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Recent Tasting Notes
I have noticed a trend with my tea drinking lately — I’m not drinking too many flavored teas. I should definitely consume the ones I have left but I haven’t been craving many. Sometimes they are nice as dessert teas but overall I might be done experimenting with them for a while.
It’s hard to go wrong with a decent unflavored tea from a reputable, quality source. But flavored teas seem to be a disappointment to me so much of the time. I think a good plan for me moving forward is to sip those down and just not be buying a lot more. Also will be helpful for paring down my tea collection. :)
So this is a tea i got with my YS dark club order and I am trying it this morning. True to the name it has a lot of lighter-colored golden tips. I tend to like these types of yunnan teas and this is no exception. It’s very smooth with notes of cocoa and malt. Cameron mentioned cucumber which seems appropriate to me, not so much with the flavor but in the exceptional clean and smooth mouth feel of it. This is probably the lightest yunnan black tea I have in my collection right now. Good as a breakfast tea but would also be good as an afternoon tea. I like it!
Another from my dearest tea sister Terri This one has notes in it that remind me a bit of an oolong while still falling on that sort of bready kinda of tea. this one isn’t my favourite but it’s still been a nice cup of tea this morning while i work from home. I had this one while setting up the slower cooker this morning for pulled pork tonight! woohoo!
The leaves are dark brown with some green tinges and lots of silver tips and some brown/red sticks/stems present. For the most part they are long and look whole though thin, tightly wrapped and with a high shine. They have a creamy earthen scent with elements of toasted hay, lightly smoked wood and flowers.
Steeping Method: Yixing Teapot 100ml
Pre rinse – This was rinsed twice for 20 seconds each time
First Steep – 30 seconds
Colour is yellow with a gentle, creamy yet earthy scent. Flavour is soft and sweet with a creamy after taste. Some bitterness but it transfuses into sweet honey and floral peony like tones.
Second Steep – 40 seconds
Less bitter than the first steep though it is still present. Still plenty of sweet and creamy tones with some added soft smoke and damp wood and hay.
Third Steep – 45 seconds
No bitterness at all which makes it sweet and creamy. Heavenly! It coats the inside of my mouth and lingers in the after taste. Honey, honeysuckle, cream and gentle musk.
Fourth Steep – 55 seconds
Another beautiful steep, the flavour is perfect at this stage. So creamy and sweet but with depth and flavour. The bitterness has returned albeit subtle and short lasting.
Fifth Steep – 1 minute
Now the flavour is starting to reduce in strength. The creaminess dominates though it is not as sweet as the previous steeps. Also little to no bitterness is left, just the cream and a gentle floral after taste.
Sixth Steep – 1 minute 20 seconds
Slowly reduced though still creamy and pleasing. Still no bitterness to speak of, instead it’s very smooth and easy to drink. No smoke or earthy tones remain.
Seventh Steep – 2 minutes
Even lighter though still enough flavour to be pleasing. Cream and flowers is all that remains.
Eighth Steep – 3 minutes
This is certainly the final steep. Though there is still some soft cream notes there is nothing else present.
This was a very beautiful Sheng, with dominant cream tones, soft astringency and a delicate balance of flowers and earth.
Flavors: Cream, Earth, Flowers, Honey, Smoke
The leaves are a blend of dark to medium greens with a lot of silver tips present. Also they have a high reflective shine and lots of downy hairs. In shape they tend to be long and thinly rolled but rather curly too. It smells so sweet and fresh, resembling mixed flowers (geranium, jasmine, sweetpea), soft grass and gently toasted hay.
Steeping Method: Chinese Glass Tumbler
6g leaf with 75C water
As I smell the steeped tea the flowers stand out even more, not to the extent of being perfumed, instead though they are strong it is still fresh and sweet.
Flavour is crisp yet sweet and floral enough to match it’s scent. Some grass tones and astringency though very mildly. Clean tasting and very beautiful. Along with geranium, jasmine and sweetpea I can also taste honeysuckle and lily.
Altogether this is a very floral tea that remains sweet and fresh throughout, part of that is due to this being a white Bi Luo Chun rather than green.
