182 Tasting Notes
Dry – Bittersweet, slightly earthy, vanilla, cocoa beans rich bitter notes.
Wet – Bittersweet and sweet, dates, starch, cocoa bean bitterness, thick and dark fruits. Some fruity notes develops with some steeps.
Liquor – Red amber to very deep burgundy.
Initial steeps start sweet, quickly transitioning to bittersweet notes with good complex middle that wears vanilla, cocoa bean and dark fruit notes with a thick body and a pleasant smoothness as it washes down, it feels like it goes from a creamy thickness to a more silky (maybe lightly oily) mouth-feel. It has a good sweetness at the end with fruit notes and a slight camphor. Steeps 2-3 got more camphor at the end, not overwhelming just present and refreshing at the end.
Mid steeps (4-6 maybe 7) Are Bittersweet on the front that transitions to sweeter notes that resemble vanilla, molasses and warm sugar before giving hints of the cocoa bean notes, dried dark and red fruits with a thick middle body and maintaining that transition to a smoother, almost slippery sensation when going down. A refreshing sensation of camphor lingers with fruity sweetness.
Final steeps (7-9, some instances up to 10) The tea starts collapsing by the 6th steeps and sometimes by the 7th, requiring bigger time adjustments and giving you a watery steep in the middle of this transition. Once you adjust the tea recovers many of its characteristics including the bittersweet to sweet transition and a vague thickness sensation, but remains mostly smooth with sweeter notes of vanilla and dried dark and red fruits. At this point there’s a starchy note and sensation that can come from the small buds starting to fall apart a bit.
VERY good tea, it does have as much ‘chocolate’ or ‘cocoa’ as I initially expected, but it does have more complexity that most ripes, even some well outside its price range. I would drink as it is, but I can see this being really good if you store it in a container to ‘harvest’ some of those complex notes.
Flavors: Camphor, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Sweet, Vanilla
Dry – Sweet and bittersweet earthy notes, no real ‘off’ notes, some persimmon/other fruit.
Wet – Sweet and very thick with earthy notes followed by bitter/bittersweet ‘shou’ notes, molasses and dark fruits, somewhat starchy.
Liquor – Burgundy to a Red-ish coffee-brown.
The tea starts bitter/bittersweet with earth notes that wear some musk, but as a very apparent molasses note to it. It has some darker notes of raw cocoa/coffee in the middle that is a pleasant bitterness, medium body and hints of persimmon at the end.
The steeps evolve into a sweeter and less complex liquor that is still pleasant, and some of the after taste reminds me of drinking a strong sweet coffee such as Turkish coffee or something in those lines.
Very pleasant for the age, but it is very young still. I’d say for the age it has it is a strong 80/100, specially considering for the age there is not fermentation scent at all.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Sweet, Thick
Dry – Dark bittter and bittersweet notes, tart fruit and molasses.
Wet – Cocoa bittersweet notes, persimom, other dried tropical fruits, dates, raisins. (A slight floral hint/complexity devolops as you steep).
Liquor – Burgundy to a reddish-coffee.
Initial Steeps Are seet with a thick body and bittersweet chocolate note that turns cremier as it moves to the back of the tongue finishing in a fruity date note with molasses. These notes become more robust with each steep, from chocolate it is more of a cocoa note and even getting to the aromatic coffee side. Even though the front and middle seem thick and creamy the finish has a ‘juiciness’ to it.
Mid Steeps (3-5) The thick body takes the lead with apparent sweetness followed by bitter-to-bittersweet molasses and the cocoa notes seem to resemble cocoa dusting. It is hard to summarize the notes of several steeps because the bittersweet and sweet notes seem to switch around for the lead, the finish continues to be a juicier dates and molasses version of itself.
Final Steeps (6-9.. 10ish) Later steeps seem to maintain the playful notes with even more fruits becoming apparent, persimon, dates, raisins come to mind. The Liquor is still holding some thickness, but you can tell it is starting to give in. By the 8th steep it is mostly a juicy ripe with some hints of cocoa. The lack of thickness is filled by the camphor that before only was a ghost, possibly drowned by the initial thickness.
A very good ripe, specially for the price. The material is a little on the ‘ok’ side, with is not bad but it can be a bit different session to session. Some can have more of that cocoa, while some will be mostly fruity.
If you have a free minute, check my blog
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Dates, Dried Fruit, Molasses, Raisins, Thick
Dry – Honey, bittersweet notes of green stems or unripe tomato, hay, faint peach.
Wet – Thick, Honey, the fruity spectrum of cocoa, reduced orchard fruits (apples/pears… kinda), bitter green notes.
Liquor – Dull gold to Orange Gold.
Initial steeps Are bittersweet and have a somewhat savory base with apparent thickness. There are some warmed up white fruits/orchard fruit notes (poached pear?) and a darker-richer note that slightly resembles cocoa notes, there’s a pungency to it, but it feels hidden.
