The Phoenix CollectionEdit Company
Popular Teas from The Phoenix CollectionSee All 51 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
This is a revisit note/update
I’ve had two or three of these cakes for a while now, probably close to two years, but not yet in the two year mark. I have to say that I still love the overall scent of the cake and the scent of the liquor when I brew it.
I have two cakes for storage purposes and one that I drink from. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the compression and keeping the leaves in good shape for steeping but the closer I get to the middle of the cake the worse it gets. This is its biggest flaw, the grade of the material seems to be the same in the middle which is good (larger leaves, cut large leaves, occasional buds and stems with leaves), but what is the point if the only way of getting a piece to steep is to break them? The compression is beyond Xiaguan Iron cakes. I had this one in high regards (even with the compression and how choosy it can be with steeping time), but I have to downgrade it. It went from only at home Puerh, to ’what’s-the-point?-let’s-take-it-to-work-Puerh’.
Still a good drink, the compression has allow it to keep younger notes of flowers and honey, but aged thickness…. then you have a rock that you’ll have to break barehanded so you don’t stab yourself with your Puerh knife (guilty).
Quick Notes From what I’ve gathered, ‘Golden Sail’ USED to be a great Puerh Brand. As the Guangdong Tea Import and Export Co. went to the what I call ‘the dark side’ of quantity over Quality production, this is no longer a ‘good’ Puerh Brand(opinions, you choose what you like). Apparently, 2006 and earlier are the last ‘good’ batch, sad to see Puerh go bad. To the tea.
Dry – Sweet, fruity, floral.
Wet – Honey, fruity,tobaccoy,smoky,bitter-floral.
Liquor – Deep Golden.
Gong Fu in Yixing Gaiwan – 6-7gm/4.5oz
1st 12secs – Smoky, savory floral notes with hints of tobacco and smoke up front. As it washes down the smoky and floral bitter notes turn sweeter but retain some of the tobacco notes. The aftertaste is sweet with tobacco hints.
2nd 12 secs – Tobacco, smoky, floral-bitterness that turn sweeter as it goes down; but once again, retaining the the tobacco notes while the smokiness subsides. The aftertaste is slightly sweet, tobbacoy and bitter that slowly becomes sweeter and refreshing over time.
3rd 10secs – Tobacco, smoke, floral-bitterness up front. As it washes down, it retains its tobacco and floral-bitter notes but slowly becomes sweeter (hinting honey) with floral notes and refreshing. The aftertaste is tobaccoy and bittersweet that slowly turns sweeter.
4th 10secs – Strong tobacco notes, smoky, floral-bitterness up front. As it goes down, it retains the tobacco notes but slowly becomes sweet and floral. The after taste is bitter-sweet floral with tobaccoy notes, it slowly becomes sweeter and refreshing, as well as lasting in the mouth and throat.
5th 12secs – Strong Tobacco notes, smoky, floral-bitterness up front. As it washes down, it is tobaccoy, floral-bittersweet that turns sweeter while maintaining its tobacco notes. The aftertaste is bittersweet, slightly floral with tobacco notes; as time goes by it becomes sweeter and refreshing, very lasting in the mouth.
I was able to do nine good steeps this way with very similar notes, the ninth being a bit ‘cleaner’ but still had some bitter-to-sweet changes. I did another session (a while ago) with shorter steeps and less leaf 3-4gm, it works amazingly if you like to have some hints of tobacco/bitterness with out it being in the front and body (mostly sweet).
I liked it this way better, It has a strong mouth feel that is not unpleasant and it slowly and somehow ‘cumulatively’ gets sweeter in the aftertaste.
Dry – Honey, Chocolate, Walnuts, Orchid/Plum
Wet – Chocolate, Honey, Orchid, slightly nutty.
Liquor – Reddish Gold / Bronze
Gong Fu Style in Yixing Gaiwan — 5g/4.5oz
1st 2secs – Thick and creamy up front with plum/orchid taste that is immediately overtaken by chocolate taste with honey sweetness and walnut notes. There’s a refreshing ‘juicy’ hint of plum and honey that turns chocolaty at the end.
2nd 2secs – Strong chocolate taste, honey with very present plum/orchid notes. As it washes down, the creamy chocolate notes become more apparent with nutty hits that resemble walnut and lasts in the mouth. The aftertaste is joint of slight chocolaty notes and apparent plum/orchid notes.
3rd 3secs – Chocolate, creamy, honey and plum/orchid notes up front. As it washes down, it is creamy with nuttiness but then turns juicier with plum/orchid notes. The aftertaste is sweet, creamy but has orchid/plum notes that linger.
4th 6secs – Chocolate, plummy/orchid notes and honey up front. As it washes down, it is slightly creamy with chocolaty-nutty notes, but slightly juicier with the plum/orchid notes. The aftertaste is creamy, but has strong/dominant plum/orchid notes that linger.
5th 10secs – Chocolate, creamy, honey and plum/orchid up front. As it washes down, it is slightly creamy with honey and chocolate notes that turn juicy again. The aftertaste is sweet, chocolaty and plummy.
6th 20secs -Honey, slight chocolate notes and plum/orchid notes up front. As it washes down, it is smooth chocolaty and then juicy with the plummy/orchid notes. The aftertaste is sweet, faded chocolate and plummy/orchid.
