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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea has a wonderful aroma but sadly has nothing to do with ducks, it just has a nice pleasant sweet fruity aroma with a bit of a roast. I used quite a bit of tea while brewing so I was able to get a ton of steeps out of this tea. It tasted quite similar to how it smelled but had a bit of pleasant bitterness. I steeped for a bit long but the tea was never too bitter and was quite smooth.
On a final note I don’t really drink much Dancong so I have a bit of trouble fully explaining the taste of this tea. But if anything I really enjoyed this tea and plan on getting more or perhaps something similar. Can totally say I’m a fan of Dancong even after only trying a few of them.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Roasted, Sweet
I brewed this gong-fu style with about 5g of leaf and 100C water. The resulting tea was fruity, malty, and dark, with hints of bread, camphor, and burnt sugar.
This was good, but the flavour dropped off quickly after the first few steeps. However, this tea has to contain some of the biggest tea leaves I’ve ever seen! I mean, look at this sucker!
I wax rhapsodic a bit more in my full review here: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/11/bang-dong-hong-black-tea-from-white2tea/
I think this is the first (or second) “wet” (or “traditional”) stored sheng that i ever tried.
The wet storage aroma is something i had to adapt to… i think the 5th steeping was a moment where i really forgot about it or let`s say rather began to like the whole flavor spectrum with this “wet store aroma” included as one essential part of it.
I really liked the effect the tea had on me on a psychological level.
This aged bookish taste… it made me really thoughtful and kind of serious. ;-)
I would only recommend this tea to people who want to find out about more “wet stored” teas… or are already familiar with them.
Flavors: Anise, Char, Dried Fruit, Forest Floor, Tobacco
Brewed this one up today. I notice I had the same problem as Christina. The chuck of tea just didn’t want to break up and I had to break it up manually. I did two quick rinses and then 10,10,10,10,15,15. Most of the infusions I took a few sips and threw out. It had a strong fermentation flavour and was just too woody & earthy. Later steeps it smoothed out a bit more but there was nothing there really pulling me in with this tea. I think this tea could go numerous steeps so I would be interesting to see what it tastes like after steep 6 or 7. I didn’t take it that far since it had major caffeine kick and was bothering my stomach a bit.
I took a chunk that was about 6.5 grams and rinsed it a few times. Then I did steeps of 10, 20, and 30 seconds, but even after all of that steeping, the chunk still didn’t break apart into smaller leaf. Ultimately, I had to break it apart by hand after the third steep to get any traction. The first steep was extremely light, though the longer steeps were darker. All in all, the brewed tea ranged from mid-orange to deep burgundy/red.
The taste was as uncompromising as the dry leaf. I didn’t get much flavour development beyond notes of fish, earth, and something resinous like cedar or pine. After the fourth steep I gave up, because this thing just wasn’t happening. I’ve heard that good shou can be really rich and chocolaty, but this tea was way too much effort for so little satisfaction.
Plus, I did not like the way I felt after drinking it. I started to notice the kind of jittery, tapped-out muscle tension that I feel when I don’t get enough sleep — a cold, stringy hissing across my body that made me feel like I had pulled an all-nighter!
This was a very interesting brew for me. I unwrap the paper to reveal this little “melon” shou. The compressed dry leaf has a slight fermentation scent. I break it in half (7g of the 14g whole) and pop that into my warmed gaiwan. I gave it a shake and then let the chunk relax for a bit. The scent that emitted from my gaiwan was deep and sweet. It was a dark savory scent with an earthen background. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The leaves took two washing sessions to fully depart from the melon whole, and they gave off a dry cherry dusty scent. The flavor was fairly good, but it was somewhat lacking. The initial sip was filled with deep cherry notes, but it plateaued at only the fourth steeping. I then decided to pop the other half in. This made the liquor amazing. The flavor was deep and powerful. The taste was of cherry cordial and a deep fermentation flavor. The brew was smooth and warming; it made my ears burn red hot. The pour from my gaiwan was incredibly dark and blood red. This session lasted fooorever and continued with a smooth and rich red wine taste. The finish of each sip included a candied huigan that was sweet and tangy. This sensation would slowly drip and follow me throughout the session. The qi was only present with a light head buzz. This session did incur a heavy tea drunk and slight slurred speech. I really enjoyed this melon. I highly recommend just throwing the whole thing in the pot. My melon was short (14g instead of 20g), but it was still perfect. This is an amazing value, and I will definitely be getting more in my next order.
