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Recent Tasting Notes
First tasting of the day is Fu Yuan Chang Raw cake from Yunnan sourcing and the third item from the monthly raw puerh club. This tea is lightly aged at about 8 years old. I really like tea at this point, age has taken off some of the rough bitter edges, but it hasnt quite gone all the way into deep earthy tones yet.
I started this by doing a wash, there was a tiny bit of particulate but it seemed a single wash enough to clean the leaves and then get them to open up. I tasted and smelled the wash and it was vegetal, astringent and gave off a strong green tea aroma. The liquor was a pale golden color, not at all surprising, showing a bit of age but still keeping the young raw characteristics.
The first infusion darkened slightly and mellowed as well, bringing out some honey, grass, hay, umami and sweet flavors and aroma. There was a slight bitterness and astringency as well, but it was very subdued. It smoothed out alot in the first infusion.
The second infusion got some more vegetal and hay aromas as well as a bit more honey and sweetness. It has a nice mouthfeel as well now as the leaves are opening up a bit more. The grass and hay are still there as well, it seems to be blending a bit better now with the flavors mixing more completely.
The third infusion was the best, a bit more bitter, but the rest of the flavors popping out more strongly. It was also the most complex, with some of the flavors and aroma’s subtle and I couldnt quite get them all.
The tea seems to have some staying power and I figure I will get at least 10 infusions from it. As is normal with pu’erh it seems to peak around 3rd or 4th infusion and then slowly come down from there. The leaves are now fully opened up and the tea was at its darkest in the third infusion. A medium golden color. The fourth was almost but not quite as dark , even though I steeped it a bit longer.
I highly recommend this tea if you like the in between stages, the place between a young and an aged raw. I happen to love it at this point, as the tea still has some bite, but has lost some of that young bitter astringency.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Hay, Honey, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Golden flat needles, of a lighter shade.
Aroma of hay, earth, and wood.
Taste of Malt, earth, wood, Bamboo…
This tea has a smooth mouth, a fulfilling feeling about it, and a satisfying earthy depth, almost like chocolate or coffee, almost like a shu puerh, although that may because I went a little heavy on the leaf, since this is a sipdown.
For me, this is a more savory Dian Hong, not as sweet as some, a little more earthy and Manly, but perfect for this morning, when I’m prepping to go out to play in my garden.
Ensemble: Bass, cello, viola, bass clarinet, clarinet, Bassoon, English Horn, Bamboo flute, wind chime, wood block.
This is a great tea. I used five grams in a 100ml glass pot, and started with about a ten second steep (after a rinse) which was a tad weak. It’s only the buds so subsequent, longer steeps, 20 seconds on the second, and a bit longer each additional one, is bringing out much more of the flavor. It’s very sweet, with no bitterness, and as I’ve noticed with many white teas, the flavors that develop in my mouth after I swallow it is what I like best. After the sip, my mouth salivates and it releases a very sweet, delicious flavor throughout my mouth that lasts a long time. I don’t know exactly how long, because it’s still there when I take my next sip. I’m glad I bought a tong of this tea, I look forward to seeing how my other eight 100g cakes age over the next few years. This is an excellent tea.
My first tasting of the day is Yunnan sourcing Ye Zhu Tang raw pu’erh cake. THis was the second offering in the raw puerh tea of the month club. I started with using 110 ml of water in a my Yixing pot. I started with a quick rinse of the tea leaves to open them up, there was almost no dust, but the leaves were a little stubborn in opening up so I did a second wash. I did sip the second wash to see what I would be getting, and was surprised it had nice honey and sweet notes and the bitterness was really mild.
The first proper infusion I got a clear pale yellow liquor that was sweet, astringent, with floral, vegetal and bitter notes. It has a wonderful mouth feel and is a bit sweeter than might be expected for a young raw. I really liked this.
The second proper infusion the leaves started to open up proper now, again giving a clear yellow liquor with a bit more of the bitterness coming out now, but not overpowering it. And the honey flavor also became more pronounced, this was my favorite infusion.
