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Recent Tasting Notes
This is an excellent puerh tea. It was quite sweet tasting at the start. A little bitterness crept in after a couple of steeps but didn’t last. Didn’t really pin down the sweet note but perhaps one of the flavors on the steepster page would fit. I think both fruity and honey fits although it was not as sweet as honey, I think it did have a bit of the taste. As far as rating this tea I will make a comparison. It is really quite good but not as good as the 2014 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn Bing Dao for about the same price. It is a good tea overall. It had a very thick tea liquid at first, what you would call a thick mouth feel I guess. This is one I hope ages well because I bought the whole cake. Brewed this in my new Japanese Shiboridashi.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml Shiboridashi with 8g 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.https://www.instagram.com/p/BI5cETjDQej/?taken-by=allanckeanepuerhtea
Flavors: Fruity, Honey
Man I hate losing tasting notes! Not sure what happened this time. I started recording notes in a text editor since Steepster doesn’t save notes in progress, but I could swear I saved the tasting note and thus thought it safe to delete the one saved in my text editor.
So working from memory…
Steep times: 10,10,15, 30,30, 60, 60.
The leave, both dry and wet, smell amazing! Toasted barley, sweet candy/gummies and fruit.
The taste is so consistent I stopped trying to right anything from steep 3 to 7 which could almost be deemed boring, but every single cup is absurdly delicious. Very robust tastes of chocolate and fruit with a lovely toasty backdrop.
When I initially saw just how much I’d purchased before tasting it I began to worry that I might have made a mistake. Now I think I didn’t quite buy enough.
Flavors: Candy, Chocolate, Fruity, Melon, Roasted Barley, Toasted Rice
My first tea from Nan Jian. They’re more well known for their tuos, but based on the price and interesting description I threw this one in another order from YS.
Still on the young side, which is reflected in early steepings, but steeps a nice dark orange. The first eight or so infusions aren’t really anything too memorable. No bad notes, just a general youngish sheng profile similar to other Ai Lao material I’ve had which I generally find boring if not outright unpleasant. Longer, hotter steepings later on are when this tea shines however. This cake has by far the strongest sweetness I’ve ever found in a sheng. I was shocked the first time I had this and hit cup number 9 or 10 to find it unbelievably sweet. Up until recently I had never found a cake that had the kind of in your face huigan others have noted, but this was crazy. I’ve had puers with sweet notes, but nowhere near this prominent or that only came out so late on. This makes me want to try a few other cakes I have seen described as having a barbecue smell and strong sweetness. That’s a strange description, but pretty spot on with the aroma when I first opened up this wrapper. It was a very strong, distinct smell of barbecue.
I have to agree with the YS description—this is a unique tea with a challenging flavor profile. I can tease out some pepper, nuts, and chocolate flavors but the overall body and mouth feel is unlike anything I’ve tasted. Maybe a hint of Rou Gui and mountain stream water when you hold the tea in your mouth for a bit.
Overall, it’s very tasty and intriguing—a good choice when you want to sit down and focus your attention.
This is a strong and bitter sheng. It was noticeably bitter for at least the first eight steeps. It was fairly smooth though. Somewhere around the eighth or tenth steep more of a sweet note emerged. I don’t think I would use the term apricots with this sheng. Despite it’s bitterness I did enjoy the tea. I think it is a good quality product and am hoping another six months of age will take the edge off.
I steeped this tea fourteen times in a 70ml teapot with 5.7g 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, 2 min, 2.5 min, and 3 min. I think this tea would have gone twenty steeps but I did use a lot of leaf.
Flavors: Bitter, Smooth, Sweet
Ho Hum. Just another in a long line of delicious old/wild arbor black teas from YS. This is not raisiny and malty like the Yi Wu mountain Assamica tea, with more brightness on the tongue, some caramel sweetness and a little bit of that leather/cherry flavor that you find in Keemuns. Amenable to all kinds of brewing approaches with absolutely no harshness.
Dry leaves smell smoky with a hint of plums. Wet leaves smell of prunes with a hint of smokiness. 10s rinse with a 10 minute rest.
1/10s: Sweetness immediately apparent with a bit of astringency. Probably should have steeped 8s, but it’s not at all over powering. Very interesting flavor. There’s a sweet smelling pipe tobacco that the taste of this tea reminds me of with the addition of a slight floral note. A very good first cup.
2/10s: Smokiness a little more upfront with the sweetness still in the background. Smoked prunes and tobacco. Bit of sweetness at the back of the throat with this cup.
3/10s: The tea is taking on a wonderful fruity, slightly grassy aroma. Less crisp, but still has the sweet aftertaste.
4/15s: Same as previous, but with the sweet, crisp finish again. No cha qi to speak of so far, though there was quite a break between the first and second steeping.
5/20s: Sweetness has faded, though the finish is still crisp/dry. Tastes lightly of grass and moss now.
6/30s: Wow, the grass/moss taste is still there, but this tea is pretty much done for sweetness I think.
7/40s: Same as above. No cha qi in sight.
Started out nice, but petered out really quick.
Silver needle white teas are slowly growing on me as my tea palate develops. I use to think white teas in general had very little flavor. Now, I am able to pick up on the flavors and recognize and know how the tea is supposed to taste.
