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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks to a very good tea friend I was able to try this tea from the White2Tea club. This tea is good, end of statement. It has a lot of flavor and very little fermentation flavor. I am really considering joining the White2Tea club. This tea was naturally just a little bit sweet. It was the best shou I have drank this week anyway. I gave this tea eight steeps and would have given it more but I have a caffeine limit and eight steeps in a 170ml teapot is a lot of tea even in the afternoon.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 170ml Yixing teapot with 10g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and let the leaves rest for ten minutes. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. The tea was not finished at eight, it would certainly have gone twelve steeps.
If there was ever a sheng to finally convert me, it would be this one. This is pretty amazing tea and I ended up drinking a half gallon worth XD It’s a nice amber color and feels very “full” in the mouth. It’s a nice woodsy, sweet brew and smells like a campfire. It’s slightly smoky and all delicious. Hands down the best puerh I’ve had so far.
Flavors: Campfire, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
from the Sheng and Shou TTB
okay, this one I think is just a little too young for my liking. Maybe some humid aging would help it along. It’s on the bitter side, but not astringent. It does remind me of scotch, but I’d like it a touch sweeter, a touch less young. There’s some tobacco notes and something else I’m not sure what. It’s okay, but I probably wouldn’t drink this again for a few more years.
I found this tea to be surprisingly outstanding. The first time I broke into it I was suffering from a sore throat, and found the crisp bitterness to be highly soothing and refreshing. Paul wrote on his page that his target was sweetness, which is certainly present in its intense fruit-flavors, but I find its persistent bitterness to be the highlight of the show. Powerful, complex and refreshing, this is an excellent exemplar of gushu Bulang terroir that doesn’t break the bank.
Second session tonight. Good, strong, downer Naka cha qi as expected. It only takes a few gulps to put me in a pretty deep hole. I taste a pleasant mixture of leather, sweet tobacco and apricot, with a little smoke in the background. There’s a gentle bitterness and quite a deal of cooling. This tea yields a bronze-ish liquor with very little body, and the endurance sadly seems to be around 8 or 9 steeps. That said, I feel no compulsion to drink this quickly, as I do with many other teas. The compression is incredibly tight, and the leaves are small and a bit fragmented. Consult last couple reviews for brewing parameters. Were the price still less than $100, I would have gotten a bing without much hesitation.I don’t think I’ll be giving numerical ratings from here on out, since they probably aren’t very helpful. Taking a bit of a detour into Japanese greens next, since I ordered a kyusu and a few teas to go with it.
Flavors: Apricot, Leather, Smoke, Tobacco
First real aged sample, so take this with a grain of salt or two. Liquor was quite dark, slightly clearer and lighter than a typical shu. Deep, earthy, mineral flavors with a wonderful spiciness and a slight coating effect on the mouth. Another reviewer mentioned beetroot, which was definitely present too. A few pleasant little pinpricks on the tongue, probably from the slight bitterness this is still holding onto. Qi was less intense than from some younger teas I’ve had, but very deep and warm-feeling and not debilitating in the slightest. I was a little disappointed with the endurance — only got around 2 mugs out of it. Usual parameters, though I found myself extending steep times in the second mug. While it could be more complex and dynamic and lacks some endurance, I am very happy with this tea. One more sample from my order left to try, but I think I’ll put it off until the weekend (it’s the yexiangwang naka).
Spent the day with this one – a great selection using fine material from the Hekai tea producing area. Fragrant dry leaves which produce a clear tea soup – dark bronze in color moving toward orange. Thick syrupy mouthfeel with an appealing blend of tobacco, wood, citrus and molasses flavors. This is a rather interesting flavor profile which is noticeably smooth and mellow. All in all this is a great full-bodied, complex sheng and it holds up nicely for many enjoyable infusions. Today I steeped at 195 degrees but I think I’ll push the temperature to 205 degrees when I go back to these leaves tomorrow.
There’s very little worth saying about this tea — I found it even flatter than the YS Impression. I think yiwu may not be my preferred region, though I have a tiny sample of yiwu gushu I’m saving for a special occasion that may change my mind. I found this tea far, far too sweet and polite, with little to no bitterness, cooling, huigan, or any of the other things I liked from the other young shengs I’ve tried recently. You get what you pay for, I guess?
