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Recent Tasting Notes
Bought this tea a while ago but just now got around to trying it. It is fairly tasty. It is floral and somewhat vegetal in nature. I may have slightly over brewed this tea at 3 minutes and am getting a slight sour aftertaste. I suspect I over brewed it. The dry leaves are white and wiry and have what I would describe as an orchid like aroma. They smell absolutely divine. As with all things divine, the reality of the brew is just a little short of that but it is quite good. The Yunnan Sourcing USA site does not list brewing instructions for this tea so I have no way to be certain whether I over brewed it.
I brewed this tea once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and 185 degree water for 3 min.
Flavors: Floral, Vegetal
I figured since I tried one buckwheat tea, I might as well try the other samples I have as well! This one also came from Dexter. Visually, it looks quite different. While the H&S version was coarsely crushed, this one is whole pieces of buckwheat, and they look like smaller versions of shelled sunflower seeds to me. I could detect a touch of roasty scent from the dry grain, but not much.
The steeped tea smells exactly like roasted peanuts, or perhaps peanut butter, with salt included. The aroma is a bit more buttery than the other tea. The flavor here is a touch milder, which makes sense to me since because the buckwheat is whole, there’s less surface area and less of the inside exposed to the water. Perhaps this one should be steeped a little longer than the crushed version. Anyhow, the flavor is very roasted peanut, and there’s a bit of that toasted wheat cereal taste as well. Overall, very similar! I couldn’t tell you which I prefer…
Flavors: Grain, Peanut, Roasted nuts, Sweet, Toasted
NOMS! terriharplady let me steal one of these from her when i was in st louis and i figured that this would be the perfect morning tea since we’re still running through test cases and such. This way i can make a cup, boil the water, steep another cup and keep rotating. so i’ve been doing that this morning and it’s been great. this is absolutely tangerine and not orange. the flavouring isn’t overpowering the tea, though i’ve been experimenting by putting some of the rind in here and there to play with the level of flavour coming through. This is also a bold enough puerh for me, without being flat in terms of a base. On the whole, i’d likely pick some of these up in future for fun :) thanks terri!
Boychik sent samples with the Yunnan Sourcing tea I ordered and this was one — thank you! I split it in half so I could have the other half of the sample. So I steeped up about a teaspoon and a half but didn’t fill the mug all of the way. These nuggets are something different – I haven’t seen anything like them before. The rinse definitely had the “pu-erh pond” scent going, but that seemed to disappear with the first steep. A standard pu-erh here – the color of the cup never goes a deep black – it remains a bright burgundy… but I believe that is because the leaves are fairly bigger. Just like a black tea, the smaller the leaves the deeper color of the brew. The flavor is smooth, sweet, a little like slightly smoky leather. I was reminded of marshmallows with one sip. This is a great pu-erh but it does lack a tiny nudge of something special to make it stand out from the pu-erh pack.
1 1/2 tsp (mug not filled all the way) // just boiled // rinse // 2 min // 3 min // 4 min
It seems I am the first to leave a review for this Autumn tea but it’s still pretty much the same tea from Spring of 2014. I’ve had this tea few times already but was too lazy to set up a new tea on Steepster.
I brewed western style for this morning at 200F . This is a pretty good tea for early mornings. It’s got a bit of caffeine kick to it but not overly strong. In fact I can’t tell too much of a difference in caffeine compared to having my green.
I love the bready/molasses sweetness of this early morning. There’s also a floral note but I haven’t figured out what it reminds me of. What appeals to me about this black tea is that it’s a bit lighter than I expected a black tea to be. The milder brew and light floral notes are things I enjoy in some greens. This tea is dark enough and strong enough to give to my Hubby (He likes it too) but light enough for me to enjoy as well.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Floral, Molasses
I’ve had this cake since last spring, and sort of forgot about it. Though it has been trying real hard to get my attention because it is extremely fragrant and I realize it has been one of the stronger smelling cakes in my tea fridge.
