40 Tasting Notes

89

One of my favorites — every time I drink this tea, I can’t believe I’m drinking a japanese green. I’ve only had these flavors in tightly rolled, high mountain Taiwanese oolongs.

I save this one for special occasions. A true treat!

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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91

Holy COW this is good!

Apparently after a few years, the “fragrance” becomes one with the brick. This is such a sweet, delicious brew that both smells and tastes like raisins, citrus, and plums; with a slightly peachy aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel. Nice, dark honey color. Long lasting aftertaste. Yum, yum, yum!

Bought this to age, but I’ll definitely be drinking more of this brick. I figured all that “award winning” talk was just conjecture, but it really is a top-notch brick.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Azzrian

ohhh sounds yummy!

Cole

It is! If you stick to short infusions, and drink when it’s hot, it doesn’t get too bitter either. I let my fourth or fifth infusion go for a little over a minute and cool, and it was rather strong. Still yummy, but bold — hope that means it’ll still have some life when it ages!

tunes&tea

I should be getting my first full order min from PuerhShop any day now, I can’t wait. I got a nice big sampler earlier on, yet found I couldn’t afford to drink regularly what I had sampled. It still helped me to learn so not regretable at all.

Cole

You won’t be disappointed (unless you picked some crummy teas ;). I was very impressed with their 2009 Loose Golden Leaf Imperial (cooked) puerh, and the 2007 Mengku Bingdao Arbor Mao Cha, if you’d like some affordable reccomendations. Their 1105 brick or cake is also top-notch for the price.

Hope you like!

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83

After such a long hiatus from Steepster, I just had to pop back in and say that this is one of the best teas I have on hand in my cupboard. An “83” does not do it justice — the liquor is brews is incredibly floral and sweet, and tastes like a delicate mixture of buttery green tea, honey, and Dong Ding.

This one never disappointing. If you’re placing an order from TeaMasters and would like a sweet, flavorful everyday oolong, this is an incredible deal for the amount of high quality tea you’re getting. Will definitely buy more of a similar cultivar once I run out

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92

What a visually appealing cake! I could tell by the pictures on PuerhShop’s site that this sheng puerh would be full of large leaves and buds, but seeing it in person really makes you realize how nice the source materials are. I had no problem picking off 6g of large leaves and buds for use in my 100ml yixing pot. Accurately describing this tea, however, was another matter entirely.
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Rinse: Yum. Golden sweetness.

First cup (10s): Soft and sweet. Not even bitter after it cools. Wow. I notice a little fruit-y aftertaste and a cooling sensation that’s left behind on my tongue. Immediately, I notice an increased sense of perception that tells me this young cake certainly has qi.

Second cup (15s): A good puerh makes you stop everything and focus on the tea, whether you like it or not. That is exactly what is happening to me. This cup feels smoother sliding down my throat, but leaves the front of my tongue dry. It still tastes sweet to me and smells wonderful. Cooled, there’s a bit of bitterness comes to the front, but it’s so well balanced I welcome it with open arms. Very nice.

Third Cup (20s): A pleasant aroma. Pleasant taste. Yeesh, I’m running out of words here. Should probably take a break, but I don’t particularly want to. Throat is dry; mind is clear. Peach-y notes are starting to come back in the aftertaste. Wow. Tastes like what I think a sheng should taste like, but particularly smooth and refined.
….
The rest of my notes on this tea are scattered and short. I was able to get about 5 more infusions out of this puerh before I eventually decided to toss the leaves in some boiling water and leave it going for a couple hours. Even then, it still had a very pleasing sheng taste that I enjoyed; with a delicious aftertaste that left my tongue slightly silky. I didn’t particularly want to toss out the leaves, but there comes a time when you have to move onto the next tea.
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I purchased this cake as a higher-end option for everyday consumption, and I have to say it fits the bill wonderfully. It doesn’t have the smooth mouthfeel in the early infusions that I really enjoy in certain young sheng puerhs (that comes later on), nor does it have a lot of overwhelming, novel flavors that jumped out at me when I was drinking it. Instead, it has a nice, persistent qi and a great balance of all the nuances I like in a cup of puerh without the (sometimes) overwhelming bitterness.

