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Recent Tasting Notes
I just had a shou epiphany.
A rinse and rest is not enough to stop shou from tasting like I licked the pots at the plant nursery. I did a 10 second rinse, then a rest. Then I tried to brew 10 and 15. That earthy flavor is front and center and I can’t get to the flavors BEHIND it.
Dumped those. Then I brewed another 10 second. Dumped that. THEN I brewed a 10 and 15. NOW there is some actual flavor beyond just something dirty. It’s very sweet and mild. I mean, it’s still a LITTLE dirty. But now there are other flavors, like caramel and dark candies.
I have a long weekend and I’m going to spend at least some of it re-brewing shous I kind of liked, along with those that I didn’t even post b/c I just couldn’t stand them.
I may actually start to like shou. And it’s about damn time!
Maaaaaan. I wish I had $150 just laying around to buy a whole cake of this tea. It’s very good!
I was hoping I wouldn’t like it b/c of the price, but that didn’t work out for me. The aromas and flavors here are very different from many pu’s I’ve tried, which is intriguing. I love the smoked apricots I get in most shengs, but this goes beyond that. And it’s SMOOOOOOOTH, like buttah!
It’s sweet, with no real bitterness, just mellow yumz and lovely soothing feelings. It’s definitely a happy tea. Of happiness.
The only sad part is that I only have enough tea for one more date!
Feeling a bit under the weather today for reasons unrelated to tea, but I’ve had Giant Steps planned for today for weeks now. And I wanted to taste it no matter what. It just meant I used only 5 grams instead of my usual 8-10 g, and reduced the amount of tea liquor to tasting quantity. Two rinses on the boil, then did about 8 quick steeps using a gaiwan and about 70 ml water.
Soup came out yellow and lemony tasting, no bitterness in quick steeping. Got a good dry mouth afterward, but I can’t fairly rate astringency due to taking hydrochlorothiazide, amongst other meds, which is designed to remove water from the body, aka water pill. Thus I have artificially dry mouth anyway. I note a nice astringency in a puerh, but rating it on a scale would be unfair to a tea (T).
This will be the only time I will drink my Giant Steps cake, as I plan to save it for my son. A more humorous take on that plan, plus photos, are in my tea blog
As promised better late than never. I tasted this a couple of days ago after a long work day and was unable to give it the credit for it.
I went 10 grams 10oz. my preferred method, gong fu.
I gave a wash for about 5 seconds and went with it. It has good leaf size in whatI put in the gaiwan. It is somewhat darker than a newly pressed cake. It carries a nice hit of bitter and a sweetness combined. It is a bit floral tossed in there as well. Fantastic in the bit of punch it brings to the table. Six steepings later and it is still very nice. A bit stronger than the repave cake but nicely along the lines with some of the “aged” taste to it. This will give the tongue tingle and state of relaxation that slowly creeps up on you.
Very nice and solid tea.
A touch of astringency that fades quickly.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Sweet
Drank two cups of this brewed 3 grams in a barrel-style zhu-ni for 125 ml cup. Boiling and just under. Fell asleep and dreamed about the tea.
One of the downsides of spending time doing theatre is a lifetime of performance anxiety dreams. Just about to go on stage, and I don’t know what play I am in. I don’t know my lines, I can’t find my script and am buck naked in front of the audience.
This time, however, I brewed this tea is a small vintage brown clay pot I actually bought in real life. From Origin Tea’s remaining stock. Debated between using it for highly aged oolong or very old sheng. I decided to use it with old sheng in real life though. Is this a sign, do you suppose? Should I have used it with oolong like I did in this dream? In a really nice adjoining condo with two cats.
Then I’m on stage at the end of the play for bows, in costume actually. I thanked the audience for attending this wonderful Shakespearean performance and that I would be returning to America after this, our last show. But first, drinks for the cast on me. Audience stares, bows for all, a few claps, off we went. Then the cast reminded me we were gonna do one more show again that night. Oops, inappropriate speech. Then we walked through the mall as I fully intended to get a drink anyway, and isn’t that a really nice t-shirt with belt buckles across the chest? And the store has a gourmet chocolate section with pink wrapped chocolates and I’m asking about a big chocolate covered caramel I can’t seem to find while staring at massively huge chocolate bunnies.
Woke up to dry mouth. But I finished the play!! Okay, one last show still and I don’t know the name of the play or my lines, but I wasn’t nekkid and got through bows! And it was Shakespeare, on an English stage, no less (aka A Cold Day In Hell Before That Ever Happens).
The tea is astringent and still needs time to age, rolled leaf like Tieguanyin, very dark charcoal roast, long steeping, floral in the mouth and long brewing.