I did eight good steeps this way. When preparing it western cup style I prefer to do three steeps: 45secs, 1min 20secs and 2mins. I loved this tea, the Walnut/nuttiness of the dry leaf is amazing. I love chocolate and walnuts together so I love the smell.
It isn’t as chocolaty as expected but still very good. I went with ‘walnut’ because it reminds me of scent when I crack the shell and the the ‘prize’ out. I wanted to try it as a base for a blend, :/ didn’t work out as expected. Great tea on its own anyway!
I took some of this sample from JC over to the guys at Happy Lucky’s during the Denver/Ravens playoff gametime last week when I knew the shop would be quiet and we could drink tea samples.
We drank a lot of tea, especially Preston who is newer at tea and trying EVERYTHING to the point that we just watch him get a little tea drunk and smile.
This tea was his ephipany. He loved it!
I wrote about the event on my blog www.teaandincense.com
Thank you JC for this sample tea!
I’m a little late with my review today…had a ‘Senior Moment’ and ran out of gas in town. Too bad that the spot was in front of my favorite Tea House and it was closed for inventory. UGH!
This inconvenience just made getting home to tea all the more welcome!
Ever since I read JC’s review of Thousand Tael Tea with the little yellow flowers in it, I’ve wanted to try some.
He had graciously offered to send some to me…and what a wonderful addition to my New Years this is!
When you first read about the little organisms called flowers, you might feel ‘creeped out’ about them. I mean, what are they?! These little dots that are called ‘flowers’ are organisms that change the picked green tea leaves into drinkable tea.
The color changes, the health benefits found in tea are due to these good little flowers. Drinking them is good for the body in many ways.
The tea I used was crumbly as I lifted it apart with my puerh knife to expose the little yellow dots of ‘flowers’. I was going to drink this ‘science project’ looking tea with great interest.
I used 1 gram leaf to 1 oz. water and rinsed it once.
Steeping was 6 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds (ick), 10 seconds.
JC went into detail on his tasting so I’ll be brief.
At first taste, I thought of unsalted chicken broth (although it was a little sweeter than chicken broth). I didn’t spend much time thinking about the flavor, first steeps are usually misleading.
The second steep was still savory with a honey walnut aftertaste that made me think of walnut honey shrimp. OK, I was loosing it. Maybe I was hungry. The tea was pinging my taste memories like a pinball machine but in strange non-puerh territory.
If I steeped the leaves a little longer, I thought, maybe I would get a grip and find the base flavor I need to identify the flavor for this puerh!
So, I lengthened the time to 20 seconds which was a big mistake.
There was an odd rutabaga, sweet straw, vegital taste that was a bad move. Blech.
Back to 10 second steeping went I.
The taste was walnut, sweet with a slightly savory flavor but no straw. This was good and a little bit salty. Not dry or astringent.
I wouldn’t be afraid of the little yellow flowers, you don’t see or taste them when you make the tea. The tea flavor is mild. (Then again this is a 2001 which is very mellow)
Dry – Sweet, Vegetal, Nutty, Honey, Flowery.
Wet – Nutty, Honey, Vegetal, Peas, Butter.
Liquor – Pale Green/Yellow
Gong Fu – 5oz Gaiwan 4-5g (a very light tea)
1st 2secs – Sweet, smooth, creamy with nuttiness slightly resembling snow peas up front. As it washes down it turns savory and vegetal. The aftertaste is sweet, smooth and creamy that lingers.
2nd 2secs – Creamy, smooth and sweet with nuttiness that resembles snow peas and honey notes. As it washes down it is creamy and sweet vegetal that lingers through the aftertaste.
3rd 4secs – Creamy, sweet, vegetal, buttery nutty sweet corn and snow peas upfront. As it washes down it has a vegetal and slightly floral taste that slowly becomes sweeter. The aftertaste is sweet and nutty that lingers with creaminess.
4th 9secs – Creamy, vegetal, buttery, nutty sweetness and slightly floral up front. As it washes down it has a strong savory vegetal and nutty body. The aftertaste turns sweet again and it becomes sweeter, nutty and buttery.
5th 16secs – Vegetal, sweet, nutty, floral and lightly creamy. As it washes down it is somewhat floral that turns very savory, vegetal, nutty that is almost broth like, that slowly turn sweeter again. The aftertaste is sweet and nutty.
6th 30secs – Buttery, vegetal, nutty, sweet but not as creamy up front. As it washes down it is vegetal, savory and nutty that slowly turns sweeter. The aftertaste is sweet, nutty, and slightly vegetal.
Amazing tea, it has a very complex scent even when dry. It really amazes me how even though I can usually tell a green tea from a white tea by scent (some traits give it up), I never really paid enough attention to note exactly WHAT it is lets me know or gives it out. I still don’t have a word to describe it. But as I’m smelling and drinking this tea I ‘spot’ that something and lose it over and over.
Overall, the tea seems like a green tea that was progressing towards a white tea. It has the complexity of a Bi Luo Chun in some floral hints that come and go. It reminds me of a Long Jin, in its vegetal nuttiness and some other green teas with Buttery/creamy body, yet it still holds on to some of its sweet and nutty notes from a Silver Needles tea, that freshness almost juicy. This is the kind of tea that different people will qualify differently as they drink it as it crossess the boundaries of white vs green. Very enjoyable.MINI NOTE I did longer steeps of 30s, 1:00m, 1:30m, 2:00m, etc. The shorter steeps seems like its closer to a white tea, not because its ‘weak’ but rather, the sweetness is more apparent. During longer steeps it is more brothy, the buttery character is more apparent and then in later steeps the sweetness is more apparent.
