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693 Tasting Notes

This tea was a generous gift from CrowKettle :)

I packed up a servings worth of leaf to take to work with me this morning without really researching the tea first. I’ve never seen shu leaf that looked quite like this, but I didn’t think much of it, and rushed off to work. I brewed up my first steep as soon as I got here, and then checked out the Steepster page for it. I had no idea that CrowKettle had sent me such a treasure! I’ve never had the opportunity to try a puerh tea this old! Apparently it can go for 30 steeps??? I will definitely have to find a way to transport my wet leaves home with me after work so I can continue the adventure :D

As per my usual style for shu, I’m steeping this one “Western-ish” which is somewhere in between Verdant’s recommendation for Western style brewing of this tea, and the Xingyang Workshop’s Recommendation.

I’ve never had anything quite like this one! I’m used to shu tasting very earthy and foresty. This one DOES taste like ancient books and wood. Yet somehow it is very sweet and CLEAN. I’m upset because the air is so dry here, my sinuses aren’t quite right today and I’m sure I’m not experiencing this taste and smell fully. (so glad I have enough leaf to try it a few more times!)

Immediately after tasting, Esme by Joanna Newsom was playing in my head, so I will be listening to her lovely harp music while drinking it ALL DAY today.

“I believe love will always surround you
Brave as a bear with a heart rare and true
But if you are scared, if you are blue
I have prepared this small song for you:

Sweet Esme! Sweet Esme!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EHemagYSs8

I’ll update on subsequent steeps of this tea today in the comments if I feel it necessary :)

__Morgana__

I want to drink ancient books!

boychik

I would go Gongfu style ;)

Stephanie

Yeah, I definitely will next time, boychik. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! haha

boychik

pls update us. too bad this tea is not in stock

Terri HarpLady

First off, I love this tea, I hoard this tea. It is definitely a rare treat! I’m glad you’re getting to try it!

On a secondary note, Joanna Newsom! So unique, so fun. I was so thrilled when her music was used on a tv commercial :) There are harp players who have a disdain for her, especially her vocals. The Harp world is full of closed minded prima donnas, who view anything that isn’t classical as sacrilegious, much like the piano teacher of my youth. I’m grateful not to be one of them, & I consider Joanna to be wonderfully original. I love the heavy duty classical stuff, whether playing it or listening to it, but I also love jazz, rock, & pretty much everything else. As a songwriter myself, I love other harpists that are willing to take the untrod path, to find their own unique expression on this awesome instrument. I mean really, in my opinion, that is the true purpose of life, to find your own path & enjoy it, being as unique & creative as you can along the way! And loving people, of course, & drinking lots of tea, & savoring each moment!!

Stephanie

I wondered if you would notice my mentioning a fellow harp player today, Terri :)

I’m a big fan of Joanna! I generally love artists who use classical instruments but have a non-traditional pop or rock flavor to their music. And she is SO unique! Zoe Keating on cello is another artist in that vein who comes to mind :)

Tea Sipper

Terri, I always wondered if you liked Joanna’s music. :D

Terri HarpLady

I like almost everybody’s music!

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85

I got a package from CrowKettle yesterday, with a couple of teas she was looking to give away, but she also included a sample of this tea! Isn’t that nice?? :D

I was eager to steep this one up this morning…it has been so long since I’ve drank a straight white tea! It is very brisk and refreshing, with lots of hay and earthy notes, while still remaining light bodied. There are some light fruity overtones rounding out the experience. Very nice! Thanks again CrowKettle!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

I accidentally let steep #2 go for a long time….and it tastes like darjeeling now! WEIRD! But tasty ;)

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97

After my lovely time spent with a Teavivre sheng cake yesterday, I decided to revisit my favorite sheng today to make some comparisons. This tea definitely has a much smokier start but a similar fruity tangy zing in later steeps. I love shengs! :)

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95

Thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for providing me with these samples for review!

I am still fairly new to puerh, and sheng/raw style in particular. I have only tasted a handful. Luckily they have all been very high quality GOOD teas. However, I already very much feel like I know what I personally am looking for in a raw puerh and this one delivers! It has SO much energy! It is sweet but also has a bright fruity TANGY zing that I just love. I would say this is a close 2nd to my very top favorite sheng of all time, the Mandala Wild Monk cake. If you are a fan of that, you may like this one very much. This one has less of a smokey taste for sure. Almost no smoke element in this tea.

I am going to savor the rest of my sample and put more of this on my shopping list ASAP! :)

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Free Red Leaf Sample of the month! Thanks Red Leaf for offering this program. The more flavors of matcha I try the more likely I am to place an order soon, heh.

Anyway, I made a latte out of this today with 6oz milk, 2 ice cubes, 1/2tsp match and 1tsp sugar. Actually I made double what I just said and gave half to my husband! He really liked this flavor. He lived in Brazil for a while and was able to eat a lot of fresh Acai products, so that speaks well for this matcha. For me, not being very familiar with Acai flavor (I usually have it paired with blueberry or other fruits) it is a little strange. I think I might slightly prefer my “rich berry pie” flavored matcha, but I will have to do a couple more comparisons to come to a conclusion :)

Although I’ve never tried them, I think I’d prefer a creamy vanilla baked good, or nutty flavoring to my matcha probably…rather than fruity.

Courtney

Thanks for the heads up on how much is in the samples. :) I was wondering myself.

Stephanie

The packet FEELS like more like 5 tsp, though I haven’t measured it. So if you only use 1/2 tsp it might be more like 10 servings!

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86

I’m so excited to be the first person to review this puerh. Thank you Teavivre for the generous samples for review!

My first steep is extremely creamy and nutty, and just a little mushroomy. It is earthy but not at all dirty tasting. Very full bodied and rich!

2nd steep is woodsy and brighter…this steep is clean but still very rich.

Very nice shu! Glad I have the opportunity to drink it a couple more times :)

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92

2nd Teavivre sample treat of the day! Thanks Teavivre!

This is a very rich, satisfying black. Very honey sweet and malty with faint floral and cocoa notes. This is the kind of tea I could definitely develop a craving for in the future! Absolutely no bitterness or astringency. Top notch stuff!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Honey, Malt

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Courtney

This one is delightful.

TheTeaFairy

In love with this one, a forever staple!!

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Thanks so much to Teavivre for providing another round of samples for me to review. I just love trying new teas!

This MIGHT be my first straight keemun?? If not, I am definitely not well versed in them, regardless. I am finding this to be a perfectly bold malty breakfast cup, and although it is sweet, there is a twinge of something a tiny bit sour or tart at the end. But don’t get me wrong, not in a bad way at all! I find this element adds some fruity interest and keeps the tea from being too basic or boring. I think I am going to try it again another day before I give it an official rating, as I’m eating oatmeal with spicy Indian pineapple and golden raisins for breakfast and it might be influencing my palate. Also I am not getting any smoke from this tea even though I hear all the time that keemuns are smoky!

Very enjoyable tea :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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95

Almost out of this one. I took a big travel mug of it to a 1 year olds birthday party this afternoon. It was delicious with dinosaur cake! Hehe. Luckily I like the regular laoshan green just as much :)

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89

This was my breakfast tea blended with almond milk and ice. I wish I was not burnt out on this flavor cos I’m almost out of my other matchas!

Courtney

Sounds yummy!

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Bio

Graphic artist, printmaker, lover of tea.

I love pretty much every type of tea camellia sinensis can produce. I like herbal teas sometimes but I can’t stand rooibos.

Butiki, Verdant, Mandala, TeaVivre and Den’s are my favorite online retailers so far.

Location

Southern Indiana

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