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Recent Tasting Notes
I decided to drink this yesterday when I couldn’t make up my mind on starting a tea or not. This being an iron cake is no lie. I started it early in the day, did four steeps (washes) with long rests in between each before it started to open up. Long like…I went to do dishes after one, went to groom my two dogs after another, went skating after another…you get the idea. I’m glad the chunk I pulled out of my sample was perfectly sized at 7g so I didn’t have to do anything to it.
Once the leaves did separate themselves from one another, their quality became apparent. I steeped this tea out throughout the afternoon and evening of yesterday and continued with it this morning. I didn’t get much out of it as far as complexity goes. It mostly tasted vegetal in the way green tea does, which I found interesting.
I will certainly give this one another try, but at this point it’s one that I would rather let mature than drink at this exact moment.
This tea had everything I was looking for!
First, some background. While I love my wife, her mother is a real witch and we do not get along. But the wife insists that her mother visit us for a couple of weeks every winter.
This year, after three days, the old bat was really getting on my nerves. So at breakfast yesterday, I prepared this tea using 10 grams in 120ml gaiwan and a 5 minute steep. After the first cup, the old bat packed her bags and left.
I love the smell of Often in the morning. The smell, you know that smokey smell, the whole kitchen. Smelled like… victory.
Not for beginners (as the man says)
My most intense tea experience so far. I needed a break half way through and this has never happened to me before.
The flavour is very pleasant, mild and sweet. The dry leaves in particular have a very clean fresh fragrance. Hits all the right notes, absolutely nothing in the flavour profile disrupted the enjoyment of this session. Nothing to wash out, nothing to wait until it dies down nothing to bypass or get over.
The interesting (and high-price justifying) aspects of this tea are the effects and body feeling. I know it affects everyone different, but I feel stoned. Actually stoned. Properly stoned. Yes, stoned. Light sweating, numb head, floaty feeling limbs. Whilst this may be groovy, it limits when and where I can enjoy this tea. The term “Daily drinker” has never made more sense to me, because this is the polar opposite. I don’t know how often I could sit down and, well basically, consume drugs.
I want to get a cake though! I’m a big Bob Dylan fan and the fact that the name comes from one of his poems (“Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie”) and the entire poem is transcribed on the wrapper…… This may just tip me over the edge. Darn you TwoDog and your cool hipster marketing ;)
Definitely get a sample next time you’re ordering. Just for the experience. And set aside a few hours.
UPDATE: I just ordered a full cake.
Holy hell, I’m getting tipsy at work! This teas is thick, and smooth and delicate and mineral, and fantastic.
Ok, so. I first tried this tea a week after I got it because the note said to wait. I brewed it too hard I think because it was bitter and Meh in flavor and feel. All around an ok tea. Nothing special. Then I brewed it up again about a month after getting it. I was at work and the water is 165 degrees there and even at lower temp it was largely the same experience.
I had been keeping the mini cake in it’s original wrapper in the original airtight pouch at the time of those first two steeps. After the second steep I noticed that I accidently ripped the seam of the airtight bag and for the the last couple of months it’s been living in fresh air with my other puerhs in an old bread box.
I remembered I had it and was like, i’ll take it to work and brew up 7.6 grams in my new Manual tea brewer (175ml). I wasn’t expecting much but a decent Puer.
I WAS WRONG! This tea is amazing. The aroma, the color, the flavor and oh man the feels.
Hit me so hard. I feel fantastic. I guess when He said to wait he meant it!
I’m bringing the water to a boil, waiting a couple min, adding a splash of room temp water into the kettle and then infusing for around 10 seconds.
I’m only 3 infusions in. I’m gonna have to take a break and eat lunch. but oh man I like this tea. Thanks White2tea.
anyone else cracked into it again?
Flavors: Fruity, Leather, Mineral, Sweet
I tried this a couple times with the sample that came in the club a few months ago. Both times I brewed it pretty heavily, 5g:60mL. This was a really nice oolong. The aroma from the leaf was complex. From the dry leaves, I got notes of mineral sweetness, honey, and roasty nuttiness. After a rinse, the roasted aroma was more prominent, with some medicinal notes, along with a distant fruitiness and a nuttiness which reminded me, strangely enough, of peanut butter on first whiff.
