183 Tasting Notes


Edit 7/31/14
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.

Final Notes
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

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

Sounds pretty nice! $90 is a lot though, aren’t Bulangs generally cheaper than that?


Usually much cheaper, but Gushu, blah blah, sourced from a remote village, blah blah, XXXX years old blah blah, pretty wrapper. LOL. I mean, it is a nice Sheng, value is in the eye of the buyer, to me is WAY too expesive. For that price you can get something from the similar/same region with age. I like it, but I’m not sure I enjoyed the price vs the tea.


I’m actually drinking this tea right now… courtesy of… YOU! hahaI definitely smell the honey in the wet leaves.


IMO,this is a very nice tea.


It is! lol that’s why I told you so many times I was torn about it. Because I LOVE things about it, and then I hate things about it. So to me it is a give and take.

P.S. >>
It is later steeps that I hate.


Also, what I mentioned about the blending. I’ve found portions that are pure glory and I want to drink it forever then I get a portion that is like having any other 2013 Sheng. I treated you with the front of the cake! lol

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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

205 °F / 96 °C

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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.

Final Notes
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


I really need to try this!


Nice review! I’ve been craving an earthy sheng… I’ll put this one on the list!


You both should try it! If you like Shou/Earthy Sheng this is it. No musty/wet wood scent, just old scent.


I sort of enjoyed this tea. Nice example of wet storage.


Agreed! I’ve had two types of wet storage before this one. The first type is weak sheng, like the wetter storage sucked the life away from the Sheng. The second is ‘dirty’ Sheng, the one that tastes like mulch and has the scent of rotting leaves on partially dried mud. This one to me resembled a clean Shou. I’m glad I got a sample, I would otherwise avoided because of those experiences.


JC, i finally tried it last night today morning. Love it. Who knew after such mixed reviews. Wet/soil notes are faint and didnt bother me at all. maybe because i got lots of plants and like to play with soil lol. really not strong soil and soo sweet and smooth

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drank 2011 Dashu Bulang by White 2 Tea
183 tasting notes

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.

Final Notes
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?

If you have some time visit my blog

Flavors: Licorice, Smoke, Tobacco


I’ve got something from this tea company called Silver Peacock. I’ll send you some along with the samples. It’s aging quite nicely. Amazing clarity to the liquor.


It doesn’t strike me as that harsh at all. Hmm.


Well I did had it directly off the box it shipped in and samples do mellow a bit in the baggies :P To me it is a bit harsh, not overly, just more than others I’ve had recently (like the ChaWang BanPen I sent you).

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drank 2005 Ripe Bulang Maocha by White 2 Tea
183 tasting notes

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.

Final 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.


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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).


lol, well at least it was the knife which is flat as opposed to the pick that is basically a sharp-er screwdriver.

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drank Xikong 2012 Autumn by Tea Urchin
183 tasting notes

Dry – Fairly sweet and aromatic for a autumn cake, some floral notes.
Wet – Thick Honey and a more apparent floral scent.
Liquor – Mid amber color.

I got this tea as a sample from my order from TeaUrchin.

This tea started as a fairly surprising pleasure since it started with a very pleasant honeyed sweetness and some thickness although it was very limited compared to Spring offerings I’ve had. The broth had a fairly good hold and the Huigan lingered in the tongue for a while.

After the third steep the broth started going very thin and astringency started to become more apparent. The overall experience was OK, if you want a Puerh for work or to drink on the go this is a good choice, otherwise I’d recommend keeping with Spring offerings to fully enjoy the mouth-feel and apparent deep honey notes that Xi Kong can offer.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey


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Dry – Sweet floral with bittersweet/tart notes that resemble fruits.
Wet – Honey, very apparent apricot, floral notes, ‘wild’ oomph, plum, orchid, vanilla?, cream?, spices.

Liquor – Golden to a Red Gold hue.

Gong Fu Style in thick porcelain Gaiwan 6-7gm 5oz *

1st 2secs – Honey, apricot, floral-fruity notes with a thick body up front. As it washes down, it has a thicker texture/fuller body with apparent tart-fruity notes and very faint but pleasant bitterness that lingers through the very nice Huigan.

2nd 3secs – Tart-Fruity notes that resemble passion fruit, apricot and other floral fruits up front. As it goes does down, it develops a very apparent thickness and active mouth feel (wild oomph?), that lingers through the sweeter and bittersweet playful notes that precede the fast and pleasant Huigan.

3rd 4secs – Tart fruity notes with very apparent floral, bittersweet apricot and passion fruit notes up front. As it goes down, it becomes thicker and has a very energetic mouth-feel that lingers through the bittersweet and tart fruity notes and through the honey notes that become very apparent in the Huigan. At this point it started developing very pleasant and complex notes that resembled spices.

4th 6secs – Honey sweetness that quickly turns bittersweet/tart with floral-fruity notes that resemble passion fruit and apricot. The broth becomes thicker once again as it goes down and covers the tongue with very pleasant and complex tart/bittersweet notes which in turn become very sweet and lingering in the Huigan.

5th 7secs – Honey sweetness with a gentler take over by the the tart/bittersweet floral notes that once again resemble floral fruits like apricot, plum and passion fruit. As it washes down it still wears a thick and active mouth-feel that accentuates the tart/bittersweet notes and wild character of the tea. A very fast huigan and gentle ku. Very pleasant and playful finish with notes that resemble spices.

