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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
I had high hopes for this tea – I love everything about jingmai teas. Unfortunately, this tea is all smoke and age. Great underlying flavors and amount of aging for 15 years, but there’s so much smoke that the tea is overpowered, even after 11 steeps. I can’t, in good conscious, say that this is a “good” tea or that I would ever try/buy it.
Working this one up tonight. I bought this after tasting a sample of it a while back. Mengsong material is usually pretty decent.
I grabbed 11 grams out to start with and gave it a rinse and a little sit time.
Wet leaf you can pick some hints of floral but subdued and there is some smoke in there as well. The tea brews a nice aged golden color in the cup.
It starts out fairly thick and seems to rattle around in the mouth a bit. It is a pretty strong brew with the mintyness and camphor and bitterness rolling around in there. It is not as strong as a Bulang area tea but it is quite strong. Letting the cup cool a bit the bitterness can really come to the front. I see this one doing quite a few quick steeps as I am already 8 in and the leaf keeps giving. The aged profile of this will make you think it is a few years older than it actually is.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Floral, Mint, Smoked
From the Puerh TTB #4
I’m trying to lead by example in producing reviews of the donated teas. When I got the Essence of Tea donation, I immediately pulled 4 grams from each, packed the rest into the box, and headed for the post office. The samples then sat in a box waiting their turn with all the other samples. They finally made it to the head of the line.
1st steep (10s): This is amazingly well-integrated. No rough edges. Delicate nose and flavor, but the flavor builds in the mouth. Good finish. The cha qi kind of stuck up on me: at first just a feeling of well-being, but now my entire body feels energized, yet at the same time relaxed. 2nd steep (10s ) Rich nose of leather and a hint of smoke. There is a really full body in the mouth, and sweetness that extends into a long, tasty finish. Much more powerful than the first steep but still perfectly smooth. This is what I picture a fully aged puerh tasting like. 3rd similar to the 2nd but more woody, with camphor appearing.
This is the style of tea that I enjoy: not too harsh or bitter, but with complex, interesting flavors. I’m usually not a fan of camphor, but the subtle hints of camphor I noticed here just add complexity and interest. The cha qi was obvious, but not to the point where I needed to take a nap, though perhaps too strong to want to drink this tea at work. The overwhelming feature for me, though, was the absence of rough edges. This is one of the few puerhs I’ve had that I didn’t feel was too young to drink.
Drank this for three hours while working on some computer maintenance :)
Solid smell of smoke when just examining the dry leaf. Brewed this one hardcore for two steeps and tossed, left alone for 8 minutes and came back to it. Liquid has a nice middle color to it telling me that it wasn’t going to be light nor would it aggravate me with a strong taste. I ended up tasting a mixture of storage on this tea which was really odd. The one thing I noticed most was how dark the leaf became after my 3 hour session. Almost a amber hue to the leaf as if it was either dark leaf in the beginning or the storage did this. Unsure of both accounts because the taste was a bit hard for me to determine. Does this mean I don’t know my stuff or I was correct that the storage taste is mixed which makes it hard? I don’t know :/
It was an enjoyable session, but I would have prefered the other Peacock raw I’ve had from EOT over this one.
Lately, I’ve been exploring affordable semi-aged teas and I’m quite happy with this one. It’s a great example of clean wet storage. Dried leaves are a dark purple tone and largely intact. Wet leaves have a sweet forest aroma after the rains. This is an easy-going tea. There are no off-putting flavors to speak of and the tea soup is clear and an attractive deep orange. It has a straight forward flavor profile of sweet forest floor(peat?), sandalwood, ripened plums and dried stonefruits. It’s very smooth, warming, has good energy, and develops just enough astringency (accompanied with fruity sweetness) in later steeps to keep the drinker’s attention.
Having had sessions with this tea before and after it’s acclimatized, using a gaiwan and nixing teapot, I’ve come to appreciate its reliability—which I attribute to well-sourced leaf and careful storage. Now that it’s lost some of that initial awkward storage flavor/scent (smoky/stewed prunes..yuck), I can enjoy it on a regular basis!
