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Recent Tasting Notes
Award for the ‘Most autumn pile/forest floor looking tea’ goes to this one.
I listened to other reviews and have had it airing out for a long time. I tried it at 1/2/4/7/10m with a hefty chunk in my gaiwan & there was a definite aged flavour, some humid storage taste & some odd fruit I cant put my finger on what it is. Oh, and autumn pile/forest floor. Also a tangy taste that was interesting..
The body and mouthfeels werent thick or heavy, there was a very very slight mouth cooling. Whatever the headfeels/qi was, it was nice. I felt nice and relaxed
For some reason my brain kept thinking this is the sort of tea you give actors in films like LoTR when you want them to get into role properly as a druid.
But while the taste wasnt something amazing (have been drinking some 10+years Mengku also today & this is a bit bland compared) I enjoyed the session. There was an odd complexity to the tang & aged taste. You seriously need to steep it for ages to get the flavour to be strong.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Fruity, Tangy, Wet Wood
First off, this tea is beautiful! Dry leaf is tender and fluffy, with little golden hairs and spirals of black. Seriously gorgeous leaf. I could brewed this one, and it came out a lovely pale amber.
Flavor-wise, this tea is very nice. It’s got those classic bread notes but not as much chocolate as I was hoping. It’s got a sort of weird savory or salty aftertaste to it, that I couldn’t place for the longest time. Then I realized: it tastes exactly like goldfish crackers!
All in all, a solid tea, especially cold.
This is a tasty black tea from Yunnan Sourcing. It’s got a note of malt, not too strong, a note of chocolate, fairly strong. It has some natural sweetness to it. I did add sugar but tasted it first. Overall this is very good. I don’t know how it compares to previous versions.
I steeped this twice an 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 2 tsp leaf and 200 degree water. I steeped it for 3 and 4 minutes. I put the second steeping in a thermos for work.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
Got this tea yesterday with my order to Yunnan Sourcing. It is pretty good. While it’s hard for me to gauge the natural sweetness of the tea because I added sugar I think there’s some there. It’s somewhat malty and somewhat chocolaty. It’s quite good overall. I go to work in a few minutes so I have no time to gongfu this. This review is based on a western brew of this tea.
I brewed this tea twice in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 min and 4 min. The second steeping I put into a thermos for work.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
As I was recording my tasting notes for the 2014 Autumn Mu Shu Cha, I discovered that I have the Spring version as well. I couldn’t resist doing a sequential review.
The difference was surprising. The Autumn tea tasted of straw and wood, with hints of fruit underneath. This tea is all about the fruit. The first steep showed a sweet, tropical fruit flavor with hints of straw underneath. I immediately felt a powerful cha qi, but it is building on a base from the previous tea, so wasn’t sure how much is due to this tea. 2nd steep had the same tropical fruit flavor at the beginning of the sip, but builds up a strong astringency going into the finish, which is dominated by the slightly bitter astringency. REALLY feeling the qi. By the fourth steep, it was still fruity, rich and sweet. There is a bit of wood underneath the fruit that adds depth, much as a bassoon does in an orchestra. Still too astringent in the finish, which detracts from an otherwise really good tea. Still tons of cha qi.
I’m a fan of young sheng, and this one was clearly the better choice for current drinking. It was fresh and fruity, with enough hints of other flavors to be interesting. The Autumn version wasn’t bad, but was just a slightly above average woody sheng. Of course you pay for quality: as of May 2015, this tea was $118 per cake vs $45 for the Autumn.
I’ve had this tea twice with slightly different tasting notes. The constants are a blend of straw and wood flavors, with the wood becoming stronger in later steeps, and a strong astringency in the finish that falls short of being bitter but for me detracts from the overall effect.
The first time I had the tea, I thought it had hints of smoked meat and spice. This time around, I thought I detected a bit of apricot underneath the straw and wood. Yunnan Sourcing raves about the cha qi in their write-up, and while there is obviously some effect, it was not nearly as powerful as many other teas I drink regularly. I rate cha qi on a scale of 1 to 110 and give this one an 87. While the tea isn’t spectacular, it was very enjoyable on a rainy Saturday morning, and is a pretty good value at $45 per 400 g cake.
