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Recent Tasting Notes
From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Brewed with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the leaf two 5-second rinses and let it rest for 10 minutes. Steeping times: 15, 10, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50; 2 minutes, 4, 8, 20.
Dry leaf smells of chocolate and leather. In heated gaiwan bowl, of hot cocoa and sticky rice. The wet leaf aroma changes: begins with sticky rice, then evolves to prunes, then to a chocolate-fruit note reminded me of those dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds.
This is originally from the regular pu’erh TTB, added by Rich. Having written the only other review, he commented on how bitter this shou was he tried it around a year ago. I think this is aged OK. While there was an under-note of bitterness until the seventh cup, this tastes nicely sweet and chocolately.
The soup is clear dark orange-red, clean-looking. The first cup is sour, with some fermentation, but tastes of chocolate just a little. Following the second cup, the sweetness and the chocolate note strengthen. They reach a plateau with the seventh cup and continue to be present at the last cup. From the eighth cup to the end, I can also taste fresh cedar wood.
The soup is full-bodied but feels light. Not a rich shou. Easier on the stomach, too (also in his review, Rich commented he got a stomach-ache). To get a better sense of an unbiased session, I should have used a porcelain cup, but I wanted to use a ruyao cup, which affected the soup in that it was creamy and very smooth.
Wow, this tea while steeping smells super sweet. Almost like a chocolate. The first steep, I went 30 seconds and I think I could have let it go to 1 min but it still has a nice malty flavor to it. I am picking up a very slight green grass bitterness to it but not in an off putting way. Bittersweet, perhaps? I let my son have a sipper and he enjoyed it.
Second steep at 45 sec and I’m getting a bit of a citrusy note alongside the malt.
3rd steep at 1:30. No bitterness here, seems to have steeped out. A very smooth and delicious tea is left behind. Thick, rich mouth-feel and a satisfying slurp.
4th steep at 2:15. Yup, still delicious. This tea isn’t missing a beat. I’m not exactly paying the closest of attention to it but it is still performing enough to grab my attention.
5th steep at 4 minutes. Still getting really good flavor from this tea. More than I would have expected. It’s very impressive.
Speaking of not paying attention, 6th steep, 15 minutes. Haha. I do believe I have extracted the last of this tasty treat. Even the last steep of 15 minutes was flavorful and smooth.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Malt
This tea is a little sweet, but the aftertaste of that sweetness sort of reminds me of wheatgrass. While it’s hot it’s quite good, but as it cools that aftertaste becomes more pronounce although I may just be using too much tea in each steeping. None the less, it’s a good tea that I keep in stock at home. The dried leaves have an aroma of dried apples that actually carries over to the tea a bit.
Note: The seller ShopStreet88 also goes by GoShopStreet and GOARTEA on eBay and they are a phenomenal tea seller! Highly recommend them. I’ve branched out, but much of my early tea exploration started with huge sample buys from this seller.
Flavors: Apple, Licorice
Bought this pair of bricks a few weeks ago and just got around to trying it. It was fairly loosely compressed. My first impression was that these were low quality leaves. However that taste says something different. There was a faint hint of wet wood or wet storage in only the first steep. After that it was just a delightful sweet, ripe puerh tea. I think you could say there were some notes of chocolate in there. You could even argue it developed a fruity taste in later steeps. The biggest thing I noticed about this tea was the fermentation taste, or general lack of it. There was a little. It has not cleared 100%. But it is closer than anything else I’ve drank lately. There’s very little doubt in my mind that Streetshop88 is telling the truth about this tea’s age. This tea also lasted quite well. I steeped this thing fourteen times and could have gotten more out of the leaves. The tea soup was just starting to lighten at fourteen steeps. I’d say it was pretty dark into the tenth steep at least. I did use a lot of tea on this one, slightly more than my usual.
