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Recent Tasting Notes
I am brewing this with 8g from a 25g sample. I started with a 5s infusion and increased by 5-10s for the first few, then went up by a minute or two for the last couple of steeps. The first few steeps were sweet and earthy with a hint of mushroom, wood, wet earth. Tastes like the scent of a forest after a rainfall, or a wet decaying log, but in a good way. I noticed a slight sour tang on the finish. Around the 4th steeping, the earthiness started to fade into a pleasant taste that reminded me of cooking rice mixed with roasted pecans. I ended this around the 8th or 9th steep doing around 5 minute infusions. For the price, I think this is worth it as a daily drinker.
Flavors: Earth, Loam, Mushrooms, Rice, Roasted nuts, Wood
Good lord, I would not mind having a few cakes of this twinofmunin. This is one of those “chocolate note” Dianhongs to the max.
I’m getting a sweet, sweet malty chocolate taste to this tea, which I can only say for a few Dianhongs that I’ve had before. The kind of malt is on the border of sweet potato that you normally get in this variety of tea, but it is there. The chocolaty profile is also there and pretty obvious compared to the others that dared claim the taste. The sweet black base for Thai Iced tea is the only other thing that I can realistically compare it to since it is so “sugary” for a straight tea gong fu.
I brewed this starting at 15 sec with lord knows how many grams-probably 4-5 in 6.5 ounces, but darn it is good. The flavor overall is not super complex, but again, it’s that sweet malty chocolate goodness that you normally get from an Alishan black or a Laoshan in Dianhong cake form. If only this were released sooner when I was looking for a daily black.
I have a lot more to say, but I’ll leave it at this.
Or I don’t. Steep five and six are purely malty. A good malty black, but just that. I’m still impressed.
so, a lot of people have reviewed this tea since it was in the tea club. this is more of a note than a review proper. this was my second session with it; i don’t remember anything about the first one, really (oops). however, today i busted it out again.
jebus, did this tea put me on my ass. not sure whether it was my mostly-empty stomach or what. had a definite weird feeling in my belly (which i failed to analyze in any depth prior to stuffing some food into it), followed by intense whole-body dizziness and a decidedly out-of-it feeling. definitely something. it’s been over four hours since i started, and i’m still feeling weird, with elevated heartrate (a hummingbird has invaded my chest cavity) and weird dizziness behind my eyes, combined with sweating and a very heavy i-want-to-lie-on-the-couch feeling. also had a period earlier on where i listened to muse’s absolution [album] with more gusto than i have in ages (don’t really listen to music very often these days).
so, wild’n’crazy tea times. this might be the first time i can identify the effects of tea as a feeling that could be called “tea drunk”. i definitely didn’t feel like it was a good idea to drive to get some lunch. (i might have eaten hot dog bun pb&j. don’t judge.)
First Steep – 1 minute
Tea Colour and Scent – The colour is burnt orange and it bares a thick, malt scent.
Tea Flavour – This has a lot of flavour for a one minute steep. It has both malt and dry wood attributes with sour cocoa that transcends into chocolate for the after taste. Some sweetness though mostly sour and with a rich mouth feel.
Second Steep – 2 minutes
Tea Colour and Scent – Red colour with a sour malt scent.
Tea Flavour – Thick and rich with sweet malt dominating a sour wood undertone. The aftertaste is cocoa like and sour but smooths out quickly. Also slightly drying in the after taste.
Third Steep – 3 minutes
Tea Colour and Scent – Orange/red colour with a sour wood scent.
Tea Flavour – It’s toned down but still thick in malt and sourness. Whilst still sour it has at least relaxed and it doesn’t last for long. The after taste is just as thick but evermore drying. Perhaps my favourite steep as the balance is better.
Overall – A thick and flavourful tea which is more like a classic black, albeit better quality than average. It’s a good quality everyday black tea which has it’s pro’s and con’s. I found it became sour very quickly but I did enjoy the richness of it.
The processing tastes more like a classic black tea and what I am more familiar with, so this method must be quite common in production. It’s also my usual preference in a black tea, I like them strong and rich.
It says that this tea should improve with age and I am very tempted to test that theory, given that it’s a new tea it should smooth out in a couple of years. If I can leave it alone for that long!
Pics and more information: http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2016/07/13/white2tea-club-july-2016/
I’m getting down to the last few sessions worth of this, revisiting it after not having tasted it in some months.
