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Recent Tasting Notes
This is pretty good for a newly made ripe puerh tea. It had quite a bit of fermentation flavor. That flavor was still a bit funky if not quite fishy. It was not bitter. It developed a nice sweet note. I would venture to say it had some notes of chocolate in there. Maybe a bit of a woody mushroom taste too. This was a nice puerh. I bought two cakes of this so I will be seeing how this one ages.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10.2g 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, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. Could have gotten a few more steeps out of this one but twelve steeps is enough caffeine for me.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Mushrooms, Sweet
Honestly rather surprised that I’m the first reviewing this one.
The smell of these wet leaves are amazing! Fruity gummies, cherries and plums. The dry leaves smells subtly of plum preserve/jam.
2 Rinses at 10s each.
Steep – Time – Notes
1st – 10s – The aroma of the wet leaves is indeed imparted to the tea. Not much of the flavor in this steep though. I just finished the last cup of my previous tea session early this morning so that may be influencing this tasting, but I’m noticing a bit of a heady cha qi going on. We’ll see how it develops going forward. Despite not carrying much of the fruit flavors I smell it does have wonderful sweetness that blossoms at the back of the throat before gently fading away.
2nd – 10s – Heeyyyyy! There’s that lovely plum/cherry note I smelled in the leaves! _
Sweet, pleasant astringency. Nice dry finish. I thought there was no bitterness, but there is a slight bitter note in the aftertaste that quickly melts into that fruity sweetness. I think you have to really be looking for it to even notice it. I’d take it as a good indication that this tea shouldn’t be pushed too hard in the early steeps. Very good tea.
3rd – 15s – Light, airy, cha qi going on right now. :) The fruit notes are a little more subtle here and the tea tastes more grassy, sort of typical of shengs. The sweetness in the aftertaste has increased a bit. A little more bitterness in this one. Loving the relaxed cha qi. Feeling energized, relaxed and focused all at once.
4th – 15s – Slight bitterness in the mouth followed by surprising sweetness in the aftertaste. That’s a first. The fruity notes are still subdued as the grassy notes have taken center stage.
5th – 30s – Bitter note has disappeared, sweet finish is still present and some of the fruity notes are making another appearance. Nice cup… finished it too fast to say much more about it… my bad. LOL!
6th – 40s – Still fruity, but very weak. Need to up my steep time.
7th – ??s- Set my timer for 90s and then got pulled into a conversation. So… 2 minutes, 3, 5? I dunno. Long enough to bring out some bitter notes. :( I may brew one or two more pots tomorrow with these leaves. I screwed this one up, but those first few steeps were just lovely.
I need to establish my own tea rating scale so that these scores are actually more meaningful. Particularly when it comes to future purchases. Of course given how much tea I just bought from Yunnan Sourcing that may be a long, long, long way off. YQH Chawangshu… okay, maybe not that far off. It pricey but that tea definitely defines the upper end of my quality scale right now. I’ll have to get in on Emmett’s next monthly buy.
Flavors: Candy, Cherry, Plums
Smokey. That’s the only flavor I could taste. While it wasn’t overpowering, and it was a fairly smooth smokey flavor, it was the exclusive flavor of this tea.
It wasn’t bad, but my wife and I didn’t find it tasty. (We don’t like lapsang souchong either)
Smokey though 4 steeps. Smoke became less pronounced, but still the only taste.
This is a very good oolong… not as sweet as some, but with a full bodied feel, very apparent mineral taste and notes of honey, as per the description. The smell of the dry leaves is very strong, and somewhat surprising, but this does not come through in a prominent way when infused. The leaves are large and pleasing, and the tea lasted for many infusions without losing appeal. . . in fact, as the initial stronger flavors faded, a mellow sweetness did indeed come out.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Honey, Mineral
Ohh, this is lovely. Even just opening my little glass jar and smelling it—it’s all earthy and chocolatey. And the leaves! They’re so furry! I want to name them, keep them as pets, and let them sleep curled up on my shoulder.
I’d describe this tea as sweet potatoey hot chocolate. There’s chocolate and sweet potatoes, of course, but there is also an earthy kind of malty flavor and burned sugar. Sometimes there’s a hint of some bitterness, but it’s very light and comes and goes.
