167 Tasting Notes
Dry – A ‘dark’ / roasted sweetness, mineral oolong notes, some wood-spice (Cinnamon? not getting clear Cinnamon notes), Caramel.
Wet – Oolong mineral/rock notes, very floral, wood-spice notes, sweetness that comes from a roasted/dark source not so much line honey.
Liquor – Copper — very aromatic of Wood-spice(Cinnamon), Honey, mineral, floral and roasted sweetness.
This tea is very aromatic, it has very apparent floral-bitter/tart notes that emanate from the cup, sweet mesquite honey notes and finally get an apparent Cinnamon/wood-spice scent followed by the hallmark mineral/rock/hay Oolong notes.
The liquor is fairly smooth but pieces are not uncommon, filter if you don’t want residual astringency, however I feel like this is very pleasant. It wears all of its floral notes well, the Cinnamon character is lacking in my opinion; mostly caramel sweetness with floral and mineral. As it goes down some more of the wood-spice notes come forward and after a while the Cinnamon is more clear. This is definitely a tea to keep at work, I’ve done very short steeps and some a bit longer and the taste barely changes. It doesn’t endure much in western cup style, I’d stick to using portable Gong Fu methods, and enjoy 3-5 good cups.
Nothing too special. A great cup of work, the aroma is VERY enjoyable, definitely its best trait.
Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Mineral, Wood
Dry – Bitter-tobacco/wood notes, bittersweet floral notes
Wet – Bitter-tobacco/wood notes, bitter floral, bittersweet fruit and hints of sweetness and tangy notes.
Liquor – Amber to copper.
Gongfu in Porcelain lined Yixing Gaiwan 130ml
The first two steeps had a savory front with tangy and bittersweet floral notes over the gentle tobacco background. As it washed down if feels smooth and has an almost oily texture that coats the tongue with mellow bitter floral notes and faint smoke.
Following steeps are more open and forward but continue to be mellow in character. The front is savory with smoky, bitter-wood/tobacco notes adn floral bitter-sweetness. As it goes down, it continues to coat the tongue with a lightly oily texture that feel smooth, but has a more apparent bitter-tobacco/wood and floral notes, that although more apparent are still somehow gentle.
Later steeps (past 8th-10th) are more faded, but still echo the characteristics of this tea. Most of the notes are cumulative so the tobacco and floral notes and faint smoke linger in the back of the tongue and throat. The huigan is fairly fast yet mellow in taste. Cha qi is present as a warming sentation.
A nice tea, I insist that this to me echos a very gentle Xiaguan or what a Xiaguan/Yiwu blend would taste like in my mind.
Flavors: Floral, Sweet, Tangy, Tobacco
Dry – Sweet, earthy notes, somewhat creamy, dates, starch/rice.
Wet – Creamy, earthy, light spice/pepper, dry dark fruits, dates, yeasty, bitter cocoa?
Liquor – Burgundy to Red-ish brown.
1st 5secs Thick, tart, partly, fruity and some smoke?(roasted cocoa/coffee) notes up front. As it goes down, it has an apparent savory, brothy and filling body with some pepper-wood notes and a sweet and bitter-chocolate finish.
2nd 5secs First Sweet, thick, tart, earthy, creamy with light pepper notes and smoke?/roasted cocoa-coffee notes up front. As it goes down it has an initial sweetness, but a brothy and savory character is dominant. The finish is sweeter with tart/bittersweet cocoa notes.
3rd 7secs Sweet, thick, earthy, creamy, slightly tart with dark fruit notes, and faint roasted-cocoa/coffee? notes up front. As it goes down, it has some savory notes the dominate for a bit, but turns sweet again with spice and camphor and a sweet finish that has bittersweet cocoa notes.
7-8 steeps in total The steeps start collapsing at the 5th-6th and after that they are mostly sweet with minor tart notes and faded complexity. You can allow it to rest for a few hours or a day and push an extra one or two, but they are still weak.
After the Feng Ling pot this one is more than welcomed. I feel like this one has some complexity and depth to it, which it is rare in Shou in general. It is in the between the lines of an amazing every day Shou or a good occasional treat.