Thought I’d throw this one in tonight as well. This tea is very, very sweet and smooth without a hint of wodui. The “chocolate” and “milk” descriptors are right on. Qi is right in line with what shu usually does to me — sleepy/dizzy. I started out steeping this normally and then switched to ~1m, with much better results. I’ve noticed with what I’ve drunk so far that in general, that good shu benefits from being brewed very thick and strong. While it’s not the most complex or exciting thing in the world, I quite liked this tea. Boiling water/100ml gaiwan/5g leaf.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cream
This brick’s virtues have been described a lot more eloquently than they will be here, but I thought I might as well corroborate. While I don’t quite share Hobbes’ level of enthusiasm for this thing, I think it’s a great deal, even with the rising price. The taste of the 5g I (very messily) liberated the brick of was consistent throughout all the steepings — dark wood, a little caramel, a slight cooling effect and a dark undercurrent of sweetness. It brews up a deep, visually pleasing orange and the leaves continued to yield quality tea for about 4 mugs. My only complaint flavorwise is that there is a bit of a sour aftertaste and not quite as much bitterness as I expected. My most substantial issue with this tea is that the qi isn’t very strong for the amount of caffeine present. This isn’t a huge gripe for something as cheap and as tasty as this, though.
Usual brewing methods, though I didn’t have to extend steep times for quite a while…
Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Dark Wood
I was lucky enough to get a sample of this tea from a kind friend. Only my 2nd Naka puerh ever and so far they are consistently winners. The taste was wonderful and the feeling even more so. I drank this on Thursday while making art and it was like liquid inspiration! Sadly I did not steep the leaves all the way out in the first sitting, so I decided to try to save them to have again the next day and that did not work out very well for me. Lesson learned though. Next time I’ll just drink it all at once! No wasting Naka!!!!
I dug through my quickly growing selection of samples and picked out this neat OBSX oolong from White2Tea. I received this as a sample from the ever-knowledgeable TwoDog, of http://www.twodogteablog.com/ and http://www.white2tea.com/.
TwoDog is quite the mysterious person, according to the other tea blogs I’ve read. He has appeared on a few blogs out there, but his face is covered in all of the photos I’ve seen. Suspicious! Perhaps he is secretly a famous actor or something. My bet is that TwoDog is actually Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. Or perhaps this explains what actually happened to 2Pac. He gave up the life of being a rap musician in order to write about tea and help people on reddit. 2Pac, 2Dog…it all makes sense.
Anyways, on to the tea.
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I was quite puzzled by the name “OBSX,” until I looked on White2Tea’s website and discovered that it was an acronym for Old Bush Shui Xian. That was good news, since I’m a big fan of shui xian style oolongs. I drink a lot of shui xian oolong, but this is the first time I’ve ever tried the “fancy stuff.”
Shui xian meats “narcissus,” referring to the flower that is often used in Greek mythology. I’m not sure what the connection is between narcissus and Chinese culture, but perhaps a reader out there can inform us.
This shui xian, like almost all shui xian style oolongs, comes from the Wuyi Mountains in northern Fujian Province, China.
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Here is Fujian Province, in case you were wondering. I bet you weren’t expecting a Chinese geography lesson.
This was quite a generous sample. The bag was packed full of leaves. It was actually 14g, so it looks like TwoDog was a bit heavy handed on the samples. I appreciate that! I used just shy of 9g for this taste test. I kept the rest for some grandpa style brewing later in the week.
Whoa, these leaves are huge! They were long and thin, and super light. The 8.9g of dry leaves filled my rather large gaiwan all the way to the top. These leaves are very dark brown, perhaps even black.
Once I smelled these leaves, I knew I was in for a treat. The most notable smell is probably the roasted aroma that the leaves give off. They do not smell overly roasted at all. I would call this a medium roasted yancha, which is also how TwoDog describes this tea on his site. There is a very nice fruity aroma present, perhaps more on the dried fruit side of things. It’s very woody and sweet smelling as well.
I used a standard gaiwan for this sample. Kinda boring, yet again. I should definitely switch up my teaware selections a bit more.
I gave this tea a quick one second rinse, and then moved on to the first steep.