The dry leaves smell really nice. Slightly fruity, slightly sweet, with a hint of hay. The wet leaves tend to smell a bit more like wet hay. Not as appetizing.
But the good news is that brewed up, this tea retains more of the qualities you get from the dry leaf. Slightly sweet, minimal hay flavor. While this tea isn’t something that pops and demands your attention, it IS a very smooth and tasty drinker. I found myself drinking this way faster than I do most teas. And not because I wanted to be rid of it either. This is a tea I could absentmindedly drink all day and be very satisfied. A good daily drinker.
Flavors: Hay, Sweet
I absolutely love this tea. It arrived from YS 2 weeks ago and I can’t don’t really enjoy drinking other teas since then. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it is old Arbor or Camelia taliensis it just tastes awesome, white tea with more complexity and definatly a darker liquor. I recommend gong fu brewing 3-4g with 100ml and 90C hot water. It will last many infusions.
Flavors: Hay, Sweet
Drinking my second cake of this lovely tea now. Until now I have enjoyed every cup of this. This black tea really has its own personality, with a very distinct smell that I associate to dried fruits such as raisins or apricots. A strong smell for a black tea. It does not easily become bitter, and the cup is nicely full-bodied. This isn’t a ‘fancy’ tea really, it isn’t complex or very refined, but it’s just very enjoyable, every time. And the cake shape makes it a lot of fun!
Flavors: Apricot, Fruity, Malt
I almost finished this packet and never wrote about it. I got a 50g sample of this about 4-5 months ago, and it’s about gone, so this must be the 8th or so session I’ve had with it.
This tea smells and tastes powerfully of dirt, or maybe wet stone. Seriously, drinking this has deeply warped my tastes, so that I no longer consider heavy humid storage to be a deal-breaker defect.
The leaf is dark brown nondescript lumps and bits strongly reminiscent of shu.
I used 5.5 g of leaf with a “standard gaiwan” and near-boiling water. 1 rinse of ~10 sec followed by short infusions, a couple each of 5, 10, 15s. The rinse smells of dirt, the gaiwan lid of wet stone. The taste changes from dirt to wet rocks over the first few infusions, and there is a slight mouth coating that becomes a little fruity. By about the 5th or so steep it’s getting pretty astringent, and soon the dark soup begins to lighten up some. There is some definite pore-opening perspiration-inducing power with this tea. Even at the 10th or 12th steep, each cup raises a fresh sweat. Eventually it becomes light-copper, stone-tasting, slightly sweet astringent water, after maybe 14-15 steeps.
I don’t think this tea has the staying power of some older raw puer, but on the other hand I have not tried brewing 8g of it at once. This tea is probably worth trying just as an example of 20-year-aged tea, but might be too humid for some. I’m interested in finding an example of the type that has drier storage, I think.
Flavors: Dirt, Fruity, Wet Rocks
This tea is very good in my opinion. It definitely reminds me of the two earlier productions with more fermentation flavor. There was a fair amount of fermentation flavor to this tea. But it was not unpleasant or fishy. It lasted maybe four or five steeps and then was largely history. I won’t disagree with the reviewer who noticed a dark bittersweet cocoa note although I really didn’t notice that myself. I noticed a bitter taste at first slowly turning to sweet. Even a fruity note in later steeps. I really enjoyed this tea.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 12.2g 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. I could have kept going but want to move onto something else.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet
First the first few steeps, not to put too fine a,point on it, it tastes like you’re having a decent middle aged sheng in the middle of a small, enclosed room in which is burning giant piles of extremely green wood on all sides. The leaf odor is smoke. The initial flavor is smoke. There is a deep, lingering flavor. Of smoke.
After a rinse and five (very quick in duration) steeps, the flavors start to peek through and become rather enjoyable. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but at the remarkably affordable price point there’s little to complain about. As long as you like LOTS of smoke.
Or just rinse it seven times.
Dry leaf: FRAGRANT, VEGETAL: fragrant wood, honeysuckle, milky tea, sweet mustiness. In preheated vessel: popcorn, cooked sweet corn, sweet note like salted caramel
Smell: VEGETAL, SWEET: sweetened milky tea, honeysuckle, sweet green beans
Taste: NUTTY, VEGETAL: sweet corn, cream, popcorn roastedness/nuttiness, cooked green beans, milky tea, honeysuckle, hint of maraschino cherry and cherry wood.
A few thoughts on this one. First, it provides an interesting experience that is a mix of white and green tea. It has the fragrant creaminess of a white tea while also providing the vegetal nuttiness of a Chinese green.
Second, I had quite a bit of difficulty brewing it. I tried everything – leaf amount, water temperature, steep times. For me, the best solution was an infuser basket full of leaf left in 12-16oz of 190-200 water for a few minutes. I rarely think this is the best way to brew stuff up, but this is what worked best for me for this tea. It did not perform well in a gaiwan – body was consistently too thin and it simply did not resteep well.
So, here’s what I would say – if you’re looking for a to-go green tea, an easy-going green that you can take to work, plop in a mug, maybe forget about for a while… and still have some decent tea, then this is your guy.
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 the throat. There’s some fruitiness and a hint of astringency towards the end. When gongfu’d, it produces an assertive brew with some pungency, 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