I found the flavor of the tea to be pleasantly complex as well. In the first steep, I tasted a bit of a chocolatey note, but that didn’t stick around much at all. Early steeps displayed mineral, nutty (roasty), and floral notes, along with a red berry finish. That finish was unexpected and pleasant. This finish carried on until maybe the mid-point of the session before it began to drop off slowly. Late steeps were characterized by a lighter, but still tasty mineral sweetness with some floral hints along for the ride. Especially early in the session, the body of this tea was very thick – I could feel it going down my throat and settling in my stomach. There was a relaxing qi involved as well.
This is definitely my favorite w2t oolong I’ve tried so far…though I think it’s only the second one as well, meaning only that I like it better than I liked the Hoplite oolong I tried. Due to the teaclub, I have a few more to get to – the quality of this one bodes well for their revamped oolong line, I’d say.
Flavors: Berry, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Sweet, Thick
First impressions – toned down apricot sheng smell on both the dry and wet leaf. There are some large intact leaves on the top of the cake but the inside looks to be mostly chop. The gaiwan lid smells herbaceous in a way that reminds me of cannabis smoke.
Steep one is light but sweet and some of that herby smoke is present in the soup. Unsurprisingly, there’s some significant char in the bottom of my cup. There’s a pleasant bitterness and a lasting apricot aftertaste.
As I continue to steep this tea, the liquor moves to a deep orange color. It’s gaining some strength as well as astringency and I notice a hint of sourness on the sides of my tongue.
Nearing the 1 minute mark, this tea has remained pretty static. It’s nice and easy to drink but not very interesting or complex. Which, really, is totally fine for huang pian. It’s generally not meant to stand alone. It’s an interesting cake from an education standpoint, which is what this basics set set is all about.
2/14/2017 Tea in the afternoon. 8g/ 4oz/ 212F/5-15 second steeps
A very nice shou for a winter afternoon. Warming and filling. Light pleasant ‘sheep building at the county fair’ aroma.
The tuo has been hanging out in my tea cupboard for a year so, just chilling out. I’m very happy with how well it’s adjusted to my house.
Started drinking this one the other day, drawn in by both its amazing aroma and my love for white tea. I am very sad now, because I love this and just realized it is out of stock. First 1990s hk style and now this! :(
Anyhow…this tea starts out gold, gradually becoming a deep rose gold over several steeps. The aroma and flavor are both that of sweet honey and hay, and the texture is thick and smooth like honey, as well.
Those characteristic spiced notes that I love from white tea begin to emerge after a couple of steeps. I hit this with boiling water to start and gradually reduced to 90C.
This is so good, even rhinkle liked it, and she’s not usually a fan of my white teas!
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Thick
Wet Leaves: musty old books, leather, dried apricots, camphor, baking spices. Nothing smells quite like a middle-aged sheng <3.
Early Steeps: Brews up a bright orange, surprising bitterness develops into a fruity, leathery flavor that is already lingering on my tongue.
Middle Steeps: Flavors deepen, brews becoming more astringent. Fruitiness is starting to dissipate.
Tail End: Flavors faded pretty quick. by steep 7 or so there wasn’t much left but bitter water.
Verdict: Tasty middle-aged sheng that peters out relatively quickly. I’m biased to sheng of this age, but I still feel like this is the strongest cake in the basics set.
Wet Leaves: very sour smelling (almost like pickled greens or olives), hay, fresh cut grass.
Early Steeps: delicate floral sweetness leads into a somewhat dull vegetal flavor.
MIddle Steeps: Sourness is now showing up, vegetal flavor has taken over, astringency is building.
Tail End: Not much change, high notes have all faded, dull vegetal flavor is the only thing left, along with dominating astringency.
Verdict: It has that interesting huang pian sourness, but…not much else. Simple, palatable, and rather uninteresting.
Wet Leaf: That “sour” sheng scent present in the 2015 spring has turned into a very distinct scent of olive oil. The smoke on this one comes through more as well. Hint of some kind of stone fruit peeking out in the later steeps too.
Early Steeps: Pretty much exactly like the spring 2015.
Middle Steeps: The flavor has darkened, less high notes as the 2015 and an increased depth of vegetal flavor. Bitterness develops in the mouth the same way, increasing with the session.