This first steep came out a lovely orange-red copper color.
This tastes so complex and interesting that I honestly don’t know how to describe it. This shui xian is on a whole other level compared to other shui xians I have tasted. The sweet mineral taste that most yanchas have is certainly present, but the flavor is a lot more complex with this tea. There is a very strong floral note that I have never tasted in a shui xian yancha before. The fruity, woody taste is very strong and pleasant as well. I also taste a sort of roasted grain or bread kind of thing going on. I notice that flavor in a lot of yanchas, so maybe that is just how my palate works.
I also got the sense that this tea is a lot less roasted than most shui xians I’ve had. Although this shui xian is definitely roasted, it is not overly so. Many shui xians are very heavily roasted, presumably to cover up the taste of cheaper teas. These shui xian style teas are still enjoyable, but definitely more one-note that White2Tea’s offering.
The aroma was even more intriguing. This tea smells so much like cinnamon. This tea seriously smells like Big Red chewing gum. I haven’t seen any other reviews mention this aroma, so perhaps it is just the way this tea interacts with my particular senses. But for me, the cinnamon smell was so strong and obvious!
By the third and fourth steep, the tea calmed down a bit. The strong spice flavors have died down and tea has settled into a pleasant fruity and mineral taste. The sweetness is definitely more present, and the tea leaves a very sweet aftertaste with no dryness.
The spicy flavors returned for a bit of an encore in the sixth steep, completely out of nowhere.
To be honest, I kind of forgot to get a good finished leaf photo for this tea. Oh well, at least here you can see the leaves inside of my gaiwan. This was towards the end of the session, so the leaves were pretty finished by this point. The leaves were very large and leathery, and did not really expand much from their dried state.
This tea is without a doubt the best shui xian yancha I have tasted. I enjoyed this sample a lot. However, tea like this certainly comes at a price. At $35 for 50 grams, I don’t think tea will become a regular fixture for me. But I really could not say anything bad about this tea. It is definitely worth a shot if you are into this style of teas.
In short, this is a really superb oolong. If you are a bit less price sensitive than I am (college student!), I would highly recommend purchasing this tea.
This tea is my all time favorite. Let’s see, first brewing parameters :
~6g of leaves in the W2T gaiwan which is 95ml! For timing, I usually go lighter
on the first 2-3 brew b/c of it’s storage taste and then go really heavy. This will
tend to yeild what espresso geeks call god shots by the 4th infusion and that for 3 more.
So something like this : Rinse, Rinse, Pause, 5s, 10s, 10s, 45s, 1m, 3m, 10m….
This morning, I was able to achive that godly taste, basically imagine milk texture, except
hot and with all this shou pu’erh godness!!! I am completly biased on that tea, sorry :D
This is also the first tea since I started drinking pu’erh that I’ve actually re-bought in
larger quantity! I have 2 cakes comming my way and I’m about halfway done with my
This is, to my taste, the pinacle of shou puerh :) BTW, anyone who despise wet stored tea
should stay away as it has quite a bit of humidity in the first steeping which I like because
it seem to help the flavors even better
AWESOME TEA basically!
Flavors: Chocolate, Milk
First review on steepster, let’s try this out!
This is a really nice well priced shu. For a ’98 tea, it feels like it was dry stored for most
of his life. This is not a bad nor a good thing to me because I actually love humid stored
As to parameters : 6g in 95ml gaiwan, 2 rinses and then 30s/10s/15s/….
I got 8 interesting infusion out of this! As to taste, it taste like a well
matured shou puerh! Earthy and nice!
Really nice oolong – complex and the flavors change with each infusion! I got woodsy, cherry, butter, mineral and roasted barley. The cherry is a really tasty aftertaste! The oolong gets nice and sweet, with no dryness. The leaf on this tea is huge too!
Full review on Oolong Owl feat. Hellhoot http://oolongowl.com/march-white2tea-club-tea-review/
Dry – Aged floral bitterness, wood with sweetness, very faint dried fruits, some medicinal notes, raisins, tamarind shell.
Wet – Aged/slightly decayed wood but with a deep sweet fruit background, rich like dried dark fruits (raisins, dates, figs), dark sweet notes (molasses, caramel — the sweetness that inherently has a bitterness to it).
