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Recent Tasting Notes
This doesn’t smell like much when dry. After a rinse steeping the wet leaves smell sweet, like honey graham crackers. I have been rising my ripe pu-erhs twice.
Aged shou rarely tastes like much to me. This one isn’t much different. It’s only a little sweet, a little nutty, a little creamy, and not fishy at all. It’s somewhat bland but still enjoyable. I enjoy this tea for soothing a raw throat.
I finally got around to this tea tonight. Love the packaging and how it wraps up neatly with the paper pushed into the inside of the tuo. It looks really compressed but actually breaks apart quite easily. I used almost 8g in my Jian Shui pot from Crimson Lotus Tea. I LOVE my pot, btw.
It brews up a pretty nice reddish brown…more red than other shou I’ve had. I noticed smoke right off the bat in the aroma, and then in the taste. It’s lapsang-like smoke. Interesting! I’ve never had a shou that was smoky!
The smoke is not as dominant as it is in lapsang, but it’s fairly prominent, overshadowing any potential mustiness from being an older shou. Or maybe this doesn’t have mustiness and that 2000 CNNP I had was the exception. Who knows! It has a clean taste, with some sweetness too. There’s a refreshing aftertaste along with the smoke, like minty jerky. Ha!
I like it! It’s so unique! I wonder why this is only being made available to monthly club subscribers. Guess I’ll have to savor the rest of this tuo!
From the Sheng and Shou TTB.
I was excited to see this one in the box, after seeing all the reviews from all the folks who received it in one of the monthly subscription boxes from white2tea. This tea took awhile to open up and I started it late in the day, so I enjoyed it over a two-day period. In the beginning it was strong, savory, buttery, a little bitter, with a fair amount of tobacco smoke. The liquor is definitely a touch darker in color than young sheng, showing the little bit of age. The second day it sweetened up nicely and still had a good buttery texture. I liked it, but I wasn’t head over heels in love with it.
So I have thing for a few Pu-erh companies where everything they carry I want , and this company is one of them. I heard about “Often” and I couldn’t wait until I got some for myself. Finally this great day has come!
I got a generous chunk and gave the toucha piece a sniff. This had a subtle fruit and woodsy scent, but a little stone fruit too. I warmed up my yixing and placed this tightly bricked forest green chunk inside. The warmed pot gave off the aroma of camphor and pine. I washed the leaves and prepared to brew up a cup. The steeped leaves had a distinctive smoky tobacco scent. The flavor was wonderful! It carried the traditional grass and woodsy flavor with a little smoke. The undertones consisted of eucalyptus and a sugared mouth-feel. The qi was sneaky and took a while to creep up on me. Also, the leaves were so tightly blocked that it took about 10 steepings until they were fully released. This small amount kept for about 15 steepings at least. The flavor went from wooded and smoke to sweet and vegetal after about 7 steepings.
This is another win from this company, and I’m very happy to have been able to try this!
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Limestone, Stonefruits, Wood
Wow, this is a $600 cake! It is awesome that I get to try this through the tea club! I probably wouldn’t have tried it otherwise. I went with about half of the sample, roughly 6g. Two rinses and a steep, and the liquor is sweet and creamy, and light creamy yellow in color. In the second steep, I noticed a nice spicy tobacco aroma from the lid of the gaiwan, but I wasn’t yet picking it up in the taste. In the third steep, the spicy tobacco note started to come through in the taste…it was incredibly creamy. All I wrote for the fourth steep was “mmmmm”!
I actually stopped after several steepings, and let the leaf dry on a plate for another day. A large part was still stuck together in cake form!
I was able to enjoy more steepings two days later. It just kept going and going, getting sweeter and sweeter. I finally decided I needed another break, so put the leaf in the fridge to cold-steep. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes! Overall, this is a fantastic tea, and I’m so glad that I was able to try it through the tea club!