Tail End: Similar to the 2015, sort of just fades into astringency.
Verdict: Some subtle, but noticeable, improvement compared to the spring 2015. Drinking this in early 2017 makes me wonder how much the differences are due to terroir or age. But either way, based on the way this developed compared to the 2015, I’m looking forward to it’s evolution. Probably won’t touch this for a couple of years though.
Wet Leaf: That distinct “sour” sheng scent, wet hay, green beans, hint of smoke.
Early Steeps: Very light, light floral sweetness gives way to a faint sauteed greens flavor.
Middle Steeps: Bitterness kicks in, mild huigan sets in the tongue, flavor reminds me of 2nd/3rd steeping of a mao feng. Astringent.
Tail End: Wet leaves have a TCM herbal shop smell to them now, vegetal flavor is fading, being taken over by a faintly grassy bitterness that lingers on the tongue.
Verdict: a decent young sheng to introduce to new people. Simple flavors, minimal steeping evolution. A decent baseline, but not much more.
Decided to start the morning off with some Poundcake while working on a midterm. Starts off floral and fruity. Nice thickness and smooth to start, with some astringency kicking in later. I steep this one out over two days and I really get more floral, herbaceous notes out of it than anything. The bitterness and astringency are not at all off-putting or unpleasant for me, personally. All in all, this was a nice, easy drinking experience, but I felt like I was left wanting more out of it. I’ll be giving it another chance, for sure!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Fruity, Herbaceous, Vegetal
I see a ton of mixed reviews for this tea, and they are either I love it or its bad. So, that means that this tea is not bad; it is just a preference taste tea. I mean that this is either up your alley, or “it isn’t your cup of tea”. For me, I am of the later group. So, I will list my experience, and if you are in tune with my tastes you will agree; if you are not, then you will most likely love this tea. The mandarin is pretty cool looking, and it breaks easily apart. The leaves smell citrus-y (duh) with some musk about it. I keep sniffing at it, and I get an image of a golf course for some reason (don’t know if that means anything). I warmed up my gaiwan and scooped some inside. The aroma opens up into an intense citrus aroma along with some musk and rain. This is a very jungle-y aroma (my vocab is killin it today). I washed the leaves and prepared to steep away. The taste is sweet with citrus and musk. By sweet, I mean that sort of plastic sugar sweet. By citrus, I mean some sort of cleaner. By musk, I mean jungle/gym (hahah, jungle gym). So, in conclusion I have a semi thick shu tea that tastes like a gym class floor being cleaned with pine sol. I It’s safe to say that this was not my thing, but if you are of the other group then you most certainty will enjoy this tea.
Flavors: Artificial, Lemon, Musty, Sweat
Breaking off 7g for my ~80ml gaiwan was pretty easy with this cake. I managed to get mostly whole leaves. Dry leaf smells faintly apricot sweet and just a bit musty. In the warm gaiwan, it smells of lightly smoky, maybe grilled, apricot. After a rinse, the gaiwan lid smells of musty books and the wet leaves have a mulling spice aroma to them.
I typically prefer younger shengs but I do came back to this mini-cake quite often. It’s smooth and hits the spot when I don’t feel like drinking a more recent production.
The first steeps of this tea yield a pretty cloudy, amber ale colored brew. It’s immediately sweet with some mild bitterness and a hint of smoke. The apricot that the young teas in the sample set have is still present but the harsher characteristics of the tea have mostly aged out. The bitterness and smoke leave pretty quickly – it only takes a couple steeps before the smooth character of this tea reveals itself. There’s still some slight astringency but it’s accompanied by a decent salivation effect.
Into the later steeps, the tea continues to mellow out and the astringency fades in and out. Some sweet minerality makes an appearance in the last half of my steeps. It’s an easy to drink, tasty tea with pleasing semi-aged character throughout.
Flavors: Apricot, Mineral, Musty, Smoke, Spices, Sweet
Last tea of the night;
I’m drinking this Western just to get a taste of it – but I look forward to Gong Fu brewing it ideally sometime this week if I can find time after work.
The liquor for this one was much darker than I’d expected from a white; a red/amber kind of hue. As it was steeping, in filled my kitchen with the smell of straw and red fruits! I was pretty excited to taste it.