Maybe at the same time I got these I also bought a sample of the Milk, Cream & Alcohol: at the time, I was thinking that MC&A was about similar to this. When I mentioned that to 2Dog he was emphatic that MC&A was better tea, which thought I filed away for a while.
Later I bought a cake of MC&A and have been drinking it almost every day: it’s what I started with today, and I thought it would be good to do a near back-to-back comparison. Which is not totally fair to this tea, because it’s down to the last bits and is mostly chop at this point, while the MC&A I’ve been drinking has been looser, closer to whole-leaf material. But the session was instructive nonetheless.
This tea is definitely thinner than MC&A, especially considering that I was brewing chop (Basics) v. mostly large leaf pieces (MC&A). Spring Basics also has a considerably stronger bitter bite and comparatively powerful mouth-drying effect after 4-6 steeps. Basics has killer sweet dry-cup scent (in early steeps anyway) compared to the relatively bland one of MC&A, and Basics gives a nice fruity aftertaste, while the MC&A seems more about thickness in the mouth and an overall feeling of more power.
Anyway that’s my $0.02. I think maybe I will also do a comparison of Basics Huangpian against Fade. Basics Aged against Repave might be instructive also.
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Drying, Floral, Hay, Sweet
The dry leaves have a strongly fruity (fruit loop?) aroma. The flavor has a matching fruitiness as well as prominent notes of yam, malt, mint, flowers. As often is the case with fruity teas, the second steep has even stronger fruit notes. I try to think of a specific fruit to name, but it’s more of a generic “fruit” taste like gummy worms or other candy. Reminds me slightly of a Taiwanese black tea or Yunnan Sourcing’s Ailao High Mountain.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Mint, Yams
My latest obsession…puerh stuffed Xinhui mandarin. For the price, very underwhelming. No off flavors or wet storage, pretty clean, except a dominant taste of paper. Perhaps the paper wrapper that’s sealed inside plastic has affected the taste? I’ll leave some to air out for a bit to see if that goes away, update review as necessary.
Very pleasant and complex aromas, I am blown away by the smell. So yummy and relaxing, pleasant, just simply pleasant. Saying “citrus” doesn’t do it justice. It smells similar to the liqueur Grand Marnier. Musty earthy citrus herbal.
Aromas didn’t manifest into flavors unfortunately. Liquor was thinner than I prefer in shu, and pretty flat. Didn’t really get much complexity, much flavor, or even much ripe puerh flavors at all. Dominant paper taste with a tinge of herbal citrus.
Someone else said it was smoky, there was no smokiness in mine. Used gaiwan.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Herbs, Medicinal, Musty, Oak wood, Paper
This is a very tasty black tea. It is really good but not what I would call spectacular. There are strong notes of malt and notes of chocolate in this tea. I steeped the hell out of this at twelve steeps. That’s quite a lot for a black tea. And it held up to all twelve steeps without getting too weak. It did of course weaken a little but that is to be expected. To anyone who is not in the club and want’s to buy this it is I think worth the price. I think he gets $17.50 for this if my memory serves me. At that price per 100g it is worth it. I doubt I would buy more but it is good to have the one. The writeup on this says it is smooth, that is also true. This was a very good tea, unless you compare it to something expensive from Whhispering Pines that is. It doesn’t hold up to that standard but is still pretty good.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8.2g leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 10 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
Haven’t tried the other basics teas in a while, so I can’t make that good of a comparison right now, but this one was pretty good – I noticed it to be shorter-lived than most other W2T productions I’ve tried. Got some good floral and mineral notes throughout. Early steeps had a sort of bitter vegetal flavor to the which, when combined with the thick texture that seems to be the hallmark of W2T teas, reminded me of olive oil. As the session went on, the floral notes, which were never of the particularly sweet variety, faded and I was left with just olive oil and a mineral flavor. This session went maybe 10 steeps, with the last few becoming increasingly drying in their bitter character. A good tea, but not a great tea by any means. Good for a simple, no nonsense sheng session. I didn’t get fruitiness in the flavor anywhere, but I can kind of pick up an apricot note from the aroma on the gaiwan lid.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Mineral, Olive Oil
Choppy, stemmy tea that makes a kind of weak soup. Today I gave it a 20-sec rinse while mashing on the lumps of leaf, then let it steam for 3 mins. After I steeped it like 20s 15s 15s 15s 20s…45s for a total of 10 steeps, and it’s pretty well done. The rinse and the first steep clogged up my filter with fine dust or fuzz, after that the soup was clear. Deep orange at first, starting to lighten up some by the 4th steep.
