15 Tasting Notes
So.. I’ve been away from steepster for a while. It feels like my life has been twirling around with much change, grief, hope, anticipation and uncertainty so it’s nice to have landmarks to pause and take a breath.
I purchased 100g of this tea and it’s really quite good and versatile. I keep coming back to it because whether it’s steeped western or gongfu it’s very satisfying with the nice bittersweet edge of the gongfu brews or the more rounded malt of the western steeps. Not much more I can say other than I’ve really been enjoying this tea and if you can get it during a promotion it’s definitely worth a try. Teavivre has some pretty amazing deals every once in a while so keep an eye out.
I had a small session of this last night with 5g/60ml, today I’m upping the ante at 10g/125ml
So far I’m really enjoying this tea. The smell I get from the dry (and a bit in the wet) leaf is one I really like but can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe an odd mix of minty licorice? That doesn’t sound right.. I hope the smell stays with time.
Anyways this tea only has a tiny bit of bitterness and has a lingering sweetness. I have to admit I needed a food break after the first 3 steeps, and I discovered that this isn’t a pleasant one to drink cold. So far I haven’t found it to have much in terms of what some people might call cha qi. The tea soup is a nice amber color.
I’m enjoying it and I’m glad I got a cake. I think it will be a nice borderline daily drinker tea.
This was mostly written as I drank and I likely won’t edit it much. I may come back and write a summarized version later. I plan to try this tea again with mineralized water to see how different the experience is.
This tea comes from a 25g sample bag. I don’t remember when I got it . It may have come as one of the monthly club teas from the puer only category, or I may have picked it up in one of my orders. Either way it’s been in my possession for less than a year.
5s rinse – Wet leaves smell a bit like burning tobacco with a strong honey sweetness. A bit like a Cuban honey scented cigar if memory serves me right.
10s – Taste is extremely light. The sample hasn’t had time to open yet. Might as well be a rinse but I’m still drinking.
15s – I still get a bit of the smoke scent but it’s turned more vegetal sweet now. A little bit vegetal, a little bit sweet. Not really bitter – I think I got lucky with the time. A second or two more and it would be too strong. Overall taste is still quite light though. Aftertaste is starting to build up.
10s- I haven’t even started drinking this steep yet and I can feel the sweetness in my throat. A bit cooling/drying. Really enjoying smelling the tea, it feels like I can taste the sweetness as I smell. Alright let’s drink. About the same as the last but a little stronger.
10(?)s- Floral notes are coming to the forefront to blend with the sweet and vegetal. I’m starting to feel a bit of a buzz
~7s – On a side note, sometimes when I’m throwing back cup after cup of puer (or any tea really) I think it could be really funny to have a video where it looks like everyone is at a club or bar but instead of the martini shaker lining up shooters it’s a gaiwan filling up a row of lined up cups. Maybe something like https://youtu.be/w4s6H4ku6ZY?t=7s but with tea? Hopefully you get the idea.
7s – I don’t have much more to say. This has been a pretty enjoyable session so far. The taste of this tea is decent and there’s some pleasant mouth/throat action so that’s a plus.
10s, 25s – Sometimes when I drink more alcohol than I should my face gets a bit tingly numb around the cheeks/mouth. Sometimes this happens when I raw puer. Has anyone else experienced this? I wouldn’t call it uncomfortable but it is a strange feeling. I’m getting it now with this tea. Tea drunk really does seem to be an appropriate term..
25s , 30s, 50s
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Sweet, Vegetal
Finishing up this sample from when I originally purchased it about a year ago. It’s been opened in the bag for about the same amount of time so maybe this has affected the tea.
During the first brew I opened the lid to see how the chunk was loosening up and I was met with a very strong fishy odor! I was surprised because I would expect that a cake from 2008 would have had time to let the wodui smell dissipate, and I don’t remember noticing it the first time I drank it.
Interestingly enough the fishy smell goes away when I dump the water out and the leaves smell more earthy and like what I taste in the first infusion. I add water and the fishy smell returns. Water comes out and the leaves smell sweet and earthy! How unexpected. This would explain why I didn’t notice it the first time – the fish smell is only powerful enough to smell when there is water in the gaiwan and does not get translated into the flavor of the brew. I may have to start sniffing mid brew to see if any other teas have surprising odors that only appear in the presence of water.
Speaking of water.. I’m using slightly different water for this sample. After reading MarshalN’s posts on the effects of water on tea I’ve decided to try using water with a higher mineral content for puer brewing. The water where I live is particularly low in minerals so I have been employing a device that “alkalizes” water, which is a fancy way of saying it adds calcium, magnesium and “other beneficial minerals” to the water. The marketing on the device is kind of BS but it serves my purposes just fine. Of course this is some very informal testing as I have no way of knowing how much the concentration of minerals is raised when using the device or how much the differences I notice are due to placebo. It seems that at the very least the new water doesn’t harm the tea, and may improve it.
That last bit is a little irrelevant considering I wasn’t even living in the same area when I first tried the sample. I’m not really comparing anything to anything as I don’t know what the tea would taste like with the local water.
Now..the actual tea. It’s pleasant enough so far. The brew is very clean with no dust settling at the bottom of my cup which is nice. I’m not sure how much of that is due to the tea itself (age/leaf quality) or if it has more to do with how the cake is broken. It’s relatively sweet with strength in the aftertaste.
I’ll have to write more when I return to the session later – at this rate I’ll be late for work
Phatty cake, phatty cake how I love saying phatty cake.
I had a sample of this from the time when Mandala was having its shou sampler set (In 2014 IIRC). Unfortunately for me this one was forgotten and neglected in its plastic baggie at the back of my tea box. After surviving through two moves and an equal number of years in a ziplock bag the flavors were slightly muted. I still get whisps of the wonderful flavours other reviewers have described but I definitely should have tried reviving it first by reintroducing some humidity. Still a good tea, but I wish I had enjoyed it sooner.
I got a pair of samples of this tea during the anniversary sale and decided I would do a side by side to see if I could tell the difference between brewing in a gaiwan and brewing in one of my yixing pot. Turns out the differences seem to be quite minor at this point. I guess with more frequent use the pot might take on more of the oolong character and change the flavor more. I’m not sure which method is best for pairing a pot with a tea so I’m trying different kinds in the pot to see which ones do better.
Anyways..the tea. It’s good. It tastes like a Taiwanese oolong and has a creamy background flavor. The “green” oolong flavor (maybe vegetal is the right word?) is very present and strong in the beginning and as the leaves open up they release more sweetness. At $12.90/100g the price seems right for it to be a solid daily drinker!
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal
It feels kind of weird writing a tasting note TWO YEARS after this tea was released. I must admit I do feel a bit guilty about having some of this left in my tea collection, but in my defense I bought it in December of 2014, received it in February of 2015, and forgot about it during a move in April.
I have to say it doesn’t seem to have really decreased in taste or smell at all. Of course memory can play tricks when it’s been so long so it’s possible it was better before. Still a very fruity, plummy black tea (as I think might be typical of purple varietal leaf) that lasts surprisingly long. I’m looking forward to sipping down the rest of it. Now that it has a permanent spot on my desk I’m far less likely to forget it again.
Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Plums