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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m currently bowl steeping this, but I had the pleasure of a gongfu session with this tea on Lunar New Year a couple nights ago with some friends. I will do my best to sum up my thoughts on how it tastes both styles.
Really the biggest difference is that the continuous steep brings out a much stronger flavor. The taste of the gongfu infusions was not remarkably different from one to the next. Also, the tangerine taste comes through much more strongly with the long infusion than with the gongfu infusions, which may be a consideration for how you wish to brew it. I am brewing this with pieces of the tangerine rind in it as well, and I recommend you do it this way to get the full effect of this tea’s character.
Really the tangerine comes through strongest in the aroma, where it really smells like a fresh tangerine peel, despite being aged and oxidized until it’s entirely dark brown. In the flavor it comes through mildly and a bit tart with the gongfu infusions, more as a backdrop to the very forward flavor of the shou, which predominantly tastes like cedar and earth. When bowl steeping this, the tangerine flavor is much more tart and involved, and the first few sips of this tea had an almost meaty flavor that reminded me of smoked salmon with a squeeze of lemon. This Puer lacks sweetness, though I don’t find that it suffers from this. I think this could be good with sugar in it for people who like sweet tea. I tend to just drink things straight these days.
This is not a tea I will likely buy again, as I find it lacks the complexity and nuance of unflavored higher quality shou Puer, but this was a curio and a fun experiment to try for the first time, and I thought it fitting to serve to some friends as a part of a tea spread for Lunar New Year, since small citruses are a very common symbol of the holiday.
Flavors: Cedar, Citrus, Earth, Meat, Smoke, Tart
This was a free sample sent some time back with a previous order. A nice, smooth shu with a distinct malty sweetness & balanced the earthy flavors. Malt is new to me in a ripe pu-erh & I liked it. No fermentation flavors here at all. The first five or so steeps brewed dark, with good mouth feel & some coating oils. After that, it started to fall off & the flavors gradually tapered to a mellow earthiness by steep 8-10. I would have liked it to hold out a little longer. It seems the ‘06 is gone & puerhshop.com is now carrying the ’07. Maybe I’ll add a bing/sample to my next order.
Flavors: Earth, Malt, Sweet
Another wishlist tea from dexter This seems to be a good every day sort of puerh which to me means, i don’t need to restock this because i want fantastic puerhs. I have every day blacks…when i have and take the time for puerh, i want it to be a great experience, not a decent one. That being said, there’s nothing fundementally wrong with this puerh. It’s smooth and offers slightly earthy notes (not strong) in the beginning and then tapers off to a smooth almost sweeter puerh in later steeps. this was good to kick off the morning, and i’m glad to have tried it. thanks dexter!
My nose could detect some fermentation on the rinse, but it has been clean tasting from the first steep. Tea brews a dark red-brown and has medium mouth feel. Not oily, but it does linger on the palate and has reasonable strength in the early steeps. Flavors are earthy/leathery, with some grain/cereal additions. This shu isn’t overly sweet, which I like.
Flavors: Earth, Grain, Leather
I normally steer clear of shou, but I have become curious to find clean and tasty options for a change of pace. I grabbed up this (free) sample from my stash hoping it would fit the bill on a cold and icy morning. So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The broken/separated dry leaf smelled sweet with a touch of earth and none of that nasty fishy/fermented stink. After a single hot rinse the earth was dominant in the pot, but not unpleasant . The first steep was immediately thick, dark and coated my mouth with soft cereal and earthy sweetness. I’ve steeped this sample 6-7 times so far and haven’t noticed much change except for a slight increase in sweetness over earth. If I had to say, this one might actually be a little too soft and uncomplicated even when given extended (2-3 mins) brew time. The strength of flavor doesn’t quite match up to the color, aroma, and mouth feel. Still, this leaf was enjoyable to my tastes and that is an achievement. I’m now hopeful there is a shou out there for me.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
A very nice brick. I rinse 3 X 5sec. each before starting to enjoy this heartwarming shu. I find it to be rich and creamy with nice depth. A 10 year old brick which is quite easy to pick apart and retrieve many whole leaves. I’ve enjoyed 6 thick syrupy cups this morning – rich, earthy aromas and smooth sweet flavors. This is listed on the PuerhShop website as 450g brick for $32.95; however, mine came as (2) 225g bricks in the package (making it very easy to split with another shu lover).
Just got around to spending a couple of steeps with this tea. Ripe wasn’t cutting it so I decided to whip this one out. Brews up thick and smooth. It is quite smokey but I don’t mind it.. purple tea often is.. not sure if it’s the way it’s processed or innate to the tea or both. None-the-less, it brews up a deep amber color, lots of viscosity and very smooth. Don’t find it astringent at all with short steeps. I do remember having tried it about 2 months ago and found it bitter. This time, not at all. Can’t imagine 2 months made the difference, it is probably that the first time I drank it, there were a lot of broken leaves and tea dust that had fallen off the edge of the cake. This time, I picked some carefully off the back.
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 wonderful thing about puerh is the amazing potential for change. I hadn’t taken this brick out for 9 months. The dry leaf is large and thin and somewhat “wet” although stored with the rest of my teas that are all fairly dry. The leaf comes off the brick in thin layers. The brew is thick and red and still quite unique but now the complex aroma is reflected in the taste – wet leaf, slightly cinnamony, dried fruit, nutmeg … or is it allspice, bark but all very subtle and integrated.
The amazing aspect of puerh is how often patience is surprisingly rewarded. It’s difficult to recommend (or not) or rate such a unique tea; so I’ll refrain from doing so – I’ll leave it to the adventuresome lovers of shu pu to decide.
Below, my original tasting note:
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?
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Butternut Squash, Cinnamon, Dates, Earth, Fig, Nutmeg, Peat Moss, Pumpkin, Wet wood