Mid steeps Steeps 3+ The leaves open up and the previous notes are still there, but feels more robust body that also has astringency developing. The initial notes are still bittersweet with a hint of something savory and moving on to sweeter and more complex notes, it sort of reminds me of some ManZhuan notes, that weird but very pleasant ’green’+ cocoa note. It is a mix of a green bitter note and the thicker richer bittersweet from cocoa.
Final Steeps It balances a bit more after a few more steeps, the body is still very good by the 6th steep, but you can tell it is thinning and developing a bit more astringency. Then at steeps 7-8th there’s a ‘collapse’ where the tea seems to only offer mostly bitterness and astringency.
Very good tea, this is definitely age well, it has good taste now, but it has that something that holds a bit of a promise, is not the astringency or the bitterness is a good balance between the two. I’ll rest it a bit more and re-try it in a few months to see in anything changes. No score now, but will update it as soon as I retry it.
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Fruity, Green
Dry – Light bittersweet, faint persimmon (dried), dates, raisins, some mellow wood notes.
Wet – Apparent complexity with Molasses notes, vanilla, dates, raisins, coffee-cocoa bean, earthy/woody bittersweet.
Liquor – Burgundy – Brown.
Gong Fu on 130ml Gaiwan, 10gm of the good sample a good chunk of lightly pressed cake that came loose with the first of two flash rinses
1st Steep 3secs Thick, bitter, woody-earth notes, caramel, vanilla and then a slightly starchy note with hints of woody-pencil shavings scent, smooth in the middle while going down with hints of cocoa that is at the woody spectrum of cocoa.
2nd Steep 3secs Thick, bitter, woody and starchy, pencil shavings, a coffee-like/cocoa bitter note, followed by caramel and vanilla notes. A smooth middle with a refreshing sensation that develops. Smooth starchy and filling with a sweet finish.
3rd Steep 4secs Thick, bitter, woody and starchy, pencil shavings, coffee-cocoa notes (woody spectrum of cocoa bean), followed by caramel and vanilla notes, smooth body and lasting sweetness together with a slightly refreshing finish.
4th Steep 10secs Medium thickness, smoother, bittersweet, mellow woody-starchy note and a more forward vanilla and caramel note and faint cocoa note. The liquor is very smooth and pleasant, Cha Qi is present here and goes well with the camphor that is showing up a bit more.
5th Steep 25secs Medium to a weak thickness, bittersweet, mellow starchy and woody note with notes of vanilla/caramel and hints of cocoa. The camphor is more apparent now but the liquor feels thin in comparison, some minor astringency present, The liquor is also lost most of its initial color.
6th 40secs Thin liquor, some of the notes are still there, a lot more camphor and woody notes. There’s a good sweetness that lingers with hints of vanilla and even perhaps dried fruit.
7th 1m 20secs Watery… mostly sweet and refreshing.
This is a good tasting Shou with a nice thickness together with complex notes. However, it has a very… very short life. Longevity is the only downfall on this one, it is composed of only smaller leaf with gives it a very nice taste, but runs out of gas. I would recommend this one to people who are ok with 6 good steeps, 7-8th are usually watery.
Scott recommended brewing this on on a Yixing/Jian Shui for maintaining the high temperatures, which I also did, but at the most you get an ok 7th steep with a watery 8th. I would still recommend a try, the initial steeps are delicious.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Thick, Vanilla, Wood
Dry – Standard bittersweet ripe notes, some starch, faint earthy and sweet.
Wet – Sweet, fruity complexity (dark dried fruits), faint cocoa/chocolate hints, citrus?, thickness.
Liquor – Burgundy to a reddish-brown. mellow fragrance.
Initial steeps were all sweet and smooth with a noticeable thickness and developing some dark dried fruit notes of dates and sometimes berries? with a caramel or better yet molasses finish to it. As you continued to steep the following steeps had more bittersweet-ness to them, but maintained the character from the first steep.
Around 4-6 some changes developed and I had to adjust the steep times being a bit more conscious on the color and smell of the steep, longevity issues. The steeps here are still very smooth, but wear less thickness and the fruity notes are more active. The notes remind me of dates, molasses and perhaps a Chinese dried persimmon.
Late steeps were from the 6th to a 8th and a very forced 9th steep. The notes are still here, though they are faded and is already lacking some thickness. Still very good steeps with some camphor being detected (was there before but the thickness mellowed it a bit).
A very good and simple ripe, the longevity is a bit… inconsistent, specially considering that the description says 25 infusions…. It also depends a lot on which portion of the cake you are steeping from. The middle get just a rougher with more sticks here and there, which honestly isn’t bad I felt like the middle lacks the thickness, but it has some more bitter notes that at some points may trick you into think ‘cocoa notes’.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Molasses, Sweet, Thick
I found some of this in a corner of my house, so I thought I should revisit
Dry – Smells like vine tomatoes mix with a dry wood and dried plums notes, but with more ‘malt’ than I recalled (maybe it changed with time?).
Wet – It has a lot more pungency resembling the tomato vine, acidic notes, plums and some other tart and acidic fruits, malt and a starchy sweetness. (Once again not as pungent as I remembered it).
