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Recent Tasting Notes
The dry leaf has medium/high compression. The aroma is dust. It looks dark and has been humid stored. There are hints of White2Tea 90’s Hong Storage, but without the lively raw beetroot.
The wet leaf has warm pastry, some soil, similar to by Hebden Tea’s Pu Erh Brick Aged Green Tea 1991, but without the sweet uncooked pastry. There is a bit of dark fruit.
5s – Liquor is light brown; this is wet stored, but how wet stored? Let’s find out. Flavour is not complex; there is no concentrated herbyness here. Currently, it is mild; a mild version of the Hebden Tea mentioned above, without the grease. Light pastry; light soil.
10s – Liquor is much darker – a darkish brown. Flavour is stronger: the soil is more prominent; it has more body. This tea is not particularly interesting at the moment.
15s – Liquor darker again: becoming dark brown. The flavour is now concentrated; there is some astringency. It is bolder, but has a sweet, raw beetroot flavour in the swallow. Have I just brewed the storage influence out and now getting to the tea?
20s – Liquor is reddish brown. Flavour is settling down: raw beetroot meets a lot of heat and loses some sharpness.
25s – Liquor is lighter reddish brown. Raw beetroot, soil, lively; there is dried chilli spice. It is described as being spicy. This can be felt at the back of the roof of the mouth. The warm pastry has gone, and that’s a good thing.
35s – Liquor is a darker reddish brown. The smoothness has gone; it’s now a little astringent, soily, and a bit dry.
~1 minute – Browny red. Boldness is going, leaving raw beetroot and spiciness.
Thank you Boychik for including a couple of these with the Yunnan Sourcing tea. I LOVE sticky rice pu-erh. I’ve tried a couple. This one doesn’t seem overly like sticky rice like my favorite one did… really only hints in the scent and flavor. The cup gets very dark very fast, but the flavor doesn’t seem as deep as it should be. It’s very sweet but mild flavored.. it doesn’t seem like there are a ton of elements to it but none of the more unlikeable pu-erh flavor notes either. The second steep is deeper but still not very much like rice. Not terrible, but I believe I was spoiled with that first sticky rice pu-erh I tried!
Steep #1 // couple min after boiling // rinse // 2 min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Steep #3 // just boiled // 4 min
The aroma of the dry leaf (tuo) is herbal, hay, has complexity and promises an interesting drink. It is highly compressed.
The aroma of the wet leaf is slightly medicinal, fruity, stewed mushroom, sweet peat (Laphroaig/Talisker/Ardbeg aroma), floral with a pollen-like sweetness, dark cherries, strawberries, warm lemon. There is smoke, but it’s not overpowering; it’s smoked fish (kipper) smoke.
5s – Fruit on the front of the tongue, smoky on the swallow, medicinal. It has a mushroom direction: perhaps time has changed it’s sharpness into this fungus flavour profile.
10s – It has the Menghai flavour profile of concentrated herbyness. It has Lapsang Souchong smokiness and slight bitterness. It is complex.
15s – Concentrated herbyness with a mushroom direction. You first get the concentrated herbyness, and then you get the mushroom-ness. Floral sweetness sits on top of the concentrated green base. The only other tea I’ve known to have this is 2002 CNNP Little Yellow Mark Private Order by White2Tea. It does tingle on the edge of the tongue.
20s – The wet leaf now has a pungent aroma. It is becoming astringent
Flavors: Herbs, Medicinal, Mushrooms, Smoke
Giving this a 100 to balance out the poor review by the person that doesn’t like shou. This is a nice shou with a really great price point. Nice and dark and smooth. I would rate this in the lower to mid 80s I think. I enjoyed it and I’m happy it was sent to me as a mistake instead of a raw mini cake I ordered. A happy accident I will call it!
Gonna hold off on scoring this tea until I know it better. So far so good though. Really hit the spot with a big hit of energy coming from it. Has a nice tannic/bitter bite coming from it. This is balanced by a light sweetness and a little smoke. Really good. Gonna analyze this later. Today I just enjoyed it.
Flavors: Smoke, Sweet, Tannic
Another sample gift from new bud into pu erhs. Used a thin walled gaiwan quick rinse and rest. Aromas of gas, new leather cloth, tobacco, fresh timber. Flavors of pie crust, pine nut, sesame seaweed crackers, butane, sawdust. Who knows what else? But I love it. Thick sticky mouth-feel, astringent far more than sweet but its not unpleasant, actually very pleasing. Loads of energy and stamina. Brewed about 30 steeps lost count as I drank it all day long. At the end I just put it in a pot on the stove and gently brought it to a simmer for 10 minutes to make sure nothing was left in the leaf….sick. the leaves were all uniform, thick and unbroken. This tea rocks.