From the PU TTB: I much prefer this one to the Green Peacock. Soft, with a hint of sweetness. No musty old basement to this one, which suggests it’s been well stored. And the mouthfeel is absolutely smooth/creamy/lovely. I’m eight steeps in and feeling a wonderful relaxing qi, and so far not much in the way of bitterness. This sheng is right in my aged sheng wheelhouse and I am gutted it’s sold out :-(
Thank you to the good tea friend who gave me this sample. This tea was strong, this tea was fairly smoky. I was getting notes of hay and tobacco along with the smoke initially. These notes persisted for a while. It’s hard to say exactly when they were no longer a factor, but at least six steeps. This tea turned into something nicer, it just took a while. By steep twelve it was fairly smooth. I did develop into something with a type of sweet note, although not the sweet note of apricots of a young sheng. I don’t think I will buy this but you never know. This might just have the characteristics of something that will age well, but that is a gamble. It might not age well at all. It had already aged somewhat. The tea soup was somewhat red although not as red as the tea I drank yesterday from Yangqinghao. After drinking a Yangqinghao it’s hard to give something else a good review. I did like this well enough to steep it twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan.
I steeped this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 10g 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, and 2 min. I’m sure I could have gotten a few more steeps out of this if I hadn’t hit my caffeine limit for today.
Flavors: Bitter, Hay, Smoke, Sweet, Tobacco
From the PU TTB: I think this might be the oldest sheng I’ve ever had. It starts out, well, frankly unpleasant. Overwhelming storage/musty old basement. Once it gets going, there is a tarty fruity sweetness; somewhere in that old basement, underneath the leather books and ossified apples, there’s a pleasant sourness. But the overwhelming note is camphor, even after numerous steeps. It does get a tad bitter when pushed. Some 10 or 15 steeps later I am tea drunk as hell. Upshot: I didn’t love it enough to want to buy more, but I am still drinking it and it’s not just for the buzz. Approaching 20 steeps and this tea is showing little sign of weakening. And it’s growing on me a little.
Purchasing from different vendors has taught me about my storage preferences. I’ve had several sessions with EoT’s 2012 Qi Sheng Gu, 2012 Bao Tang, 2014 Long Lan Xu 2006 Wild Peacock, and their 2000 Green Peacock. They all share the similar aroma and strong initial flavor of smoky prune in their first 3 steeps. I’m not a fan. I can only assume this is a storage issue since the affects are the same across teas. This is unfortunate, as I’ve heard nothing but good things about EoT.
The tea soup starts out cloudy orange and gradually transitions to yellow, which I find interesting. The smoky prune aroma is a turn off and only begins to recede after the 5th steep when the leaves release a tingly/numbing sensation and subdued floral notes I associate with 2015 YS Bang Dong and some YS Jinggu teas. I’m a big fan of this characteristic.
I’m annoyed by the fact that the storage has dominated the flavor and overall experience of what is probably a lovely tea (and other EoT teas), so far. I hope to return to this tasting note with positive edits.
From the Puerh TTB #3. Thanks to EoT for the samples.
1st steep (10 s): There is a bit of spice in the nose. The taste is quite strong for a 1st steep. Smooth and sweet, with a rich blend of straw, toast and floral hints. The finish is also good; silky smooth and long-lasting. I’m feeling a lot of cha qi, but this is my second sheng of the day so the effect may be cumulative. 2nd (10 s): The tea is a medium straw color. Smell is richer; a hint of smoke? Really big and rich and super finish that seems to just keep getting bigger. Too big for my head!? Partly I think it is a powerful cha qi taking over. Between the finish and the cha qi it is hard to actually taste the tea. It is richer than the first cup, with wood and caramel flavors replacing the floral note. Also not as smooth; there is a bit of tartness and tannin, especially at the finish. This is the sort of tea that I’m tempted to just pound down and enjoy the cha qi, but I want to set a good example and review the tea since it was a donation to the puerh TTB and I was the one that required tasting notes for the donated teas. I’ll take a break then come back.
3rd steep (20 s one hour later): Light straw aroma and flavor. Less nuanced. Sweet, with a hint of bitterness underneath. 4th (30s): More wood than straw. A dark richness that’s hard to identify; not quite earthy. spice? (another review suggested nutmeg, and that is close) Finish and cha qi still dominant. Later steeps were mellow and rich and slightly spicy.
I liked this tea a lot, at least in part because it presented so many different facets. After the first cup I was thinking approachable. After the second I was thinking tea drunk. The third and fourth suggested the need for more age, and I’m now on about the 7th cup and it’s just really pleasant. Smooth, full flavor in the mouth, a finish that is still going strong, and a nice buzz from the cha qi. What’s not to love?
