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Recent Tasting Notes
Got this as a free sample with my last YS order
A pretty strongly bitter young sheng. Not unpleasant, but pretty burly. Light fruityness, green grape maybe. I don’t get a lot a flavor complexity off of it, but it has a very nice lingering quality in the mouth. Fairly heady cha qi.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Vegetal
The 2013 Drunk on Red has proven to be a delightful tea for me and my wife. But at my last YunnanSourcing order, I decided to buy a tong of the 2014 instead, based on the plethora of reviews on YS’s website.
Like the 2013, the 100g bings are neatly wrapped with minimalist art with a motif of the year’s zodiacal animal (2013 was a snake, 2014 is a horse).
I did notice that the 2014 bing is not as heavily pressed as are the 2013s.
As I did not expect much difference between the years, I tasted them side by side for a better comparison. I found that taste-wise, the 2013 and 2014 were identical – or enough as that my unrefined palate didn’t distinguish a difference. They were both well flavored teas with a dark red liquor. Perhaps the 2014 had a bit more potency, but not decisively so.
Both teas produce a strong meditative effect. In fact after sipping the two of them together, I was quite lost in my thoughts for some time. Both seem to live up to their name quite well.I did notice that the 2013 had a smoother and rounder mouth feel compared to the 2014, which was a bit dryer with a hit of astringency. Perhaps that is the difference between years.
Overall, I would recommend this tea. The flavor is good today, and if the 2013 is any indication, it will mellow some with age as well. Additionally the fantastic value of a tong – 1kg of tea in 10 cakes – is hard to beat. The cakes themselves are great to hand out as gifts to those who are into Asian culture, tea, or both.
This tea is deceiving in that when you first rinse it, the wet leaves smell very bitter. With a flash rinse and a 6 second steep, the flavor is very light, nutty, creamy, with a artichoke type of vegetal flavor.
This tea can be very temperamental, like most green teas. So, if you were to brew this, I would highly recommend a light hand on temperature and steep time. If you are careful with it, it can give you a very nice tea experience. If not, it can become very bitter, very quickly.
Flavors: Artichoke, Cream, Nutty
This is a solid black tea. It certainly has a tangy raspberry note that everyone seems to mention. There is also a woodsy/slightly green flavor to it. Not vegetal but just an earthy green hint. Slight hint. Classic black tea flavor but with a little more complex twist to it. A decent little tea buzz as well.
Flavors: Green Wood, Raspberry
Glad I bought a sample of this before going for a cake
Brews up a dusky burnt orange color. It has fairly strong tobacco and leather notes. Theres a bit of camphor and a light fig fruityness. The main thing that I find off putting is a strong sour/vegetal note that reminds of sauerkraut or artichoke.
The spent leaves look pretty nice. Mostly whole with thick stems and an olive green-medium brown color.
It’s not a bad tea, and I can see someone liking it a lot, but that someone is not me
Flavors: Artichoke, Camphor, Fig, Leather, Mint, Sour, Tobacco
A very refreshing and sweet black tea. Oxidation is on the lower side. A strongly fruity tea that reminds me of plums and eucalyptus. Slightly mineral and floral, there’s a yammy/sweet potato note and a sweetness a bit like marshmallows. It’s a sweet potato casserole tea!
I think I’m feeling a bit of qi off this tea, a relaxing, steadying sort of feeling. I guess that makes this a magical sweet potato casserole tea!
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Floral, Mineral, Plums, Sweet Potatoes
So, starting with the typical stuff, it’s a Yunnan black. It’s malty, chocolatey, and sweet potatoey.
Comparing it to the other Chinese blacks I’ve had lately, it’s a little brighter in flavor. As soon as I take a sip, there’s a sharp tang of tannins that hits at the front of the tongue. Potato notes hit next in the middle of the tongue, and then the mouth is filled with a dark chocolate flavor at the end. There’s some astringency at the back of the palate.
Though this tea is excellent, I think I prefer some of the other Yunnans I’ve been drinking lately.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Tannin
Really enjoying this one all day. Lots of sour plummy taste & aroma – I actually didnt like it oversteeped, in fact ive been flashing it all day with lower temps and its just going and going. It can explode with a funky sour taste if left to its own devices imho.