Liquor – Amber to reddish amber (Aromatic of dried fruits and bittersweet notes)
1st 3secs – Bittersweet woody and fruity, some bittersweet notes that resemble a very gentle tamarind with some shell pieces up front. It feels rather thick and as it goes down it is smooth and maintains the thick and rich notes with the same bittersweet-floral and woody note from the start.
2nd 3secs – Bittersweet floral/fruity and wood front that still somewhat resembles mellow tamarind(shell) to me which transfers to a richer/thicker body and notes and a lingering mouthwatering sensation. If well slurped it is more bitter up the front in a very pleasant and huigan enhancing way.
3rd 3secs – Bittersweet floral/fruity, woody front that transitions into the rich woody sweetness that resembles dried fruits such as raisins with a slightly herbaceous sweetness appearing as it washes down. Gentle camphor present.
4th 4secs – Bitter woody that becomes bittersweet woody with floral notes and a dried fruit background. As it goes down, it is still very smooth with apparent bitterness, combined with the rich dried fruit notes and hints of molasses.
5th 6secs – Bittersweet, wood, floral notes with apparent fruit background, the fruit and wood notes still combined continue to resemble a mellow/gentle tamarind note, it is almost an acidic fruit note. As it goes down, the liquor is very smooth with only minor astringency after it has completely washed down.
6th 7secs – Very similar to most previous steeps, some more astringecy seems to chime in, but still has that thick and rich body with plenty of that bitter to bittersweet note that keeps reminding me of a gentle tamaring note. The liquor continues to be aromatic.
7th 9 secs – Bitterness and bittersweet notes, wood, floral and fruits notes reappear with more energy again. After the liquor goes down the bitterness lodged in the throat and the huigan is very pleasant.
8th 10 secs – This one was cleaner steep with a bit weaker bitterness, but still very pleasant overall, mostly sweeter.
9th 14 secs – This one appears faded again in the bitterness aspects but still wears similar notes. Time for bigger steep time adjustments.
10th 25secs – Second wind; the bitter and bittersweet notes returned with most of its previous profile, a bit more floral and juicy than the richer and filling body it had before.
11th 35secs – Richer again, bittersweet as opposed to the weaker flat bitterness with less wood and more fruit notes. A very pleasant and lasting/lingering huigan.
12th 45secs – Still holding up for the most part, you can tell this one still has a few more steeps in it.
13th 1min – Returned some of the initial notes of bittersweet, plenty of floral and fruit with some astringency present. Very smooth still, specially in the 13th steep, it has some faded rich notes.
14th 1min 30secs – Good bittersweet notes, floral, some fruit and again astringency.
Very infusable, I feel like it has a perfect balance between the wood/floral/fruit bitterness with sweetness ratio. It has plenty of aged notes together with ‘I can age more’ character. This is not a complex tea, I didn’t get changes along the steeps, maybe something being more up front at times than others. I liked it a lot but this is also the type of tea that takes me two days to get through, not only because of the how infusable it is, but because it can be a bit boring after the 6-8th steep of the same notes. I would still recommend it.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Raisins, Sweet
Preface I have had a lingering head cold nothing major but my nose and throat are dry which has a big impact on taste and smell obviously.
I got more of the herbal tonic flavor this time but still chasing its fragrance. When I peak inside the steaming gaiwan after the liquor has been poured I get light whiffs of pomegranate. Definitely a slightly sweet menghai profile with playful tannic astringency. The fragrance hints at red fruits so hopefully it’s foreshadowing flavors to come. I am not completely sold on it’s worth but did a blind buy based on those wiser and more experienced then myself, hopefully I will be proven wrong in due time.
When the cake arrived I couldn’t help but smell it and I was greeted with a light plum-esque fruity sweetness, which I again smelled from the warmed leaves in a gaiwan. Unfortunately I never got to taste it through all the infusions. The liquor brewed up a clear yellow orange which I did not expect given it’s age. By comparison the white whale and yangpinhao brewed up deep murky red. Clarity is a term I see tossed around not sure what the supposed implications are but this tea had a clarity in every brew from the start that I usually only see at the end of a session when a tea is dyeing out. The only flavors I tasted where generic menghai county no aged flavor or plum sweetness I smelt. Other unique features were the teeth cleaning/coating effect almost like I just ate a salad of raw bitter greens.
