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Recent Tasting Notes
Have you tried a Gedeng puerh? This is my first experience with a sheng using raw material from Gedeng Mountain and I must say that I quite enjoyed it. I enjoy learning about and trying teas from areas about which I know very little. Gedeng and XiGui are two areas I am working on at the moment. Gedeng Mountain is one of the original six famous tea mountains. It is located in Mengla County in Xishuangbanna in close proximity to Youle, Jinuo, Yibang and Mangzhi. Due to over harvesting, there is now limited production and decent Gedeng material is rather limited.
There is nice age on this brick and the leaves appear to be aging nicely. There is a wonderful ‘dry’ aroma and the leaves look quite healthy. Pungent aroma from the wet leaf with fruity overtones. The tea liquor is a shimmering orange-gold. The sip offers a rather complex mix of flavors which quickly transforms into a sweet palate. The tea is thick and heavy. You can feel a little bitterness going in, covering the mouth, and after swallowing, the huigan comes quickly. The cha qi is not obvious at first, but after three or four infusion it hit me hard.
Overall impressions: Sweet and smooth with decent Qi which left me very relaxed and moving toward a tired state. After the session I decided that this material is somewhat similar to a good Manzhuan tea. Very drinkable and enjoyable!
When I did my little blind taste of this tea, I only used around half of the packet and kept the rest to use another time. I started back at work full time, last week, so have been working through teas that work well either prepared Western style or grandpa style.
This one seemed like it might hold up Western style, but my infuser is currently away. I improvised a little and used a tumblr and a glass – I dumped the remaining leaves into the bottom of the pre-warmed tumblr, filled it 2/3 with boiling water and let it infuse. After a minute (maybe two – it wasn’t exactly a scientific affair), I poured the tea out into my glass.
Amazingly, I think I preferred this tea when prepared in this way! It was sweet, creamy (like when made in the Gaiwan), but it also had some cake-like notes. It was really good :O
I got two really delicious infusions like this and a fairly good third one. I think I may stick to making this Western in future – it was really good :O
I’ve been promising a number of blind taste tests to myself, recently, and I finally went ahead and did one today! I had around 3g of this oolong left, and I still have a number of packets of the “gift tea” DHP that I was given in late 2014. So, I thought they’d make an excellent pair for comparison!
I used my two Gaiwans (Yixing Dragon from Butiki (~100ml) and my Jingdezhen one from Verdant(~120ml)). I prepared everything in an identical way (pre-heated cups, fairness pitcher and gaiwans), added the teas blindly (long story and hard to explain, but I managed XD), let them heat in the hot Gaiwan and then rinsed them both for ~3 seconds). I took notes on the fragrances and appearances of the dry leaf, and then went ahead with the tasting!
So, I did three steeps in all this morning (and I’ll do more later on): 5", 10", and 15".
I was really surprised by just how different this tea was to the one from Verdant :O For one, the dry leaves were much more intensely scented – a really strong, dried-lime like smell, with hints of roasty/blackened food. After the hot gaiwan/rinse treatment, it was much the same – intense, but almost refreshing!
The drink itself, particularly when compared against the astringent, light-bodied Verdant offering, was really smooth and full-bodied. It’s like, for the coffee fans on this site, the difference between Sumatran and Central/Latin American coffees – this one was definitely closer to the Sumatran varieties! It had such a thick, creamy mouthfeel that really coated the inside of your mouth.
The way I ran this “comparison” was to brew one and then, whilst it was cooling in the pitcher, brew the other. Then, whilst the second cooled, drink the first. Then drink the second.
This one turned out to be in my Yixing Gaiwan and was one I tasted second, after the first infusions (I hope this still makes sense). So, after the refreshing, almost tangy Verdant DHP, I took a sip of this and it was so odd – it was like it just wiped out any traces of the other tea! It felt like it immediately coated my palette with it’s thick texture, and almost dull, heavy flavour in comparison. I was so shocked that the difference would be so marked, especially given how zingy and citrussy this one smelled.
Don’t get me wrong, though – this tea was plenty tasty. It carried those blackened, charred, roasted lime flavours that, as the infusions progressed, became slightly sweeter and even creamier. In the final steep, a chocolatey, roasted-nut flavour came through (kinda like dark chocolate coated roasted peanuts).
