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Flavors: banana, Chocolate, Cocoa
I ordered this tea as sample (Autumn 2016 version), as it’s very expensive. My initial impression was disappointment that the color wasn’t as green as what was pictured. I steeped it at 185F and gave it about a minute. The color of the liquor wasn’t strong at all and my expectations really lowered after these two things. However, I was blown away on the first sip. The liquor has primarily a sweet orchid taste, bringing back memories of Hawaii, which eases into a subtle seaweed aftertaste. It has salty (“mineral”) notes as well. There is amazing complexity to it – what one would hope for in a tea that costs this much. Furthermore, it has an amazing cha qi – I felt a sudden clarity and giddiness after consuming the first cup. I was so impressed with this tea that I infused it several times. I think this would make a fantastic ‘social’ or ceremonial tea. This can’t be an every day tea for most of us, but worth having a sample or two around for special occasions. If I’m in the mood for something elegant and refined this is what I will go to.
Flavors: Mineral, Orchids, Seaweed
Pretty good stuff. It has taken me to the next level of dancong scrumptiousness. These beautiful and delicate laves are smaller than I expected. After the first rinse, my nose is met with a complex and intoxicating aroma of ripened cherries, muscat grape skins, orchids, nutmeg, and juniper berries, among other tasty notes.
There’s a lot of mouth activity going on and a definitive structure to the tea. It’s pure and has a velvety texture. During the initial 3 or so steeps, I’m getting prominent muscat grape with perhaps a few orchids thrown in there. It leaves a floral sweetness and slightly numbing sensation on the tongue as it lingers.
After the 5th or so steep, sandalwood and sweet mineral notes take the stage while the florals and muscat linger the background. By now, the tea has filled my mouth with sweetness as well as tingling and drying sensations. With my typical leaf-to-water ratio, I’d say I can get at least 8 tasty steeps. Nice qi in this one too!
Boychik sent me two of these a couple of years ago, and since I’m working my way into year 3 of my Sipdown Extravaganza, it’s about time I start drinking things like this. Plus I’ve had a headache for a few days, and drinking Sheng seems to help, at least sometimes. I have noticed that it is beneficial for allergies, so there.
I do like Sheng, but as a general rule, I don’t care for Sheng Tuocha’s, and this one is no exception.
Yesterday I dropped one into my sheng yixing, keeping the steeps short, and as the tuo fell apart, the spout kept getting semi-clogged with all the powdery stuff. And it was mostly powdery stuff. There were some smaller leaves in there, and they unfolded nicely, and really, the tea itself was ok, good for a headache, bitter & somewhat astringent, and it did get a little sweeter after awhile.
Today I dropped the other tuocha into a steeper basket in a full size mug, and I actually preferred it that way. First, because I just didn’t want to have all that powdery crap in my yixing, and 2ndly because it actually tasted better with more water and a little more time. I went with 15 secs for the first steep, adding 15 to each consecutive steep.
I still haven’t cured my headache, but at least I get to count a sipdown!
Not something I would purchase, but thanks to Boychik for the opportunity to sample it :)
I wasn’t sure what I was going to get when I ordered this, as I’ve never tried the purple tea varietals. This one is a nice strong tea; a smooth, mild black tea, and has a sweetness that reminds me of rose petals or a flower. I found that it steeped best at (1.5 tsp/8oz) 185 F for 3 minutes . I did try 205 F for 4 minutes just for fun – while slightly more ‘potent’ than the first option it was definitely still smooth and not remotely bitter. Not a picky tea IMHO. What I really love about this tea is the ‘energy’ of the tea. It leaves me feeling good about the world and with a sense of wellbeing. Out of all the teas I got last time (most of which I will order again) none of them compared in “esscence”. I hope to order more in the future.
Flavors: Roasted, Rose, Sweet
I tossed a couple little packets of this Heicha into a Yunnan Sourcing order I made a few months back, and one of them just surfaced in my sample box. After drinking it, I’m sad to say they’re gone on Yunnan Sourcing’s site – it was a very interesting and tasty tea. The dry leaf had a pungent prune or other dried fruit smell. The aroma was largely unchanged after a rinse, with a bit of maltiness entering the mix as well.
The flavor was pretty out there – I got a lot of that same sour dried fruitiness, I’m gonna call it prunes, throughout the session. The first steep was prunes and dried cherries with a slight cooling mouthfeel. I haven’t ever tasted a tea that was much of anything like that first steep. It was like everything I always hope for (and have never gotten) when black teas are labeled as “fruity.” Nice and bright flavor.
I didn’t taste the cherry after that first steep, but the rest of the session was nice as well. It got a touch of bittersweet chocolate to it, with the fruit a little more distant in the finish, but still quite there and quite pruney. The chocolate vibe only lasted through around steep 4, but even once it was gone, the tea retained a bit of a bittersweet note to it which I couldn’t pin down.
Compared to a lot of the puerh and stuff I drink, this one didn’t have quite the longevity – I got 8 steeps out of it, and the last two were pretty diminished. Despite that, I would buy up a lot more of this tea in a heartbeat if it were available. The single-session packaging and affordability make it a no brainer for such an interesting tea. I really need to try some more Tian Jian and other heicha…haven’t had great experience with Liu Bao, but these other heicha have been nice.
This one kind of reminded me of a really funky and whacked out black tea – like black tea’s psycho cousin. I liked it a lot.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Sweet
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!