Final Notes
This one was VERY pleasant. Honestly, my best experience with Wild Puerh by far. To me it started as a very aromatic experience that needs to be acknowledged as soon as you start pouring water and even when you are pouring out the rinse. This is the type of tea that will temp you to drink that rinse. As I started to drink the first notes I noted were the tart/bittersweet notes that resembled several fruits and later I noticed the thicker Honey notes that balances the broth very well.

As I kept drinking, I started to note the hints of spices in the tongue and later on it became more apparent (cumulative sensation). I stopped taking notes after steep #5 because I just wanted to enjoy it. Thanks Sammerz314 for the opportunity to try this beauty.

If you have time visit my blog

Flavors: Apricot, Flowers, Honey


One of my favourites =)


With all the reasons to be!


Too bad it’s long gone.

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drank 2006 Nannuo Bama by Life In Teacup
183 tasting notes

EDIT because I found I typo

Dry – Wood and earth notes, some thin sweetness.
Wet – Wet wood notes, some faint sweetness, faded floral.
Liquor – Dark Amber

1st 7secs – Woody, damp floor, musky and some savory notes up front. As it goes down, it has some hints of sweetness but doesn’t quite delivers much, it feels thin and somewhat flat.

2nd 7secs – Cleaner woody, damp floor and some savory ‘mushroom’ notes up front; it feels cleaner but still not that pleasant. As it goes down, it has some more sweetness, but again it is flat although over some time there’s a faint floral note.

3rd 10secs – Same body up front and going down, the finish is slightly better, but still nothing I’d look for in a Nannuo cake.

Final Notes
This cake had to be stored in wetter conditions, it has lost much of the Nannuo character for its age and it feels rather flat, while I expected something sweeter, floral and thick with some age taste. It is a good tea if you like those wetter notes with out overly aggressive notes of really humid storage.

If you have time visit my blog


Thank you for the blog reference. Learn a lot today


Agreed boychik, JC’s notes are always insightful :-)


Thanks for taking the time to read my mini rants! LOL


Not rants, good reads;-)


Very nice blog. I agree with the notion of “taste fatigue” =)


Thanks for the positive feedback :) Sam, I was surprised at how I had noticed the ‘fatigue’, but never thought too much about it. When I finally did, I couldn’t describe it properly, the reddit post commenting on the beer article was perfect explaining it, and a I learned about beer.

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This is a sample Bonnie sent me a while ago from Mandala Tea. I already had notes written down but decided to try what I had left in the sample.

Dry – Faint earthy notes and some sweetness.
Wet – Thick, earthy and sweet with some faint forest floor scent.
Liquor – Bronze to Brown (depending on steep time).

3 second rinse, followed by 5 second rest

1st 15secs – Sweet, thick and bread-like? texture, mellow earthy notes up front. As it goes down, it is slightly thicker and the bread like texture is more apparent but feels one dimensional.

2nd 10secs – Sweet, thick with more bread like texture and mellow earthiness up front. As it goes down, it is thicker while maintaining its bread-like texture, but wears more sweetness that lingers in the finish with some freshness.

3rd 10secs – Sweet, thick and bread-like texture with mellow earth notes up front. As it goes down, if feels thicker and wears more complexity in the body that linger with faint woody-spice notes. Refreshing and sweet finish.

4th 15secs – Sweet, thick, mellow earthy notes with bread-like texture on the tongue. As it goes down, it feels thicker with a more pleasant base of woody spices that hint a very faint fruity?floral? sweetness, the bread-like texture still coats the tongue. The finish is sweeter and refreshing that lingers.

5th 20secs – Sweet, less thick than previously but still has mellow earthy notes and the bread-like texture. As it goes down, it wears a more complex woody note that faintly resembles spices in taste, but does give a spice like sensation in the tongue. Sweet and refreshing finish.

6th 35 – Sweet, somewhat thin, still mellow with faint earthy notes and bread-like texture up front. As it goes down, it is barely noticeably thicker, but wears more apparent spice like taste and sensation on the tongue that lingers through the finish, which is sweet and refreshing.

Final Notes
Not my favorite, It is a nice Puerh for those who enjoy spice notes in your ripe, but only if you don’t mind the first 2-3 steeps being sort of dull (still very nice sweetness). The following steeps wear more complex notes that are enjoyable and a nice plus, but I feel like the tea collapses in the 6-7 steep so you have to jump full minutes of steep time.

I’ll give a 79/100 because it has nice complex notes in later steeps, it would be higher if I didn’t feel like it was missing some Menghai ‘creamy’ thickness.


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I’ve been drinking tea for about 8-10 years now, but Puerh for about 7-8 years. I love learning and I love the people who ae passionate about it. This is a constant learning field and I love that too. I’m mostly in to Puerh, Black tea and Oolongs but I do enjoy other types from time to time.

I’m adding the scale because I noted that we all use the same system but it doesn’t mean the same to all.(I rate the tea not by how much I ‘like it’ only; there are flavors/scents I don’t like but they are quality and are how they are supposed to be and I rate them as such).

90 – 100: AMAZING. This the tea I feel you should drop whatever you are doing and just enjoy.

80-89: Great tea that I would recommend because they are above ‘average’ tea, they usually posses that ‘something’ extra that separates them from the rest.

70-79: An OK tea, still good quality, taste and smell. For me usually the tea that I have at work for everyday use but I can still appreciate and get me going through my day.

60-69: Average nothing special and quality is not high. The tea you make and don’t worry about the EXACT time of steep because you just want tea.

30-59: The tea you should probably avoid, the tea that you can mostly use for iced tea and ‘hide’ what you don’t like.

1-29: Caveat emptor! I feel sorry for my enemies when they drink this tea. :P





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