I’m nearing the end of the final steeps of a multi-day session with this tea and I must say I’m impressed. While the Bada forgettable, the Bulang smokey but cooked, and the Menghai static, this cake came across as rich and deep. A clean bright yellow soup gave a sumptuous texture of fine linen, soft peach fuzz, and cooked apple flesh. Bright grassiness danced between unripe strawberries and peach pits. Light, airy, and full of clean fruits and dry pithy grass. This tea seemed very alive, complex, and mature. It would seem a quite apt candidate for aging, I believe. Fine work.
207 Tasting Notes
I’ve had this tea for a while now and have never taken the time to put some thoughts behind it, perhaps because my experience with this particular tea has been difficult and somewhat vapid. The occasions on which I brewed this tea properly were sparse and despite persistent cold storage, the tea lost it’s edge over the winter. When lively, it did give an electric yellow-green soup, dry, with lots of grass, kelp and mineral presence. Theanine was particularly strong. With age, it gave a resinous pine character and became more bitter. In the end, this tea may have been too finicky for my attention or experience level and not deep or juicy enough to warrant a re-visit.
My sample was from the core of the bing, so it was compressed tighter than steel and composed, seemingly, of dust. This was not an appealing cake from the get go. The first few steeps were scattered and blurry, with plenty of green bitterness, some light melon, and a dapple of honey. It produced one of the paler soups I’ve seen in sheng and had light aromatics. Smoothing over towards the middle of the session, the confusion ebbed to blandness, with a plain white sugar and cream of wheat character dominating. Unexciting.
A completely different beast than Bada, the Peacock of Bulang is a very thick and robust creature. Immediately, smoke comes through. A hint of the pine-scented Lapsang shows up in the first steep, and unlike the often coarse cigarette-like smokiness of the Xiaguan teas, this is cleaner, richer, and more enjoyable. As someone who appreciates the hearty Bambergian rauchbiers, I find the rustic hill quality of this tea enjoyable. As the leaf opens up, it yields a really dark orange soup, a bit murky. Normally, an associated strong oxidized hongchaesque tannic bitterness would dominate, but it’s subtle and not unbearable. Otherwise the tea is clean, complex, hearty, and satisfying. The chaqi is smooth, settling, and warm.
I have an unsteady relationship with this tea and I think it has to do with its’ delicate brewing nature. For starters, a good cup with this one requires a mountain of tea. Piling on the leaf, I get a good juicy cup with a brief steep at the traditional 180F mark. Straw, banana skin, apricot, and dry leafy greens come through. It gets a nip fishy in the back of the throat, but I like that in certain teas. Play nice with this one and you’ll get a decent soup.
A perplexing sheng, for sure. The cake had intense, iron-fisted compression that made flaking new leaves difficult. The opening aroma was a stellar display of fresh strawberries. Unfortunately, this character quickly faded. The first three steeps were thin, dry soups of green-tea-like grassiness, a faint hint of bile, and some raw grains. Around the fourth steep, the soup thickened up and gave a very generic sweetness, losing raw edges, but not gaining much depth. I’m not in much hurry to return to this one.
I’m really impressed with the leaf quality on this tea. Wonderful, whole fuzzy buds twist nicely and yield a succulent brew. Very juicy and sweet up front, with grassier dry notes developing in a few later steeps. Strawberry, yellow plums, and pumpkin butter are all good descriptors. This tea carries some endurance and should be steeped briefly many times. A tea that’s just a bit nicer than a solid daily drinking green.
A sort of green-white hybrid, with the juiciness from the white, but the long, dry grassiness of the green. A good clean finish. Very light, on the whole. Immensely drinkable, but maybe not worth the premium (as compared to Silver Needles).
This is a decent green-style example of Ti Quan Yin. It’s fresh, has a strong floral breath, and holds ginger, ginseng, and lychee throughout. Towards the throat, this tea brings a slightly sour tang and then finishes clean. I think it would benefit from a little roasting, but in this form it works well as something bright and smooth.
A very decent cup, at a decent price. I’d put this near the ~50% oxidation level. It’s got good stonefruit character, a nice softness, a bit of mint-like sensation on the smack and a pleasant buzz. A great daily drinking office tea. Apparently, organic.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have had this and the 50% roasted teas at the Fang Tea Expo and at home, having purchased 50 grams of this tea. It may be the most surprisingly delicious tea I’ve ever had. I’ve long been disinterested in TGY, largely due to the fact that most of the green stuff to be found throughout the states is incredibly stale and of poor quality (if it’s even TGY). After enjoying this tea at a tasting in Flushing, I have a new mind about TGY. This tea is incredibly floral and does a wonderful job of balancing the complexity of the green leaf with the added flavor of the roasting. What comes out is a plentiful bouquet of deep honey, light caramel, lychee, chestnuts, and camphor. It leaves a long lingering cooling sensation on the tongue and smacks of ginger and ginseng. A real trooper, it steeps way out into the teens. Beautiful leaves, incredible quality, wonderful tea.
I feel a little bad comparing Teavana’s sencha to vacuum-sealed, air-freighted, direct-from-Japan examples, but it’s hard not too. Once you’ve put your lips to that buttery, silken, kelpy, fishy delight, it makes more wholesale Japanese teas seem stale, weak, and poorly processed. Such is the case, with this one, I suppose. It came across as flat, a touch old and dusty right out of the bag.
