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Recent Tasting Notes
Awesome daily drinker
The size of the leaves are telling of the spring nature of the tea so while lacking in much body they are extremity aromatic and sweet. Usual flavors coming of this typical hong cha, matly bitter sweet chocolate that lasts.
Will never buy overpriced/hyped hong cha again now that I have sampled what yunnan sourcing has to offer, only issue is shipping so most people will order in bulk.
Cheap, reliable, affordable
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt
A very easy sheng to drink. Not terribly complex but powerful, smooth, fruity (peach and pineapple) with a moderate sweetness. Beautiful whole leaves with very few bits and pieces mixed in. Fairly light colored tea liquor which is very clean. No smoky or fermentation undertones. The aroma is rather sweet and a bit like a field in the springtime. The aftertaste is long and very warm, with just a hint of astringency. Quiet, calming qi. Decent number of resteeps – I’ve done six so far. All in all, a solid sheng with decent age and IMHO worth owning. I picked this up at Yunnan Sourcing a few months ago but it is now out of stock. However, I have seen a few JinuoShan cakes at Cha Wang Shop but not this particular year. FollowUp note: good for 10 steeps.
4 g Gaiwan.
Dry leaf: Med/high compression; dark leaves.
Wet leaf: Complex. Dark and citrus fruits sit on top of a smouldering straw dark base.
Summary: Bitter sweet lemons, which is interesting in flavour and experience.
So this is high mountain pu erh, grown in the remotest gardens in Yunnan. I’ll remember that when I’m drinking it.
5s – It has a similar bright crisp sweetness that Taiwanese High Mountain Dayuling Oolong has. Slightly lemony; very faint smoke. It makes me feel refreshed, and it gives a droning light buzz as it lingers after the swallow. Dido singing Stan has come into my head.
10s – Pale yellow liquor. Thick syrupy mouthfeel. Edging towards honey and lemon cough medicine. It has a steady flavour profile, with good body and a lingering finish, which stimulates the top of my head and behind my ears.
I’m seeing similarities to Hai Lang Hao “Cha Wang” 2010 by Yunnan Sourcing, which is nearly 8 times the price; however, this tea does not have amongst other things the complex layering I observed in the Cha Wang.
15s – Spritely lemon, bitter lemon bitterness, oscillating between sweet and bitter on the finish, sometimes drying.
20s – It develops intensity, even though it is a delicately flavoured floral tea and at times the experience is stronger than the flavour of the tea.
25s – Enjoyable; smooth’ish.
40s – Bitter sweet lemony.
Note: This tea came free with my first order from Yunnan Sourcing – thanks!
A previous session with this tea failed; most likely due to the new kettle. It went like this: 2 rinses, then 30 minutes rest with the lid ajar. Tasted off; abandoned notes for this session.
Flavors: Bitter, Lemon
Ever looking for a cake makes you wonder “mmm sooo this is what meth feels like”(and probably tastes like for that matter) Then this is your cake!
Will this tea win any awards for flavor complexity, pleaseant anything….. NO !
Will this tea wake you up? Yes and Violently !
The first half hour after I had a cocktail of an GABA/Caffiene/theanine anxious stimulated trip which mellowed out into clean productive, happy energy.
Bottom-line: this tea tastes like battery acid and will make you uncomfortable anxious at first but if you can hold on for the ride the residual feeling is worth the abuse :) I cleaned my place, worked out and went out for a very social adventure filled night, all of this while originally waking up super tired with a terrible hangover and accompanying headache .
So am I upset I gambled with a whole cake before sampling?
Hell no although I had to fight every urge to chuck the cake into the trash bin for the first hr or so, It was good fun and cheap thrills a true definition of a utilitarian tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Wet Wood
Another sample from a Steepster friend! Funnily enough, this tea was actually just recommended to me by miss Stephanie a couple of days ago. What a fortuitous turn of events that I should receive a sample of the same tea a day or two later! Gotta love how things just work out sometimes. Anyway! It looks similar to other Jin Jun Mei teas I’ve had in the past – small, very curly and soft leaves that are mostly golden in color. Dry scent is a nice savory/sweet combination of apricot and smoked meat with sweet potato.