Clearly I’m missing something here. I ordered Yunnan Sourcing’s Wild Tree Purple Varietal Black Tea of Dehong Spring 2014 because of the rave reviews here and elsewhere and, well, I just don’t see it. [Note: it’s hard to tell from the listing – it’s possible that the deliciousness was last year’s version and the 2014 that I have is different.] Last night, I gave it the full gaiwan multi-steep treatment and was generally underwhelmed. I found it just a tad smoky and just a tad sweet, but generally ordinary. “OK,” thought I, “Perhaps it needs a full Western steep.” So that’s what I tried this morning, a couple of heaping teaspoons in an 8 oz cup and a full 3½ minute steep. Nope, it’s still not doing anything for me. Terri and other reputable tasters love this stuff, so maybe I’ll just put it aside for a while and try again. In the meantime, I have a lot of it, so if anyone else wants to give it a shot – to confirm or debunk my impressions – just drop me a line and I’ll send some right over.
Mmm, this is so good! I get a lot of cocoa notes from this one. It’s like I drank all three of the golden teas I ordered in order from lightest to darkest, potato to cocoa. Pretty funny, actually. They are all awesome. The tea leaves are absolutely beautiful. As I was warned by MzPriss, I think this may be a new addiction. Uh oh! ;)
This is an excellent and tasty ripe puerh. It has a moderate amount of fermentation flavor left. It is not overly earthy. It has a very nice sweetness. It is hard for me to discern the exact notes of flavor because I seem to be coming down with something and while my taste bud seem unaffected, I am having trouble concentrating on the flavors I find. Suffice to say it is nice and sweet. I added sugar which has made the tea even sweeter.
I would also say that the leaves look and smell very tasty too.
I brewed this twice in an 18oz teapot with 6.1gt leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 30 sec and 30 sec. The second steeping I put in a thermos to bring to work with me.
I love Bi Luo Chun but am surprised to find this is a very different Bi Luo Chun! This tea is not delicate! I brewed at 185 , 1 tsp , 2 min, 8 oz. That’s pretty much my standard for most greens but this one seemed quite strong at 2 min. It brews a golden colour. It’s strong , nutty & vegetal . I occasionally pick up pine sap notes.
It definitely does have good Cha qi. This tea has really given me good energy this morning. Because this is a strong green it kind of reminds me somewhat of some of the young shengs. A very strange Bi Luo Chun! I enjoy this tea but can’t say I love it like my Bi Luo Chun from Royal Tea Bay or Teavivre. It certainly is different. I plan on brewing this with a shorter steep time next time.I think this is a good tea for those who love shengs or dark tea drinkers that want to try out some greens.
Flavors: Nutty, Pine, Vegetal
I got my first EVER Yunnan Sourcing order in the mail yesterday! Woo! I’m swimming in golden black teas! I didn’t have time to sit down and enjoy a cup, but I wanted one so bad, so I made some and threw it in my timolino for our drive to lunch. This tea was very yummy. It’s similar to the yunnan Dian hong golden tips from TeaVivre, (which I also restocked on Black Friday!), but seemed sweeter. I think there’s a sugar sweetness, and maybe some fruitiness, in this I don’t get in golden tips. It has that wonderful sweet potato malt flavor, but is light and airy. Yum! I definitely want to gong fu brew this one next time!
Method: 8 grams of tea to 140 ml of water in a Zisha Pot with a quick rinse.
(subtract 5 seconds from the time in order to get the tea’s idling time)
The Cake has a nice deep grey-green color with a fair ammount of silver buds running through it. The dry leaf smells slightly fruity, with a subtle hinting of that Shen bitterness.
1st Steep (10 seconds): The Color is a pale yellow with a touch of gold. The Smell is light (especially since it’s the first steep), fruit and bitterness, you can tell it’s young. The Taste is very good for a first infusion, which makes me want the second really bad! There’s a moderately strong fruit first, but in the Aftertaste, you get that slight bitterness and astringency which reminds you that this is definitely a young Sheng.
2nd Steep (15 seconds): The Color has gotten darker, but not nearly so dark as the Ye Sheng that I reviewed. The Smell’s gotten just a bit stronger, not much though. The Taste, however, has gotten a major overhaul! It’s still got some fruit in the beginning, but it’s bitter and astringent, possibly so much that the weaklings would have to stop. The Aftertaste is similar, but there’s a slight roasty flavor there.
