As of now, this tea is wretchedly terrible. Sure it was $8, but either the cake or the maocha was stored improperly. I haven’t given up on it yet, as I’m hoping the burnt-tire, rotting vegetable material scent and flavor will dissipate with time. But this cake may be heading for the compost pile in the future.
207 Tasting Notes
I’ve drank this tea a fair amount lately and I have to stop and ask myself why. I think because this tea is kind of a throw away. It’s not bad, it’s not great and it was cheap. The maocha was obviously heavily cleaned and maybe processed a little stiffly. There’s an odd papery sensation to the whole tea and I think for now, I’ll stop drinking it and see what becomes of it in 10 years.
Finished off my sample of this. All I can say is, boring. I’ve been drinking high quality blends or known gushu for a while now, so this tea comes across as pretty tepid, even if it is “wild arbor” which I’m not sure I believe. Little sweetness, plain grain flavors, and a bit of old orange peel. I’m excited to be moving on from some of the bigger factories, such as Mengku.
Finished off the last of my sample today, since it was raining and I was a bit hungover.
I don’t have a lot of words for the tea. It’s good. Very warming and comforting. I think it’s interesting that the wet leaf aroma has a particularly noticeable basement character, but that that does not translate to the flavor, which I appreciate. Some slight hints of earth in the flavor, but then mostly woody, composted leaves and lots of vanilla, mint, and floral woods. Looking forward to pushing this one some more tomorrow.
2011. Used “Double Brew” method. Last Long Jing for now!
This afternoon, rain comes and brings with it cooler, autumn temperatures. I’ll be drinking pu’er soon enough. Right now, the lightness of this green brings quenching satisfaction on what may be the last hot day of the year.
Funny, I think I can sense that of the four Long Jings I drank, this one is probably regarded as being the best and having the highest quality. I’m not sure it’s my favorite, I think I preferred the Da Fo, but I would need to do a side-by-side of the two to be entirely conclusive. Again, a taste preference for the green, thicker, heartier qualities.
This tea exuded delicate finesse, a bit of finicky resistance, and a balance of bittersweet and tropical fruit. Lots of lychee, pineapple, and pear came through and then was countbalanced with an herbal, almost minty bittersweetness that cleaned the palate nicely. Not a sweet, not as supple, and definitely requiring more attention, as there was a tendency for bitter, even with the gentle double brewing.
Again, this is the 2011 vintage.
Today, I abandoned the side-by-side brewing and stuck with just the “Double Brew,” putting all of 4g sample into my large gaiwan. This choice is based entirely on taste preference. I just enjoy those subtler, sweeter tones that this gentle method yields.
This particular tea has a lot going on for it, but, in my opinion, it isn’t quite as good as the Da Fo I had yesterday. There’s a lot of breadth here, but not as much depth. Some solid sweet corn, a bit of sweetgrass, and some light grain sugars. Nearly spicy notes kick up in the backend. A good tea, but not stunning.
Cold weather is coming, I’ve got to finish my last Long Jing while it’s still warm!
I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense to have an entry for every vintage of teas like this, especially if only one or two people are going to review them.
This is the 2011. This is my first Long Jing with puffballs! So excited!
Again, side-by-side Grandpa-style and Double Brew, as mentioned in my previous Long Jing review. Today, the constrast in flavors revealed by the two methods was very strong. While the warmer, Grandpa-style emitted artichoke and overcooked peas, with some lemon within, the Double Brew gave an intensely sweet brew, with soft, young Spinach and distant pine. What’s surprising to me is that the Grandpa-style method drained these leaves quickly, leaving them much less durable and more or less exhausted by the second steep. The Double Brew went on longer, continuing to yield a delightfully sweet, gentle beverage.
Whatever method is used, this is great Long Jing, in my estimation. I much preferred it to yesterday’s version and rank it as the best I’ve had. Very, very flavorful and nicely rich.
Picked up a set of four Long Jing samples from Gingko recently and will spend the week working through them, before all of summer disappears and the teas get too old.
Having little experience with quality Long Jing, I thought I’d try brewing with Gingko’s tips (http://gingkobay.blogspot.com/2010/04/brewing-long-jing-dragonwell.html) and wrongfucha’s “Double Brew” (http://chahai.net/long-jing-double-brew-method/).
The two methods created very different results. The Double Brew was intensely sweet, subtle and airy. Delicate and fluffy. I really like this, it was akin to many Japanese greens and required concentration. The “grandpa” style suggested by Gingko also made a nice brew with this tea, a hearty, chunky thicker brew that released the dry chestnut edges of this tea. I think this leads me to a matter of preference. I generally don’t get that excited about those dryer, toasted, mineral-heavy notes in Chinese greens, so I’m interested in the method that produces a sweeter, softer brew.
