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Recent Tasting Notes
Pu’erh TTB 2015 Tea #17
After trying four different LaoCha teas, I am able to declare that this is weak. I thought I could get a dark liquid from this with some strong notes, but I was unable to do so. Sometimes there are products to look so similar to another but are worlds apart in regards to taste. This is based off of two different session though since I had enough of it to do so; I did only drink 5 steeps of each though because it wasn’t very enjoyable.
Pu’erh TTB 2015 Tea #16
I have been rather curious about the Impression cakes so I was glad to see a portion in the TTB. I used a nice 6g to have a session with which was a nice mount because it brewed a deep cup every time. Unfortunately I picked up bitterness from this even in the 8th steep so that’s about as far as I could go. To me this might just be a tea to buy and store for it to improve as it ages since it is a decent price for an entire cake. I’ll have to try some of the 5+ year old Impression sometime soon to see if they have a better mouth feel and taste.
I decided to try the premium YS monthly tea box; to get some variety in the teas which I drink it seemed a good choice. This was part of my first shipment. (although I subscribed at the end of the month, I might cancel and rejoin at the start of the month so i dont have to wait into the next month before i receive last months!)
It is very similar to my experience with DHP. Roasty, mineral tastes, slight floral thing, although to me a very ‘grey’ tea. Not saying thats bad, it just is what it is. ‘Iron Arhat’ is a good name for it. Very mineral. More rock than roast.
Definitely drinkable straightaway, roast was never overpowering. Really long pleasant mineral huiguan, quite sprightly on the tongue really!
This is a nice example of a good rocky Oolong that (for me) can be drank alternating with the more oily, woody or floral ones. I dont want that full on oily mouth all the time. Need to let it calm down a bit before the next explosion, right?
A nice solid drink. With this the mineral taste is forward and lingers for ages, and overall you can really taste its character. I liked it.
Flavors: Char, Mineral, Roasted, Wet Rocks
This tea has been sitting in storage for a while now awaiting the day when I was in the right mood to try it. I had no idea what to expect from the snow chrysanthemums either, so it was a leap into the dark.
The brick is highly compressed. The dry leaf has an earthy, cedar wood aroma. It looks great with the orange of the chrysanthemum flowers in it. Most attractive. The wet leaf is primarily earthy and the liquor brews up thick and dark. My first cup was more wtf than anything else. I got an immediate hit of Dr Pepper and tea tree oil with a cooling minty aftertaste. I steeled myself for the second cup and was glad I did. The flavour had moderated itself a bit. There’s still vanilla and tea tree there, but the underlying earthiness of the puerh is more present with a pleasing cedar flavour and chilli pepper notes. I think this tea may be an acquired taste or one for when the mood hits, but five cups in and I am quite pleased with it. Once you get that initial vanilla and tea tree hit out of the way, there is quite a bit of depth to the tea and plenty to enjoy. It’s still a bit ‘interesting’ though.
Flavors: Cedar, Spicy, Vanilla
Wu Liang remains a value champion. Incredibly smooth, buttery tea with almost perfect processing. Wu Liang terroir still is incredibly indistinguishable from Menghai terroir for me… Its dense, and all apricots, tobacco, and kuwei. This seems like a terrific bargain for either drinking now or aging…
Flavors: Apricot, Malt, Tobacco
Ive got insomnia. Its a lovely milk Oolong. Nom nom nom.
I suppose I should say something. its thick and milky. the fragrance from the bag is amazing & sweet, and the taste & aroma from the liquor is a lovely balance between the sweet milkiness & the calming vegetal. Hints of floral in there.
Really very nice. Drinking it grandpa style because im insomniac’d out, but was lovely gongfu as well. I cant remember for how many steeps though.
Flavors: Floral, Milk, Sweet, Vegetal
This is another sample from LP in the YS + Mystery Pack. Thank you!
This is a lighter black tea. I am drinking this western style today at the office. I might have to try this one gongfu at home later this week. It is smooth, slightly malty and sweet. I let it steep for quite a long time the second time around to see how strong I could make it. It held up well, but still maintains a lighter feel/taste to it. A good afternoon black tea.