This tea has a bit of matured character, but not strongly (nothing about this tea is strong) and it fades after the 6th steep or so.
Another one I’ve been drinking daily/near daily.
The good: it is cheap, better leaf grade than Xiaguan, old enough to make a solid orange soup, cheap, and free of obvious defects or any humid taste.
The bad: it is cheap, tea from 2008, huangpian, maybe autumn tea. Hell, maybe this was made from the last stripping of leaf from a stressed tree at the height of the bubble. It seems kind of weak.
But it is cheap, and fairly decent for 8 or so steeps if you give it some time. It has the starting-to-get-aged taste, some bitterness, a little smoke, some sweet. There is a little clinging aftertaste that reminds me of bergamot.
There are ways to get decent tea with some age like this at a cheaper price but maybe not after you factor in the risk of buying garbage.
From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Had a gongfu session with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the leaf a five second rinse, let it sit for five minutes, and then gave it another five second rinse. Steeping times: 5 seconds, 5, 5, 5, 5, 10, 25, 40, 80; 10 minutes. (whopper of a jump, right?)
Dry leaf aroma: leather, earth.
Heated bowl and wet leaf aromas: sweetness of cocoa. Holy cocoa!
The soup right off the bat is dark red in color and has a creamy texture. It takes the first several infusions for the sourness of fermentation to disappear completely. Traveling in the box may have helped some. There is an underlying sweetness that totally takes over at the fifth infusion, which is clear of fermentation and in appearance. Five to the end taste very much the same, of loam and leather and a bit of chocolate. The aftertaste is very sweet and tastes like Raisinettes.
This shou doesn’t taste or feel rich – it’s a milder one. One could drink this in the summer no problem (regardless of the fact that today was overcast and cooler summer day). Aptly named. I think this is off to a good start for aging. Good beginner shou, too.
Gongfoolery with my tea pet, Winona: https://www.instagram.com/p/BHNMeUbB9bC/
First Steep – 1 minute
The tea is red brown in colour and bares a sweet malt and wood scent.
In flavour the first few sips taste similar to it’s steeped scent, the malt is sweet but fresh and fairly light with some dry wood in the after taste. Despite the complex nature of the tea it’s smooth in this steep. Further sips reveal some soft smoke.
Second Steep – 2 minutes
More malt and more smoke in this steep, though on the whole it remains smooth and velvety. It’s a medium strength in this steep but even so it’s a light medium because it’s so smooth and easy to drink. Perhaps an increase in dryness which is moderate at this stage but even so the flavour makes up for it. Also because of the increase of strength the sweetness of it reminds me of brown sugar.
Third Steep – 3 minutes
Even softer than the first steep at this point, though the sweet malt still lingers to dance upon my tongue once more. I wish to say more about it but I’m struggling, there is no wood or smoke present, perhaps the last thing I can say is that the dryness has increased substantially.
Conclusion: It mentioned that this black tea was made using the Dianhong processing method and I can see many similarities between this tea cake and Dianhong in terms of flavour. Personally I am a lover of Dianhong and often keep it in stock so it was good news for me to have something like this that I can show some familiarity with. However, a Dianhong in cake form is a new one for me; though I have had it in tuo like buds before which I suppose is similar to a cake. Either way this tea was divine and I was upset to have finished it so quickly. I am not sure what this tea gained from being in cake form over loose leaf but it doesn’t really matter, the result is wonderful.
For pictures and more information please view my blog:
First Steep – 30 seconds
The colour is light yellow and bares a fresh sweet grass scent that is very soft.
Flavour is sweet and creamy though subtle with grass and floral tones. Very easy to drink and very fresh. A touch of dryness in the after taste but not much. Further sips bring out a little bitterness.
Second Steep – 45 seconds
An increase in everything, it’s sweet yet bitter but still creamy. Floral notes that resemble sweetpea are mixed with fresh grass and damp wood. I am surprised by how quickly this steep has thickened in flavour.
Quick break since I have become tea drunk already
Third Steep – 30 seconds
This steep is much better, stronger than the first but toned down from the second. It’s thick and sweet and creamy all in one and it dances around my mouth for along after taste. Bitter in the right places and slightly dry. Grass and sweetpea tones remain but the damp wood has toned down.