Thank you JC for this Sample Pu-erh Silver Bud Sheng!
For once, I read the notes by Amy Oh and JC first, because I wanted to know how to best prepare this Sheng Pu-erh.
Amy steeped hers 30 seconds and JC 6 seconds so I did some of both to compare the two.
I used my white porcelain Gaiwan, 4gr. leaf to 4oz. water.
After 1 rinse, the first two steepings were quick…and my least favorite. The leaves seem to take a bit of time to bloom.
There is an aroma, very faint, that I have smelled before in finer Sheng…a savory scent that reminds me of roasting pecans or artichoke hearts.
The first steepings tasted light and sweet like a refreshing glass of mountain water on a hot day. I pictured a cool lake, granite rock with icy water running over moss.
Steeping three was longer…30 seconds. The tea was casaba melon, citrus and semi-sweet. No astringency…just smooth, delightful flavor.
As I keep steeping the leaves, I preferred the longer steep time. The flavor was intriguing. Savory Umami, citrus, exotic melon, sweetness and smooth mouthfeel.
I didn’t find the tea bitter which JC had mentioned.
I’m fond of Silver Buds…for some reason, this kind of tea reminds me of Lake Tahoe and the many times I would sit on the beach looking at the Lake surrounded by tall Ponderosa Pine trees. The scent of pine needles and the clean clear High Sierra pure mountain air is something you can taste (and never forget).
Thank you JC for this sample tea!
New Year’s Eve mail…samples from JC! I picked this Black Tea for my first tea of the New Year!
JC had reviewed this tea using a Gaiwan and short steeps. I decided to use longer steeps and a finum filter in a glass mug, a more Western Style brewing method with a heavy and rich taste.
When I opened the packet of tea, the scent of the dry leaves was sweet and the leaves were long, medium cocoa brown with golden threads.
My steep time was 3 minutes (JC don’t fall over!). While this may seem long, I used 1TB. tea to 7 oz. water and had no problem.
The flavor was not cocoa or malty like I had expected.
Instead, there was a clean, brisk taste that reminded me of Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu Black Tea, but better. (As much as I’ve always loved the Teavivre Black tea, it has an aftertaste that’s vegital that I don’t like.)
There’s citrus in the scent and flavor (barely orange) as though this is a lovely Nepalese Black Tea blend. (By this I mean that Black Tea from Nepal often has a fruity flavor, close to Darjeelings which can have a citrus taste).
One of the journey’s I’ve been on (if you can call it that) is trying lots of different Black Tea’s. Strong Irish and Scot’s Black Tea’s, Kenyan and Chinese Black Tea’s from different regions (Yunnan, Taiwan, Laoshan, Etc.), Darjeelings, Assams, Thai Black, Ceylon.
This has been my Winter Project…and works well with drinking
lots of Pu’er punctuated by many sessions with roasty Oolongs.
This Guizhou is one of the best black tea’s I’ve ever tasted!
Next time JC, I’ll try this in a Gaiwan your way and follow your steeping style. This time I was my own wild woman!
I sweetened the tea during the second steeping (many black tea drinkers do this so I had to check it out) Sweet but not diminished. (Same with adding cream.) The flavor stands up to additions. (I hate losing the flavor of tea to milk and sugar!)
Great way to begin tea tasting for the New Year!
Dry Leaf – Sweet and faintly earthy.
Wet Leaf – Sweet, creamy with citrus notes
Liquor – Dark Bronze / Brown
Gong Fu in 5oz Porcelain Gaiwan 6-7g
1st 5secs – Clean and soupy/bread/pastry taste up front. As it washes down it becomes sweet and peppery. The aftertaste is sweet like sugarcane and lingers in the mouth.
2nd 3secs – Creamy and sweet up front. As it washes down it becomes slightly savory with bread/pastry like taste that is smooth with slight puckery pepper finish. The aftertaste is sweet, creamy with citrus hints.
3rd 4secs – Creamy, pepper and sweet up front. As it washes down it has a creamy, bread-like taste followed by some citrus notes that linger through the aftertaste. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
4th 4secs – Creamy, sweet, citrus notes and peppery up front. As it washes down it is creamy, bread/pastry/like that lingers. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
5th 7secs – Creamy, sweet, citrus up front. As it washes down it becomes peppery and has a savory pastry/bread taste that lingers for a bit. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
6th 11secs – Creamy, sweet and smooth up front. As it washes down it becomes peppery and has a savory pasty/bread taste that lingers, a citrus notes appears before the aftertaste takes over. The aftertaste is sweet, smooth and refreshing.
7th 16secs – Creamy, sweet, smooth and slightly citrus up front. As it washes down it has a smooth pastry/bread taste that linger a bit before turning peppery. The aftertaste is sweet, smooth and refreshing.
