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Recent Tasting Notes
I did multiple sessions of Tyler and I think it’s quite an elegant tea. It’s a great transition into the more complex teas, and it has amazing flavor. It’s still young, and it’s still temperature sensitive. I think that this is a great tea overall and is something I would highly recommend.
I did a full review of it on my blog here…
Flavors: Floral, Green, Herbaceous, Herbs, Honey, Sweet
Rather had the most enjoyable experience with this tea coming tword the end of the brick, it is so tightly compressed i found that if you brew it in ~9-11g chunks it wont crumble and it wont be as bitter, etc. lasted so many infusions i lost count. To my surprise i picked up a stronger stone fruit aroma, mostly peach coming from the oils on the Gawain. absolutely excellent and i think it taught me a valuable lesson in taking much care to not break up leaves when you’re prying them from the brick.
Another thing to note is the “old book” or somewhat old musty menthol-like flavor disappears within the first few steeps, and its very neat as the clump of the tea begins to unfurl it reappears again, changing the flavor profile then quickly returning to what it once was. Its rather enjoyable. Going to purchase another 2 bricks for my stash and revisit in a hand full of years time.
Flavors: Menthol, Peach, Stonefruits
Tyler! The first of the W2T 2016 Puerh I have the pleasure of being introduced to…besides Fade I guess. In both sessions I’ve done, I found this tea got around 12-13 steeps, so decent longevity.
Dry leaf had a pretty light aroma, the sweet hay I get from the dry leaf of a lot of raw puerh. Didn’t smell remarkable. After a brief rinse, the leaves had a touch of sourness to their aroma, kind of vegetal and sweet.
Both sessions, I kept the steeps 10s or below for the first 4-5 infusions before slowly starting to increase the time.
The only time I would call this tea “airy” as the description claims it to be, would be the first steep, as the body didn’t quite thicken up the first steep. For the first couple steeps, the aftertaste is stronger than the initial flavor. The front of the sip is a sweet, wet hay taste, followed (sometimes) by just a touch of bitterness, after which the huigan and qi come quickly. After swallowing, I could feel a bit of tightness in my throat, and got a rush of sweet honey flavor in my mouth accompanied by a rising buzzy feeling. These first couple steeps also made my tongue feel numb on some sips.
Steeps 3-5ish the bitterness picks up a tad, but if brewed correctly, it is quite balanced with the sweetness. The flavor is nicely layered – sweet hay, bit of a bitter note, very sweet huigan – honey with occasional wisps of a more sugary sweetness. In these steeps, and every once in a while afterwards, I noticed a little bit of a buzzy feeling in my stomach, but not as quick or as rising as the first couple steeps.
Around the halfway point, the hay flavor begins to transition into a sort of sweet vegetal flavor, to me like peas. The bitterness picks up just a bit more, and the huigan is sliiightly less honey-like, with a bit of a dry fruit flavor entering the mix. It was kind of apricot-y, but dry. Apricot rind? Do apricots have different tasting rind…? It’s been a while since I had an apricot. This vegetal, pea-tasting stage doesn’t last too long. I only really got it for one steep.
Steeps 7-10 or 11 are more fruity overall. Not an acidic fruitiness in any way, only smooth and sweet. Good flavor, but more subdued now. Mostly apricot notes, though at one point “grape” popped into my head, making me question whether the dry fruitiness might be kind of like grape skin. Describing fruity flavors in puerh can be odd to me, because while I call it apricot, it doesn’t really taste exactly like an apricot. It only reminds me of apricot. This is a weird thing to try to explain to people. Do you guys know what I’m saying? Like – if I ate an apricot, and then drank the most apricot-y sheng I’ve ever had, they’d still clearly be different things. Maybe because so much of how we perceive flavor is based on texture as well. Excuse my tangent – this tea was apricoty, only really in the later steeps though ;)
After this, my last couple steeps were multi-minute steep that yielded pretty weak brews with echoes of fruity flavor.
So…this tea’s description, laconic though it may be, claims the tea leans towards the “light, airy, and sweet.” It also says that it is a good tea for experiencing depth in a not-too-heavy tea. Regarding the first point: Sweet – definitely! Light and airy – I…guess…if you could call any of W2T’s productions “airy,” characteristically thick and oily as they are, perhaps it would be this one. Yes, it was thick, but the thickness wasn’t as in your face as a lot of W2T pu is – more creamy than oily I suppose. Soft in texture if that makes sense. The tea definitely had good depth, between its layered and changing flavors, and it wasn’t too heavy. So the description is accurate enough. Airy/light relative to other W2T puer maybe, but not without thickness. Good stuff!
Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Smooth, Sweet, Thick
Last session with this tea, though there’s a bit left to go in the random blend cup. I see that it’s sold out so I can quit thinking about whether I’d want to buy it.