2002 aged wild Liu bao 803 review
Dry leaf: green, veggies, cut grass. I never smelled a raw puerh like this before! ( this is a raw puerh right?) what is it that I’m smelling?
Wet leaf: im so confused! Is this a raw or ripe? If this is a raw, it smells cool aged. light earth/fermentation. heavy autumn leaves
Just found out it might not be a sheng or shou :( I was hoping this is what aged sheng would smell like.
My friend says it could be a black tea or an oolong and a small chance it could be a sheng
So now I hear it’s a hei cha.
Well sadness aside, on with the review
1x medium rinse
I let it sit for about a half hour to 45 mins.
Medium steep: I taste/smell; medium
-> earth/fermentation, autumn leaves. Light camphor
Heavy steep: I taste/smell; strong earth/fermentation, autumn leaves. Light to medium camphor. Light mud.
All in all this is an amazing tea! The taste, aroma and cha qi is amazing. I rate a 100!
Many thanks AllanK for this sample!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Camphor, Earth, Freshly Cut Grass, Green, Mud, Vegetables
Woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I figured I might as well have some tea. I won’t have time for any caffeinated tea after work so now is the time. This was a nice raw with a little bit of wet storage taste that I noticed in steep one. Didn’t notice it i steep two or three but found a little in four. There was a nice flavor to this tea. I want to use the word honey, yet I know that is inaccurate as it was not at all that sweet. This tea was fairly astringent. I noticed astringency through all ten steeps. There were also some mild notes of leather and tobacco but not noticeable. Overall this was a nice tea but it had it’s downside to it. As to qi I am really not feeling it.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8.4g 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, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min. For those who like the flavors in aged sheng this is probably a good pick. I recommend it with reservations.
So I began drinking this for breakfast while at my cousins and I was 100% confused…
This tasted like a lot of the early 00’s teas I’ve had so I was curious what the heck I was actually drinking. Insanely dark for a 5 year old raw pu’erh and a lot of age in the taste. Well, I did what I normally don’t do when I sip away at a pu’erh; I read about it. Turns out it was meant to taste like this! Whew, I’m not crazy then.
This still has some smokey/camphor to it, but it brews out around the sixth steep. The longevity of the brew is quite well depending on what you are eating or drinking with it because it can dry your mouth out in roughly 10 steeps… but I was going hard on my drinking as I am just chillin’ here :)
The first time I steeped this tea it had a bit of a fishy flavor so I threw out that steeping and tried again. Fortunately the second and third steepings tasted much better. So I recommend rinsing this before steeping it (I know some people do this as a matter of routine but it just seems wasteful to me to throw out perfectly good tea so I always try it without rinsing first to see whether it needs it).
If you make sure to rinse it first, I’d say it’s a good tea, although not my absolute favorite Dark Matter selection. I didn’t take notes for a full review yet but I have enough leaves left for a bit more tea (I brew Western style) so I guess I can do that later. I’m on the third steeping now but it’s not very representative because I accidentally steeped it for like ten minutes lol.
From Dark Matter 2016:
Anyone remember that “hangover cure” concoction from the movie Heathers? I kept thinking that’s what this would taste like if I added some OJ. My palate is definately sensitive to smoke flavors so that’s a bit understandable, but there is some other flavor to this that I dislike as well.I brewed this in a gaiwan with a first steep of about 15 seconds or so (longer than I intended of course) and it was pure ashtray. Okay, I thought the same with the Iron Arhat and I ended up enjoying it once all the flavors harmonized. So I kept going, and going, and eventually it started to get so unpleasant that I started to throw out my cups after drinking half. It seemed to steep forever. Eventually the smoke subsided a bit and I started to get a really bitter front note. It also left my mouth dry and coated with a chemical flavor I can only describe as “oh god I hope I don’t get mouth cancer”.