Flavors: Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Heavy, Red Wine, Smooth
(Read the writing on here https://instagram.com/p/9Co1coRYAC/?taken-by=liquidproust)
This was a very smooth shou. I was thinking it would have some umph to it, like some rough notes… but the taste was silkish (not the texture). The texture was creamish and wonderful. While this was a really good tea, and I’ll be buying some, the other shou from W2T kicks this one’s butt. This is the kind of shou I would introduce others to if they like the earthy notes that ripe tea has or the depth, but can’t stand the strength. The sweet after taste makes it even better because the brisk earth taste that is smooth and doesn’t overpower the tea comes right through and makes a smile appear.
Everyone should be very excited for my Betta, Jace Beleren…and his Otoclinus companion Sarkhan Vol, and all the invisible shrimp attendants, because they are getting an upgrade! I received my birthday present from Ben’s grandparents early and I am using part of it to get my fishies a better house, like a large part of it…they are getting a new house, new plants (I give up on live plants, they get soft silky ones) new filtration system…they are going to live like kings! I like to spoil my pets, get that tiny bit of maternal instinct I have satisfied with happy pets.
I think I shall make this Oolong week, and we are going to start with something a little unusual. White2Tea’s Clover Patch – Wuyi Oolong, yep it is Yancha time, time to break out the enjoyment of roasted teas, thoughts of campfires and coals…and wait a minute, this tea doesn’t smell like any Yancha I have ever had. Insert maniacal giggling as I realize it is time for an adventure. See, this is a Wuyi Oolong alright, but instead of the old fashion roasting, this is a modern take on it, and maybe I shouldn’t have brewed this in my Yancha teapot, oh well, YOLO. The aroma is best described as a flowery explosion, you open the bag and just go ‘whoa’ but not in a Keanu Reeves manner, more in a ‘I just did an epic game winning move’ way. Notes of honey, lychees, extremely faint pine smoke (like I mean REALLY distant) and the most epic flower aroma ever. Kudzu blossoms! Serious it is like a blend of grapes and pollen, it is heady and super sweet.
Brewing these colorful leaves (shades of late summer and autumn, so pretty!) the aroma of the soggy leaves is intense. I lifted the lid off my pot and it is a perfume blast, kudzu blossoms and honey with delicate notes of mineral and a delicate greenness like crushed leaves. It is so intensely heady, I feel like I could use it as a fainting remedy. The liquid is gentle in comparison to the wet leaves, it is super sweet with notes of lychees, honey, and kudzu flowers, like some sort of exotic fairy wine, if I drink this am I going to get drawn into dancing until I fall exhausted in a different time period? Ah, folklore.
Ok wow, just wow! The texture is buttery smooth, almost slippery and surprisingly cooling for an oolong. The taste, well, that is where the party is…if your party is a massive bouquet of kudzu flowers and lychees drenched in honey. The kudzu lingers, changing into an aftertaste of pollen heavy honey. I think I have turned into a butterfly!
I think I sound like a crackpot because this tea makes me feel like I am transcending reality, that one-two punch of narcotic headiness and nostalgia is making me light in a way that tea drunk only wishes it could make me feel. So yeah, the aroma is not really changed from the first steep, still kudzu and fairy wine sweetness. The mouthfeel is slippery smooth and creamy, it has a thickness to it this time, the taste is so intense, honestly I am not sure I have had a tea with a taste this intense, and that is due largely in part to how aromatic this tea is. It starts kudzu flowers and pollen, then it moves to the heady aroma of jimsonweed, and then onto mineral and a touch of baking bread. The arftertaste of flowers lingers for so long.
By this point in the tasting I have entered into a trance, yep, this stuff is definitely fairy wine, I clearly wandered into a fairy ring on a full moon and got sucked into a mound and I am partying with the sidhe. The only reason I have not gone mad is because I am a changeling or something, all I know is there are flowers and honey, and that I am sinking into them. I got lost in the flowers, eventually this tea does call it quits, but it takes a while…holds up longer than most Yanchas, but the most uncanny part is the aftertaste. It creeps up on you between sips and steeps, starting out as a mild flowery taste but growing into a lingering sweetness, it has you in its grips and refuses to let you free. Seriously, keep this stuff away from mushroom circles, old oaks, willow trees, and maybe avoid drinking it on full moons!
I LOVE this tea. It’s the dancong of yanchas… which is like two really good things that don’t sound like they’d be great together… but they are. This tea is aromatic during it’s whole life span, but unlike most yanchas I don’t really start enjoying until later steeps cough cough roasty I love this one from the first glass. In fact the first few steeps are my favorite, but I am a fan of the whole journey.
