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Recent Tasting Notes
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 a lighter olive green. It’s highly fragrant…in a vegetal and medicinal kind of way. The brew has a vibrant golden hue.
It’s pungent in both flavor and qi. It has decent mouthfeel, good energy, and strong huigan. However, it isn’t as subtle or deep as the 2015 version from Yunnan Sourcing. Tasting notes include honeysuckle, steamed asparagus, raw almonds, honey, stewed edamame, and stir-fried mustard greens. This might be too vegetal for some.
Admittedly, this experience was unexpected as a low-priced tea from this vendor. The tea is consistently full-bodied, potent, very flavorful, and imparts 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
Took this to work with thoughts of drinking an aged sheng all day.
Rather surprised by the dark brew of this was while walking back to my desk. What I like about this tea is how long you can brew it to provide a stronger taste of old earth; in the sense of grassy earth and not dirt like earth, if you know what I mean.
A mild lingering taste in the mouth with an upfront sensation on the lips which is somewhat similar to mint. This is not the kind of sheng that I prefer, but I can appreciate how enjoyable this is for what it is. Ideally this would be an enjoyable sheng during the colder months because it does have a bit of warmth to it and I like that.
This is probably a great candidate to wet store because I can tell the earthy notes from this after time would become better and better.
I found this ripe bittersweet at the start with a fair amount of fermentation flavor. It was dark and rich in the early infusions with some notes of bittersweet chocolate in there. It pretty much lost its fermentation taste by the fifth infusion. In any case I don’t remember that taste being of the particularly unpleasant sort. Perhaps it has simply cleared enough that the taste wasn’t too bad. If so that is a bit of a miracle as this was dry stored in Michigan at Puerhshop. I just bought it but I know they have had it for a number of years. In any case I liked this tea. It was not in the phenomenal category of ripe puerh but was a good solid ripe puerh for a decent price. Puerhshop has in my opinion it’s problems but they are one of the few major sources of puerh on this side of the Rocky Mountains. They have a lousy return policy when something goes wrong. I was once sent a moldy tea. They made me ship it back to them. I don’t know if they were planning on selling it to someone else. Yunnan Sourcing would have never expected me to ship the tea back to them if they sent out something moldy. I wish Yunnan Sourcing would open up something on the east coast.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 10.4g 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. The leaves were not done but I had had enough puerh. I’m sure I could have gotten a few more steeps out of the leaves.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Sweet
This tea started out a little bit unpleasant tasting with the fermentation taste. It was also slightly bittersweet. It got progressively better though. It lost the unpleasant fermentation taste by the third steep and the fermentation taste completely by the sixth steep. It became a nice sweet ripe puerh with some of the classic notes involved, chocolate and dates I would venture to say. While this is not among the highest quality ripes in my opinion it is a nice solid tea. I liked this in the end, not so much in the first steep. It was very inexpensive at I believe only $24 for a cake. It had not cleared as much as you expect a 2005 ripe to have cleared but I enjoyed it.
I steeped this ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 10.4g 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. I could certainly have steeped it three or four more times had I wanted any more caffeine. This tea qualifies in the bargain category.
Flavors: Bitter, Dates, Earth, Sweet
I got a small sample of this with another order and decided to try it. This is a brick tea with low grade leaf, and not a ripe as it says in the title. In fact, if you read the description it says made from 2002 raw leaf which was aged and then either pressed or rewrapped in 2014. This is a heicha border tea, the dark leaves are oxidized and then fermented over time, along with raw, unoxidized leaf mixed in. The oxidizing may have been accidental, or the owner here didn’t know the difference.
The flavor is similar to other aged Tibetan brick heicha, with that Chinese medicine flavor. The leaves are large and papery, some are dark and stuck together a bit. Brew has a bit of thickness, and is a clear, dark orange/red. I don’t particularly care for the Chinese medicine/incense storage flavor, I can tell some camphor is part of it. In a way I’m curious whether I could work out that flavor but I have other such teas to use in an experiment. This tea is currently marked down to $16 or so for 250g.
Flavors: Camphor, Medicinal, Wood
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 shou 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 beeng/sample to my next order.
Flavors: Earth, Malt, Sweet