I’ve been drinking my way through two ounces of this over the past two months. It’s a great winter cup. There’s an awful lot of fractured pieces in the batch I received, but it still yields a juicy, fresh cup. Strawberries, honey, and oats. Soft and sweet. Steeps many times longer than I expected it to.
This may have been one of my least favorite sheng pu-erhs. The iron compression was dense, but easily extractable. Numerous small, dark leaves. My favorite part of this tea was the initial aroma from the first steeping. It had the intensity of warm beeswax, oozing honey and just glowing. A dingy orange soup made for a less inviting experience. Flavors were all over the place, damp moss, rough tobacco (not the elegant, floral pipe or aged wrapper, but maybe wet cigarette or old burnt cigar), and tree bark. The most noticeable sensation was a parching “cooked” bitterness, as if it were blended with some hongcha. The finish was thin, with little viscosity or sweetness. Unbalanced.
Three steeps down the road this tea gradually heads for a ditch of generic sweetness. It loses any of that funky complexity and just gives a plain, sweet graininess that’s not bad, but not that much fun and not really worth it. Too bad, because the sour and spice play was rather enjoyable.
After a two weeks hiatus from sheng, this tea proved to be a unique reintroduction. Leaves were well compressed, but flaked relatively easy, throwing off nice big curls. The sheen and mottled appearance of the cake was satisfying to the eye. The first two steeps gave an even clean soup, with very low astringency and a slick oily character. A breath of morning dawn cool mint camphor exhaled in the smack of the tea. The third and fourth steeps got a little funky, with palpable sourness (which I enjoyed) and some almost wheat-like, chewy bread notes. Light on the smoke, tobacco, and musk. Minerals and sandy soil. I like the eclectic blend of characters in this beeng, as they’re all pleasant, if a bit odd. Darker soup, with some oranger leaves present, but not so many as to give a hongcha character to the flavor.
As the first tea brewed in my new yixing, this sheng puerh was a wondeful opener. Rather tight build, with small, dense leaves. Opening quickly, it released gentle sweet yellow plum, hot afternoon rain, and camphor. The soup a dense, even clear dark yellow. Further steeps gave a distinct aged and musky golden tobacco, a bit sticky. This tea knows no bitterness. Only intense, wonderful sweetness, despite a rather fine chop. The only downside of this tea is that I thought it gave out a little quickly, becoming a bit thin on the ninth steep. Otherwise, a fresh, juicy cup that is already well-married and will probably age beautifully.
The compression was tight and when breaking up the cake, the leaves seemed small. Stems abounded. Five grams into a two ounce gaiwan. The first three steeps of 5s, 10s, and 15s were light. Warm pale honey, a bit of maltose, and some jasmine. The last of these three infusions picked up much more weight, but also a tart metallic quality. There’s more in these leaves, tomorrow.
This tea is excellent. The 25g sample I ordered had big flaky leaves that easily fell of the chunk of beeng I received. Nice long supple leaves on the edges of the cake. The first steeps brought a spicy and woodsy musk out of the gaiwan. Leathery, with golden tobacco, a bit of moss, and plenty of earthy spice. The flavor was similar, but buttery smooth. Velvet on the palate, with just enough astringency in the back of the throat for balance. This tea puts me right in an Alder bog amongst the Balsam Fir trunks, heavy with lichen and moss. A wet late spring morning in a copse of poplars flows into my mind. This is a beautiful tea.
This is a solid, but light, daily drinker green. Gentle chestnut and vanilla aroma, with warm rain. Soup is an even straw gold. Flavor is satisfying, buttery and smooth, with a bit of bamboo shoot and almond. Not overly intense or complex and good for the price. My everyday cup at work.
Based on the reviews of others, I’m fairly sure that my brewing of this tea was inadequate. I didn’t get nearly as richly colored a soup, nor was there really much depth to what I brewed. That being said, I was a bit bummed out. I found the tea a bit shallow. It’s aroma was excellent, however. It showed the bright spicy cedar-wood character that I found in 2007 leaf, but also had a nicely aged caramelized plum towards the end that made it rewardingly balance, at least in scent. I’ll have to work on brewing this tea better, to get better texture and more flavor depth. I’m sure it’s there.
I received the 2007 version of this tea in my recent DanCong sampler. Again, only my second DanCong, so my experiences may be a bit naive. The aroma on this tea is amazing. Rich, deep super spicy cedar wood and roast. Bark, smoke, and pith. In the aroma cup, it just pours out sage, burnt field grasses, and sauna. Wonderful. The soup is much more caramel, grayish brown. The flavor and texture is a bit harder for me to handle. I thought it was touch coarse and bitter right up front, then it smoothes out, gives some of the cedar, a bit of caramel roast, and then a harsh, biting ash character. Light sweetness balances it a little, but the flavor of this tea seemed a bit uneven, which is unfortunate, because the aroma is killer.
Received as a three-DanCong sampler, this tea was actually my first DanCong, so my impressions may not be entirely valid. Regardless, I enjoyed this tea, although the overall flavor seemed a little light. I used around 3grams in my 3oz gaiwan. Started with 20s, 30s, and 40s steeps, then just went by intuition. The aroma was very snappy and complex. A lot of woody spiciness, fresh mums and peonies. The depth of the flavor and aroma held a very creamy super-fresh pink shrimp meat character. A bit of old bay, and creole seasoning popped up in the back of the throat. It gave out around the fourth or fifth steep. Nicely sweet.