8th 22secs – Creamy, sweet, smooth and citrus up front. As it washes down the liquor has a faint bread taste with smoothness that turns peppery. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
Final Notes – This cake is beautiful, small.. but beautiful. You can easily appreciate the fact that is hand made as the pressing is not too tight and you can easily separate the buds. This was completely hand made which is the main reason I decided to use short steeps to ‘better appreciate’ the teas as it opens/changes. I will try it later with longer steeps but I doubt I will like it more than I did this way (I might prove myself wrong).
The liquor is very sweet and clean with a slight creaminess/smoothness that makes it pleasant. The camphor is light but strong enough to notice. It took 10 steeps pretty well with the 10th (1 minute) being slightly weak in depth but I since the tea is sweet it allows you to to have a sweet break even if other notes are faded.
Quick Notes I added the picture of the tea, it looks like a perfect cut of a log, and honestly it smells like one too.
Dry Leaf – Old tree bark, old wooden library.
Wet Leaf – Sweet, woody, eucalyptus.
Liquor – Yellowish/Golden Bronze
Gong Fu Style in Porcelain Gaiwan 5oz/4g
1st 5secs – Sweet, woody and eucalyptus freshness. At some points seems to resemble an elder flower or linden tea. Very refreshing.
2nd 10secs – Sweet, refreshing with woody/grassy/herbaceous notes that become slightly savory and earthy but fades into very refreshing sweetness.
3rd 15secs – Sweet, woody and refreshing. As it washes down it again resembles herbaceous tea. The aftertaste is sweet and very refreshing.
4th 20secs – Sweet, woody and refreshing up front. As it goes down it tastes like linden/elder flower tea (herbaceous) notes before it becomes sweet and refreshing again.
5th 30secs – Sweet, woody and refreshing up front. As it goes down it has woody/savory notes before the herbaceous elder flower/linden tea taste. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
6th 50secs – Woody, refreshing and sweet upfront. The savory woody notes becomes more apparent but fades into herbaceous sweetness. The aftertaste is extremely refreshing.
Final Notes This is not a Puerh, is a Heicha (to me they are their own category). This tea extremely refreshing, the most refreshing one I’ve had besides tea with mint added/eucalyptus added. I can only compare it to having a herbal tea blend of Linden elderflower Holy Basil and maybe some ecalyptus (not as bold as the blend but perhaps a second steep of this blend).
It is so tighly packed that it looks like a single piece of wood at first sight, after I pryed it, it was easy to see the leaves and the small ‘Jin Hua’ or golden flowers in between them. I did two short washes of the leaves and the washes themselves had extreme sweet and camphor scents. I was doing short to extremely long steeps, it doesn’t seem to go bitter or astringent at all and it takes an amazing amount of steeps well(did around 12 going strong).
Quick Notes Finally logging this one. I’ve been drinking it none end and now that I’m almost out of it I finally decided to log it.
Dry Leaf – Raw Sugar, vanilla, malty-bitterness, citrusy and plummy.
Wet Leaf – Sweet and malty, warm sugar some citrus notes.
Gong fu Style – Porcelain Gaiwan 5oz/5-6g
1st – 1sec – Very clean and citrusy at the front that has a slightly ‘savory’ maltiness that lingers before it becomes clean and sweet again.
2nd – 1sec – The lid smells like vanilla infused sugar. The liquor is clean, sweet(like warm water with sugar) and refreshing on front. As it washes down it has a savory malitiness that linger a bit. The citrus notes is a bit more apparent and it feel refreshing.
3rd – 2secs – The lid smells like raw sugar, vanilla and maybe (almond?). Citrusy up front and immediately sweet. The body seems savory while maintaining its sweetness(good balance) as it washes down. It has a light body not ‘heavy’/‘creamy’, it feels refreshing, smooth and clean.
4th – 2secs – The lid smells like vanilla, almond and sugar. Citrusy up front and turns sweet, slightly ‘cleaner’ than previously. The malty notes are not as strong although it is still present as it washes down.
5th – 4secs – The lid smells sugary, vanilla and some faint almond. Sweet with citrus notes. It turns slightly savory and malty as it washes down. It has a cleaner aftertaste, very refreshing.
6th – 5secs – The lid smells slightly malty, sugary, vanilla and faintly like almonds. Cleaner start, not as citrusy, but very sweet. The body maintains its malty and almost savory characteristics. The aftertaste is malty and sweet with freshness.
Using a small Gaiwan, I’m able to get past 11 steeps with this one. I love it western cup as well with 10, 15, 20, 30, 45 seconds and 1min steeps. I feel like this tea doesn’t change as much as most black teas do with a ‘flavor peak’ although the 2nd and 3rd steeps can be the most easily noticeable in taste.
The tea is very forgiving in the sense that if you do over-steep(bitter) you can still get a good steep on the next one, it doesn’t seem to retain the bitterness in the leaf. I would compare it to Imperial Golden Buds(Yunnan), Golden Bi Luo, and even nicked named it ‘Golden fleece’s dirty sister’ (Golden fleece from verdant). I call it ‘dirty’ because verdant’s version was very complex BUT very subtle, this one seems bolder.
Bolder vs Subtle doesn’t mean good vs better it is just what it is. Bolder vs Subtle, depends on your preference which one is ‘better’.
Thanks to JC for sending me this one! I’m sorry it has taken me so long to try it.
I broke off a small chunk of the tea and decided to steep it in my yixing teapot. This tea has a lovely aroma. At first I was thinking it smelled like an evergreen forest.
