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Recent Tasting Notes
This one has great qi, but more subtle in flavor than I expected. Dried leaf has a floral and sweet grassy scent and when steeped becomes more floral (honeysuckle) with some steamed brussel’s sprouts. Tea soup is clear, pale yellow, and viscous.
It’s quite active in the mouth. Some nice cooling effects going on here, too. I detected whispers (yes, I said whispers!) of honeysuckle, acorn, pine, buttered zucchini, and snap peas. A bit of an ordinary flavor profile, IMO. The best part is how it lingers in the mouth…more than 20 mins! I can see this becoming even more interesting over the years.
I bought this tea because the description sounded similar to WP’s Wildcrafted Da Hong Pao, one of my all time favorite wuyi oolongs. This tea has a lot of characteristics that I like in DHP.
At first it was a little aggressive, but after resting a few months the roast has mellowed out and the char flavor is gone. The dry leaf smells like dark chocolate and wet wood. When brewed, it has the classic wuyi rock flavor, along with some oak and a hint of florals in the finish. There’s some honey that pops in occasionally. It’s a quite potent tea so less is definitely more. I grandpa steep this with just a pinch of leaves and it can go all day.
This is a smooth, enjoyable wuyi that’s not quite as sublime as the WP one but is stellar tea in its own right and a better value at half the price.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Oak wood, Wet Rocks
I wanted to like this more. I did two gong fu sessions over the weekend and wasn’t getting any thing but a weak bland flavor. Decided to do western style just now and heavily leafed it. It is a bit stronger but the malt note is falling short and it has a rather generic black tea flavor. It isn’t bad but isn’t anything special.
A nice aged-ish orange liquor from this one, I’ve aired it for a couple months now and all but a hint of those wet humid storage flavors have lifted, leaving mainly the aged flavor behind. A good relaxing vibe from this tea, it is a bit rough while opening up, but smooths into a more creamy texture and a distinct sweetness by the fifth or sixth steep. Not super complex or deep, but not boring either, and the more mellow woody background of a few years of aging present. Went for a respectable 11 or 12 steeps if I recall correctly and the energy is nice and relaxing.
This was a quite good mid aged tea for the price and would make a good daily drinker, in my opinion if the flavor appeals to you. Nothing outstanding, but very solid and enjoyable. There also seems to be some evolution in store for this tea to go as well, based on the astringent ‘bite’ still going strong in the first four or five steeps. I can also definitely see certain flavors in this evolving into a strong date sweetness with time as it’s currently flirting with that as it is.
Flavors: Astringent, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Sawdust, Sweet, Wood
NOt sure what to say about this tea. While I could have over brewed it, It seems to have a note of sour fruit to it. Not so much that it is undrinkable but still there.
Brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 185 degree water for 3 minutes.
This is a nice malty black with undertones of dark chocolate. It is quite enjoyable even though it only got steeped western style today.
I brewed 3 tsp leaf in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with boiling water for 3 minutes.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt
Rolled green leaves expand quickly in the first steep. Floral scent with a hint of roastedness.
Very light, clear yellow liquor. Looks quite viscous and it goes down smooth. First steep is quite floral, as is the aftertaste. I get a slight bit of roast in the first sip but none after that.
Water is a few degrees cooler for the second steep. This steep also comes through very floral. I know that it is often described as osmanthus, but I am not familiar with what osmanthus smells like. Following steeps taste, more or less, the same. As the liquor cools the mouthfeel thickens up and becomes more of a creamy smooth than a fluid smooth.
This is a good tea, I think it just may be too floral for me without having enough of any other kinds of notes to balance it out. I will give it another chance, but I think it is probably just not for me.
I used 2 mini tuos in my 120ml gaiwan and they weighed in at 4g + 5g. Rinse was gross looking, lots of dust coming off. Lid smell after the first steep was kind of gross, like a sweaty gym. Watching the tuos break up, the leaf pieces are tiny, almost like the leaves were ground before being pressed rather than 6-7 whole leaves being nicely packed together. I don’t think it’s from mishandling either, dust or chunks didn’t really come off the dry tuo when I unpacked them.