Loving this earthy sweet potato chocolate tea!
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Chocolate, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
The smoke within this tea actually eliminates the malted notes that should occur and leaves the ‘harsh’ sweet notes of a thin molasses. It’s harder to plain than to taste, how the malt is generally the ending taste throughout the mouth ends up with a smoky ending which ends up coating the mouth so the malted notes are like a burnt sugar that isn’t sweet… whatever that is.
Fast short steeps give you a large array of flavors/notes. Slight caramel/fruity back tones. A smooth brew without a over forced fermentation. I have been working on a cake for sometime, and just acquired 3 additional cakes to save. Good value.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Camphor, Caramel, Fruity, Musty
Brews a deep deep red. There’s a fair amount of fermentation flavor left, enough that I felt the need to give four rinses. But this tea definitely has it’s redeeming qualities. It’s very thick and creamy, almost buttery except that it’s more sweet than savory. There’s a strong and definite chocolate note, almost like drinking dark chocolate hot cocoa. This is a lower fermentation shou, and it has just a hint of a vegetal pumpkin flavor. Later steeps hint at raisin and ginseng. Overall a nice tea that should get much better with age.
Flavors: Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Mineral, Pumpkin, Raisins
A thick and bittersweet young sheng. Sweet honey, grain, apricot, mushroom, and hazelnut notes with a bitterness a bit like hops. Warm, sweet aroma lasts in the cup and in the mouth. Mouthfeel is thick and lubricating/oily. Qi is pleasant and noticeable for me. This is one of Scott’s lower priced cakes and in my opinion an exceptional deal!
Flavors: Apricot, Grain, Honey, Hops, Mushrooms, Nuts
Oh. My God.
So apparently this one’s hand-plucked, and to my knowledge I’ve yet to have a hand-plucked oolong, So this is exciting!
Anyways so it’s very vegetal, mineral, light soap & perfume in the first steep, sweet, bok choy, green beans, spinach, light flowers,
But then after the third steep, good ol’ third steep, the soap/perfume is mostly gone, and well, now, I don’t like florals in my tea; anyone who has even glanced at my profile knows that, but this has some kind of thick, sweet florals that I don’t just love, I crave the next steep, it’s wonderful.
Steep 4 is even better, thicker, richer, sweeter, a bit fruity and thickly vegetal, it’s like I can feel the leaves. Have you ever just licked an unrolled oolong leaf? No? That’s reasonable. But um if you want to understand the mouthfeel I’ve got right now, go and do that, I mean probably when you’re on your own sometime, because, well, people will run away. And we don’t want that.
Anyways, the fifth is more floral, thinner, sweeter,
6 is a bit more fruity, still a nice floral, some astringency, has been coming through since about the 3rd steep, but a very nice amount.
7 florals take over, but not in a bad way (It’s weird to say that it isnt in a bad way)
8 It tastes like basil actually; flower stems, there’s even hints of earth which are very pleasant and subtle,
My god i need to try more Dan Congs, I always default to taiwan for my oolongs, but if tea like this is coming from the mainland, well I may just need to reevaluate everything I know. That’s exciting.
Actually, wait, what am I saying, I have 2 on the way from Verdant currently, so you’ll be hearing more from me soon.
So you know what, flower tea people? I finally understand you.