I’ve tried this for the third time today and I have about 5g left.
Initially and each time, I was disappointed with this tea as it takes off very slow. The first 3-4 steeps have you wondering how this could’ve ever passed EoT quality control, it’s thin and flat, yet bitterish, leathery and sour – like many of the forgettable low-quality productions from the times of the pu-erh craze (2006-2007). Gradually, however, things gets better and signs of maturity like notes of old books and woody sweetness (no red fruits though) start to come out. Around the eighth steep the flavour profile is fully developed and the tea is round enough to satisfy.
Unfortunately, although it never was really smooth to begin with, later steeps also produce more adstringency and the mouthfeels becomes somewhat gritty. Nevertheless, this one gave me a few decent cups.
To conclude, I think the price of 144USD is too high, considering that 149USD can get you something very “proper” in the matured pu-erh depatrment. Yes, I mean W2T’s HK Style.
Edit: After 10-12 steeps I wouldn’t speak of Qi, but I found its caffeine-level to be just right. I’m alert yet not agitated.
From the Steepster Puer TTB round 3
A really nice mellow sheng. Notes of apricot fruity, herby with a hint of spice and floral with a slick texture. The pu’er is also sweet and with a light dryness that tingles a bit making it a pleasure to drink for texture. Later steeps are more herby sweet and very nice. Great young sheng and totally ready to drink now. Lots of qi in this one too, I was flailing around at around steep 5 or 6.
That price though, it’s pretty high, but this pu’er is pretty good. This is my first try at Essence of Tea btw.
From the Pu TTB
Very mellow, thick, and sweet. The early infusions have notes of mushroom, minerals, herbs, and green wood and a slight floral touch. A well balanced tea with a strong qi that became apparent by the third steep. Great mouthfeel as well
Later infusions taste very warm and clean with a nutmeg note and nice creamyness. Under the influence I noted that it tasted like “drinking liquid candle light”
A super nice young sheng; I don’t know how it could be much better. I experienced some sticker shock upon seeing the price, but I do think this is the best young sheng I’ve had
Flavors: Green Wood, Herbaceous, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nutmeg
2006 Bingdao Peacock – Essence of Tea
Price: £0.60 ($0.89) / g
£180 ($267.06) / 400g cake
Note: I got a 16g sample of this with my order.
Summary: Grainy, vibrant orange fruit flavour with a medium, well integrated smoke. It fills the mouth with its immediate expanding thickness. Let down by being astringent from the start and overwhelmingly bitter and harsh after only a few brews. It’s like a xiaguan tuo has been made thicker – a xiaguan tuo on steroids…
Dry: Dark brown, some silver leaves. Bumpy piece. Faint concentrated herbal – different to smoky cheese. Med compression. Smells mildly fresh.
Wet: Med smoke, mellow concentrated herbal, some peach.
Rinse: Light/med orange/golden.
10s – Med orange (not golden) The first sip reminds me of a Xiaguan tuo: grainy fruit with a lot of smoke behind it. Interesting. This is tasty, but then I am a fan of Xiaguan tuos. Bitterness is kept at a reasonable volume. i.e. not too high. Fruit is vibrant and obvious. It has a freshness to it. There is a slight astringency to this, so I’m guessing the material is not the best.
15s – Med orange (not golden) Fruit and smoke are well integrated. The flavour is grainy, bitter fruit riding with smoke in a simple, friendly, stimulating way. Liquor has some thickness to it. It leaves the mouth slightly dry and smoky.
20s – Heavy bitterness and too astringent. However, I like it as I like the bitter fruit in a Xiaguan tuo.
5s – Med orange. Bitterness goes under the tongue and rings. Smoke has partially cleared. There is an orange fruit note in here, which presents itself in a vibrant and juicy manner. Shame it carries heavy bitterness. Mouth is very dry.
10s – Light/med orange. Watery, bitter and some base sheng.
25s – Med orange. Lots of bitterness and astringency. The orange fruit note it still there.
Flavors: Grain, Orange
2014 Long Lan Xu raw Essence of Tea
Summary. A very good, fresh raw pu-erh with a strong body and very long finish. Flavours are sweet raisins. Emits strong energy. I’m impressed.
Dry: Dark brown; few silvery leaves. Very light, bright concentrated herbal. Med compression.
Wet: Light smoky, med bright concentrated herbal, fresh green. Slightly deep base to it.
