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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you so much for passing this along, derk! derk wasn’t thrilled with this one and we had a swap we were building, so I requested this one. I love these types of pu-erh that look like a candy bar that you break a piece from. This one just happened to have lilies in it. By the time the fourth steep had unraveled in the basket, there was an entire big lily blossom floating at the top, not to mention the smaller petals throughout. Wow! It’s amazing how tea unravels sometimes. The flavor was very consistent throughout all four steeps. A very dark shu — I couldn’t really taste anything floral per se, but the pu-erh is very delicious on it’s own. The main note being starchy and bakey like a good rye bread. Nothing offensive here at all. But also not terribly distinct. I do like how dark it is though! Now that it’s cooler weather… let the great chai avalanche commence!
Steep #1 // 1 square for full mug // 20 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 18 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 5 min steep
Steep #4 // just boiled // 11 min steep
Different from my usual style of tea. Earthy and savory, it reminds of the few times I’ve tried puerh. Been a long time since I’ve had a tea from Yunnan, it has the distinctive taste I remember. To me tastes kind of sharp? Hits the back of the tongue with lots of flavor, really nice. Great to resteep, give yourself time to get at least 3. Mushroomy aroma. Spring 2018 batch.
Flavors: Earth, Mushrooms
Samurai Travelling Tea Box – Tea #49
So unfortunately due to all of the site issues, I’ve wound up with the box a little bit longer than I had planned to have it. I have one more tasting note to write after this one and then I will have tried and written about everything that I pulled from the box for myself. I’ve got a few teas to add in, but then I’m ready to pass it along if I can reach Arby for an address…
Anyway, I had this one a while back in the evening and I really enjoyed it. I even debated pulling the remainder of it from the box for myself, but upon some deeper reflection I realized that I have a lot of straight white tea to sip through already and white tea is a bit of a pain to store because of how fluffy it is so I left it in the box.
What I enjoyed about it so much though was how smooth and creamy it tasted! It had that lovely soft timothy hay and cucumber skin combination that I adore so much in white teas coupled with this fresh cream flavour that just makes my palate sing when I taste it. So easy to sip back, and impressive given the age of the tea.
Samurai Travelling Tea Box – Tea #31
Last tea of the day, and I’m probably pushing myself by drinking such a large cold brew before bed – and one with caffeine, no less! It’s a hot day though, even in the evening, and this is really refreshing! Pretty smooth and lightly/delicately flavoured – reminds me of the super airy and refreshing cucumber finger sandwiches you sometimes get at afternoon or high tea, with just a kiss/hint of lemon as well.
It’s so nice to see so many Steepster olds coming out of the woodwork, seemingly or coincidentally after the announcement that Steepster will rise from the dead after the Adagio takeover. Welcome back to you all!!
Another from JakeB – embarrassed to admit I didn’t even try it yet. But thank you again! I must have been less than enthused about the “300 year” claim.. meh. It seems all the tasting notes for this have been from four years ago. So possibly I’m not the only one avoiding this tea? The one Steepsterer who seemed to love it used about four times the leaf than I would typically use. I’m going to try to be very patient and really cool the water down to see what happens with this sheng. What happened was a very consistent flavor of very plain sheng. It wasn’t bitter, it wasn’t unique like Poundcake was ridiculously unique the other day. Simply very plain. If you want to know what typical sheng tastes like, here it is. So I guess the “300 years” is the “selling point” here. It’s not bad, it’s not very interesting, but at least it’s consistent. But that could be from waiting 50+ minutes to cool this water, which I usually do not have patience for. So possibly there was no chance here to oversteep. Maybe I should try using a ton of leaf next? But I can’t imagine that going well for my tastebuds.
Steep #1 // 54 minutes after boiling // rinse // 45 second steep
Steep #2 // 55 minutes after boiling // 45 second steep
Steep #3 // 52 minutes after boiling // 45 second steep
1.25 tsp for 330mL water @90C, steeped Western style 3 minutes — because sometimes I;m greedy with oolong. First infusion.
GAWD, this is good! I adore tieguanyins, and once again, Master Zhang shows us how it’s done. This is beautifully floral, of course, but there’s also lots of fruit notes — like dragonfruit and lychee and peach — and a tingle almost, which is very refreshing but could become a bit soapy if steeped too long. Lesson learned: I’ll make this gong fu next time. It’s deeper than a spring tieguanyin. Crisp mineral notes. Fruit and flowers dominate. Just gorgeous.
Such interesting flavors going on with this tea! Definitely getting a steamed milk aroma that translates into an almost Samoa cookie experience. Not getting any of that in the flavor, though. Flavor-wise, I’m getting a bit of honey, some cinnamon, and an intense minerality. There is a fair amount of astringency that I could do without.
Flavors: Astringent, Cinnamon, Honey, Milk, Mineral
Back on this great tea again this morning. It remains a lovely, easy drinking sheng puerh. I find it to be a really lovely breakfast drink (and it went very well with my lovely apricot custard danish…!). It always seems to just out-last me, too, steeping on and on with loads of flavour and presence.
I finally cracked open my brick of this lovely sheng a few days ago, after several years of it sitting happy and tightly wrapped in my sheng-box.
The leaves smell really quite lovely and the brick is nice and easy to prize apart into good chunks for the pot. It has that lovely forest aroma that sheng puerhs usually do, with a slightly musty undertone.