Definitely one of the better Long Jing’s I’ve ever had and I’ve got three more great ones to go!
Generally, I’m not the biggest fan of bud-heavy, super-tippy tea, preferring the complexity, roundedness, and vigor of large-leaf pu’er. The Mannuo is incredible bud-heavy and I love it. For me, this tea combines the fleeting, ephemeral lightness of say the ’11 Nannuo with the intense, alkaline power of the ’11 Bulang in a harmony that makes it both eminently drinkable and completely intriguing. And unlike my experience with the other ’11 EoTs, the qi on the Mannuo is upfront, quick, and deep in a way that’s pleasing, enveloping and enjoyable. I believe this tea lives up to both the cost and the early-sell-out hype that it garnered. And, I’m not just trying to suck up in hopes of snagging another cake.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=622
Such an interesting tea. I recently finished up a 12.5g pack, with another 12.5g pack set aside for aging as part of my white tea aging experiment. While this tea is white by process, it’s black by flavor. There’s such an incredible rich sweetness that comes naturally from this tea, like light maple syrup or agave nectar. Cooked stonefruit rounds out. What impresses me the most about this tea is it’s durability. Gong-fu style, I was able to produce rich tea for about 12 infusions!
This tea is the darkest chocolate I’ve ever had. It’s also the most brutally potent tea I’ve ever had. The infusion timing for 5g in 85mL employed to prevent over-brewing was as follows: 3s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, 12s! I’ve never had a tea like this, although bulang bitterness is incredibly distinct, as it immediately reminds me of the nip of bitterness left in the 1997 Heng Li Chang Bulang. For me, the taste and texture experience on the front end of this tea is most akin to the finish on a 100% cacao super-dry, extra-dark alkaline heavy chocolate bar. Alkaline is really the absolute best word to describe this tea.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=606
This Mengsong is such a stark contrast to the Hekai, both in processing and origin character. This is a cleaner, less-orange tea, with much more potency and strength. So much so that I find myself dialing back the leaf a little this morning. Creaminess dominates this tea. A rich, fruit flesh with whipped cream comes to mind, balanced by bright, fresh minty bitterness. In the back of the throat, strong sweetness returns – I love this character. Enjoyable, but requiring a more delicate hand, as it can get rather bristly if pushed.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=600
Fighting with the dense little bing, my first session pulled leaves from the bottom, inner portions of the cake, while the second session included more of the showy, large attractive leaves melded to the front of the cake. Differences were not particularly noticeable, in large part due to the fact that this tea is fairly tempered, with a very certain orangeness and lack of textural depth. A terrace or plantation origin shows through as that muddy green straw flavor, but it’s not overbearing. Various rich flavors exist in spades, as does front-palate bitterness, but thickness, minty coolness, and returning sweetness escape this tea.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=579
I don’t have any particular flavor or texture descriptors in mind to throw around. I found the tea fresh, bright, incredibly pure (one of my favorite aspects of EoT’s pressings) and light. I thought the qi from this 2011 Nannuo was less immediate and capturing than any of the 2010 tea’s I sampled.
It was good, but I agree with Hobbes, I don’t believe it’s US$72 good. I preferred the Mansai and that tea is ten bucks cheaper. Taking both 2011 teas into mind, I do think it’s fair to say that the quality of these productions has increased. I preferred them both to the three 2010 examples I sampled. At this point, my interest in trying the single cake of the sold-out 2011 Mannuo I managed to acquire could not be much higher.
I revisited this tea, today, for no apparent reason, and thought to my self…why am I wasting time drinking bad tea? Off to the compost with you…
Compared with my two sets of notes from the 2010 Mansai, this tea has gained some thickness and depth, coming across less like a fleeting, young green and more like the rich, funky pu’er that it should be. One preparing for the aging process. I like it. Nada excuses a slightly more fractured leaf set due to a long journey through a remote region. This is slightly noticeable in the dry and steeped leaves, as well as in the very first steep, which shows just enough translucency to be detected. However, this in no way detracts from the tea, a quite tippy pu’er, with lots of buds and budsets visible in the exhausted leaves, which makes for a fresh and enlightening session.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=550
The tea carries that fearful moniker “old tree,” leaving the buyer to judge the claim of origin. I believe this is old tree tea, but it might be more aptly named “Lots of Old Tree Stems.” Goodness, this was a stem-heavy tea. Pulling apart the steeped leaves, it reveals itself as at least half to two-thirds stems. I guess it can be called “old tree” if the stems are from old trees. There were a handful of large, graceful leaves, but they showed more oxidation than I like. I am, primarily, willing to believe the leaf origin based on a present mint coolness in the finish.
