180 Tasting Notes
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.
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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.
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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
Dry – Aged floral bitterness, wood with sweetness, very faint dried fruits, some medicinal notes, raisins, tamarind shell.
Wet – Aged/slightly decayed wood but with a deep sweet fruit background, rich like dried dark fruits (raisins, dates, figs), dark sweet notes (molasses, caramel — the sweetness that inherently has a bitterness to it).
Liquor – Amber to reddish amber (Aromatic of dried fruits and bittersweet notes)
1st 3secs – Bittersweet woody and fruity, some bittersweet notes that resemble a very gentle tamarind with some shell pieces up front. It feels rather thick and as it goes down it is smooth and maintains the thick and rich notes with the same bittersweet-floral and woody note from the start.
2nd 3secs – Bittersweet floral/fruity and wood front that still somewhat resembles mellow tamarind(shell) to me which transfers to a richer/thicker body and notes and a lingering mouthwatering sensation. If well slurped it is more bitter up the front in a very pleasant and huigan enhancing way.
3rd 3secs – Bittersweet floral/fruity, woody front that transitions into the rich woody sweetness that resembles dried fruits such as raisins with a slightly herbaceous sweetness appearing as it washes down. Gentle camphor present.
4th 4secs – Bitter woody that becomes bittersweet woody with floral notes and a dried fruit background. As it goes down, it is still very smooth with apparent bitterness, combined with the rich dried fruit notes and hints of molasses.
5th 6secs – Bittersweet, wood, floral notes with apparent fruit background, the fruit and wood notes still combined continue to resemble a mellow/gentle tamarind note, it is almost an acidic fruit note. As it goes down, the liquor is very smooth with only minor astringency after it has completely washed down.
6th 7secs – Very similar to most previous steeps, some more astringecy seems to chime in, but still has that thick and rich body with plenty of that bitter to bittersweet note that keeps reminding me of a gentle tamaring note. The liquor continues to be aromatic.
7th 9 secs – Bitterness and bittersweet notes, wood, floral and fruits notes reappear with more energy again. After the liquor goes down the bitterness lodged in the throat and the huigan is very pleasant.
8th 10 secs – This one was cleaner steep with a bit weaker bitterness, but still very pleasant overall, mostly sweeter.
9th 14 secs – This one appears faded again in the bitterness aspects but still wears similar notes. Time for bigger steep time adjustments.
10th 25secs – Second wind; the bitter and bittersweet notes returned with most of its previous profile, a bit more floral and juicy than the richer and filling body it had before.
11th 35secs – Richer again, bittersweet as opposed to the weaker flat bitterness with less wood and more fruit notes. A very pleasant and lasting/lingering huigan.
12th 45secs – Still holding up for the most part, you can tell this one still has a few more steeps in it.
13th 1min – Returned some of the initial notes of bittersweet, plenty of floral and fruit with some astringency present. Very smooth still, specially in the 13th steep, it has some faded rich notes.
14th 1min 30secs – Good bittersweet notes, floral, some fruit and again astringency.
Very infusable, I feel like it has a perfect balance between the wood/floral/fruit bitterness with sweetness ratio. It has plenty of aged notes together with ‘I can age more’ character. This is not a complex tea, I didn’t get changes along the steeps, maybe something being more up front at times than others. I liked it a lot but this is also the type of tea that takes me two days to get through, not only because of the how infusable it is, but because it can be a bit boring after the 6-8th steep of the same notes. I would still recommend it.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Raisins, Sweet
Dry – Old decayed wood house, musky tree, wood-bitterness, dried leafs.
Wet – Sweet, coffee like bitterness, musty decayed wet wood, molasses.
First few (1-3) steeps Have a sweet front but wear a very robust mustiness that can be either very pleasant if you like it or off putting if you don’t that develops pepper like woodiness and slight spicy astringency and woody bitterness. The final notes recover the sweetness with a refreshing camphor.
In the Middle (3-6) Here is where the real good stuff shows up with mostly the sweeter notes and maintaining most of its woody characteristics with out being unpleasantly musky or decayed wood-bitter. The sweetness has some thickness and the bitterness make it seem more like a molasses than sugary which is very nice and almost malty in some sense.
Final steeps The notes start getting weaker, but the sweetness shines more here; with most of the wood bitterness and musk notes gone the sweetness is more like a raw sugar than molasses like, it doesn’t hold much complexity but it is still satisfying.
I like this one as an every day drink, the mini bricks have an undeniable musky, sometimes almost fishy scent that at least to me require a few days out of the container and a good two rinses to get rid of and even then the first 2-3 steeps will have plenty of it.
With all of that said, it becomes more and more pleasant in the middle steeps and flat sweet in the last few ones. I would recommend using the container for other teas and moving this ripe to a box or open container to get the best out of it.
Flavors: Decayed wood, Molasses, Musty, Sweet