I’ll carry on drinking both teas later, but I really was amazed by how different these two teas were :O
Flavors: Char, Dark Chocolate, Lime, Roasted
One of my mystery teas.
I know this is a 2009 sheng fro Phoenix Mountain. I don’t know the name of the factory or company who produced the cake.
Anyways, it’s quite good. Apricoty, of course. Low smoke, but with a pronounced bitter hit on the end. It smooths out over later steeps. I think this one will age very nicely!
This tea is very frustrating to me.
Oh, it has nothing to do with the tea itself. It’s a very pleasant oolong of some description that I’m quite enjoying, though I need to eat some more before I drink my next infusion because oolong on an empty stomach makes me headachey. A colleague at work gave it to me after we had a conversation and I gave her the rest of my Spiced Orange Tieguanyin (Verdant) because I don’t like it enough to drink the rest of it.
I have a picture of the package I wanted to put into the picture field of this tea. I’m not being given an option. This is frustrating. I’ve tried on 2 different browsers. I cleared my cache and cookies. I can’t drag and drop. There isn’t even an option to put a URL or file in. Nothing to click at all. Very frustrating.
ETA: This is an instagram of the tea wrapper in question. I was trying to use this as the photo but it’ll work here too.
I’m almost sure this is a Da Hong Pao, it is all in Chinese except for “Chinese Refined Tea”
The smell like a Wonderful Oolong, Roasty, Nutty and Sweet smelling with a touch of Earthy scent.
It is surely Oolong very dark with roasty cocoa spicey notes almost bitter. Taste like Da Hong Pao not bad at all, pretty good even. Not sure where to get more, I don’t even know where this one came from.
This one was sent along as a “tea gift” with some piece of teaware that I bought from I have no idea who, I have lot’s of different little unknown tea gifts like this that I just throw them all in a box.
If I had more of this I’d drink it from time to time BUT I’d open it right quick just to smell it even more often lol, It smells really really good.
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Roasted, Toasted
this seems such an inappropriate way to classify this amazing tea!!! huge thanks to MissB for this. she surprised me a few weeks back with a lovely package and i’ve been saving it for crunch time (ie now).
she included 4 big black pearls simply listed ‘chinese black’……. they were black blooming teas! i have always thought if you see something that is supposed to have colour and brilliance in black or grey, consider yourself warned. the rule absolutely applies to this tea! ….i chucked in 2.
beautiful black prongs, a ball of claws unfolding…. this tea smells beautiful and looks mean. just what i needed to lock in my 35% final mark in geography! lol. i did a quick poll of FB friends, OMGsrsly told me to knock it off and stop pushing the word limit. CelebriTea said something similar. 1778 when your cap is 1500 isn’t too bad…. right? (what kind of a picklehead gives that weighty a project such a low cap anyway?!!!)
the prof did not like me. this they knew (as did i), however he was looking very forward to the interview i’d managed to get…. and i’d managed to build some models i was fairly certain would impress.
end of the day? 90% …. apparently it would have been higher but i bungled something in my citations. sigh. IN ANY CASE i drank this pokey black tea all day! it was awesome! MissB, if you tell me where to get it i’ll grab more in a heartbeat…. i stopped at 7 steeps? and the flavour was still solid.
smooth black, cocoa notes, light on the malt. light elements of underlying vanilla. no fruit tones, no vegetal tones….. somber, serious. reminds me of verdant’s zhu zhong and laoshan blacks combined but with an almost sparkling element.
i will always affiliate this tea with that win.
one more essay. 2 days…… what tea shall i choose?
Er… Is this listed under another name? I’m sure one of you has got to have tried it…
Anways, thanks to Sil for this one. The bag is labelled “random black”, but the moment water hit the leaves, I remembered that “random black” was mislabeled and it is actually a loose leaf pu’erh. The aroma was… unmistakeable… And by that I mean kinda fishy. And the flavour… is a little weird. Not fishy, but it tastes kind of old. Again, seems weird for a strongly-flavoured tea, to me. Starting to wonder if some weird old-smelling thing did get into that box of mine… I’ll have to try something that’s a bit more delicately flavoured to see. Boo! This hasn’t happened to me before :(
Summary: Award winning Chinese green tea from Jiang Xi region.