Flavors: Creamy, Dark Bittersweet, Dates, Earth, Rice, Sweet, Thick
Ceramic Pot Puerh – Feng Ling Tea Factory, April 2000 100gm
Dry – Earth, Clay, Wood, Sweet.
Wet – Sweet, wood and earthy.
Liquor – dark brown almost black.
1st 5secs- Earthy, tart-bitter wood notes, talc/starchy and some clay notes up front. As it goes down, it feels starchy like talc and somewhat sweet, but flat at the end.
2nd 5secs – Think earthy, woody, some spiciness, starsh/talc sensation on the tongue and some sweet up front. As it goes down, it has some earthy wood notes and sweet finish. This steep has more live than the first one.
3rd 7secs – Thick earthy, woody, more apparent spicy middle with a starsh/talc sensation up front. As it goes down, it holds its earthy and wood notes while slowly developing sweetness that linger in the finish.
Quick wrap up
This one wasn’t a hit with me. I feel like people who enjoy imperial Loose Puerh and other traditional high fermentation ripes will get a better time out of this one. I will re-visit this one when I’m more in a Shou mood.
Flavors: Clay, Earth, Sweet, Wood
I was too harsh on this one. I was biased towards the price tag. I had four notes written two in the 90s and two in the 80s. The 80s were mostly considering the price vs what else you can get for that price. But the reality is that I should just rate the taste of tea and price being expensive or cheap is up to each person. Read the notes for details. :)
Initial Note This are the notes I took when I first received the cake, the cake was very aromatic with fruity and young sheng notes. I’ve consolidated my other three notes at the bottom in the Final notes section :)
Dry – Aromatic, young notes apparent, honey, apricot, faintly creamy.
Wet – Young, honey, creamy, floral, fruity, stronger apricot.
Liquor – Bright, somewhat pale yellow with slight green hue.
1st 3secs – Honey, creamy, slightly nutty and floral bittersweet notes up front. As it goes down, the bitterness is more apparent, but very mellow and pleasant with fruity and floral undertones and a somewhat savory base. Very young notes were apparent in the aftertaste.
2nd 4secs – Honey, slightly creamy and nutty, floral bitterness with bittersweet fruity undertones up front. As it goes down, it becomes slightly more bitter, but maintains a mellow and pleasant body with some more body adn thick apricot notes at the end. Slightly young still but more honeyed-apricot finish.
3rd 5secs – Floral bitterness, bittersweet fruity notes, light creamy and nutty notes and honeyed up front. As it goes down, it thickens and intensifies its bitter notes with floral and fruity character that resembles apricot as it fades away. It still has the young notes as the huigan fades and stays on the tongue.
4th 7secs – Floral bitterness, bitterseweet fruity notes, thinner body with nutty notes and some honey up front. As it goes down, its bitter notes become more apparent and develops a very pleasant thickness that in turn develops floral/fruity tones that resemble apricots. Some astringency is present with faint young notes, but still honeyed-apricot finish.
5th – 10secs – Floral bitterness, Bittersweet fruity notes, smooth but juicy (as opposed to the initial creamy character) honeyed up front. As it goes down, it becomes thicker with more apparent floral bitterness and fruity bittersweet notes that resemble apricot. The finish is sweet, with honey and apricot and develops young notes with minor hay/herbaceous characteristics.
6th 15secs – Floral bitterness, bittersweet fruity notes, smooth and somewhat thinner and honeyed up front. As it goes down, it is slightly thicker with an apparent floral and fruity character that play betweent bitter and bittersweetness that is very pleasant but plays with more astringency on the tongue. The finish is honeyed-apricots like, it is lasting but has a herbaceous prescense that lingers with astringency.
7th 25secs Floral bitterness and fruity notes that lack the initial smoothness but remains honeyed up front. As it goes down, it has faded thickness in the background like a ghost of what it had to offer, the astringecy is more apparent and brings out the bitter and bitter sweet floral and fruity notes. The finish is still honeyed, and the astringency is still there, the herbaceous/hay is more apparent in the finish.