Not experience enough to know the implications of the clarity or teeth coating but at the moment I won’t be drinking this tea any time soon which is a shame because I was hoping it would be drinkable as well as an investment.
Truly a step above
I didn’t have high hopes due to paul being primary a puer vendor. I also thought most shui xian cultivars were lower grade old bush or not. Short answer I was wrong, my faith in paul is reestablished. While yancha is not favorite tea or even oolong I do enjoy the flavor profile from time to time and this was a nice sunday treat.
Enough jibber jabber, warmed gaiwan I threw the leaves in and took a whiff. I smelled a fruity sweet dried red fruit profile along with a minerally/roasted strong background.
Super Complex and a real shapeshifter that progresses in a astonishing way. First I tasted sweet fruitiness coupled with a perfumy slightly floral almost reminded me of a yiwu profile but amped up sweetness. The sweet dried red fruit passed after a steep or two and gave way to a roasted rock taste. After a another two steeps the roast dissipated a all the remained was the shui xian leaf taste which amazed me because most shui xian I have had in the passed have been roast that predictably bled into mineral leaf taste where as this had a very complex fruitiness floral aspect that was layered on top. The sweetness I have experienced before in an da hong pao but even that tea didn’t have this kind of unique aroma layered on top. Even stranger I did a suicide steep (boiling water, half filled gaiwan, 10+ minute steep ) after I was thought the leaves were dead, and instead of a mouth puckering bitter astringent whiskey face I was greeted with a pure honey sweetness I had not even picked up on during my previous steeps?
Not sure about the caffiene as my tolerance is back up but I can say I did get a pinch of energy that was overpowered by a sigh of calm numbing tea drunk. I am far from a yancha connoisseur so I will not be purchasing at the current price. I trust this price is fair for the quality of leaf outside of china but as far as my oolong consumption goes it would be like taking a designer clothes on a hiking trip. The layered nature of this tea would be wasted on myself as I rarely brew oolongs and on the rare occasion I do I tend to brew haphazardly throw it in a slow pouring yixing that would surely drown the complexity.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Honey, Mineral, Raisins, Roasted Barley, Rosehips
Received a sample in my mail and after yesterday’s young bulang chugging I figured I try the polar opposite today. I don’t have much experience with aged teas so take it for what it’s worth. The dry leaf originally smelled on old books (assuming that what storage smell is, or maybe humid storage?) and beet root. After a week or so of airing out the storage smell subsided and red beet smell came through.
After two rinses , the gaiwan smelled of par boiled beets not quite raw but not quite sweet/cooked and at the end a slight spice that tickled my nose. I cautiously sipped the first flash steeping bracing for dust or storage taste but to my surprise, no unpleasant tastes to be found. As hinted by the smell, it was a pleasant tea soup that almost tasted like a borsch soup which immediately reminded me of lively polish wedding receptions. Obvious not saying the taste is identical but as with puer reference points are the only way to attempt to explain sensations.
I tasted no storage what so ever just a pleasant beet root that later steeps showed an almost spiciness maybe cinnamon if I had to name one specific spice but in the way a taiwanese hong yue tastes “spicy”. The mid notes were a light sweetiness like a muddled wine(tempranillo profile) combined with a hint of red currant. As the description notes it is a soft, sweeter end of the puer spectrum but I wouldn’t agree with the floral description at least from my one session. In retrospect I could see “floral” being in the tail end of flavor but super prominent or even noticeable and not a upfront jasmine floral maybe the very light and playful dryness of rose. The feeling I received from this tea was clam and collected just like the flavor which made me almost drowsy hence the lazy sunday name unfortunately it is not sunday and I have a lot to get done today so not so welcome at this exact moment but no way off putting
I really enjoyed this tea it was my first aged tea I enjoyed and while not super complex(a common theme with aged tea) it was far from one note. If I had to name one bad thing it was maybe that it was too thin not enough body but I only had one session if I upped the steeping time maybe it would result in a different outcome.
Just noticed none of my tasting/scent notes are even listed as options…