The Essence of Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
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 :)
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!
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.
Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this Puerh.
This has a smoky flavor to it which melds nicely with the earthy notes. Notes of wood, and a bitterness that contrasts with the sweetness… I don’t usually taste bitterness in a Puerh, and this isn’t a distasteful kind of bitterness, but a savory one which adds to the richness and complexity of the overall cup. As I continue to sip, the sweetness seems to increase as the bitterness becomes smoother.
Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this Tie Guan Yin. It’s lovely!
This is quite different from other Tie Guan Yin Oolongs that I’ve tried. The floral notes are prominent, with very little vegetal quality. There is a slight toasted, nutty flavor to this cup and this complements the honey-esque sweetness of the cup.
Pleasant, silky mouthfeel, and an overall pleasing cup of tea. Very spring-like!
I really enjoyed this one. It probably has (for me) the best price/quality ratio from teas I’ve tried from EoT. Its energy is very good, the tea tastes nice and complex. I could not find any weakness. More notes at: http://jakubtomek.blogspot.com/2012/03/1980s-bamboo-wrapped-tuocha.html
A fine aged tea, nicely priced. It has still remains of youth in it, a lot of strength. More notes at: http://jakubtomek.blogspot.com/2012/02/1997-hen-li-chang-bulang.html
I steeped this tea over the course of two consecutive days. I started yesterday morning, but found myself running late to work, and needing to abandon the session much to my dismay. I actually found it hard to pull myself away from the tea, and admittedly, had a bit of a sulk while getting ready.
While there was a decidedly humid aroma and flavor with the initial steepings, it quickly dissipated by the third steeping. The tea at all points of the session was remarkably clean however, never muddy.
The liquor was thick and coating well into the latter part of the second day. It presented an exceptional level of vaporous camphor, vaguely reminiscent of a blue basil which I planted this past summer in my yard.
The sweetness of the broth grew in intensity throughout the two sessions until the leaves were thoroughly spent.
One of the last, and for some reason most memorable, notes I detected was musty rose.
The tea was incredibly calming. I remained in a languorous state for some time following the second session this morning. I think I could possibly still taste the broth if I coaxed my memory hard enough to recall it some 5 hours on…
This is an excellent example of an aged pu-erh tea. The taste is very true to the description: complex, very smooth, and without a hint of astringency. The notes I find in the flavor are decaying leaves, wood, earth, dates and leather. Quite earthy in fact. The tea has a wonderfully rich amber-brown color even on the first steeping. The whole experience of drinking this tea is like walking through a deciduous forest after a heavy rainfall.
There is a lot of energy in this tea as my head seems to be in the clouds now after a couple of infusions.
Overall this is an excellent tea and a good place to start exploring aged pu-erhs.
I found some of this tea in my cupboard. I remember ordering a small package of this tea at summer, appareantly I’ve tasted it once before. I feel bad of drinking this now, as this isn’t clearly anymore at its prime.
Taste is interesting. Slightly nutty, with strong oily taste and texture, with some burnt notes. Has definantly been an interesting tea, now tasting slightly weird, little off. Leaves do look ok, although not as nice as one would expect of Shifeng Mingqian… Hard to say as I don’t remember taste of this fresh, now I tend to think that this isn’t probably what its claiming to be. Nevertheless, tastes good, longjingish and looks beautiful in a glass.
This tea is coursing through my veins at the moment which frankly may become an issue as I need to cycle to work in a bit. The coating in my mouth is generous, and appears to not have any immediate plans to dissipate. My temperature is elevated, my palms are sweaty, my head is… well, it’s really rather blissed out at the moment. I want to stay with this tea all day right now. My furry drinking companion is looking at me in the oddest fashion. She may be wondering why I look so oddly contented. :) Happy.
I posted on this tea at greater length on the EoT website, but wanted to make mention of it here as well. Oolongs were my intro to the culture of teas some years ago and will always have a special place in my heart because of that, however of recent I noted that my desire for them had begun to wane in favor of red or puerh. This tea however, changed this dramatically. I once again find myself looking for oolongs to steep.
While the aroma and taste of this tea are exceptionally complex (notes of roasted sugar cane, wood, earth…), it really is the effect of the cha qi that lingers with you at considerable length. During my first session with this tea, it sunk deep into my chest before radiating out into my limbs. It was so beautifully calming that I struggle to remember another time in my life that mirrors it. A truly outstanding tea that deserves attention.
Many of you have seen – on occasion – me posting “For the rest of the day I will be drinking” posts…well…today is one of those days!
For the rest of today…I will be drinking an assortment of Green Teas.
Sometimes the body just needs certain things and my body is saying drink more green tea today! So that is what I am going to do :)
I have also been considering a detox – just trying to figure out which one is right for me, I suppose.
So…here is the first of my green teas for today. It’s so cold I can’t seem to keep my tea warm today. Oh well. Anyhow…This is very velvety and a clean green tea. It’s a little sweet but also a little vegetal and a little floral. YUMMY. I have had this one before and added a short tasting note regarding my first experience if you want to check that out as well :)
In the words of Jason Hawes from Ghost Hunters…On to the next :)