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Recent Tasting Notes
I believe this is my first experience with a Baotang tea. The quality of the material used in this cake is excellent. Baotang is a village in Mengsong township, Menghai. Apparently, in Baotang the trees are large & ancient, growing in biodiverse, organic gardens. Beautiful leaves produce a bright and clear gold tea soup with a crisp vegetal aroma and taste. Pleasant but not impressive at this point. Very soon the leaves open up and begin to produce a much more interesting cup of tea – increasingly thick in the mouth with a nice bitterness that turns into a pleasant lingering sweetness. Moving through five quick steepings, the cups become increasingly mellow and smooth. I was left with a lingering mouthfeel and a good mellow feeling. I like this tea!
Update: Seems to be enjoyable for 6 steepings and after that it fades.
Thanks for the sample Marzipan!
I really enjoyed drinking this tea all day at work. It is definitely my kind of young sheng. Bold, punchy, strong cha qi and nice pleasant bitterness to sweetness balance. Creamy and floral too. The only thing that would have made it more perfect is if it had some fruity notes and a little bit more sweetness. I enjoyed the heck out of it though and would happily drink it again some day!
I had a crazy busy day at work and I’m serious, the tea definitely helped me! I get like a calm energy from sheng sometimes that is super perfect for stressful days at work where I need to be energized but not jittery or overwhelmed. Very centering/balancing :)
I was a bit nervous drinking such a young sheng as I prefer a tea that isn’t too powerful. The initial two steeps surprised me by being mild and subtle, though with a strong, silky feel in the mouth. There was also a very strong cha qi
The dry leaves were very dark, almost black. Yet the tea was a light straw color. After a few steeps I noticed that the wet leaves are now green.
The power only became apparent later, as the 4th and 5th steeps were very strong and woody. I wound up shortening my steeps, which produced a very approachable tea. The dominant flavor is still wood, but it isn’t overpowering. By the 8th steep, the cha qi and taste are both still quite strong. Wood isn’t my favorite flavor, but this tea is otherwise very much to my taste: it was smooth and flavorful, with reasonable complexity. I suspect it might age well, given the power, but I can’t really predict that.
This is a very interesting pu. The first steep smells like a shu, but has the amber color of a sheng. The taste is a mix of shu and woody sheng. I’m not a big shu fan, but this is pretty good. The second steep has: less shu flavor; lots of smokiness. Powerful woody flavor. Smooth but very powerful. 4th steep: Moving back towards shu, but balanced on the edge with an aged sheng character as well.
The Tea Urchin web site says that this tea was stored as maocha for 5 years, the pressed and aged, which accounts for the shu flavors. I’m not going to give a numerical rating because I haven’t been enjoying shu lately and this tea leans in that direction, even though the Tea Urchin lists it as a sheng. I suspect that someone who enjoys shu might find this very interesting. I probably wouldn’t buy more, but I’m glad I bought the sample.
This tea is apparently no longer available, so I couldn’t post the description or photo from the web site.
Drinking this tea is a bit like taking a long journey. The trip starts out gently, with a mild floral taste, but then becomes woody and astringent (though not at all bitter). Around the 6th steep, a hint of cooked vegetables (peas) appears briefly, but the tea then becomes gentler, with a smooth straw/hay flavor.
I enjoyed all the various tastes, though the first was probably my favorite. I’m still enjoying it, though it’s running out of steam (at the point where my 3 gram sample has produced about 20-25 ounces of tea). My rating is a blend of all the different flavors: the best cup was probably a 91, and the worst about an 85.
This tea was somewhat disappointing. First, the “Silver buds” name is largely marketing. There are certainly buds, but not a high percentage (though that may be due to the luck of the sample). It may just be that my palate is not refined enough, but I don’t detect the brown sugar, honey, etc. in the description. I just taste a somewhat bitter wood, with a hint of anise that comes and goes. There is nothing bad about the tea, but it just doesn’t appeal to me.
I won’t pretend to judge the ability of this tea to age, but for everyday drinking, I found it rather ordinary.