I steeped this tea fourteen times in a 110ml yixing teapot with 10.1g 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, 2 min, 2.5 min, and 3 min. This tea was really good for the price. You can’t go wrong with this one. It tastes really good and the price was quite low. Plus, it infuses quite a lot.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Sweet
I purchased this tea from a local coffee/tea shop in the heart of downtown Canton, Ohio. My wife ordered a few bricks and cakes from Yunnan Sourcing, but I was too eager to try a pu-erh “the right way.” So, I went to this shop, where I knew I’d find bricks of tea, and bought one.
I’m currently on my fourth steep (after two quick rinses) and it’s a solid tea. From the research that I’ve done, pu-erh can go through this process quite a lot. Which is nice, since I enjoy having a tea that can be re-steeped abundantly. However, with this tea, the fourth steep is just as solid as the first; I can see myself drinking this chunk of tea for a long time today.
Anyway, the tea reminds me of a nice hike in the woods. It’s earthy the way a pu-erh ought to be…There’s a flavor that is left on the back of the tongue that I can’t quite think of, but it’s smooth going down. The tea is rich, earthy, smooth, and has me longing for a good hike!
(Side Note: I did two rinses before serving the tea. I did two 15-20 second rinses. I started with a 30 second rinse, and added 30 seconds after that to each steep. I’m not sure if that’s “the right way,” but it works for me.)
Here’s a short video that I shot after purchasing the tea. I’ll post a follow up video!
Flavors: Earth, Wood
First note for this tea, and it’s a sipdown!
I think I got this as a swap from Ubacat. This is a very nice moonlight tea, with fruity and floral notes, and it resteeps extremely well, even with my bullshit bastard gong-fu style that I use when I’m at work.
I got about 2 big helpings from the sample that Uba sent. The leaves are large and fragrant, with an earthy sweet smell. Glad I got a chance to try this.
This tea has the deep golden color of a tea that has just started to age. It, however, has not lost it’s sweetness. It was very sweet as sheng goes with notes of apricots and stonefruits. That being said this was a complex tea. There were some notes of camphor in there and definite notes of spice. The spice notes could be a storage note but I am unsure. This tea also had an incredible feeling in the back of the throat as I drank it. I don’t know if that is huigan. This tea had what you could call a very strong mouth feel. As for qi I am admittedly starting to feel relaxed but the word tea drunk doesn’t come into the picture for me very often so I wouldn’t go that far in describing it’s qi. The notes of spice were the most persistent although not strong. I can taste the spicy note even in the eighth steep. Overall I have to compare this tea to some of the best I have had. I imagine if Misty Peaks had notes of camphor and spice it would taste like this. This was an excellent tea. It is said to be ancient tree, I cannot confirm this although the tea is good enough for this claim to be true. I do, however, take claims by Streetshop88 with a grain of salt. They have sold me some excellent tea over the past two years but I also think they lied about a tea they claimed was from 1997. At least I think they lied about the storage of it. It had wet stored taste but they claimed it was dry stored. I did, however really enjoy this tea. It is not an overpriced tea at $27.98 for 200g. It’s not super cheap but by no means expensive. I bought it a while ago and am just getting around to trying it today.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9.1g leaf and 200 degree 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. The tea was not weak at eight steeps. I think it would probably have gone at least another six or more steeps with longer infusions.
Flavors: Apricot, Camphor, Spicy, Stonefruits, Sweet
The cake smells smoky.
6sec and rinse. 100ºC
10sec 96ºC — Clear orange infusion. It smells less smoky (really low). It’s smooth, sweet. No bitter. some sweetness. Really soft.
20sec 100ºC — As the last brew. No bitterness, sweet and soft brew.
I will continue brewing it at night, but at the moment is the best sheng i have tasted and also (if it’s true that is a 2006 sheng) the oldest.
Flavors: Smooth, Sweet
2002 Top Aged Yunnan CNNP 7542 Zhong Cha (raw)
Price:100g £8.95 ($13.98).
7g in Gaiwan.
Summary: This tea has an interesting aged taste, and has good longevity. Looking at the wet leaves I cannot see any black leaves, which leaves me to believe its age.