Flavors: Astringent, Bok Choy, Earth, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Green Beans, Mineral, Perfume, Soap, Spinach, Stems, Sweet, Vegetal
This is a fairly inexpensive tea from Yunnan Sourcing. It is a good and tasty tea. It has nearly cleared. There is really almost no fermentation flavor to this tea, I think I detected a little in the first couple of steeps. It has little bitterness to it. It’s got a nice sweet note going for it. I’d not say chocolaty but perhaps woody in nature, but not in an unpleasant way. Very hard to accurately describe the sweet note on this one. I only gave this one eight steeps because I have plans this afternoon and need to get going, but I’m sure it would have gone twelve or fifteen steeps. It’s still quite dark in color.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 150ml ru kiln gaiwan with 12.2g 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, and 30 sec. This is a very nice aged tea for the price. A lot of companies would sell this for a lot more but Yunnan Sourcing had it at a reasonable price.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
Brews a medium brown-orange. Flavors of wet wood, rocks, leather, and “old book smell.” Very thick and oily in the mouth with light bitterness. Later steeps are cleaner tasting with slight cocoa and red wine notes. Overall it’s ok. I’m not super wild about it, but I may buy a cake just because it’s hard to find a tea with so much aged character for so cheap. A good"daily drinker" aged cake.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Cocoa, Leather, Paper, Red Wine, Wet Rocks, Wet wood
A review of a sample purchased through Yunnan Sourcing
Excited to try an older ripe puerh, the wife and I sat down for a session after dinner. Brewed with water that had been off the boil for about 5 minutes, I brewed about 5 grams in a hario teapot in a gong-fu fashion, rinsing the tea for about 15 seconds and discarding the water, then adding fresh water for subsequent steeps. The water was cooler with each steep, as I did not reheat the water on the stove. I believe this led to the tea being so smooth and calming.
I should also note that each steep was approx 200ml of water, as my wife and I enjoyed the session together with 100ml cups. Someone drinking alone would likely get far more steeps than we did.
First steep – 10 seconds – strong umami taste, not bitter or astringent. Medium red color tea. Not yet much of a mouth feel, perhaps even a bit dry.
Second steep – 10 seconds – a far deeper and darker red, the umami taste was somewhat tamed to reveal a strong honey flavor, of which my wife was very pleased. The mouth feel somewhat creamy
Third steep – 10 seconds – continues to be deep and dark red, umami taste further tamed, the honey slightly more pronounced but with a hint of caramel. The mouth feel remains soft with body.
At this point we decided that the tea was very calming and relaxing.
4th steep – 15 seconds – still deep red, however the flavors diminished across the board. The mouth feel was reduced.
I feel that there was at least one more steep, but we were content to stop where we were at. The current rate of this tea is $200 for a 357g cake, which is beyond my personal tea budget, however the 10 gram sample is definitely worth splurging on for a special evening.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Umami
The dry leaves have a very pleasant sweet, sort of grassy aroma. Wet, they smell of sweet currants or raisins.
Steep – Time – Notes
1st – 10s – Should have gone 15s on this one or added more leaves to the pot but past experience has made me reticent to do that sometimes because the tea ends up too astringent for too many steeps and I get a bad first impression of the tea. This cup is pretty light in both taste and body. Sweet grassy notes in taste.
2nd – 15s – A bit more bite (astringency) which I like when it has the sort of sweet finish that this cup has. It has a more full, round mouthfeel with more body. These are the characteristics I’m usually looking for in a sheng pu’erh, especially a MaHei sheng.
3rd – 15s – Sweet, grassy, with a dry finish and a lasting sweet aftertaste.
4th – 60s+ – Accidental oversteep as I had to step away. Luckily the astringency isn’t overpowering, it just shows up earlier as a slightly bitter note one would find with black tea. However, the sweetness is still there in the aftertaste and I’m noting it at the back of the throat more as well.
5th – 45s – Rather weak. No bite. Should have steeped longer after the previous oversteep.
6th – 60s – Sweet dry finish is back. It’s more of a subtle sweetness. A good everyday sort of sheng pu’erh. Not picking up any fruity notes, but noticing more sweetness at the back of the throat.
7th – 180s – I wasn’t sure on the previous two steeps, but the first few sips have a faint green medicinal note. I wouldn’t call it camphorous, but whatever it is it’s gone after a couple of sips and yields into full body sweetness again. If I’m careful not to draw comparisons, this is actually a pretty good tea.
8th – 180s – Same a previous though the sweetness is lessened and the finish is a bit drier.
9th – 300s – Still some color and soft, semi-bland sweetness. I think the leaves are done here.
Have to try this one again as I generally like MaHei sheng pu’erhs… this of course before YQH came along and ruined everything with truly amazing taste, qi and leaf performance.
Steeped this western style a couple of times and found it fairly unremarkable. It tasted a lot better gongfu’d. Smooth and light bodied with notes of tender green beans, vegetable broth, and umami. There’s some marine/seaweed flavor in the background, though not off-putting, that fades after the first couple of steeps. It finishes with a nice peppery aftertaste.