Really interesting tea, a bit like aged sheng but a differentdeep sour, some bark flavour & age or storage but nothing that puts me off. pickled plum/umeboshi tea? :)
I did write a big review all day but closed the tab so its been shortened.
Glad im getting to try these Hei Cha, as I have enjoyed the two ive had so far, & want to try some more (of the nice ones).
A bit one sided in its taste perhaps, and not as complex as I really like but the aroma is a nice one & the huigan was nice in the early steeps. Now im on something like steep 10 & its softened but still pleasant.
I would buy some of this, A good alternative to having aged sheng imo, and a 250g brick would last me forever. (& only $30) I dont know where this one falls for people who know Hei Cha – is it a good one or not? Who knows but its fruity & different :)
Flavors: Bark, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Sour
It is a very different tea! The purple variety feels thinner and is more bitter than the usual stuff. The notes are sharper and more soapy than fruity and floral. Luckily this has mellowed down a bit, but could still have more body and depth. Make sure you know what this kind of tea tastes like before purchasing a whole cake.
Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Soap, Tangy
My husband is out with work friends and I almost regret offering to give him a lift home. His problem is time escapes him and before he knows it the bar will be closing and he stumbles into the street at 4am. I have work in the morning and it’s already 10:30pm, hopefully he phones me early so I can snuggle in my bed. I got a teddy bear soft sheet that Oliver kitten loves, he has a thing for sucking soft wool things. Apparently wool sucking in cats and kittens shows that he was taken too early from his mother and he is trying to find a way to bond with her. I had him when he was 4 months, he was the one found on the street and so I took him in. I do worry about him sometimes, does he even remember his mother? What about his siblings? I can only pray that they are alright.
Anyway, back in the world of tea I am drinking this in the hopes that it will keep me busy to help me stay awake. My eyes are feeling heavy and a little droopy but if I’m not clear minded I cannot drive. Enter some purple tea in a beautiful cake form. I’m three steeps in and am impressed by it so far. It tastes like you expect for Sheng but it’s darker in colour than you would expect, of a normal Sheng that is.
It’s sweet and smooth with earth, musk and floral notes. On the whole it’s easy to drink and would make for a nice everyday tea. The cake was $8 for 100g which I feel is a very good price. Usually I cannot stomach cheap Pu Erh, it’s either too strong, too sour or it lacks flavour altogether. This may not be top quality, but it’s certainly nice enough to make me want more. I think I’m going to steep the shit out of this tea!
BTW steep three in a teapot was large enough to open the leaves fully and for the most part they are whole. I love seeing the leaves after, it’s a reminder that I’m drinking something natural.
I will be here, steeping and waiting for a drunken phone call.
Dry leaves smell of stonefruit, prunes and tobacco. Makes you want to sit around with your nose in the bag for a while. Wet leaves smell of tabacco with a hint of prunes or dates.
One 10s rinse for this one.
Steep – Time – Note
1st – 10s – Interesting mouth feel. Sort of tingling on the tongue. Very light, almost white tea like with peach and floral notes. Wow, that mouth feels stays with you for a little while.
2nd – 10s – Had to pause for sleep… I know.. such wasted time that could have been dedicated to more tea. Anyway…. The mouth feel of this tea, wow. I’ve seen people describe a mouthfeel/cha qi as numbing to tingling. Not sure about cha qi yet. Taste is a little more grassy, but the sort of floral not is still there and there’s a bit of sweetness.
3rd – 10s – The huigan, sweetness at the back of the throat, is amazing! There’s a fruity again, but I can’t quite put my finger on what sort. Feel like a use plum or stone fruit too much. My cup just emptied itself without warning or provocation. So, time for another steep.
4th – 20s – Really lovely sweetness at the back of the throat. Still have that interesting tingling/numbing mouth feel going on. Initial aftertaste has a starfruit like tartness. Grassy with a sort of green apple note. Sweet, dry finish. There is a bit of cha qi going on as well, but very gentle and energizing.