The third infusion the bitterness creeped up on it a bit more. It was still sweet, but it had citrus notes at this point, sweet, astringent and bitter, it also lost some of the honey flavors. I have a feeling those will come back in the later infusions.
The fourth infusion was spectacular, the bitterness mostly vanished and the honey notes came back much stronger now. It also darkened slightly looking more apple juice color than before. I havent started increasing the time yet either, this is 1 , 2, 3, pour and let the yixing steep as it pours.
Im going to go steep out the rest of this wonderful tea. I have a feeling I will get 10 from this easy. A very nice young raw with a bit more sweetness.
PS First to post again, Im on a roll!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Honey, Vegetal
This was all soft and gooey today. Not quite chewey. Later infusions had more depth. Overall notes of bread, hay, linen and malt. Slight mineral influence. This time I went super light on the leaf, so I should try more next time. Lately I’ve been going with smaller cups in an effort to get through more infusions. In my mind, that’s getting closer to gongfu. ha!!!
Today we have Yunnan Sourcing tea from the raw pu’erh club. I let this rest for 4 or 5 days first before sampling. I started by lightly breaking up the sample into smaller pieces, heating up my yixing. Then adding the leaf and a quick rinse. It was so clean only one rinse was needed.
The first steeping which was barely more than a flash steeping produced a light pale liquor looking much like a green tea. I got strong grassy note aroma right off the bat. The taste was grassy, vegetal, clean and astringent and a teeny bit too bitter.
The second steeping again flash steeped produced a similar liquor almost exactly the same. Though all the flavors and aroma’s were a tiny bit stronger. The third steeping again produced much the same result, telling me this tea has a bit of staying power. The fourth steeping was actually slightly stronger, bringing in a tiny bit of citrus taste to it. The fifth was also a bit citrus as well.
Im not getting much of the sweet flavors mentioned in the description. I do like this tea, its quite refreshing and though bitter isnt overpoweringly so. I think even a few years on this tea will make it in something exceptional.
I recommend this tea to people who like greens and young raws. Its quite nice , grassy and vegetal with a good mouthfeel and nice staying power.
Ps! First post!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Grass, Vegetal
Holy fizz bomb batman! /O\
I swear it was almost bubbling on my tongue. Pretty cool.
The taste is very mild. Sweet and sugary, and a side of earthy floralness that kinda morphs into a ginseng ish note in later infusions. I’ve seen it before in Chrysanthemum teas before, but not all of the ones I’ve had. I love the fizz factor, but not the odd sweetness.
I kinda get the maltiness but my brain keeps comparing it to gingerale, and confuses my ‘buds. There is no honey, more… stevia? ha.
Not much variation between the infusions, so I agree with pmunney, this is a nice office tea… if I rest it beforehand. I’ll need to break off pieces from the cake and bring them into the office, as I don’t want to keep my cake in my desk drawer.
Well, like someone who only spends two days in Paris while traveling, my pit stop in Yi Wu wraps up a little too soon…
Region 3/4: Eastern Xishuangbanna / Yi Wu. Location 2/2: Man Zhuan (Mengla county)
Notes on tea:
Overall some interesting flavors. Complex floral, fruit, and sweet herb notes that have a dynamic base of earthiness, grain/cereal/hay, and minerality. Some strong flavors come out in the first few infusions. Some sessions had muted and dissipated flavors after five infusions or so, but this could be the result of the tea’s youth. Light floral and fruitiness with a mineral base remains in later infusions.
Notes on region:
I’m noticing some similar characteristics even among other Xishuangbanna (i.e. Menghai) teas. The Juicy Fruit gum and the fresh parsley notes are the most prominent. However, the Menghai teas were much more upfront and bold with their flavor. Yi Wu teas had more apparent sweetness (particularly floral sweetness, some fruit notes and hints of chocolate), but nothing like the bold sweetness of Lincang region.
