135 Tasting Notes
Quick Notes From what I’ve gathered, ‘Golden Sail’ USED to be a great Puerh Brand. As the Guangdong Tea Import and Export Co. went to the what I call ‘the dark side’ of quantity over Quality production, this is no longer a ‘good’ Puerh Brand(opinions, you choose what you like). Apparently, 2006 and earlier are the last ‘good’ batch, sad to see Puerh go bad. To the tea.
Dry – Sweet, fruity, floral.
Wet – Honey, fruity,tobaccoy,smoky,bitter-floral.
Liquor – Deep Golden.
Gong Fu in Yixing Gaiwan – 6-7gm/4.5oz
1st 12secs – Smoky, savory floral notes with hints of tobacco and smoke up front. As it washes down the smoky and floral bitter notes turn sweeter but retain some of the tobacco notes. The aftertaste is sweet with tobacco hints.
2nd 12 secs – Tobacco, smoky, floral-bitterness that turn sweeter as it goes down; but once again, retaining the the tobacco notes while the smokiness subsides. The aftertaste is slightly sweet, tobbacoy and bitter that slowly becomes sweeter and refreshing over time.
3rd 10secs – Tobacco, smoke, floral-bitterness up front. As it washes down, it retains its tobacco and floral-bitter notes but slowly becomes sweeter (hinting honey) with floral notes and refreshing. The aftertaste is tobaccoy and bittersweet that slowly turns sweeter.
4th 10secs – Strong tobacco notes, smoky, floral-bitterness up front. As it goes down, it retains the tobacco notes but slowly becomes sweet and floral. The after taste is bitter-sweet floral with tobaccoy notes, it slowly becomes sweeter and refreshing, as well as lasting in the mouth and throat.
5th 12secs – Strong Tobacco notes, smoky, floral-bitterness up front. As it washes down, it is tobaccoy, floral-bittersweet that turns sweeter while maintaining its tobacco notes. The aftertaste is bittersweet, slightly floral with tobacco notes; as time goes by it becomes sweeter and refreshing, very lasting in the mouth.
I was able to do nine good steeps this way with very similar notes, the ninth being a bit ‘cleaner’ but still had some bitter-to-sweet changes. I did another session (a while ago) with shorter steeps and less leaf 3-4gm, it works amazingly if you like to have some hints of tobacco/bitterness with out it being in the front and body (mostly sweet).
I liked it this way better, It has a strong mouth feel that is not unpleasant and it slowly and somehow ‘cumulatively’ gets sweeter in the aftertaste.
Extra Notes – I’ve been trying to log this one for a while. Steepster wouldn’t let me add it for some reason and the picture (using the website’s) doesn’t seem to load either, I had to change the name in order to get it here in the site is ‘2009 Feng Qing…’
About the Tea
I won’t make extensive notes about this one. I’ll just say this is my extremely cheap to-go Puerh. Scott described it as having stronger chocolate notes, but the sample Amy Oh sent me from Mandala is way more chocolaty than this one. However, this tea is amazing, especially for the price. It has some roasty note to it that gives it the (chocolate hint). But to me, this tastes a lot like dates/raisins. Its fruitier and aromatic, like a dried fruit. I have it in a ceramic pot that with lid designed to let it ‘breath’ the scent is more concentrated there but in a good way.
This tea does NOT compare to more expensive Ripes but deserves a really high rating because for the price you are getting something nicer that you’d expect. I drink it at work at every chance.
Dry – Honey, Chocolate, Walnuts, Orchid/Plum
Wet – Chocolate, Honey, Orchid, slightly nutty.
Liquor – Reddish Gold / Bronze
Gong Fu Style in Yixing Gaiwan — 5g/4.5oz
1st 2secs – Thick and creamy up front with plum/orchid taste that is immediately overtaken by chocolate taste with honey sweetness and walnut notes. There’s a refreshing ‘juicy’ hint of plum and honey that turns chocolaty at the end.