Although I prefer Laoshan and other green teas, this is still a good, approachable Yunnan green tea – just make sure not to overbrew it.
Flavors: Green Beans, Marine, Pepper, Umami, Vegetable Broth
At first the tea tasted mild, but after a few minutes of sitting and stirring it, it actually picked up an almost salt and pepper taste that added something to an otherwise mild tea. A second steep at 6 minutes really brought out some more flavor notes on the backend of the tea with a little astringency.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Salty
The aroma of the first infusion is soft and rounded with notes of raisins and dried plums. As I sip the tea, the fragrance comes truly alive with notes of smoke, warm wood, and the characteristic honey-like aroma of Yi Wu. At times the smokiness is so strong it reminds me of Lapsang Souchong! The smokiness is accompanied by notes of tar and cocoa beans. In the aftertaste one can find the subtlest signs of aged earthiness. Quite a bitter tea, but I like it!
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Dark Wood, Fruity, Honey, Plums, Raisins, Smoke, Tar
There is definitely a distinct Jing Mai nuttiness in the fragrance, but also grassiness and fruity. The mouthfeel is full and round, but it is dominated by a strong bitterness. The aftertaste is fruity and lingering. The tea needs to be brewed strong spite the bitterness or else it seems bland. Even then it is subtle, but enjoyable, and with age when the bitterness and grassiness transform, it might turn out to be a great tea!
Flavors: Fruity, Grass, Honey, Nutty
I did not have high expectations regarding the taste, but as soon as I took a sip of the brew, I was amazed. The taste is clear, sweet, well defined, fruity, and in every aspect quite ‘sheng-like’. The taste covers the mouth and leaves and aftertaste of old wood, which changes to bubbling and almost minty fruitiness when I inhale. Very complex and high quality!
Flavors: Dark Wood, Earth, Fruity, Sweet
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I am full of sadness, summer has returned and it is gross! All last week I got to have the windows open and it was cool and often rainy, I was so happy with the beautiful weather…even if having the windows open means somehow the blasted orange May Beetles found their way in past the screen in droves. At least I got to have a bit of fun with them, I would jokingly make them quote Harbinger but in a very tiny bug voice, hilarity ensued.
Today I am taking a break from tea to look at a new piece of teaware that has found its way into my collection (a collection that is slowly taking over the bedroom) Yunnan Sourcing’s Glaze on Clay ‘Oxide Blue’ Kyusu a truly spectacular kyusu with a wooden handle and an unglazed clay interior, meaning perfect for dedicating it to a single tea. A tiny bit on the ‘big’ size at a whopping 175ml, I got it with the idea that its size is perfect for a gongfu session for two, since Ben has been sharing tea with me a lot lately, especially Hong Cha, which is what this pot was dedicated to.
I admit to falling in love with this teapot immediately, the speckled blue and green glaze matches my usual aesthetic, as it is well known by now that I am a sucker for the color blue. When the box arrived I was immensely pleased, sometimes I have bought teaware that once it arrived I was less enthusiastic, but Yunnan Sourcing has never disappointed with their teaware. First I was surprised by the weight, you could really bludgeon someone with this teapot if needed, not that I would want to, if some other dimensional monster busted in on me mid tea session I would clearly want to use my puerh knife rather than risk a teapot. This does mean that if I drop it I am less likely to ruin things forever, plus with it being such thick clay it holds heat like a beast.
The next thing I noticed when examining the teapot was the beautiful leaf on the side, cut-out of the glaze to show the clay the teapot is made from. I find that the leaf ties into the wooden handle, which, might I add, feels wonderful in the hand. I love the kyusu style teapot, sometimes my arthritis makes handles hard to grab, the kyusu is just much more ergonomic. Plus it is balanced very well, which makes pouring a breeze, and speaking of pour this pot is very smooth, no dribbling!
I have been using this pot pretty consistently since I procured it, and it is getting a good bit of seasoning. Both Ben and I have been enjoying using it, since we frequently start the day with a Hong Cha (usually a Dianhong) this teapot gets used most days. I think my favorite thing about this teapot is not the blending of beautiful form and functionality, but that it is a pot that brings together two of my greatest loves.