The steeped tea smells much more savory to me, with a strong smoked presence. Yum, what a delicious savory tea! It’s thick and smooth, but not overly intense. The main notes I can taste are a mildly savory sweet potato/bread base with some lovely smoked overtones. There’s also a touch of cedar or some other fragrant wood and a nice amount of malt as well as a touch of earthiness. There’s a small touch of sweetness – perhaps honey or something similar? Overall, this is a very meaty and satisfying savory tea!
Flavors: Apricot, Cedar, Earth, Honey, Malt, Smoked, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes, Thick, Wood
Happy Sunday, tea fiends! A lovely Steepster friend (who would rather remain anonymous) sent me a box with ten different Yunnan Sourcing samples. I was very excited to see that a lot of them are the more uncommon varieties (a lot of people have their pure bud teas). This was actually one of the YS teas I was most excited to try! The leaves are huge and twisty, and I would say they’re about half gold and half muted grey/brown. Dry scent is malty and surprisingly tart with stonefruit aroma.
The steeped tea also smells very fruity, specifically stonefruit-y. This tea definitely has the strongest natural stonefruit flavor I’ve ever found in a tea, and it’s somewhat tart because of that. I think I may have overleafed a bit (it’s always hard to tell with very large leaves) so it has a rather intense malty/sweet potato taste. It’s not bitter, though. There’s a little hint of earthiness as well which helps to sort of “anchor” everything and cut through the tart fruitiness a bit. Unlike any other Yunnan black tea I’ve had! :)
Flavors: Apricot, Earth, Malt, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes, Tart
4g in Gaiwan.
Dry leaf: Mostly loose and is colourful like White2Tea New Amerykah 2. It has some concentrated herbyness, but this is mild.
Wet leaf: This is slightly subdued concentrated herbyness with some dust and some spice.
Summary: Softly fruity (raisins/apricots), slightly smoky, with some bitterness creates a level of friction, which makes this a stimulating and interesting tea to drink.
5s – Slightly smoky, mild in flavour, has a pleasant soft fruitiness like 2007 White2Tea Repave by White2Tea.
10s – Aroma of the liquid has a soft Yiwu-like fruitiness. Bitterness and astringency makes this softly fruity, slightly smoky tea more interesting.
15s – Liquor is orangey. It has a syrupy consistency; it feels thick in the mouth. It’s edging towards a certain type of fruit – raisins and apricots.
20s – It’s not a strongly flavoured tea, but it is mildly fruity with some bitterness.
I had a second session with this tea, this time with a hot curry (Madras), and although the tea is fairly mild in flavour, it was not overpowered by the curry and cut through with a bitter, slightly smoky, raisin like fruitiness, which was enough to raise my appreciation of this tea.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Raisins, Smoke
This lovely sample came from Ubacat. I wasn’t planning on trying this one tonight, but miss Roswell Strange wanted me to try it so that we could compare our experiences. I generally enjoy silver needle teas, and Yunnan Sourcing’s are so cheap compared to most white teas in general. Plus, I’ve never had a tea from them that I didn’t enjoy, so it’s a win-win. The needle are a little over an inch long, and covered in pale silver, almost white fuzz. Dry scent is soft, sweet hay and oats with a bit of apricot.
I can still smell that touch of apricot in the aroma, but now it’s joined by a slighty savory smoky scent. And when I say ‘smoky’, I mean like smoked meat or fish, not like Lapsang. Wow, this is definitely a unique white tea. It has a mild ‘smoked meats’ type of flavor that I sometimes find in Chinese black teas. I can definitely see the similarity to a pure bud Yunnan black tea. Other than that, I can also taste a bit of apricot, though I would call it more of a dried apricot flavor. There’s also the sweet hay and oat notes that I find to be present in most white teas. In the middle and especially at the end of the sip, a strong and clear sweetness emerges, like honeysuckle nectar or spring water. Also, a touch of mineral. The aftertaste is long and sweet, and possibly my favorite part of this tea. Yum!
Flavors: Apricot, Hay, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Oats, Smoked, Sweet
Thank you Brian and 221Tea for the sample. I put off trying it for a while because I really, really didn’t want to be the first one to review it. I always feel so nervous when I’m the first one reviewing a straight tea here on Steepster because I definitely have a little less exposure to straight blends so I’m not as confidant in my ability to describe them accurately.