2nd 2secs – Strong chocolate taste, honey with very present plum/orchid notes. As it washes down, the creamy chocolate notes become more apparent with nutty hits that resemble walnut and lasts in the mouth. The aftertaste is joint of slight chocolaty notes and apparent plum/orchid notes.
3rd 3secs – Chocolate, creamy, honey and plum/orchid notes up front. As it washes down, it is creamy with nuttiness but then turns juicier with plum/orchid notes. The aftertaste is sweet, creamy but has orchid/plum notes that linger.
4th 6secs – Chocolate, plummy/orchid notes and honey up front. As it washes down, it is slightly creamy with chocolaty-nutty notes, but slightly juicier with the plum/orchid notes. The aftertaste is creamy, but has strong/dominant plum/orchid notes that linger.
5th 10secs – Chocolate, creamy, honey and plum/orchid up front. As it washes down, it is slightly creamy with honey and chocolate notes that turn juicy again. The aftertaste is sweet, chocolaty and plummy.
6th 20secs -Honey, slight chocolate notes and plum/orchid notes up front. As it washes down, it is smooth chocolaty and then juicy with the plummy/orchid notes. The aftertaste is sweet, faded chocolate and plummy/orchid.
I did eight good steeps this way. When preparing it western cup style I prefer to do three steeps: 45secs, 1min 20secs and 2mins. I loved this tea, the Walnut/nuttiness of the dry leaf is amazing. I love chocolate and walnuts together so I love the smell.
It isn’t as chocolaty as expected but still very good. I went with ‘walnut’ because it reminds me of scent when I crack the shell and the the ‘prize’ out. I wanted to try it as a base for a blend, :/ didn’t work out as expected. Great tea on its own anyway!
Dry Leaf – Creamy, sweet, earthy.
Wet Leaf – Thick, creamy, bitter-chocolate, dates/raisins.
Liquor – Dark Bronze to coffee bronze (looks black).
Gong Fu in 4oz Yixing Gaiwan / 6-7g * 8 seconds wash
1st 20secs – Creamy, slightly sweet, earthy, bitter-chocolate and slightly leathery up front. As it washes down it is thick, earthy and creamy with stronger bitter-chocolate and leather notes. The aftertaste is creamy, sweet and refreshing.
2nd 8secs – (cake piece opened) Creamy, bitter-chocolate, earthy (slight leathery notes) and light sweetness. As it washes down it is thick, earthy with stronger leather notes and bitter-chocolate notes. The aftertaste is, earthy creamy and sweet.
3rd 7secs – Thick, earthy/leathery, bitter-chocolate and smooth up front. As it washes down the bitter-chocolate notes become more apparent as do the leathery ones. The aftertaste is thick, slightly earthy with bitter-chocolate notes and sweetness.
4th 7secs – Thick, earthy/leathery, bitter-chocolate notes, creamy and slightly sweet up front. As it washes down the bitterness is more apparent and last through the aftertaste. The aftertaste is is thick, leathery and sweet.
INTERMISSION All the steeps from the second to the seventh are incredibly strong and dark even though the times were kept under 11 seconds. The liquor resembled dark coffee until this point. Later steeps where a dark brown hue.
8th 20secs – Creamy, slightly leathery, chocolate notes and sweet up front. Washing down it is a bit ‘cleaner’ by comparison, the bitter-notes are bit ‘fruitier’ but still slightly resemble chocolate and have a slight leathery hint. The aftertaste starts slightly earthy and thick and turns sweet.
This is not my favorite brick. I like ‘cleaner’ tasting ripes, this still have some earthy that I usually find in some slightly younger ripes. If you love THICK, almost smoky tasting ripes this is for you. After the cake opens up the liquor resembles coffee and it has a strong mouth feel. What I did like about it is the aftertaste. Even though the steep is mostly bitter-sweet the aftertaste slowly becomes sweeter but once it turns sweet it is really apparent.
Not a Tasting note
I was drinking the last of my sample piece and comparing to other ripes I’ve had. This one deserves a better score. I already miss it. A really complex and juicy ripe.