Wow! I havent had a sheng session in awhile and I just recently got this cake. I was very excited to get home from vacation, so I could brew some up. I’ve been waiting to try this companies products because I hear wonderful things about them. This was a wonderful brew!
I “picked” out a generous chunk and plopped this colorful cake in my yixing. The cake consists of yellow, green and silver leafy matter. The cake evokes a lemon spring scent in my warmed yixing pot. I knew that this would be a treat. I poured my boiling spring water over to wash this cake and allow it to unfold. The aroma of southern tobacco fields and the chinese lemon highway mingled within my tea room. The liquor was a pale citrine. The initial sip was incredibly sharp. The bitter flavor is a lot like spicy food. A well spiced dish shouldn’t make your stomach hurt and cause injury; rather, it should give a pleasing burning sensation and evoke your senses. This tea does exactly this. The bitter flavor causes your tongue to drawback. You can feel a tingling upon your tongue and a smooth mouth feel. The silk menthol flows throughout your body. The qi is powerful and immediately uplifting. This flavor keeps consistent for about four steepings. Then, this brew becomes honey sweet. This sugared flavor, which lingers in the back of your throat, follows you throughout the tea ceremony. This brew became sweeter and sweeter with each steep. The liquor remained thick well into the double digits steepings. I thoroughly enjoyed this brew, and I’m very grateful to have more for a later day!
Flavors: Lemon, Limestone, Menthol, Nectar, Stonefruits, Sweet, Tobacco
stumbles onto Steepster tea-drunk
I’ve never had GFZ since I’m still learning all about the different puerhs.. Got this from the white2tea box this month. I don’t know how to describe this.. My first thought was that it tastes “clean.” I didn’t find any bitterness or astringency and it just makes me feel so good. :P It’s pleasant – that would be the best way to put this. I could definitely drink a gallon of this tea :)
Two five second rinses, then steeped for 10/15/20/25/30/45..
This is my first sheng from white2tea, and it came in the monthly club. I like the orb idea for convenience sake. My husband thought it was a Ferraro Rocher chocolate! Ha!
When I got it, I thought it weighed 10g, as advertised, and was going to split it in half because my gaiwan isn’t that big. I also normally use about 6g for a sheng session. Thanks to TheTeaFairy’s suggestion, I broke it in half by bending it with my fingers! But then I weighed it and decided that half an orb was too small, so I went with the whole orb anyway! It was actually around 8g.
I did two 5-second rinses and then steeped 10/15/20/25/35/45/60s and beyond! I actually had this over 2 days, which is the first time I’ve done that. I just spread the leaf out on a small plate and let it dry overnight and went back to it the next day and gave it a couple of rinses.
This is the thickest, most buttery mouthfeel sheng I’ve had. Really delicious! The liquor is a beautiful peach color. In the early steepings, it seemed more savory, with a touch of tobacco and vegetal astringency, but the buttery smoothness was dominant. The sweetness emerged early, by the third steep, and got stronger as the steepings progressed. The buttery mouthfeel lingered throughout. This was one of those everlasting gobstopper teas. I lost count of the infusions. The later ones had a juicy fruity sweetness with that buttery mouthfeel.
I must warn you, though, that it was a bit harsh on my stomach, and had an extremely energetic effect. I was pretty tea drunk and giggly on the first day. On the second day, my heart was pumping fast with only a couple steeps! I wasn’t sure whether it was just this tea, or whether it was because of the large amount of leaf. I really enjoyed it though, and would definitely consider picking one up in the future.
A sample of this tea came in a surprise package from Stephanie! Thank you! The little cube was about 9g, and my gaiwan isn’t that big, but I was able to break it in half. Yay!
It took a bit to loosen up. I did that trick where you let it sit a bit after the rinse. Always helps. Stephanie mentioned it tasted like library books, and I have to agree, not that I’ve ever eaten one. ;) It also has this really nice sweet taste, which was silky, like caramel. It stayed that way through an average number of infusions. It goes down nice and smooth. Mmm. I liked it a lot! Seems like a solid shou! Would definitely consider picking some up!