5th – 30s – Love the sweetness at the back of the throat. Melon! Sort of honeydew with a tiny bit wheat grass, that’s the fruity note I was trying to pin down earlier. Tingling, numbing mouth feel continues. Based on how quickly my cup keeps emptying I believe there may be a secret hole in it that perhaps opens to another universe… one in which some being is stealing my tea. >:( LOL! _
6th – 60s – Fruity notes are gone and a bit grassy. Mouth feel remains.
7th – 60s – Not much huigan left, just the semi-sweet grassiness with the dry finish. Amazed how the tingling/numbing mouth feel remains even as taste fades. I do feel like pushing the steep time by much more would bring out some bitterness at this point as I am detecting a slightly bitter note when it first hits the tongue. The cha qi should have quit at this point, but it’s too legit and thus has not quit. :P
8th – 90s – Interestingly, kicking up the steep time has renewed the melon flavor and huigan. I’ll push it to two minutes on the next one just out of curiosity. Really feeling the cha qi now which might not be so great since it’s well after midnight now, but I always say that I can sleep through anything. That said, I think this cup just made buying a cake of this tea worthwhile to me… depending on the cost. (Runs over to YS to check price.) $45!? I’ll take two! :) I forgot that the leaves came just outside of MaHei village. That makes sense given some of the flavors in my cup.
9th – 120s – Same as the previous with a more intense mouth feel. I was hoping to finish this session tonight, but looks like I can extend it into the morning a bit.
Next time I try this tea I want to see how hard I can push it. Maybe 20s on the 3rd steep then 30s on the 4th and 5th just to see if it becomes overly astringent. This session leads me to believe that this is unlikely.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Honeydew, Melon
Lovely tea, as I expected from these Chinese blacks. The dry leaf smells like grapes and cranberries, and at this point I’m hoping I’ll finally be able to taste the fruitiness of a black tea that people keep talking about.
No such luck.
It’s still a lovely tea though. It’s sugary sweet, like honey. There is a slight hint of mineral and astringency I could do without. At this point, I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t just my extremely hard water that’s giving my tea that mineral taste.
The dominant flavor is an earthy sweet potato flavor with an underlying medium caramel. Soooo tasty.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Honey
My small YS order arrived yesterday and this tea was in it. I bought the easy purple clay gaiwan set for me to use at work and thought this tea would go well with it. I will go on record and say that for the best part of my tea drinking exploration I have disliked Pu Erh. I kept trying it over the years and found it either too bitter or too soft. There were a few exceptions but for the most part everything I had I disliked and I felt that perhaps Pu Erh was just not for me. That was until this year I decided to perhaps explore even further. I believe I was getting tea from the wrong places, and the cheap grade Pu Erh is not worth it. Some came without certificates and some deals were too good to be true, it’s no wonder I disliked them, you get what you pay for. Now I will only buy Pu Erh from dealers that I trust.
That leads me to this tea, purchased from a trusted place and a nice quality. The golden tips are beautiful! Full of downy hairs and shine, with a musty smell that is sensual and peppery. I’ve come a long way to even willingly drink Shu let alone describe it as sensual.
I’m not keeping time of steeping times and this is a relaxed review, something I do for personal enjoyment. Sometimes there is no fun in having to start a timer.
In flavour this is soft, smooth and very easy to drink. While it’s subtle in flavour the creaminess makes it very enjoyable. Earth mixed with raw sugarcane and an aftertaste of dry, light musty wood. No impure flavours or scents.
A few steeps in and it remains consistent in flavour and strength.
I’m writing this when I’m supposed to be doing my white2tea club blog. I should really get back to that. Until then I will be drinking and thoroughly enjoying this tea.
Another hobby of mine is homebrewing beer. The first thing that struck me about this tea was the strong resemblance to a light wort which is the steeping water from the grain before hops, yeast, and fermentation transform it into beer. In this tea, I get a buttery biscuity flavor that transforms into a tangy slightly tart lingering finish. There is some present, but not overpowering roasty notes that fade in subsequent steepings. I get a light astringency that helps cut through the creamy butter. The liquid is fairly thick and coats my mouth. I’m on the third or fourth steeping and expect to get a few more.
