Xiaguan Tuocha Co. Ltd.

Recent Tasting Notes

Overall this is a surprisingly enjoyable tea. The 100g tuo is a classic Xiaguan ripe puerh. I’ve had it aging a bit for the past year. Tight compression but careful picking made it fairly easy to break apart. Very dark leaf without any golden teabuds. Dark tea soup with a pleasant aroma – did not detect the typical Xiaguan smoke (a plus for me since I am not fond of the smoke in my puerh). The sip is smooth and woody – a bit leather like. The flavor profile presents a bit of spice in the background. This recipe was originally made for export to France and has maintained its consistency. This is a budget friendly tea (purchased in mid-2013 for $6.50) and offers a favorable quality/price ratio. Definitely a respectable daily drinking shu.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 145 ML

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85

Quite a nice young sheng pu-erh it has a pleasant alfalfa like green taste with a hint of depth and a touch of astringency and a hint of orchid and melon smell/taste on the finish. Very pleasant to my taste for a young sheng. I look forward to watching its development.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 185 ML

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70

Had this one last night. It has gotten a little darker than some of the others I have this age. It starts off with a light golden brew. It has a faint vegetal aroma. It give a good mouth feel with a slight bitter edge in there. A touch of smoke up front that disappears giving an effect you can feel way down. It is not an overpowering brew but a rather nice light one. I brewed this in advance of the arctic front heading our way as I will have this after work tonight to warm up with.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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87

This one is good. This tuocha haven’t this battletaste of young Xiaguan tuochas, because it was produced in 2005. But it have a nice dark color of infusion and deep and rich shu notes in a taste.

Steep it for a 30 seconds first time.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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94

This tea is made my yesterdays’ evening.
With strong aroma and well known Xiaguan taste, it bring the power to me every time I drink it.

Just don’t forget to grab the tea leaves from the water at right time :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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74

not as great as the iron cakes i have had lately, but fun enough :) !

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I got a ’97 version of this which is superb

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94

This is my description on the tea’s page, because I did not find nothing on the official site, so I will repeat…

This tea was first released in a second half of 2007 after the Pu-erh market crash, and it is loosely based on Jia Ji Tuocha. “Yan Yuan” means something like a “strong and fine predestination” while “Lu”, like I know, means that the tea is “green” or something like this.

The tea have refreshing and strong flavor. Just opened bag of five tuochas have a strong flavor of fresh mowed grass and then it turns into a strong nice smell of prunes.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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65

I got this tea at a grocery store in Chinatown for only a few dollars. I was told that elderly people like it, but I had no idea that it was pu-erh. It was hard as rock and sat forever in my cupboard, having eluded all my efforts to break it apart. One day, I decided to deal with it once and for all. I took it into the basement and struck it variously with a hammer and an axe. Chunks bounced off the walls. I reduced it to manageable pieces that I collected in a jar without losing too much. I began to drink it assiduously. It turned out to have a rich body and a good flavour, rather earthy in character, but in no manner musty. It suffers only in its impossible packaging, for which I docked 5 points.

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74

The smokey tobacco Xia Guan flavor fades pretty fast in this one!! It is almost not there.

I think mine was stored somewhere humid for most of the tuo’s life, because the change is pretty big, it tastes older than 2005. The vendor I purchased from said it was in Guangzhou for several years, which makes sense.

Nice tea!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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86

My morning cup. This is a wild child. A gnarly cup. Some of these younger Sheng are just that way. Maybe with age it will mellow. I like it this time. The first experience with this was mediocre at best. This brewing is totally different. Just like before it brews up strong after a quick steeping. The energy is there like before. Very invigorating. But for some reason it is growing on me. A very eye-opening flavorful cup of youthful Sheng. I absolutely must up the score.

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86

I brewed this tonight to continue my sampling of the Mysterious Sheng. I see the previous reviewer hated it. The reviewer in JAS e tea loved it. After drinking the first cup the aroma that lingered in the cup was a lovely mossy pine forest scent that I find to be very nice. However I am not getting these in the flavor. It is giving me that energy that I have got from most of the Sheng that I have had. It steeps quickly and will get strong. I would have to say I am in the middle here. I love the energy it has given me. No doubt. Truly a lovely awakening. As I continue my adventure, I can only say it is a decent brew. Nothing more and nothing less. I am not flying high in the friendly sky with this one….