And like I sorta feared I would; I definitely had a weird experience with this one. The three most poignant notes that I tasted were melon, cucumber, and hay. The melon, in particilar, was more of a green melon taste; like a just slightly under ripe honeydew? I know I’ve seen those used to describe some white teas before so maybe I’m not crazy for picking up on those flavours but at the time of drinking this blend it seemed odd to me how pronounced they were – in particular the melon flavour, and how poorly they meshed together. Every sip felt at least mildly conflicted.
And then there was the really weird part; and this flavour I’m not so sure I have a good word to describe it with. But basically it was like a simultaneous sour and “musty attic” flavour. Definitely did not work with me, and seemed rather out of place. Does anyone have a word for that flavour/experience with a white
like this one tasting that way? I felt very lost.
On the whole; I just couldn’t get behind this one. Maybe it’s my lack of experience with straight whites, but the flavours in this were too sharp for me and clashed – and I wasn’t able to relax with my cup at all. It wasn’t bad, and I drank the whole mug, but…
I just felt uncomfortable doing so?
Flavors: Cucumber, Green Melons, Hay, Honeydew, Melon, Musty, Sour
Happy Saturday, Steepster! I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend so far. This sample came from Ubacat, my Canadian tea friend with amazing postal powers! Seriously though, her package got here in four days. I believe I’ve had this tea before, but it’s been so long that I feel the need to try it again! The leaves are small and thin, and extremely dark in color. Dry scent has lovely cocoa notes along with hay or raw grains.
Mm, the steeped cup smells chocolaty and delicious! Yums. This is a lovely rich and flavorful tea! Strong notes of roasted grain and chocolate (somewhere between milk and dark). There’s also a savory rye bread flavor as well as some creamy nuttiness. I think next time I’ll try a 4 minute steep, I think this one can handle it. Yummy tasty roasty and chocolaty tea! :)
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Grain, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Rye
High grade raw material found in this cake. Nice maturation. Smooth and mellow cup. Clear dark tea soup. No traits at all of the fermentation smells or tastes – benefits of the “light fermentation” process. A safe one to offer those fairly new to the world of puerh. A decent shu with an appealing profile to make it safe and enjoyable for all drinkers.
This autumn version is an entirely different experience than it’s spring counter-part (as advertised). It has the taste profile of a sheng that is transitioning into a more mature, aged tea. It has seemed to have lost its greener, more smoky with floral sweetness, as other teas I’ve tried in this area. It is definitely more wild and robust, with hints of dried mushrooms and seasoned pine kindling, freshly lit. There seems to be a prevalent tobacco-likeness, midway through the sip, which transitions into a mouth drying astringency.
I’m pretty certain this is a good one for someone that likes good shou puerh and has been discouraged by typical young sheng teas and their characteristics, as this is closer to aged puerh than a sheng that is normally reflected at this age. Overall, not bad at all.
Flavors: Astringent, Campfire, Drying, Mushrooms, Pine, Tobacco
Dry – Sweet, nutty(corn), some mellow floral notes, thick-cream, peach/apricot/apples.
Wet – Sweet, fruity, sweet-corn, thick/buttery, berries/apricot, musky melon(sweet woody notes/raisins).
Liquor – Pale Gold color with mostly sweet scent.
Initial Steeps are very mellow with sweet and nutty notes. It has a very apparent smoothness up front that becomes very thick as it goes down. To me it has a savory base when is going down and returns to the sweeter side one it washes away bringing the fruit notes to the front.
Middle Steeps (4-7) Are very similar in taste still with no real ‘collapse’ in taste which usually happens around the 5-6 steep in most young Sheng. The liquor is still very smooth and maintained most of its characters with only a slightly less thick body and some astringency forming (started as full but feels medium bodied now).
Final Steeps The liquor is still fairly smooth with some cumulative astringency and some ‘ghostly’ notes from what was very apparent in the initial steeps.
I liked this tea, I feel like it holds up pretty damn well, but to be fair that has to do with the fact that the tea is not that complex to begin with, it has very good notes but in terns of complexity I would say this one is very easy going and straight foward, although the wet leaves hints of a bit more complexity.