Steep #1: It’s been a while since my last sheng. I steeped this for around 30 seconds and was surprised and how mellow it is, you can never tell with younger shengs. The tea liquor is only slightly bitter in the finish and I am also picking up on the fruity notes which are quite pleasant. I have a slight tingling on the tip of my tongue. :)
2nd steep: 30 secs?? I am getting the vegetal notes, perhaps I steped this for a little too long because the 2nd steep is more bitter than the first, still it is good though. Woodsy and a bit of smoke. It seems very invigorating on this overcast day.
Not sure if I will be able to write more on this tea as I have so many things to do this morning… It is really good! Might consider getting a cake.
I’m WAYYY behind in my Notes ‘quota’ :P I have several teas I have to add to steepster and add notes. Work, Holidays and work (no error here) has been on my way. I have to catch up to you guys! To the tea!
Gong Fu – Porcelain Gaiwan 5oz / 6g
Dry Leaf Plummy, sweet, rock
Wet Leaf Wet rock, Plum, Honey, Orchid floral, refreshing
Liquor Pale and somehow golden yellow
1st 2secs Lid smells of honey, rock, plum and spicy. The liquor has a ‘wet rock’taste with apparent Orchid floral that is sweet and slowly gives hints of apricot/plum that also has some honey sweetness. The aftertaste is mostly plummy and floral that lingers in the mouth but specially on the throat.
2nd 2secs Lid smells of rocks and then turns honey sweet with floral plummy notes. The Liquor has a very apparent ‘wet rock’ taste that lasts long before turning plummy/apricot like. The tea is very complex and different notes appear with each slurp. The aftertaste is rock like with plum/apricot notes that lasts as it turns honey sweet. The Floral and plummy notes linger in the throat.
3rd 3secs Lid smells honey sweet, wet rock, plummy and floral. The liquor is plummy, ‘wet rock’ with honey sweetness. As it washes down there’s a floral, honey and plum taste that lingers before the honey and ‘rock’ taste reappears. The aftertaste is sweeter but equally floral and plummy and lingering.
4th 4secs Lid smells like wet rock, plummy/apricot and honey sweet. The liquor has notes of ‘rock’ that linger before the plummy/apricot and honey sweetness set in. As it washes down it has a stronger floral presence. The aftertaste is long lasting; it starts plummy floral with sweetness and becomes mostly sweet in the mouth but very plummy in the throat.
5th 6secs Lid smells honey sweet with hints of wet rock and apricot/plummy notes. The liquor has a ‘wet rock’ taste with apricot/plum notes, the sweetness takes a bit longer to set in, which allows to appreciate the Orchid floral notes. The aftertaste is of ‘wet rock’ and plums and lingers in the mouth but specially in the back of the throat.
6th 8secs Lid smells like wet rock and then honey sweet with hints of plum. The liquor is plummy and floral with some hints of ‘wet rock’ but weaker than previously. As it washes down it becomes floral and fragrant. The aftertaste is floral plummy and later turns sweet in the mouth but the floral plummy notes linger in the back of the throat.
7th 12secs Lid smells plummy and floral and becomes very honey sweet. The liquor has an apparent ‘wet rock’ taste with honey sweetness and some apricot/plum notes. As it washes down it seems cleaner with ‘wet rock’ notes before it becomes floral and plummy. The aftertaste is plummy sweet in the mouth and floral plummy in the throat.
8th 20secs The lid smells like wet rock and honey sweet with faint plum/apricot hints. The liquor has ‘wet rock’ notes, floral plummy notes that becomes sweet as it washes down. The aftertaste is floral and plummy and it lingers in the mouth and throat.
I love this Mi Lan Xiang! I find it incredible that is perfectly balanced, nothing is overwhelming about this tea. I’ve had other Mi Lan Xiangs that either over do it in sweetness(by high firing) and kill the floral notes. Or are excessively floral by (slowly firing) and bury all other notes.
Last thing. I quoted all the WET ROCK taste references but not the scent ones. Mostly because you can smell wet rock.. but well I haven’t gone around picking up wet rocks and tasting them. But somehow ‘wet rock’ makes sense. The only thing I would compare it to, is drinking river water that is running down a rock.
Thank you to JC for sending me a sample of this. I’ve had a few silver needle puerhs and I’ve liked them immensely. When I first saw this I thought it was a green tea, anyway the leaves are very slender and beautiful looking. I probably should have used the whole sample I was given but I used 1/2 of it instead so I suspect this will be a very light tasting.
I steeped this in the Yixing and did a quick rinse, not even sure if that was necessary but oh well… I steeped it for around 30 seconds and it has a nice creamy flavor, reminds me a bit of almonds and is also a bit floral. Very delicate and nice for an evening.
2nd steep: I am getting the melon flavor here and I can kind of see why this tea is named snow mountain, it seems to have the essence of a fresh frosty mountain.
It’s really lovely, thanks for sharing JC! I may steep this a few more times tonight and will keep you posted. ;)
Dry Leaf Sweet with floral bitterness.
Wet Leaf Floral bitterness with smoky presence that becomes sweeter and mellow as you smell it.
Liquor golden-yellow that is not bright
Gong Fu in Porcelain Gaiwan 5oz/5g
1st – 2secs Lid smells bittersweet floral with raw sugar sweetness under a thick smoky scent. Liquor, is sweet and smooth with a smoky hint that is very pleasant. A very sweet aftertaste that is also refreshing.