The brew is absolutely delicious. It’s sweet and refreshing on the palette, with lovely notes of honey and marmalade. It steeps out well, producing a golden-brown/light orange tea. It never becomes too astringent or bitter but has enough body and character to make it an interesting brew.
Flavors: Forest Floor, Honey, Orange
This was received in a swap with Jennkay a while back, and for some reason I never added it to my cupboard. The sample wasn’t quite enough to make a flavourful cup, so I stretched it out as best I could and will be leaving it on my wishlist until I’m able to try enough of it to give a fair review. Though mild, toasty rice and hay notes are quite forwardly present, with a whisper of chocolate in the background, followed up by a prominent bean-like note which lingers on the palate after the sip. A pinch of sugar brings out the chocolate more, and the bean note seems to take over the sip. It’s a very comforting cup with an almost starchy presence even when significantly underleafed, and I imagine it would be a real treat when brewed using the recommended amount.
Thank you for sharing, Jenn! Sipdown, 223/400.
Brewed up about half of my remaining supply of this lovely black tea yesterday. My boyfriend and I shared the steeps and it remains as lovely as it always did. Lots of sweetness, smoke-tinged flavours, and lovely sweet, biscuity notes. It drank merrily for 2-3 steeps in my teapot before I had to take a break.
The rest is still sitting in my lovely little acorn teapot, so maybe I’ll try to steep it out this afternoon.
Sad sipdown. This is one I will be picking up in a larger amount once my cupboard is under control. It’s just as rich, malty and chocolatey as everyone says, but it’s also insanely smooth with a sour edge and a bean note that adds something a little different to it. There are hints of smoked caramel in the aftertaste, and the lingering impression it gives me is like somebody added cocoa to bread dough before they baked it, and now that bread is fresh out of the oven and you just took a big bite. This will one day be a staple single origin black in my cupboard, I think.
I bought a few different aged Tieguanyins from Verdant so that I could compare. It’s just been too hot for hot tea this week. Some truffles that I ordered arrived today, and I thought this would be a nice pairing. I never would’ve guessed it’s a TGY. Very charcoal forward, with some sandalwood and wet rock minerality. A bit sweet, and an incredibly silky mouthfeel. My favorite part about it was actually how soft and silky it felt as I sipped it. That silkiness was an interesting contrast to the predominant charcoal notes.
Yet another of my Spring 2020 clearance sipdowns!
This is a really lovely, quite special sheng puerh. I wish I’d bought a little cake of it, back in 2016 when I got the tea club delivery of it. The leafs smelled great, with those notes of forest floor and gentle floral undertones.
I brewed it up in my little flat Yixing pot and probably got through a good 8-10 infusions with it. The early steepings were rich in woody, herbal notes, with a clear honey-note that faded into a more muscular forest-floor flavour in the mid-steepings. As we carried on drinking, the honey note seemed to gently re-emerge and the tea continued to produce refreshing, slightly minerally, herbaceous cupfuls.
Flavors: Forest Floor, Herbaceous, Honey
Did a sipdown session with my last few nuggets a few days ago over a few games of Splendour. This remains a very smooth, easy-drinking puerh, with lovely notes of caramel and chocolate. It brewed out well over around 8-9 infusions (and, to be honest, probably could have carried on going), with those lovely warming camphor notes just started to creep in as we carried on drinking.
I always really enjoy the Dongsa Coops teas and this one has proven no exception. They’re lovely, refreshing, easy-drinkers that offer a well balanced flavour profile and a stimulating, satisfying drink.
Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Mineral
I did a session with this lovely old tea yesterday. I’ve had a sample from an old Verdant tea of the month club – possibly from 2015 or 2016? – but never got around to drinking it and figured that, as it was shu in a sealed packet, it would probably be fine to wait for a little while.
On the nose, the dry leaves are just wonderful. They gave me and my boyfriend a really strong hit of wet woodland or of the hold of an old, wooden ship – that sort of slightly dank, nostalgic smell of an old children’s adventure playground in a forest, or a tropical enclosure at a really good zoo. The pieces of leaf were quite large and flat.
I brewed the packet (5g) in my porcelain gaiwan. I preheated it and then left the leaves inside briefly to start opening them. I then rinsed the leaves at around 95C:
- the wet leaves smelled even more potently of the same kind of dark, humid woodland/enclosure. It was a surprisingly nostalgic smell; I just couldn’t shake the way it transported me back to (very fond) childhood memories of walking through the tropics house at Chester Zoo.
- the rinse was pretty mild on the palette, to be honest. I didn’t get much from it, but it also carried the smell of old wood.
Further infusions (at increasing increments from 5s up to around 30, all with 95-96C water) held much the same; the tea was surprisingly mild but the aroma was lovely and nostalgic.
I’m not sure what to make of it, overall; it was such a mild drink, despite the incredibly powerful aroma. I think I still enjoyed the overall experience but probably wished the liquor itself packed a little more of a punch.
Flavors: Rainforest, Wood
Is this actually a black? Or is it an herbal? I don’t remember.
Anyhow, it’s a nicely sweet sort of black tea – it’s the tea I confused with the Osmanthus Laoshan Black, until I came to my senses. It tastes nothing like LB, but does have a lot of floral qualities. It’s unusual, and I enjoy it.