This combines the mineral and fruity flavors of a yancha with the honey floral aroma of a dancong. I never knew yancha could be so overtly aromatic. I’ve honestly never tasted anything quite like this tea.
It’s giving me the yearning for EXCELLENT dancong though… hey maybe now that white 2 tea is based in Guangzhou… here is to hoping for a dancong of this callibre in a club shipment soon.
But yes folks… I’ve never tasted a tea like this before. Get your hands on some! It is really universally appealing and easy to love and would be a great tea to serve to family members and friends to get them coveting some less traditionally served teas in the west.
I haven’t had this tea in a few hours (haha yay tea drunk at home days) so might have to add in some more in depth tasting notes later. But for the 3 times I’ve had this tea so far… I haven’t had a session that wasn’t STELLAR and full of happy tea drunk Phi.
I hope this becomes a yearly offering at white 2 tea! Because I’m sure this stash isn’t going to hold up for long.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, White Grapes
This is a tea you start to drink, and after a few glasses you end up doing a double take… What is this fantastic aroma at the back of my throat? Next cup… wow it’s coming from the tea. This tea is a late bloomer. The girl in all the chick flix that the guys don’t notice until her makeover montage.
While the first few steeps didn’t really taste like much, much less special enough to be a cake this expensive… I was shortly blown away. First by the after taste… and soon after the flavor. This tea must have had impeccable storage to maintain it’s leaf character and not just taste like generic aged sheng. This one truely differentiates itself.
What this reminds me of is Tea Urchin’s 2014 Xi Kong, but all grown up. It has that same knock your socks off meadow and honey aroma as that fresh sheng, but more intense and backed by lower bass notes. This has all the wonders of young and middle age sheng at once! And goes forever and ever…
The later steeps are sugared plums. Yumm. This tea just keeps evolving.
This tea has not acquired it’s reputation unduly… but at the same time it is still rather young for people who are into aged tea. This tea is a cougar, she might be 40 but she looks (and dates) in her 20s. It is not too aromatic or gawdy, but after a quick warm bath is gorgeous and perfumed. I can’t stop smelling the gaiwan. It’s like being transported to one of those hill sides covered in flowers from musicals. You can smell the beeswax and flowers, backed by something a little more bitter. I keep humming Brigadoon… and am taken to that land we depicted in a musical in high school.
This tea is magic. If you don’t watch out you’ll end up in a land far away from where you sit right now. A tingling at the back of my throat beckons me to sing, my whole body is buzzing from where this tea is transporting me.
Flavors: Flowers, Green, Honey, Plums
Dry – Bittersweet richness but mostly juicy bittersweet and tart fruit notes and a dried fruit sweetness.
Wet – Bitter, bittersweet greener notes, sweet fruity notes (crips), thickness, honey and floral notes with some bitter sweet richness.
Liquor – Golden to amber
First steeps are Bitter, fruity-floral and sort of woody up front that develop a slightly drying sensation combined with good thick/olive oil sensation. The liquor becomes smoother going down transitioning to a sweeter dried fruit and floral note that lingers.
Initial mid steeps are initially bitter tobbacco(green) into a bittersweet fruity and floral that transitions to the thicker/oily and sweeter notes. The drying sensation is more astringent now, but it is still smooth as it goes down. The huigan is fast, sweet, fruity and floral that lingers.
Later mid steeps are initially bitter tobacco(green) but it takes a more medicinal side of the spectrum. The notes then transition to a bittersweet medicinal, fruity and floral notes with some of that oily sensation. The huigan is sweet with plenty of fruity and floral notes.
Final steeps are very similar than before but you can detect the medicinal and floral notes starting to fade first. Even when more notes have faded in later steeps you still get a good huigan, but by the 10-11th steep it might be too weak to say is still there.
Very good! I was surprised because even though I’ve had other thick bulangs, this one is more of a YiWu type thickness that olive oil note and sensation to it; I’m more used to a creamy sensation or that thick sensations that borderlines numbing. The tea holds good but balanced bitterness and the huigan lingers in the mouth and slightly on the throat.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Green Wood, Honey, Medicinal, Olive Oil, Tobacco
So I was going to take a stab at reviewing this tonight, in a measured and thoughtful way, but that sort of went out the window when for whatever reason, Steepster kind of shit the bed (at least for me) and I got all these wacky 404/dashboard? what dashboard?/these-are-not-the-droids-you’re -looking-for error messages. I know, I could have gotten a pen and paper and written down my thoughts, but that would have involved getting up and I was more interested in alternately staring at/smelling/drinking the tea. Which was, as others have said, completely weird. I could taste the roast, and sense the flowers yelling “help us help us” from the fire, and also there was buttered toast. What a long strange trip it’s been. Recommended? I don’t know. I don’t feel qualified to answer that question, even for myself. I should probably go to bed.
