174 Tasting Notes
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.
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.
Dry – Faint mellow sweetness, aged woodiness, mint?
Wet – Sweet, somewhat fruity and floral bitterness, camphor, citrus-lemons
Liquor – Golden to Bright-Bronze.
5gm in 150ml Porcelain Gaiwan
1st 20secs – Strong citrus notes with sweetness that is very apparent in the mouth. As it goes down, it is still critrusy but wears a slight vegetal taste that hides behind the lemon like notes and slight tobacco hints. Strong citrus and camphor at the end.
2nd 20secs – Strong citrus notes along some floral bitterness up front. As it goes down, it becomes mellow and coats the tongue with medium body thickness that also opens to the vegetal/tobacco notes. The finish is citrusy and minty.
3rd 18secs – Strong cirtusy notes, very apparent tobacco notes with floral tart/bittersweet notes up front. As it goes down, it mellows down and has a somewhat vegetal body and some sweeter hints that seem more natural for the age. The finish is now more pleasant but still has a very strong citrusy-lemon like taste and strong camphor.
As I continued to steep the citrus and minty essence started to fade and the tobacco-vegetal taste was more apparent but pleasant with a faint floral sweetness. I’d like to say that the initial citrus and ‘camphor’ was pleasant but the truth is that it tasted somewhat like leaving a lemon-lyptus balm in the vicinity of the cake, it was minty rather than having a strong camphor. The tea was sweet at first but again it didn’t taste like what a 2003 sweetness should taste (to me, this is an opinion). The later steeps do have a sweetness that to me match what a Yiwu should taste like.
I retried this cake a week later after leaving to air a bit in a glazed clay container with out the lid. It was like having a completely different cake. sigh
I ordered this one such a long time ago, that I thought I had already posted my notes on it. I had written down notes twice and twice forgot to put them up! I tried this one in a porcelain coated Yixing Gaiwan and in a 150ml Yixing Pot. I’d recommend using a Yixing Pot for this one since it mellows down some of the stronger wood notes(If you have a pot for wetter stored cakes).
Dry – Woody, faint sweetness with some floral bitterness.
Wet- Wood, Dried roots, tart fruity notes and some honey sweetness.
Liquor – Bronze
1st 15secs – It has a robust, somewhat pungent woody/dried roots taste with some hints of bitter floral hints. As it goes down it is a bit smoother with some faint sweetness appearing, but maintains its woody bitterness and later develops camphor that linger a bit.
2nd 10secs – Robust woody and dried root taste with now bittersweet floral notes up front. As it goes down it is smoother but again maintains its stronger wood notes that to me somewhat resemble dried Shiitake mushrooms in a clear soup. The aftertaste develops with some camphor and much later a weak floral sweetness.
3rd 12secs – Robust woody and dried root taste with bittersweet floral notes up front. As it goes down it is smoother but maintains its woody and dried root notes. The broth is slowly cleaning with each steep but it still feels somewhat harsh. The after taste has some camphor and very slowly develops a weak sweet floral taste.
4th 14secs – Slightly cleaner than before but still robust wood and dried roots taste with bittersweet floral notes. As is goes down it feels smoother and the wood notes are not as harsh but still very apparent. The aftertaste has some camphor and slowly develops a sweet floral finish but again is somewhat weak.
I was able to get around 8-9 steeps from this one. The wood/dried root notes seem to come from the wetter storage but are not unpleasant, in fact to me the initial taste resembles older dried stored Puerh, but I feel like the wetter storage takes a toll on its Hui Gan. The aftertaste gives good camphor but lacks in the sweetness. It almost teases me into thinking it will continue to develop but stays weak.
It is a great wetter stored Puerh (I’d give it 90/100 in terms of Puerh in wetter storage), but compared to most Puerh its and OK one.
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This is a short note – see previous notes for detailed notes
I’ve stayed away from Wuyi Oolongs for a while because I like them better during warmer seasons, but I missed them so much that I caved in. WOW I even had to bump up the score. I stand behind my original notes, the only thing I would add is that it has a light warmed honey taste which helps bring up up the other flavors/notes.
I just love how it is both subtle and satisfying that it feel like a perfect harmony of flavors. I’ll be ordering some more of this one!
Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Mineral, Orange Zest, Plums, Sweet Potatoes, Taro Root, Vanilla
Quick Note This is another tea I picked up while at Spain in ‘Tea Shop’ / Teashop.es I’m not sure if they are the Teavana of Spain but they were in a LOT of places.
Dry – Sweet, woody, clove like scent.
Wet – Somewhat malty, tart, warm-wine, spice-woodiness.