I found it to be a calming Sheng with no aggressive Cha Qi and good thick body, I loved how it was satisfying to drink a Sheng during Winter. Also, even though I felt like it was getting thinner past the 6-7 steep, allowing it to rest for a few hours allowed me to get 3 more thick steeps, granted they were mostly flat sweet with ghostly notes of fruit.
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Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Sweet, Thick
I was expecting this tea to look and taste something like chamomile (which I’m okay with but don’t love). I was surprised to find the little orange/black flowers. They look like little bubble bees in the bag. :-)
It brews up really dark – about the colour of black tea, but kind of reddish. There is kind of an earthiness to this tea which would explain why they always pair it with the ripe pu’erh tea. There’s also a herbal quality to the tea. I can’t say it’s a taste I really love but at the same time it went down pretty easy.
I’ve googled and checked out the health benefits of this tea which are numerous. It relieves head congestion , has antiviral properties, It lowers body temperature when running a fever. Helps unclog blocked arteries and varicose veins. Helps with all respiratory problems. Has Vitamin C. Relieves sore throat. Wow! There’s more but it is definitely a good one to keep on hand during cold and flu season. I could have used this a few weeks ago.
1999 HUA YUAN “JING BRAND” RAW PU-ERH TEA CAKE
Summary: This tea is highly compressed, and I found I had to break it up (with a spoon) to allow the full flavours to come out. With this tea being a mixture of raw (half fermented) and ripe pu-erh, it gives an interesting mix swaying between two teas but also combines together at other times. Highlights include a metallic taste and the depth and creaminess it develops in later steeps.
Dry leaf: Looks like cooked purer, only slightly lighter. The aroma is hay.
Wet leaf: It smells like a ripe purer with some raw pu-erh; it is lightly floral and herby. However once it cools, it smells quite different: it is creamy and smooth with some wood shavings.
My thoughts are: will dark creamy cooked pu-erh go together well with bright, sharp raw pu-erh or will it be like putting milk in green tea? (I did that once and couldn’t drink it)
5s – The aroma is mostly of ripe pu-erh, although with the rawness, it smells like hot raspberries/rhubarb crumble (dark fruit contrasting with sweet sugariness). Liquor is pale brown. It taste like sheng towards the end of a session when the full body has gone. There are hints of the raw, but only faintly. I wouldn’t describe this as complex.
10s – Slightly darker, pale brown. Aroma has soil and warm pastry. Tastes like a mild ripe pu-erh with some fruit.
1 minute – I brewed it for longer as it wasn’t giving much flavour. Darker browny red. Still mild ripe with a bit of fruit.
20s – (Stabbed it with a spoon and found it was quite hard). Liquor is dark brown and looks ready for drinking. It is refreshing, creamy, but not warm milk creamy. It has a metallic taste that makes it interesting.
30s – Now it’s there. A marriage of ripe and raw pu-erh; concentrated herbyness takes on a dark, complex direction I’ve not tasted before. The raw pu-erh now dominates.
40s – Back to ripe pu-erh again. Will it make it’s mind up? A fruity ripe, with bite and some complexity. (I stabbed it with a spoon some more) Dark brown now – darkest yet. There is friction between the ripe and raw; there is depth, boldness and bite. Stimulating.
60s – Hints of White2Teas 90s Hong Kong, but more mellow. This tea is still going strong.
Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Metallic
This tea is sweet, thick and earthy. It is fairly tasty. There is a very slight bitterness that would have presumably gone away had I been steeping this Gongfu style. I’m afraid this got steeped western style this afternoon as I am heading off to work. As with every mini tuo cha, Yunnan Sourcing says this is made with higher quality tea leaves than normal mini tuochas. While I don’t specifically doubt the claim, I take it with a grain of salt. It is good though.
I brewed this twice in an 18oz teapot with 8.1g leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 30 sec and 30 sec. The second one I put in a thermos to bring to work.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
This tea was quite good for the price. It was sweet and earthy. There was no taste of camphor. There were some complex notes but I was not paying attention as I was involved in a Runequest game.
I brewed this six times in a 207ml Taiwan Clay Teapot with 10.1g leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 10 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, and 1 min. Judging by the strength of the sixth steep I would say I could have gotten four more steeps out of it.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet