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The Essence of Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

85

This tea brings about a wonderful experience. I began with 4.2 grams of leaf and arrive at a beautiful orange-red liquor. At first glance, this liquor seems to display wonderful solidity. The wet leaves produce a pleasant aged-like aroma. Again, I often find it difficult to relate familiar scents/tastes with characters found in tea. I will say that there is some spiciness in the immediate aroma…perhaps accompanied with buttery-like, woody notes. The buttery -like note within the aroma is definitely new to me. Upon a sip, I find the liquor isn’t as thick as the first glance suggested. However, I still consider this a very nice tea. There are some spicy notes accompanied by an aged woody character… within seconds a cool mintiness joins dance. This tea has, what I sense as, a strong qi and very pleasant hui gan. Excellent tea which seems to display excellent storage conditions. Easily an 85/100 in my books.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85

In light of Canada’s hockey victory, I’ve decided to treat myself to a steeping of this wonderful 1980s Menghai Yiwu Spring Buds 7532. This is another special tea that excites the soul. The wet leaves release a sweet wood-like character and a soup that is remarkably clean. Its colour brings cherry wood to mind. On the palate this tea has a pure, sweet woody note with a thick body to it. This tea is also pretty dynamic as there seems to be a peak of sweetness near the end of its profile. Clean, sweet, dynamic with a pleasant hui lian. Very good tea in my books.

Flavors: Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

Lucky dog, not the team they are good but you to be able to drink this. I have a 98 that I will probably finish today. I have one of these 7532’s aging. I can’t wait to see how it evolves in 5 to 10 years.

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83

This is a fine tea. The wet leaves don’t produce a particularly impressive aroma but do produce a soup with a beautiful medium amber colour with little to no cloudiness. This tea has a remarkably smooth body with floral and honey notes that brings upon a noticeable qi. There is a soft Hui Gan which arises with time. I’d say the prominent feature of this tea is its smoothness, a term that I feel is sometimes loosely used. This bing was definitely worth the money.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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88

Impeccable. That is the single word I would use to describe this tea. Easily among the best young puerhs I’ve had, if not the best. The prominent feature of this material is a wonderful lone note of honey, a note which the wet leaves grace the drinker with. I enjoyed this aroma for a good two minutes or so. The leaves brew a graceful, surprisingly clear, dark amber – a colour suggesting more age to it than there actually is – colour. Beautiful. The soup is smooth with just enough body to coat the mouth with a fine Hui Gan sensation – all this while the notes of honey tickle your taste buds.
I will definitely be steeping this tea for the rest of the day.

Side Notes : I believe the darker soup is due to the fact that this tea was stored as loose maocha for four years, hence, able to age much quicker. Also, despite how much I am enjoying this tea, I feel I would be remiss to not mention, what I feel to be this teas single downfall, the price! This bing sells at a whopping 85 british pounds! If it weren’t for this, I’d definitely own a tong.

Parameters : 6 grams to 120 mL of water. 5-15 second steeps.

Flavors: Honey

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
oOLuckyStarOo

Tastefully written! :)

JC

I love Wuliang Wild Arbor. Great note!

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95

I don’t know if this is my exact brand of Alishan, as a student gave it to me. But, I drink a tea that is just like this one. It is a lovely green oolong, and is brimming with floral notes. I drink it all day long, just keeping the leaves in my cup. They are so large when unfurled that they rarely get in my way. The first steeping gets a little astringent, but the third steeping is my favorite tea! This is the tea that got me hooked on oolongs.

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92

This is a unique tea. The taste is very nice. I can not say how much it has changed over the years. what makes this tea unique is the strong caffeine jolt mixed with the calming energy that develops in aged teas.

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97

This is a very good example of an aged liu an. It starts off with a little wierd taste from storage (not bad just different). But when most teas are starting to fade this tea is just waking up. Becoming quite tasty. The durability of this tea is impressive. I have had pots of this tea last almost a week with extended brewing. there are very few aged liu an teas available online this is a good one.