This one actually reminds me of an Oolong in this steep, I remember having a Japanese Oolong that was similar.
Fourth Steep – 60 secondsSome bitterness is present but the sweetness still thickens the tea soup and leads to a lingering aftertaste. Despite an increase in the bitterness it’s still fairly smooth and creamy, though not as much as the previous steeps. Also the dryness in the aftertaste has increased significantly.
Fifth Steep – 80 seconds
Another increase in bitterness, so much so it’s outshining some of the sweetness. I would say the bitterness even gives this a sort of musty clay like flavour at this point. The smoothness has gone and so has most of the cream.
Conclusion: I have changed my steeping parameters in terms of time than I usually would, purely because of the tea. I felt the second steep was too strong and it was changed at that point to attune with the tea to try and get the best elements from it. It’s a sort of trial and error situation that occurred, but in the end I believe I did it justice and it lived up to it’s curious and impressive nature.
This teas main attributes are it’s smoothness and freshness which made for a very pleasant drink. My only negative comment would be that I was hoping for a few more steeps before it reached this level of bitterness. However, for such a young tea it did surpass my expectations. I’m torn between ageing this tea further or finishing it this year. I suppose time will tell with that question.
For pictures and more information please view my blog.
Not so much a tea review (it will come shortly) but just a few notes.
I have been very busy recently thanks to a new job and trying to sort my life out in general. I only work 14 hours a week but then mix in my hobbies, my tea tasting and my etsy shop (as well as house cleaning) then my time is pretty busy at the moment. It’s for the best as I have a source of income purely for me now which will help with tea supplies and goods. I have already joined White2Tea club and spent £75ish on one Yunnan Sourcing order and one Crimson Lotus Tea order. My big one from YS arrived today so I have been using my Jade handle cha hai with built in strainer and blue glaze tea cups. Super happy with them.
Along with my new bits I tried this tea, and am still going through it, in fact I’m only on my third steep. The reason I stopped is because it’s been so long since I had a rest and a decent Sheng that I’ve gotten tea drunk! My head is whirling away and I’m sat rocking myself with a smile on my face while I watch some Japanese drama on Netflix. I really needed to relax today and I am happy to have been given that chance. Thank you tea drink Gods for helping me to relax, even if you are fucking up my writing a bit.
An afternoon tea session with one of my favorite type of teas, stuffed citrus. A super smooth and creamy mandarin delight. This is just good medicinal awesomeness. The puerh and mandarin create such a beautiful balance with each other and this is aged just nicely. As much as I loved the Red Star this is worlds apart. Lasted for almost a dozen nice infusions.
About 7.5 g of leaf/peel in a 8/1 ratio, 85ml Qing Shui Ni, boiling temps with a 15s opener and a 10s official first steep and counting in brief 5-10s climbs thereafter.
From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Brewed with a ceramic gaiwan. Steeping times 2 x five, 5 x five, 8, 10, 10, 15, 18, 20, 30, 45; 1 min, 2, 4, 10.
The dry leaf on its own smells of tobacco, clove and fennel; resting in the heated gaiwan bowl, of fresh leather and red grapes. The wet leaf aroma evolves throughout the session. Beginning: grassy and muscatel. Middle: tobacco-y, smoky. End: very grape-like.
The soup color starts off as light orange but is deep yellow by the end. Thick texture; creamy at certain points. Cup 1 is very bitter, tasting of sour smoke. 2 through 7, unexpectedly, taste like smoked salmon. I need a bagel and cream cheese to go with this!
After this, there is a turning point: a grape note appears with menthol, replacing the salmon. Feels cooling in the mouth. The soup continues to become sweeter and fruitier. No more bitterness. At cup 16, the grape note is traded with apricot, and the menthol stays as an aftertaste.
This black was sent as part of the WHite2Tea tea club last month. It is a good black tea. The main note is malt with a nice semi sweet character to it. There was very little bitterness to this tea. To my knowledge this is not available on the website. Overall it was pretty good but not as good as some black teas I’ve had from Yunnan Sourcing lately. I steeped this one with Whole Foods 365 brand spring water. I normally use filtered water but have been experimenting more with spring water. In this case I don’t know if the spring water made a difference as I didn’t steep any steepings with Zero Water filtered water to compare. I stopped at one fill of my kettle or eight steepings. I figured I had had enough caffeine for one day.
I steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.3g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. The leaves were not done. I could have gotten a few more steepings out of them but I was done.