8th 35secs – Mostly flat and one dimensional. It starts with bitter floral and bittersweet fruity notes, but they seem faded and overtaking by astringency and a mineral/metallic tone, there’s still honey in the front. As it goes down, it gives hints of a thickness that quickly dissipates and becomes bitter-to-bittersweet floral notes and astringent. At this point to me, the astringency went from apparent but pleasant to just astringent.
9th 45secs – Mostly flat, bitter-bittersweet notes and some sweet, no body to it.
Not stealing, but cleverly borrowing Cwyn’s analogy for New Amerykah 2 :P
If New Amerykah 2 (2014) is an illegal and a jail-bait, this one is the Beauty JUST over the age, that carries herself very well… but had that tad too much to drink LOL. When you first meet her, you take it at face value; it is a young sheng after all, but it surprises you during the first few steeps with a gentle well rounded body and only hints of immaturity. The living image that age does not dictate maturity….
As cups go down, the unfiltered reality starts to leak out. Once you reach the 5th steep (sometimes one or two past that), the scene gets loud, immature and uncomfortable. Astringency develops at first and it isn’t an issue, it’s expected, bitter notes are demanded from any Kucha and it slowly delivers. It feels like I went on the ‘perfect’ date and ended up stalking the waiter to bring me the check.
Now, for reality. I was victim of my own preconceptions, the reviews were amazing and with the price tag I expected no less. I feel like this is a really good Sheng blend, but that’s all it is, a blend. The huangpian gives it this undeniable maturity and deep notes at first, but that’s make up and dress up, each cake portion will differ from the other because you can’t guarantee that every piece you get will be balanced, some times it seems like you hit a honeyed, bitter and complex jackpot(sometimes short-lived) and other times you get mostly younger leaves with fine developing characteristics, but lacking depth and maturity. I’d say sample this one for the good times, $90 for a cake this young and with not proof of aging potential is not in my budget; but if you favor young Sheng… this is your date.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Nutty
It is ‘Meh’ for me. That’s half the reason I brought it to work. It has a deep amber liquor and it has mellow sweetness and mellow floral, to me it seems flat, nothing worth paying too much attention to.
It is at $14 for 200gm, but as I said it is rather flat and tastes a bit more aged than it should, nothing off just possibly wetter storage(aged taste, not musty) on the overall scent and taste; tastes older than 2009 or maybe it is because is made from plantation and it may still be weak in Wu Liang notes.
Flavors: Floral, Sweet
Dry – Abandoned old wood cabin in the tropics, spice-wood.
Wet – Thick earth notes, spicy-wood notes, bitter wood notes and sweetness.
Liquor – Burgundy.
Gonfu Style — 2 rinses (first 3 secs and 2 secs rest and second just a quick wash)
The tea started with very assertive spicy-wood notes, earth notes with very apparent sweetness and feels smooth going down. Some astringency was present, but it only helped the spicy notes and later the camphor sensation.
The second and third steeps (partly 4th as well), were smoother but maintaining the earthy and wood notes with spicy background. Allowing time between cups allowed me to appreciate the lasting sweetness and perhaps notice some very faint notes I have yet to identify.
Later steeps were gentler that previously, but still assertive to its storage background. No musky notes, just plain wood and earth, with a a sweet finish and lots of camphor.
First sip was confusing and puzzling since I’ve never had a wet storage Sheng like this, I’ve had the occasional ‘oh, there are some floral notes, honey… and ughh, there you are, moist rotting wood note, bitter and saddening’. By the second steep I was beginning to enjoy the sweetness but was still puzzled/bothered by the deep wood notes. By the third,…. I told myself “This Sheng makes a great Shou!” LOL.
Bottom line, if you are all about dry storage… stay away, you’ll just have a bad day. If you are into wood and somewhat spicy notes Shou, I’d try this one.
Flavors: Cedar, Earth, Sweet, Wood
Dry – Floral, Tobacco, hints of sweetness, bitter-woody and floral notes, faint fruit notes.
Wet – Bitter, Tobacco,Smoke, floral, some sweeter fruit hints.
