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Recent Tasting Notes
Last night I had a 20+ steep session with a sheng so it was hard to decide what to end with at 1am… I decided to pour out 4g of this and let it sooth me to sleep.
Upon opening the bag I thought to myself, ‘dang this tea leaf is ugly’. However, the look isn’t that important so I got my water (185f) and brewed this up. The thickness of the liquid is a medium which is interesting for a floral tea because it adds to the mouth feel. There is a lasting feel and taste which is quite nice, yet I am unable to name the sort of floral taste this tea provides. This tea would probably be better suited to be drank outside or during the day; I believe I made the mistake to think all florals are a soothing/sleepy tea.
This is the best black tea I’ve ever tasted. It’s almost light and refreshing, and has a very sweet finish, especially for a black tea. There’s a hint of chocolate but much less than other yunnan teas. It tends more towards the honey and flower notes.
Note that although Steepster says this is not currently available, Yunnan Sourcing puts batches for sale from each seasonal harvest at different links, so you can absolutely still buy this here: http://yunnansourcing.com/en/yunnan-black-teas/3476-imperial-gold-needle-yunnan-black-tea-spring-2015.html
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Malt, Sweet
Here’s to the 2015 I picked up: https://instagram.com/p/8GgHqdRYOv/
The first thing you will notice about this tea is how bright the tea needles are. Second, the aroma is a bit overwhelming. I love me some dianhong, but dang… I had to pull my nose back :p
This brews up one very strong cup and I’m unsure of how to make the strength kind of take step back. Some potent tea, but I rather like it because it made one mean brisket :)
In my honest opinion: This dianhong is an amazing value at $8 for 50g!
I think this is the best one out of the monthly package for Yunnan Sourcing. It’s pretty cheap too. Only $24US for a 250g brick.
It’s pretty smooth. I’m not getting any complex flavors but it’s how they describe it: sweet and smooth. I’m on infusion 4 and was not even thinking I would make it past the second one. I’m not a big shu fan.
I like chrysanthemum tea but this is chrysanthemum along with black and pressed into a cake. There was a bit of the flavor of the black tea coming through but the chrysanthemum tea dominated. For me, I really can’t see the point of this tea. I get the benefits of chrysanthemum tea on it’s own being herbal. For this tea, I couldn’t drink it in the evening and there’s nothing there to really make me want it during the day. This just isn’t a tea I would ever want to buy but it was still a good cup.
Had this one gong fu this morning. I’m just not a fan of dark roasted oolongs. There are very few that I really like. This one was no exception since all I could get with it was a roasted taste. I probably would have gotten more if I did more infusions ( I only did two.); but I just didn’t want anymore. I’ll maybe try it at another time when I feel I can go with more infusions.
This tea has an incredibly strong chocolate flavor, moreso than any other tea that I’ve tasted. As a result, it’s a heavier, more full bodied tea. Brewed strong this is great for cold evenings and cloudy afternoons. There is very little astringency.
The price is also incredibly low for such an excellent tea.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt, Sweet
A really nice smooth ripe. The wet leaf has a nice cherry sweet smell. The liquor itself has a honey/tobacco sweet smell with no smokiness. Has a nice mouthfeel tho not very viscous but still smooth. The taste has hints of honey sweetness on the back end with a nice earthiness on the front. Some hints of tobacco and hay sweetness. A really nice ripe that has lost the funk of the pile but would still advise two rinses to really get the smell and leaves where they want to give. I would recommend this as an everyday drinker that seems would get even better with age….as for the organic part who knows…but its a good tea and very affordable. (357g)
These little guys are pretty good! They have a nice smooth mouthfeel and pack a nice cha qi. The nose is earthy with fresh bread and a slight sweet smell. The taste is very nice and earthy. Not a lot of sweetness but really malty/fresh bread-like. No bitterness at all making it an enjoyable session. Mini Tuochas get a bad rap but I would recommend these for sure. A nice easy to make (5g Tuochas) tea. Very nice.
Well, this was my second try with a “mini brick” and I think I’m gonna throw in the towel. I’m not sure if a ripe would be better suited to a mini brick but sheng isn’t working. The chopped leaves make for such a bitter brew that there are no amount of brewing adjustments that can save my taste buds. The nose is quite nice with a floral sweetness but the taste is pretty astringent. I think I’ll keep my purchases of “mini” pu’s to cakes and touchas. I wouldn’t recommend unless you are into a bit of S&M with your palate.
Breaking this one out of the rotation to try tonight.
I got 10 grams out to start this one off. I gave a rinse and brewed a few minutes later. I used the Gaiwan to start with and the tea came out a little thin. I switched to teapot with more success.
