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Recent Tasting Notes
Last one to try from the Unflavored TTB!
Method: gongfu with a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 5, 5, 10, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60.
The aroma of the wet leaf evolved. Piping hot, it smelled of earth and bitter chocolate. After cooling a bit, chocolate-covered fruit: pomegranate, acai, strawberry, banana… And after cooling even more, raisins galore! Purple raisins. The liquor was rusty red, clear, and full-bodied. I tasted earth, coffee, and some chocolate mostly. Around the third and fourth infusions it had a thick mouthfeel and was more coffee-like This pu’erh didn’t last long – it pooped out after only the fifth infusion. Overall, especially taste-wise, it was ok.
Story time! My mom and her coworkers, who work in NYC, occasionally go out to lunch. They went to a Japanese restaurant yesterday and had a mysterious tea with their meal. This morning, I finally told her that that tin of “Yunnan black tea” she bought for me from Chinatown nearly two years ago was actually ripe pu’erh, and then I showed her this tea. She said that’s exactly what she had at the restaurant, recognizing the coffee smell and color resemblance. Everyone had doubted if what they drank really was tea. The waitress said it was but didn’t say what kind, and her Japanese coworker, who loves drinking tea, said with a straight face that it was Japanese tea. (lol we think he didn’t want to admit he didn’t know). I joked that you never know what tea you’re going to get at a Japanese or Chinese restaurant in America. I NEVER got pu’erh before though.
I was sifting through my sample basket and found this one! I used it up today. This is very different from the puerh that I had reviewed the day before. This one is deeper and more complex. This one was not very loose so I had to rinse it out a little. The dry leaf smells very earthy and dark, which is interesting and good to me! The first steep was a light-medium brown, and the taste was very light and slightly earthy and mulchy and mushroom-like (I could not have thought of this until I read toadman’s review, which is spot on!). I love how it became darker, thicker, and deeper in flavor and texture as I moved along with the steeps. I steeped this only 3 times, so I cannot say how it is after that. The flavor is bolder and earthy and almost like iron. There is only a slight astringency and small amount of bite after each sip, which is surprising for a tea this thick and strong! Delicious tea!
I don’t know why I keep writing tasting notes for pu-erh if they are always so darn tough for me to describe. They are just… pu-erh… pu-erh is pu-erh. Mainly, I guess I’m giving them a number rating so I remember how much I liked them. This is a very nice pu-erh, loose this time. It even has some hint of extra flavor but could I tell you what that is? No. Just another level of flavor. There isn’t any of that hint of pond though, so if that is what scares you from pu-erh, this would be a good one to try. The flavor is dark enough, but not darker than the darkest pu-erh. No bitterness with this one. I was worried with it already being loose and didn’t need to unravel that it might be bitter. Nope. I’m very glad I bought it.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // rinse // few minutes after boiling // 2 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2 or 3 min? Don’t remember
Yixing pot (150 ml) with a couple chunks of tea and boiling water:
Rinse: Very typical Menghai smell. Like wet soil and camphor.
1st infusion: Notes of cinammon and oak. Not a powerful flavor at all. It is enjoyable. As Wang Jidong would say, it has “lost [some of] its tea property”.
2nd infusion: I let it brew for maybe 30 seconds by accident. However, it was still smooth. Not much complexity, much very solid tea.
3rd infusion: Good. A little spicier and stronger, even though I brewed it for about 10 seconds. Leaves are probably starting to unfurl.
gonna stop now
finish the rest free of examination
I just received a sample of this tea with an order from puerhshop.com. I’m about to try it in a 150 ml yixing pot.
The rinses: Both were a vibrant orange color. Neither smelled very strongly. The spent leaves in the pot have a mediocre smokey/tobbaco smell.
