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Recent Tasting Notes
Really cool wrapper on this cake! This sheng is on the light and sweet side, with notes of moss, linen, straw, hay, and floral. I found it quite gentle with a thick mouth feel. A nice light bit of dryness and bitterness that many pu newbies would like.
2015 Pin is quite different compared to 2015 2Late or Poundcake as it’s lighter. I got this tea with November 2015 White2tea club, and it says to try this cake again in a few months once the excess water in it goes away. That said, these tasting notes may change.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/november-white2tea-club-2015-pin-tea-review/
The cake is a tightly compressed mass of dark green, with strands of silver, beige, khaki and white interspersed throughout. The dry leaf smells smoky and slightly fruity — pretty typical for a younger sheng.
I broke off 5.85 grams of dry leaf and gave the tea a quick rinse in 90°C water in my medium-sized gaiwan (about 130 mL). After the rinse, the smell of the leaf transformed from slightly smoky and fruity to intensely fermented — it was sour and reminded me of yogurt. I don’t mind this smell, but it was a surprise.
The first steep was very clear and had an amber tint to it like beer. The taste was refreshing: clear, smooth, with no sharpness or astringency. I noticed a slight bitter aftertaste.
The second steep was bitter and some smoke started to creep in. It’s possible I oversteeped this one, though, as I was slow to pour the liquid out of the gaiwan. Because of this, I noticed some astringency along with the bitterness. I took care during the third steep and was rewarded with liquid that was lighter in both colour and flavour – the bitterness hadn’t disappeared, but the fruitiness of the leaf came out to play. Despite the presence of fruit, though, the tea was still relatively herbal in flavour, with a bitter aftertaste.
The flavour stayed pretty consistent from here until the seventh steep. One thing I noticed about this tea is that its bitterness has a quality I feel on the middle and sides of my tongue, rather than the back of it. The mouthfeel and the flavour are both thin — this tea washes over my mouth smoothly, coats my tongue, and recedes quickly, leaving no trace. The colour lightened over time as well, becoming a pale gold rather than the amber it was at the beginning.
C’mon guys, read the full review. It’s got cat photos! http://booksandtea.ca/2015/11/white2tea-november-2015-subscription-box-2015-pin-raw-puerh/
Pulled this out tonight for the first time. Broke off 10 grams for 160 ml. This tea is very weak and the first couple of steeps. Does get a little stronger the next few steeps but there really isn’t much to this tea. A bit of astrigency but that’s it. I was waiting for it to open up and give off something. Anything. It never did. Went through 10 steeps. I purchased a whole bing and I will drink it all up but it is not something I will be purchasing again.
Big thanks to kieblera5 for sending a sample my way!
I drank this this past weekend and had two gongfu sessions, one on each day, using a ceramic gaiwan. This review is based off of the second session.
I need to stop procrastinating with obtaining a small scale (I’ve a couple saved on my Amazon wishlist for months…), then I’d really know how many grams I’d actually be using rather than relying on guestimation – especially when pu’erh cake is involved. The leaf of the first session was practically in loose leaf form, much easier to gauge. I had thought the remainder of the sample – an alarmingly large chunk in hindsight – would have been equal.
But I, sheng-newb. By the middle of the session the leaf went up to the rim of the bowl, in comparison to 2/3 the day before. I had to take three three-hour long breaks throughout that Sunday. Went from 9:40AM to 4:10PM. Couldn’t continue the session the next day – I had work, and no way the leaves would kept until the next weekend.
The number of infusions went up to 20. I won’t list all of them. Started with 5 seconds and ended with 10 minutes. 2 flash steepings beforehand.
The dry leaf smells peppery and sugar-sweet. I haven’t yet thrown away the packet – still smells like that. Letting the leaf sit in a heated bowl brings out a fruity and honey-like aroma. The notes of wet leaf aroma evolve, starting off with honey, then turning into white grapes, and then into apricots. Fresh and delicious. Best in the beginning, after the first couple infusions.
The liquor is a soft yellow and full-bodied. Infusions 1 through 5 were bitter with green peppers, with the bitterness gradually subsiding after each infusion.
Break 1. Second round begins with a bittersweetness and an apricot aftertaste. Infusion 7 was great! Wonderful mouthful. Silky. Here is the fruit. After infusion 8 I wrote: BLAST. This tea not only brings out the energy in me – it is energy. That mouthfeel is even stronger. By infusion 12 I can’t tell if I’m tea-tipsy or overly caffeinated. My heart rate doesn’t increase that much and my temperature is about the same. Oh well, I have brown sugar topped on my apricots now. Wow yes. Yes. Yes. Amazing.
I don’t remember brown sugar. It’s what I wrote in my journal but at this point the bird-watcher in me got distracted from the tasting. I had to inwardly wax poetic about the Cedar Waxwings having a feeding frenzy in the cedar tree across the street.
