1715 Tasting Notes

Two quick cups, before leaving for the city.

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I think it is going to be another day of just drinking this. The clarity of focus is fantastic.

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drank Blueberry Red by Vital Tea Leaf
1715 tasting notes

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Not at all as good, when it is room temperature.

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This morning’s review is possible, thanks to Teavivre for providing the sample of this old, raw pu’erh!

Contemplating the package of sheng (raw) pu’erh in my hand, it seems that this is a worthy tea for using a small yixing pot that I have dedicated to raw pu’erh. I start heating the water and open the package of tea in the meantime. The small sample package contains leaves and clumps of leaves, broken from a tuocha or a cake. And the smell of the leaves…what a raw smell it is, and I do not just say that as a pun. A raw pu’erh from 2006 has had some years of aging in which to intensify in flavor. From the aroma of the dry leaf comes a very green scent, mellow but figuratively seeming to have come straight from the tea plant. As the water finishes boiling, I put the leaves into the pot, then pour some of the freshly-boiled water over them for a quick rinse of no more than ten seconds, which is discarded. Having added a large amount of leaf to the pot, I decide to begin with twenty second infusions, rather than my normal thirty. The rinse did the leaves a lot of good – it awoke the aromas and flavors.

The smells, rising from my cup, are complex. Deep in the heart of the aroma is the raw greenness that I noticed with the dry leaf. Yet spreading outward from that is the more mellow scents of earth and floral notes. The earthiness does not begin to compare to the deep, dark earthiness of a cooked pu’erh, as I have reviewed in the past, but is lighter and less intense. The first sip of tea is strong…very strong…but it finishes quite spectacularly. Like a strong green tea, the initial taste permeates one’s mouth and overwhelms all else. but in the finish of the sip come the taste manifestations of the aroma. Those floral notes, slightly reminiscent of the floral aspects of some oolongs, sit in the finish and the aftertaste, hovering on the edges and lending their complexity.

For the second cup, I steep the leaves for another twenty seconds. The leaves are fully expanded and fill the small pot in which I am brewing. The aromas have not changed much, but the taste is smoother. I would not describe the taste as more mellow, for it is still as intense as the first sip, yet it does not seem as overwhelming. The leaves last through several more infusions. The flavor is, in many ways, refreshing in its complexities. Yet, it can be consuming quickly and without much a thought to the depth, and one will still receive from it an enjoyable flavor. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this sheng pu’erh a 90/100.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Seven solid cups of this, today. Aside from some cold-brewed tea, this was the solely-consumed tea at my desk. Decent stuff, especially when I find it on clearance for a third of the retail price.


Yay—an unexpected Cheapster!


It was a great find and definitely the reason I am thankful for small, Japanese grocery stores.

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No better tea with which to start a new month!

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drank Lychee Black by Vital Tea Leaf
1715 tasting notes

For the first time in a while, my first tea of the day was cold-brewed. Breakfast was accompanied by some cold-brewed Lychee Black, and it was delicious. Zero astringency. Wonderful sweetness.

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“I love trading tea and trying new teas. My favourites are oolong (mainly Chinese) and pu’erh.
Will gladly talk all day about tea.”

The above was my bio when I joined five years ago, and I felt it needed to be updated. I still love pu’erh, though I have begun to take preference toward cooked, shou. Oolongs are certainly still a go-to tea for me, but I have expanded my horizons to begin including greens and blacks based upon the weather and how I am feeling.

Still more than glad to talk about tea – anytime, anywhere, anyplace.
Additionally, if fountain pens, books, music, or computers are on the discussion list…

My ratings, this “personal enjoyment scale” about which I talk, are just that – based on how much I enjoyed the tea. I might have enjoyed it immensely, yet do not keep it stocked for various reasons. On the flip side, I have a few teas that are “good” but not “great,” which I keep stocked for various reasons.



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