When I first tasted this I was completely unaccustomed to humid storage and found the humid note an unbearable distraction. Whether because this sample has aired out a lot in the last 9 months, or because I’ve drunk a bunch of teas more humid than this since, I’m finding that much less of an issue.
The leaf grade is nice, mostly large pretty leaf pieces. The dry leaf when warmed gives a slightly musty scent. The first few steeps have a predominantly honey sweetness and a full sense in the mouth. By the 6th cup the dark orange color of the soup is fading and the feel is thinner with some astringent drying effect starting to show. The humid storage taste never completely goes away for me, though by the 12th or so steep it’s getting pretty faint.
I didn’t love this as much as I was hoping I would based on Oolong Owl’s review, but I think it was pretty decent for the price… on the third hand, I’m maybe glad to not have to wonder about fitting it into the purchase queue someplace.
Wow, I think this is some of the best quality puerh leaf I’ve had yet. I’m kicking myself for not having tried this before I made a big W2T order, because I may want to get a cake of this one. Maybe I’ll find somebody whose order I can piggyback on ;)
I used 7g in a 100mL gaiwan with boiling water. This tea would not quit. I got 16 GOOD steeps and then a couple faded ones at the end as well. It was very interesting, and rather consistent over a long session. Right from the get-go it was a thick, milky/creamy brew with sweet floral and honey notes. There was also something else I sort of struggled to describe – almost a savory note that, within about four steeps, started to morph into a slight bitterness which, far from taking away from the tea, added great complexity and depth. It wasn’t as bitter as like a Bulang sheng or anything like that, but it was enough of a bitterness to temper the sweetness, preventing the over-sweetness I sort of experienced with Poundcake. The strength and quality of the material really came through with this layered experience – sweet with bitter notes underneath and a very good honey huigan. The sweetness and body did not even begin to fade until around 14 steeps in.
Aside from the wonderful flavor, this tea’s quality was also apparent in the body feelings I got from drinking it. I could feel the liquid going down my throat, and after swallowing, got a bit of a throat constricting feel, like it was remaining there in some way. I could also quite clearly feel it settle in my stomach, not like making me feel ill or anything, but it kind of plopped down with that heaviness it possessed. About halfway through the session, I started feeling a relaxing qi, beginning in the belly and spreading throughout my torso.
I think I agree with the description the site, noting this tea’s high value:quality ratio. I wish I had tried it before I ordered a bunch of 2016 teas and stuff, because I would’ve gotten a cake of it on that order. For me it’s “If You’re Tasting This It’s 2 Late…” Sorry ;)
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Honey, Milk, Smooth, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal
Thanks again to twinofmunin!
I’m very glad to have sampled this instead of purchasing it. It’s definitely a lot more complex than other shengs I’ve had. Throughout brewing it, I whiffed and tasted zucchini, pepper, and grape skins. Still a bit on the bitter side for me, but a lot sweeter than other Pu’s I’ve had.
I brewed 3 grams in less than 3 ounces at 200 F, beginning with 15 sec and going up in 15 second increments. I got about seven cups before I gave out. The rest of the brews were just vegetal and bitter at that time. Oddly enough, I wasn’t really tea drunk. I got a euphoric buzz of clarity, but that’s it. It could be due to how I brewed it and how much of it I drank, or maybe a tolerance. Who knows.
I enjoyed the experience.
Brewed this the same timing as the previous note, but more leaves at 4-5 grams and more water at 6 ounces. I get a lot of the same things mentioned in that note with the added complexity I hoped for. This still has the astringent/bitter apricot taste that I associate with sheng and some green teas, but it really does come close to a unflavored Jin Xuan in its creaminess along with its vegetative qualities. Compared to other Shengs, this is also loads sweet.
I’m personally not the biggest fan of this Pu-Erh, but this really would be a decent introduction for someone getting into sheng, especially a green tea drinker or a green oolong drinker. Someone newer to tea may or may not like it, so I personally would not recommend it for a newbie.
I am very glad to have sampled this tea because it gives me again a better understanding of how differently shengs can taste. I will have to try the Da Xue Shan and the other samples I have, but so far, I’m really not a huge Pu-Erh person. They are worth swapping and trying, but I don’t think I want to own a cake anymore.
Backlog thanks to twinofmunin.
Well, I need to yet again try this tea again. I used a very light gram amount producing something that needed longer steep times, beginning at 45 seconds.
Throughout the session, I got the same apricot vegetal taste that I usually do with shengs, but in a lighter focus. I did not quite get the vivid pastry tastes that others have described, but I did occasionally taste a spinachy vanilla. Otherwise, it was on the sweeter lighter side, pretty floral, a little bit bitter, and fairly vegetal.
I’m looking forward to trying this again to see if its a little bit more complex.