The scent is nice, sweet and complex. The liquor is a beautiful Bright Burgundy color. The whole thing is a pleasure to steep and then drink. If only I could afford several cakes!
Quick Notes This is a double Session review. Two for one!
Dry – Sweet
Wet – Sweet, Creamy, Malty, Bitter with chocolate notes, slightly citrusy and/or juicy.
Liquor – Brown-Bronze
Gong Fu in 5oz Yixing Gaiwan – 5g (loosen tea result of initial prying the cake)
1st 5sec – Creamy, slightly sweet and earthy with apparent bitterness that hints of chocolate. As it washes down it is brothy and thick with chocolate-like bitterness. The aftertaste is creamy and bittersweet that lingers in the back of the throat.
2nd 3secs – Creamy, bittersweet chocolate notes upfront. As it washes down it is thick and creamy with some sweetness that turns savory almost brothy with bitter chocolate notes. The aftertaste is sweet, thick, creamy, slightly savory and refreshing.
3rd 5secs – Thick, creamy, bittersweet with chocholate notes up front. As it washes down, the bitterness notes become more apparent and savory/brothy. The aftertaste is thick, bittersweet with brothy background that lingers in the mouth and back of the throat.
4th 7secs – Sweet, creamy and then bittersweet up front with weaker chocolate notes. As it washes down, it becomes brothy and bitter with chocolate notes. The aftertaste is creamy and bittersweet that lingers in the mouth and back of the throat.
5th 9secs – Sweet, creamy and bittersweet that is slightly juicy/citrusy. As it washes down, it becomes brothy and savory that slowly turns juicy with some bitterness. The aftertaste is bittersweet and thick, it still lingers but not as apparent as previously.
6th 17secs – Creamy, sweet, and bittersweet with juicy/citrusy up front. As it washes down, it becomes brothy and then juicy with bitter notes. The aftertaste is sweet with a bitterness that lingers in the mouth and back of throat, slightly juicier than previously.
I DID SOME HEAVIER STEEPS WITH SOLID CAKE PIECE
(three steeps before I ran out of water)
1st 50secs Creamy, slightly earthy with sweetness and immediately bitter that hints of chocolate notes up front. As it washes down, it feels heavy and thick with savory and brothy body that is also bitter and slowly develops some sweetness. The aftertaste is thick, creamy but savory with bitterness that resembles chocolate notes. (slightly refreshing).
2nd 35secs Once again Creamy, sweet with earthy notes that turns bitter with chocolate notes up front. As it washes down, it feels thick and creamy; brothy/soupy savory notes that also wear bitterness that slightly resemble chocolate and develops some sweetness. The after taste is creamy, savory and slowly turn bittersweet with slight chocolate notes.
Third I steeped for a about 45 seconds. The steep was very similar to the previous but had a more ‘juicy’ feel and slightly less creamy.
I like Lao Ban Zhang as a Sheng more than Shou. You still get some of the Bitterness and ‘chaqi’ that characterizes Lao Ban Zhang but its different. To me this cake smells really sweet but it has a sour/bitter taste together with a brothy/soupy savory body as it goes down, its really good. But to me it reminds me of a Pho soup, its savory but it has a certain sour/bitterness to it, that can linger in the mouth. I love Pho, but only when I feel like it. This might be the case with this cake, that is something that you can love when you want it. I’m going to drink it a few more times to give it a fair rating currently I seat around the 78s to 89 range. Good tea, great tea if you want Ripe Lao Ban Zhang.
Dry – Sweet, Vegetal, Nutty, Honey, Flowery.
Wet – Nutty, Honey, Vegetal, Peas, Butter.
Liquor – Pale Green/Yellow
Gong Fu – 5oz Gaiwan 4-5g (a very light tea)
1st 2secs – Sweet, smooth, creamy with nuttiness slightly resembling snow peas up front. As it washes down it turns savory and vegetal. The aftertaste is sweet, smooth and creamy that lingers.