Dry: Dark brown; medium compression; dry dusty aroma.
Wet: Light porridge sweetness, dust, then hot fruit. Faint church-like aroma.
5s – Light brown. Woody-creamy. An aged flavour.
10s – Slight bitterness on the swallow contrasts with the mild woody-creamy body. Taste is smooth and interesting.
15s – More of the same.
20s – Some sourness, but still have that aged taste.
Flavors: Creamy, Wood
Dry leaf has a light musty aroma.
Wet leaf after rinse has a nice aged aroma.
First infusions tasted fine. Somewhat Light body but decent aged flavor.
Wet leaves are a mix of dark brown and olive green. small, broken leaves.
In my experience, this tea does not have the vitality, the oomph, the special character that good puer can have.
Its nothing like the 92 da ye loose leaf sheng from essence of tea, for example.
I keep returning to the conclusion that its more cost effective and satisfying to buy premium tea from well curated selections by reputable vendors than to hunt for bargains.
If I didn’t know the source I’d say I had drank a different tea than Rich. I wasn’t blown away by this tea. I definitely don’t think it was dry stored. There was a strong note of wet wood in this tea. This note usually means wet storage. This could still be a wet stored tea from 1997. This wet storage taste never completely went away, even in the tenth steep. I did not find any fruity notes like Rich did. I found mildly sour notes instead. There was indeed little bitterness to this tea and the sour notes could be the tea trying to age. I think there is an equal chance that this is a much younger tea than 1997 and wet stored. I don’t know enough about judging the difference in the tea liquid to be sure though. Younger. humid stored tea has a look similar to aged raw puerh. It would also have the notes of wet wood that were so prevalent in this tea.
I brewed this tea ten 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, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
Flavors: Sour, Wet Wood
I was blown away by this tea. I don’t say that lightly, and I’ve already purchased 2 cakes just in case they get snapped up! This is the kind of tea I have been looking for, for a long time. First, I will say that to me this seems like the real deal, i.e. not a fake. I only purchased a sample, though, so I haven’t seen the wrapper. It is nearly 20 years old. I have wanted to try a non-humid stored aged tea that wasn’t hundreds of dollars, and this one fit the bill at $75 for a cake ($20 for a sample).
The tea looked like a shu, which of course it should being that old. The first steep poured a dark brown cola color. I thought, yay! This is going to be good, it is really aged. And wow, the flavor was amazing. It had the deepness of a shu, but was quite fruity, as you might expect in a Yiwu. There were no off flavors, so I suspect the storage was excellent. The first several steeps were very complex, with an amazing huigan. My wife kept saying she felt like there was an explosion in her mouth. It had that astringency and cooling methol type effect. It had flavors of fruit, a little earthy-ness, a very slight mushroomy-ness, and others I just don’t know how to characterize. I feel like this is why people go so hard for a good aged pu erh. Now I get it more fully. The tea lasted so long, I lost count of the infusions. My belly was making sounds like ocean waves, so I definitely had quite a bit. I had to stop, though the tea hadn’t given up all of its flavor. The fruitiness and huigan came more to the fore in the later steeps.
All I can say is, if you want to know what a good dry-stored aged pu erh tastes like, GET SOME OF THIS TEA. Now that I have raved about it, I hope it doesn’t disappoint. You know how that can happen. I looked so long to find a tea that was aged well and not super expensive. I would highly recommend this tea as an example of where your pu erh may be headed in the decades to come… if we live long enough to see the day!
Brewed western style. This is definitely one of the sweetest straight black teas I’ve ever had. It comes through in both the taste and the smell. Mildly malty, and smooth. I got almost a chocolatey vibe off of this one. The gran, who can’t tell the difference from one tea to another took a sip, and remarked on the sweetness as well which says something to me. Nothing harsh, with but a hint of spice as I continue the cup. This is one that I think I’ll pick up some time. Also, on my second steep, I added just a couple drops of vanilla extract to, and oh man, that’s so good!