2nd – 2secs Lid smells bittersweet floral with smoky notes that turn sweet. The steep is smoky, sweet and floral with the slightest hint of ‘green’ that is somewhat herbaceous and smooth. As it washes down it is very floral and slightly bitter with some astringency that smooths down as the very sweet aftertaste takes over.
3rd – 3secs Lid is smoky, floral, slightly bitter and sweet. The liquor is bittersweet floral with apparent smokiness. As it washes down it is very floral and slightly herbaceous with some astringency that quickly smooths out. The aftertaste is floral and slowly becomes very sweet and refreshing.
4th – 5secs Lid smells bittersweet floral and strongly smoky that becomes sweeter. The liquor is bittersweet floral with strong smokiness that wears astringency and some bitterness. As it washes down the astringency smooths down and becomes floral in taste. The aftertaste is floral and sweet and becomes sweeter and refreshing.
5th – 7secs Lid smells sweet, smoky and floral with some bitterness. The liquor, is bittersweet floral with apparent smokiness that wears some astringency but quickly becomes smoother. The aftertaste is very floral and lingers longer before becoming very sweet and refreshing.
6th – 9secs Lid smells slightly cleaner and sweet with smoky and floral notes. The liquor is smoky, slightly less floral/bitter with some astringency. As it washes down it becomes smoother with floral and sweet notes. The aftertaste is lingering floral and smoky but becomes very sweet over time.
7th – 13secs Lid smells sweet and smoky with some floral notes. The liquor is bittersweet floral, smoky ans sweet with some astringency. As it washes down it becomes smooth once again but becomes sweeter rather than floral, although floral notes are still present. The aftertaste is very sweet and refreshing.
8th – 16secs Lid smells sweet, almost fruity with some smoky and floral notes. The liquor is cleaner at first and quickly turns sweet and smoky with subtle floral notes. As it washes down is more floral than initially and maintains its sweetness. The aftertaste is very sweet and very refreshing.
I did 12 steeps of this tea which I enjoyed very much. I was told must people do 6-8 and I think I know why. That is the range where the floral bitterness and smokiness start to fade. I’m not sure this is a good reason for me to stop steeping specially since it maintains its sweetness and I can’t explain how refreshing this tea is. I love it, I already took a layer off the cake to keep at work, the rest is strictly gong-fu at home.
I keep coming back to this tea. It definitely isn’t a bad tea, its just so DIFFERENT from all the others I usually drink. I’ve had ‘bad’ tea and I can really drink it more than two or three times. I’m starting to think this tea had the same impact my first few Puerhs had with me. My brain just said ’can’t identify’ and I rejected it.
I keep drinking it, the first steep is the strongest one, Smoky/broth-like soup with the faintest hint of sweetness but the body is incredibly savory and so is the aftertaste (I think this is what caught me by surprise).
The second steep is less smoky but still present, the sweetness is slightly more appreciable before it turns savory and broth-like as it washes down. The aftertaste has a strong savory base with hints of sweetness. The savory notes linger in the mouth and back of the throat.
The third steep is savory and brothy up front and allows a sweetness to take over for a moment. As it washes down the ‘cycle’ repeats itself but this time the sweetness lasts much longer. While the sweetness comes up front the savory doesn’t disappear it takes the background and at least to me seems to serve as a base for he sweetness, making it that much more enjoyable.
I made 6 steeps with this tea, up to the 5th the tea continued to get sweeter but it still kept its savory and smoky character, after that it was weak. I’m not a fan of Lapsang Souchong but that might be slowly changing. I still enjoy past the second steeps the most but I’m starting to enjoy that brothy/smoky/meaty ones. Maybe is the cold weather and smokiness give me ‘warmth’.
Well, not everything can be great lol. This is a very savory black tea that is also extremely smoky, yet somehow not ‘burnt’ taste to it. I can respect it and appreciate it from time to time at work and have found myself ‘craving’ it specially in a cold office day. I guess its savory and smoky taste is warming to me.
Other than that, it isn’t a great tea. I’ll probably never restock it even though it is extremely cheap.
1st – 30-40 seconds – VERY smoky, it is savory and the smokiness is somewhat overwhelming for me. I can drink it at work but is just a ‘something to wake up tea’ better than a teabag anyway.
2nd – 30-50 seconds – Not so much smoky, still savory with the slightest sweet taste in the background as it washes down. I think this is pretty much the steep I can enjoy. To me is somewhat like having a smoky soup in the morning to warm up and start the day.
I find this tea to be a very cheap option for the office but I still won’t restock. David’s collections has other cheap ‘better’(for me) black teas.
This is a short note – see previous notes for detailed notes
I’ve stayed away from Wuyi Oolongs for a while because I like them better during warmer seasons, but I missed them so much that I caved in. WOW I even had to bump up the score. I stand behind my original notes, the only thing I would add is that it has a light warmed honey taste which helps bring up up the other flavors/notes.
I just love how it is both subtle and satisfying that it feel like a perfect harmony of flavors. I’ll be ordering some more of this one!
Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Mineral, Orange Zest, Plums, Sweet Potatoes, Taro Root, Vanilla
Dry Leaf Sweet, floral, plummy/apricot, fresh.
