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Recent Tasting Notes
Perhaps the most notable features of this tea are the visual appeal of the tea soup, velvety texture, and the smooth creaminess. It’s not super infusable—maybe no more than 7 steeps, but still very enjoyable in terms of mouthfeel and subtle flavors. This one is particularly soothing during those cold winter nights. The tea soup is a very clear and a beautiful deep burgundy.
Wild Tree Purple Varietal Black Tea of Dehong Spring 2015 from Yunnan Sourcing. My first session with purple tea and found it very enjoyable. Reminded me of a blend of assam and pu-erh. Beautiful deep red color with infusions lasting forever…with very little loss of flavor. 7g/150ml, 90c with 10s, 15s, 20s,30s all the way up to 120s intervals before total loss of leaf. I could see this as a daily morning tea if I wasn’t the type that’s always changing it up after the previous teas are gone. :lol:
Finally got around to trying the 90’s Liu An from Yunnan Sourcing tonight. It took me a bit getting used to the “mustiness” but after several infusions the real earthy sweet, (like beets), and spicy nature of the tea started to show. It definitely reminds me of a ripe pu-erh, not surprising given the fermentation process. The tingling cooling sensation on the tongue and calming effect it had was incredible. 9g/150ml Hong Seong-il pot/cup set, boiling, with two 20s rinses and similar first infusions…with slight increases as the time went on…stopped at 12…but this leaf can keep going. Not sure this would ever be a daily drinker for me, as I find it something I would keep for those times I really want a treat. Not bad at $14/50g.
quite nice – don’t forget to rinse quickly before steeping for real, maybe even twice. this one has much pungency to excise. once that’s done, though, a lingering floral that somehow manages not to be too flowery, if that makes any sense. a large mug of the first three steepings contains a deep rich aroma and a thick round taste, simply a lovely robust oolong.
I brewed up about 7g in a 100ml gaiwan at about 210f/off boil. I gave the customary two rinses. It took about 2 steeps before this one opened up. The wet leaf gave a nice earthy, wet wood, and slight cherry/vanilla sweetness aroma. Mostly earthy and woodsy. I had tried this one about a month or so ago and it was a bit too woodsy and fungal for me. This session however I was a bit more pleased. I think it had a bit of airing out to do. The first few steeps are nice and dark with a good thick liquor. Its not super thick, at least with 7 grams but was nice and creamy and not thin at all. The flavor is of an old book in the back of a damp antique store that sits in the middle of a rainy forest. A nice wet wood mixed with earthy forest floor greatness and some hints of vanilla sweet lingering in the background. I would classify this as one of the more earthy ripes not overflowing with sweetness like some. Very enjoyable though. The qi was calming with a bit of caffeine energy that offsets nicely. I used a bit more mindfulness with this session with eyes closed at times. It definitely makes a difference in really pick out the nuances of the tea. Too often I gulp my way through a session like a fast food junkie in the throws of a stoner munch session. Ill drink while doing work or doing some other mundane task. Slowing it down and sitting in a quiet room with the bubbling kettle in front of the tea tray visiting the aromas, flavors and the mouthfeel, truly one on one, makes for a more honest tea session. I find the antique store/old book qualities of these kinds of ripes nostalgic. They seem to transport me. Terence Mckenna speaks of the mushroom (tho a different kind) and about how it is a doorway to our ancient past. Not sure if that is so but I do get a bit of nostalgia that seems “old” in nature. I digress. This tea gave about 4 or 5 good steeps and then trailed but was still giving at the end. I am not one to push a ripe in the the later steeps so it may go longer. I would recommend this as a good everyday ripe. Earthy, Woodsy, and even a bit sweet hiding in there somewhere. Not bad at all.
Flavors: Cake, Mushrooms, Vanilla, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
Received this tea for Christmas (15’) and it has been my everyday morning cup at work. This brews how you brew it… meaning: You can use 185 to 205 on this tea and brew it between 30 to 90 seconds and find different levels of malt and ‘tea cocoa’ to this. I think any good dianhong can have the same said about it. I will say that I prefer the straight strands opposed to the curly leaf, but that is a personal preference. Dianhong at work for breakfast is a automatic win; if you haven’t tried it, I highly suggest it.
It feels kind of weird writing a tasting note TWO YEARS after this tea was released. I must admit I do feel a bit guilty about having some of this left in my tea collection, but in my defense I bought it in December of 2014, received it in February of 2015, and forgot about it during a move in April.
I have to say it doesn’t seem to have really decreased in taste or smell at all. Of course memory can play tricks when it’s been so long so it’s possible it was better before. Still a very fruity, plummy black tea (as I think might be typical of purple varietal leaf) that lasts surprisingly long. I’m looking forward to sipping down the rest of it. Now that it has a permanent spot on my desk I’m far less likely to forget it again.
Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Plums
Thanks Christina for sending me a sample of this tea.
This is the spring 2015 version.
I thought based on the reviews and the initial dry tea smell that I would love this one but it has been weird for me.
The dry tea smells nice and sweet and malty, with a bit of dark chocolate notes. However after brewing, the initial sip is quite a turn off for me. All I can taste is burnt dirt, earth, and mushroom-y type flavour. As it cools, it turns into the more malty, sweet black tea I was expecting. There is no more earthy or mushroom flavours. But it unfortunately loses a lot of its “punch”. It is not horrible but luke warm tea is not my favourite. I have played around with steeping parameters but just can’t find what works for me with this tea.
Thanks Christine for sending me this one to try.
Starts off very mild in taste, but in energy it increases after the first steep. Pleasant bitterness and light sweetness underly the thick liquor. There is a strong mouthfeel and an interesting aftertaste of sweetgrass.
I really enjoy steeping this tea out all day, opposed to all in one session, that way the qi isn’t as overpowering. Light flavors, but lots of energy and mouthfeel.
Found a few of these in my Mandala mini tuo sampler pack. Had to google a ton of different things before “gold wrapped tuo puerh” popped up a picture hit which led me to this page. Thanks again, Steepster! These are definitely what I have, at least in image alone.
Anyway, I did two quick rinses and the mini tuo is just starting to loosen after the 1st steep of 10-12 seconds. First infusion flavor is light, delicate, enjoyable.
Second steep, 10 seconds. Man, this little guy is really holding onto its shape. Am I suppose to help it along in breaking up? I don’t know but I find myself being in the camp of “leaf (heh) it the hell alone” and let nature take its course. The typical ripe shu smell is a bit stronger and the color is becoming a bit more brick red compared to the last one. I’m really enjoying the flavor here. Smooth, velvety down the throat. An earthy caramel flavor.
3rd steep, 10 seconds. I know I am supposed to back off a bit with the time on the third steep (generally speaking) but I’ll be damned if this tuo is still holding form. After pouring out the liquid from the leaves, I used a blunt instrument (okay, it was my finger. I know this is probably frowned upon. The color of the liquor looks to be the same. The wet leaf had a smokey chocolate scent to it. Oh no..the flavor is still a light earthy chocolate with some smokiness. The horror… Hold up here. I think I just discovered a small thin.. piece of straw(?) at the bottom of one of my cups. Like… delicately small and thin but that is still what it resembles to me on the tip of my finger. Eh, whatever. Moving on.
4th steep. Oh, hey, guess who is a moron? I had assumed I put my electric kettle for a 212F temp. Just looked before this steep. Nope. It has been at 195F this whole time. Perhaps that is what has accounted for the light flavors and slow break up of the tuo… Oh well. I’ve enjoyed the taste thus far so, meh. Let’s see what the correct temperature brings me, shall we?
10 seconds. Again. And again, the tuo holds its shape and still feels pretty solid to the core. Yes, I used my finger again. Care to guess which one? Flavor and colors are both holding steady. Smooth and tasty. The scent of the wet leaves now has a sugary caramel scent. Not quite burnt… but reminiscent. At the risk of, well, very little, I am going to up the time a tad on this next steep.
Steep 5, 15 seconds (at 212 this time). Well, the tuo is still holding shape, though I do detect some sponginess this time around. The scent is the same. The color is slightly, ever so slightly, darker. The higher temp and longer steep time seems to have brought out a little bit more of the mushroom earthiness but it is still pretty subdued for a ripe. I’m still enjoying it quite a bit. You watch, this thing is going to fall apart in my gaiwan and just release a torrent of intense-ness that it has been holding onto and saving up.
Steep 6, 20 seconds. I should clarify here. There has always been some loose leaf settling on the bottom, so it’s not like there is no leaf loosening here and it’s all just one solid tuo. Anywho, the tuo is still mostly together but I think I am getting to it. I was able to push/mush some leaf off the main piece. But dang, that middle core still feels decently solid. Am I obsessing now? I’m obsessing now. You know what, just to prove I can stop, I am not going to mention the core of the tuo until it completely falls apart.
During this steep I got a whiff that so clearly and instantly reminded me of a salmon and rice dinner. Not in a bad fishy way normally associated with some bad ripes but in a very delicate and delicious way. Color is sitting somewhere between brick red and caramel brown. Flavor is mostly the same but a little bolder now. Still smooth and delicious.
Steep 7, 25 seconds. A mocha syrupy color reveals itself. Close your eyes and imagine what a solid, recognizable ripe puerh tastes like. I’m pretty sure you are envisioning this. There is a slight mineral undertone/after taste in this one as well.