Flavors: Flowers, Sweet, warm grass
I had a nice session with this tea today while working. I used 6g and 194 degree water. The initial steeps were very nice with a smooth, slightly sweet tobacco flavor. It’s funny how much I like that smokiness in sheng. Would have never thought I’d like that! Anyway, as I steeped it out, I got some slight bitterness, which always reminds me of that artichoke vegetal bitterness, and then it mellowed out. It didn’t get as sweet as I like in later steepings, but the first few steeps were good enough for me to want to drink it again. This is a super young sheng, so maybe the sweetness will develop with time.
Finally getting around to reviewing this one. I think it’s from the Marco Polo TTB.
First steep: 1min 45sec
Second steep: 2min
It’s light on the tongue and very floral on the front end. There are notes of apricot, cream, and sweet potato. The finish is honey, honey, and thick delicious honey. Serious honey-mouth. Later steeps develop a tinge of malt. There’s a buttery, bake-y quality to this tea that makes me think of lightly toasted bread or pastries. It’s a good tea, but it’s a tad on the light/floral side for my tastes. I like something a little more robust!
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Cream, Floral, Honey, Malt, Pastries, Sweet Potatoes
My first Yunnan Sourcing club order arrived today squee!
After a busy day of packing my suitcase and trying to get the house in order before I go away on Sunday I am delighted to have finally sit down and have tea time. I haven’t had tea all day and it’s almost bed time!
The leaves are dark brown with some red patches and golden tips present. They are mostly thin, tightly rolled and curly but there are some thicker pieces present too. Also some stem/stick. It has a light, sweet and wooden scent with a hint of lychee/dark fruit.
Steeping Method: Gaiwan
The liquid is burnt orange in colour and has a soft wooden scent.
Flavour is gentle and malted with sweet wood and soft leather tones. Fresh yet musty.
More sweet and rock sugar like and the malt tones are now in the background, with the wood. Also a lychee or dark fruit aftertaste.
Extremely light and all that remains is the fruity aftertaste.
This was rather a simple black but it was clean tasting and very pleasant. Not the best but something I can happily finish my 50g pouch of. Another tea where the scent showed pretty much what to expect in taste.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Fruity, Malt, Sweet, Wood
This is a slightly sweet, slightly floral white tea. As it is pure bud it is probably high in caffeine so I will want to drink it only in the morning. A year ago I suspect I would not have liked this tea but my tastes are changing. I now like a lot of floral teas. The flavor used to bother me. This is an excellent tea. I got it at the Yunnan Sourcing 20% off sale a couple of weeks ago. At that point I had been going under the prevailing theory that white and green tea have less caffeine. Articles recently posted on Steepster suggest this may be false, ah well.
I brewed this once in a 16oz Teavana Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 185 degree water for 2 min.
Thank you to the good tea friend who was nice enough to provide this sample. I actually drank this earlier today but am just now getting around to reviewing it. It was tasty. It had a nice aged color and taste. It was smooth and not bitter. It seemed like I detected a hint of smoke there but am not sure. There was a slight sour note in the early steeps that eventually went away. I steeped this brick eight times so far. I may go back to it tomorrow.
I steeped this eight times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8g leaf and 200 degree water. I gave it a 10 sec rinse and let the leaves sit for 10 min to open up. I don’t know if this actually did anything. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, and 1 min.
Wow, what a brew! This cake definitely lives up to its name. First, I opened the wrapper to reveal a deep ruby black and gold cake. It had a faint aroma of cacao. Then, as soon as I sunk my pick in the scent of raspberry and cream emitted from this beauty. I was easy with the amount of dry leaves that I used since it was a dark yunnan. I brewed in my gaiwan with anticipation for this lovely treat. It brews an orange and red liquor. The smell of raspberry, cherry, dark chocolate maximize within the wet leaves. The brew tastes of mahogany and cherry. I can hint at undertones of Asian Pear. It is a very smooth sip and deep flavor. I’m glad I picked the spring version, for its very decadent and silky flavor. The best part about this tea is its power. I haven’t noted prominent Qi in Red Teas before today. While drinking this you truly become “Drunk on Red.” Yunnan Sourcing never disappoints.
