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Recent Tasting Notes
So I’d been sort of putting this one off for a while for a few reasons.
1) I have lots of other good stuff I’ve been jumping at
2) I thought it would be a pain to portion out
3) I have been made to eat goya many times and have yet to like it.
Today will probably be a short day and I wanted something new so I figured I’d give this a shot. I had forgotten that each portion is actually individually packaged, and the portion I pulled out was a perfect 5g, so I didn’t have to do anything, just threw it in the gaiwan. It smells pretty nice, a bit like bread.
I see that a few people decided to do lower temps with this one, so I figure I’ll give that a shot. After a quick rinse I can smell the roast, and I separate the leaves from the melon a bit. First steep comes out amber and has a sweet and nutty scent.
First sip is smooth and creamy, not too strong in flavor, but I get some toasted sweet rice notes. The second steep is distinctly sweet and chestnutty. The melon in no way takes away from the tgy.
This one carried me through the rest of the day and I definitely enjoyed it!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chestnut, Creamy, Nutty, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Sweet
This is potent, viscous, sweet, and spicy, with underlying bitterness. Nice light compression on the leaves, as all of Scott’s recent cakes. The steeped leaves have a nice sweet fragrance of grain and honeysuckle. The tea soup has a deep golden hue—borderline orange, something I hear is typical of Jinggu. It’s possible I added more leaf than usual, but I still don’t get that color using similar brewing parameters with other new young sheng.
It steeps consistently musky sweet roasted grains, spicy rosemary, savory mushroom, and roasted zucchini. I noticed over several sessions the nice cedar base in this tea. Very nice qi in there too that is evident from the first steep. These leaves are reportedly from tea trees plucked only twice a year, which I think explains the impressive viscosity and potency of this tea. I’ve had most of Scott’s Jinggu teas and this seems like a cousin of the Bai Ni Shui, but more potency and sweet grain notes.
This Sheng performed and tasted pretty much as expected—medicinal, leathery, marginally sweet, concentrating in the back of the mouth/beginning of the throat. I did not expect, however, the level of bitterness I experienced, even with 10 second steeps.
So even thought this is a perfectly serviceable semi-aged raw pu-erh, I prefer the 2002 Ancient Spirit from YS for its smoothness.
Amazing value for the money. These little things are pressed so tightly that it takes a good 12 steeps or so just to get the damned things to open up. But the tea treats you with great flavor until then, so enjoy the ride.
It’s sweet, raisiny cocoa in the beginning, growing more sweet potatoey, malty, and earthy as it opens up.
Amazing value and a good experience. Would make a great daily gongfu drinker.
Bought 50g of this with my last order to Yunnan Sourcing USA. It is an excellent tea with notes of malt and chocolate and perhaps baked bread. Very enjoyable.
I steeped this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 4 cones and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
Sample from Hoálatha
I wanted to do a Laoshan blind tasting/comparison for a while now. I’ve had this, the 2016 Imperial Laoshan (YS), and Spring 2016 Laoshan (Verdant) samples in my cupboard for a while, but I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to work on the tasting or due to the fact that I was too lazy to review.
I’ve had a love for Laoshan Black ever since I started getting into tea—beyond Teavana—at which point I started my Steepster account. Laoshan was my first black tea that stood out for me. I remember signing up for Verdant’s $5 sample pack, and I’ve been in love with the tea ever since.
The aroma: bread, nut, oatmeal and grain.
Flavor profile: Soft notes of cocoa, grain/wheat, and a touch of malt. There was a thick mouthfeel that left a dry coating through the roof of the mouth/back of the throat. It became lighter with each steep, and didn’t last as long as I hoped.
I steeped the tea three times: 15s, 30s & 60s. It was nearly complete after the third steep. Very light; the cocoa notes lingered in the front of the mouth after the last cup.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Malt, Nuts, Wheat
This is a very nice tasting black tea. There is very little malt flavor to this one. The roasting seems to bring out a sweet note in this tea. The Yunnan Sourcing write up mentions eucalyptus and sugarcane. I’m not really getting the eucalyptus but sugarcane is a possible interpretation as is ripe cherries. This is a flavorful and complex tea. Most importantly the roasting is not overdone.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 minutes.