Second break. Too distracted by the waxwings (bluebirds joined them!!!). Then I went exercising. Normally I am a tired in an exhausted way after exercising. I even exerted myself more than usual hoping to rid of the excess energy. I sweated more than usual. I couldn’t tell if this was because I upped the workout intensity or because of the pu or because. I could’ve kept going (I’m sure more push-ups would have done the trick) but I had chores back home.
Infusions 13 through 16. Becoming even sweeter. At its fruitiest. Very apricot. I wrote “wiped” below “apricot apparent.” I don’t have a clue what that means. Though it definitely doesn’t refer to me at that time.
Break number 3. Infusions 17-19. The sweetness lightens and eventually balances with a vegetal flavor. 20: The End.
Epilogue: I did not drink it all. I’d say I fed half of each infusion to my tea pet piggy. Wasteful! – if you might think. But Georgie Pie gurgled with love every time I poured.
Also, was it work-related stress or the pu that gave me grief about not falling asleep until 1AM? Still, I had great day the next day!
I was excited when I heard all the talk about this cake. Once it arrived I tucked it away in storage for a couple weeks before busting it out for steeping. The cake is an array of loosely compressed maocha with long strands. You can identify the older material blended well with the fresh stuff. The cake is not heavily aromatic, but you can pick up a distinct sweet fragrance with some light herbaceous tones. I broke off a decent chunk and prepared for brewing. After placing the picked amount in my warmed yixing I gave them a shake. The scent deepens to a much sweeter tone. I was picking up nice warm honey, nectar, and possibly some wildflowers. The sensation was so sweet and tangy. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The scent completely changed in the steeped leaves. I was picking up more sharper notes such as; bitter greens, wet wood, and moss. However, I was also picking up a sweet apricot tone in the background. The taste began slightly askew. The brew had a full mouthfeel with soothing qualities, yet it was lacking in flavor. I pushed this aside as a needed “second wash”. The second steeping was much more appeasing. I was picking up that same sweet and tangy tone. The apricot tones were much more prominent and they were followed with a pleasant drying sensation. The qi was quickly felt in the session by originating in the temples and following to the eyes. I was experiencing a nice eye fluttering by the third steeping. The qi is very cooling and an almost airy feeling; its very uplifting. The brew is not that sweet afterwards. I was experiencing bitter qualities shortly into steeping. The kuwei was nice and peppery and helped keep the tongue alert. The light honey tone followed and helped soothe the bitter sensations. The huigan was extremely delayed, but it was well worth the wait. The huigan was a light wild blossom honey flavor, and it was fairly thick. The sweetness was lasting and followed throughout the session. The later steeping sessions include a peppery bitterness, light amber colored liquor, and a nice pleasant sugarcane sweetness. The brew lasted for some time and is very durable with multiple longer steeping. I enjoyed this, and I’m glad that I have so much of it. This is a good daily drinker, but it won’t make it to my top puerhs.
I will take more notes after a few months in storage.
Also, I felt compelled to take a lot of photos. This tea is more photogenic than most things ;)
Flavors: Bitter, Flowers, Green, Herbaceous, Honey, Moss, Pepper, Sweet
From the Puerh TTB 3. Thanks to W2T for donating the sample
I’m furiously drinking up samples to try to figure out what to buy on Black Friday. This is a tea I’ve considered buying so was anxious to try it. The initial steep featured light straw and smoke. Astringent but not bitter. Lots of tannin in the finish. By the 3rd steep it was much more interesting: layers of wood and tobacco, with a metallic flavor on the tip of my tongue. Very astringent finish; so much so that to makes the tea less pleasant. The cha qi is overwhelming; very strong. I think the tea is in an awkward point in development. Probably needs more age. 4th (30m): Seems to be getting more bitter/astringent.
A lot of reviews talk about “good” bitterness, but I’m just not into bitter. I got the feeling that this tea was in an awkward phase, where the various components just weren’t working together. I suspect it needs aging, but just don’t know enough about puerh to know how it will turn out in 10 years (which of course depends on how it is stored). I’ll be looking for a more accessible tea to spend my allowance on.
Had this tea on the week-end. I had already tried Qilan Trees and found I enjoyed it but not keen on the roasted flavour. I knew this one would have an even stronger roasted flavour so wasn’t sure if I would like it.
It turns out I was surprised. Yes, more roasted but it seems the fruity and mineral notes came through more. I don’t know, I rather liked this one but it made me awfully hungry. Maybe it’s the roasted flavour that makes me hungry. Got a few infusions from it.
Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Roasted
The first, say, 20 times I drank this tea were great, and if I’d rated it back then, it would have been a solid 90, perhaps even higher. But having reached the centre of the beeng, with all the pretty leaves from the outside used up, I feel like the core is too tight and there’s a lot of broken leaf. The taste is not as good as I remember it from earlier steepings. It’s still alright, just a little flat, less interesting and the bitterness is more pronounced without adding depth.
Bought this with my last White2Tea order and am just getting around to trying it now. This tea is initially somewhat bitter and it’s quite smoky. It reminded me of whiskey without the alcohol punch. There is also something of a camphor aftertaste to it. It got progressively smoother as I resteeped it. I gave it ten steeps and it would keep going but as I have just drank a liter and a half of tea I don’t really feel like continuing. It’s very smooth in the tenth steep. Started out with 9g of tea but that seemed a little much so I took out about a gram and got better results. This is a powerful, punchy tea, the kind of tea that knocks you out when your not looking. But it did get smoother. I am not feeling much in the way of qi off of this tea. Perhaps there will be a delayed reaction as I have yet to finish the tenth steep.
I steeped this tea 10 times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min. I think this tea would keep right on going if I had any desire to continue.
Flavors: Bitter, Smoke
I’m not part of the W2T club… but I got one of these :)
I’m more of a swapping type of person and was quite happy to see this come in the mail recently.
I took this guy to work with me without knowing anything about it. What I found out is that the first two steeps were light and wonderfully because it didn’t expand. Once it opened up fully around the eighth steep there was more depth to the flavor and a nice feeling came over me at work around the 10th steep so I synced it with some epic music. This is clearly something easy to steep, sip, and enjoy. Now I need to hunt down a Misty Peak orb to compare because I find these to be practical for someone like me who dislikes owning full cakes.
I had this one this afternoon. W2T says to split the 9g orb if you want a lighter tea so that’s what I did. I brewed it at 90C.
It has a light sweetness & fruity taste. Some bitterness came out in steeps 2-4 but only light bitterness. I found it pretty smooth and apricot tasting. Quite pleasant with a gentle cha qi. I got plenty of infusions from the leaves . Although nothing seemed to stand out about this tea it was a very pleasant sheng.
Flavors: Apricot, Fruity, Sweet
Thank-you Christina for sending me this sample!
I am not a big fan of roasted oolongs. There are a few I like but it’s mostly the roasting that seems to dominate the tea experience for me.
I could pick up honey and stone fruit along with the roasted flavour. Later steeps were better for me when the roasted flavour died down and the other notes came out.
Overall, not my favourite tea but still glad I got to try it!
Flavors: Honey, Roasted, Stonefruits
This is good, certainly a solid tea, it’s creamy, woodsy and floral, as I would expect from older Yiwu. For some reason I’m just not feeling it though… maybe it’s because I’m still jamming on young sheng and am not quite ready for the winter transition into older puer, but this just doesn’t come off as super remarkable to me. Certainly I can’t fault it, it’s very clean and there are no off-flavors, but imho the Gao Shan Qing Bing doe everything this one does and costs half the price…
edit- checked W2T, well, not half the price, but 20 less…
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Wood
Gave it a couple of good rinses and let it rest while I made breakfast and cleaned the messy tea table.
The liquor is nice, dark brown/amber and clear. It’s a smooth tea, no doubt, slight citrusy bitterness hits the tip of the tongue, some lingering bitterness in front and sweet in the back. Woody with some spice, huigan is evident. Leaves a “rough” feeling in the throat which I’m not too fond of, it may be due to lack of airing out, or parameters, storage, just the tea, too few rinses, the fact that it’s early on a Saturday or something else..
Very pleasant overall though, and I will be beating it to death with many more steeps, wouldn’t mind a cake.. but for $400, I will definitely pass (that’s 2x w2t 90s HK style and $100 to spare)..
It’s not easy to find a 20 year old tea that I love and feel is worth the money.
This is a tea that makes me very happy.
It has some similar character to Chawangshop’s 2015 Hekai. But this is obviously a whole nuva level. The huigan on the earlier steeps of this tea is reason enough to love it. It has very low bitterness and astringency for a tea with such a great huigan and mouthwatering effect.
I let my dad try this on the later steeps (7+), I don’t think he was as blown away as I was, but regardless, he kept asking for more.
Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Sweet
It’s Friday so I decide to treat myself with a session of this. 11 grams in a 160ml glazed pot. Quick rinse, rest and flash brew at ~95C. Interesting from the first steep, good mouth and throat activity, medium “oily”. Compared to the other w2t productions, it’s rougher around the edges than the tuhao (but better longevity in my opinion), nowhere near as aggressive as 72 hours, but still has some zing to it. Worth the money to take the step up from the colbert (for my taste).
This is on the top of my list of w2t 2015 productions in terms of performance for price. A lot of variety in a single session, and the effect on the body is great; I’m salivating while anticipating the next steep. Absolute winner.