Liquor – Red copper to a reddish brown hue. Fairly aromatic with sweet notes and a malty/syrupy note. The back has some tart notes.
The taste of the broth is very sweet and malty, but it holds an extra complexity that gradually opens as it moves in my tongue and washes down. First it feels heavy with malty notes but it is immediately followed by some tart fruit notes and acidic hints. This is then followed by an apparent tomato vine notes (tastes like the tomato vines smells lol), but then mellows into more unique fruity notes and ‘green’ character.
The notes linger for a bit and then you can feel a camphor freshness in your tongue that resemble high grade Yunnan golds with a pine-y spectrum of freshness. There’s a very faint fruity note that lingers on for a while if you allow it to develop between sips. Something about this reminded me of Chrysanthemum tea as a child.
I wish I could do a time continue defying tasting session to taste the ‘new’ tea taste and this ‘aged’ taste side by side’ :P
Flavors: Green, Malt, Pine, Sweet, Tart
Dry – Thick, refreshing (camphor), sweetness with fruity notes, a candied red fruit scent.
Wet Very sweet, candied fruit, refreshing (faded mint sensation), wood, apricots dried reduced fruits, aged wood bitterness.
Liquor – Golden
1st 3secs Smooth with a clean sweetness that develops herbaceous and fruity character that seems a bit younger than the age stated, yet very pleasant with camphor (which can be indicative of the age and good storage). refreshing and pleasant huigan.
2nd 3secs Smooth with bittersweet to bitter floral notes that transition to a bittersweet to sweet notes while maintaining a tart and bitter fruit base and developing wood notes. The wood note has hints of dried fruits, but ends up becoming herbaceous and refreshing.
3rd 4secs Smooth and increasingly bitter to bittersweet on the front with deep honeyed notes and now apparent wood character with herbaceous accentuation that linger as the notes become sweeter and fresh with the camphor that lodges in the throat.
4th 6secs Bitter and bittersweet , honeyed, fruity some floral notes with wood notes and now some astringency appears with a slight drying sensation, but remains bittersweet and sweet with a refreshing finish.
I had about 11 steeps of this one. I feel like it help up with strong notes up to the 6th steep and started collapsing, but I could easily correct the times by the color of the liquor and scent.
The overall notes are good with only some astringency which is not a bad thing if you are considering aging. What I liked about this tea is that is one of those that is still defining itself in terms of age characteristics. You can see get the traits of youth from the herbaceous and fruity/floral notes; followed by the aging characteristics of aged wood and camphor. I’m not going to score this one yet. I’m going to finish my sample piece another day and updating this note with ‘updates’ and a score.
Flavors: Camphor, Fruity, Herbaceous, Honey, Wood
Dry – Tart fruits, honeyed and faintly greenwood notes (bitterness).
Wet – Sweet (honeyed), fruity, stonefruit?, orange peel, plummy, mineral and bitter floral-fruit notes. This later evolves into a more invasive Zhu (Bamboo scented) perfumy note, maybe even sandal wood.
Liquor – Dull Gold(no clear liquor) and have a spice? scent to it.
Initial steeps 1-2 (maybe 3rd) Plenty floral honey notes with a muted sweetness that follows it. The mouth feel is thick, but in a ‘waxy’ spectrum of thickness, almost like getting chap-stick in your tongue. The middle develops a savory notes as it goes down that linger a bit into the finish, but develops a floral bitterness after it washes away. The second and third steep have more fruity notes up front with a similar finish.
Middle steeps 4-5 Initial notes are floral bittersweet and floral honey with the same muted honey sweet, but once it starts to develop the fruity notes it also develops this green wood note combined with a bamboo frangrance/sandal wood perfumy note; it is still sort of pleasant, but definitelly more invasive than the previous notes. The finish stays fairly similar with some of tha perfumy/wood note. The thickness is still in there, the savory note however is playful and only apparent sometimes since it is mostly taken over by the wood and floral notes.
Final steeps 5-6+ Although I was starting to disagree with it during the 4-5th steeps, I could still enjoy most of it, but now the Floral bitterness is most of the notes with some honey that it is immediately followed by the perfumy note that still reminds me of a young Zhu/bamboo stored Sheng that has that Sandal wood perfume/incense character to it.
This notes hold the possibility of developing into really pleasant notes 10-15 years, but I don’t think I have the dedication to wait for this one, I’d rather focus on others. I’ll keep this brick around to see if it improves, but I’ll gladly ‘lose it’ if I need more space.
If you have some free time, check out my Blog
Flavors: Floral, Green Wood, Honey, Perfume
Just revisiting this mini tuo. I have a 2007 version, which I need to check if I can find again because this is getting better, I bumped the score up a bit.
I’ve had them stored in a cardboard cylinder container for +-2 years and it is doing well, the rice is pretty strong still and the tea is even smoother, specially for a mini tuo. I love the scent, it is just satisfying and almost calming to have that floral/nutty rice scent.
Flavors: Bitter, Green Wood, Honey, Nutty, Rice