3rd Steep (20 seconds): The Color’s still a light amber-ish shade. The Scent is weak, though, not much to note there. The Taste, though, is fresh, green, with some fruit and strong bitterness and astringency; but in the very long Aftertaste, you get the characteristic Sheng gasoline taste. This is a really good tea!
4th Steep (30 seconds): The Color is still so pretty! The Scent is still bitter fruit. The Taste is less “in your face” than the last steeping, but it still has those same tastes. It serves them to you in a more drawn out way, rather than all at once. The Aftertaste is still the same. I really like it, as a lover of Young Sheng.
5th Steep (40 seconds): Color’s the same as before, nice yellow amber. The Scent is a bit more bitter, but otherwise hasn’t dramatically changed. The Taste, on the other hand, has mellowed quite a bit. It’s still strong, but the front of the taste has changed dramatically, from the bitter fruit of previous steeps, to the succulent fruits of now, with some bitterness thrown into the back. Aftertaste is much the same.
Summary: This is a really good tea if you’re like me and enjoy the strong, bitter, and gasoline-ey tastes from your Sheng. I would recommend this to those people all day. For a beginner, however, there are more friendly places to start with Sheng. A good tea for daily drinking, since the $25 -$28 USD price tag isn’t gonna break the bank.
Method: Gongfucha with 8 grams of leaf to 140 ml of water with a quick rinse in a Zisha Pot
(The Pour speed of the pot used is ~5 seconds, so subtract 5 seconds from the time to get the actual steeping time.)
The Leaf of the cake is yellow-ish. It’s not sickly looking, just an interesting turn of color from the grey-ish greens that I usually find in Sheng Puerh (possibly because this is an Autumn harvest, but I’m not really sure). The dry leaf smells smokey, with light touches of honey. After sitting in my preheated pot, however, it changes to become more honey scented.
1st Steep (10 seconds): The Color is a honey-yellow, which I expect will darken in the steepings to come. The liquor Smells unambiguously like honey with a touch of smoke; it’s sweet, but has that slight smokey bite to it. The Taste is very light and sweet, which I do not think will last (I probably should have rinsed this twice or infused a bit longer). The Aftertaste, even though I probably under-brewed this, is thick in comparison to the taste, with a lingering honey taste.
2nd Steep (15 seconds); The Color has a good bit more orange. The Smell is an interesting melange of honey and smoke. The Taste is still incredibly light, which is very surprising in the world of Sheng. There’s not much of an Aftertaste, unless you want to count a slight lingering honey in the back of the throat.
3rd Steep: (25 seconds): I doubled the idling time! The Color has gotten a touch more orange, which is nice, I’d like to get some flavors other than weak honey from this. The Smell still has that interesting “smoked honey” scent on it. The Taste has gotten more interesting. There’s a fruit presence now which is aided by the sweet tones of honey. The Aftertaste is on the middle of the tongue, but it’s flavors are still fairly muted, just a lingering sweetness, not bad, but not too impressive either.
4th Steep (35 Seconds): Ten more seconds! Color still looks nice, holding up. I must admit, the color is more orange than this tea’s year of age would attest to. The Scent is still nice, but hasn’t gotten any more complex. The taste is like fruit that has been put in a smoke-house for a minute or two, it’s not too weak, but’s again, it’s not too impressive. The Aftertaste is clean, but that’s about all that can be said for it.
5th Steep (50 Seconds): The Color is still that nice orange. The Smell hasn’t changed noticeably. The taste is just weak at this point. Not really an Aftertaste.
Bonus Round!: (3 minutes at boiling!): Color’s a bit darker. Smell is strong (comparatively). Taste is more interesting. Fruity, smokey, honey-ey(?), with some slight bitterness int he background. THIS is what I wanted!
Summary: This is a light and smooth tea, but for a Sheng puerh, it’s unbearably delicate. If someone wants something smooth for just occasional drinking, this would be okay, but I can’t really recommend this. If a beginner wanted an introduction to Sheng, there are far more representative selections out there for almost the same price ($22 USD).
I will be trying this again in a month or two. I will admit that the Zisha that I used is young (possibly too young to make great tea) and is also un-seasoned, possibly a mistake(?).
After I finished my mad rush of Thanksgiving preparations, I had a little time to sit down with some tea before my guests arrived and I chose this. Fruity, fruity fruity. A little bit of bitterness, especially if you go a little long on the steeps but really nice. I very much got a lot of the apricot others have mentioned. A cake of this on my wishlist and I will scoop one up soon.