Wet Leaf Vanilla, creamy, sweet potato/taro, apricot.
Liquor Pale greenish-yellow
Gong Fu in Yixing Gaiwan 6oz/5-6g
1st – 2secs The lid and leaves smell extremely sweet, fruity and creamy with citrus notes. Floral and fruity with strong citrus notes like orange peel that is subtly in its lingering presence. As it washes down it becomes sweet with hints of vanilla. The aftertaste is subtly sweet, floral and citrusy.
2nd – 2secs Lid and leaves smell extremely sweet and citrusy with apricot and vanilla notes. Sweet and floral with citrus and vanilla notes that slowly fade into floral sweetness that lingers through the aftertaste with is very refreshing.
3rd – 4secs Lid and leaves smell sweeter and floral with slightly less citrus and apricot notes. The liquor is very floral and it becomes plummy/apricot like with strong citrus notes. As it washes down the strong floral slightly fades and lingers with vanilla notes. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
4th – 6secs Lid and leaves smell sweet, floral vanilla with apricot and citrus notes. The liquor is Citrusy and sweet, vanilla floral with apricot notes. As it washes down it is very sweet and refreshing with apricot notes. The aftertaste is sweet and pleasantly refreshing.
5th – 8secs Lid and leaves smell sweet and strong apricot with citrus notes. Floral citrusy with apricot and vanilla notes. As it washes down it remains floral and the aftertaste is refreshing and lasting.
6th – 12secs Lid and leaves smell more apricot and citrusy with some sweetness. The liquor is very citrusy and apricot/plummy like with floral vanilla notes. As it washes down it becomes rather sweet and floral, this lasts through the aftertaste.
I got a good 9 steeps out of this one. This one has some subtle notes but it is complex in the many notes that it bears but they are fairly straight forward and enjoyable with little effort. I love it. This is the lightest roast version of this tea I had and by far the most ‘plummy/apricot’ like, very good. EDIT!!! I’ve been going through all my Oolongs again. this needed a ‘grading’ update. So does Gong Xian!!!
Not really a tasting note. Rather a comment and clarification.
I have to bump this one up a bit. I love it, I got the 250g cake and in less than a month I’m half way through it. I drink it at home and in the office. The part that made me realize how good it is… is finding myself at home contemplating the idea of having tea and browsing my ‘stash’ and ending up having this Puerh. Honestly, once I wasn’t sure what to drink and I literally told myself ‘Let me think about over some Tibetan Puerh’. If that is not an excuse to drink it, I don’t know what is. :P
Anyway UPgraded its score, more than well deserved.
Quick Note Longer steep times!
Dry Leaf Sweet, slightly earthy.
Wet Leaf Earthy, sweet, creamy and refreshing
Liquor Dark bronze color with thin malty layers on top.
Gong Fu in Porcelain Gaiwan 5oz/5-6g
1st – 30secs Sweet and smooth with some creamy earthiness, initially has hints of bittersweet chocolate as I slurp but quickly fade. As it washes down it is fairly clean and sweet. There’s a slight savory note that is pleasant, the aftertaste is sweet, earthy and refreshing.
2nd – 30secs Earthy, thick and creamy with bittersweet chocolate notes that turns very sweet. As it washes down it becomes slightly savory with earthiness, it slowly turns sweeter and smoother; this lasts through the aftertaste which is also very refreshing.
3rd – 25secs (leaves opened) Thick, full bodied and creamy. It is also very sweet with bittersweet chocolate notes and hints of earthiness. As it washes down it is cleaner and sweeter. The aftertaste is sweet, smooth and very refreshing.
4th – 30secs Less thick than the last steep but still full bodied and creamy. This steep is slightly sweeter and the bittersweet chocolate note is still very present initially but it fades as you drink. As it washes down is smooth and refreshing. The aftertaste is sweet, slightly earthy and very refreshing.
5th – 40secs Smooth, sweet and earthy with faint chocolate notes. As it washes down is more subtle but maintains sweetness and smooth earthy hints. The aftertaste is smooth, sweet and refreshing.
I did two other steeps one of 1 minute and the other 1 1/2 minutes. These steeps were very pleasant but weaker in taste. It could resemble a slighly earthy black tea with very refreshing aftertaste. I usually prefer Sheng Puerh but there’s something about Shu/Shou/Ripe that is better for me specially now in colder weather.
Dry Leaf Sweet, slightly earthy.
Wet Leaf Earthy, sweet and refreshing
Liquor Dark bronze color with thin malty layers on top.
Gong Fu in Porcelain Gaiwan 5oz/5-6g
1st – 10secs Sweet and refreshing with slight earthy notes. As it goes down it feels slightly creamy and very smooth. The aftertaste is sweet and very refreshing.
2nd – 10secs Sweet and smooth that becomes creamy and very refreshing with hints of earthy notes. The aftertaste is sweet, malty, and very refreshing. After a bit of time the earthy note gives hints of what could be a dark/bittersweet chocolate? :)
3rd – 10secs Thicker, creamier and smoother and sweet that slowly becomes refreshing as it washes down. The liquor is smooth and there’s a faint roasty/earthy taste. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
4th – 10secs Sweet, smooth and creamy that is very refreshing. The freshness is very present and everlasting. The aftertaste is still very sweet and refreshing.
