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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a very tasty shou. That being said there is a lot of fermentation taste to this one. It was strong for the first six steeps I gave this tea. I did not find this to be the sort of unpleasant taste however that gets classified as fishy or musty. If a fermentation taste can be clean I would say this was. I did not find this a bitter tea but found it had a nice sweet note. Not entirely sure what to call the sweet note. As to chocolate notes, that is a maybe as I was not paying complete attention to the specifics. I definitely think that this is one of Yunnan Sourcing’s better ripe teas. To me I find it similar in character to the Hui Run series of which I have drank two of. I would guess that this was a heavily fermented shou, judging by the fact that the fermentation taste lasted a little longer than it would in most ripes I’ve drank of about the same age. And this tea is also good as they test all their teas since I think 2013 for pesticides so I know I’m not drinking any pesticides with my tea.
I steeped this 12 times in a 150ml gaiwan with 13.2g 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, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. The tea was not done at twelve steeps. I could have gotten another four or five steeps out of it as the color of the tea was still quite dark in the twelfth steep. However, I had had enough caffeine for today.
This was one of the more interesting green teas I’ve tried recently. The leaves are shaped like little snails with streaks of soft, downy white hairs. The first time I steeped it grandpa style with a pinch of buds. The taste was sweet, creamy and minty leaving an unexpected menthol like tingling sensation in your throat. There’s some fruitiness and a hint of astringency towards the end. When gongfu’d, it produces an assertive brew with more fruitiness, a viscous body and a snap pea vegetal flavor that stays in your mouth.
Flavors: Garden Peas, Menthol, Vegetable Broth
This is tasty, but lacking in strength. It’s got some bready notes and some sweet (maybe) caramel notes. I’m probably being too picky, but I’m dreaming for the day when all the teas I buy are 90+. I need to be more patient and wait for other reviews first. Slowly starting to understand this world of tea I am. :)
EDIT: I steeped it a bit longer, and it’s better. Upping the rating to an 80.
This tea was nothing short of phenomenal. It did not start bitter. It started out with the note of dry white grapes, without the intense sweetness of grapes of course. Not sure how long this note lasted. But it developed into the most widely used notes for young sheng, apricots and stonefruits. I don’t know if this is typical of Bing Dao tea or not. I have little experience with Bing Dao teas. This is the first one I’ve drank that I feel I can confirm is from the Bing Dao area. It is a region where a great many teas not from there claim to be from there. Coming from Yunnan Sourcing I believe this is genuine Bing Dao tea. Whether or not this tea is typical of Bing Dao teas it is the best raw puerh I have drank in some time. I very much recommend this tea. It is not one of Scott’s cheaper teas but it was not too expensive at $71. Moderately expensive I would say. But not expensive for a tea that is this good. This has got to be the smoothest raw puerh I can remember drinking for that matter. There was never a hint of bitterness in this. This is one where I wonder how it will age. I have heard that bitter teas age better so this may be one to drink now, who knows. It was good.
I steeped this twelve times in a 100ml teapot with 7.1g 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, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. The tea was not done but I have reached my caffeine limit. If I didn’t have so much other sheng I would buy a tong of this tea. It is that good.
Flavors: Apricot, Stonefruits, Sweet, White Grapes
I’ve had only a few white teas that I don’t like. This is not one of them. It’s got the melony hay taste. Tasty stuff—I’ll make sure to always have some of this around.
I’ve gotten into black teas a lot recently. Next, I’ll get into whites, oolongs, and raw puerh. If any has a good suggestion for those, please let me know! I’m still a tea rookie.
Flavors: Hay, Melon
I am revisiting this one from about a year ago. When I first tried this tea last year it was mostly bitter and not very interesting to me. I pulled this one out as I am off the Shou Train at the moment and am limited in my Sheng collection (though I am waiting on some W2T fare). I brewed up about 7 grams in 100ml Gaiwan. Two quick rinses and let it rest for about 10-15 min. I steeped in about 205F water for about 10 seconds increasing steep time and temp a bit as it thinned out. First couple of steeps were not that dynamic but had a nice floral and sweet aroma on the out breath that lingered. After the usual astringency in the 3rd and 4th steeps that was not at all unpleasant to me the tea started to show itself. Not a very oily or viscous mouthfeel but not water thin either. The material is not the highest quality out there I am sure but this turned out to be a nice session. Some nice sweet and tart flavors presented themselves into the later steeps as well as the lingering sweet/floral in the nose. Notes of tobacco, hay, flowers, and slight syrup made it pretty damn enjoyable. This is a decent average daily drinker. For the price and the taste I would recommend for sure. It’s not some ancient Gushu fertilized with White Tiger blood and Buddha’s piss that will open your third eye revealing the true nature of The Camellia Gods. But its not bad at all.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Sweet, Tart, Tobacco
A lovely Chinese black with the typical malt and sweet potato flavor. There’s also a hint of chocolate and molasses.
One of my favorite parts about this tea is the earthy flavor, which makes the brew taste more like a dirty sweet potato. While that may sound disgusting, I rather enjoyed it.
