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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea is an old, stately gentlemen, sitting in front of a chessboard, telling long, winding tales of a time few remember anymore. You haven’t a hope of winning the chess match, you’re just using all of your clock and a lot of delaying maneuvers to hear more of what he has to say.
And as he declares checkmate on you, the garrulous fellow stops in mid-sentence and looks up at the sun, nearly fully set now. He seems ready to stand, but looks into your eyes and reads what’s there. A smile creeps over his face, and he begins to replace his pieces in the starting positions.
This is a sample I took from the puerh TTB. I used 7.8g in a 120mL gaiwan with boiling water. The dry leaf smelled smokey and a little leathery. Once rinsed, I got more smokey and peaty notes with hints of fruit. I also smelled a menthol aroma in there, but this never translated to the flavor of the tea for me.
The first three steeps were smoky and peaty…not in a totally off-putting way, but it wasn’t particularly good. Slightly sweet as well with some fruitiness and leather. Second steep saw a bit of bitterness enter the mix. If I had to pick one word to describe these early steeps, it would be “abrasive.” Just the texture mixed with the flavors was a little bit rough to my senses.
Over the next couple steeps, the smokiness dissipated a bit, becoming a more palatable woody note, still with light fruit notes in the background – plum or prune I’d say. The smoky peaty flavor is still there, but more in the background.
Steeps 6-10 were probably the best of the bunch. The sixth actually got a bit of a nice creamy texture going with some sweet fruitiness, though still retaining a bit of a rough edge. The next three were progressively smoother with sweet wood and fruity notes.
I gave it a couple more steeps at the end. These ones were back to being kind of rough, smoky…not too fabulous. The leaves were pretty chopped up – I don’t know if it was just my sample or the nature of this tea normally, so I’m not surprised it didn’t go any further.
I would guess this is a tea which needs more age on it. Steeps 7-10 seemed like they were a bit of a sneak preview into how this tea might taste in a further aged state. As it is right now, just too smokey and rough for me to enjoy a great deal.
Flavors: Fruity, Leather, Peat, Plums, Smoke, Wood
I initially thought I was going to be updating my first note, but not I noticed that I never uploaded that. I will put this current one and just edit it later with the original at the bottom for reference (when I find that note from over a year ago).
Dry – plummy and prune like with some mid-aged bittersweet wood and a musky sweetness (wee like). lol
Wet – Prunes for sure, dried fruit (aged), musky melon, bittersweet woody notes, some hints of dark richness.
Liquor – deep gold/light amber >> amber.
The initial steeps with woody-tangy fruit and the ‘prune’ sort of intensifies a bit with hints of medicinal notes, yet they are a lot cleaner than I would expect from the initial notes. There is some minor astringency, but the final sensation is oily and numbing.
The mid steeps are more woody and bittersweet in the front with a more definitive ‘prune’ and slightly more bitter to bittersweet woody note, yet it goes down smoothly. There is some slight astringency followed by a pleasant numbing sensation, but it becomes oily and thick in the finish.
The final steeps are smoother still, but they ‘prune’ taste is A LOT LESS fruity like and more like medicinal, think like Chinese aged fruits that have that mix of ‘fruit’ but then has a lingering bitterness than can be just as pleasant as unpleasant (to me it depends on the day and the tea, but I’ve had this before in other mid aged teas from EoT.
“You can know a man by the trees he selects,” said nobody ever.
My primary impression of Mr. Feng is that he is a man who enjoys a well-aged scotch. The robust, thick liquor that the tea produces is smoky, and the flavor lasts a long, LONG time. It will punish you if you oversteep, much as you might be punished (though more belatedly) if you don’t exercise prudence with your scotch.
Other reviewers have noted that they feel this will become better with more age, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s a rare case where I feel justified in stating that with several more years of quality storage, this will likely become a treasure.
As it stands now, it just tells us that Mr Feng likes his trees to be in it for the long haul.
Long overdue PU TTB review obligation.
The first two steeps are absolutely lovely. Leather, camphor, hint of menthol. You find yourself amazed at how much of a mellow aged flavor is present for a tea so relatively young, but then by the third steep, the bitterness comes out of nowhere, punches you in the face, steals your wallet, and leaves you on the ground in a dark alley thinking “I should have waited another ten years.”
