Zhi Zheng Tea Shop
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Recent Tasting Notes
The leaves on this tea are huge. I had to ram them hard into my pot, a but like getting the spaghetti into the pan of boiling water. The liquor brews up a dark peach colour with a lightly fruity, mellow flavour. There’s something floral in the aftertaste and slight astringency develops shortly after swallowing. It’s a nice tea and quite relaxing. I’m on steep eight now and only up to 30 second steeps, so it seems to have decent endurance too.
I’m drinking the 2007 You Le Shan today and finding it rather disappointing. I bought this as part of a package of samples from Zhi Zheng when they still had a webshop and I have quite enjoyed the previous samples. This one, unfortunately, does not impress. The light hay aroma of the dry leaf is pleasant and encouraging although perhaps a touch faded. Is this the warning I should have heeded? The liquor is dark straw coloured and the first sips have the promised pleasing bitterness to them but when that fades, there is a light sweetness and little more left to the tea. I have used most of the sample pack now and experimented with duration and temperature, but to no avail. This is not a bad tea by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t find myself wanting to spit it out and cremate its remains to avenge my offended taste buds. Instead I just find myself drinking it and going “yes, it’s smooth and mellow but also watery and insipid.” It has no body and I cannot feel the promised cha qi. Basically, I find it bland and unexciting. Perhaps it is something in me and my brewing set up, or perhaps this sample was past its best. Who knows? Ah well, I can at least grandpa the rest and move on to pastures new . I shall step out on the pu path with this new awareness secured in my mind and face the next tea tomorrow.
Wow, I keep finding teas to write about that have no notes yet. This is a sample I bought from Zhi Zheng. I went to check the site and noticed that they have closed their web store which is a shame because their teas looked good. Anyway, after my brief flirtation with an Oriental Beauty this morning I decided to get wild with a sheng. This was the first to hand from the sample tin, so I decided to go ahead and see what it was like.
The dry leaf was in a big chunk in the packet. It was relatively loose and easy to pick apart. The aroma of the dry leaf was mild hay. The wet aroma only intensified that note. I steeped the first pot for 20 seconds and it came out incredibly mild. I think it needed longer to wake up, because the second steeping was better. It was still mild with a hint of astringency and a slight smokiness at he back of the throat. From there the tea developed well with each steeping. Floral notes and a hint of camphor crept in as the astringency changed to a grape taste that continued through to the end. By the end of the steeping, the grapes dominated. Throughout, the liquor coated the mouth nicely and was silky smooth. This is mild and refreshing, and really good for a hot summer day.
Flavors: Camphor, Floral, Grapes, Hay
I bought some samples from Zhi Zheng a month or so ago, as a result of the ongoing discussion on the puerh of the day thread. Fortunately, I was able to sneak them into the house without comment on the part of my better half. This is the first one that I have opened, because I have had a cold for the past seven or eight weeks, so my palate has been rather poor. I wanted to save them for when I could taste them, and decided that today was the day. So, into the pot with the leaves.
The leaves are quite loose in the block that the sample came in. They are also large and there is a slight tobacco smell to them when dry. The wet leaf has a dark, slightly earthy aroma. The liquor is amber in colour and I struggle to pin down what the aroma is. I think my nose is still not at its best! The tea itself is smooth and calming. It has a rounded mouthfeel with a slight edge of bitterness/astringency that only briefly makes itself felt, settling down to a very relaxing brew. I’m on my sixth cup now and it is still going strong. I think I may be drinking this for the rest of the day.
Quick Notes Thank you Mark for another sample from Zhi Zheng Tea.
Dry Leaf – Honey sweetness, slight fruitiness.
Wet Leaf – Strong honey sweetness, floral, fruity.
Gong fu in glass thermos 6-7oz/6g
1st 15secs – Very apparent honey sweetness that is somewhat floral and thick in the mouth. As it washes down it retains its sweetness and the taste is slightly fruity. The aftertaste is sweet with hints of vegetal notes, slightly refreshing.
2nd 15secs – Sweet honey thick taste up front. As it washes down it keeps its sweetness but the vegetal note is more apparent/present as well as some floral notes and slight bitterness. The aftertaste is sweeter, reminiscent of cantaloupe melon and lingers with freshness. The freshness is very faint in the mouth, present in the throat and very present (to me) in my chest as I breathe.
3rd 20secs – Honey sweet and smooth with slight vegetal notes up front. As it washes down it becomes floral and vegetal while keeping its sweetness, at this point smoky/tobacco like notes seem to appear in the back. The aftertaste is sweet, fruity/floral and refreshing.
4th 35secs – Floral, fruity and sweet up front. As it washes down it is briefly ‘cleaner’ before turning sweet, fruity, slightly vegetal and floral with slight astringency. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing that wears a slight smoky/tobacco hint.
5th 1min – Cleaner steep that quickly becomes sweet like honey again. As it washes down there’s apparent fruity and vegetal notes with some astringency. The aftertaste is sweet, but not so much like honey but rather fruity, like ripe melon. Still very refreshing.
I did six steeps of this tea and it help up pretty well. Mind that I’m at work using a double walled glass tumbler, The steeps are longer that I usually make them and the amount of water is also higher than usual. But based on these steeps I can tell that using a Gaiwan you would easily get 8-14(maybe more) steeps depending on water/tea ratio and using short steeps.
Overall, I like this tea, both samples are sweet and fragrant this one is on the sweeter side, the Bulang is more ‘balanced’ between sweet and bitter with floral. This one is a really easy Sheng to drink, specially for a younger Sheng. I’m honestly surprised and pleased at how accurate the tea description on the web page is. Mostly honey sweet, it has floral and fruit notes and smokiness if you push the steeps. There was some astringency at the end but it wasn’t unpleasant at all. Thanks again Mark.
Quick Notes A nice sample thanks to Mark from the Zhi Zhen Tea Shop
Dry Leaf – Sweet, fruity, floral.
Wet Leaf – Apricot, honey, strong orchid scent with bitterness.
Liquor – slightly pale Golden/Yellow
Gong Fu – Porcelain gaiwan 5oz/8g
1st – 15secs Sweet, subtle floral notes at the front that become more apparent and fruity as it washes down. The aftertaste is very sweet and lasting.
2nd – 30secs Sweet with slight floral bitterness that is more apparent that previously. The body is smooth with enough astringency/roughness to wake up the tongue and let you enjoy the fruity sweetness that overtakes it. It has a very sweet honey/apricot aftertaste.
3rd – 45secs Floral bitterness with some astringency that makes once again seems to wake up the tongue for the coming notes. As it washes down the liquid becomes smooth, mellow and very sweet maintaining some bitterness. The aftertaste is very sweet and fruity and long lasting.
4th – 1min Sweet with strong floral bitterness and slightly pungency that can be ‘tobacco’ like or slightly perfumy in the mouth. As it washes down it maintains its floral notes and some astringency but slowly smooths out and becomes sweeter and fruity. The after taste is stronger fruitier and sweeter.
I did around 9-11 steeps (lowered the steep times to 45 seconds for a few and then added 15 seconds per steep). I love Bulang Puerh (when is the real deal) because it seems to let you ‘choose’. It can be extremely floral, bitter, pungent and astringent (while still being pleasant) or it can be all the other way around subtle, sweet, fruity and smooth (with shorter steeps).
It is very forgiving, you may be able to make any tea bitter and overly floral by steeping for a long time but you will not be able to cut back time and avoid the bitterness if you choose. Bulang usually lets you play and explore. And the sweetness, just wow. This is to me like a Younger version of the “Ming Qian Chun Jian” I have. Very good, worthy of drinking now or storage.