I have this cake for about 2 years, trying only now. this cake is very clean,maybe due to hanging out in my house for so long. I havent noticed any fermentation flavor or maybe ive had so much shou that tiny bit goes unnoticable.
Its very good, rich, smooth and not overly complex but it did a good job. i tend to put extra leaf for shou, it lasts longer. i brew 15g in 140ml pot and now im thinking that 10-12g would be enough. 400g for $20 is a steal if you like gong ting shou.
Scott over at Yunnan Sourcing seems to have ‘ripened’ some skills this season! I really enjoyed this tea, and I love that it is wild arbor. It is very chocolatey. I found it to be deep and bold, very smooth, somewhat sweet, and quite durable. I bet if this was sold as a premium Dayi product, it would fetch at least double the price. Another winner, and one of the reasons I find that it is better to discover gems from small independent labels you can trust, than to simply buy factory teas (no knock to good factory teas, though!).
I found this to be a very tasty tea, one of the best house ripes I have tried from Yunnan Sourcing. It is a blend of gushu and plantation material. Despite their saying that this tea is ‘lightly’ fermented, I found it to be quite dark and deep, with just a touch of fermentation funk. It is quite delicious – notes of earthy cocoa, some sweetness, bread dough in later steeps, and only a touch of bitterness. The best flavors did dissipate after the first couple of steeps, but it was still quite good after that. I think this is a great tea and a good candidate for aging.
Brewed this up yesterday when I was in a hurry so it didn’t get brewed gongfu style. This morning I had more time. This tea starts out bittersweet in the early infusions and with a fair amount of fermentation flavor. The bitter taste lasted about two infusions. The fermentation taste a little longer. Not sure if I would say this tea developed chocolate flavor but it’s not out of bounds. It definitely was sweet in the end. It is a nice ripe at an excellent price. It’s only $9 per 100g. That is an excellent price for a good tea. I would venture to say it is almost as good as the loose ripe from Mandala but not quite. It is much cheaper. I brewed this eight times and had I wanted to continue I’m sure I would have gotten four or five more steeps out of it but I was brewing in a big gaiwan.
I steeped this eight times in a 220ml gaiwan with 13g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. With all of this I have drank I am now awake.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Sweet
This review is based on one steep western style. This morning I did not have a lot of time for gongfu. There is a fair amount of fermentation flavor to this tea. It is fairly bittersweet in character. I think when I get around to gongfu steeping this it will compare to some of the best. It is pretty good, very tasty.
I brewed this once in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 30 seconds after a 10 second rinse.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Sweet
I never drank such a well balanced tea before.
A very complex sweetness with a lot of nuances. The bitterness ist really perfectly in sync with the sweetness. Everything is at the right place. Wow!
1. 90°C 20 Seconds
2. 95°C 30 Seconds
3. 95°C 45 Seconds
4. 95°C 60 Seconds
5. 95°C 70 Seconds
(Yes, i`m tea drunk… and in (deep) love with this tea)
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Dried Fruit, Melon, Orange Zest, Peach, Saffron
This is from the April box that I shared with Dexter.
I have enough for 2 tastes, which is super nice. The leaves look pretty. They’re pretty small, with golden and dark brown parts, and I think it’s pretty tightly compressed.
I’ll do my usual, which is a 30 second rinse (ish), letting it rest for a bit, and then steeping until I like the colour for a few rounds.
Wet, it smells like shou. IDK, tea people. It’s weird and composty and “why do I want to drink this?” which is basically my reaction to shou every single time I brew it. And then it usually ends up being super tasty.
Ok, I rinsed this one again.
It’s quite woody. Like wet forest. And really really really dark.
I’m missing the sweet notes that I got from the puerh I had yesterday, tbh. IDK that this is bad, but it’s not really what I’m interested in drinking right now. I’m going to put the other serving in my storage (uhh.. the bag with all my shou), and leave it open, to see if it’ll be tastier next time.
I’m just steeping and dumping this, but it looks like after about 6 infusions, it starts losing the strong flavours, and starts getting a little sweeter.
Not to be confused with the 2012 version of this tea with the same name, that some of you apparently own (but have yet to review! Come on, people!). This is very good tea. It has that signature Hai Lang Hao ripe profile – tangy chocolate, very coffee like. These flavors dissipate, though, after just a few steeps, when the tea becomes a bit bland.