Liquor – Gold-Amber
- Gong Fu in Yixing Gaiwan 130ml — 5-6gm tea**
1st 4s – Tobacco, some smoke, bitter and bittersweet notes with hints of young harshness. As it goes down, it mellow a bit, but still wears smoke. It slowly builds a pleasant Huigan.
2nd 4s – Strong Tobacco, smoke, some deeper notes that remind me of Licorice/medicinal taste and bittersweet notes up front. As it goes down, it mellows considerably and wears sweeter notes that linger through the more apparent smoke and tobacco notes.
3rd 4secs Harsher, more assertive Tobacco with bitter-wood, medicinal/licorice notes and bittersweet notes up front. As it goes down, it mellows again, but wears some of the harshness, smoke and tobacco notes. It slowly develops sweeter notes that may slightly resemble fruit(apricot?)
4th 6 Strong tobacco with again assertive bitter-wood almost medicinal/licorice-like taste and bittersweet notes (somewhat floral) up front. As it goes down, it mellows considerably, but continues to stay mostly harsher; however it slowly develops sweeter notes at the end.
I had around seven steeps from this one. I feel like it would take another 3 easily, but only if you can deal with the cumulative harsher notes and also cumulative astringency. Even after all of that ‘harshness’ I can still respect this tea. I feel like Islay Whiskey fans will get a nice kick out of this one, even more for the price! Lagavulin anyone?
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Flavors: Licorice, Smoke, Tobacco
Intro Note I was having this tea in western style cups. I will update with Gong fu notes later (I already have them, but I will add them later, the score is overall).
Dry – Clean wood/earth note(no fermentation scent or musk), sweetness, cream/thickness.
Wet – Light earthy, tangy-tart notes, dark richness (faintly of dates, luo han guo fruit), hints of fruit/floral.
Liquor – Hues of Burgundy
1st 15secs – Light sweetness with medium ‘thickness’ or body and a kind of richness that reminds me of Luo Han Guo fruit up front. As it goes down, there’s a talc sensation on my tongue that reminds me of some Menghai ripes. Some more apparent but still mellow earth and wood notes are present with faint floral-fruit notes.
2nd 25secs – More forward sweetness with medium body and tart-bittersweet notes up front. As it goes down, the broth has a the same talc texture that is noticeable but in a smooth pleasant way. The faint floral-fruity notes appear at the end.
3rd 30secs – A little cleaner up front but maintains all the notes of sweetness with medium body and some tart up front. As is goes down, is is a bit weaker but very pleasant. It was mostly lack of adjusting steep from my part.
4th 45secs – Regained strength; Sweet with a medium body and some tart notes of front. As it goes down, it has the talc texture in the tongue and the sweetness is apparent with faint fruity/floral notes.
This is a very well balanced and mellow Shou. It is very pleasant to drink, it isn’t flashy in notes it is humble but assertive, maintaining its traits through out the steeps.
I went to the White2Tea page and read the description after finishing, I feel like I agree with the ‘Sticky rice’, to me is a combination of how mellow it is and the textural ‘talc’ that I described, which I guess starchy of the rice can accomplish too.
I see this as a very GOOD every day tea, as opposed to a ‘meh’ every day.
This is a revisit note/update
I’ve had two or three of these cakes for a while now, probably close to two years, but not yet in the two year mark. I have to say that I still love the overall scent of the cake and the scent of the liquor when I brew it.
I have two cakes for storage purposes and one that I drink from. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the compression and keeping the leaves in good shape for steeping but the closer I get to the middle of the cake the worse it gets. This is its biggest flaw, the grade of the material seems to be the same in the middle which is good (larger leaves, cut large leaves, occasional buds and stems with leaves), but what is the point if the only way of getting a piece to steep is to break them? The compression is beyond Xiaguan Iron cakes. I had this one in high regards (even with the compression and how choosy it can be with steeping time), but I have to downgrade it. It went from only at home Puerh, to ’what’s-the-point?-let’s-take-it-to-work-Puerh’.
Still a good drink, the compression has allow it to keep younger notes of flowers and honey, but aged thickness…. then you have a rock that you’ll have to break barehanded so you don’t stab yourself with your Puerh knife (guilty).