The first few steeps are insanely dark, but it begins to fade quickly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6XJcTHupi4&feature=youtu.be steep 2
This tea doesn’t really last very long, however it is very tasty and changes a lot within the good 8 steeps. Very dark to mildly deep orange by the end of the session. Full on wild fermentation to semi dead fruit peel that has sat in the sink over some dirt that came off of the spinach I washed.
Pretty dang solid for a ripe and easily drank fresh as it is.
I’m a little late on drinking these samples. However, I’m getting better at drinking more tea over the weekend, so I’m able to spend more time noting on/drinking the tea.
However, I didn’t get to take very many notes today while brewing this. I had my nephew over for a little bit, and he enjoyed a cup with his uncle (the company was appreciated). I talked to him about how there were sweet honey-esq notes, a mellow/soft floral note, and a very nice mouthfeel. Although he wasn’t able to say much more than “Too hot” or “Mmmmm,” it was still nice to have someone to enjoy a cup with, despite his being three. I may have a tea partner to enjoy teas with though in the near future. And that in itself is a wonderful thing. :)
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Sweet
The roast looks and smells heavy on the leaves, but it comes out lighter in the brew, by far.
Mouthfeel is buttery and smooth, which makes this tea very satisfying. The roast, which usually tries to assert itself on my tongue in most roasted oolongs, is light and toasty. It simply adds to the flavor of the tea rather than dominating it. The flavor is highly floral with a light sweetness.
Very tasty. Thank you tea trade friend!
Ahh, the purple teas; I do find them unique. Highly aromatic with strong flavours.
Extremely fruity, massively fruity: Ripe plum, red berries and even some blueberries. There’s malt in the background and a sulphury smell as well. Throw in some wood and flowers and tada.
Drinking in Nov/16, this is medium bodied and quite smooth. Apparently, they can be quite bitter when young, but I don’t get that here. Flavours are more malt dominated on the palate with the fruit now in the background.
This is smooth, minty and leathery, not particularly thick or complex. Sweetness increases after a few steeps. It actually feels like a mild ripe to me. I didn’t feel the tea bloom in my mouth or throat as I expected and I wasn’t particularly floored by the qi, as some people were.
I think my bias toward the dynamism of younger shengs colors my impression of this mellow tea. I like it but I don’t think it would be something I would drink regularly.
Spring 2016 harvest.
Dry and wet leaves have nice, vegetal fragrance with a hint of roast. Nice, golden liquor. Wasn’t able to enjoy from the start as I would have liked as I got pushed into some tasks immediately as I finished steeping. Liquor is nice, thick and smooth. Lightly floral.
Creamy aroma in the second steep. Flavor hasn’t changed too much, and by the third steep the flavor is already super faint. It gets a hint of bitterness if I leave it to sit and cool awhile before drinking. I do one last steep that I let go a bit long, actually, a bit longer than I had intended. It’s an interesting blend of cream with some bitterness.
I’ll be giving this one another try when I can!
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Roasted, Smooth, Vegetal
This is an excellent malty black tea. It does seem to have some caramel notes to it. Those are really the only two notes I get but I just brewed this western style.
I steeped this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with three tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.
Compared to the Da Wu Ye I’ve had from ESGreen, this one is a lot more subtle and thick and possesses less upfront gardenia and candy sweetness. Instead what I get is sweet roasted barley, honeysuckle, and a more up front mineral base. It’s more throaty and active in the mouth too. In fact, I find it to be quite similar to YS’s Bai Ye from the same year. I actually enjoyed this more during the 4th and 5th steeps which I found were more vibrant and active in the mouth. It can go for at least 7 steeps before petering out.
This tea started out as a very complex mix of notes of spice, vegetal notes, camphor, and even medicinal notes. It did not in my opinion have a strong start. But by about the fifth steep it began to become a sweet and smooth raw puerh. By the twelfth steep it was very sweet and very smooth. Not quite the apricots of a new sheng but still sweet. It was overall very good. This would not be a good tea to steep western style however because the good notes took a while to emerge. This is definitely an example about how gongfu brewing can improve a tea dramatically.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 9.1g leaf and 190 degree 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. I could have kept going with this tea but I decided I had had enough caffeine for today.
