.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 buttons or about 15g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 20 second rinse. I steeped it for 30 seconds.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
This tea is many things.
I won’t attempt to discern whether the tea is real CNNP, or real 1998, or even real tea.
It clearly still has some punchiness to it, and it has some noticeable hints of age, but is remarkably yellow for a tea from 1998. It has flickering hints of flavors, like a mimeograph of the tea it once was. Overall, it’s still an enjoyable drink, don’t get me wrong, but if this is what dry storage hath wrought, I’ll be keeping my tea in the steam baths from now on.
The mouthfeel is not terribly viscous, there is not much noticeable body effect, and while there is some persistent aftertaste, it’s rather muted, as if from far away. What’s that, Lassie? The 7542 fell down the well?
Best leave it a while, then, it might help.
Puerh Tea TTB. This is a fairly tasty ripe tea with a moderate amount of fermentation flavor and very little bitterness. It was dark and rich in the early infusions, sweet in nature. I wonder if Puerhshop still sells this. I’d be tempted to pick one up. There wasn’t any qi to this tea but then again there generally isn’t any to ripe tea. This was a nice tasting tea. There was no fishyness to the fermentation taste, it was clean.
I brewed this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9.2g 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. The tea wasn’t finished. If I wanted to I could get a few more steeps out of this.
Same cake owned by DigniTea from ChaWangShop, and reviewed by Hobbes as follows
Anyone who knows both the above fellows, I’d be intensely curious to see what the difference is in all the storage conditions this cake is available from – not that this is likely to occur.
The posting at Puerhshop notes that this cake takes a while to get going. I had incorrectly presumed this meant due to tight compression, or reticent leaf. It was thus to my surprise that the first few steeps were incredibly earthy, fairly bitter, and not terribly enjoyable.
If you push through that, however, you are rewarded with a very enjoyable brew, closer to the light and sweet Yiwu taste but punchy enough to keep it interesting. I suspect ChawangShop’s storage would be wetter, and minimize the early unpleasantness – bit at this writing Puerhshop is half the price, so it’s a value proposition everyone has to consider for themselves.The material does not lead me to suspect the claims of ancient tree are necessarily above board – but at $50 per ten-year-old cake, did anyone really expect them to be?
I enjoyed this shou about as much as I’ve enjoyed any shou so far. I did two long rinses to begin with to help get the ball to start breaking up, though the first steep did have a decent amount of funk to it. The ball was about 7.5g, and I brewed it with a 120mL gaiwan and boiling water.
Once the funk cleared it was mostly some sweet woody flavor. Also some kind of sugary caramel notes, but they were second to the woodiness. Picked up four of these, so I’m glad to know I’ll enjoy the others when I get my rare hankering for shou.
Flavors: Caramel, Sweet, Wood
This tea is relatively nice but by no means spectacular. There was a fair amount of bitterness, but not an abiding bitterness. A certain sweetness did emerge in latter steeps. I only gave this eight steeps because I didn’t want any more caffeine today but it was by no means done. I would not describe this as overly apricoty but it was nice enough to drink. I didn’t really notice much in the way of qi but I think I am feeling something. It was quite a bargain price wise, I think it goes for $18 a cake. For that price I was not expecting much but it was at least enjoyable.
I steeped this tea eight times with 7.4g 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, and 30 sec. The tea was not at all weak at eight steeps. It would have gone another six or seven steeps by my best estimate. This one may have potential for aging if what I have heard is true, that bitter teas age better. I have no room for it in my pumidor however, so it will have to age in the New Your climate.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet
Gongfu brewed in my shiboridashi. Without a doubt this is a good quality nugget puerh, but it is also more expensive due to the more elaborate “gift tea” packaging. This nugget puerh is on the lighter side but it still has expected smooth sweet mellow taste of one. This is also a very clean tea without any earthiness to it.
Yesterday was a day where I was finally able to sit down in the afternoon and enjoy tea gongfu style. I had tried a new method to making tea since my time was spent in class, at work, or babysitting my three-year-old nephew. I decided that it was “gongfu on the go,” simply because I had quick rinsed the tea into a 32 oz. thermos that my wife had purchased for me since I didn’t have time to drink tea at home (plus, the tumblers I use are too small for the amount of tea that I’d prefer to drink in one sitting). I must say, that I was pleasantly surprised on how long the tea had lasted, how long it stayed hot in the thermos, and how quickly I drink 32 oz. of tea.
