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Recent Tasting Notes
This is an interesting one. It’s still young and has quite a bite at the end of the sip, but it’s also creamy and thick, and has a very interesting sweetness lurking about. Wasn’t expecting that!
I’m really liking this, but I think I need to pick up some older shengs. I already have quite a few young’uns around and maybe I need to expand my horizons!
I became aware of this fine tea through tea notes written by Hobbes a few years ago. Vibrant and fresh aroma from the wet leaf. Nice whole leaves. Clear deep yellow tea soup. Mild and smooth taste with a definite mushroom note. An appealing understated complexity which continued to evolve throughout the tea session. The tea liquor coats the mouth and provides a nice lingering aftertaste. Lots of staying power with these leaves. I rinsed twice and then started flash brewing – enjoyed 10 steeps and it definitely has more to give. I am very happy with this tea and glad that I was successful in tracking down this interesting tea with almost ten years of age on it.
I ordered a few of these with my order a while back. I love rice pu-erh. Speaking of things found in pu-erh….Should I mention the five inch long hair inside the paper wrapper around the pu-erh? Erm. Ah well, boiling water anyway. This tuocha is actually small unless I’m accustomed to using way too much pu-erh. The flavor is very deep and the cup is very dark (enough leaf anyway!), but there were only really hints of the rice flavor. I’ve tried a really nice one before that had a ton of sweet rice that was almost like kettle corn in every steep. Not a bad tea, but I couldn’t really get that hair out of my mind of course.
Steep #1 // just boiled // rinse // 2 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Tea #3 from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB
(Note: This is a long review since this is the first puerh I’ve really honestly tried, so I’m rambling quite a bit while I figure it all out. Apologies beforehand.)
So let me start out by saying that I know nothing about puerh (despite reading most everything here on the discussions) other than it’s something that I want to try some day because nearly everyone seems so into it. I’ve had an awful experience with a Chocolate Orange Puerh (DavidsTea I think) and an nearly equally bad experience with a sheng puerh (also DavidsTea come to think about it), but I chalked it up to (then at least) knowing even less than nothing about puerh. Lol! But the experiences have definitely made me rather gun shy about delving into it again.
Months later I’m starting to consider dabbling in it once more (I just got Mandala’s Ripe sampler), because come on, it’s just tea, stop being a coward. And since this box came with a handful of puerh samples, I set them aside for dubious (and slightly almost distrustful if I’m being honest) consideration. Closed my eyes and grabbed one as my next tea and this one came up. Probly not exactly the smartest choice since I couldn’t find anything on how to brew this aside from KiwiDelight’s gaiwan gongfu session. And since I’m being a coward about using the (/hides/) 4 assorted gaiwans I now own (don’t judge. They have the benefit of being pretty. >>;), I just ended up using my brew basket.
So I faked it and kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t send me flailing away from ever wanting to try puerh again.
1st steeping – 6g/8oz/30s – (measured on my scale but which was about 3 small-ish chunks) dropped in the basket. I can’t resist saying that the pieces kinda looked kinda like the clods of dried grass I’d pry off my shoes after cutting the grass the day before, back in my younger days when I still had to cut the grass. XD;
Nearly every brewing session/review I’ve read rinses first, so I brought the water to a boil(ish), poured while counting to 5, pulled the basket and eyed the liquid. I didn’t drink it (though I’ve read people doing that just to see), I probably should have just because why not, but I didn’t. Just sniffed it before dumping it out. It smelled earthy and slightly mushroomy and kinda spicy almost. Not at all the fishy smell I was fearing.
So I did a 30s brew on this, pulled the basket and wasn’t too surprised to see that, while there were loose leaves, there was still bigger chunks stuck together. The brew is surprisingly dark (dark clearish amber) and the smell is mushrooms and earth (and if I’m being honest very slightly fishy, but clean and not sour, turn-your-stomach rotten sort of fishy). I have to say that I hesitated big before taking a sip. What if it tasted fishy or rotten or any of the other ‘ugh’ stories about puerh I’ve heard? But I told myself to get it over with coward, and took a sip.
Wow. Earthy and mushroom-y (which is super odd, but at least I like mushrooms, though possibly not as tea) and, after a moment and a second sip, holy cats, chocolate. Dark, kinda bittersweet chocolate. But there none-the-less. Which, despite drinking teas with apparently chocolate notes, I’ve never really been able to figure it out. This note is fleeting and doesn’t really linger, but it’s there for me. It is a bit astringent the longer I sit and sip at it. And my tongue is kinda tingly too. (is that normal or did I find another weird quirk for me?)
2nd steeping – 45s – Wow. I thought the first brew was dark, this one is even darker. Reddish brown instead of amber brown. Same sort of mushroom-y smell. Same sort of taste as the first brew though I’m not really finding that chocolate note in there this time. Just the mushroom and a bit of earth.
3rd steeping – 1min – I think I should’ve tried this first this morning since it just keeps going and I’m getting the urge to want to try something else. But I’ll stick it out. Same smell on this one but taste wise it had an unpleasant metallic tone to it. I actually ended up pouring this one out after a few game sips because I couldn’t get past that taste. Ugh.
4th steeping – 1min 15sec – Last one because I’m pretty tired of drinking this already. Lol! I’m pretty sure it could go for another few rounds still since when I poured the water in, it turned dark almost immediately. Brew has gained a sort of roasted mushroom smell now along with the earth. Metallic taste is gone (or almost, I can kinda taste it lurking in the back) and this is drinkable once more. Huh.
So an interesting experience for this. Good, but interesting. Lol! Definitely a type of tea to start first thing and expect to drink all day, or else set aside for the next day/later. I’m wondering if this tea might be better with multiple short steeps instead of adding time each steeping. I snuck a taste on the 4th steeping at the 30sec mark and it was pretty tasty. Better than I think the end 1min 15sec steeping turned out. Honestly the very first steeping has to be my favorite out of all of these. If I were so inclined, I might try this one again with just straight 30sec steepings the whole way, but I’m not so inclined since this has to go back into the box so the next person to try. Lol! I might (one day) just buy this from puerhshop myself since I guess I can always store it away if I get tired of it, right? Probably the bottom cabinet of my curio cabinet would be best, though I have no idea if that’d be a good place for it honestly.
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.
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.