The second round of brewing with extended steep times came out much better. The tea became more thick with a buttery consistency to it. Flavor is much more pronounced as well.
It gives some of the brothy tastes that many a Spring tea brings. It has a sugary hint in the aroma department. The wisps of bitterness fade away and the hints of the sweetness drifts in a bit. The hints of mineral are there mixed in with the hints of the bitter as well when allowing the tea to linger in the mouth.
I am a few steeps in and plan to enjoy this one a bit more. This isn’t the strongest tea of YS’s line up but hopefully it will age gracefully into a mature tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Mineral, Sugar, Sweet
This tea has a strong note of malt to it. It’s got some bitterness and some astringency. It’s got an unpleasant, negative note that I just fail to identify. It’s not terrible, it’s just not to my liking. It might be better brewed gongfu but I rarely brew gongfu first thing in the morning.
I brewed this tea once in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Malt
Unique, strong flavored, versatile, and powerful. Upon opening the bag I’m hit with an intense ripened peach fragrance. The the leaves look like biluochun only larger and grey-ish green. The wet leaves have a pretty golden-green hue and have musky fruit, roasted vegetables, and faint smoky aromas. The liquor is an attractive pale jade green.
The flavor is almost indescribable in that it’s not really like anything I’ve tried before, but I’ll do my best. On the first steep, I actually picked up something spicy, akin to fresh picked spicy arugula and raw wild herbs. Notes of tannin, minerals, and wild flowers. The tea is very pure with a rustic charm. It tiptoes on the edge of bitterness, but the feeling differs from the familiar bittersweet-ness I get from other green teas. This tea can stand up to higher water temperatures, but only for short steeps. The flavors spread throughout the mouth and have great staying power.
Following steeps similar to what is described above, only stronger and with a very long and stimulating aftertaste that only intensifies with each steep. The flavors get weaker on the 7th steep. If brewed with hotter water the flavors get bitter and the smoky notes are more prominent. Cooler water brings out the vegetal and flowery notes.
Overall, I liked the experience, particularly the aftertaste which lasts for at least 10 mins after putting the tea aside. It’s a tad on the bitter side, but I’m now left with pleasant fruity notes on my tongue—the aftertaste is reminiscent of ripe plum. Clearly not your typical green tea, and quite delicious for those who are willing to broaden their palate.
Simply said: it’s not a gentle tea. I would say you have to be able to enjoy the ride through sharp, bitter, and even smoky flavors in order to enjoy the sweet reward of its aftertaste.
I brewed the leaves in a chahai to watch the leaves unfold, or “dance”, pouring the tea into a separate chahai. This makes controlling leaf-water ratios a little more tricky than using a gaiwan, but if done right it I think more fun.
Flavors: Bitter Melon, Flowers, Garden Peas, Green Apple, Mineral, Muscatel, Smoke, Tannic
Incredibly fragrant, smooth, uplifting, flowery, and fruity. This is the first Yunnan green I’ve tried and I’m quite impressed. Immediately, upon opening the bag I was hit with an intense peach fragrance. The brewed leaves are light green and smell like intensely sweet smelling flowers. The aroma itself is almost intoxicating.
The fruity flavor, aftertaste, and velvety texture is indicative to the tea varietals unique to Yunnan. To me, it’s closer to high-end white tea in texture and flavor, while maintaining that crisp freshness, reminding the drinker that it’s still a green tea and must be consumed quickly. As I take my time enjoying the tea, I notice the warming-calming energy/effects (cha qi?) of the tea moving from my nose and mouth, down my throat and spreading throughout my body. It’s extremely relaxing. I drink greens daily, but this is a first.
I poured hot (but not boiling) water into a cha hai (tea brewing beaker) and yielded 4 tasty steeps. I may edit this tasting note later as I try different brewing techniques, but so far I say this is a stellar tea.
Flavors: Chestnut, Floral, Green Apple, Nectar, Peach
This is a tasty black tea. The main note is malt. This is an in you face strong tea. There do seem to be secondary notes of chocolate, but just barely. I think I like the black tea cones bought foom Streetshop88 a little better. Overall this tea is a good value at the low price Yunnan Sourcing charges. IT might have been better with one less cone, don’t know.
I brewed this tea in a 16oz Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 4 tsp tea leaves and boiling water for 3 min.