First, let’s address the elephant in the room right up front. You know it’s wrong, I know it’s wrong, and it’s high time somebody was held accountable. I want to make it clear however, that while this happened to come up on an EoT review, they are far from the only offender. Tea Urchin has fallen prey to this. Yunnan Sourcing, at time of writing, offers four cakes and five pieces of teaware flaunting this inequality. It’s high time we demand change for this injustice!
I’m talking, of course, of the amazing prevalence of peacock cakes, especially it compares to the COMPLETE LACK of peahen cakes. Hell, I’d even settle for a peafowl cake. Throw the ladies a bone here, vendors. I thought gender equality issues, at least in the states, were getting solved. I defy any one of you to press a Peahen in 2017 and state loud and proud that you support equal rights for Phasianinae!
HI there, sorry I’m late to my own review, but the tea just wouldn’t quit. I left the radio dialed in to a talk station, hopefully they had something interesting to say.
This tea, if you will excuse the tortured simile, is a barbecue advertiser’s wet dream. It’s thick. It’s rich. It’s smoky. It’s bold. It’s every overused adjective for condiment manufacturers rolled up into one powerhouse of a package. I’m sipping in infusions 16 and 17 as I write this. They may not be quite as robust as the first 15, but the fifteenth was still lively enough to convince me the attempt was warranted, and that’s saying something.
In the early steeps, this tea is Smoky. I know they probably burn through a lot of unfiltereds during pressing and such, but Xiaguan probably called to ask how they got that much smoke in a tea. The truly impressive thing is that after one of two steeps, it manages to integrate nicely into a lovely overall flavor profile.
The soup is thick, and the flavors are long lasting. This is why your grandparents were always telling you they don’t make them like they used to. To get tea of this caliber today, I don’t even know what sort of immoral acts you’d have to commit to which Chinese government official. I dare not even contemplate it.
Still, despite its considerable highlights, it did not have the elusive “it” that would compel me to exhort all listeners to mortgage their homes and sell all their lesser teas to load up on this buy the jian. I’d happily drink it anytime… but I wouldn’t ecstatically drink it. I look for something ineffable in the very best teas, and this tea is totally effable.
Given that I’m never going to outdo that last sentence for sheer asinine potency, I think I’ve said enough.
looks/smells/tastes like Camelia taliensis, mostly buds. Never had taliensis gushu before, but taliensis is distinct for anyone who’s had it. You can try Hojo’s Feng Qing Wild White tea if you’re curious, its comparable to Secret Forest, but Secret Forest has much stronger aftertaste/flavors. Maybe because Secret Forest is a puerh not a white tea, its maocha and wasn’t steamed/pressed into cake, and its probably from an older tree.
Opened the bag and never smelled something so strong and pleasant. Aromas mirrored the flavor. Strong apricot, stone fruits, and I’ve found taliensis has a dankness almost like hops, can’t figure out how else to describe it. Sweet muscatel.
After one cup I got body massaging chaqi and my whole body covered in goosebumps, but it didn’t return. Energy then went to my head and stayed there the rest of the session. Later sessions I didn’t get any chi.
Lots of longevity. But the problem I’ve seen with taliensis is that it lacks complexity needed to keep it interesting through its longevity. After a while I move on to another tea.
Final thoughts: A session with this tea takes me through about 3 phases. Its like young sheng up front, a white tea in the middle, and finishes like a black tea or even oriental beauty. It oxidizes in a matter of hours in the gaiwan. So the length of each ‘phase’ depends how long you let it oxidize. Initial steeps are yellowish-green, progressively turning darker and darker until you’ve got dark amber liquor at the end of a session after maybe 2 hours.
Flavors: Apricot, Muscatel, Sugarcane, Sweet
From the Pu TTB:
Very clean for its age. Mineral, camphor, and cocoa notes. Slight apricot fruityness, fall leaves. I felt that this had a strong cha qi that I could feel as tingling across my forehead
Flavors: Apricot, Camphor, Cocoa, Dry Grass, Mineral
I’m not even going to attempt to justify or explain this.
Last night, I wasn’t feeling so great, so I took some laudanum* and lay myself down. In my dream, I saw this tea review appear before me, hundreds of lines long. When I awoke, I rushed to put it to paper, but before I could finish, a person from Porlock came to my door on business. By the time I’d ushered him out, I had lost the rest. So here is what I have of -
Qi Sheng Gu
A tea-dream. A fragment.
In Qi Sheng Gu did Nada-cha
Procure a most delicious tea
These tiny leaves, so fresh and raw
Were gathered up once Nada saw
And sailed across the sea.