2nd 2secs – Creamy, smooth and sweet with nuttiness that resembles snow peas and honey notes. As it washes down it is creamy and sweet vegetal that lingers through the aftertaste.
3rd 4secs – Creamy, sweet, vegetal, buttery nutty sweet corn and snow peas upfront. As it washes down it has a vegetal and slightly floral taste that slowly becomes sweeter. The aftertaste is sweet and nutty that lingers with creaminess.
4th 9secs – Creamy, vegetal, buttery, nutty sweetness and slightly floral up front. As it washes down it has a strong savory vegetal and nutty body. The aftertaste turns sweet again and it becomes sweeter, nutty and buttery.
5th 16secs – Vegetal, sweet, nutty, floral and lightly creamy. As it washes down it is somewhat floral that turns very savory, vegetal, nutty that is almost broth like, that slowly turn sweeter again. The aftertaste is sweet and nutty.
6th 30secs – Buttery, vegetal, nutty, sweet but not as creamy up front. As it washes down it is vegetal, savory and nutty that slowly turns sweeter. The aftertaste is sweet, nutty, and slightly vegetal.
Amazing tea, it has a very complex scent even when dry. It really amazes me how even though I can usually tell a green tea from a white tea by scent (some traits give it up), I never really paid enough attention to note exactly WHAT it is lets me know or gives it out. I still don’t have a word to describe it. But as I’m smelling and drinking this tea I ‘spot’ that something and lose it over and over.
Overall, the tea seems like a green tea that was progressing towards a white tea. It has the complexity of a Bi Luo Chun in some floral hints that come and go. It reminds me of a Long Jin, in its vegetal nuttiness and some other green teas with Buttery/creamy body, yet it still holds on to some of its sweet and nutty notes from a Silver Needles tea, that freshness almost juicy. This is the kind of tea that different people will qualify differently as they drink it as it crossess the boundaries of white vs green. Very enjoyable.MINI NOTE I did longer steeps of 30s, 1:00m, 1:30m, 2:00m, etc. The shorter steeps seems like its closer to a white tea, not because its ‘weak’ but rather, the sweetness is more apparent. During longer steeps it is more brothy, the buttery character is more apparent and then in later steeps the sweetness is more apparent.
Dry Leaf – Sweet and faintly earthy.
Wet Leaf – Sweet, creamy with citrus notes
Liquor – Dark Bronze / Brown
Gong Fu in 5oz Porcelain Gaiwan 6-7g
1st 5secs – Clean and soupy/bread/pastry taste up front. As it washes down it becomes sweet and peppery. The aftertaste is sweet like sugarcane and lingers in the mouth.
2nd 3secs – Creamy and sweet up front. As it washes down it becomes slightly savory with bread/pastry like taste that is smooth with slight puckery pepper finish. The aftertaste is sweet, creamy with citrus hints.
3rd 4secs – Creamy, pepper and sweet up front. As it washes down it has a creamy, bread-like taste followed by some citrus notes that linger through the aftertaste. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
4th 4secs – Creamy, sweet, citrus notes and peppery up front. As it washes down it is creamy, bread/pastry/like that lingers. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
5th 7secs – Creamy, sweet, citrus up front. As it washes down it becomes peppery and has a savory pastry/bread taste that lingers for a bit. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
6th 11secs – Creamy, sweet and smooth up front. As it washes down it becomes peppery and has a savory pasty/bread taste that lingers, a citrus notes appears before the aftertaste takes over. The aftertaste is sweet, smooth and refreshing.
7th 16secs – Creamy, sweet, smooth and slightly citrus up front. As it washes down it has a smooth pastry/bread taste that linger a bit before turning peppery. The aftertaste is sweet, smooth and refreshing.