Brewed up 9 grams in 125 ml water, got a very thick orange syrup with the usual Yiwu floral, grape and vegetal notes. This tea is definitely one of the thickest shengs I’ve had to date. I’m not sure if the cake just turned over the summer, but reading DigniTea’s note on this from 5 months ago, am noting a honey yellow brew in DigniTea’s session. Mine is definitely orange with a red ring around the outside. At 12 years though, a cake is due to finish up the faster part of its fermentation and then slow down for a number of years afterward. Maybe the cake is just at that stage.
It’s a good tea, and I’m glad to have it. More middle of the road for Yiwu, better than the low end, but not long steeping like white2tea’s 1998 Yiwu or 2014 Last Thoughts that steep out past 30. I’m long brewing at 10 steeps with this Yong Pin Hao. Or maybe I’m just getting to that stage of puerh addiction where I just need more and more tea to get that tea buzz going. Four cups of this and I’m not there yet.
Seems like the 2003 Yong Pin Hao 100 gram tuos comprised of Yiwu tea bits for $6.50 might be a better way to go for regular drinking. The Yiwus I have now are special occasion teas. I don’t have the time for that kind of thinking. Drink it up!
I did post a photo of the first steep on my blog if people want to see the color of the brew that I got from this one.
Flavors: Apricot, Grapes, Vegetal
I bought this tea because of Mr Mopar’s description of it. It was all that he said. I found apricots and stonefruits early on that lasted throughout nine infusions. There was only a little bitterness in a few of the steeps, I think where I gave it a bit too much time. I over steeped it in the second infusion but it was quite forgiving. I brewed this nine times and could have brewed it at least twelve times. I am guessing that I would have had weak tea in a fifteenth infusion but I am too tead out top steep it a tenth time.
I brewed this 9 times in a 150ml gaiwan with 200 degree water and 6.5g leaf. I gave it a quick rinse and then a ten minute rest as Mr Mopar often does. I don’t know what effect this rest had on the tea but I was too impatient to give it more rest. I steeped it for 10 sec, 15 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 2 min, 4 min, and 8 min. I added a small amount of sugar to this tea which intensified the stonefruit notes but tasted it without sugar too. It was sweet on its own, I simply prefer sheng with a little sugar.
while I did not put it down as a note, I am interested if others who have tried this would say it also has bitter melon notes as well as apricots and stonefruits.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Stonefruits
Crisp breeze in the air means it’s time to hit the Yunnan Sourcing pile of tea in my cupboard. Use cracked celedon pot for this tea. It brews up quickly for the first 4 steeps then added 10-20 seconds for further out brews. The flavors are so clean and spot on for what I like about Yunnan black teas. Soft flavors of malt, cherry, orange blossom and caramel, bouquet of chocolate and orange blossom; nice energy but not grating, a hint of bitter but it corrects the flavors somehow to make it more flavorful. The batch I purchased was the Autumn 2012 and I bought a lot of it.
Flavors: Caramel, Cherry, Malt, Orange Blossom
The dry leaf has a texture about it that brings to mind ancient parchments, in a dark gray green, & the aroma is mildly sweet. All of the steeps were pleasant, smooth, & lightly sweet, with a nut butter kind of taste & feel, along with a slightly tart apricot glow. Several steeps in the flavor transformed to sourdough bread, & then went back to the Apricot, but sweeter & juicier than before. That’s as far as I’ve gotten, & I feel there are many steeps to come, but I’m headed out the door for now.
I convinced the “Chairman” to pick this one for us tonight after she played with the catnip mouse that I enticed her with.
i did the 8 gram sample with a 5 second ’wash" and brewed it in the Gaiwan after giving it a 30 min rest.
The brew with the first infusion was a nice burgundy after a 5 second steep. It gives a nice brew. No of scents and nice to see in the cup. I gives a nice woody , sweet and a touch drying brew. It is very nice and a very smooth brew to be as young as this one is. Very nice and I am grateful for the one who allowed me to try it. Nice and Nice.