Steep 8, Screw it, 40 seconds. And guess what? We have a broken up tuo. The color now reminds me of a dark roasted coffee. There also seems to be a roasty mushroom scent to the wet leaf. My patience and now devil may care attitude in the last steep have combined to make this brew a toasty cocoa creamy goodness. Best one thus far. Thanks tuo for finally releasing all of your treasures.
Annnnd the tea drunk just hit.
Steep 9, 45ish? seconds. Coffee color still remains. Delicious flavor as well.
So, I have to go before this tea has really given up all I think it has to offer. Where do I have to go? A tea tasting at an English Cottage Tea House. Hahahhahah.
Edit- I realize this review sounds a bit manic and thanks for hanging in there for the novel but I was in an extra good mood. Was it the best tea I’ve ever had? No, probably not. Was it the most fun I had while drinking a tea? Perhaps. And isn’t that all that matters?
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Smoke
Backlog from this morning.
I’ve had this tea a few times, and I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about it. It’s definitely not a bad tea, but it’s maltier and breadier than I like. It reminds me of whole wheat bread, of bread crust.
It’s rich, but I tend to like my black teas a little sweeter/spicier. However, I will keep this because sometimes you just need a strong kick in the pants.
I got a cake of this in July and it’s already more than 2/3 gone! If I’m honest I bought it because I like the goat on the wrapper..but I wasn’t dissapointed!
I think this tea may have changed a bit since I got it because I broke the cake up and put it in a earthware jar to air out.
While there is still a bit of the fermentation flavor, the dark chocolate flavour and creamyness of this tea overpowers it pretty easily (and I hardly notice it anymore). A good candidate for gong fu or grandpa style although I find it doesn’t stay strong enough for very long as grandpa style. A very easy to drink quality shou.
Flavors: Creamy, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate
Lovely tea! Dried leaf: intact, attractive shapes, and are easily pried off the cake with an alomst spiced fragrance. Wet leaves have a delicate wild flower aroma and are of a respectable olive green, nice and veiny. I normally taste the wash of teas I’ve been anticipating to try out.
The initial steeps have an upfront floral sweetness, cooling, tingly sensations, and almost spicy/nutty notes of raw/roasted brussel sprouts. Honestly, if there was a liquified form of honeysuckle it would taste like this. That kind of delicate but prominent floral note comes more to the fore as the tea soup thickens. The body on this is just wonderful and consistent through later steeps. It has a very pleasurable mouthfeel. There is strong cha qi that spreads to my core rather than to my head. Tea buzz sneaks in on the 3rd or so steep. Mid to later steeps are consistently honeysuckle-floral, wild flower honey, thick/velvety, and tingly/cooling, with no bitterness to speak of.
I’ve tried this with my gaiwan and yixing. The sweetness seems to be somewhat enhanced with the yixing, but not by much. The tea remains active in the mouth for a while after drinking. I can’t get enough of that tingly sensation! I ended up purchasing two cakes.
Note: As an experiment, I brewed this session a bit on the lighter side and it was still very pleasurable.
First Impression, this has sit for a bit over a week and is from a yunnan sourcing tea club shipment.
The warmed dry leaves smell of chocolate and malt with a hint of flowers and cinnamon. The first brew is a floral explosion with a solid backbone of spice and minerality. Over the next few brews the sweetness, roast, and spice notes really picked up as the florality slowly faded. Really thick and smooth mouth feel with great cooling sensation. Not overly roasty – warm and toasty is more like it. Got eight very solid brews from it. Looking forward to really sitting down and evaluating it.
Tieguanyin was my crossover into tea. Anytime I have it, it takes me back to that first cup. I used a duanni yixing teapot to brew this tea.
This tieguanyin is different from others I’ve tried. The body and color of the brew is light. Early aromas start off almost potatoey and it gradually turns into that lilac, super floral that I’m used to in a tieguanyin.
Sweet and soft. Even after increasing my steep times to adding more than 30 seconds, the flavor never got sharp. Great tea!
Flavors: Floral, Potato, Sweet
I recieved the tea a week ago with my tea club shipment. The dry leaves had a distinct peach note which after heating in a gaiwan opened up with the addition of cinnamon, vanilla, toasty malt, and some florality.
The first brew was full bodied with a lot of floral notes, a good touch of minerality, flint, some toast, and a hint of peach. The tea lasted about 8 brews, however the tea peaked on the second brew and was much smoother and less complex thus forth. The teas energy is warm and calming, but definitely slight and requires focus. There was a nice cooling in the mouth for the first few brews accompanied by some sweetness.
I’ll update this review next time I brew it. Overall my first impression is that this is a good entry/mid-level yancha, aromatic and flavorful with good sensations in the mouth. Well priced.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Floral, Malt, Mineral, Peach, Toasty, Vanilla