I tend to prefer lighter, more elegant sheng, so it is possible that someone who likes more powerful teas would find this to their liking. I steeped at 200 degrees, then tried a session at 185, with similar results.
One of those teas that instantly knocks your socks off and I wasn’t wearing any to begin with. Used a thin walled gaiwan, rinse and 10 minute stroll to feed the birds then steeps of 30/30/30/30/40/40/40/50/50/60/60/70/70/90/115/130/145/160 and so on. Liquor was thick pouring and on the tongue, with flavors starting out floral and then turning sweet. Not a trace of astringency, a slight bitterness but you have to be paying attention. The spent large leaves are all whole and uniform and as I looked in my strainer not a piece of broken leaf to be found. A most amazing tea, will be buying the whole cake next time.
Ooooooh! Another sample from my Tea Urchin gift from Marzipan :D
I’ve never had a sheng quite like this one before. It reminds me of Silver Needle white, sort of hay like and a little sweet, with a floral shengy vibe, and mousse-like creaminess! I keep thinking of it as flower custard :D
Most young sheng is coarse and powerful. This one is elegant. I have trouble calling out specific flavors because the flavors are so well integrated, but straw and wood are obvious, with hints of flowers early and black pepper and anise in later steeps.
There is a lot of cha qi, so I’m getting very relaxed. The first two steeps had very little astringency or acidity, and no bitterness. Later steeps have some acid and astringency, but still only a hint of bitterness. The finish is excellent, and much of the complexity comes via the interaction of the finish with the aroma and taste.
I really like this tea. I have no idea how it will age, but it is really great for drinking right now. I got it as part of the recent Tea Urchin Sampler set.
Above standard raw puerh, has a soft dry sweetness with all the prerequisite flavors of hay, pine nut, kelp. Hui gan much in present with a solidness on the tongue and that seeping of sweet coming off the parotids. Used a gaiwan one rinse and a rest then steeps of 20/25/30/35/35/35/40/40/40/45/45 after that it became a blur, as I needed to do some chores around the house since the cha qi was coming on strong. The spent leaves were all uniform and quite green with flecks of brown.
This tea starts out with a light straw flavor with hints of spice, then gradually shifts to a more woody taste. Each steep is elegant and balanced, with some astringency but hardly any bitterness.
I’ve had the tea twice. In my notes from the first session, at 190 degrees, I raved about the cha qi. In the second session, at 200 degrees, my tasting notes were similar with respect to flavors, but I noticed only moderate cha qi. I’m not sure if this is due to the temperature or just my mental state at the time of the tasting.
I enjoyed this tea, but it didn’t excite me the way some teas do. At the price, I’m not sure it offers good value, though it seems that you really have to pay for Yiwu tea these days.
Like going from a steely Chablis to a refined Montrachet. Soft smooth buttery, lots of oak but there is one thing that Montrachet doesn’t have. Sweetness from the very 1st steep. I’ve never experienced this before probably cause I’ve never had a raw pu erh this old. It also has a gentle smoke, no astringency, and lasted forever. Used 7.5 gm in 100 ml gaiwan. I was all over the map with the steeps though, settling on 30 seconds to give a nice golden clear soup. This was added to my order as a sample from Tea Urchin and I thank them tremendously.
Having some really delicious sheng today while cleaning and prepping the house for thanksgiving. We are cooking for 11 people tonight! My husband is smoking a turkey, and we are making spicy collards, maple roasted Brussels sprouts, and dinner rolls. Oh and I made apple pie! My MIL is bringing scalloped corn and a pumpkin cake, and my mom is bringing fancy baked mashed potatoes with cream cheese in them (around here we call them party potatoes!)
Anyway I’m very thankful for all my wonderful steepster friends. Hope you all have a safe and warm holiday and tummies full of delicious food and of course TEA!
Just blissing out to some of the best Sheng on the planet and listening to some of my favorite music from 2014: Hiss Golden Messenger, Cloud Nothings, Alvvays, Mastersons, War on Drugs, Real Estate, Popstrangers, Future Islands, First-aid Kit, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Against Me and on and on.