Otherwise, this is boring sheng. I saved the first six steeps in small cups to revisit after pushing the tea out to a 30s steep. This was an enlightening practice, as it was easy to again follow the flavor progression. For this tea, the first was papery, dry and herbal. The second and third bracingly sour, while the remainder desperately held onto a calm, lightly sweet mushroom, straw, and grain.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=539
Wow. Delicious, potent, yellow, rich with texture. This is good tea.
There are three elements to this tea that cause me to call it good. First, is the incredible rich honey aroma and flavor. Honestly, it’s hard to believe that this hasn’t been laced with honey. Wonderful. Second, a wonderful kuwei climbs up and settles pleasantly on the tongue, immediately after swallowing; a pleasing sensation. Finally, and I’ve experienced it at this level in a few teas before, many minutes after finishing the tea, the huigan brings a fresh, sweet, clean, and cooling mint flavor from the back of the throat.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=527
2011 sample. This is a crisp, super-fresh brilliant green bud tea. Juicy sweet liquor, with a nice little froth on it. Responded well to a range of steeping temperatures. This is very clean and pure. One of the nicer, straightforward green teas I’ve had in a long time. Fresh and delightful.
Comparing teas side-by-side is always fun. Today, pushing the ’09 Gong Tuo (http://steepster.com/teas/menghai-tea-factory/15881-2009-da-yi-gong-tuo) hard with an initial one minute steep, for an espresso-like brew, I was amused to see the weak last steeps of the 80s shu seem incredibly sweet when held up against, the more bitter, terse, and earthy ’09. Enlightening was that when brewing shu so aggressively, the faults of the tea come right to the surface, as it showed little sweetness or depth, instead giving a chalky coarseness and a watered-down earthen flavor, making the 80s tea seem so much more interesting. However, comparing young and aged shu in such a manner is probably not fair.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=511
Comparing teas side-by-side is always fun. Today, pushing the ’09 Gong Tuo hard with an initial one minute steep, for an espresso-like brew, I was amused to see the weak last steeps of the 80s shu (http://steepster.com/teas/jas-etea/16232-80s-loose-menghai-79092-ripe) seem incredibly sweet when held up against, the more bitter, terse, and earthy ’09. Enlightening was that when brewing shu so aggressively, the faults of the tea come right to the surface, as it showed little sweetness or depth, instead giving a chalky coarseness and a watered-down earthen flavor, making the 80s tea seem so much more interesting. However, comparing young and aged shu in such a manner is probably not fair.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=511
Purchased from Life in Teacup’s blog sale: http://gingkobay.blogspot.com/2011/05/blog-sale-some-rare-teas-and-new-green.html
A session this morning involved stuffing my lone yixing with a healthy quantity of leaves. It is obviously a very tippy tea, even from the onset, with copious single, white, furry buds. To me, it is nearly a hybrid puerh-white tea, finding a balance between sun-dried pu’er delight and floral, humid whiteness. This might explain the lack of bitterness and astringency. The tea carries a lot of tropical, juicy fruit smells and that faintly oxidized note you would find in silver needles.
What I really appreciate about this tea, in addition to the wonderful fruit character, is this tea’s consistent, blazing bright yellow color. There is nothing orange about this tea, until it reacts with air over a period of fifteen or twenty minutes. Clean production, with no over-processing nor softening to make it more approachable. Although, perhaps the leaf blending was an effort to do so. Not quite as pure as Essence of Tea’s cakes, but pleasantly yellow and bright.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=519
Enjoyed this in two summer sessions today. This is a very clean, bright, fresh green. My tastes in Chinese greens run spinach and vegetable and this has got it, as opposed to more of the roasted, toasted chestnut flavors, which I tend to like less. It is light and the returning flavor is not really there. A solid price for a fresh, lively tea. One of those reasonable daily drinker type of green teas, if you’re a fan of the myriad of Chinese greens that exist.
For starters, I habitually, but unintentionally, brew this style of TGY too strong. I think it’s probably because I don’t drink this type of tea too much and hold it up to my practices with puerh and wuyi. As a result, the first few steeps are always a good bit too sour.
I read Gingko’s thoughts (http://gingkobay.blogspot.com/2010/05/concept-tea-1-special-edition-tie-guan.html) about this as a concept tea as a blend of tie guan yin and mao xie. I don’t think I have enough experience with the varietals to really understand the effect, but I do find this an enjoyable example of charcoal roasted ball-style oolong.
Lately, I’ve been focusing more and more on a tea’s texture, returning flavor, and feeling, as opposed to just flavor and aroma. I think great teas beat out many good teas by combining all of the elements in an emergent and transcendent way. This one doesn’t quite get there, as I think the aroma is pretty soft and the texture a little thin. Perhaps I haven’t noticed the internal energy of previous oolongs, but this one has a nice, soft, deep wave to it, with a considerable amount of warmth, which is helping me sweat on this first 80F+ day of summer. It also has a long, long pleasant returning herbal ginger taste that rings for an hour afterward.