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Recent Tasting Notes
I tried this one out today and was not a huge fan. Used 7g in a 120mL gaiwan with boiled water. The compression was quite tight. After two rinses, I tried to start with a 15s steep, and the compressed chunks just laughed at me in the gaiwan. So from then, I altered my strategy, steeping 1m+ and bludgeoning the stubborn chunks with my gaiwan lid. It barely worked, so after three steeps like that, I started spearing the still-chuckling pieces with my puer pick, getting them to mostly come apart. I’m pretty sure even then, they were still flinging tiny middle-fingers at me.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was unable to get any strong flavor from this S.O.B. The aroma of the wet leaves was pretty reminiscent of a dank basement, usually not a good sign for me. I did get a decent bit of the wetness in the flavor of this tea. I also tasted some wet wood and something kind of fungal, maybe mushroomy. It did taste decently aged. Also got some kind of tangy sourness which I didn’t find particularly appealing.
So I think it’s safe to say I don’t like this tea gongfu. I still have the rest of my sample, so I’ll let it air out some and then play around with it. I will probably try to boil it instead, maybe that will allow me to actually draw out the flavor of this crotchety old brick. Now if I could just track down a yak….
Flavors: Mushrooms, Musty, Tangy, Wet Moss
Opening the packet is tricky but I do it eventually. Once opened I pull out a large piece of cake which has remained whole despite it’s journey. There are quite a few golden tips present on the outside of the cake and a beautiful shine. Some of the golden tips have downy hairs that I can stroke, as though the Pu Erh were an animal. I don’t know why I decided to stroke it…perhaps the heat is getting with me? Further inspection shows dark brown leaves the colour of old, dark chocolate. The cake remnant bares a soft, dry wood and clay scent.
Steeping Parameters: 220ml Glass Gongfu Teapot. Tea Leaf 12g. Boiling Water. 2 Rinses each of 15 seconds.
First Steep – 15 seconds
Colour is golden orange with a soft clay scent.
Flavour is mild with some sweetness and an earthy, dusky wood tone toward the after taste. The more I drink the more I can define the sweetness to being brown sugar like.
Second Steep – 20 seconds
Still soft with brown sugar and dusky wood tones, but with added dryness.
Third Steep – 30 seconds
Darker though still soft. Less sweet and more musky now, with old wood and dry earth notes that linger in the after taste. Also the tea liquid is dark at this point too, like red soy sauce.
Fourth Steep – 45 seconds
Slightly sour in this steep and the wood is coming through with some cocoa notes. Still dry and mildly sweet.
Sixth Steep – 1 minute
Similar to the previous steep though with more clay and dryness. It reminds me of autumn, the dry, musky leaves crunching under my feet as I walk through a forest. The smells of an autumn forest match this flavour quite nicely.
Seventh Steep – 2 minutes
An increase of musk though still soft and the sourness is slight. Very wooden.
Overall – I found this Shou to be mild and delicate throughout the steeps which made it difficult to describe the flavours. At least it was consistent throughout. I would say this is an everyday Shou for Pu new drinkers or those that prefer softer teas. Personally I like strength and depth in my tea which this just didn’t have, though despite that it was drinkable and pleasant enough. I had some difficulty breaking up the cake piece so I did it by hand in the middle of my steeps, partly to see if it increased strength.
I honestly cut this steeping short, originally I planned on 10 steeps rather than 7. Don’t get me wrong, it really isn’t a bad Shou when it comes down to it; my personal preference is just that and I can’t like them all. I still think that for the price it’s a decent every day Shou for new drinkers and would recommend it for that. If I can be nothing else then at least I’m honest.
Got this tea from Christina what feels like ages ago…
So, I’m drinking this Western style steeped up in a medium sized teapot; I’ve been binge watching the new season of Bojack Horseman all day because I’m, once again, absent from work while I try not to shoot myself in the head because of all the itching. Distractions are key. Or at least that’s what I’m finding.
My accompaniment to this tea other than season three of Bojack is a cheddar cheese scone, and I have to say that I’m really loving the pairing. The tea is actually quite sweet and syrupy, which I’m sure has to do with the unique processing method this tea goes through. It’s got a lovely, soft fruitiness to it that reminds me of red fruits but also cocoa, malt, and nutty notes and a splendid marzipan finish. This fascinating combination of flavours makes for a contrasted but not harsh juxtaposition to the scone which has some more savory qualities while still being sweet in and of itself too. It’s a great experience!