First infusion: Deep orange/brown liquor. The scent is citrus, sweet, and a little woody. It tastes more energetic than most ripes I drink (perhaps because I usually drink ripes of twice this age). I’m noticing hints of cinammon and a very faint buzzing on the tongue. There is also the faint taste of watermelon rinds. There is also a very faint barnyard scent on the cup after I finish. To me, it is pleasing. However, this tea was ultimately mediocre (read: not bad, not good).
Second infusion: This cup is cloudy (maybe I added too many leaves) and dark, dark orange. It is not a very aromatic liquor. Tasting it, there is not much, however, I wouldn’t call it mellow. No off tastes (yet), but nothing to speak of either. It almost has coffee notes, and definitely has a sharp, lively texture.
Third infusion: I let this one sit for about ten seconds before pouring, hoping for a stronger flavor. The scent of this one has fruit, in particular baked apples (with cinammon). This cup is much creamier and milder than the previous two. Still, I can feel a buzz on the tip of my tongue. However, nothing special is in the flavor.
Fourth infusion: It has become slightly more bitter. No problem, but I’m growing tired of the drink, and I think I’ll put it away.
Overall, I do not recommend this tea. There are better. This is my first real exposure to Yiwu region teas, and maybe it’s just not for me. However, I can’t imagine a tea so cheap is representative of the region’s craft.
There’s nothing wrong here, but not much right either.
Flavors: Apple, Biting, Citrus, Cream, Smoke, Wood
From my puerhshop.com order! Another one where I thought tuochas were just mini tuochas. Instead of many tiny dragon eggs that I expected, I get a big ole egg that fits in your palm. It IS called a dragon egg… not quail eggs. haha. I already have it broken into pieces and in pouches. I didn’t want a mess later on, even though I’m probably going to realize one day that is the completely incorrect way to store pu-erh. I used quite a bit of leaves, probably too much, as the flavor did have a hint of astringency I’m not accustomed to tasting with any pu-erh. At the same time, even with a ton of leaves, there didn’t seem to be a depth of flavor there. The color of the cup wasn’t so dark you can’t see through it like most pu-erh. It was a medium red color with all of the cups. With all three steeps, what flavor that was there never wavered, the flavor just isn’t what I’m looking for though. Less astringency, more depth please!
Steep #1 // rinse // 5 min after boiling // 2 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min
Rounding out my tour of puerhshop teas this weekend, I tried this 7542 clone tea. The cake looks beautiful. Smells smoky. The tea is quite strong, I had to trim my usual over stuffing of the gaiwan. The first infusion was smoky like a lapsang souchong. But it was fun to taste! It took several infusions just to tame the smoke. Later infusions were also smoky, but much less so. Kind of a fun tea to try, the leaves were good and held up for at least 10 solid infusions. I don’t know if it is really like a 7542, certainly not in terms of smoke.
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Trying my first Puerhshop tea this morning. This is one of their house cakes. It is pretty good, I’d say. The leaves seem of good quality. It produces a thick yellow soup. Just a little astringency. Nice flavor, good body, and holds up well for many infusions. Currently sells for $47 for a full size cake. That seems a fair price for a tea of this quality. I’m getting the impression it may not age that well, but I have little experience to base this on. Worth a sample if you are placing an order.
Another one from my order! Another lovely ripened pu-erh! I’d compare this to the other that I’ve already tried, but this one seems to have slightly less of a punch. Still a coffee like pu-erh, but lacks the depth of my favorite pu-erhs. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough to steep temps though. It was also all of the crumbs from when I broke the tuocha into pieces, so I imagine the flavor doesn’t get stronger than this. Three nice steeps though and the third had the same level of flavor as the first cup did… just not as much as I would normally like!
Another fabulous pu-erh from boychik.
This one is so clean and refreshing, but with that character that I crave in a pu-erh…
These little bricks are so fantastic; they make it so easy to measure out the tea.
I love that I can drink it all day, too..it just keeps resteeping over and over.
Also, the fact that I can drink pu-erh at night and still sleep soundly is quite a lovely thing….
I’m really loving this… boychik sent me this to try, and I can not thank her enough.