Stephanie

As always, a lovely, inspiring note! I wish I could feel the “trancendence” and energy that you feel when drinking these beautiful shengs and shus.

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80

I gave this one a bit more time in the Yixing with extra leaf today. The result is a more flavorful cup. It is also going to my head quickly. That floaty feeling is for real. These Tuocha are relatively inexpensive. I think this one is a great bargain. My liquor is a burnt orange-red with a slight numbing. I will admit I am getting quite warm from this one as opposed to the chills I got from last nights tasting. I recommend this young Sheng for now and for further aging….

TeaBrat

that sounds like fun. where did you get this one?

Charles Thomas Draper

I just installed a Pur Water filter on my faucet. A definite improvement to the taste of my water. My tea will thank me….

TeaBrat

I use tap water but our water in san francisco is already pretty good.

Charles Thomas Draper

Our water is very good here too. Now it’s even better

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80

It’s late here on the Jersey Coast and the full moon is making everything shine. I am going to brew up the Yixing several times and fill up a glass jug and then leave it outside in the 35 degree cold. This is my attempt at Moonshine Sheng. The brew is a golden burnt orange hue. As I was making my tea I noticed it had the most wonderful aroma. And for whatever reason I still cannot determine a flavor to compare a Sheng to. They are so unique and in a class of their own. This tea promises a " floaty feeling ". I have’nt drank much but between the full moon and this delightful tea, I am floating….

TeaBrat

Very true. Shengs i find hard to describe

Charles Thomas Draper

I just ordered 5 samplers of Sheng from Jas E Tea for further investigation….

TeaBrat

sounds like fun!

Charles Thomas Draper

After Drinking the cold tea this morning I have to up the score….

ScottTeaMan

Dammit…I missed the full moon…and the tea drinking experience! :>//

Grace

Where did you buy yours?

Grace

Do you know where it was stored before they got it? Are they storing in the USA? I just got one stored in Guangzhou recently, it tastes much different than the others I have tried

Charles Thomas Draper

Grace I am assuming it was stored here in the USA. I would think that different storage locales would affect the quality.

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95

I believe I like this tea better this time around in fact significantly so. The tea fills the mouth with incredible flavors, still with young sheng qualities and still the green banana flavor. Wet leaves have a distinct smokey smell and I cannot describe the intensity of flavor this. Incredible really. After an infusion the flavor last and lasts. Taking a sip of cold water only accentuates the experience. This is everything I’ve found that a young sheng should be.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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95

I am a big fan of Xinguan tea factory products and this tea is no different. Since this tea is only 3 years old it still has a young sheng qualities to it, astringency but less so than other younger sheng. After the initial rinse and steep I got the distinct aroma of jasmine flower in the yixing from the. the flavor of the tea for the first couple of infusions was indeed floral in nature, with a hint of asparagus. The third infusion surprised me to get a taste of banana, not a sweet ripe banana, or a starchy green plantain, but a banana that will ripen in a day or two. Truly fascinating how that essence came out of nowhere.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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85

I actually didn’t buy this tea from Yunnan Sourcing but from an Asian Grocery. I cannot say enough good about this tea. When I first tasted it I immediately was touched by the flavor of cherry not entirely unlike how a cherry pipe tobacco smells. I brew this tea often in an office setting and every time I do someone always comments about how it smells like cherry pipe tobacco. But the pipe tobacoo taste only lasts through the first couple of infusions. Subsequent infusions the taste changes to a roasted cashew flavor. I can get close to 20 infusions from 7 grams in a 120 ml yixing. Also this tea consistently gives m the feeling of being tea drunk… likely one of the best shus I’ve had…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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88

My original tasting of this tea was apparently good enough to convince me that I should buy a bing, especially since it was a very reasonable price. Revisiting the last of the sample, I now look at this tea with a bit more skeptical eye and treat it more like the factory material it is.