Yeah, I write some strange stuff but this actually happened, and it is the first time I’ve dreamt about a tea I am drinking. I need more sessions with this to mess with leaf amount and steep times, had to brew it for a minute or so but it keeps giving. Well-spent cash on 50 grams of this. High score because I finished the show.
Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Roasted
I purchased 25 grams of this, which for a cake is in the average price range for White2Tea of around $98. Because of the humid storage, and the age on it, I know the tea will be long brewing (lots of steeps) and a little goes a long way. 4 grams in my new 70 ml brown Yixing from Origin Tea. Gonna use this pot specifically for these really aged long soaker puerhs. Proceeded with my 15 sec steeps on forward mostly on a boil and then a little cooler 195-200.
Humid storage flavor and smell evident throughout, but eventually this integrates well into the tea producing a strong aged cigar tobacco smell and taste. A touch of camphor early in the first steep. No smoke in this despite the heavy tobacco smell. Even my strainer smells like cigars with just a few tiny bits of tea in it. Still a good astringency here and mildly bitter, the astringency is pleasant though. Fills the mouth and then turns into tongue buzzing, just like cigar smoke does, most noticeable in the first 5 steeps.
Pleasant qi, warming and relaxing, scalp buzzing around my ears but not highly caffeinated. I won’t need to follow this up with a shou. A drink straight out of the gentleman’ club, not a talker, think John Houseman in a leather chair in “Scrooged,” looking up from a newspaper.
This tea is incredibly clean, and red amber. Still got some years to go to mellow out completely. Almost a shame it got pulled out of the Guangdong humid storage, even 3 more years on this would be amazing.
Flavors: Camphor, Musty, Tobacco
Oh boy, this is yummy! Huge roasted leaves, the roast is strong when I opened the pouch. It is definitely not machine roasted, at least not entirely if at all, because it doesn’t have that fake roasted taste I so despise in roasted oolong. I can taste a charcoal here.
The photo on White2Tea shows a yellow soup, but mine is reddish brown. But I brewed it in a zhu ni clay tea pot I use for oolong, maybe the pot added color. Deep spiced fruit, sort of like spiced red apples and nuts. The weather has been cool here so this is a pleasant cup. Or cups, if you will. Got a good six steeps out of 5 grams in 100 ml before the flavor started to fade. Giving it a little rest, might steep it once or twice more before I head off to bed.
Flavors: Apple, Roasted, Spices
Got this as a sample with my recent white2tea order and was so excited to find it in my parcel, it had piqued my interest in the website. I mean, who wouldn’t want to taste cakes specially ordered, to be created for a rich collector? This is my chance to taste vault tea, one wonders what happened to the poor guy. Did he need the money and decide to sell, or is he pushing up daisies and didn’t really get to taste his made-to-order? Either scenario could be me, soon enough, at my age. Another good reason to taste this is because I am finally trying an example of the type of tea leaves a person should look for when selecting to age, for this is a powerful tea leaf.
7 grams in the Yixing with 90 ml water, all of this is loose, and still dark green. Got a small 3 grams of intact cake so I decided to brew the loose and save the 3 g for a light session. One rinse. Tea liquor shows this one has aged! Nicely amber, juicy and thick. First three steeps are bitter and incredibly astringent, which indicates the amazing strength of this leaf. This is not one of those sheng teas which are smooth early on. Yep it is turning, all right, but this has got a good ways to go.
Fifth steep and the bitterness is wearing down somewhat to floral and wood, but still astringent, very dry tongue yet. My throat is nice and comfortable, however. Sixth steep and I need to brew longer than the 10 seconds I’ve been using so far. Tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth now. Not heavily smoked, just a touch of smoke in this tea.
This tea begs to be awakened and put up wet. A couple years of more humid storage would kick start this one and it will age into a tea that will likely put me on the floor. So much potential here! What this seems to be is about as close as I will ever get to a guaranteed stunning age-er. In fact I will bet that this will be amazing if treated with the respect it deserves. Kept very dry, this won’t budge. But it is ready to turn all that power into flavor.
Of course the price is already higher than most people would want to pay at $149.50. What this price buys, however, is a quality of leaf that westerners can’t get outside China or even inside China for that matter. The price buys a guaranteed successful aging project in a rather short term, if watched carefully. I am not going to rate this because it is like rating a girl on the strength of her womanhood. Okay, I need to pry my tongue off the roof of my mouth now and pray the phone doesn’t ring and nobody needs me to talk anytime soon.
Flavors: Astringent, Flowers, Wood