Pretty, long leaves form the cake which has an inviting fruity scent. Limited number of stems and pieces. Two 5 second rinses and left the wet leaves to rest before steeping the first cup. Orange color in the tea soup. The sip yields an appealing fruity sweet flavor and suggests a thick and substantial body. In later cups there is a tiny bit of bitterness and both tobacco and woody flavors hit to offer a little balance and complexity. Good throat-feel where the sweetness continues to build. This is a straightforward tea made from decent leaves from one clearly identified growing area and I must say that I quite enjoyed my sessions yesterday and today. When I last checked, you could still find it at Angelina’s Teas for $45.
Brewed in porcelain gaiwan starting at 30seconds, addiitional 10 seconds for first 4 steeps then upped by 30secs for another 3 steeps.
Wow! Delicious I’m not sure exactly what to say I think Complex would be a fitting word to use to describe this one, there are many great flavor notes in this one.
The aroma of the wet leaf is fruity sweet on the start and more floral sweet at the end, nice bold aroma all the way to the last cup.
The flavors ranged from sweet fruity and floral to almost malty with hints of cocao, slight notes of pine, pepper, grape/raisin, honey and sweet potato.
I also get a slight astringent around the 3rd and 4th steep but not in a bad way.
At times this one was reminiscent of a golden dian hong and at times it reminded me of a Kemun, a wonderful bold delicous black tea.
I’m so glad YS started doing a monthly tea box,I love ot already!
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey, Pepper, Sweet Potatoes
I guess it shouldn’t surprise me much that this tea wasn’t on Steepster yet since it’s from this fall.
Today has been a stinker of a Monday, but this tea is making me giggle madly (in a room by myself). It’s so good, and it is changing my outlook on my day drastically.
Let me back up a minute. This is from my first Yunnan Sourcing monthly box. It came on the best day possible (a day when I was not having a great day and getting tea in the mail helped a lot). I have been really impressed with the whole process really, from Scott’s openness to suggestion from the users here, to his willingness to substitute teas that are my liking. I must say, I feel like what I got was a very good value. These aren’t just samples guys, they are bags of tea. One of them looks like a full 100g, and another is 250g of pu. The others look to be about 25g each. I haven’t weighed them but that’s my eyeball guess.
I knew this tea was going to be good when I opened the package. Fairy dust all over, and that smell. You know the one. The magic malty yummy smell.
I’m not disappointed. The tea is delicious. I definitely need to make sure I watch for this one if it’s on sale for the holiday.
Method: Gongfucha with 7 grams of leaf to 120 ml of water with a quick rinse.
(I’m using my teapot for this, so subtract 10 seconds to get the time when I started pouring the tea)
The cake is nice, a green-grey color with streaks of silver buds all throughout. It seems relatively loosely compressed (compared to Menghai or Xiaguan), which is what I’ve come to expect of Yunnan Sourcing productions. The dry leaf smells very nice, that gasoliney smell with undertones of fruit. The wet leaf takes on a more bitter scent, looking forward to this. :)
1st Steep (15 seconds): The color is a bit light, but it’s a light golden-yellow. The scent is nice, but subdued (most likely because it’s the first steep). It smells like slightly bitter fruit. The Taste is slightly bitter with some fruity undertones and the Aftertaste is gentle for a Sheng, just a light, lingering bitterness and some astringency.
2nd Steep (20 seconds): The Color is a slightly darker gold color, but the Scent has taken on some slightly smokey qualities in addition to the light fruitiness. The Taste is, overall, fairly gentle for a Sheng (even taking into account that it has been aged 2 years), it has some smoke tones and some fruit, but it’s the Aftertaste that reminds you that this is actually Sheng puerh, just be prepared for a little astringency. It has that gasoline quality that you only ever really get from Sheng.
3rd Steep (25 seconds): The Color’s become even darker, but only a little. The Smell is like a smokey fruit truck at a gas station (trust me, it’s good ;) ). The Taste finally has that punch in the face that Sheng puerh is known for; you’re immediately hit with gasoline with a fruit undertone, but the gasoline morphs into somewhat bitter fruit. The Aftertaste is slick on the tongue, a lingering smokey bitterness.
4th Steep (30 seconds): Color’s still holding up with a burnt gold. The Scent is still strong, ever so slightly smokey with that bitterness that only Sheng can provide. The Taste is nice, with a thick mouthfeel. It has fruit and smoke and bitterness all playing together on the palate, just be prepared for some astringency, it’s not for wimps. The Aftertaste leaves you salivating with fruit and gasoline and that pulling at the mouth from the astringency.
Summary: For $20 USD, this is a wonderful introduction to young Sheng puerh. This is cheap enough to be a daily drinker if you like it. The astringency can be very off-putting to some, but if you want to get into Sheng puerh you had better be prepared to handle it, because it is almost always there. I would happily recomment this to a tea-friend looking to start into Sheng, it has the characteristic Sheng tastes, but it also has enough other flavors to make it slightly unique.