Flavors: Drying, Sweet, Wood
5g 100ml gaiwan 205F
Revisiting this tea, but couldn’t find my previous note. It’s very nice. Chocolaty, lychee aroma, some muscatel notes, raw nuts. It reminds me Ai Lao Mtn teas or even Taiwanese teas. Delightful.
This is a real “brick” tea. I was afraid I was going to break the blade of my Swiss army knife trying to chip off a few pieces. I wound up with some of the tea as a fine powder: the blade grinds into the tough surface as much as it cuts.
After grinding away at that dark, tough brick, I was surprised at how light and refreshing the first pot was. The nose and taste started out with a strong stone fruit character, but became more woody and somewhat bitter as the 1st cup cooled. Tobacco appeared in the second steep, which was harsh. Later steeps show the nice fruit and became less harsh but were still too raw for me to really enjoy.
In theory, I should put this aside for a few years, but it was so solid that I’m afraid it might take decades for enough air to penetrate the brick. I broke up part of the brick to speed up the process.
I tried this tea again about 3 weeks later and found it much less bitter. I really am enjoying this now. The only difference I can think of is that I used a single chunk from my last break-up, so didn’t have any fine powder.
Queued post, written October 5th 2014
All the time while I was prohibited from acquiring new tea because I was emptying my Yet To Try box, or maybe not all the time but a lot of the time, I really kept finding my thoughts going in an oolong-y direction in general and a Dan Cong-y direction specifically. And I didn’t have one, so I couldn’t get one, so I couldn’t have one.
Now I have one, so I can have one.
I think it’s lighter than other Dancongs I’ve had because some of these leaves actually had a fair bit of green on them. I like a dark type oolong best, so I was a bit disappointed by this initially. I thought it would turn out to be milder than I preferred.
It was also very light in colour when pouring, looking more like a green tea and entirely without any hint of brownish red to be seen. Having now been allowed to develop for a couple of minutes, the colour is darker and more of the brownish red. Good.
It smells just right. A bit rough around the edges, with a good wood note and also a slightly yeasty note of baked goods. As in, it doesn’t actually smell like yeast (that would be bad) but of the sort of baked goods that has yeast in it.
Tastewise, it is a bit mild, but it’s the type of mildness that I should be able to adjust my way out of with a bit more leaf or a little less water. Again, it’s got a prominent wood note and also a fairly sweet tinge to it. It’s actually fairly floral, this. The weird thing is, I don’t actually much like floral teas, but I’m coming to realise that what I don’t like is floral scented teas. Naturally occuring blossom-y notes seem to work much much better for me. In particular one it’s downright pleasant, which isn’t something I thought I’d find myself saying.
Finally I had my cup of dancong. I feel fulfilled now.
Marco Polo Traveling Tea Box – Tea #1
Finally getting around to writing reviews of the teas I sampled! Oh boy. I have some catching up to do. I poofed from Steepster a few months ago, due to many things—the largest reason being that I started smoking cigarettes again and slowly lost my ability to accurately taste. I stopped drinking tea for a while. It seemed such a waste to drink tea when I couldn’t fully appreciate it. Anyway, I kicked the habit, and now I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. Starting with the teas from the last box I participated in…
This is a very unique tea. It opens with a spicy, herbaceous flavor that’s much like eucalyptus and little like sage. It’s refreshing. It’s a taste that’s very “green”, smooth, and a little sweet. The smell of the tea is somewhat acidic—I believe Tea Sipper called it “sour plums”—but it doesn’t translate into the taste as much as the texture. Almost minty, a little drying, but smooth. It’s not overpowering. It’s an undertone. There’s a bit of that acidic quality to the taste, but it reminds me more of bitter nut skins than plums. There’s also a hint of floral here. It’s hard to pick out exactly how or what it reminds me of. This tea is silky in texture, and it’s drying in a way that makes my mouth water. I’m catching hints of dried fruit, wood, nuts, and a slight mineral taste. It gains a lot of sweetness and a creamy, milky finish as you sip. Very strong qi for a black tea. Very enjoyable cup. Not a heavy tea by any means.