This village, secret, none may know
Just where it is, or how to go
and take this treasure for themselves
Go raid the unsuspecting trees
Though through the hills the tourist delves
This land is not brought to its knees.
All right! Enough! I hear some cry
The background story’s great and all
But cease! It’s clear you know well why
We clicked this post; no more deny
You lured us with a siren’s call
Inherent promises were made
And debts incurred that must be paid
So trifle with our hearts no more
Be frank, and let us know the score
What, in the end, hath Nada wrote?
Is this a tea that must be bought?
Or sadly, market-speak, that ought
Be struck from our minds and forgot
So in his web we shan’t be caught
Tell us! is it good tea, or not?
Yet one more side note, if I may
My skills were not on par today
I measured tea with just my eyes
With no care for its dainty size
So in the end, rather a lot
Has found its way into my pot.
A sweat has broken on my brow
Describe the tea? I know not how!
What started full, yet smooth and light
Will keep me up now half the night
As all fatigue it doth erase
Across the halls I swiftly pace
But do not blame this on the tea
All fault, I fear, must lie with me
But hark! all hope is not yet gone
As steeps keep piling up
The brews just calmly soldier on
More clarity each cup
The bitterness can’t overtake
The floral, fruity notes
And sipping on my thirst I shake
More odd comparisons to make
My mouth the liquid coats
I soon grow happy, calm, serene
For in the end I’ve clearly seen
What a delight that this can be
The Qi Sheng Gu of EoT
- *No I didn’t. Do not take laudanum.
So… catch 20/20 here… this was in the TTB so I should review it, but it was so ‘eh’ that I have had nothing to say for the last week about it. I thought to myself, ‘just let it pass and don’t review’ but then I realized I got to do what I got to do.
With so many different sheng out there and what not, and being that I’ve had a ton: Either this is something that isn’t very noteworthy or it needs time?
This was a much, much cleaner tea than my previous liu bao experience. Its flavor profile was intensely earthy early on, and made me think of words I haven’t heard since various earth science and biology courses, like “loamy” and even “fecund”.
The soup was quite thick and satisying. There was decent, though not amazing, longevity. It was a tremendously satisfying free sample, which was all the more critical since EoT provided it with both my orders thus far. I would recommend this to anyone who likes very earthy shupu, or who wishes to reconnect with the earth.
From the Puerh TTB:
Very astringent, but also pleasantly sour, which I quite like. Despite being very pleasant going down, huigan is nonexistent for me. I don’t taste any smoke, but plenty of tobacco, camphor, and leather.
This is not a strong tea at all; considering its age, it’s one of the lightest in terms of flavor that I’ve had, even when pushed. Speaking of pushed, I don’t find it particularly bitter either, but not particularly noteworthy. It’s not bad at all, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase more.
Now, having said all that… it might be that it’s Friday night. It might be that my wife bought me cronuts, or that she’s giving me The Look. But nine steeps in and I must say I am in an exceptionally good mood.
Puerh Tea TTB. This tea did not have the strong leather and tobacco notes of other aged puerh but they were there to some degree. It was very astringent. There was some smoke present. And the note of dark wood on the write up seems accurate. I didn’t get any qi off of this. Gave it eight steeps.
Steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 6.8g leaf and boiling water. Gave it a 10 second rinse. Steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. I still have not found an aged sheng that I really loved the taste of. Some that I liked for their qi but I don’t seem to like the taste.
This one is solid. Despite having absorbed some of those off-putting ‘aged’ prune/leather/medicinal flavors of EoT’s other cakes, the underlying quality of the leaves are clear. There is a very solid base in these leaves that is indicative of old trees. The tasting experience isn’t entirely compromised by those initial storage flavors. After the 4th or 5th steep the tea’s unique flavors are revealed—raisins, menthol, cedar wood, and green apple. There is substantial body, prolonged aftertaste, big cha qi and dynamic mouth activity (cooling and tingly sensations) here. This tea performs exceptionally well in my Ni Xing teapot. This clay in particular subdues those storage flavors and releveals more of those fruity notes and fragrances. I got at least 15 steeps out of this tea and a distinct fragrance of honey crisp apples. It’s a bit out of my budget, but I’m glad I could at least sample this tea.
I’ve tried 7 of EoT’s pu’ers and all of them exhibited a certain flavor profile that I’ve now come to associate with teas aged (clean wet storage?). I picked up medicinal Chinese herbs, leather, and prunes—flavors I try to avoid if I can. It seemed these teas’ unique flavors were suffocated by this “aged” flavor that I do not care for.