I have already written about this tea on my blog. My note there says everything about this tea but does so in themes using a local folklore style and a true story from my life. Perhaps that note is best read after spending some time with this tea, because the details about the tea are less important than the experience and the reason why you might choose to drink it. This is a very high quality experience, you have to gut yourself in every way in life to get to a place where you need something more. But details matter for purchase decisions, they don’t matter to me on my blog but make more sense on Steepster. I also don’t want more people asking me about it, so here are more details for people who really need them, or for the merely curious person who won’t be buying.
I drank approximately 6g per 100 ml with boiling or just a few degrees under. I brewed the tea in a Lin’s ceramic teapot, and eventually transeferred the tea to a very thick porcelain teapot. Both pots hold very high temperatures.
This is a very high tier of puerh evidenced by the thickness of the stems, the durability of the leaves and a myriad of physical effects that you must drink a lot of tuition tea to recognize. The tea is motor oil thick, even with the cake still very wet and with the lighter amount of leaf I used. Flavor explodes in the front of the mouth. The liquid then goes into the throat like a ball of Nyquil and remains there. Finally, it settles into the stomach and stays alive there.
Top notes are both apricot and the grape, early steeps are bitter with honey sweetness creeping in much later. Peppery and medicine in the throat but without the medicine taste, just the burn. Right now the tea is very green and wet and has a lot of settling down to do. Some steeps were yellow or greenish yellow, suggesting that the tea is still green tea. Processing of course is top notch. Some older leaves in the mix of buds and leaf/bud combination stems.
Mega steeper and I’m still trying to steep the tea out after four days. Lost count now past 15 steeps. However, because the tea is wet I’m getting some degradation of the leaf due to high brewing temps that will not be the case in 6 months to a year. That wet vegetal needs to dry out a lot more. I’m amazed the tea holds up so well in the wet state, for example last year’s Poundcake, a lower tier tea, broke down after 8 steeps while this wet. This tea is definitely much more durable. Qi is energy in the middle of my back. I’m not noticing any psychedelics yet, might be too early and too wet. I did, however, get heartburn from the tea which is due to the greenness. I never have got a heartburn from a tea before. But this is powerful stuff, and I expect the greenness to turn and it won’t happen again. I didn’t get any bowel effects as I would from cheap tea though.
I plan to let the tea sit now for at least six months and then I will drink it up. I don’t have time to wait in my life to age this, though I expect that lower notes and many more interesting aspects of the tea are yet to come as it changes. There is strength and bitterness to age but I’m too old to wait. I think if a person is older than 35, just plan to drink it. I don’t want anyone else to drink this but me.
If you want to complain about the price, the size of the cake, the lack of details and marketing issues, then go buy cheap tea and drink that. I’m not trying to make too many more notes here than what I’ve written on my blog except to give a bit more for people who want to buy this now, because it won’t be around for long. This is conversation tea in its very early days, and I hope more people decide to go for it and we can all talk about it for the next year while we enjoy it together.
Flavors: Apricot, Beany, Bitter, Grapes, Honey, Pepper
Oh god I love this stuff. I received it from White2Tea tea club and left it to air out for weeks. When I finally decided to brew it, I was completely hooked. This semi-aged tea just hits the right spot with its honey sweetness, which lasts through the whole session. The beautiful golden liquor had a very smooth mouthfeel and I experienced very slight bitterness only in second steeps, but otherwise there was no bitterness at all. I will definitely order a cake of this later as I don’t have any of the tea club sample left. I need more.
Flavors: Honey, Smooth, Sweet
From the pu ttb, round ?
I really like this shou. I regret I didn’t get the opportunity to try it sooner, when it was available for purchase. I agree with other reviews for the most part (earth, petrichor, wet wood etc), but for me the dirt/earth is something I would categorize as mineral, much in the way an aged wuyi oolong has a mineral note. I haven’t had many shou like this. For me it’s what makes this tea very enjoyable. Definitely worth trying if there are still samples floating around one of the ttbs.
Got this nice sample in a swap from Haveteawilltravel. Smelling the dry leaf it exudes the word “green.” The aroma carries over into the taste with notes of green wood, green apple, green grapes, and celery. Basically all things green. It’s also lightly floral and mushroomy. It’s got a light sweetness, slight mineral note, and a thick hui gan. It’s a very mellow and friendly drink with little bitterness or astringency. The sweetness is unique and lingering and reminds me of stevia leaf. I’ve heard that huang pian has lower caffeine, which would make this a great night time drink.
Flavors: Celery, Floral, Green, Green Apple, Green Wood, Mineral, Mushrooms
I made sure to pick up a sample of this tea with my first W2T order, because I had heard a lot of good things about it in the online tea community.