In terms of price, I really can’t figure it out. What I sampled were definitely quality teas, but they were on par with the quality I have had in other regions. Yet the Yi Wu teas cost substantially more than other regions. I found the sweetness stronger and more complex in the Lincang teas, at half the price. Menghai teas also offered some similar flavors, but with more strength (again at a lower price.)
It is important to note, however, that I was definitely at the cheaper end of the price scale, so there may be a much more substantial return if you are willing to spend more.
Dry leaf: sweet herbal, fruity, dried peach and mango. In preheated vessel – same flavors, but weirdly smelled weaker and more watery.
Smell: fresh parsley, dried peach and date, sweet fresh hay, hints of earthiness
Taste: floral – orange blossom, sweet/savory herbal (parsley), honeysuckle, dried date and peach, honey, grain/cereal, hints of mesquite smoke and spice cake. Aftertaste is creamy and fruity (peach/date). Minerality becomes pronounced in later infusions.
Seems GM has been all the rage lately and I was wondering what I was missing out on, but Steph was kind enough to send me a sample in our swap!
As I’ve stated, I don’t drink shou nearly as often as sheng, so my palate for shou is less developed (not that my palate for sheng is much further along). That being said, I do feel that this was one of the more distinct and defined-tasting ripe puerh teas that I’ve tried.
I used the entire 8g sample, gave it a wash and started with quick steeps, as usual. Nice dark brew with a shifting blend of earth and coffee flavors in the body, with an almost metallic mineral characteristic and a creamy mouthfeel. The aroma that it leaves behind in the cup is mineral and salty, and once I get over that little surprise, the qi comes in.
All throughout this session, with the above flavors, aromas and sensations vying for my attention, I felt myself very surprised overall. This was definitely a unique and engaging session!
Flavors: Coffee, Cream, Earth, Metallic, Mineral, Salt
Brewed with my gaiwan, the look of this tea makes you think, “Wow, dark.” Tiny black leaves unfold into rust-brown leaves, not broad but thin. The smell is very hard to decipher at first, slightly malty or maybe caramel with an overall roasty smell.
It’s a very mild tea, contrary to what you’d expect from those tiny, dark and tightly dried leaves. I would almost agree with the others and call it a weak black. It’s lacking that full-bodied depth and richness that you come to expect from a good black tea. (I even accidentally oversteeped my gaiwan for about 8 minutes before on this tea, and it still tasted very mild alongside all the astringency.)
However for tasting notes themselves, I definitely get the chocolate notes that are advertised. Deep, dark chocolate, maybe even like a coffee kind of taste. The issue is it feels very far away, lost in a muddle of undefinable mildness. Now I know some people don’t like a bold black, and this might be perfect for someone like that. It’s not a bad tea at all, the flavors are appealing but I just want so much more from it. Not my favorite.
Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate
Ahhh yes. This is the stuff.
There was a point where I had fallen out of love with the great LB, but that was around the time I had some health issues. Lately, I’ve been craving it again so I banked on memory that I’d be all oogly over it again. Probably not the best idea in terms of investment… but hey, it was black friday! How could I resist a sale???
Anyhow. I had this yesterday at work despite the water temp issue. And yep, twas delish! all dark chocolate and roasted goodness. The first infusion was best by far, with the typical mineralish notes in my last infusion. I think if the water had been proper temp the result may have been different. Maybe I’ll take a thermos to work and boil the water in the kettle so I don’t have to bother so many times walking back and forth all the time.
Overall? I’m a happy girl :P
Wet Leaves: Jasmine flowers, dried apricots, pickled sourness, raw zucchini, and a touch of smoke.
Early Steeps: First two steeps were extremely light, had a hard time getting much of an impression off this tea. Steep 3 opened up to a soupy nuttiness that led into jasmine sweetness. Finish is a long, sustained (but balanced) kuwei bitterness.
Middle Steeps: High notes seemed to have disappeared. Vegetal nuttiness dominates and the finish is a really tasty blend of kuwei bitterness and apricot flavor. Astringency has kicked in too.