About 2y ago, when I started daily drinking ripe puerh, the ‘gong-ting’ cakes were my favories. The are usually composed of the smallest leaves of all and not include any bigger leaves. This cake is composed only of gong-ting material. It is super good.
This morning I’ve used 7g for my 95ml gaiwan. It gave a really nice dark and creamy liquor. It still has a bit of bitterness and I would not call this a sweet ripe at all. Considering I don’t like sweet ripe, that is a good thing to me. The only thing I could say is that with all that time I’ve grown to love more bigger leaves ripe which are a little bit less one dimentional. This is by no mean a bad comment for this tea!
I’d recommend this tea to anyone that want to wet his feet in the world of ripe puerh! It is very good :D
The only thing I can thing while sipping this is :
“BULANG HIT ME, HIT ME HARD!!!!”
I love bitter tea, especially shengs… So I actually overbrew this one and it taste soo soo soo good!!! Used 6g of leaves in a 95ml gaiwan, with nice and agitated brewing at rolling boil… give a thick, astringent, bitter tea… It’s delicious :) Leave a nice mought feel… Tea to be enjoyed SLOWLY, watching all the after-effect of that kind of powerful tea!!!
This tea is most definitvely on my to re-buy at some point :D
My first note got eaten by Steepster…:(
This shou is friggin’ awesome, and I believe I got the parameters down perfect. I aired out this shou for six months. My tea pals can tell you how long it took me to learn that aged offerings need airing!! I’ve learned that the aged teas from white2tea require this kind of patience but to trust TwoDog on his choices, if it ain’t good then I didn’t air it long enough or I didn’t brew it right. The longer an aged tea has been stored in China, the longer it really needs to rest and air out after arriving to really be the best.
I brewed up this 20 g melon in 180 ml Zhuni clay teapot to let it expand but then I used about half the water! So about 100 ml water after doing four rinses. The lump of shou sticks up above the water line. I’m on day 3 STILL flash brewing past 15 steeps. Smells earthy in the pot but the taste is the reward, mushrooms, dates, cherries, cacao, thick port wine flavored brown brew of goodness and double happy dance. Brew it thick and thicker with less water, this tuo is 20 g for a reason and the makers knew what they were doing when they made these! Oh yeahhhhh….
Flavors: Cacao, Cherry, Dates, Mushrooms, Red Wine
Backlogging from over the weekend!
I got my new little Ru Kiln pot from White2Tea this weekend along with some samples that Cheri sent! https://instagram.com/p/0gyegXRh48/ Thanks again Cheri!
I drank the ChocoShou Saturday night and I really enjoyed it for an aged tea. I’m pretty picky about my older shou and this was a very enjoyable one. Tasted like sweet old library books. Will pick up a tin with the next group order for sure :)
After reading countless stellar reviews of White2Tea’s curated selection of puerh teas and impeccable customer support, I had to place an order. The owner of White2Tea, known in the tea community as Two Dog, is arguably the most knowledge tea blogger on the Internet. You can read his work over at http://www.twodogteablog.com/ and http://www.white2tea.com/blog/. He is also very active in the r/tea and r/puer communities on reddit.
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White2Tea is based in Beijing, China and offers a very minimalist, “no bullshit” approach to selling puerh teas. Although White2Tea’s selection is smaller than some of its competitors, sometimes it is nice to select from a smaller amount of curated puerhs, rather than sift through hundreds and hundreds of random cakes. I also love all of White2Tea’s creative and adorable logos on their wrappers.
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This 2008 Often came as a sample with my order (White Whale!). Two Dog was very generous, giving me four different ten gram samples. The 2008 Often Tuo is White2Tea’s main budget offering, which is why I wanted to jump in and try it right away.
I used almost the whole sample for my review, so this is a little bit more leaf than I would normally use. With that in mind, I brewed the tea with very quick infusions.