I had no desire to drink anymore of these samples and so I put them away for several months. I revisited the 2012 Baotang as well as the 2015 Longlanxu in early May and was met with a pleasant surprise. The Baotang in particular, while still exhibiting those undesirable “aged” flavors, revealed some real finesse—excellent mouthfeel, strong energy (great body-feel), very clean, great longevity and was particularly active in the mouth (cooling/tingling) for quite some time.
I’ve had to rethink this tea after these last few sessions, as the potential of the tea is a lot more obvious now. Perhaps these initial notes will disappear with a different storage environment?
Brews a medium yellow-orange. Very earthy and woody definitely aged “beyond it’s years”. Thick and buttery with notes of pretzel, citrus, sandalwood, camphor, and vanilla. Slightly medicinal. Moderate honey sweetness and a fairly strong bitterness.
Part of me wants to like this tea a lot, but I get a sort of off putting note that reminds me of over-ripe oranges on a hot day. I suppose that’s a strange thing to taste, but I grew in Florida with an abandoned orange grove in the back yard. It had it’s perks; free oranges and the lovely scent of orange blossoms wafting though the air. It also had it’s downsides though; rotten fruit and rats and rattlesnakes thicker than your arm! Any way you put it the taste of this tea brings me back.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Citrus, Honey, Vanilla, Wood
From the Puerh TTB
To start off, I steeped this one quite aggressive as I was feeling in YOLO sheng mode. That was a bad idea with this tea – the flavor is pretty harsh. It is strong, soggy ashtray of menthol cigarettes, and a prominent sour bitterness that lasts a long time after each sip. The texture is a slick feeling in the mouth, and the dryness is moderate, but whoa, the most bitter bulang I’ve had. The smoke is light, it tasted like it got drowned out at some point.
But yeah, a new sheng drinker should likely stay clear of this one, or steep it low, around 185F. If you are a sheng drinker who loves bitterness (more bitter than W2T New Amerykah) have at it. The loooong aftertaste is quite pro, if you like bitter.
From the Puer TTB 4
This is a pretty light sheng. The taste is very clean, with a gentle fruity sweetness. I got around 9 steepings, with the final ones being a touch dry, giving a squeaky clean mouth feel, with notes of steamed grass. A good sheng for someone who likes whites, greens, and delicate young shengs.
I didn’t get much cha qi, actually this one made me sleepy, haha!
This was a very interesting tea. I enjoy most of this company’s offering, and the ones I don’t still add up as an unique experience. This cake comes out and is dark and shows its age very well. I can see the tips are bronzed and the leaves have muddled; however, I can still place some dark forest green. The bing gives off a powerful eucalyptus and menthol aroma with the classic wood and leather aged scent. I warmed up my gaiwan and placed a chunk inside. The cake did not differ or expand in scents, for it only grew in depth. The warmed tea gave off a deeper leather and menthol aroma with the tang of tobacco in the background. I washed the leaves and prepared for brewing. The taste begins sweet and oily. A nice sugarcane and stone-fruit taste washed over my taste-buds. I can note some astringency lingering in the background. The brew still carries a green punch, but it is subdued by a drifting huigan. The taste becomes sharper and filled with wooded tastes and some light fruitiness in later steeping. The drink gives my mouth quite a dry feeling. The qi is pretty solid and really gets me moving; I can note a nice warming and rushing sensation filter throughout my body. This tea is pretty good, except there isn’t much complexity. I believe that this tea shouldn’t be drunk just yet. I think in a few more years it can develop into something truly worthwhile.
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Leather, Menthol, Smooth, Stonefruits, Tobacco, Wood
Another overdue review from Puerh TTB #4
I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This is just the type of tea I enjoy: lots of different flavors vying for attention. First steep (10s) was very rich for a first steep. Powerful apricot flavor with a hint of earthiness underneath the fruit. Very good mouth-feel, depth, and finish. I probably should have waited for the second steep, as the finish from steep 1 was still very strong in my mouth. But I didn’t. Second steep had a strong nose with hints of wood. The wood is more obvious in the flavor, along with a lot of smoke. Builds in the mouth to a huge finish. This is not for the timid! I’m also feeling the cha qi in my chest and shoulders, though not so much mentally, which is how it usually affects me. As the cup cools, the apricot comes forward and the smoke and wood recede a bit, though are still present. The cha qi has now reached my head and I’ll need to take a break after drinking 4 ounces. Powerful tea in multiple ways. After about 10 minutes, the finish was barely noticeable, and the qi had faded enough for another cup.3rd steep: Tremendous. Apricot dominates, with wood underneath, and a hint of bitterness at the finish. The flavors are less separated than before. Still tons of cha qi. The tea still fills the mouth, but feels a bit more acidic in the mouth. In the 4th steep, the wood is dominant, and the smoke tastes a bit like ashes underneath the wood and fruit. This is more noticeable in the finish but is subtle enough so that it isn’t unpleasant. Strange rhythm: the odd steeps have been dominated by fruit but the evens were more woody. No idea why.