Also, SPOILER WARNING!!! (For Bojack Horseman)
I literally just finished the third season of Bojack Horseman and I almost jumped off the couch because all season they’ve sort of been hinting at Todd being asexual and they basically directly addressed and confirmed it. He’s talking to a girl he clearly likes but has problems being “intimate” with. She asks if he’s gay or straight and he says “I think I’m nothing?”. And you can clearly tell it’s the first time he’s said it out loud…
And I’m just freaking out in my condo right now! ‘Cause that basically just sums up my whole experience and to see it reflected on the show was just AMAZING. And it was no big deal; she just goes “Ok” and they go back to eating their fucking ice cream. And jesus fuck that’s just all I wanted to see on TV and I didn’t even realize how important seeing it on TV was for me until I saw it!!! I’m just… I’m floored. Speechless, really – except not because I just want to talk about it SO MUCH.
It just… it felt so good to see it.
Drank this tea with Matu. It had a forest/dirt taste, a dark color and a thick texture that I enjoyed. It smelled like fish food or like a barn. Drank it as a comparison to 2015 little walk raw puerh, which I found to be very bitter and mouth-drying, but which also had a more enjoyable aroma of dried cranberries. I thought the ripe was better, but I’m brand new to this, so.. There you go.
Flavors: Dirt, Wood
This is soupy, savory, some marine overtones – umami in a big way.
The taste stays with you as the broth coats your tongue and mouth. With the addition of fish or vegetables, this would make an excellent soup base. A really interesting tea that is far out of my normal likes but this one, while not one I would reach for simply due to personal taste preferences, is a highly interesting green that I would not turn down if offered. And I’m going to be experimenting with that soup idea sooner or later…
Drank this today with Cherokee. I’m fairly certain it’s the best ripe I’ve had to date. I have been swapping away most of the ripe puerh I acquired early in my puerh journey, as I’ve found my tastes lie much more in the realm of raw puerh, but I still have this sample. I gave it one rinse, and did taste a bit of fermentation flavor in the first couple steeps, but it wasn’t too stanky, thankfully. Got a couple lighter red steeps, followed by about five or six which looked and felt like motor oil – gotta love that. Foresty flavors for the first steeps, accompanied by a bit of a chocolate flavor in mid-late steeps. Nice and sweet and thick.
Flavors: Chocolate, Forest Floor, Sweet, Wood
Dry leaves smell of plums and prune, a bit sweet and tart. Wet, the leaves also pick up a vegetal note.
15 second rinse with a long rest due to work distractions.
1/20s: Very gentle bit of sweetness. Bit of a fruity note.
2/15s: Bit more vetetal. Was aiming for 10s. Still has a round sweet finish. Starts slightly bitter, then melts into a bit of sweetness.
3/15s: Full body, crisp finish. Turns a little bitter if the tea cools too much. Finish is still nice.
4/15s: I think I have a bit too much leaf in the pot this time. Still a slight bitterness going on. On the plus side, the cha qi is growing quite nicely.
5/15s: Keep missing my 10s steep time
_. Getting a lot of bitterness I didn’t get with my first session. Not overpowering, but very upfront.
6/5s: Almost are rinse. Reduced the bitterness. I hate when I get too much leaf in the pot, but it seems that my scale is always a little off when measuring less than 10g. Have to start going by volume measurements I guess.
7/10s: Here we go! Nice sweetness, bittner note gone. Lovely mouthfeel. Crisp finish.
8/10s: Same as previous
Had do leave for a short trip to a hotel and took my teapot and kettle with me. I got 4 or 5 more steeps and was impressed at how far the cha qi carries in this tea. Not sure I’ll buy a whole cake, but I have enough for at least 2 more sessions so I’m looking forward to sitting with this on again.
This was a nice shou. I agree with the statement camphor and dark cocoa to this tea. There was also a spicy note under the tongue. And there was a sweet note too but the camphor was the strongest note. This was actually good as I have come to not mind camphor and somewhat like it. At one point I couldn’t stand a tea with notes of camphor. There was also a fair amount of fermentation flavor that I noticed for four or five steeps.
I brewed this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 11g 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. The tea is still quite dark at twelve steeps. I’m sure this would go at least four or five more steeps if I hadn’t hit my caffeine limit. This is definitely a long lasting shou puerh tea.
Flavors: Camphor, Earth, Spices, Sweet
From a 25g sample. The tea started out with a fairly upfront bitterness and really dried my mouth out. There was some woody/grassy/hay flavors that hid under the bitter note. After 3 to 5 steepings, the bitterness started to fade, but there was no underlying flavor that was revealed. After around 7 to 9 steepings, it just tasted like a weaker version of the start.
Dry – Dried fruits, stone fruits, floral, apricots, sweet veggies, some bittersweet notes (tomato vines?) and possibly a hint of maple.
Wet – dried red and dark fruits, thick/creamy, stone fruits, floral bitterness, nutty, corn, maple?/candied fruit >> and later pungent and very pleasant musky fruit and a maple note.
Liquor – deep golden
1st 4secs – Good mellow and almost ‘umami’ front that develops a savory olive oil note and body. As it goes down it has more fruity notes but seem almost savory as well. Thick and numbing (love this).