Flavors: Apple, Bitter, Butter, Chocolate, Malt, Nutty, Pleasantly Sour
This is pretty good for a newly made ripe puerh tea. It had quite a bit of fermentation flavor. That flavor was still a bit funky if not quite fishy. It was not bitter. It developed a nice sweet note. I would venture to say it had some notes of chocolate in there. Maybe a bit of a woody mushroom taste too. This was a nice puerh. I bought two cakes of this so I will be seeing how this one ages.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10.2g 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. Could have gotten a few more steeps out of this one but twelve steeps is enough caffeine for me.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Mushrooms, Sweet
Honestly rather surprised that I’m the first reviewing this one.
The smell of these wet leaves are amazing! Fruity gummies, cherries and plums. The dry leaves smells subtly of plum preserve/jam.
2 Rinses at 10s each.
Steep – Time – Notes
1st – 10s – The aroma of the wet leaves is indeed imparted to the tea. Not much of the flavor in this steep though. I just finished the last cup of my previous tea session early this morning so that may be influencing this tasting, but I’m noticing a bit of a heady cha qi going on. We’ll see how it develops going forward. Despite not carrying much of the fruit flavors I smell it does have wonderful sweetness that blossoms at the back of the throat before gently fading away.
2nd – 10s – Heeyyyyy! There’s that lovely plum/cherry note I smelled in the leaves! _
Sweet, pleasant astringency. Nice dry finish. I thought there was no bitterness, but there is a slight bitter note in the aftertaste that quickly melts into that fruity sweetness. I think you have to really be looking for it to even notice it. I’d take it as a good indication that this tea shouldn’t be pushed too hard in the early steeps. Very good tea.
3rd – 15s – Light, airy, cha qi going on right now. :) The fruit notes are a little more subtle here and the tea tastes more grassy, sort of typical of shengs. The sweetness in the aftertaste has increased a bit. A little more bitterness in this one. Loving the relaxed cha qi. Feeling energized, relaxed and focused all at once.
4th – 15s – Slight bitterness in the mouth followed by surprising sweetness in the aftertaste. That’s a first. The fruity notes are still subdued as the grassy notes have taken center stage.
5th – 30s – Bitter note has disappeared, sweet finish is still present and some of the fruity notes are making another appearance. Nice cup… finished it too fast to say much more about it… my bad. LOL!
6th – 40s – Still fruity, but very weak. Need to up my steep time.
7th – ??s- Set my timer for 90s and then got pulled into a conversation. So… 2 minutes, 3, 5? I dunno. Long enough to bring out some bitter notes. :( I may brew one or two more pots tomorrow with these leaves. I screwed this one up, but those first few steeps were just lovely.
I need to establish my own tea rating scale so that these scores are actually more meaningful. Particularly when it comes to future purchases. Of course given how much tea I just bought from Yunnan Sourcing that may be a long, long, long way off. YQH Chawangshu… okay, maybe not that far off. It pricey but that tea definitely defines the upper end of my quality scale right now. I’ll have to get in on Emmett’s next monthly buy.
Flavors: Candy, Cherry, Plums
Smokey. That’s the only flavor I could taste. While it wasn’t overpowering, and it was a fairly smooth smokey flavor, it was the exclusive flavor of this tea.
It wasn’t bad, but my wife and I didn’t find it tasty. (We don’t like lapsang souchong either)
Smokey though 4 steeps. Smoke became less pronounced, but still the only taste.
This is a very good oolong… not as sweet as some, but with a full bodied feel, very apparent mineral taste and notes of honey, as per the description. The smell of the dry leaves is very strong, and somewhat surprising, but this does not come through in a prominent way when infused. The leaves are large and pleasing, and the tea lasted for many infusions without losing appeal. . . in fact, as the initial stronger flavors faded, a mellow sweetness did indeed come out.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Honey, Mineral
Ohh, this is lovely. Even just opening my little glass jar and smelling it—it’s all earthy and chocolatey. And the leaves! They’re so furry! I want to name them, keep them as pets, and let them sleep curled up on my shoulder.
I’d describe this tea as sweet potatoey hot chocolate. There’s chocolate and sweet potatoes, of course, but there is also an earthy kind of malty flavor and burned sugar. Sometimes there’s a hint of some bitterness, but it’s very light and comes and goes.
Loving this earthy sweet potato chocolate tea!
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Chocolate, Malt, Sweet Potatoes