Flavors: Cherry Wood, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Raspberry
terri sent these my way and i couldn’t find an entry in the database for them. So here’s hoping i didn’t create a duplicate. these are very sweet…and fruity and don’t have the least bit of that dark black tea taste that i love about other flowering cones that i’ve had. that being said, these are quite delicious and even cold (i forgot about my tea) the brew is delicious to drink! thanks for letting me try another flowering cone terri!
The lightness of this ripe through me in earlier sessions…during today’s session I made sure to include a lot more finer material because I wanted a strong, darker brew right off the bat.
Earlier steepings had a sweet, dark-reddish liquor with cherry and a hint of rehydrated dried mushrooms. Later steepings flavors tapered off into an earthiness with some sweet. The wet leaf smelled roasted. I detected no body feeling after or during the session.
The value of ripe is okay. I could see this as an approachable choice for someone starting out with ripe pu-erh. For myself, I needed more earthiness and/or mushroominess. In future sessions will I have to let the dragon romp in the fields more, ie fewer longer steepings or grandpa style brewing.
Additional brewing parameters: 6g leaf, 100ml gaiwan, 2 rinses, steepings 1-4: 10-15 seconds, steepings 4-8: 20-35 seconds.
Picked up a cake at Yunnansourcing.com. Another tea drinker has written about this tea here: http://oolongowl.com/2012-dragon-jing-mai-puer-yunnan-sourcing-oolong-owl-tea-review/
Flavors: Cherry, Mushrooms
Got a sample of this from Nicole in our swap a couple months ago!
Holy Shanghai. Not at all what I expected!
It’s super smokey! Tastes like a campfire. Feels like I’m the only one who gets smokey notes. Totally threw me off. 0_0 Not a fan at all!
Glad I got to try though, I might have tried buying this one before!
Thanks for the sample, Nicole!
Flavors: Campfire, Roasted, Smoke
This is a tasty but floral and vegetal tea. There is a sweet note there too. I am drinking more greens because they have less caffeine and this is my first sampling from my Yunnan Sourcing order.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Glass Perfect Tea Maker, gravity steeper, with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 2 min.
Flavors: Floral, Vegetal
The aesthetic value of this cake alone would make anyone swoon. I opened the wrapper to revale a beautiful downy disk. Long silver furry buds make up this fantastic tea. I brewed it in my gaiwan with slightly hotter water than I would with Bai hao yin zhen. The dry leaves have an intense aroma of stone fruit, honey, and cyprus. I broke a small chunk off and brewed. The taste is almost identical to Silver needle except for the intensity. It has the same honey and hay taste but more in depth. The flavors are brought out and maximized. The dry leaves have the scent of honey, sugar, hay and with a spicy undertone. I can hint at lychee and peppercorn. The aftertaste is phenomenal with a sweetness that lingers long after drinking. Unlike silver needle I’m able to steep this repeatedly with a consistent palatableness. The liquor is light golden copper with hairs lining it. A truly magnificent brew, I only wish I could taste it once it has aged for some time.
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Nectar, Peppercorn, Sugarcane
No notes yet. Add one?
What is the most bitter tea that exists?
Ah, the “tea joke” threads on Steepster and TeaChat never get old.
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I am a big fan of purple tree puerh teas, although most of my readers out there in Tea Blog Land will probably disagree with me. Purple puerhs have a reputation for being super powerful and bitter. I should start by mentioning that this particular tea is not bitter at all. However, this reputation that purple puerh holds brings up an important idea. In my opinion, bitterness should be embraced, not feared. Tea with more bitter characteristics can be enjoyed just as much as dark chocolate, IPA beer, coffee, or Chinese bitter melon. Of course, I’m not referring to the bitterness that comes from oversteeping teas. Rather, it is important to simply enjoy the more bitter nature that some teas, such as some varieties of puerhs or Japanese greens, naturally hold.