Liquor – Red-Bronze
1st 15secs Woody notes with apparent sweetness up front. As it goes down it has some faint astringency before the thicker coat covers the tongue, at this point it develops a tart and sweet caramel like taste that rich and lasting.
2nd 12secs Woody notes with sweetness and smoother body than the previous steep up front. It still wears some astringency but is merely a faint sensation. As it goes down it is full bodied, covering the tongue and once again has the tart-sweet character that lingers.
3rd 20secs Woody notes with sweetness and balanced smoothness with some faint astringency up front. As it goes down, it has a lighter body than before but still has some fullness to it. The tart and sweet character is leaning towards a woody tartness with a very light sweet finish. The tart woody notes linger reminiscent of clove.
4th 30secs A tart woody front that has some of the sweetness present but shadowed by the tartness. The broth is somewhat smooth at first but develops some more astringency as you drink. As it goes down, it resembles the tart (slight bitterness) of cloves that have been over-steeped. The sweetness is still present but faint.
I like this tea, but I have to admit I’m still not that used to the woodiness/spice taste that many Indian blacks give. They are the more robust version of other teas I’ve tried. I can see people who favor Indian tea, loving this one, for me is a good tea go revisit and even to make good blends at home.
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Flavors: Caramel, Cloves, Tannin, Wood
Dry- Sweet, grassy, umami, nutty(sweet-pea).
Wet- Grassy, nutty, umami, brothy, vegetal notes, corn sweet scent.
Liquor- light yellow-green.
5oz gaiwan with bottom covered in leaf. I followed the traditional fist steep to open and following steeps shorter
1st – 1 1/2 min with no lid until it unfurls/opens – Grassy (pleasant), vegetal, umami and sort of nori tasting broth up front that lingers in leafy greens and kale notes with some astringency and light bitterness that is not unpleasant or uncommon in Japan greens. As the broth taste slowly fades, the more leafy/grassy taste remains with a growing sweetness that lasts in the tongue.
2nd – 20secs – Grassy with notes of Kale and other green/brothy notes up front. The initial taste wears a pleasant astringency and some bitterness that wakes the tongue. As it goes down, the aftertaste is grassy with kale notes but the aftertaste develops a very smooth and sweet vegetal notes.
3rd – 30secs – Grassy, Kale notes, some astringency with some bitter notes that still resemble a broth upfront. As it goes down, it is develops a deeper grassy and kale taste with some faint sweetness. The aftertaste is grassy with somewhat sweeter notes that linger.
4th – 40secs – Grassy, with leafy green/kale notes, some astringency and now some faint sweetness up front that better balances the remaining bitter notes. As it goes down, it is smoother and becomes sweeter on the tongue. The aftertaste is sweeter and has more a sweet-pea and faint honey resemblance.
5th – 50secs – Grassy, Kale notes that are a little more ‘hay like’, that resemble eating the stem of the Kale, some astringency and some sweetness up front. As it goes down, it sweet with some hints of bitterness. The aftertaste is more grassy and hay like with a more sweeter finish.
I like this tea, I would buy it to ‘scratch the itch’ for Japanese greens. Compared to Chinese greens, Japan greens are way more astringent and wear some bitter notes, but in a positive way. They are certainly not for everyone, but the astringency and bitter notes is what makes them so suitable for the dinner table.
This is another tea I picked up in Spain. Actually, it was a gift of the store manager after several long conversations about tea. This is their top green tea offering and I’m glad I got to try it. Honestly the 90 Euro per 100gr tag would put me off completely with an 1E = $1.60 exchange. So I’m grateful and happy I got to sample via a new friendship.
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Dry – Honey, citrus, sweet floral, fresh.
Wet – Floral citrus, tangy, sweet, crisp.
Liquor – Pale Yellow/slightly golden.
steeps were following the instructions given to me 2 1/2 minutes and the second 3 1/2minutes
1st – Sweet, citrus tangy and mellow. The steep is juicy and refreshing, it contrasts well with more crisp and lively floral-citrus notes from the flowers. The finish is smooth and sweet with lasting citrus notes that slowly faint giving a lasting sensation.
2nd – The notes remained the same on this steep except the floral notes seemed to overtake the very subtle Oolong used in this blend. Still fairly sweet and gently.
I tried a third steep with this, it didn’t go well. The Oolong was depleted already and the flowers were giving a bitterness that wasn’t pleasant, the depleted Oolong taste didn’t help either. I’m not a fan of blend but I feel like this one was nice and not overly strong like I expected.
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Dry – Slightly fruity sweet with a slightly stronger fruity/floral tartness.
Wet – Fruity sweetness with a tart background and some citrus notes.