I’ve been enjoying shopping for treasures at Streetshop88. I went hunting for ripes recently, looking for cakes under $20. To me, that’s my risk appetite for a cake that I haven’t sampled. This one was $20. It’s quite good. Fairly smooth, medium body, dark, with bittersweet chocolate notes. I caught some fruit in a couple of early steeps. The cake looks nice, you can see the golden buds. A good quality cake and I’m glad to have it!
I have bought a number of solid ripes from Streetshop88. I decided to give one of their aged raws a shot. This is a middle aged 7542 that sells for $33 a cake, so I had my doubts. That’s not much more than a new 7542 after all. Well, as far as I can tell, this is the real deal. It brewed a nice bronze color. The broth was clear, the leaves were in good shape, and I was able to get lots of flavorful infusions, as you’d expect from this tea. There was no humid storage flavors. It tasted its age. This is probably the best bargain I’ve seen for a quality factory tea that is more than 10 years old.
One mighty fine earthy pu’er here.
This tea brews dark and strong. The aroma is not distinctive from other pu’er teas though. Really enjoyable taste for a strong shou but it is a bit dry. The steeping on this is much easier because it doesn’t take much to break up the leaf for a nice clean steep. Most appealing to this tea is the color and the pure earthy taste that comes with every sip. If it wasn’t for the dry mouth feel after a sip this would be fantastic. It isn’t impossible for a strong shou to be earthy and leave a semi honey like flavor in the mouth after which would be more appealing, this one just leaves a dry earth instead of wet earth after taste.
More Streetshop88! On my last order, I asked my wife to choose a tea based on how she felt about looking at it. Sort of an ESP kind of thing. This is the one she chose. I ordered a cake knowing nothing about it. It turned out to be a pretty good tea. It is very light in flavor, but quite smooth. The cake is really nice, it has a pretty wrapper which uses very thick high quality paper. I like that. The leaf quality is very good, big leaves. The soup is medium brown, no fermentation flavor. There is not much complexity, but it feels nice and my wife likes it. If you’re looking for a light safe non earthy ripe pu erh to try, I think this is a good one. Anyone know what company this is from the picture?
I bought a sample of this tea with low expectations: a ripe cake that purports to be both organic and from LaoManE? I had my doubts. But I thought I’d give it a shot, I’m the curious type and I couldn’t resist. As for being organic, who knows. Probably not, as we all suspect the organic label on Chinese tea is often not for real, and in fact, I don’t see the word organic on the picture of the label. But as for being from LaoManE, it very well may be. The tea is interesting, and quite bitter. The kind of bitterness you would expect from a LaoManE tea. And it is interesting to taste this level of bitterness in a ripe pu erh. I wonder whether the bitterness will age out, or if it should already have been aged out since the tea has been fermented into a ripe? Underneath the bitterness is a smoothness, if that makes sense, and a hint of that plum flavor and earthiness, though these other flavors are hard to detect because of all the bitterness. It is hurting my stomach like a young sheng. I may buy a cake of this just to see what happens to it. Maybe I’ll stick the rest of this sample into the Pu-erh Traveling Tea Box for this round to see how others like it. You can, of course, buy a reasonably priced sample from Streetshop88 like I did.
It had been quite a while since I last drank this tea. Rich expressed an interest in it but I could not give an opinion because it had been too long since I drank it. This tea is good. It has a lot of flavor. I thought it might have lost flavor in nearly two years of Long Island storage but it doesn’t seem to have lost flavor. There was a moderate amount of fermentation to this tea. More than I remembered actually. However, this went away by the fourth steep. This tea started as a fairly bittersweet tea. It had a fair amount of natural sweetness to it (not meaning sugar sweet) and a fair amount of bitterness. The bitterness went away and I was left with a tasty, somewhat sweet ripe puerh. I steeped this tea eight times and I think it would have gone twelve steeps had I not had enough caffeine already.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 170ml teapot with 10g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse then let the leaves rest for ten minutes. I know more time is recommended to let the leaves open up but I didn’t have the patience to wait any longer. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Sweet