If ever there was a dessert tea, this is it. Crazy sweet flavor, but not overpowering. I thought at first that the flavor was a bit light, but then decided it wasn’t light, but was pretty subtle. The texture was anything but light – thick and oily to begin with, after which it came across as more of a milky/creamy taste/texture. I think I got a little bit of floral flavor from a few steeps, but mostly the sweetness was from your more sugary/sweet type of stuff – particularly honey (mostly in the early steeps), vanilla and burnt sugar. In the later steeps, i also got a kind of honey-nectar type of flavor that was pretty good. This was around the same time it started to acquire a slight mouth-drying effect as well.
I was able to get about 10 good infusions out of this one, which is actually a little less than I expected (maybe I’m just greedy). I did enjoy this for its milky sweetness, but I think I prefer the Little Walk cake (I think they make an alright comparison, as they’re both predominantly sweet shengs). So, this was good, but not one I need to order a cake of.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Creamy, Floral, Honey, Milk, Nectar, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla
An article for consideration, to the editors of Tea Chemistry Monthly
This tea starts off like a naked mole rat, in that you can’t be sure it’s seen the light of day or had any fresh air for its entire life. Also, they are both notable for their impressive longevity compared to their peers. I am not aware, however, of any studies regarding the incidence of cancer in the leaves of this tea.
After some initial steeps that bring the funk like a 70s throwback concert, the tea settles down and provide cup after cup of thick, tasty brew. Others (Proust et. al.) have remarked that it is somewhat drying, and leads to a desire to consume more tea, which I also experienced.
I did not, however, experience the same level of tea-drunkenness professed by OolongOwl in her seminal work on this matter. Due to inconsistencies in experiencing this phenomenon, I cannot consider this an experimental failure of my own making, though that possibility must be considered.
Owing to a shortage of supply from the one outlet which has heretofore provided all known researchers with the substance, further testing may prove difficult to come by. I do recommend, however, should you find anew outlet by which to experience the peculiar effects of this compound, your availability yourself of it toot-sweet.
Contact the author for a full list of supporting documentation and endnotes, should they be required.
I found this tea clearly superior to the other version of it from the Tea Club. On this one I get fruity aromas and flavors, along with maltiness. I think there’s a bit of smoke in here, especially on the early steeps. Usually smoky flavor is a turn-off for me, but in this tea I felt it added to the depth and layers of the flavor. My first session with this, I ended up with very small leaf fragments (bottom of the sample bag I guess), and the first brew was almost overpowering. Even with larger leaf pieces, the first steep of this tea is quite strong. I think that’s another positive difference from the #1. Possibly an indicator of higher leaf quality. Of course it’s possible I’m completely wrong and just don’t have a very developed palate for black tea. While I am a wee bit bitter about the fact that the W2T Club has been primarily black tea the past three months, I will at least say that the ones I’ve had so far are nice to drink. That being said, bring on the pu, Paul!
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Smoke, Sweet
60ml porcelain gaiwan, porcelain cup. I’m drinking indoors, in the air-conditioning, which seems to do funny things to my sense of smell and hence my taste, lately… but it’s just too warm to have the windows open right now. 5s rinse, few minutes’ rest, beginning with flash steeps.
Dry leaf is lovely. Long pieces that are loosely acquainted. Smells strongly fruity and sweet.
Damp leaf smells sort of spicy/peppery after a rinse. First steeps are… light, some clean vegetable flavours. Just a very light hint of astringency. The liquid feels soft, with just a hint of viscosity. Some vaguely floral sweetness after. Third steep starts to climb around the sides and back of my tongue with some drying.
A few steeps later (lost count), the inside of the gaiwan lid starts to smell like a mild green bell pepper spice. The flavours shift more floral, more drying astringency, still with a clean vegetal backdrop (hints of sencha), and a smooth feel to the liquid. A soft fluffiness has invaded my hearing, and a slight buzzing in my body that feels grounded.
The aftertaste is rather long, and my tongue actually feels tingly at the tip.
This is just… good. A very nice tea to have on a quiet afternoon. There’s a lot to it that I am unable to articulate. The flavours are well-rounded. Glad I ordered myself a sample and have a few more sessions with it. :)
Beautiful leaf. Solid taste. Feels like LBZ.
You should be looking at buying the 2016 version before it sells out if you want a tea that will hit hard and taste solid each and everytime. Th leaf is larger than your average quality stuff, taste wise it is semi complex and easy going, but the reason it’s so dang good is the strong feels it provides.
From the Pu TTB:
Starts off super clean and refreshing. Moderate bitterness and florals. Notes of honey, rock sugar, and clorophyll. Actually more than moderate bitterness. Later steeps reveal hints of dry white wine and sandalwood. I enjoyed this one a lot, definitely among my top young sheng.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Honey, Mineral, White Wine