First steep: 1min
Second steep: 2min
Third steep: 3min
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Drying, Eucalyptus, Floral, Herbaceous, Mineral, Nuts, Roasted, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Wood
I’m running out of queue. There are maybe… 3 posts after this one. I don’t know what I’ll do when the queue is empty. I suppose I’ll have to go back to irregular posting again. I do have some things I haven’t written about and I’ve got an order on the way from Nannuoshan, but trying something for the first time and writing about it demands motivation and focus. Those aren’t things you can plan in advance. Right now I haven’t got very much in the way of motivation and focus, really…
Queued post, written September 24th 2014
This one was a freebie with my YS order. It isn’t one I would have chosen for myself, I don’t think, but since it’s here, I might as well try it.
I tend to have mixed experiences with Yunnan blacks. Some of them are lovely, others just taste far too much like hay for my liking, so in general I find it safer to just avoid them.
“Why then,” I hear you ask, “did you go and order from a place called Yunnan Sourcing? There’s a great big clue in the name right there, you wally!”
“Well,” you hear me answer, “remember that sugar-roasted thing I posted about last time? So interesting! How could I not try some? And since I was there anyway, why not look around a bit? Besides the other two things that I actually ordered were oolongs, so I’m not that much of a wally.”
This though… Hmm. Large amount for a freebie? Sample? Nooo. Not sure how much there is here. Maybe around 30g or so. Big sample, but I’m certainly not complaining.
A strange thing happened when I sniffed the dry leaves. There was only really one note there that I could pick up. I mean, there were other notes as well underneath, but this one note struck me as so peculiar that I couldn’t actually look past it. It reminded me strongly of sweet licorice. I KNOW! Weird, huh? I’ve never had licorice show up as a natural note before, I don’t think. There wasn’t any hay-ish notes that I could find, and licorice or not, I think I would have been able to pick up on that, so that’s a good sign.
After brewing it doesn’t smell like licorice anymore, which frankly makes it even more bizarre that the dry leaf does. I expect at least a little overlap here. Instead it has some weak pu-erh-y notes. Rather than smelling like a pu-erh, it smells sort of like, “this is what I could have been had I been processed differently.” Sweet and borderline mushroom-y, borderline earthy, borderline brothy. There is a bit of hay here, but not super much, which is good. I’m not sure what kind of sweetness I’m detecting. It’s not really caramel-y or cocoa-y, but it’s not malt-y either. I think actually the sweetness is connected to the hay note, it’s just standing out more because the hay is not as hay-y as it could have been. (Ugh, Ang… That doesn’t even make sense! Why do you write such rubbish?)
Let’s just move on to tasting it, shall we? The aroma was quite strong and complicated, so I’m surprised by how mild the taste is. Not weak, mind you, but mild. There’s a difference. There’s plenty of flavour, it’s just not very self-asserting. I’m getting the sweet and smooth part of that hay note again and the actual hay-y bit of it does come through on the aftertaste. I could have lived without that, frankly, but I’m also finding it more tolerable than I have done in the past.
The primary note is peppery and prickly, and it comes out more as the tea cools and develops a bit more. As it get pricklier it also gets more forceful and less mild, although it would still not have been my choice for the first cup if the morning had I known.
This is the second time recently that I’ve had a Yunnan black and had a good experience with it. Perhaps my taste is changing a bit. It will never be able to take the place of Fujian black, but perhaps it’s worth exploring a little further here. I suspect I’m missing out on something or other.
So I spent the entire day drinking multiple steepings of 3 different Hei Cha, & I enjoyed them all. Most of the steepings I drank plain, but with each one I sweetened one of the steeps, just to try it that way too, & I think I had forgotten how much I occasionally enjoy my tea to be sweet.
For my final tea of the day I went with this tangerine puerh. As a lover of novelty, I wanted to try these for awhile. At some point somebody sent me a sample, and it was ok, but not all that. Recently I got a sample from Teavivre, & was initially feeling the same about it, until I added a little sweetening, & then it was delicious. So although I don’t usually sweeten puerh, this tea is an exception (along with my beloved Sichuan Caravan), & delicious for having done so. I used 5G, plus a few chunks of the tangerine peel, steeped in 8oz for 5 minutes. The resteep was probably 8 minutes. I can probably steep it again for 10. Lightly sweetened with a pinch of stevia powder (I get mine from Cheryl’s Herbs, & it doesn’t have a bunch of crap in it).
I declare today to be Hei Cha Day
Yep, little Terri yelled that inside my head this morning while I was languishing in bed, savoring a dark rainy morning & my comfy cozy sleeping space. Reluctantly I finally got up & headed down the stairs.
So the idea is that we’re going to finally sample & attempt to describe all the different Hei Cha in my cupboard. I have a sort of fascination with them as of late, an irresistible urge to buy them, just to find out what they are really all about.
The leaf is dark & the aroma of it is of a sourdough pumpernickel rye bread. I know that might sound like a turn off to some, but for me it brings to mind a kitchen in winter, with loaves of dense chewy bread, a big pot of substantial stew, with homemade cultured kraut on the side…sigh…now I want that meal…
The taste of this tea is familiar, & yet not easy to describe. There is an underlying pumpernickel kind of sourness & there is a creamy sweetness that reminds me of that canned condensed milk that is thick & sweet (& would probably be really good in this tea). There’s a hint of orange peel, a pinch of salt, & a kind of ceylon after taste.
I steeped it a couple of different ways:
4G + 8oz X 30/60/etc 0- I tried it this way when it first came. It was nice, but I felt maybe I needed a little more tea. There’s instructions on the package that suggest a 1-40 ration, so today I tried
5G + 8oz X 30/60/2min/etc
It was a little stronger, & in the 2 min steep I added a little sweetener, & that was actually pretty nice! I feel like I might try this with less water next time, because I think I’d still like it a little stronger, maybe. This is one of those teas that you can use for Tibetan yak butter tea, & I can actually see how it would be complimented by some for of milk, butter, & either salt or sugar. I’d love to try it that way, but with my milk allergy its pretty unlikely.
I actually love little cakes like this, enough tea for me to enjoy several times, & if its spectacular, I can get more. If it’s average, that’s ok too, & Im not stuck with 357G, or whatever.
This one is nice enough. A solid little shu that I enjoyed through the middle of the day. Dry the aroma isn’t much, but once you get going it really changes. My community has trucks that come around in the fall, & they gather up all the leaves & make huge piles of compost. They also make shredded tree compost piles. In the spring you can take as much as you like, & I always love the way it smells: sweet & almost syrupy, & also kind of like tobacco,… & stewed dried fruit.
Yup, that’s this tea.
A dark & beautiful dense cake whose appearance reminds me of those dense & dark fruit cakes my mom used to make during the HoliDaze. Sweet & mellow, the flavor is very balanced & makes me smile. Dark fruits, a touch of blackstrap molasses, & a whole wheat kind of breadiness, making me think of the Boston Brown Bread I used to bake.
had a session last night. this is a sample fr Steepster friend – thank you.
it exceeded my expectations. The color and taste is like nothing i tried before – its like baking spices, maybe nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves. It doesnt have usual earthy profile. my hubby became a taster recently, lol. he had a cup and declared its good. it means a lot. this man drinks whatever tea as long as it has sugar.
Thank you so much for the sample, my tea friend!
6g 100ml gaiwan 212 F
rinse/ pause/ 5/5/7/10/15/20 sec