This tuo (nest shaped puerh) has quite an interesting composition. My 10g sample contained one large chunk and several smaller leaves. The tuo is pretty tightly compressed, just like most tuos. The leaves are on the larger side, and are a fantastic array of color. Some of the leaves are light straw colored, while others are dark gray. They gray colored leaves had beautiful gold and silver hairs on them. I was transfixed by the way that the light was bouncing off of the hairs. If you zoom in on this photo, you can see the hairs!
The dry leaf is not overly fragrant. There is a slight hay or grassy smell to the leaves, but it’s nothing too strong. I detected a slight smoky note to the aroma of the dry leaf. Perhaps the most noticeable aroma coming off of these leaves is a sweet and earthy smell, which I really enjoyed.
I used a standard gaiwan, nothing too exciting. I picked up this neat tea strainer and hand from Tea Drunk in New York City. I used a tea strainer like this in Taiwan once, and I have been looking for one in the US ever since. I finally found one! I showed off this tea strainer and hand to my friends, but they were a bit concerned about how happy it makes me.
The aroma of this puerh really took off once I placed the leaves into the warm gaiwan. The fruity and smoky smells were intensified tenfold. Incredible! If I had to describe it, I would say it is very peachy and smoky…perhaps grilled peaches? Nah, that makes me sound like one of those wine snobs.
I opened up this tuo with two five second rinses.
The first steep came out an interesting orange-yellow color. The color was definitely darker than I expected. This puerh has a very interesting flavor, with many of the characteristic sheng puerh flavor notes, but it is a bit more vegetal than most puerhs I’ve tasted. The first steep was quite astringent, even though I essentially poured the hot water in the gaiwan and then immediately poured it into my cha hai. I actually found this astringent character quite pleasant. This steep was also notably vegetal. Although the dry leaf smelled a bit smoky, there was no smoky flavor in the brewed tea.
The mouthfeel was very slick and smooth, giving this tea a very pleasant juicy and thirst quenching quality.
The astringent and vegetal qualities of this tea combined quite well, combining to create an interesting flavor that I identified as green bell pepper, or perhaps celery. The aftertaste was notably sweet and very pleasant.
The second steep was a similar color but tasted a bit less astringent. The next several steeps were very strong and powerful. This tea is definitely strong in the early steeps, as noted on the White2Tea website. Steeps five through eight calmed down quite a bit, although the strong vegetal qualities still came through.
I steeped this tea in my gaiwan about ten times, and then threw the leaves into my tea mug and brewed the leaves “grandpa style” a few more times. The tuo definitely packs some power!
This tea gave an excellent cha qi. I felt super calm and relaxed after this gongfu session.
These leaves were definitely on the larger side. The leaves were mostly light green or gray-green, but there were a few darker brown leaves thrown into the mix.
At $22.50 per 250 grams, the 2008 Often tuo is a solid daily drinker with a few years of aging. I would definitely consider buying this tuo again, and perhaps keep a few for aging and see how they taste in a few years. This tea is just beginning to calm down, and I would love to see how this reasonably priced tuo will develop in the future.
I would definitely recommend buying some teas from White2Tea. Two Dog is one of the most knowledgeable and helpful people in the specialty tea business. White2Tea offers a carefully selected and well-balanced selection of puerhs and oolongs at various price points. While some of the offerings are definitely a bit out of my price range, I am sure the quality is impeccable. Luckily, Two Dog also has plenty of teas that are quite reasonably priced.
This tuo was a solid introduction to White2Tea’s offerings, and I look forward to reviewing more of Two Dog’s teas in the coming weeks.
“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Dry – Old decayed wood house, musky tree, wood-bitterness, dried leafs.
Wet – Sweet, coffee like bitterness, musty decayed wet wood, molasses.
First few (1-3) steeps Have a sweet front but wear a very robust mustiness that can be either very pleasant if you like it or off putting if you don’t that develops pepper like woodiness and slight spicy astringency and woody bitterness. The final notes recover the sweetness with a refreshing camphor.