So yea, sample this tea before buying…
Flavors: Smoke, Tar, Tobacco
Dry leaf is well-darkened with age, having a generic woody aged smell with no hint of mustiness.
1 short rinse with boiling water, steeps like 5s, 10s, 15s … 50s, and then longer intervals.
Starts with a sort of generic dry-aged medicinal flavor profile, some sweetness developing around the 4th steep. No hint of humid storage. Mouth feel a little thin for tea this expensive IMHO. Very nice floral cup aroma early on. Later steeps develop a fascinating fruity aftertaste reminiscent of Juicy Fruit gum. This becomes pronounced after about 10 steeps, when a pronounced mouth-drying astringency also appears, gradually tapering off over many additional steeps.
I was able to remain interested in this one through 20 or so infusions, which makes it very good AFAIAC, but it is quite pricey.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Wood
I was not expecting this tea (from the Dark Matter group buy) to be so light in color when steeped. I thought about letting it steep longer (a minute isn’t very long, after all) since it’s a lightish amber-yellow but then I tasted it and realized it had plenty of flavor already.
On my second sip, it started to remind me of Laoshan black tea, which I think is because of the cocoa notes. I can detect a somewhat oolong-ish fragrance as well, but I don’t think I would have identified it as that if the website hadn’t mentioned it. It’s not bitter, and has just a bit of astringency. It’s a different flavor combination than any I’ve tried before, I think. It’s quite interesting and good, though I haven’t made up my mind as to whether it’s a favorite or not yet.
Crisp autumn leaves and Dutch cocoa aromatics when dry, earthy autumn leaves and dark sweet prunes when wet. Amazing golden liquor with a surprisingly yancha like flavor without the heavy mineral notes. Beautiful plump leaves when fully opened. Takes multiple infusions well. Exactly 7g with 120ml just under boiling temperature. 10s, 15s and up for 5-10s climbs before reaching its peak. A happy mountain heicha that I very much enjoyed and one in which I might treat like oolong next time around in regards to parameters.
Another Dark Matter 2016 selection, fifteen tasted and only four left to try; looking forward to them all. It’s been fun.
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Astringent, Spicy
I found this tea decidedly not spectacular. It was not terrible, but was not great. There was a fair amount of bitterness and astringency. The astringency was very strong. It never developed what I would call a sweet note but more of a not bitter note. There were no wet storage tastes to the tea and taste of tobacco and leather was only mild and in the first few steeps. This was not a terrible tea but was certainly not what I had hoped for. There was a mild qi to it but not much. This is also a tea they are now sold out of at Yunnan Sourcing. I got the last one. I had considered it for some time and I decided it was now or never.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9.2g 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, and 1 min. The tea was not done but I really didn’t feel like continuing.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter
Care of Dark Matter 2016.Sweet Pine Smoke, Rich Tobacco, Thick & Luscious Liquor, a tea made for those who love a good scotch and cigar…my favorite tian jian by far. 7g, 120ml, boiling with infusions starting at 15s and moving up to…who knows, I’m still sipping on it. This is definitely one to stock up on.
Some of the reviews on this said that there was a meat flavor note to it, and this was certainly true initially, and it wasn’t the best flavor note, but after a couple of months, it’s effectively disappeared, or at least my palate has gotten used to it. I could drink it all day for many days straight. Nice and malty and sweet and fruity, and it’ll produce a respectable number of steepings for a black tea. It’s also interesting to see the variations in the tea it produces at different temperatures. For later steepings, however, cooler water as low as 170F is best for preventing the brew from tasting sour. I’d recommend all YS Bi Luo Chun teas based off of this one.
As far as black teas go, this one is just so deep in complexity. Based on this, I would strongly recommend all old arbor black teas from Yunnan Sourcing. It’s so well balanced with dark fruit notes, appropriate sweetness coupled with a perfect amount of bitterness and full body. It also held up well to many steepings, and just continued to develop and produce good tea. I’d be really interested to see if this ages well, but unfortunately I don’t think I can wait long enough to see!