Liquor – Pale green/yellow color.
1st 20secs Slightly sweet and mellow with fruity notes up front. As it goes down it is somewhat tart and smooth that slowly builds a hint of bitterness and ‘green’ characteristics. The aftertaste is sweet gentle with some fruity and floral hints that last with some ‘green’ taste.
2nd 20secs Tart and sweet initial taste with fruity notes. Once it starts to go down it is ‘greener’ tasting with some faint astringency and some underlying bitterness. The aftertaste is still sweet, fruity and floral with a less ‘green’ and more Puerh like taste.
3rd 30secs Sweet and fruity initially that turns bitter-sweet with fruity and floral notes. As it goes down, it becomes more floral with just hints of fruit notes and some astringency is present but it is still pleasant. The stronger tartness of this steeps rewards you later with a sweeter aftertaste that lingers in the tongue and throat.
I did several steeps of this sample. I liked the fact that it held really well around the #6-9 which is unusual for the price range. I’m glad I was able to tell right away it was a Lincang material with out reading the description on the web site, but I have to admit really young Puerh is not my choice.
The first two steeps felt like a Puerh spiked green tea (in a good way), but at the same time it had too much green herbaceous initially. The brick is REALLY tightly compressed and it took 3-4 steeps to open properly. Once it did the tea showed more Sheng traits that were very well welcomed together with some harsher young Puerh notes. Overall, Lincang is an amazing area for young tea because is not as harsh as others. I’d recommend this for people who like young Puerh or if you are just starting with Puerh. Later steeps get slightly bitter and somewhat astringent so be aware of that.
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Dry – Sweet, fruity, refreshing reminiscent of a white peony.
Wet – Sweet, tart-floral notes, sweet corn, fruit and smells more like an Oolong when wet.
1st 10secs Sweet, green (like a fresh white peony/high mountain green) and slightly nutty up front. As it goes down, it has a more apparent floral note with very light bitter/tartness that gives a good mouth feel. The aftertaste is sweet nutty with an Anxi Oolong taste at the end.
2nd 15secs Sweet, Anxi oolong floral notes with a buttery-creamy hint and some of the green from before up front. As it goes down, it is nutty with the bitter-tartness of the floral notes and a more apparent mouth feel. The aftertaste is bittersweet floral that resembles an Anxi oolong with more sweetness.
3rd 20secs Sweet, green Anxi floral-notes with a slightly buttery-creamy and nutty taste up front. As it washes down it is more floral with slight tart-bitterness. The notes are a bit more apparent in this steep. The aftertaste is sweet, nutty and resembles an Anxi Oolong.
This is an OK tea. I liked that it had traits that reminded me of teas other than Oolongs, like the freshness of smelling a white peony and some ‘greener’ notes in between the more obvious Oolong traits. It is sweeter than most Anxi Oolongs, but with the same bittersweet finish. It is a good tea but is not something I would revisit unless I happened to have it already. It held up well until the 5th steep when it started showing some astringency, possibly because it isn’t very uniform but still a good tea.
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Dry – Sweet, sort of juicy/fruity hints, mellow earthiness.
Wet – Sweet, woody(close to what damp white pepper smells like).
Liquor – Dark Burgundy.
1st 40secs – Slightly sweet with hints of wood that mellows into some medium bodied thickness. It becomes, bread/yeasty(good) with wood notes that lingers with a mellow sweetness.
2nd 35secs – Sweeter and thicker up front with a more present earthiness that is reminiscent of yeasty bread. It feels cleaner as it goes down and becomes sweeter but retains some of the wood notes in the aftertaste.
3rd 35secs – Sweet and thick with some bread yet earthy-woody notes that are slightly more complex up front. As it goes down, it has a slightly more juicy persimmon like tartness that lingers in the aftertaste.
4th 45secs – Sweet, woody and earthy with strong woody notes up front. As it goes down, it wears some of the complexity from before but seems faded and woody taste is more apparent and lingers with some sweetness.
I bought a cake so I drank this one and set it aside to keep trying before I decided on the final notes. This Cake CAN deliver some sweetness and complexity, however it does it when brewed shorter times only. Even then, I felt like four steeps was the maximum you can get out of the tea before it looses its power.
I’m not a fan of this cake, I read the previous notes here and I have to agree that it does seem to be a LOT like cheaper bricks of Shou. In fact, I feel like this tea walks and steps over the line to be more of a Heicha tasting tea rather than a Shou. It has too much woodiness and slightly dries your mouth. If you go for stronger steeps you are going to get an overly woody and slightly bitter tea. Its an OK tea, but not for the price.
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