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311 Tasting Notes

87

Another excellent session with this tea: it sat in the small sample bag in the bottom of the tea drawer, and I just happened to pick it up this morning. I wasn’t anticipating a tea log note so didn’t weigh it out, but the small porcelain gaiwan is 1/3 to 1/2 full with the leaves long since fully hydrated. I’m at least 12 and likely 15 steeps into it, and this is so lovely, reminding me a lot of the 2009 Lao ban zhang that is my current touchstone for young sheng. It does take a little care, even 8 or 10 steeps out, because I forgot a steep for at least 5 and maybe a few more minutes a few back, and it was…..unpleasantly bitter. But back to shorter (now 30-60 seconds), and it’s light, delicious, with that anise/herbaceous touch that I love. Mmmmm.

Just ponied up to buy a whole beeng.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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81

Still haven’t written a proper tasting note on this one, and I’m halfway through the package. I haven’t done a formal tasting, therefore. This tea has wonderful fruity, spicy, earthy notes, takes well to my relatively dilute but today quite careless brewing—light almost fruity/floral infusions followed by oversteeped ones that need a bit of dilution to bring them back from the brink of too strong, without being actually bitter. I don’t have any other wuyi yanchas handy to compare this one to, but I’ll certainly include it in my next order, and do a more formal tasting at that time.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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91

I didn’t take notes during my first session with this tea—I was too busy doing several other things at the time—but a discussion on another forum about Da Hong Pao came immediately to mind, where someone had said that a good DHP “…should be as crazy as combining hard rock music (intense roasted notes), with gospel (floral finish).” This tea felt just like that—overtones of bittersweet chocolate, earthy/toasty/deep/dark grounding the high fruity/peachy/floral notes. Wonderful stuff, accompanied by many deep happy sighs.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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80

2.2 grams of dark twisted leaves, with little aroma, in a small porcelain gaiwan, with water at 205 degrees for the first set of infusions with about 60-75mL water per infusion.

Dropping the leaf into a preheated gaiwan, some fruity/peachy odors become more noticeable.

Just because I’m a tea-wimp, I started with a 10 second flash infusion just to get a sense of the tea. Even this overly dilute more or less rinse is a little fruity and sweet—peaches and honey. Very nice start.

A more proper 45 second infusion continues the sweet fruitiness, more intense, and very subtle almost grassy undertones without a trace of bitterness.

Another 45 second infusion is similarly sweet, right up front, little different from the previous.

1 minute infusion has a little astringency or spiciness starting to come through as an aftertaste, but the first and middle of each sip/swallow continues to be dominated by sweet and fruity.

1 minute 15 seconds, similar to previous.

90 second infusion, tart, fruity, sweet; spicey/astringent still mostly as aftertaste.

2 minute infusion is rather weak—the leaves appear to be reaching the end. Still sweet, fruity, and the astringency was virtually gone, but the sweetness and fruitiness were less intense.

4 minute infusion (note that the infusion temperature will have dropped quite a bit over 4 minutes in this thin porcelain gaiwan)—definitely the leaves are done. Only faint sweet/fruity/floral traces are left, and the dominant note is astringency/bitterness, although still quite mild.

This is a lovely oolong tea, quite delightful in the early and middle infusions, and brewed at this concentration, it promises improved staying power for multiple infusions if brewed more agressively—the fully hydrated leaves, which remain thin and twisty, occupy only about 25-30% of the volume of the gaiwan. I’ve mostly been brewing similar teas more concentrated, to fill the brewing vessel 1/2-2/3 full or more. At that concentration, this tea compares quite favorably to other ‘commercial’ Dan Cong style oolongs—notable not so much for endless infusions, but for mellow deliciousness that has too often been lacking in similar teas.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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80

Tastes like newly mown spring grass smells: deeply, richly, grassy. A little sweet, a hint of briney, but not umami, gently herbaceous without being astringent or bitter. A delightful surprise. Several infusions in, starting as suggested at 175°F (about 80°C), still very neat and interesting tea.

It is so cool that someone figured out how to use the leftovers to make something as bright and lovely as this.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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80

Tastes like newly mown spring grass smells: deeply, richly, grassy. A little sweet, a hint of briney, but not umami, gently herbaceous without being astringent or bitter. A delightful surprise. Several infusions in, starting as suggested at 175°F (about 80°C), still very neat and interesting tea.

It is so cool that someone figured out how to use the leftovers to make something as bright and lovely as this.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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86

I got a small sample of this puerh with an order from Jing Tea Shop. It came in a tiny bag that kept slipping to the bottom of my puerh box, so it was overlooked, quite literally, for a long time.

I set up a first infusion series this evening without remembering to weigh the small piece of leaves first—d’oh! It was likely between 1 and 2 grams of compressed leaf, set up in a cheap 60mL yixing pot. Water was heated to 205 degrees.

I first flash rinsed, then set up my first infusion and….forgot about it, for several minutes. I did sip that one momentarily, but though it had very promising anise and caramel notes, a strong bitterness on top of that made it undrinkable.

I managed the next half dozen infusions better. I put a splash of cool water into the cup while preparing a flash infusion of the tea, and the little bit of cool water drops the temperature when I add the tea so that I can drink it straight off, without waiting for it to cool. The liquor is anise-caramel-sweet, with a mild earthy undertone, delicious. Gradually I’m increasing the time for each infusion, up to about 45 seconds now, and while I think I’m going to get another half dozen infusions easily, it’s sad to think of how many I missed due to that first mistakenly long infusion—probably a good 6-8 more infusions were lost.

Fortunately, even the small sample should provide 2 or 3 more small sessions like this one.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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88

Today I expanded the range of this versatile tea by brewing a small handful of it overnight in my thermos. It held nicely for a long morning’s drive, not quite as wonderful as it can be hot, but still, tasty stuff.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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65

This one just didn’t work for me. I just taste charcoal when I drink it, whether I brew it very lightly with a light quantity of leaf, or pack the pot with enough leaf to fill it when wetted and expanded. I’ve tried varying temperatures and times, tried steeping several times before I start to drink the infusions, and airing it out for a few weeks in an unused pot without improvement in my drinking experience. I’m a bit puzzled because I’ve had some lovely deep-roasted Taiwanese TGYs and other teas from Norbu before, some requiring quite a light touch with the brewing to find my sweet spot, but I can’t find a sweet spot with this one. Bummer.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Profile

Bio

I’ve been drinking tea for 30 years, but only bought 2 brands of 2 different teas for most of that time. It took me almost 30 years to discover sencha, puerh, and green oolongs. Now I am making up for lost time.

I try to log most of my teas at least once, but then get lazy and stop recording, so # times logged should not be considered as a marker of how much a particular tea is drunk or enjoyed.

Location

Los Angeles

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