Rinse: Light golden.
Note: This is my first time using the my new handmade cup from Pottery West :)
10s – Light yellow. Flavour is sweet raisin with a lingering sweet raisin finish. The body is lacking. 75/100.
15s – Light/med yellow. Body is there now, and it has some strength. It does not stick around. This has the fresh concentrated herbal flavour, but it is not overbearing. The finish does have a slightly astringent grip. 78/100.
20s – Light/med yellow. Intense body and the flavour lingers for a long time after the swallow. It has a s strong base, which gives the sweet raisin flavour some depth.
25s – Med yellow. This is one powerful and strongly flavoured tea. Noticing a sparkle in the finish. The transition from sip to finish is quite heavy. I’m feeling strong energy from this tea.
30s – Good form and a long lingering finish.
35 – No multi layering, but very good power, body and finish.
40s – Med yellow. Thin. A lot of bitterness, med smoke, becoming base sheng, but still going.
Picos blue– Not so good. The cheese swamps the tea with it’s roqfort like acidity. 2/10
Dorset blue – The bright bitterness is clouded by the mellow creaminess, but the beefiness is too much of a contrast. 6/10
Yorkshire blue – Very good. The mild creaminess goes well with the bright bitterness and allows the tea flavour to be tasted. 7/10
2006 Wild Peacock raw – Essence Of Tea
Price: 14p ($0.21) /g
Note: I received 20g of this free with my order.
Summary: A tea with heavy smoke; average base material showing slight almond notes. Characterised by a strong wood/ash note in the beginning. Body is ok. Finish is smoke-heavy, but it’s ok. Not a long brewing tea. ~5 steeps. I’d have to partially disagree with James of teadb with this tea. I think the smoke would put me off if this was my first tea.
Dry: Smoky cheese – same as other EoT teas so far. Very dark brown, flat piece. I received one chunk, leaves and dust (to get the 20g I assume). Later the aroma is that of a black bin bag (unused of course). Very high compression, similar to that of a Xiaguan tuo. Looks similar to 2000 Green Stamp…
Wet: Med electrical smoke. Faint log burning smoke. Later raisins.
Rinse: Bright, clear light golden.
10s – Med golden. Watery, soft wood.
Rest for 8 minutes 58 seconds. Watching teadb’s latest video – a review of this tea.
15s – Darker med golden. Ok the first sip: soft, no bitterness, rounded. There is a strong note in the body like a wood burning note. It stands out. That note remains solidly in to the finish, finally appearing in the throat as a dry, thick wood/ash note. It is sweet, rounded and friendly, but lets keep an eye on that wood/ash note. Not oily; medium thickness.
20s – Med golden brown with an orange tinge. The body consists of raisins: some sour and astringent. The smoke is thick and doesn’t move; it is even peppery. Is the tea well integrated with the smoke? No, but it has a bite to it which I like.
20s – Med golden brown. Lost that orange tinge. Heavy, rounded smoke. Tea is weakening. Heavy smoke can be tasted after drinking, but it’s not to bad if you don’t mind smoke.
25s – Med golden brown. Base material is average, although it does have a slight almond note. Drying my mouth.
35s – The smoke is slow moving, while the tea is faster moving.
50s – Med golden. Flat, bitter, even sour…
2004 Private Order – Essence of tea
Price: £7 ($10.54) for 25g (28p ($0.42) /g)
8g in gaiwan.
Summary: Heavy smoke has become rounded and smooth, and the flavours are ok, but there is nothing special here. Average tea, heavy smoke has been aged, that’s all. Bacon smoky.
Note: I can’t find this for sale anymore.
Dry: Dark brown, flat chunk, med/high compression. Looks like 2000 Green Stamp… Smoky cheese aroma.
Rinse: Med golden brown.
Wet: Med smoky. Electric smoke and log burning smoke.
10s – Med golden brown. Faint log burning smoke. Aftertaste is log burning smoke. Body is ok. Thin.
15s – Dense med golden brown. Another sheng from Essence of Tea with the bitterness worn down, and the smoke has softened. Both components are well integrated, but it is lacking bite. Thicker.
25s – Dense med golden brown. Slightly astringent grip; slightly drying. Log burning. Not as good as 2000 Green Stamp. A tiny hint of Beef Space Raiders….
30s – Med golden brown. Smoke is staying strong, but the tea is fading.