As I ascend into the rarefied air of truly upper echelon shengs, I marvel at the power of the ancient wild tea leaf to concentrate such a variety of flavors (citrus, teak wood, soy, vanilla) and to release such a transforming energy that, in one sip, swept away the cold, rainy Monday morning and replaced it with my own little tea Utopia. This tea should come with a warning: do not attempt to operate a computer or motorized vehicle after drinking this tea. Do not shop for this tea under the influence; hundreds of dollars will disappear as you stockpile the 2013 version of this tea. It’s worse than going to whole foods when you’re starving.
Breaking this one out after the "Chairman"was a bit indecisive tonight. I received this courtesy of a tea friend to try. I read the vendors note and am fairly excited to try this one.
The sample I was sent had 7 grams so I brought out the Gaiwan on this one. I am trying to season a new Yixing and I was afraid it would soak up a lot of this teas character. The dry leaf has a pleasant fruity and flowery aroma to it. I gave it a quick rinse and then steeped it. a 5 second or so steep done 3 times and into a 10 oz. mug. This tea pits up a sharpness quality to it. A good mix of the bitter and sweet and a nice little tingle to it. To be a young sheng it really doesn’t carry the astringent quality of many young teas but it has a good strength to it. The sharpness from earlier in the note is how quick those notes arrive in the cup. Some teas take a while to “put it on you”, but this is a straight to the point one.
I am enjoying this pretty well but only one cup tonight as the day starts early tomorrow and I don’t want this to interfere with me counting sheep tonight.
Getting a little brown sugar and/or caramel notes as it cools a bit.
Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Floral, Fruity, Sweet
Breaking this out as the "Chairman’ has picked and ordered for destiny in my cup. This tea is loosely compressed out of the sample bag. A nice hay and clover aroma to it. I got out 10 grams for the Yixing to start with. Dry leaf very nice looking. gave it a 5 second wash to open it up. Wet lea has a nice floral aroma to it. Brew is a light yellow color. I did 2 quick steeps for the cup. It is a “mixed” bag. Some sweet some bitter but not overpowering in either category. It is more of a “soft” tea with a little tongue buzz but not punchy like a spring tea. I would guess this would be a very nice “starter” sheng to bring someone into puerh. As mentioned in earlier notes I think a Spring version would have a bit more strength and punch to it. A nice really easy drinking Sheng with none of the notes of a Spring tea. Aroma on this is really good and I quote another “Spring tea for the strength and Autumn for the aroma”.
A nice easy to drink Sheng that shouldn’t keep me awake too long after drinking. Relaxing and very mild one to have. Slight honey aftertaste.
Flavors: Bitter, Hay, Honey, Sweet
This cake is made from high quality leaves and the tea is very easy to drink (i.e. little to no bitterness or astringency). The leaves are whole and quite large. As the tea brews the aroma is buttery and sweet with a bit of hay thrown in. The tea liquor is very clear and is a lovely pale yellow-orange color. The flavor of the sip is also buttery and sweet with a warming freshness and a pleasant mouthfeel. This is a delicate and reflective tea to enjoy. I went through six very pleasant steeps today and will likely try it again tomorrow or the next day to see just how far I can take it. Some may find this tea a bit boring since it does not “knock your socks off” but I find it rather comforting.
This Yi Bang is a very nice tea! When I first started the session, I was not very impressed but by the fourth infusion the leaves had become magical. Beautiful whole leaves and the resulting clear bright liquor has a warm, smooth mouthfeel with soft, sweet notes. I’ve been through 12 infusions and the leaves continue to produce. I also prefer it in 200 degree water rather than boiling.
I can’t overstate the importance of tea urchin’s presence in the current tea landscape. Their shengs possess the most incredible energy and depth of flavor, which bespeaks the care with which the leaves are chosen and crafted into beautiful cakes. Read the reviews on their website; their devotees capture far better than I the intense experience of drinking them.