Tail End: The tea has stayed sweet, lightly fruity and floral with a long finish. Seriously, this finish literally evolves over time. Astringency has never really dominated. Slightly lightheaded at this point, but not much of an overall body effect here.
Verdict: This is really good tea. Almost seems like the definition of sheng meant to be drunk young. I’m sure this tea will evolve into something tasty over time, but it’s so delicate and nuanced that it’s perfect right now. I don’t know alot about terroir, but the floral sweetness of this tea reminds me more of Yiwu’s I’ve tried than a Lincang. This teas gentle but lingering impression reminded me of warm spring day, something that only white teas usually do to me.
If you’re open to gentle, subtle sheng – buy it.
Wet Leaves: Pretty unique. Jasmine flowers, heavy cream, seaweed. There’s a creamy sweetness to the aroma that reminds me of lightly fermented Hunan Fu cha.
Early Steeps: Light body, soft sweetness like fruit flower honey, and a bitterness that comes and goes very quickly. The mouthfeel is kind of buttery, almost like high altitude oolong.
Middle Steeps: Bitterness has arrived, and the sweetness has gone from floral to a kind of raw vegetable flavor that’s subtly unique. Reviews on the YS site say there’s a mung bean or green pea flavor. Not sure I’m tasting that exactly, but that seems pretty close. Finish is now full of heady florals that feel as if they are filling my sinus.
Tail End: After steeps 6 or so, the tea has become heavier, almost soupy. The floral sweetness remains, but has taken on a stewed kind of taste.
Verdict: Tasty stuff. I’m still getting my bearings for terroir in pu-erh, but this seems like a pretty representative Yiwu sheng. If you’re looking for a floral sweetness and a buttery mouthfeel with light astringency, this is your tea. At $0.23 a gram, it’s kind of pricey for everyday drinking, but well worth it.
Fun tea. If you are a tieguanyin fan, you will likely enjoy this product. There are substantial floral notes in-mouth, with a unique citrus aftertaste that follows. There is a bit of a dancong “edge” to it – that sort-of cilantro bite that can be stronger or weaker depending how you brew it. A worthwhile tea to investigate for tieguanyin and dancong lovers alike!
Of note are the large, beautiful leaves. Quality picking.
Dry leaf – light honey, honeysuckle, fragrant floral, creamy, floral sweetness like rose, some mineral sweetness, green oolong herbal/green notes. Very TGY like. In preheated vessel – pomelo comes through – like mandarin oranges and sweet grapefruit.
Smell – fragrant floral, creamy, sweet, lily of the valley, orchid, oolong green leaf, creamy and sweet nuttiness like macadamia nuts
Taste – arrival is floral with creamy development. Some butteriness and herbal notes – bay leaf and light cilantro, orchid. Aftertaste of citrus and sweet citrus, creaminess with floral overtone, candy orange flavor. Later steeps have herbal and grassy umami. Pleasant sweet citrus aftertaste still in later steeps.
Exactly what Scott describes it as…Kind Spirited. Put me in such a great mood, made me appreciate nature and I had an awesome meditation.
Flavor: Taste is more to sweet slightly smoky side with mango peachy fruity notes rather than usual bitter astringent young sheng. There is substantial and lasting cooling.
Qi: Relaxing and mood elevating (quite substantially)
Flavors: Sweet, fruity, mango
Flavors: Fruity, Mango, Sweet
Ughhhhhhh. What just happened?
I drank this tea. and loved it. But… it was too mind boggling to take notes. I was kinda overwhelmed. The first infusion was a flood of flavour. I can’t even… nope. I just can’t. Gonna have to try it again. You know, when my brain hasn’t left the building.
I will say that the first and last infusions were best. The middle two I found a bit lacking, by comparison. The last infusion had mineral notes that I often see in later infusions, so that was somewhat expected. Or atleast hoped for.
