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Recent Tasting Notes
Hello fellow steepsters! According to my tasting notes, it’s been two years since I’ve been on this site… such a long time. I look forward to catching up with y’all as I start adding tasting notes again and become more active on the site.
Right now, I’m sitting in SoCal, watching the marine layer recede from the sky through my window. All morning I have been enjoying Seven Cups’ Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle) 2014 Organic White Tea. I am steeping the leaves in one of these cool tea jars where you let the leaves steep in the jar and the strainer at the top keeps the leaves from getting into your mouth.
WHAT!? You might say. The tea leaves just sitting there forever and ever? Don’t they get bitter, especially since it’s a white tea?
Actually, contrary to popular belief, a truly good Chinese green/white tea will never get bitter, no matter what you do to it. And, pleasure be mine, this tea has held up to that standard. I allow the leaves to steep in the jar for extended amounts of time, and the brew does not get even remotely bitter.
The first steeping graced my mouth with a medium-light body and notes of toasted cashew and pumpkin seed. Hints of peach pie also come through.
Second steep: body is maintained, notes of nutmeg and tree nuts.
Third steep: flavor is holding up extremely well, even though the mouth feel becomes lighter.
Residual: mostly whole, delicate tea buds, about 30% broken buds, which is more than what I’m used to coming from Seven Cups.
Overall, I enjoyed this tea very much. It’s the first time I’ve tried it since they changed their source and cultivar to Zheng He from Fuding. It’s not quite as buttery as it used to be, and the buds seem more delicate (they break more easily), but it’s still very good and worth the price I paid for it!
Happy tea drinking!
I very much enjoyed my first true pu-erh experience, as I have never before encountered an actual brick like I found in this packet. I was intimidated and afraid that I was doing it wrong, but I think I did fine. The nutty and toasted aroma had me expecting another warming, full-bodied tea, so I was pleasantly surprised by the mineral note in the body. The recess of sweetness really rounded out the flavor profile for me, and I find this to be a refreshing warm-weather tea. Very enjoyable and easy to drink. 7.5/10
A very delicate and interesting tea. The first stepping produced a roasted quality, reminding me of a hoji-cha style, which mellowed to a gentle sweetness in subsequent resteeps. Therewas a presence of mild tannins throughout, which surprised me because I am so used to tannins fading after the first steeping. Overall a decent tea, would have liked a little more fullness in the body and flavors. 6.5/10
Let’s be honest, I LOVE oolong, and oolong like this Li Li Xiang is exactly why.
The initial aroma of the dry leaves is sweet and peachy with hints of vanilla and floral. The wet leaves smell of dessert with just such aromas. I used this funky little travel gaiwan I recently got on a whim. The appeal of this piece is that it requires no additional equipment and not really a gongfu table or mat either. It has a little dam built over the inner lip on one side with holes poked into it to hold the leaves back while the water pours through them and off the spout on the other side. The lid of the gaiwan is the cup you drink from and holds all the tea at once so you don’t have to worry about oversteeping. You do, however have to start pouring about 10-15 seconds before your infusion is over or you might oversteep. It takes a bit of time to strain the water through the leaves.
This is my first time really using this gaiwan, but it worked wonderfully for this tea. The first infusion smells floral and fruity and the taste is of vanilla, floral and peach or apricot. Lots and lots of hui gan (recurring cooling sensation).
Steeping number two has a more heady floral flavor with a bit of tanginess and undertones of apricot or peach and seriously, that hui gan is immense! It really lingers in your mouth.
The flavor profile or this oolong is really reminding me of the Shan Lin Xi that came out in an earlier month this year in Steepster Select, though where they differ is that this one seems a bit more fruity where the Shan Lin Xi is more foresty and floral. They both offer a surprisingly bright and light bouquet that is very spring-like. The fruity and creamy tones make me recall a Jin Xuan that I have that’s grown on Mt. Dong Ding.
Really this is a wonderful tea that seems to cover a middle ground between some of my favorite oolong. I really recommend it!
Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Flowers, Peach, Vanilla
Despite the reviews I read claiming this tea to be “salty” and harsh, I actually find it to be quite clean and subtle. This is my first encounter with a bird’s nest pu-erh, and I hope it won’t be my last.
Flavors: Apricot, Flowers, Seaweed
I adore the little bird nests, and GREEN is so true in this case. Happy little green bird nests. I did two steeps. First one better than the second, which is pretty normal, right? EASY to oversteep, so watch yo self. Not my favorite puerh, probably wouldn’t drink it again if given the choice of a puerh lineup. But it wasn’t disgusting by any means.
The look of this mini toucha is adorable. After an initial rinse, I steeped for 10 seconds and got a very bitter brew. I think this may be because in the course of trying to hold the gaiwan lid tight so that the tiny pieces wouldn’t come through, it took about 20 seconds total to pour. I softened it with some extra water. The leaves smell very oceany and vegetal, while the liquor smells smoky, slightly floral. In the liquor scent, I’m reminded of my aunt’s house growing up… dogs, cigarettes, and leather… they were farmers. Might sound odd, but it’s all coming back to me now. (duh-duh-duh dun dun duuun)
The tea tastes mineral, green, vegetal. By the second steep I’m getting more sweetness, but still rather bitter in the finish. Third steep is pretty mineral and oceany, still somewhat bitter, a little less sweet, kind of tart with a subtle pear-like note. Fourth steeping, still very mineral, green, oceany. That bitterness is killing me though. I’m beginning to think this tea needs special parameters outside my normal Puerh steeping guidelines. By the fifth steeping I’m kind off worn out on it. Mostly just tasting mineral and bitter.
Anyone feel free to reply to my review with brewing tips if you think I screwed up. I brewed this tea 10 seconds, 20, 30, etc. I’m going to not rate this tea because my rating would be very low and I don’t particularly want to taint the results not knowing if I just brewed it wrong myself.
Flavors: Metallic, Mineral, Ocean Breeze, Seaweed
Cute little Pu-erh individual piece wrapped nicely. The leaves pressed together are forest green colored.
This liquor does not smell the greatest to me. Then it smelled o.k.
The flavor is all bitter, no other flavors.
I love Seven Cups and have had some wonderful teas from them so I am wondering if I brewed this incorrectly.
From the Steepster Select Box, April 2014
Learning about puerh tea lots more now. The first time I tried this, I was unaware that it was sheng and very young.
I removed my other baby cake / toucha from the sealed pouch and am gonna let him age a bit before trying again :)
I burned myself out on Oolongs and had been staying away from them and trying other types of teas. This one was a good one to come back to Oolongs with!
Very delicious with floral notes but they are creamy fruit tree florals like peach and apricot.
There is a wonderful balance to those florals of a delicious vanilla wafer or other vanilla pastry. So this is like a light peach and apricot dessert, not too sweet though, subtle flavors. Lovely.
From the Steepster Select Box, April 2014
Second Steeping — 2 minutes and now that the rolled balls have opened up a bit, the liquor is a deeper golden champagne color and the leaves are pretty big leaves so they are more mature. Tastes a little more of the Tie Guan with those notes of floral and heaviness to the stomach. I have to drink just one cup of Tie Guan type teas because they are heavy on my stomach but very good flavors.
Flavors: Apricot, Fruit Tree Flowers, Peach
This tea is, as the provided description states, very earthy. It reminds me of the ocean and feels like I’m drinking the sea! Very mineral-like. Slightly floral. For some reason it tastes like I’m drinking what would be liquid ocean sand… but in a good way! Slight trace of bitterness, but nothing too noticeable to complain about.:) The only complaint I would have is the leaves themselves. They broke off into really tiny pieces, and even with the bag sealed, a lot of floaty pieces escaped into my tea. I know this isn’t something that is fixable, it’s just how the leaves are with this tea. Overall the taste is very good, earthy, wet, and enjoyable.
Flavors: Earth, Flowers, Mineral, Sand, Seaweed