I’m in bad need of some house keeping on my Steepster account. My cupboard is so inaccurate at the moment, it’s ridiculous.
Now, yesterday something happened. Try not to envy me too much, Steepsterites, but what happened was that I realised how little flavoured black we had at the moment. Only four kinds! I told Husband and here’s what he said.
“You slacker! You’ve not been pulling your weight around here much, have you?”
Yes, Steepsterites. I actually have a husband who will scold me (mildly) for NOT having ordered enough tea! Like I said, try not to envy me too much. :D
So we discussed requests a bit. Husband wanted more of the Orange Puerh from Nothing But Tea and also something red fruity because he had become quite fond of the Queen of Berries from Tea Palace. Okay, so first stop Nothing But Tea.
They’ve completely redesigned their webshop so it’s much easier to navigate. Hallelujah! It actually happened to me more than once that I came out of that shop thinking I’d placed an order only to discover later that I hadn’t actually. Don’t know how that happened, but it did. This time the order process seemed more straight-forward and they had a number of interesting things, so I chose the 100g pouch of orange puerh and a number of 10g samples. And then, and THEN! I was given one shipping option from the UK to Denmark and it was a whopping £26!!!!!! For a £14.45 order! O.O Steepsterites, I just about keeled over. Lucky me I have English family, so that order has now gone on my Christmas list instead. I’ve also sent them an email asking if that can really be true, because if it is, I just can’t afford to shop there any longer.
That being out of the question, next stop Tea Palace. Turns out their website returned a 404 error and was otherwise non-existant. Cue panic! Had they closed? I hadn’t heard anything and I’d had a newsletter from them in September which didn’t mention any such thing. A bit of snooping around revealed that they had taken their site down last weekend ‘for improvements’ whatever that means and I can only conclude it still wasn’t ready for re-launch.
So goodbye orange puerh and so long queen of berries…
I turned instead towards the Frenchies, and made a small order with Mariage Freres. I was at a point here where I was more than half expecting something to go horribly wrong, so now we’ll just have to wait and see if it ever turns up. I found their website difficult to navigate and ended up asking Husband what his French was like as even with the English version of the site all the tea names were still in French. The fairly simple fruit flavoured ones was easy enough as he knew some of those words and with the four red fruits one even I could make an educated guess. Horrid site to use, though. I wonder if it’s any better if one speaks French…
So now we’re waiting for that.
In the meantime I’m having a cup of this oolong. It’s the first time I’ve tasted it and I bought it because I was looking for darkish, roast-y oolongs at the time. The description said it was nutty and sweet, which are two things that I approve of, and a reviewer on the site said they thought it tasted like pears. I approve of that as well, so while shopping anyway, I got some.
It has a sweet and nutty aroma, definitely. At first when it was warmest, I thought it smelled a little like honey, but this has gone away as the cup has cooled a bit. The flavour is super-nutty too and only moderately sweet, which I suspect is a good thing or it could have gone cloying. I also agree with the person who said pears. Not as strongly as they seemed to have found them, but more of an aftertaste sort of thing along with a wood-y note.
It’s quite nice this.
This will be a long and chatty note. Our internet went out in the middle of the night Sunday night. We had a freak ice/snow storm and turns out the neighbor’s pain in the neck willow tree screwed up the line. We have been able to tether through our phones to get on for work but it eats up our data so we have been trying to keep it to a minimum. I haven’t been on here much, haven’t been in chat, and I have really missed you guys.
Today was stressful at work. It is the 18th and all of our clients want their projects done early due to the holiday. Normal project cycle is to get it all in before the end of the month, and them nagging and pushing doesn’t make us get anything done any more quickly. It just stresses us out. And, it’s a holiday for us too so of course we would love to be done!
Due to work stress I decided to try this sheng, because I have read about how calming it can be. This sample came from a Steepster friend yesterday. I used 5 g in my fishy gaiwan and did “flash” steeps, as was recommended. I did two rinses. After that, the first couple of steeps were smoky and leathery, but not really in a bad way. After that the tea was much lighter tasting and I started to really enjoy it.
I didn’t get tea drunk like I have with oolong in the past. And to be honest I didn’t think there was much of an effect at all. But about 20 minutes later I was having kitty time and I realized that I was in the most content, blissful and un-stressed state possible. That was the aha moment.
I remember asking the resident Pu heads once if they drink it for the taste or for how it makes them feel. I can really see myself seeking it out for the stress relief. At this point the flavor is still a bit foreign to me, but I am encouraged that I don’t dislike it. I am looking forward to the continued journey.