Very pleased with this cake.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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80
drank Wenshan Baozhong by Far Leaves Tea
40 tasting notes

First tea of the day, and one of my favorite “go-to” oolongs to drink casually in a cup. Today, I switched things up a little bit and properly weighed out 4.5g of tea for my 100ml gaiwan in order to test a hypothesis: I’ve been doing it wrong.

See, I’ve always found this tea to be a little on the “lighter” side, with soft, floral notes and elements of stonefruit and honey. But, as previously mentioned, I normally throw caution to the wind and just “wing it” with a sprinkling of leaves in my cup that I refill as the water gets low. This time, I used stricter brewing parameters in order to see if I could get a richer, more buttery flavor.

Results? A moderate success. The first infusion was a little “thicker” and sweeter, with a green edge that I particularly like in this tea. I did notice the second infusion was much “richer” than usual, but I seemed to have missed a little of that delicate floral touch that I love about this tea. After letting the third and fourth infusions sit for a little longer with boiling water, I noticed a more astringent edge to it developing that I usually pick up after the fourth or fifth infusion.

In the end, I was able to coax those flavors out of the leaf, but I’m not sure if it was my favorite method of brewing this tea. The aroma is so strong and wonderful, I really missed it brewing in my cup. If I’m looking for buttery and sweet, I think I’ll stick with my Si Ji Chun oolong (KILLER bang for the buck).

Side note: this tea is well over a year old and purchased “on clearance.” The new batch was noticeably more flavorful in shop.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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84

Received a sample of this tea, and LOVED the mouthfeel and marshmallow-y sweetness that lasted for the first four infusions. Nice, dense, and thick brew — very impressed with how far a small sample went in my 100ml gaiwan.

For those who like to let their shu soak for 30 mins to get a deep, rich brew, this might be a good way to save a little bit of money. I’ve only tried 6 or 7 shu cakes, so I’m no expert, but I feel like 10-15 second steeps tasted more like 2/3 minute steeps of my newer cakes.

Yum!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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84

I finally got around to trying this brick a couple weeks ago, and it’s a killer bang for the buck. After gently opening the paper packaging (another great use for that tiny Tuocha pick!), I was impressed by the relatively large leaves that comprised the outside of the brick. It’s not super-dense (like a particular 250g Douji “rock” that I ordered), but it’s firm enough that you’ll want a good picking utensil if you don’t want to mangle it completely.

Once I put the ~3g in my tiny, warmed Yixing pot, I combined my 10sec. wash and a 15sec. first steep into my faircup. I was very impressed by the slightly sweet/slightly astringent first cup, but I LOVED the silky mouthfeel and warming energy that popped up in the later infusions. Usually I’ll make a cup and get distracted by something else, but this one kept me coming back to see how the next cup progressed. I don’t know if I wasn’t using enough leaves (or if I timed my pours just right), but it never quite developed that bitter edge that I’ve come to associate with some young shengs.

I’ve had a couple other cakes and samples that fell flat or didn’t change too much after that first cup, and I’m excited to see how this one ages over time. For something I got on a whim, I’d certainly recommend this to beginners or pu-drinkers on a budget. I’m both of those things, and it worked out great for me.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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82

First things first: You MUST have a puerh pick for this brick (or be ready to steam it). I made the mistake of bringing this brick (sans pick) to a friends house since the pictures make it look like you can just pick off a couple leaves to try this tea. But after both of us took our turns chopping, prying, and stabbing this brick to no avail, we had to abort. So, I decided to do something new: steam and dry this brick!

Using a smaller, taller saucepan (with lid) and a mesh ladle, I was finally able to jam my pick in there after about 3-5 minutes of steaming. After scraping, poking, and breaking the brick apart, I was able to turn this rock into 100g of leaves, stems, and buds with relatively little dust. This method works great! I allowed the leaves to dry on a couple foil sheets overnight, and tossed it into a glazed stoneware jar to (hopefully) breathe and age nicely afterwards.