A major reason for our natural distaste for bitter foods and drinks comes from cultural influences. In Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, Jennifer McLagan investigates why some cultures such as China and other East Asian nations tend to love bitter tastes, while North Americans and Western Europeans tend to steer far away. I definitely recommend reading this book. It will open up your eyes to the importance of bitterness.
I will admit that some purple puerhs taste a bit like dipping your tongue into a vat of arsenic (made that mistake…never again). But this tea is something special. This I the only purple puerh I’ve ever had without barely trace of that punching bitterness.
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The cake I received looks just like the photo from Yunnan Sourcing. Mine is a bit more mangled of course. Puerh is not like fast food, where you get some gross crap that looks nothing like what is advertised. With puerh, you get exactly what you ordered. Thanks Yunnan Sourcing!
This 2013 Wu Liang Ye Shiang from Yunnan Sourcing came into my life somewhat haphazardly. I was gifted an Amazon gift card a few months back, and I wasn’t sure what to spend on it. Luckily I stumbled upon Yunnan Sourcing’s Amazon store. They only offered perhaps six or seven different cakes on their Amazon storefront. After I received my order, I noticed that the Yunnan Sourcing Amazon page disappeared from the world. Hmm, not sure what that’s about.
Out of the cakes that Yunnan Sourcing offered, the 2013 Wu Liang Ye Shiang jumped out to me. Once I read the words “wild tree purple,” the tea was in my cart.
This cake is made entirely of Ye Sheng varietal tea leaves. According to some Internet research, Ye Sheng or 野生, refers to a subspecies of Camellia sinensis assamica. This is a naturally occurring varietal found only in Yunnan Province, China. The Ye Sheng tea plant is naturally bug repellent, which might explain its powerful nature. The tea for this cake was picked from bushes above 2000 feet in elevation, and between 50 and 200 years old. The tea leaves are from a farm in Jingdong County, which is inside of Pu’er Prefecture, also known as Simao Prefecture, which is in Southern Yunnan, China. Wow, that was complicated.
I could not find any explanation for why exactly the tea is purple, but I can make an educated guess thanks to my small knowledge of plant biology and plant physiology. Since these tea leaves are grown at a very high elevation, they are exposed to more UV (ultraviolet) light. UV light is represented by the purple part of the color spectrum. The leaves likely turn purple as a natural defense mechanism in order to reflect some of this UV light and protect the plant from some of these UV rays. Plants often have defense mechanisms like this, turning purple due to a buildup of anthocyanins in the leaves. Or perhaps it is all just a quirky genetic variation. If you know the answer to this, tell us all about it in the comments.
I weighed out 8.4 grams of the puerh to use in my gaiwan. The leaves are very dark purple with some larger green leaves sticking out. The leaves are very large and lightly compressed.
The dry leaf smells very smoky and fruity. The fruity note is incredible strong…you can even smell it through the paper label. To me, it smells very much like stone fruits, perhaps plums or cherries.
I used my favorite gaiwan, which I purchased at Dobra Tea in Portland, Maine. Isn’t he/she beautiful?
Sadly, my gaiwan took a bit of a tumble. When I was washing the gaiwan before this review, I dropped the lid and it bounced off my sink. Somehow, the Tea Gods graced my presence and the lid managed to escape unscathed. Phew, that would have been devastating.
The cup and tea coaster are from the Tea Ave sampler that went out last week. I will review those teas next week, once the pricing comes out!
I gave this puerh two quick rinses. I went with a 5 second steep to start, and then increased by 5 or 10 seconds each steep.
These photos are of the third and fourth steeps. The third steep came out a beautiful golden straw color.
This tea is very complex. It is very mellow and delicate for a wild tree purple puerh. If I tasted this blindfolded, I would have never guessed this tea is only a year or two old.
Although the tea smelled very smoky, the brewed tea has barely a trace of smoke flavor. The main flavors that I picked up on were very intense stone fruit tastes, just like the smell suggested. The cherry and plum notes are so noticeable here that you definitely can’t miss them. There is also a pleasant sour, tart note on the finish that many other reviewers noted. Some tea writers described this as a lemony taste, which I would agree with.