I’m finding this to be a fascinating cup: it’s got some solid straw/hay notes like I’d expect from Shoumei or really any white tea, but they’re certainly more undertones/background flavours and the key notes here are a wide range of fruit notes! In general, there’s a red fruit sort of sweetness to this that’s a little generic, but also some peachyness and overall stonefruit flavour that’s sweet and inviting. I also taste some honey notes in the top of the sip. The finish is maybe what’s most interesting to me; sour/tangy isn’t quite the right word to describe it but it’s sort of in that ballpark area? Sharpness might be another good way to put it. It’s not unpleasant, but is kind of different.
I’m cautiously on the fence about whether or not I’ll like this profile for Gong Fu styled brewing, but as a Western cup I found it pleasantly unique and really enjoyable.
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Peach, Red Fruits, Stonefruits, Straw, Tangy
I’ve had this tea for quite awhile.. about 6 months. In that time, I’ve used about 70% of it but haven’t written down my thoughts. The cake has a sweet, dry grass/hay and apricot smell to it. It’s somewhat difficult to break up, but this could be a result of my dry storage. As time goes on, it’s coming apart in tuo style chunks instead of nice whole leaf pieces. I’m using 7g in my favorite ~90ml yixing pot this time as I find that this tea can be pretty light and it responds well to a heavy hand with regard to both leaf amount and steep time. A puer newbie could steep the snot out of this and it would still be drinkable.
The first steep, at 10 seconds, is very light in taste but the sweet aftertaste is already apparent. Not much to this one – I often toss it and start drinking at the second steep. With budget tea like this, I don’t feel too bad about it.
With a second steep, the liqour looks closer to what I expect from these leaves. It’s a pale amber color, and the flavor, though still light, is there. It’s sweet dry hay – really pleasant and familiar. There’s some florality but I can’t place it. As the tea in my cup cools, I notice that it tastes fuller and thicker – much better that what you might expect for a budget offering.
Hot water into the pot once again. This time, the brew is certainly darker. It’s thicker as well and there’s some mouth drying effect happening. The apricot flavor is more present now. I think this steep went on a little too long.
On steep number four, a vegetal green grassy flavor makes its first appearance. The astringency meter is rising, but it’s not too bad.
Five steeps in, the liquor looks like an amber sample. Jurassic Park vibes. It’s thick and sweet with more of that green grass flavor barging into the picture. There’s a slight minerality as the tea leaves my tongue.
From here on out, the taste is pretty vegetal but some of the original sweetness is intact. I know from experience that as I continue to steep this out, the vegetal green taste will be gradually replaced by a mineral sweetness. You’re not going to get 15-20 steeps out of this tea and I think that’s fine. It’s a budget daily drinker that’s pretty enjoyable for what it is. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just don’t want to spend 2 hours drinking the same pu. It’s intended to be an educational tool paired with the other cakes in the set, and I think it serves that purpose well.
Flavors: Green, Hay, Mineral, Sweet, Vegetal
This will be my second time having a long jing, though I definitely assume this one to be of better quality than the grocery store one I’ve had in the past.
Not much of a scent comes off the dry leaves, but once I start steeping I get a nice, nutty aroma. The liquor is very light in color—more yellow than green—but smooth and viscous, and it has a light, beany chestnut flavor to start, with a nice hui gan.
Liquor remains light in steep two, but the flavor strengthens, though it never becomes overpowering. No hints of bitterness or astringency, such a stark contrast to the Japanese green I had right before, and rhinkle actually enjoys it as well, which is rare when it comes to green tea!
Flavors: Beany, Chestnut, Sweet
I brewed this up late this afternoon, using up a sample I received from the White2tea tea club several months ago. This is on the darker side of the oolong spectrum, although the roast is found primarily in the aroma and less in the flavor. Said flavor is smooth and reminiscent of autumn, with a slight bit of sweetness behind it; despite it being a rock oolong, I didn’t get much in the way of mineral in the taste. It’s not the most dynamic tea in the world, and I get more caffeine than qi, but it’s pretty durable for an oolong (7-8 steeps with these parameters, I think, though I didn’t keep detailed track), fairly thick, and quite enjoyable. I’m not much of an oolong drinker, but this seems like it’d be a solid choice.