Felt like having some shou this evening and this was the one that won the “rummage around in the tea cabinet” lottery.
I mostly drink sheng so I figure I should expand my horizons a bit. This was a good one to choose, though, since the flavour was quite mild. Generally earthy, but nothing too offensive about it. Also, it tasted pretty consistent from steep to steep.
Glad I got a chance to try this. I still have enough for 1 serving, I think. This is a good “starter” for newbies like me.
Thanks for sending me some, Ubacat!
First note for this tea!
I did some gong-fu steeping for this last night: 6g, 130mL gaiwan, 90C water, 5-second rinse.
The flavour and smell were pretty typical for a young sheng – tart, fruity, a bit smoky. I noticed that this had some bitterness in the first few steeps, but it was a sharp, thin bitterness, rather than the kind of juicy bitterness with a fruity aftertaste that I noticed in the Gu Shu from a few days ago. I prefer the Gu Shu kind of bitterness a lot more.
This is a fairly expensive roasted oolong. It has a strong roast profile, tasting strongly of the roast throughout the first four or five steeps. In my opinion it is a little too roasted. It was quite nice in the seventh and eighth steeps if a little weak. A sweet note did develop when the roast faded, not sure what to call it.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.9g leaf and 200 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. I think it was pretty much played out at eight steeps but I suppose I could have squeezed one or two more steeps out of it.
This is a very tasty but bittersweet puerh tea. There were strong bitter notes in the first two steeps. There were some notes of chocolate in there but more like dark chocolate than milk chocolate. It did develop some fruity notes in the last couple of steeps too. This was a tea I really enjoyed. I stopped at eight steeps but I might go back for two more. At only $4 for 50g this is cheap. I bought 250g . Didn’t seem like the thing to do to buy only 50g when it was so inexpensive. I’ve had good luck in general with loose ripes from Yunnan Sourcing so I wasn’t too worried in ordering a large quantity. I wish I didn’t have time for this review and gongfu session. Normally I would be working Saturdays but not any more. My company went bankrupt and they let us go the other day. So I find myself with time on my hands. At least I have plenty of tea to drink. Planning to stop at a local tea shop called the Clipper Ship Tea Company later on today. If anyone lives on Long Island they are an excellent source of quality tea.
I steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9.3g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. Judging by the strength of the brew I’m sure I could have gotten four or five more steeps out of the leaves.
Flavors: Bitter, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Sweet
A nice aged ripe!
The dry cake gives a slight clove and dry earth scent, but I didn’t get much else from it. I placed a generous amount in my warmed gaiwan and gave it a shake. I picked up some interesting tones from the warmed leaf such as: sage, parchment, drought earth, and a desert scent (born and raised in Arizona). I really liked the tones I was picking up, so I knew that it would be interesting. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The herb tones came out from the steeped leaves swiftly. I was picking up Thyme, Tarragon, and old Basil. Afterwards, I was getting more earth tones like mud and copper. The background presented some sweetness like dried cherries. The drink was intense! This was a very unusual experience, and I loved it. The sip was super dry, and I mean like Sagrantino wine bone dry. Then, I got past the mouth drying and I picked up heavy minerals with copper, iron, and nickel. I took a few more sips and then I revisited the same desert but with rain pouring down. A uniquely heavily sour tone followed the entire session. I actually checked my water and vessel just to be sure it was the tea. This brew is sour, and I mean like sour patch kid sour! I was actually puckering during each sip. This tea gives a ton of mouth action and tongue prickling. The best part is once you get past these tongue wrestling obstacles you reach a delicious sweet aftertaste, as if you’ve reached the inside of the sour patch kid. The sour tones mellowed to a more green apple sour in later steeping. Also, the sweet tone becomes intense like Stevia. This was an awesome session. I love teas that create an experience. I love the ones that become imprinted on your tongue and mind. This puerh was certainty one of them. Although, I did not experience any qi, which is alright; because, I seldom do with Shou.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Drying, Earth, Green Apple, Mineral, petrichor, Pleasantly Sour, Sage, Sour, Sweet, Thyme