Flavor on the first steep is really not bad, especially considering my brain prepared me for the worst with the visuals and smell of this tea combined with the negative reviews I read right before drinking (bad habit). Astringency is pretty high already but I’m getting the flavors I associate with sheng. Aftertaste is not very pleasant. I’ll continue to flash steep since I’m afraid of how much bitterness these tiny leaf pieces can unleash in a short amount of time.
Second steeping and the off smells are mostly gone, I’m even getting a floral hint of tempered cumin seeds (different smell from ground cumin). Astringency is starting to assault my mouth on this though. Dumping this steep. Dumping third steep. I’m done.
Would not recommend.
The best way I can describe the prominent note of this tea is wet, rancid hay. It was unpleasant in the extreme. It tasted absolutely terrible. It did improve somewhat by the eighth steep. I couldn’t get past eight steeps with this one. This is one that looked interesting. Perhaps if I air this tea out for six months the negative notes will go away. I don’t recommend anyone buy this one.
I brewed this eight times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10g 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. I think I will send Scott an email over this brick this was terrible.
I’m so torn about this tea. It’s definitely cocoa-y and a bit malty. No bitterness though there’s an astringency that I feel rather than taste. I tried steeping shorter times but found it thin and weak. Three minutes seemed to be the sweet spot for me. I got a pleasant four minute additional steep out of it as well.
As to why I’m torn, I like it though I feel like I prefer the VT Laoshan black, but would really really rather prefer this one because there’s just so much more on offering through YS that I’m enjoying. And the better price point sure doesn’t hurt. I really should have gotten a sample of the Classic Laoshan Black as well. Derp. Oh well.
The dry leaves smell salty and umami, sort of like light kombu.
I did two quick rinses of this tea.
There is a super-light roasted scent to the wet leaves with that saltiness in the background. The wet leaves are a dark green, and produce a fairly light-colored, light-scented liquor.
For me, each steep has a light-roasted taste. Slight bitterness. Thick and smooth coating left in the mouth.
I have read that dancong can be difficult to steep well, so I think I will need some more practice!
Couldn’t make a tea decision this morning, so I pulled out a baggie of this that I had stored at work. Leaves still have that nice, spiced scent. I didn’t really plan to write a tasting note for this, but upon tasting it I didn’t have a choice.
The first steep is way sweeter than I remember this being the past times I drank it, and I’m getting a sweet scent that lingers in the cup afterward. The second infusion is like a medley of sweet spices. Thick and smooth, just as I recall. I’m finding this experience with this blend to be /much/ more like what YS describes on their site than the first time I tried this. I am enjoying it much more than I did the first time, as well.
The third infusion is so sweet and spiced that I’m actually a bit shocked. Finished this up with a couple more steeps, the last one long. All-in-all, much happier with this session than the first!
Flavors: Smooth, Spices, Sweet
This is a very pretty cake, and layers of it break off without too much effort.
Very fragrant, spicy scent. The first infusion is kind of watery, though, so maybe I didn’t go long enough or it needs hotter water. That spiced taste lingers on the tongue, however. Not much of a scent lingering in the cup afterward.
Second infusion, same fragrance. The taste is like drinking some herbal infusion moreso than drinking tea, at least for my taste buds. The liquor is a little thicker-feeling in the mouth this go round.
It’s funny. From a distance this tea smells sweeter than it does up close. I think I found the third infusion thicker than the first two. Didn’t have time to enjoy any more after that cup, unfortunately.
Flavors: Flowers, Herbaceous
I enjoy Hei cha. I don’t drink it every day, but generally speaking, when I order from YS, I like add some Heicha samples to my order. They are nice to have around for variety, and not expensive.
This one has a bit of a sour rye bread flavor, which I find typical of this type of tea. It’s not sour in a bad way, and this quality is part of what makes it interesting, palette cleansing, and different from both Black and Red teas. Lightly smokey pine, tobacco, & a sweet tart aftertaste with a lingering juiciness complete the picture & make this a pleasant end to my tea drinking day.