Leaves: Dry – very tightly rolled leaves and tips with soft white down. Dark green and white, almost grey, colour to the mix. Wet – Small full leaves, and small pieces of leaves. Tips also small but full.
Liquor Body: Dark yellow – almost a very light brown hue.
Aroma: Dry leaves – sweet, more floral than vegetal. Maybe a first flush is or this sweetness from the tips?
Flavour & Sensation: May have steeped for too long – quick bitter/tannin rush followed by a rather nice floral note than melts away sadly into a bitter after taste. Taste tends to stay in the top of the mouth – particularly back of the tongue and behind upper lips.
FInally getting around to try this one from when i was in china. This isn’t a bad rooibos, though the strawberry is slightly artificial tasting. It’s not as creamy as i’d love it to be, but still, this is leaning towards being similar to walter bishop but with rooibos. Too bad this wasn’t honeybush!
Thank you Sil for this sample! Twas quite the yummy cuppa. I was pleasantly surprised.
Mind you, I had it a few days ago during one of the Steepster outages, thus am logging it now… so all I can recall is that it was sweet, with a hint of smoke and a whole lotta artichoke or the “green” part of avocado (ie not the creamy taste)
Either way, it was delish :)
Sil, is this the “smokey black tea from China?”
Last time I logged it under ‘Random Steepings’, LOL.
Oh well, no matter, it’s a sipdown!
I didn’t find it really to be THAT smokey, but it was tasty, with an interesting menthol taste & tip of tongue sensation during the last couple of sips!
Thanks to Sil for this sample!! It’s a backlog from ages ago that I completely forgot to log. Oops!
Anyhow, not bad for a random rooibos. The strawberry is very faint and slightly artificial, but pleasant. I was super sleepy so can’t recall more than that. I’ll have to rate it next time.
Thanks to Sil for the sample!! All the way from China :D
Had this one this afternoon to see if a green tea would help. I also figure i need to make it through some of my randoms from china, especially the green ones in relatively short order. I wish i had ANY sense of what this one was because it’s a lovely sweet cup of sunshine.
Sooooo… my baggie reads “Other Random Black Golden Tip” – is it this one, or the other one?! Ahhhhhhh :P I’ll have to find the first one and see if there’s any visual difference or anything, otherwise I may never know…. (Sil, Raritea – any clarification on this? I know you guys packed it up :D).
Anyhow, my house is shockingly cool enough for me to want warm tea! This coming on a day where we hit 32C, and 42C with the humidex. Good work, A/C! (Gonna be expensive though, eeps!) So I grabbed a couple random-ish teas from one of the various billion boxes upstairs to make a bit more headway on smaller samples.
This tea, although not bad, isn’t really my thing. I think I brewed it a bit weak (maybe 2 min wasn’t enough), though that’s not really an issue – it’s just more hay-y than chocolatey, and I much prefer a good dose of chocolate. That said, there’s no astringency, and it’s warm and malty… certainly a good tea for those with a greater acceptance of black teas than me!
Thanks for sharing some of it with me, Sil!
ETA: Re-steep was unremarkable.
sipdown on this one today as well! I’m very nearly out of the teas i brought back from china – well the ones that weren’t packaged in tins or individual servings. While it makes me sad, i’m also really glad that i’ve been able to get through them and enjoy them while i’ve had them…as well as share with others!
I guess i forgot to log this the first time i had it. This is one of the teas i brought with me back from china. What is most surprising is how much raritea enjoyed it since she’s usually on the other end of YAY! in terms of types of teas we like :)
This tea though? I wish i knew what it was since it’s smooth, chocolatey and sweet with no additives. It’s a very very nice black tea, on the less ROBUST IN YOUR FACE variety, but a very pleasant cup.
Sipdown! Thanks Sil!
Blech. I brewed this one up pretty strong, and that was a mistake; although the strawberry flavour in here is fairly apparent (though rather fake, not that I care about that), I’m getting an overwhelming medicinal taste from the rooibos which is making me gag. Perhaps it would be ok if brewed for a shorter time or with a higher water:leaf ratio, but I can’t undo what I’ve done! (Well, I could add more water. We’ll see.)
Anyways, interesting to try a flavoured rooibos all the way from China! I wish it had been honeybush, sigh.