I figured I had to sample this one at the outset to see how it tastes, and was very pleasantly surprised to find a tea with tons of smokiness and very little bitter edge. The first couple infusions were more astringent and felt dryer on the back of my throat, while the later ones felt softer on my tongue with a sweeter aftertaste. Neat! I’m not sure if the steaming made it taste smokier (to me), but I’ll report back once this tea has a little time to breathe.

Personally, I like the smoky, umami notes this tea has; and look forward to seeing how it ages now that it’s all broken up. This $5 “tuition brick” was a great pick!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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87

The very first impressions I have of this cake are of large, whole leaves. It looks just as nice as the picture on the site, but what you can’t see is how the leaves inside the cake are sizable as well. It’s pretty loosely compressed around the edges, and I’m able to pick off a lot of leaves just by rubbing my puerh pick along the edge. Dry, it has that characteristic smell of hay/alfalfa, in a “fresh” sort of way. Not overwhelmingly “compost-y” or bland.

For this particular session, I used about 4.5g of leaves in my tiny Yixing pot (which holds about ~80ml at max).

The rinse tastes very light, brisk, and refreshing; while the first real steeping has hints of its characteristic “sharp” edge with a surprisingly smooth finish. I quickly notice a bit of warmth coursing through my extremities, and my head feels a little lighter. The color is a deep caramel, and leaves a pleasantly sweet aftertaste. When it cools, the bitterness is more pronounced.

The next steeping feels “stronger” in every way; including bitterness, mouthfeel, and slightly smoky/sweet aftertaste. Even though it’s might be a little sharp at first, it doesn’t make me pucker or wince since the bitterness transitions quickly to a soft, sweet, almost floral aftertaste that lingers on my tongue for over 5 minutes afterwards. Yum!

I let the third steeping go a little longer than I wanted to (about a minute or so), but it didn’t become overwhelmingly bitter. Now, the astringency is starting to cut into the mix; but I’m still left with a soft tongue afterwards. I love this about good green teas and sheng puerhs!

I’ve only had a couple 7542 blends (none of which were older than 2008), and this one tastes very familiar to me. I don’t break this one out everyday, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how it ages. Since it’s not too dense of a cake, I’d imagine it would age nicely in proper conditions. In my dry cupboard in California, I’m not expecting too much out of this already tasty cake.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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87
drank Fukamushi-Sencha Yame by Den's Tea
40 tasting notes

Ah, one of my favorites!

The Fukamushi Sencha Yame from Den’s has been one of my favorites since I first discovered “real” Japanese green tea. It can occasionally be bit tempermental if brewed a bit too hot from the outset (or [in this instance] brewed a little too thin), but I know I can always count on it for a quality cuppa green.

I thought I was almost out of this tea, but I dumped the remainder of my tin onto the scale this morning and saw “18G.” Alright! With ~3 good pots left, I decided to skim off 6G and toss it in my ~350ml kyusu for a big pot of morning tea.

After brewing the first up (165*/ 90 secs), I realized that I should have added a couple more grams to the pot — I love the full-bodied, slightly thick nature of this tea when it’s closer to a 1:1 ratio. Still, I very much enjoyed the mild, kelp-y sweetness that I can squeeze out of this tea when I brew it at a lower temperature from the start.

Once I finished my second cup, I noticed that my tongue still feels soft and smooth, with lingering fruit-y notes that stuck around for afterwards. Mmm! I don’t notice any bitterness or astringency until my 3rd and 4th steepings (both over 185*), but you can easily remedy that by starting about 10-15* hotter in the beginning.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Bio

Tea lover since birth; recent convert to Japanese greens, Taiwanese Oolongs, and Chinese Puerh (and everything in-between).

Loves obscure vinyl, dark humor, technology, and most nerdy things. If you have similar tastes or enjoy a post, feel free to comment/message. Open to trades; particularly puerh!

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