Flavors: Camphor, Medicinal, Spicy, Sweet, Vegetal
I know I just reviewed this tea but I had to comment again on the buttery mouth feel and the tart lemony bite of this superb tea. I know that for many the term young pu-erh is an oxymoron. But I think youth and age are the yin and yang of the pu-erh experience.
I’m immediately struck by the thickness and strength of this tea, which really blooms in the back of the throat. This tea has been well-reviewed and I agree it’s a standout. The mouth feel is rare for a young sheng and the peach flavors pleasantly mingle with the nutty notes you would find in a dragon well green.
Those of you with sensitive stomachs: beware; it’s hard-hitting and can be bitter if you don’t keep the steeps short. Still, I believe an experienced drinker would never get bored with this beguiling tea, one that, like a great poem, rewards re-readings.
The change in seasons really allows me to appreciate how the comforting, roasted, and mineral elements of Wuyi teas contrast with the often floral/honey-sweet, powerful, bitter, earthy, and vegetal aspects of sheng pu I typically drink.
The first thing I notice about this one is its sheer viscosity and smooth texture. It coasts the cup and the tongue like extra virgin olive oil. Beginning from the first few steeps, it’s complex in an unassuming way—roasted acorn and almond are accompanied with florals in the background and a nice mouthfeel. Mid steeps give way to more roasted almond, hazelnut and acorn, orange peel, bay leaf, leather, brown sugar, and molasses with persistent lingering florals.
There is less qi, mouthfeel, vibrancy throatiness, and floral sweetness than the Ai Jiao and Tie Luo Han—so far my favorite Wuyis, yet more comforting roasted nutty notes which is perfectly suited for the seasons here in the Northeast. This one yields around 7 tasty steeps and perhaps one or two more if pushed hard.
This is my first foray into gong-fu style brewing and… not my first ripe pu-erh, but I’m definitely a newbie in that department as well. Suddenly tea trays make a LOT of sense after getting water absolutely everywhere on my cutting board-turned-tray and the table. Towels were needed, fingers were burnt. Overall I enjoyed the relaxation aspect of it though! I love the gaiwan I got, it’s got a good heft to it and doesn’t feel flimsy: http://teaware.house/collections/gaiwan/products/blue-blessing-ruyao-gaiwan-115ml
Not too keen on this tea, I think I may have over-leafed it, it was very barn-y. Any tips for a newbie? I did two brief rinses.
While doing a comparison between a new yixing pot and a gaiwan, i tested this tea today.
After a rinse of about 20 seconds, i started with like 10 – 20 secs brews (hard to tell exactly, the pot is pouring slow). The first 2 infusions are overwhelming, way too earthy for my taste. The brew is really dark, looks like coffee.
(Maybe next time i really should do two 30 secs rinses to skip this initial taste.)
There is already a creamy mouthfeel.
The next infusions (still at 10-20 secs) are better, the earthiness scales back and there is a hint of cacao and maybe oranges. Thick and creamy mouthfeel.
Flavors: Cacao, Creamy, Earth
[Spring 2015 picking]
Dry leaf (SWEET, HERBAL, NUT): dark malt, mossy green notes, some red fruit. In preheated vessel – strong nut notes, green herb, blackstrap molasses, beer wort
Smell (SWEET, EARTHY): caramel, sweet potato, malt
Taste (SWEET, EARTHY, NUT, FRUIT): sweet potato, brûléd marshmallows, dry baking spices, light malt and caramel, raw almond, dried date, green stem notes, dark ripe cherry
Two main things with this one: 1) it tastes like sweet potato casserole in a cup, 2) it is very dynamic.
So, regarding point 1 – it is delicious. Great balance of earthy, sweet, dark and light flavors.
Regarding point 2 – every time I sessioned this tea, I got something new out of it. The flavors were constantly evolving – sometimes fruitier, sometimes earthier, sometimes greener, sometimes sweeter. Really a fun tea to have and to look forward to drinking.
I have to admit, I had a period of disinterest with black teas. They always have that one recognizable English breakfast-y sort of thing that takes me back to my bagged tea days. Familiarity breeds contempt, as they say. But after two great experiences just this year, they are really climbing pretty high up on my list. Dynamic and complex, and generally a very affordable brew.
This is the PERFECT November treat.