2nd 4secs – Very nutty, bitter and bittersweet floral and tobacco notes and a slightly savory note that transition to sweeter nutty and refreshing sensation and there a pleasant bitterness that remind me of tomato vines (I usually get this note from purple varietal, but this is more gentle).
3rd 6secs – Nutty, strong tobacco-like bitterness that transition to savory middle and thick body with some fruity and floral notes that have a nice lasting thickness (oily sensation). I keep getting that maple? note that I like followed by that ‘tomato vine’ note that lingers.
4th 8secs – very nutty and tobacco-y notes together with thick body and minor astringency. There are notes of olive oil and tomato vine before becoming sweeter and fruity/floral, but keeps that tomato note that lingers.
5th 10secs – Very nutty and tobacco-y that is both thick and slightly astringent, the olive oil note is still there with the tomato vine but it isn’t as noticeable or as savory, the fruity remind me of dried persimmons and at this point I also noticed a slightly more refreshing sensation during the huigan.
6th 14secs – Nutty with strong bitter and bittersweet tobacco notes that develop thick body and astringency. Huigan has a fruity and floral profile with rich notes that still reminds me of maple.
7th 20 secs – Bitter and bittersweet, tobacco, nutty, some vegetal notes, that still remind me of tomato vine, floral. As it goes down it has a more nutty and fruity profile with a refreshing sensation.
I easily made it to 12th steep and I stopped taking notes to enjoy even more and chill while I did it. I’d recommend trying this one at least once if you get the chance. :)
I’ve had this tea for some time, but never posted a review.
My first pu’er, perhaps not the best to begin with. To me it had a strong fishy odor/taste, which I can now identify as ‘umami’.
While other pu’ers I’ve tried have had this to a lesser extent, and I’ve even come to respect the taste, even a whiff of these small tuos today still takes me back to the fish cleaning shack where I made a few bucks growing up.
My wife liked it. (She likes caviar too, strange one she is.) The score is higher because of it.
I’m saving them for swaps, and maybe even a revisit in a year (or ten).
Tried cold-brewing this. I learned something – don’t brew in the container from which you intend to drink. This should have been obvious, but I messed it up. Brewed for right at 12 hours.
The flavor profile was basically the same, but the emphasis moved around. The chocolate and brown sugar flavors came out (while remaining very smooth) and the savory, semi-spicy notes took more of a back seat.
Definitely a good iced tea, which I drank without any sweetener.
Really enjoying this tea. Just got it yesterday.
My first session with it, what I notice about it first is its robustness. It has a roasted character that combines with strong savory notes to evoke a hearty broth.
As it steeps out, the sweetness comes out, as do the cocoa and malt characteristics.
Mild astringency, just enough to wake up the tongue and leave it feeling a bit tingly on the aftertaste.
I don’t know if this is going to be my new go-to black tea, but it’s really darned good.
Flavors: Broth, Cocoa, Fruity, Malt, Roasted nuts, Umami
Not sure if it’s continued mellowing of the tuos, or my evolving palate, but it’s better, again.
The main difference this time was that I broke up the tuo with my hands before rinsing. I think this allowed the storage/fermentation smells to rinse out faster, giving me a first steeping that was smooth, easy to drink, silky in the mouth and pleasantly earthy.
I’m also western-style brewing today, because my work gaiwan dropped in the sink and broke. RIP.
Adjusted my rating upward a little bit.
I left the tuo sitting open for a while since last time, and there has definitely been an improvement after airing out. The “lake” taste is gone, leaving a rich but uncomplicated earthiness. Maybe a bit of mushroom in there, too.
Still not my favorite, but went from a disappointing experiment to a no frills “daily drinker” sort of cup.
Flavors: Mushrooms, Wet Earth
Not really sure if I like this tea or not.
I didn’t expect a lot, and I’m glad it wasn’t terribly expensive.
I now understand the description of certain puerh as “fishy.” This one wasn’t unpleasant, but there was definitely something about the scent and the flavor of the first couple of infusions that said “lake water.”
Once that calmed down the flavor was mildly sweet, not bitter or astringent, but without much character. It wasn’t unpleasant, but I don’t think I’ll be reaching for this one very often.
Flavors: Fish Broth, Sweet, Wood
Much like an octogenarian opera singer at the opening night of High School Musical, I’m pretty sure I’m not the target audience for this one.
The dry leaf aroma is superb, and the post-session appearance of the leaves is what I imagine Michelangelo or Rodin would have done if tasked with sculpting sheng leaf out of marble. It is decently long-lived, and boasts an impressive flavor profile, though greener than I am determining I prefer.
However, this tea was not well received by my innards in its current state. In a decade, it will likely be a thing of beauty (and long sold out), but I haven’t the proper setup for the care of feeding of tea over that scale of time.
I can only imagine how robust the spring iterations of this tea are – but for my own safety, I’ll leave that knowledge purely to my imagination.