35s – Med golden brown. Very strong, thick smoke: it has softened, but it is still very heavy.
1 minute – Med golden brown. The smoke is well rounded and heavy, but the tea underneath is average.
1 minute 20s – Less dense. Med golden brown. Watery, base sheng with a tonne of smoke still.
Thick, oily in the mouth and throat, astringency peaks in the early steeps but is still evident mid-session. Pretty sweet with stonefruits, a familiar profile for good quality young gushu. Body is above average. If I were to criticize, it’s less dynamic than I had hoped, but it could be in part due to my lack of focus. Overall a very enjoyable clean and active tea.
At ~$0.50/g it compares well to other 2015 productions in the same price range, especially if you value body/texture. There is excess moisture in my sample, but it may be in part due to the air-tight bag it’s been sitting in.
2000 Green Peacock – Essence of Tea
Price: £0.34 ($0.50) / g £98 ($144) / 357g cake
Summary: A very good aged tea which comprises a tart fruit note with softened smoke. It has a lot in common with the 2000 Kai Green Stamp and has greater longevity. However, it is let down by overpowering smoke and astringency that come after a few brews. It also has less depth of flavour.
8 grams in gaiwan.
Dry: Smoky cheese (Bavarian cheese) just like 2000 Green Stamp. Dark brown with light brown leaves. This is not as compressed as 2000 Green Stamp and not as dark.
Wet: Med wood smoke, some electric smoke, straw.
Rinse: Very clear light gold.
10s – Light/med gold. An aged fruity woody note with a gentle tangy edge. Smoke is barely noticeable. The sweet wood note stays long into the finish and long afterwards. It is currently very lightly flavoured. 84/100
15s – Light/med gold. Light soil in the background. The fruit note is mild and sweet, then it turns slightly sour and becomes very light furniture polish. There is a slight dryness to the fruit as if it has been cask aged. Mild aged flavours: very light furniture polish and old wood. Smoke is minimal. 85/100
20s – Light brown. Slightly later arrival for the brown-ness than the 2000 Kai Green Stamp, but here we are. Medium dark smoky base, but soft. The fruit note stretches out across the whole flavour profile, instead of being a small part of it like in the 2000 Kai Green Stamp. Nice tang in the fruit, slightly astringent finish. Yet, very smooth. 87/100
25s – Med orange/brown. A lot of smoke. So far the smoke was minimal and well integrated. This is not so well integrated. Medium astringency and strong dark Xiaguan-like smoke. However, the fruit it strong enough to be tasted, but its being overpowered by the smoke. There are some aged flavours: light furniture polish, but these are difficult to taste because of the smoke. 80/100
30s – Med orange/brown. Astringency is a minor problem here. The fruit note goes long into the finish. It is a smaller part of the flavour profile now and has a tart bitterness which causes the mouth to salivate, and then it becomes sweet. 82/100
35s – Med orange/brown. The fruit note is losing vibrancy. It showed a grey/clay side here. The smoke has lessened, but was thick in parts. Slightly astringency. Thinner. 80/100
45s – Med orange/brown. Smoke first, then fruit. Mild astringency. Fruit has slight furniture polish. Leaving the mouth quite dry. This is lasting longer that the 2000 Kai Green Stamp, which makes it better value for the number of brews alone.
1 min 15 – Med orange/brown. Some stewed black tea, light furniture polish for the fruit. Background smoke bites into the finish. Slight astringency.
1 min 30 – Med orange/brown. Smoke, light furniture polish. Slightly harsh, but drinkable. 78/100
2000 Green Peacock – Essence Of Tea
Price: £0.34 ($0.51) / gram
7g in Gaiwan
I got this tea sent as a replacement for the 2000 Green Stamp that had ran out.
Dry: Smoky cheese (Bavarian cheese) just like 2000 Green Stamp. Dark brown with light brown leaves. This is not as compressed as 2000 Green Stamp and not as dark.
Wet: Med/strong smoke, dark fruit, mild aged flavour.
Rinse: Med golden. I wouldn’t say brown.
10s – 1st sip and I’m thinking, this is not as good as the 2000 Green Stamp. Very soft lingering finish. Wet wood flavour with hot wood shavings. Soft fruit. This is a worn out tea, but not so much that it has lost it’s flavour. It has perhaps lost its bite.
15s – Light brown. Interesting. The flavours, wet wood and hot wood shavings, swelled into a smooth finish. This is not as thick and definitely not oily like 2000 Green Stamp.