The last of the Basics set! I finally get to try an aged sheng. :) This cake has the darkest leaves so far, and the leaves (both dry and wet) have a musty aroma so you can definitely tell it’s aged. The tea brews up darker in colour than the others, more amber than yellow/gold. That musty note is definitely there – not the wet earth / forest floor impression that I get from shu puer, but something that reminds me more of old books, like the smell of a second hand bookstore. In early steeps, there are hints of that fresh zingy quality from the fresh sheng, but muted and smoothed out. It has a definite coating sensation in the mouth and throat, but that is also smoother and gentler than in the other cakes. It’s a bit warming in the stomach, and makes me feels relaxed. In later steeps, the bitterness and astringency ramps up, more similar to the younger teas, but the musty, aged quality is still there. There is a bit of sweetness or something in the aftertaste, but I don’t really get any fruitiness from this one at all. The back of my throat feels really coated, but my cheeks don’t feel all dried out from the astringency. I’m starting to get that mineral flavour that I remember from later steepings of the fresh sheng as well. Neat.
In conclusion, this “intro to puer” tasting set has been super interesting and lots of fun. I definitely recommend it for any puer beginners out there. :)
Flavors: Grass, Mineral, Musty, Sweet
Tea #3 in the basics set. This was definitely the most tightly-compressed of all the cakes. I don’t have a puer pick, so I’ve been using the probe from a digital meat thermometer, which worked reasonably well for the other ones but had real difficulty with this one. I’m not sure if it was due to my technique or the cake composition or both, but most of what I got off this one was little broken leaf fragments. Anyway, same as the others: 6g, boiling water, steeps of (very roughly) 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. seconds.
I found this one to be less aromatic than the Autumn one I tried yesterday, and the flavour was mostly a dried grass, freshly-cut hay sort of thing. In early steeps there was a fruitiness in the aftertaste, but that disappeared pretty quickly. In later steeps the bitterness and astringency came out more. This reminded me more of the Spring than the Autumn cake, but a bit less intense. I lost interest in it more quickly than I did the other two – maybe because the novelty factor of fresh sheng puer is wearing off, or maybe these older leaves are legitimately less interesting to drink.
Flavors: Bitter, Freshly Cut Grass, Hay
The Aged DHP was a lot smoother overall than the fresh. The dry leaves were long, dark, and spindly, and they smelled like wood, cigarettes, and roastedness. I also smelled a hint of something salty at the back of my nose, like soy sauce.
After a 5-second rinse with 90°C water, the smell of the leaves deepened into cigars and charred wood, but I didn’t get the burnt sugar/burnt pie crust sensation that I got from the Fresh DHP.
The first steep resulted in tea that was an ochre colour — much redder than the Fresh DHP. The fragrance was light, but sharper and woodier than the fresh stuff. Again, I couldn’t sense any burnt notes. This tea was definitely smoother, but there was a more alkaline aftertaste, especially on the backs and sides of my tongue.
What I find interesting is that White2Tea described this tea as “mineral.” I can see that, though I think what they consider “mineral” was what I was describing as flowers/sandalwood.
The Fresh DHP is made of black, gnarled nuggets of tea leaf. Dry, they smell of paper; there’s also a skunky sort of smell that reminds me of weed, unfortunately. I took about 3.8 grams of dry leaf and put them in a gaiwan. After rinsing them in 90°C water for 5 seconds, the smell deepened and the whole thing smelled fresh and wet with notes of graham cracker, blackened sugar, and burnt pie crust. The first steep was 10 seconds; the second, third, fourth, and fifth were 15, 20, 25, and 50 seconds respectively.
This didn’t taste as harsh as I was expecting. There was an orchid note there along with the note I’m learning to associate with roasted oolongs: green, wet, and sticky, like someone’s just cut into the heart of a plant and the wound is now welling with sap. There was a surprisingly soft aftertaste here like grass and orchids, along with that burnt sugar/pie crust note.
Man, this tea is weird. It looks like your typical dark roasted oolong — long, spindly twists of black leaf — and it even kind of smells like it too, with a sweet, strong smell of buckwheat and burnt sugar.
The first taste was of something extremely alkaline on my tongue, like I splashed some sort of industrial chemical on it. On the back and sides of my tongue the taste became more floral, like honeysuckle or lilies, with an aftertaste like rose or osmanthus. The colour of the tea was amber like beer.