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76

Not my favorite Guafenzhai but very good overall score

Strong huigan and qi – hope it progresses with aging!!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I have a GFZ from Tea Urchin that is mind blowing….

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88

his Henglichang Bulang tea has gotten some mention from other bloggers with widely varying opinions. Thanks to Apache, I had a chance to try a sample. Luckily, I had not read any other reviews prior to sitting down for my session – so the scribbles in my little notebook were from an unbiased mind – relatively speaking…read more of my thoughts below

http://www.twodogteablog.com/2012/12/18/1997-henglichang-bulang-puer-te/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

I really like your blog!

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91

This tea was the sample I received from EOT with my mom’s purchase. I will be using 6 grams in 4oz of water.

Dry smell: The dry smell is nice. It has a sweetness to it but also a dark, deep aspect. It reminds me a lot of the dragonwell from teavivre. It smells very much like green tea.

Taste: Surprisingly, there is no bitterness from such a young sheng puerh. It doesn’t have the crispness of a young green but has a lot of the vegetal flavors. It is slightly darker than a green and has a smoky taste

Wet smell: Very vegetal, not nearly as sweet, like string beans

Qi: There is vey little qi present if any at all. So far the only tea I have tried that has a noticeable qi is the 2011 mansai so I don’t have much to compare to, but it does not have nearly the same feeling.

Mouthfeel: This tea is very smooth. It seems to glide all the way from first sip to the swallow. It leaves no dryness at all like some other teas do. It has some thickness but not nearly as much as the 2011 mansai. The aftertaste is very nice, sweet, and vegetal. It also lasts for much longer than any other tea I have tried.

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93

This was my first real experiment with pu erh where I know what it is (young sheng). I admit I am pu erh ignorant and have been hit or miss about them, so the odyssey continues. I don’t tend to find them offensive I just tend to find them lacking in flavor or having cardboard elements.
This tea came in nuggets, but they were excellent looking – whole long leaves pressed together rather than the little broken pieces I have seen before. It came apart fairly easily and smelled great. Almost musty in a way, but musty like a garden shed in mottled shade – something fresh and deep, yet green.

This is like nothing I have ever tasted before.

It is almost floral, as though I am mouthing a damp garden in the rain with earthy notes taking over. These dry and come to the front as leaves of an old book. This one is a really synesthetic experience for me.
Mmm. And it fades into a sweetness at the end… perhaps from some kind of bourbon candy or … no, it is like an amaretto, a deep smoky amaretto, mixed with a harder liquor. Don’t misunderstand, there is no bite, just a smokey sweet aftertaste.

I think I’m in love. A tea that is damp gardens and old books on a rainy day with a dash of an amber sweetness? I couldn’t ask for anything else.
Thank you, Amanda for including this in the box you sent!!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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63

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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91

Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me this tea. It’s a goodie!

Sweet with notes of cocoa and dried fruit (raisin and date), and while it has a heartiness to it, it is pleasantly mild flavored. It doesn’t taste bitter or too strong. One of those teas I’d happily drink every day.

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87

This tea saved it for me. Well, not just this tea, but this tea and many other fine, traditional, lightly roasted oolongs that rescued my palate from the high-firing, heavy roasts that my body rejects. To be blunt: there is something about drinking liquid roast (such as from tea or coffee), that I simply have not yet learned to love. With the help of fellow tea chums, I’ve learned to taste, appreciate and respect the variances and wonders of more heavily roasted, aged oolongs, but I’m still a long way from truly enjoying or looking past that roast taste in my cup.