Unlike the other Chinese blacks I have tried, there was some bitterness and drying in the back of the throat, which made me have to knock a few points off my score.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Dirt, Malt, Molasses, Sweet Potatoes
I tried this one out today and was not a huge fan. Used 7g in a 120mL gaiwan with boiled water. The compression was quite tight. After two rinses, I tried to start with a 15s steep, and the compressed chunks just laughed at me in the gaiwan. So from then, I altered my strategy, steeping 1m+ and bludgeoning the stubborn chunks with my gaiwan lid. It barely worked, so after three steeps like that, I started spearing the still-chuckling pieces with my puer pick, getting them to mostly come apart. I’m pretty sure even then, they were still flinging tiny middle-fingers at me.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was unable to get any strong flavor from this S.O.B. The aroma of the wet leaves was pretty reminiscent of a dank basement, usually not a good sign for me. I did get a decent bit of the wetness in the flavor of this tea. I also tasted some wet wood and something kind of fungal, maybe mushroomy. It did taste decently aged. Also got some kind of tangy sourness which I didn’t find particularly appealing.
So I think it’s safe to say I don’t like this tea gongfu. I still have the rest of my sample, so I’ll let it air out some and then play around with it. I will probably try to boil it instead, maybe that will allow me to actually draw out the flavor of this crotchety old brick. Now if I could just track down a yak….
Flavors: Mushrooms, Musty, Tangy, Wet Moss
Opening the packet is tricky but I do it eventually. Once opened I pull out a large piece of cake which has remained whole despite it’s journey. There are quite a few golden tips present on the outside of the cake and a beautiful shine. Some of the golden tips have downy hairs that I can stroke, as though the Pu Erh were an animal. I don’t know why I decided to stroke it…perhaps the heat is getting with me? Further inspection shows dark brown leaves the colour of old, dark chocolate. The cake remnant bares a soft, dry wood and clay scent.
Steeping Parameters: 220ml Glass Gongfu Teapot. Tea Leaf 12g. Boiling Water. 2 Rinses each of 15 seconds.
First Steep – 15 seconds
Colour is golden orange with a soft clay scent.
Flavour is mild with some sweetness and an earthy, dusky wood tone toward the after taste. The more I drink the more I can define the sweetness to being brown sugar like.
Second Steep – 20 seconds
Still soft with brown sugar and dusky wood tones, but with added dryness.
Third Steep – 30 seconds
Darker though still soft. Less sweet and more musky now, with old wood and dry earth notes that linger in the after taste. Also the tea liquid is dark at this point too, like red soy sauce.
Fourth Steep – 45 seconds
Slightly sour in this steep and the wood is coming through with some cocoa notes. Still dry and mildly sweet.
Sixth Steep – 1 minute
Similar to the previous steep though with more clay and dryness. It reminds me of autumn, the dry, musky leaves crunching under my feet as I walk through a forest. The smells of an autumn forest match this flavour quite nicely.
Seventh Steep – 2 minutes
An increase of musk though still soft and the sourness is slight. Very wooden.
Overall – I found this Shou to be mild and delicate throughout the steeps which made it difficult to describe the flavours. At least it was consistent throughout. I would say this is an everyday Shou for Pu new drinkers or those that prefer softer teas. Personally I like strength and depth in my tea which this just didn’t have, though despite that it was drinkable and pleasant enough. I had some difficulty breaking up the cake piece so I did it by hand in the middle of my steeps, partly to see if it increased strength.
I honestly cut this steeping short, originally I planned on 10 steeps rather than 7. Don’t get me wrong, it really isn’t a bad Shou when it comes down to it; my personal preference is just that and I can’t like them all. I still think that for the price it’s a decent every day Shou for new drinkers and would recommend it for that. If I can be nothing else then at least I’m honest.
Got this tea from Christina what feels like ages ago…
So, I’m drinking this Western style steeped up in a medium sized teapot; I’ve been binge watching the new season of Bojack Horseman all day because I’m, once again, absent from work while I try not to shoot myself in the head because of all the itching. Distractions are key. Or at least that’s what I’m finding.
My accompaniment to this tea other than season three of Bojack is a cheddar cheese scone, and I have to say that I’m really loving the pairing. The tea is actually quite sweet and syrupy, which I’m sure has to do with the unique processing method this tea goes through. It’s got a lovely, soft fruitiness to it that reminds me of red fruits but also cocoa, malt, and nutty notes and a splendid marzipan finish. This fascinating combination of flavours makes for a contrasted but not harsh juxtaposition to the scone which has some more savory qualities while still being sweet in and of itself too. It’s a great experience!