The most noticeable aspect of this tea is the incredible thick mouthfeel. The tea coats your mouth with a rich buttery taste, similar to the sensation of drinking a quality high mountain Taiwanese oolong. I couldn’t get enough of the creamy mouthfeel. Awesome!
Once steeped, the leaves looked much more green than they did in their dry form. The steeped puerh leaves look pretty much the same as any other puerh tea.
By the eighth steep, the color has lightened up quite a bit but the taste is still just as strong.
I got about 10 steeps out of these leaves. I am drinking a few more steeps of the tea right now, and it is still going strong! The leaves were quite varied in size. Some of the leaves were huge, and some were tiny and appeared chopped up. I’ve never seen puerh leaves with such mixed colors.
This tea offers a great introduction into the world of purple puerhs. This cake was $41 for 400 grams, which I suppose is sort of the mid level of young sheng pricing. I really enjoy this cake, and would buy it again. This is one of the best sheng puerhs I have had! I love this tea, and I am looking forward to enjoying this cake for the next few months. Luckily I’ve got about 390 grams left!
“Coffee is not my cup of tea” ~Samuel Goldwyn
Another one from Teri! So I didn’t think I’d be a huge fan of this one because it says it tastes like a fireplace on steepster. xD But it also said it tasted like chocolate, so I wanted to give it a shot.
This one is really not for me. xD Doesn’t taste like a fireplace but it does taste like wood and something else that I can’t really pick out. The weirdest thing about this tea is that like at the end of every sip I taste sweet potatoes. And the aftertaste is totally sweet potatoes. It was the weirdest thing. That part made it a lot more bearable. I even almost finished that cup because that sweet potato note made it bearable. xD
Very odd tea haha
But glad I got to try. Thanks, Teri!
Flavors: Sweet Potatoes, Wood
Another one from Teri!
So this one I’m not such a fan of. I think I might have over-steeped it a little so it came out really really strong. xD Pretty woody…and kinda reminds me of horse manure. xD Great description, right? Oy. I’m sorry haha My taste buds suck clearly!
Thanks for the sample though, Teri. Glad to have tasted it before I wasted money!
Dry – Sweet, plummy, woody-vegetal(green), faint floral.
Wet – Sweet, plummy, Thick(in brothy way), savory-bitter, wood-raisins, honey, tart berries and stone fruits >> Later develops a bit of tobacco notes.
1st 4secs – Sweet, thick, vegetal with corn in butter notes, followed by melon/white peach sweetness and very mellow floral (with vegetal) with a tongue numbing thickness and mouth watering bitterness.
2nd 7secs – Sweet, thick(but meh), some vegetal notes but mostly sweet followed by a melon sweetness and a gentle bitterness that waters the mouth(very apparent, yet not aggressive, it lingers for a long time and lodges in the back of the tongue), some astringency. The aftertaste reminded me of the aftertaste of clementines.
3rd 7secs – Sweet, thick, vegetal, bitter floral followed by melon sweetness, stone fruits, the bitterness lingers and lodges, mouth watering, mineral and flroal notes and slowly becoming tobaccoey-herbal.
4th 9secs – Sweet, thick, bitter, astringency, vegetal… perhaps better balanced than previous steeps. All the notes are there but none over take the other.
5th 11secs – Mostly the same profile as before, not as balanced. The ‘brothy’ character was more up front in the beginning, but this tea is definitely in the fruity spectrum of Puerh bitterness with vegetal and floral notes (very faint tobacco).
6h 15secs – (The collapse steep) I’ve had three sessions with this tea and they agree this is the range when the tea collapses. The notes are there, but they all are weak, phantoms of what they were.
Did up to 10-11 steeps
The three sessions were experimenting with temp and time and the results where roughly the same, the 6th ended up being the subtle or not so subtle decline in notes. The mouth-feel was nice the whole time and the huigan was particular with an almost citrus note, but it lacks longevity, after the 6th it mostly delivers bitter notes and ghosts of everything else. I’ll come back to this one later.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Honey, Plums, Stonefruits