In the Middle (3-6) Here is where the real good stuff shows up with mostly the sweeter notes and maintaining most of its woody characteristics with out being unpleasantly musky or decayed wood-bitter. The sweetness has some thickness and the bitterness make it seem more like a molasses than sugary which is very nice and almost malty in some sense.
Final steeps The notes start getting weaker, but the sweetness shines more here; with most of the wood bitterness and musk notes gone the sweetness is more like a raw sugar than molasses like, it doesn’t hold much complexity but it is still satisfying.
I like this one as an every day drink, the mini bricks have an undeniable musky, sometimes almost fishy scent that at least to me require a few days out of the container and a good two rinses to get rid of and even then the first 2-3 steeps will have plenty of it.
With all of that said, it becomes more and more pleasant in the middle steeps and flat sweet in the last few ones. I would recommend using the container for other teas and moving this ripe to a box or open container to get the best out of it.
Flavors: Decayed wood, Molasses, Musty, Sweet
Possibly the best shu that I have yet tasted: sweetly-smooth leather with distinctly-pleasant overtones of the sea (cod-fish?). The soup is a delightful sludge in the middle infusions. Prepared this western-style, as gong fu infusions are too weak.
First infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, boiling, 2:00 min.
Second infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, boiling, 2:00 min.
Third infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, boiling, 3:00 min.
Fourth infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, boiling, 3:00 min.
Fifth infusion — 5 g. per 8 oz water, boiling, 5:00 min.
Sixth infusion — 5 g. per 8 oz water, boiling, 10:00+ min.
I don’t think I could properly give this a rating. I was so disappointed by the way the meeting went that I could not remember enough to put a number to it. I hate to admit it, but all of the steepings were awful. The bitterness and astrincency were so prominent that not much else was trying to get through. We did discuss it’s potency and earthiness, we even agreed on the strong black coffee and tobacco notes. The other teas we tried went the same route. sigh.
From the Sheng and Shou TTB.
Brewed gongfu style with a ceramic gaiwan. 5 second rise. Steeping times: 10, 10, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, 120, 240.
Such an alluring aroma the dry leaf has – incredibly sweet, with notes of honey and jam. It is what lead me to try this sheng when I didn’t know where to start on this side of pu’erh. Following the rinse and each infusion, the aroma initially offers green peppers, which quickly change into purple grapes, raisins, and prunes.
The liquor is the color of peach juice, and clear and clean with a thin-texture and full-body. Beautiful to look at with bits of leaf at the bottom of the cup. The first infusion tastes of green pepper and dried grass. Thereafter, there is a consistent note of bamboo and sweet summer field grasses. Beginning with the fifth infusion, honey comes up, creating a long-lastingly sweet aftertaste.
Dry grass notes don’t appeal to me, which is why sheng isn’t a favorite of mine(it’s what I’ve tasted in all but one of the shengs I’ve tried thus far), but Often is beyond tolerable, a a nice pleasure, especially because of its qi. I felt the qi on the first sip of each cup. It is calming and grounding. In addition, Often will get you tea tipsy if you drink four infusions one after the other.
Recommended for those who want to start exploring sheng. I might buy the 250g one day to become more used to sheng and to taste its evolution.
I really liked this tea. It was very well compressed and I almost had to break out my tea awl for this one. It is sweet with subdued notes of either dates or plums, not sure which is a better description. Cocoa notes are in the ball park too. This tea was a bargain at only $17.50. This is one I would definitely consider buying another of if putting in another order. It was much smoother than the 1998 White Tuo, at least I thought so. I kept this to six steeps tonight because I don’t want any more caffeine but you could certainly get twelve or more steeps out of this tea.
I steeped this six times in a 120ml gaiwan with 6.5g leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, and 20 sec.
Flavors: Dates, Earth, Sweet