And for the above reason, I am so happy to have access to these lightly roasted wonders. There is so much that I like, or absolutely adore, about the 2011 XiPing Anxi Tie Guan Yin. Hopefully my favorite tea blogger over at The Half-Dipper has not just dismissed me as a “fascinating girl-man hybrid” :). The tea is a treat for the senses. There is no denying its delicacy, its lightness, and the fact that it doesn’t offer much of a challenge, but it is just so good! The dry leaf provides the scent of orchids, which open and fill the room after a very quick rinse. The taste is well balanced, a combination of floral notes, wild honey and nuts. Citrus and almost somewhat of a woodsy flavor begin to appear in later cups, keeping the tea grounded. The tastes dance and evolve as the silky delicacy of the tea fills the mouth. The qi is calming, the aftertaste cleansing, and the durability outstanding. I am always amazed at how much these leaves have to give. The traditional, organic production methods add another layer of comfort and peace of mind with each cup. Somehow, this light, green, young leaf provides so much of what I look for in a well-aged sheng puerh. I will definitely be returning to this again and again, especially during those warming days of late spring and summer, or any time I simply want to relax and get lost and charmed by an elegant tea. Very much recommended.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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59

Very delicate!! Too delicate for the price, though. I expect a Nan nuo to have more floral potency than this, and more astringency too!!

I would have given it a higher rating, but the price is too high for the quality. There are better Nan Nuo teas out there, imho :)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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drank 2010 Mansai by The Essence of Tea
53 tasting notes

I may have spoken too soon last time when I mentioned that I was feeling a tendency towards shu pu’er, because they last couple of teas I tried were both shu, and they were hardly worth writing about. But I’ve also been doing a lot of homework on pu’er over the last several days, trying to learn all I can about it, and seems that “terrible” shu is relatively common.

From what I’ve read, shu/shou/cooked pu’er was developed in an attempt to mimic aged sheng. So it goes through a sort of speed-fermentation process to achieve this. Sometimes this goes over well, and the resulting product is ready to drink. But there’s also a chance that the fermentation goes off, and the result tastes like bad fish. Sometimes the “bad fish” shu will benefit from aging in the sense that it will sort of “air out” and the weird “off” flavors will mellow, but just how much shu pu’er benefits from aging after that is highly debated.

Really, a lot of aspects of pu’er seem to be highly debated or at least conflicting. I can already tell that reading about it is only going to get me so far… that’s why I just dropped $60 on a handful of assorted samples from puerhshop.com. Most of them are sheng, since I am honestly a little leery about shu since my last two encounters with it have ranged from “meh” to “ew,” but I realize that those off-flavors are not present in every shu, and there are certainly ones out there that I adore.

But the more research I’ve been doing, the more I’ve been intrigued by sheng. It seems that sheng holds a lot more possibility for variety than shu, and while there are certainly times when I just crave shu’s dark earthiness, I am intrigued by what’s out there in the sheng-world.

But enough rambling now, this tea. I didn’t even know I had it, and I must have gotten it in a swap or something because I’ve never ordered directly from EoT. I had a little sample amount of it stashed in an old Adagio sample tin.

This stuff actually reminds me of a white tea or maybe a green tea; rather clean and clear and crisp. A bit dry, and very easily turns harshly astringent if brewed a bit too long. I’ve read that dryness/astringency are characteristics of young sheng that subside with age, so maybe that would change with time? I suppose I won’t ever know since I only have this tiny sample size, but being such a novice to all this, I can’t help but speculate. With short steeps though, this is really a nice relaxing afternoon tea.

Looking at the leaves I’m noticing a lot of stem, like maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the mix is stem. I’m not sure if that’s normal in a tea like this or not, but it’s an interesting note. The leaves are fairly broken, and there are a few buds mixed in with more mature leaves. The assorted shapes remind me a bit of looking into a bowl of chex mix. The color of the leaf is very nice, a sort of olive green mostly, but a few leaves are tinged with a lovely rusty reddish-brown.

Just another chronicle in my journey to understand pu’er!

Michelle

I feel like pu’erh is one of the deepest subjects in tea (no pun intended) but also one of the most difficult to master/understand. Still, it’s fascinating!

Grace

Good luck on the journey, there is soooo much to try!

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95

Exceptional tea. It’s so understated yet full of aroma and emotion. On the nose there is a lot of cinnamon, and other spices with a lovely caramel body. In the mouth some of that wet leaf and forest floor show up. Dusty minerals and ‘brown’ flavors linger on the finish. The best part though is how the finish lingers for minutes.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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