Also? the leaves are fuzzy!! PEKOEEEEEEE :P
Wet Leaves: Right away I notice a kind of vegetal aroma that reminds me olive oil, but after the rinse the leaves give off the very distinctly sweet, saturated smell of raw honey. Underneath that there’s very prominent floral and stone fruit aromas. (Weird Aside: I swear the lid of the gaiwan smells like baby powder…)
Early Steeps: Light, sweet, floral. By steep two, the sweetness begins turning into a kind of apricot or peach flavor.
Middle Steeps: The floral, fruity notes are fading fast, giving way to a kind of boiled vegetable flavor. Little to no bitterness coming through yet, but a moderate huigan has come through. Honestly kind of a bummer, considering where this tea started out.
Tail End: Drying astringency is now coating my tongue, yet flavors have become dull and uninteresting. No noticeable body effect that I can feel either.
Verdict: This tea creates a very uneven experience. Beautiful aromas and a very gentle fruity sweetness gives way to astringent boiled vegetable flavors. The tea is very tasty for about 3-4 steeps, then rapidly doesn’t have much to offer. Might develop some depth with time, but the relative softness of the tea doesn’t suggest it has a ton of aging potential. It’s not bad, just oddly uneven. Your mileage might vary.
Wet Leaves: Strong vegetal aroma. It transports me to two situations at once: gardening and cooking. Specifically the smell of cut grass, pulling out weeds, soil covered roots. The cooking aspect reminds me of chopping raw zucchini, broccoli, spinach and green onion. Later on the leaves smell very savory, like vegetable stock.
Early Steeps: Honestly reminds me a bit of a chinese green tea, like Bi Luo Chun. Not very bright or heady, more of a darker, stewed vegetable taste. Not overtly sweet, but carries a prominent huigan from the start.
Middle Steeps: Flavors remain the same, but intensify and darken. Mouthfeel is intense. Finish is incredibly long, stays around for minutes. Body effect is very energizing.
Tail End: Bitter vegetable water.
Verdict: This tea is a workhorse. It’s not particularly complex, but has a very strong character that holds up to many steepings. Only for those who enjoy their sheng bitter and vegetal. Full of character and energy.
Wet Leaves: Complex, like a high end white wine. Lots of heady florals, fresh cut grass, dish soap, and a tiny bit of tropical fruit scent. After steep two, the scent of boiled/steamed dandelion greens becomes prominent.
Early Steeps: Gentle. Sweet. Floral. Tastes like silver needle.
Middle Steeps: Vegetal kuwei steps forward. Sweetness begins to fade and savoriness takes it’s place as the mouthfeel begins to penetrate your tongue. I’m growing light headed and mildly tea drunk.
Tail End: Mouthfeel coats your whole palate, the kuwei takes on a soapy flavor, and the general flavor has transformed into boiled greens. Also, full on tea buzzed.
Verdict: I don’t have a ton of experience with young sheng, but this seems like really high quality material. Even though the liquor doesn’t carry all the heady aromas of the wet leaf, the general flavor of the is very tasty. It has only a moderate complexity of flavor, but somehow that flavor has an intangible depth to it. Maybe that’s what “gushu” is all about.
Very good tea.
Thank you to Mackie for this sample!
The leaf was so beautiful, and I love white teas. I was contimplating buying this when I make a YS order, so I’m glad I got to try it first.
Steep 1: 200 mL, 90 deg C water, 2 minutes
I’m getting the mouth feel of drinking tea, but none of the flavour? It’s weird. If I had to give it a flavour, I’d say grape skins.
Steep 2: 200 mL, 90 deg water, 1.5 minutes
Slightly astringent mouth feel, very delicate flavours of hay, grapes, fruit, slightly vegetal. It actually tastes a lot like a green tea. There doesn’t seep to be much of a flavour here.
Flavors: Fruity, Grapes, Green, Hay, Vegetal
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Flavors: Dust, Mushrooms, Wet Earth, Wet Wood