How did I miss the insane smokiness of this sample the last time around? The first rinse of this tea explodes campfire, smoked pine, and incense all over the place. Bacony. As the well-chopped leaves agonize, it’s apparent that this is an even blend of three kinds of leaves: ruddied stems and medium sized leaves, dark green larger leaves, and paler small buds. Mostly red stuff though, as this tea pours out a dark orange. Accordingly, there’s a flatness and lack of bitterness throughout this tea.

On the other hand, however, this tea is a wild mangy beast. At a distance, the wet leaves smell like the funkiest french cheese you can encounter (think Époisses). Closer up the pine smoke intensifies and the finally, in the mouth it really pulls through on the mushroom, sesame, and herbal qualities. I think this tea demands using a large quality of leaf. Finally, it has some headache inducing potency, unfortunately. It will be very interesting to see where this tea heads in the next 5-10 years and how I think differently of it then.

Thomas Smith

This really has me intrigued. I’ve come to think of shengs that are somewhat smoky and mineral-bitter at younger age to mature well, but this is based largely on YiWu and NanNuo material. How does this guy do on astringency?

the_skua

Relatively light. In my experience, oranger teas are often lighter on the astringency. That’s not saying that a long, hot steep won’t yield strong soup, but when brewed reasonably, I think the overall bitterness and astringency are lighter than average.

the_skua

This tea has ridiculous endurance already…I’m on, I don’t know the 15th or 16th steep and will give it a few more tomorrow.

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58

Cleaning out the sample closet, I polished off this example recently. My opinion of this tea has declined even further. The interior of the cake is really rough and finely chopped. The first few steeps are cloudy! A touch sour, with a bit of ash, and some aged mesquite bark. A yellow color, thankfully, but heavy on the forward and back bitterness. The more pu’er I drink, the less interested I become in these heavily cut, strongly processed big factory names.

deftea

Usually I wouldn’t remark on a tea I didn’t like. But I realize now how helpful a negative review can be to others. Thanks for this as well as your other puerh reviews.

the_skua

I try to stay away from being needlessly negative, but think it’s important that positive reviews are balanced with negative ones. The scores do add up and it helps the cream rise to the top. Plus, there are so many teas to choose from, I find negative reviews very helpful to steer away from things I may not want to direct my monies at.

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49

In search of a sheng pu’er to drink at work this morning, I combed through my catalogue and decided to weed out some of my least favorite lingering samples. This was at the bottom and became today’s tea.

I had not remembered how small the leaves were, tiny. I unleashed the remainder of my sample on my larger gaiwan and have now worked through about seven steeps. It isn’t as bad as I remember. It’s not good or great, just not atrocious. Less cigarette butt, less sourness. Still, fairly orange, fairly plain, and fairly ho-hum. It’s got some enjoyable campfire and moss on the frontend of the aroma, but it doesn’t have much complexity to give in the flavor. And while I think I’ve done a better job of brewing this time around, I have no intentions of revisiting this example from Xiaguan.

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49

This may have been one of my least favorite sheng pu-erhs. The iron compression was dense, but easily extractable. Numerous small, dark leaves. My favorite part of this tea was the initial aroma from the first steeping. It had the intensity of warm beeswax, oozing honey and just glowing. A dingy orange soup made for a less inviting experience. Flavors were all over the place, damp moss, rough tobacco (not the elegant, floral pipe or aged wrapper, but maybe wet cigarette or old burnt cigar), and tree bark. The most noticeable sensation was a parching “cooked” bitterness, as if it were blended with some hongcha. The finish was thin, with little viscosity or sweetness. Unbalanced.

Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

Xiaguan sheng puerhs are famous (or imfamous?) for their heavy tobacco (yeah, not even smokey, but as you said, tobacco!) taste when being young. Many people say when Xiaguan sheng gets older, it will out-perform many other sheng puerh. I haven’t yet stored a sheng for that long time to see, but plan to open my 2004 xiaguan tuo in probably 2012 :D

the_skua

Interesting. I’m not in an hurry to get back to this sample, so we’ll see how it is down the road a ways.

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