30 Tasting Notes
I was getting some cheap glass teapots from Yunnan Sourcing, and I couldn’t resist taking a couple of pu’er cakes as well, especially with the expensive shipping of them. I don’t now a lot about young pu’ers, and I chose to get three vintages of 8582. I have sampled a couple of older 8582’s, and I liked them, and these young cakes where cheap. So I bought this one made 2008, another from 2009 and a third being made 2010. A vintage comparison! Although Steepster doesn’t (yet?) support comparative notes, I’m gonna give some thoughts on the comparison on this single note.
FIrst, they all were clearly the same tea. The taste was about the same, difference was more on how the taste behaved.
‘10 first attacked me with a taste I believe most describe in English as astringent bitterness, but the initial nastiness made room for a liquiricelike sweetness quite common with young cakes. Although first shocking, the initial taste moved aroung quite smoothly, it’s roughness was quite round if one can say like that. Aftertaste was pleasant. I’d say potential, but I won’t probably be drinking this for a couple of years.
‘09 was most interesting one. First I thought this was slighlty more tamed version of ’10, but at some points it gave some weird tastes. It didn’t behave consistently. At some brews this was definantly the weakest one, but sometimes it really shined. I really don’t know why.
‘08 was my overall favourite. It’s taste was most harmonious, balanced. There was quite a bit of roughness, but this tea wasn’t as bipolar as the ‘10 and ’09. If these three cakes really form a valid timeline of aging, I’d say this is my vasual pu’er in a couple of years.
Now the interesting thing is, are the differences in taste due their ages, or are they resulting from different harvests? Their age differences are relatively large, the ‘08 being three times as old as the one from ’10. On the other hand, they are only a year from each other. That will probably clear out in a couple of years, as their relative age difference lessens. I’m excited in onberving the aging of these three.
My first thought when sipping this tea was “My god, this is the best tea I’ve tasted this spring!” After finishing the first cup, the rest of the tea in my chahai had turned undrinkable. So, kinda hard start.
Leaves are beautiful, wet and dry. I’ve been missing those tight, sharp needles! Aroma is dry, sweet. Leaves are dancing nicely in the pot ( I use small, gongfu-style glasspots)
Taste is complex, yet remarkably balanced. Sweetness, some sourness as well. Usually when tea tastes sour it tastes sour in a way I don’t like it, but this time it works for me. There is also the dry nut-like taste, which is tied to the sourness. Taste is quite wide. I am assuming I used too much leaves (I felt like using more than I usually do) and while that resulted in a great first sip, the taste quickly transformed, and got more bitterness.
I am not very experienced in yellow teas. There is something very similar in the body of this tea and Huo Shan Huang Ya I have, I’m assuming that’s the “yellow” taste. Tasting blind I would have assumed this was green.
If I’m going to casually drink some tea, I usually walk to my shelf, reach out for something else, and then quite often in the end I pick up this tea.
First I thought that this tea is a mere curiosity, it tasted so weird. It has light, spring-like sweetness, but also there is a weird taste which I am unable to name. I’ve found variations of that taste on Mengding Ganlu, and Amazing Green Tea’s Huang Shan Maofeng, but not this “weird”.
A sign of the quality of this tea is its ability to withstand temperature, I’ve been brewing this with water ranging from 70°C to boiled water, without a note of over-brewing. Also I have been steeping this for 5 minutes, waiting for leaves to sink. That works well, as well as five-second “washes” with hot water.
This is the cheapest Sheng-pu’er I’ve seen anywhere. Tuocha itself had a stingy, sweet aroma remindin me of mint. Leaves look quite good, pu’er looks like what it should be. Leaves are quite large, and for most part whole. It tastes like it smells, sweet, slightly stingy mint. Piece of tuocha broke up almost immediately when I added water, so I was quite careful with this tea. With a short steep this tea was quite enjoyable, a bit boring but much more than I was expecting for. I tried to steep a little longer, but bitterness scared me away quickly, I didn’t take more than three brewings. I should try to drink this again, and get over my disgust for bitterness, I feel there might be more in this cake than I initially thought.
I bought ten of these for a particular reason, I am planning to experiment with aging. I’m gonna hide one of these in a really humid cottage, one in somewhere dry, one in a normal shelf… Maybe I put one in a spiceshelf for a year.
Then, after 5-10 years I’ll have a pu’ertasting, and the effects of aging can be tested (?). Of course, this isn’t a high quality sheng, but I didn’t dare to sacrifice anything good for this.
Ahhhh, now this is fresh quality green tea.
I won’t be writing a long note now, I got a packet of teas from AGT today, and I drank them all today without concentrating really much in the analysis.
Vegetal, grassy, sweet, complex. Taste is quite archetypical chinese green, in a really good way. This will probably be my “default” green tea this spring, the one I’ll be drinking regularly.
Qi is especially strong, even for a quality green. Or maybe I just haven’t drank anything this fresh and good for a long time.
I haven’t really enjoyed darjeelings for the last couple of years. I have always participated in First Flush -tastings whenever possible, I felt that DJs are supposed to be tasted every spring. It was my duty, but not a particular pleasure.
I haven’t tasted anything from Teesta Valley specifically, so I am comparing this to my general memories of Darjeeling FF2010.
Dry leaves were especially green, I recall last year’s leaves were darker. This is also reflected in taste, this tea was really light. Taste sort of flows through me, it is hard to get hold of anything but a sweet, somewhat floral aftertaste. I find this taste seducing, teasing, but pleasant. Maybe this year I enjoy Darjeelings!
Aftertaste hit pretty quickly, and it is sort of honeylike, floral berrythingy.
There aren’t any elements I commonly associate with black teas, and that I like. It may be my light brewing, I used few leaves in a low temperature. I tried later with more leaves and hotter water, and I think the tea lost its balance with higher temperature.
Overall a really nice tea to have.
Spring 2011 harvest!
Gentle, sweet, harmonious, vegetal. Had a nice tingly mouthfeel. Tea brings forth associations of rivers and streams of water in a rainforest. Moving, restless water.
Different parameters gave varying results, this tea can be good in many ways. I think that temperature should be under 80° C but the steeping time can vary. I first drank it with small amount of leaves, steeping time ~1minute, and the result was smooth, interesting, quite clearly green tea. I noticed an interesting tate, which reminds me of Korean green teas, and I tried to emphasise it with larger amount of leaves. On the edge of being oversteeped, this tea was quite interesting, strong in mouthfeel and less vegetal.