Around the 8th steep, it became very sweet. Taste is more like corn than apricot with some wood underneath. Less powerful, but no less pleasant or interesting.
Thanks very much to Essence of Tea, who donated the samples for the tea box.
I woke up this morning knowing I needed a serious tea to power me for some cleaning that needed to be done. I grabbed this on because EOF is expensive so I made a dumb association with $ to qi.
This was quite nice. Chest warming and a mild head feel with a taste that mellowed out by steep four; became quite nice but I think that it does need a few more years. The mouth pucker is almost, ALMOST, gone. Probably only 2 years of some storage on this and it will be golden. The only negative aspect to this tea is that it is on the darker spectrum of sheng, to which people will continue to hear me say that I like my light sheng.
Last night I had some friends over and we were talking about how one of my friends was kicked out of the church because he took a stance that homosexuality is not a sin… as difficult of a conviction that such a thing can be right now with things happening in the US and the church figuring out how to respond, it’s just beating me up. So, anyways, if only it was that simple!
My parents ended up joining us and it’s only around my friends that I discuss such things because I know that they will throw the: ’ I thought we taught you better’ and make me feel as if they ‘failed’ me…
My stance on not understanding psychological and biologic implications to life choices leads me to believe that this whole issue revolving around gay marriage is stupid. The condemnation has now put me in a position were I may not speak to my parents as much because they think that my thoughts are tainted and I’m not sure if I can channel my love for them to see past these negative comments that they spread to the rest of our family. Stupid ass drama that doesn’t need to occur; my thoughts do not change the way in which I act. Whether I think A or B is right or wrong, I’ll always treat people with respect and treat them as I would want to be treated.
Tears are shed as I lose my family because of my own thoughts which now define me…
p.s. that friend who was kicked out was a pastor and it was done via email; for real?
I love a good Jingmai. I had my first taste awhile ago and ever since I’ve been in love. I opened this bing up and took in a whiff. The leaves have become very dark and let out a distinct smoke and lingering red fruit aroma. The crisp leaves give off a sharp leather tang along with some pipe tobacco. This a stenchy and potent tea. I warmed my jianshui up and placed a generous amount inside. The scent deepened into some dry wood along with a mild eucalyptus aroma. This displays a lot of classic aged scents. I’m hoping there is some unique body though. The aromas were good but no overly intense sensations. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The body is smooth with some drying feeling. I experienced some slight creamy tones with a brief huigan. The brew keeps a nice and smooth body; however, I note some astringency and bitter wood in later steeping. The fiery orange liquor smells of soft wood. This brew becomes a decent mix of sweet and sour tones with a good amount of age behind it. The brew keeps this consistency and develops no complexities. The huigan dissipates quickly and is delayed. The qi is extremely slow moving until after the session it washed over me with far reaching heat head waves and a nice serene and relaxing sensation. Altogether, this is good daily drinker, but it displays nothing a superb 10+ yr old sheng should display.https://www.instagram.com/p/BCvPanJTGUh/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel
Flavors: Dark Wood, Eucalyptus, Leather, Pleasantly Sour, Red Fruits, Smoke, Tobacco
Taste started out soft, sweet and fruity (not quite apricot, but close) with a good finish. My whole body is feeling the cha qi. Decent body: I’m feeling some thickness on the tongue. I’m noticing a bit of acid under the flavor, and a bit of what I think is smoke riding on top of the fruit. Very interesting.
The 3rd and 4th steeps were balanced between sweet and bitter. Flavor is more woody than fruity, though I see hints of fruit. Still lots of cha qi. I reduced my usual steep times for the 5th steep, and found that the astringent woody flavor receded while the fruit came forward. I preferred this balance, so did relatively short steeps. Still going strong at #8.