8th 22secs – Creamy, sweet, smooth and citrus up front. As it washes down the liquor has a faint bread taste with smoothness that turns peppery. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
Final Notes – This cake is beautiful, small.. but beautiful. You can easily appreciate the fact that is hand made as the pressing is not too tight and you can easily separate the buds. This was completely hand made which is the main reason I decided to use short steeps to ‘better appreciate’ the teas as it opens/changes. I will try it later with longer steeps but I doubt I will like it more than I did this way (I might prove myself wrong).
The liquor is very sweet and clean with a slight creaminess/smoothness that makes it pleasant. The camphor is light but strong enough to notice. It took 10 steeps pretty well with the 10th (1 minute) being slightly weak in depth but I since the tea is sweet it allows you to to have a sweet break even if other notes are faded.
Quick Notes I added the picture of the tea, it looks like a perfect cut of a log, and honestly it smells like one too.
Dry Leaf – Old tree bark, old wooden library.
Wet Leaf – Sweet, woody, eucalyptus.
Liquor – Yellowish/Golden Bronze
Gong Fu Style in Porcelain Gaiwan 5oz/4g
1st 5secs – Sweet, woody and eucalyptus freshness. At some points seems to resemble an elder flower or linden tea. Very refreshing.
2nd 10secs – Sweet, refreshing with woody/grassy/herbaceous notes that become slightly savory and earthy but fades into very refreshing sweetness.
3rd 15secs – Sweet, woody and refreshing. As it washes down it again resembles herbaceous tea. The aftertaste is sweet and very refreshing.
4th 20secs – Sweet, woody and refreshing up front. As it goes down it tastes like linden/elder flower tea (herbaceous) notes before it becomes sweet and refreshing again.
5th 30secs – Sweet, woody and refreshing up front. As it goes down it has woody/savory notes before the herbaceous elder flower/linden tea taste. The aftertaste is sweet and refreshing.
6th 50secs – Woody, refreshing and sweet upfront. The savory woody notes becomes more apparent but fades into herbaceous sweetness. The aftertaste is extremely refreshing.
Final Notes This is not a Puerh, is a Heicha (to me they are their own category). This tea extremely refreshing, the most refreshing one I’ve had besides tea with mint added/eucalyptus added. I can only compare it to having a herbal tea blend of Linden elderflower Holy Basil and maybe some ecalyptus (not as bold as the blend but perhaps a second steep of this blend).
It is so tighly packed that it looks like a single piece of wood at first sight, after I pryed it, it was easy to see the leaves and the small ‘Jin Hua’ or golden flowers in between them. I did two short washes of the leaves and the washes themselves had extreme sweet and camphor scents. I was doing short to extremely long steeps, it doesn’t seem to go bitter or astringent at all and it takes an amazing amount of steeps well(did around 12 going strong).
I keep coming back to this tea. It definitely isn’t a bad tea, its just so DIFFERENT from all the others I usually drink. I’ve had ‘bad’ tea and I can really drink it more than two or three times. I’m starting to think this tea had the same impact my first few Puerhs had with me. My brain just said ’can’t identify’ and I rejected it.
I keep drinking it, the first steep is the strongest one, Smoky/broth-like soup with the faintest hint of sweetness but the body is incredibly savory and so is the aftertaste (I think this is what caught me by surprise).
The second steep is less smoky but still present, the sweetness is slightly more appreciable before it turns savory and broth-like as it washes down. The aftertaste has a strong savory base with hints of sweetness. The savory notes linger in the mouth and back of the throat.
The third steep is savory and brothy up front and allows a sweetness to take over for a moment. As it washes down the ‘cycle’ repeats itself but this time the sweetness lasts much longer. While the sweetness comes up front the savory doesn’t disappear it takes the background and at least to me seems to serve as a base for he sweetness, making it that much more enjoyable.
I made 6 steeps with this tea, up to the 5th the tea continued to get sweeter but it still kept its savory and smoky character, after that it was weak. I’m not a fan of Lapsang Souchong but that might be slowly changing. I still enjoy past the second steeps the most but I’m starting to enjoy that brothy/smoky/meaty ones. Maybe is the cold weather and smokiness give me ‘warmth’.