Over subsequent steeps I felt that the texture and taste on my tongue was like that of fabric: cotton, denim, linen, thickness covering my tongue. The floral honeysuckle/lily flavour was also there — there was none of the juicy, grassy sweetness that the smell of this tea promised.
Then it hit me. Industrial chemicals? Flowers? Fabric?
It tasted like the tea embodiment of a dryer sheet.
You know, those little wisps of perfumed, polymerized fabric you put into the dryer with freshly washed clothes to make them soft and non-static-cling-y.
What the fuck? I’m mystified, but also kind of horribly fascinated.
Day #2 of my White 2 Tea Basics adventure, and I tried the 2014 Autumn. 6g in the gaiwan, 2 quick rinses, steeps of (very) roughly 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc… seconds. I was a bit surprised that it was actually quite different from the 2015 Spring. The early steeps were more aromatic and fruity, less zingy, and tasted quite strongly of stewed dried apricots. I was reading a review recently that mentioned an apricot flavour in a sheng puer and I remember thinking “apricot eh? I wonder if I would even be able to identify that… I haven’t had an apricot in ages”. The answer is apparently, hell yes. Anyway, I found this one to be a bit easier to drink, especially with boiling water, though it was also lovely at 90deg. Middle steeps lost the fruitiness and brought in some more bitterness and astringency, and in later steeps it faded into the same kind of smooth minerality – all this was quite similar to the Spring tea I tried yesterday. Whee! Looking forward to trying the Huang Pian tomorrow. :)
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Fruity, Mineral
This has to be the best cheap sheng I have ever had. $22 for 250g? That is a deal :)
Quite fantastic. Easily over 10 steeps and still enjoying the taste as it doesn’t dry my mouth out which I am thankful for.
Went on their site and was like: Yo man, get you some 1980’s authentic pu’erh and try to do it for under $300.
That didn’t happen so I thought: I should get some old bear.
But then I realized I spent over $200 on tea this month… so, dear bear, next month.
So my White 2 Tea order arrived in the mail literally hours before I had to leave for a 2 week vacation, so I unpacked the box (going “eeeee!!” a lot) and then left it all behind. I’m back now! So I’ve decided to start my puer education with the Basics Set, since that appears to be the whole point of it. :)
I also got the “standard ruyao gaiwan” with this order, and I really love it already. It’s easy to handle and so much less finger-burny than the glass gaiwan, lol. I always have a hard time figuring out the working volume of a gaiwan because (fairly obviously, I suppose) it depends a lot on how full you fill it with water. This one in particular is fairly wide and flared at the top, so small changes in water level can result in surprisingly large volume changes. So I stood at the sink with my gaiwan and a tablespoon, adding water a tbsp at a time and watching the level rise. I’m going to go with about 6 tbsp (3oz) even though it could probably fit 8 or 9 before actually overflowing. So, following the instructions that came with the set, 6g of tea, 2 rinses with boiling water, then steeps of 10, 10, 15 sec (I’m not fast enough to pull off a 5 sec steep yet).
I wasn’t expecting this to be particularly enjoyable (the description uses words like strong, aggressive, bitter, astringent) but I actually quite like it. The aroma of the wet leaves in the gaiwan is very fresh and bright. The liquor is pale to golden yellow, and the flavour is fresh, grassy, very “zingy”. I guess that zingy quality is the bitterness and astringency, but it’s not unpleasant, it’s just waking up the inside of my mouth in a big way. The mouthfeel has a coating, drying quality. I get hints of peach in the aftertaste, surprisingly long after taking a sip.
I tried a couple of slightly longer, cooler steeps (20sec at 90deg, 30sec at 82deg), and I think that mellowed it out a little bit, but this is still a very bold, in-your-face sort of tea-drinking experience. 5 steeps in and I’m starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by the bitterness, which feels like it is accumulating. This is so interesting. I think I’ll take a break and come back to it.
I took a break for something to eat and came back to it. I did several steeps at 90deg, which seemed like a better temperature than boiling. Then I did a few steeps without reheating the water in between, so the water was progressively cooler: 88, 85, 80deg – this mellowed it out considerably, and I started getting a lot of mineral, almost metallic flavours coming out. Then I tried staying at 80deg and adding 30sec at a time to the steeps. At this point it was starting to get lighter and less flavourful. So I went back to boiling water and tried a few longer steeps (3, 4, 5min). I think I’m pretty much done now – it’s quite mellow with just a bit of crisp minerality, and I’m losing interest. That was quite the adventure though. :)
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Peach