10s – Light brown. Very smoky. Very nice fruity, burning log flavours. It is not as pronounced as 2000 Green Stamp.
20s – Med brown. This tea is the component of a tea’s bitterness and smoke ageing, and currently it is too smoky, the smoke has not yet transformed into a rounded soft, warming flavour, and the bitterness which gets a little astringent has not aged into as smooth drink. Right now the smoke and bitterness two separate components that have not yet blended into the 2000 Green Stamp.
25s – Med golden brown. The colour show this has not aged as much underneath. This is not leaving an oily residue in my mouth like the 2000 Green Stamp, nor has it got the same quality of finish. This has a slightly drying, astringent finish. This gets harsh like plantation tea.
From the Puerh TTB #3
This tea had the most powerful cha qi I’ve ever experienced. So much so that it was difficult to take meaningful notes for this review. This is my second review. I took a 5 gram sample and split it into two parts, tasting one immediately and the other after it sat in a small zip-lock bag for a few months. This is the second review.
1st steep (10 s): Very strong for a 1st steep. I’m already feeling the cha qi. Flavor is leather with hints of spices and wood. The spice is especially obvious in the nose. Full-body cha qi. Unfortunately it also seems to be affecting my stomach. in the next few steeps, the spice became less prominent and the flavor became more smoked meat than spice. Rich and fairly strong. The taste is sharp and more tannic, with some bitterness. the 4th steep (30 s) started sweet and ended bitter. At this point I took a 1 hour break because I needed to clear my head. The next day I continued, and found good flavor though not terribly special.
Rating is difficult. The flavor is more bitter than I like, though I keep reading about “good bitterness,” I’m not really a fan. On the other hand, I love complexity in teas, and this one was very interesting. Each cup had multiple flavors and each cup was subtly different from the others. If I had to complain it would be that the powerful cha qi prevented me from fully appreciating the subtlety of flavor. I found myself just sitting and meditating for 5-10 minutes until the cha qi wore off sufficiently for me to brew the next cup.
In my internal notes, I rate separately for flavor and cha qi, both on a 100 point scale. I set the scale too low initially so had to give this tea the same cha qi rating as W2T’s Last Thoughts: 110 on a scale of 100. My highest rating.
Thanks again to Essence of Tea for contributing to the travelling tea box.
I recently exhorted people to write reviews of the TTB teas, so realized I need to set a better example. Hence, this review. In fairness, I’ve been inundated with other teas: two group buys from Liquid Proust, and one from Emmett, and two groups of samples I wanted to get through before Black Friday. However, it is now after Black Friday, and I’m out of excuses.
This is a tea I set aside before I sent out the box. I’d never had Essence of Tea puerh before so I was looking forward to trying some of their teas. The first steep caught me unawares, as it’s been a long time since I’ve had any Bulang, and this was a really powerful example. I was initially a bit put off by the earthy, slightly meaty nose, but the taste was great: very complex with earthy/leather flavors and a long, slightly sweet finish. As the cup cooled, the aroma changed from earthy to spicy. The second steep (10 s) was similar to the first steep. Very complex. I’m really starting to notice the cha qi. I was feeling light-headed when I prepared the second steep, and now I’m feeling it throughout my body: Very relaxed and detached. The mouth-feel is thick; almost chewy. The finish is so powerful that there is no obvious change in taste when I swallow (or even a minute later). The 3rd steep (20 s) has a rich meaty nose. The taste is wet wood with slight bitterness on the tongue. 4th (30 s): Wet wood with increasing bitterness but still interesting and enjoyable. I’m still working on the 6th steep but the trend seems to be for the flavors to become more woody and somewhat bitter. I would say that the tea peaked during the second steep. It is still good now but less exciting. I realize that I need to clarify that the bitterness was not excessive and I suspect many reviewers would have referred to this as “good bitterness”. To me that’s just a contradiction in terms.
I was surprised to see that this tea was only 3 years old. I would have guessed closer to 10. I guess that’s the effect of Malaysian storage. I’m not a fan of bitter teas, and marked this down a bit because of the bitterness. However, I really loved the complexity and the subtle change of flavor from cup to cup and even within the same cup as the tea cooled. Someone who likes “good bitterness” might really love this tea.
Thanks again to David and Yingxi at Essence of Tea for contributing this tea to the travelling tea box.