Anyway, I had made plans last night to watch the Alien trilogy with my parents, but I (obviously) wanted to have tea during my viewing of the films. I picked out the 2007 Youle Ancient Tree Pu-erh from the Pu-erh shop to try while viewing the first Alien. I took my supplies over to my parents and worked on this tea via gongfu style while watching the film.
The initial taste of this tea had that sweet, grassy (I’d say leafy, but you know, it IS a leaf after all), slightly fruity, mouth drying, and refreshing taste that raw teas usually give. However, these flavors only lasted 8 steeps (not including the first rinse). I liked it; although, the tea was disappointing on the amount of time it had lasted. I’ve noticed that the “Ancient Tree” pu-erhs that I’ve had hadn’t lasted as long as I had thought they would.
With that said, I didn’t make it past the second film of the trilogy since I was nearly exhausted from the long week, the 4:45 A.M. waking time elevating that exhaustion, the tea going dead (I had failed to bring more, so I was drinking plenty of hot water while hoping that I could revive the tea), and the fact that I’ve had enough of cheesy Alien films (mostly the second film due to the cheesy dialogue and special effects).
Side Note: I’ve come to the conclusion that an Alien action figure would make a great tea pet.
Teas from Bang Dong have very recently gotten a lot more expensive. I threw this sample in my checkout basket while revisiting Puerhshop’s offerings. I had no idea what to expect since their Band Dong sheng pu’er offering is almost half the price of other vendors. Dry leaves are tippy, thin silver and dark grey tendrils with a subtle floral scent. Hydrated leaves are intact, delicate-looking, and olive toned. This one is intensely fragrant—pungent honeysuckle and deep sweet forest/medicinal musk. They brew a vibrant golden soup.
This tea isn’t nearly as subtle as the 2015 version from Yunnan Sourcing. It’s pungent in both flavor and qi. It has an excellent mouthfeel, good energy, and strong huigan. Yeah, this one took me for a bit of a ride. I picked up: honeysuckle, grilled asparagus, raw almonds, honey, edamame, stir-fried mustard greens. This might be too vegetal for some, but it has other desirable characteristics to balance that, I think. Admittedly, this experience was totally unexpected from a low-priced tea from this vendor. The tea is consistently full-bodied, potent, very flavorful, and (my favorite part) provides a spicy/numbing feeling that covers my entire tongue for 12+ steeps.
This is one of those teas where the spent leaves are too pretty to toss right away.
A pretty decent raw mini tuo. I used two of them in a 100mL gaiwan, which came out to about 7.3g. Lots of fruity flavors in this one. I think it might be what a lot of people describe as apricot, but I seem to be tasting it more as a dry apple type of flavor – idk. Got a little bit intense as both of them opened up at once. There was actually one steep I went a bit too long on and pretty much couldn’t drink. Seems like two of them is just a bit too much for 100mL, but 1 would’ve been too little. May be a good size for grandpa style in a mid-sized thermos though.
Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Sweet
Pretty impressed with this raw puerh. Dry leaves had a minty smell to me. When I brewed the tea, they smelled more smoky and herbal. I didn’t get much of any smoke in the flavor of the tea. It was sweet throughout a session which lasted over 10 steeps. I got notes of honey and what could have been either tobacco or leather (maybe both). I also detected a bit of grassy or hay taste during a couple of mid-steeps. Body was not particularly strong but was slick in the mouth. Bitterness was almost nonexistent, except for in a mouth-drying feeling from steeps 3-5 or so. Possible the body would be more robust if I pushed this tea more, but that might also increase the bitterness. Pleased with this purchase. Great price to quality ratio in my opinion. Leaves are rather large and not too chopped up or anything.
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Honey, Leather, Sweet, Tobacco
Quick Review: Old leather shoe with a touch of smoke, wood, and dirt…. I could just brew it up for the aroma that’s left in the pot. Reminds me of tangerine scented potpourri.
Revisit: Okay, I was a little harsh at first. The first steeping was awful; however, the more I drank the tea, the better it became. It was smooth, had a lot more citrus notes hidden within the tea, and was very rich as the session went on. I like it. I might have to rinse this a couple of times before diving in.
Flavors: Citrus, Dirt, Leather, Smoke, Wood
This is a fairly tasty bittersweet ripe. It is good but not spectacular. It developed a nice sweet taste. Not really sure if I noticed any notes of chocolate in there. There was a fair amount of fermentation flavor. I’d say it was a factor for four or five steeps. It wasn’t fishy.
I steeped this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 10.5g 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, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. There were a couple of steeps left in the leaves but I had had enough caffeine.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Sweet