I remember reading in one of her reviews that she was getting a plum pudding sort of thing from her pu-erh—not this one, another one (if that never happened, boychik, and it’s just a dream of mine, please forgive me…ha!), and I’ve gotta say, that’s what this is to me. It’s like I just unwrapped my pud after cooking it for hours on the stovetop….I even get walnuts here (I know, I’m probably crazy…)… It’s absolutely delicious.
Doughy sweetness, with hints of fruit and chocolate….
I could drink this all day (and I have….) :)
I bought a few things from puerhshop.com, mainly to have a couple things I could definitely include in teaboxes (most of my teas are samples at this point with 1-2 teaspoons left). This one sounded good! The leaves are very long and wirey, half gold and half black. I used two teaspoons.
Steep #1 // 8 min after boiling // 3 min
Uh oh, the brew color is very light, but I figure it will just be like Verdant’s Golden Fleece. It does taste similar, but since the leaves are half black and not entirely gold, it does lack a bit of that honey flavor that Golden Fleece has but that tea is a high standard. This one isn’t terrible though! Still plenty of honey. I wonder where the black tea leaf flavor is though. If the leaves were all gold, there might have been more honey flavor. I should have tried using two teaspoons and a hotter temp though.. next time.
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
Oh, this cup is really nice too. More honey and hints of that yunnan flavor… tiny bit of chocolate. I like this. No astringency or overbrewed leaf flavor at all. I just need to use more leaves next time. This would be lovely if you want a light tea. It will fill a niche for that honey tea in my collection.
Before I get into it, I want to give the biggest thanks to boychik for sending me this. THANK YOU!!! :)
I’m completely new to pu erh, so forgive me, as I lack the experience to properly assess this tea…
The first steep smelled like chocolate quick bread—warm and doughy, with that baking powder tang in the back of my throat on the inhale (which is a weird thing I love about some baked goods—that tang)….smooth and batter-like.
On tasting, there’s a slight tang, like from pancake batter—that same tang I could detect in the scent before sipping… I could get addicted to this.
2nd steep: The liquor is much darker, almost coffee coloured. The tea smells like yeasted waffles….and it TASTES like yeasted waffles… Oh, nom, nom, nom!! There’s a note of raisins with a sweetness that starts at the middle and lingers until long after I swallow… still buttery and smooth.
3rd steep: Still getting the baked good/yeasted waffle scent, but now I’m picking up a bit of creaminess along with it… like I’ve thrown a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top of my baked treat. Hello yummy! Yeasted waffle dusted with powdered sugar, topped with whipped cream…now throw in a bit of spiced raisin. This tea is unreal; I’ve never had anything like it before…
I’ll stop now, since I could go on forever…. This is fantastic.
For some reason I haven’t been drinking a lot of puerhs lately. It’s not often I break out a shu and even less often I break out a sheng, even though I have two boxes of each. I should really remedy that situation! One reason is for this oversight is I usually drink puerh tea in the afternoons, but lately I haven’t been drinking any caffeinated teas after noon. However, today I have my first writing class tonight and I thought it would be beneficial to be more alert than I normally am… ;-)
I did several steeps of this in my yixing teapot. I’m getting some interesting notes that remind me a bit of coffee or bittersweet chocolate. I recall I liked this cake a lot when I first tried it, and it still seems really good to me. I gave up on wanting more after the 4th steep but I’m glad I revisited this.
I ordered a 357g cake of this, and boy am I impressed.
It’s actually a rather subtle and complex mouthfull, with hints of flowers, peach skin, and an ever so slight grassiness. Of course, being a young pu-erh, there’s plenty of astringency too. However, it’s far from overwhelming and is balanced by a faint smokiness.
The leaves were very loose around the edge of the cake, so I was able to use nothing but my hands for the first taste.
The spent leaves are full and luscious.
Worth the money and then some.
Flavors: Astringent, Flowers, Peach, Pleasantly Sour, Smoke