5th – 15secs Sweet and smooth with some maltiness and creamy full body that is very pleasant and almost filling. It continues to be refreshing and sweet as it washes down and continues through the aftertaste.
6th – 20secs Sweet and creamy that is very smooth and has some maltiness. It somehow manages to be full bodied, creamy and refreshing at the same time. Sweet and refreshing aftertaste.
7th – 20secs Sweet and creamy that is very smooth with some creaminess and some maltiness. As it washes down it becomes cleaner and very refreshing. The aftertaste is cleaner but still sweet and very refreshing.
I love this Puerh! It is simple and VERY enjoyable. It resembles a few other more expensive Puerhs for half the price! I have to say I’m impressed by the leaf/bud distribution on this one since I’ve seen Tibetan Puerhs that look like someone compressed the leaves from their backyard in Autumn (they are still really good, they just look ‘rough’). I’m going keep re-stocking this one.
Dry Leaf Honey sweet, orchid and fruity(candy like).
Wet Leaf Plummy, fruity, floral, Orchid floral, honey, fresh.
Gong fu in Yixing Gaiwan 6oz/6-7g
1st-2secs Clean and sweet with very subtle orchid floral notes. The sweetness is honey like and lasting. The liquor is very refreshing and clean, as it washes down the aftertaste is sweet and very subtle floral.
2nd-4secs Clean and VERY sweet with subtle floral notes. Honey sweetness is very present with a slight fruity hint. This Oolong has a refreshing character that is very note worthy. Its aftertaste is sweet and subtle with floral notes.
3rd-6secs Sweeter and slightly less clean, with some floral hints being present in the front. This floral sweetness lasts as it washes down and becomes refreshing and through the aftertaste that is still very sweet and slightly floral.
4th-10secs Sweet with orchid floral notes that wears the slightest bitterness that fades quickly into sweetness. As it washes down it remains sweet and refreshing; there a faint herbaceous note that is pleasant. The aftertaste is sweet with subtle floral notes.
5th-15secs Very sweet with orchid floral notes and slight fruity hints. The taste becomes slightly floral and then fades into sweetness. The aftertaste remains unchanged.
6th-20secs Slightly less sweet that previously. The liquor still has subtle floral and fruity notes that lingers very subtly as you continue to drink. As it washes down it becomes sweet and the aftertaste is sweet and slightly more floral.
This Oolong is very good, it is very sweet and takes several infussions well. The thing is that is very subtle and after having tried the ‘Ba Xian’ Oolong this one will remain in its shadow for me. But it is still a great Oolong that is easy to enjoy if you are looking for simple sweetness and enjoyable is you like the challenge of subtle complexity. EDIT going through all my Oolongs I felt I didn’t do this Oolong justice Bumping up its score!
Decided to go in a light roast/oxidation Oolong adventure and ordered a sampler of Phoenix Mountain Oolongs. Not disappointed.
Gong Fu in Yixing Gaiwan 6oz/5-6g
Dry Leaf – Honey sweet, fruity and peach/plum scent.
Wet Leaf – Extremely sweet and fruity, sweet potato, peach/plum with citrus hints.
Liquor – Pale yellow and green color that still lively.
1st – 4secs Lid smells incredibly sweet and fruity like peach or plum and somewhat citrus. Sweet and fruity but with an apparent floral note that then turns bittersweet floral that is reminiscent of a very fruity and extremely floral Tie Guan Yin. The aftertaste has a hint of vanilla sweetness and floral.
2nd – 4secs Lid smells sweet and fruity with citrus notes and a apparent peach/plum. Extremely floral and fruity that wear some bitterness but very pleasant. As the bitterness diminishes the sweetness becomes apparent and balanced once again reminiscent of a TGY with added fruitiness. The aftertaste is sweet and very floral and long lasting.
3rd – 5secs Lid smells sweet and fruity with citrus notes, peach/plum notes and more floral. Bittersweet floral taste that is very apparent and pleasant, as it washes down it balances and again resembles a TGY. The liquor remains very fruity and floral and the aftertaste is lasting in the palate and the back of the throat.
4th – 6secs Lid is still very sweet and fruity in scent; the citrus notes is still very apparent and so is the plummy/peach but the floral notes are slightly less apparent. Floral bitterness and fruity at the start and once again balances out with it’s sweetness that is honey like. The aftertaste is very sweet and floral and seems to last forever.
5th – 10secs Lid smells sweet and fruity with apparent citrus and peach/plum notes. Sweet and floral with some bitterness (not as strong as previous) that turns sweeter as it washes down. The sweetness lasts through the aftertaste with floral notes that are very pleasant.
6th – 20secs Lid still wears apparent sweetness and fruitiness, this time the peach scent is more defined and the floral is Orchid like. The liquor is very floral and again slightly bitter but slowly turns sweeter, once again reaching that bittersweet balance that is very pleasant and that lingers through the aftertaste.
A very very pleasant Oolong! That is also very complex is taste and scents. I feel like I would continue to buy this tea but not make it an every day tea. I feel its complexity requires you to slurp the liquor to truly enjoy it as its fragrance is surely part of the whole experience. I might start getting more into lighter Oolongs after all. I made several other steeps, if I felt the floral notes were weak I just cranked up the time, it never really turned astringent and its bitterness was very pleasant.