Also, SPOILER WARNING!!! (For Bojack Horseman)
I literally just finished the third season of Bojack Horseman and I almost jumped off the couch because all season they’ve sort of been hinting at Todd being asexual and they basically directly addressed and confirmed it. He’s talking to a girl he clearly likes but has problems being “intimate” with. She asks if he’s gay or straight and he says “I think I’m nothing?”. And you can clearly tell it’s the first time he’s said it out loud…
And I’m just freaking out in my condo right now! ‘Cause that basically just sums up my whole experience and to see it reflected on the show was just AMAZING. And it was no big deal; she just goes “Ok” and they go back to eating their fucking ice cream. And jesus fuck that’s just all I wanted to see on TV and I didn’t even realize how important seeing it on TV was for me until I saw it!!! I’m just… I’m floored. Speechless, really – except not because I just want to talk about it SO MUCH.
It just… it felt so good to see it.
Drank this tea with Matu. It had a forest/dirt taste, a dark color and a thick texture that I enjoyed. It smelled like fish food or like a barn. Drank it as a comparison to 2015 little walk raw puerh, which I found to be very bitter and mouth-drying, but which also had a more enjoyable aroma of dried cranberries. I thought the ripe was better, but I’m brand new to this, so.. There you go.
Flavors: Dirt, Wood
This is soupy, savory, some marine overtones – umami in a big way.
The taste stays with you as the broth coats your tongue and mouth. With the addition of fish or vegetables, this would make an excellent soup base. A really interesting tea that is far out of my normal likes but this one, while not one I would reach for simply due to personal taste preferences, is a highly interesting green that I would not turn down if offered. And I’m going to be experimenting with that soup idea sooner or later…
Drank this today with Cherokee. I’m fairly certain it’s the best ripe I’ve had to date. I have been swapping away most of the ripe puerh I acquired early in my puerh journey, as I’ve found my tastes lie much more in the realm of raw puerh, but I still have this sample. I gave it one rinse, and did taste a bit of fermentation flavor in the first couple steeps, but it wasn’t too stanky, thankfully. Got a couple lighter red steeps, followed by about five or six which looked and felt like motor oil – gotta love that. Foresty flavors for the first steeps, accompanied by a bit of a chocolate flavor in mid-late steeps. Nice and sweet and thick.
Flavors: Chocolate, Forest Floor, Sweet, Wood
This was a nice shou. I agree with the statement camphor and dark cocoa to this tea. There was also a spicy note under the tongue. And there was a sweet note too but the camphor was the strongest note. This was actually good as I have come to not mind camphor and somewhat like it. At one point I couldn’t stand a tea with notes of camphor. There was also a fair amount of fermentation flavor that I noticed for four or five steeps.
I brewed this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 11g 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, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. The tea is still quite dark at twelve steeps. I’m sure this would go at least four or five more steeps if I hadn’t hit my caffeine limit. This is definitely a long lasting shou puerh tea.
Flavors: Camphor, Earth, Spices, Sweet
From a 25g sample. The tea started out with a fairly upfront bitterness and really dried my mouth out. There was some woody/grassy/hay flavors that hid under the bitter note. After 3 to 5 steepings, the bitterness started to fade, but there was no underlying flavor that was revealed. After around 7 to 9 steepings, it just tasted like a weaker version of the start.
Dry – Dried fruits, stone fruits, floral, apricots, sweet veggies, some bittersweet notes (tomato vines?) and possibly a hint of maple.
Wet – dried red and dark fruits, thick/creamy, stone fruits, floral bitterness, nutty, corn, maple?/candied fruit >> and later pungent and very pleasant musky fruit and a maple note.
Liquor – deep golden
1st 4secs – Good mellow and almost ‘umami’ front that develops a savory olive oil note and body. As it goes down it has more fruity notes but seem almost savory as well. Thick and numbing (love this).
2nd 4secs – Very nutty, bitter and bittersweet floral and tobacco notes and a slightly savory note that transition to sweeter nutty and refreshing sensation and there a pleasant bitterness that remind me of tomato vines (I usually get this note from purple varietal, but this is more gentle).
3rd 6secs – Nutty, strong tobacco-like bitterness that transition to savory middle and thick body with some fruity and floral notes that have a nice lasting thickness (oily sensation). I keep getting that maple? note that I like followed by that ‘tomato vine’ note that lingers.
4th 8secs – very nutty and tobacco-y notes together with thick body and minor astringency. There are notes of olive oil and tomato vine before becoming sweeter and fruity/floral, but keeps that tomato note that lingers.
5th 10secs – Very nutty and tobacco-y that is both thick and slightly astringent, the olive oil note is still there with the tomato vine but it isn’t as noticeable or as savory, the fruity remind me of dried persimmons and at this point I also noticed a slightly more refreshing sensation during the huigan.
6th 14secs – Nutty with strong bitter and bittersweet tobacco notes that develop thick body and astringency. Huigan has a fruity and floral profile with rich notes that still reminds me of maple.
7th 20 secs – Bitter and bittersweet, tobacco, nutty, some vegetal notes, that still remind me of tomato vine, floral. As it goes down it has a more nutty and fruity profile with a refreshing sensation.
I easily made it to 12th steep and I stopped taking notes to enjoy even more and chill while I did it. I’d recommend trying this one at least once if you get the chance. :)