This brick is just that, a brick. Compressed too tightly and dry to break off a good solid piece. Comes off the brick in tiny particles which makes it quite a bitter brew. Very “chopped” leaves. Think I’ll expose it to some humidity and see if i breaks better. First two steeps were not that bad but on the third the strong bitterness takes hold and doesn’t let go. I didn’t get past the fourth steep before jumping ship. It was a cheap small mini brick so I wasn’t expecting much. I wouldn’t really recommend this one as there are better offerings out there. This was my first “mini brick” so I’m not sure if they are all pretty bitter and chopped but I think I’ll stick with cakes when going small.
A nice ripe. Really compressed so pick carefully. Had a bit of funk on the nose but goes away after a couple of steeps. A very smooth and slightly mellow brew. Nice mouthfeel that gets better with more leaf. Has a nice tobacco earthiness/sweetness. No smokiness or bitterness with this one. A bit lighter than a lot of ripes but pretty nice. I would recommend.
I had another go at this one this morning. This is still a very dark and assertive tea, but it’s much better when you use a small amount of leaf. I’ve been out of the habit of tea drinking recently, so I’m sorry if this note, well, sucks. This tea has malty, dark chocolatey, almost smokey notes which can be a bit sour in too high a dose. I am still mostly impressed by it, though, because it manages to be very strong without being bitter in the least.
I am a zombie this morning. I’ve been messing up the simplest tasks at work. Writing out a single check this morning took me three tries. :-( ! Recently, I’ve been going through and attempting to drink up some of my older teas. I’m going to need much, much tea to get through the harvest season this year at the winery.
I’m not even going to rate this tea yet, as I am such an idiot this morning that I way overleafed it. I plan to make a second pot later today. Maybe I’ll be back to say more about it.
There is something about this tea that I do not like. It’s not overly malty, it just has a note I find unpleasant. I don’t know how to describe the note. Perhaps it would be better cold brewed.
I brewed this once in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.
I have never tried yabao before, so was excited to try it when I saw it in the box. This is such an interesting tea! The dry leaf is incredibly beautiful. It is made up of large, delicate looking buds and is probably one of the most beautiful teas I’ve come across. The scent of the dry leaf is complex, and surprised me. For such a delicate looking leaf it has a powerful scent! It starts off woodsy with a dominant pine aroma, with an earthy and surprisingly floral base. It has a hint of sweetness to the scent, too, and some spiciness comes out the more you inhale. In truth, there was a note I couldn’t quite identify, and I inhaled deeply several times to try to figure out what it was before I realised that I was just inhaling it because it smelled amazing. If they made this into a perfume, I swear I’d wear it.
Brewing, the scent is not so divine. It loses a lot of its complexity, keeping the base earthy hay and pine notes, which become a lot more pronounced. It actually smells similar to a burnt white tea, by which I mean it smells.similar to white teas I’ve brewed in the past at too high a temperature and ruined them. I actually panicked and thought I’d have to add some cold water when I first started to steep it, but KittyLovesTea has Included a generous sample in the box so I left it as it was, thinking I’d try again if I was wrong.
I’m glad I left it, because the liquor after steeping western style for two minutes was super pale and had very little flavour. I put the buds back in to steep for a further minute, which helped a lot. The liquor is now a pale creamy colour, perhaps just a touch lighter in appearance than most white teas I’ve tried. The flavour is also more pronounced, though still very delicate and I think it could take a longer brew. The subtlety of the flavour was surprising, based on how fragrant the dry leaf was, but nonetheless it is still very pleasant to drink. It has light hay notes followed by a slight smokiness I didn’t expect at all. I can also detect some delicate floral flavours – sometimes it’s as if it’s flavoured with Jasmine, and it is definitely a touch on the sweet side. No real spiciness that I detected in the scent is present in the flavour, but it finishes with a lingering vegetal, almost green bean-like note, though unlike a vegetal green tea, which is actually very pleasant. There are still some notes which I can’t quite place, and I would like to know more about this tea, so I have a feeling that this may end up being one I keep a hold of.
This tea is quite tasty. There is a slight bitterness to it, but subdued. There are notes of malt and chocolate to it, or at least the note people refer to as chocolate that is not really milk chocolate but more cocoa without the massive amount of sugar added. This was not an expensive tea, I think I paid around $10 for 100g. I think it is fairly typical of a good quality Yunnan tea. This may be a step below a Whispering Pines tea but the price differential makes it worth it to me.
I brewed this once in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
Well, I have been revisiting this tea and have become a bit disappointed. I have yet to repeat the greatness of my first session with this tea. I find almost no returning sweetness tho there is a bit on the front. The biggest thing is the astringency. Mouth puckering and not that enjoyable. I have varied the brewing parameters but still getting the same thing. I suppose I got lucky and picked off a sweet magic spot from the cake my first session. I’m going to let this one sit and age a bit before making any more judgements.