207 Tasting Notes

80

Sample provided by Jas eTea. First pours bring strong currents of talc, minerals, and white powders. I know some people get excited about this element, but I don’t particularly enjoy. A few steeps in, this tea lights up with dates, south asian spices, and woodiness, with some distant citrus. The textures starts shallow for me, but deepens and softens with a gentle wheat-like flavor. The wet leaves hold a cellar or forest floor character that doesn’t show up in the aroma or flavor. I give this tea good marks for being low in strong fermentation character and above average in complexity.

deftea

I’m impressed that you stuck with the tea until the standard “shu”-ness started to yield more complexity. I feel so incompetent when selecting shu. Thanks for the note.

the_skua

I think the general vibe is that the big factories, Menghai especially, are better than most at creating really tight shu. Or at least, consistent, but that’s a different thing.

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79

First tea of 2011 was the last of this tea. It’s pretty empty these days. I was wrong. I found some more.

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92

I finally broke down and had my last sample of this tea. And more puerh experience under my belt, I’ll say that I think this is a pretty damn good example. At 7 years old, this tea was surprisingly and quickly green-leafed, with a beautiful yellow soup. There’s a great blend of sizable leaves and rather small buds. Strong finishing bitterness followed light and delightful tropical fruit notes and just the right amount of puerh funk. It’s steeping like a champ (maybe somewhere near the 20th). Great stuff.

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73

I love this tea for the big fresh cocoa powder and dark chocolate bark alkalinity that the dry leaf aroma opens with, which then transitions into an herbal, spicy, complex earth tone. First steeps grab onto this and pour on sweetened, aged, cooked, and dried peaches, pears, and golden plums. I wish that it held out a little longer, but compared to many oolongs, it’s very robust. The levels of roast and oxidation on this tea are well balanced to produce a tea that has great fruit character, but adds darker, caramelized and spice-laden complexity for holding the drinker’s attention.

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68

I purchased this from Jas eTea for a comparable price and am very impressed with it. I think the playing up of the cinnamon is reasonable. It comes through nicely in the aroma as a Mexican mole or spiced hot chocolate. This tea also has a big fruit bouquet, with punching white grapefruit, simmered yellow plums, and candied apples. Flavors percolate in goat milk caramel, toast, honey, and a bit of soy. Complex, easy to brew, and very enjoyable. Worth seeking out in my opinion.

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73

I surprise myself, resisting all evolutionary tactics of self-preservation, and drink something that immediately smells like old compost and a grandmother’s boudoir. The aroma is strong and thick with talcum powder, black humus, and musty cellar. I rinse twice.

This tea does reveal an early hint of quality, by showing stunning clarity in the first pour. Nonetheless, the intense milky talc dominates the front edge of this tea. Old, dried maple twigs come to mind. Sweetness moderates the long finish. A tea to be sipped very slowly, as it has strong potency. Later steeps lose the mustiness and pick up sweetened grains.

The qi is a bit unsettling to me. It’s foggy and full of cobwebs, making me feel a bit distant. I’m not sure that well-aged shu is for me, or at least examples aged similarly to this one.

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70

Opening up the last of my sample, I was surprised to be met with a bit of a spicy, woodsy “aged” aroma in the dry leaf, more akin to older sheng than the fresh stuff. Somehow my attitude towards this tea has change. Perhaps I’ve gotten better at brewing it, or my palate is shifting. Regardless, I could smell mint pouring off the freshly wet leaves. The sourness I remarked on before was absent and this tea gave a great array earthy wood, mushroom, tannin, and leaf tones. Sure, there’s some cooked black-tea-esque character too it, but I don’t find it shallow, hollow, or empty.

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99

The wet leaves opened with hot cotton, warm dryers and some bursts of intense ashy smoke. The first flavors rocked between cantaloupe and cooked strawberry and freshly smoked whitefish.

Middle steeps produced a light tartness in the vein of white cranberry flesh – but never intensely sour.

This yiwu proved dazzling in the finish, with a lovely, terse, complex bitterness holding long and giving herbal satisfaction. I enjoyed this tea’s understated, complex, and composed beauty. Wrapping up with fermented cocoa nib dryness in the throat, it was hard not to be impressed. This is my kind of sheng.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=275

cultureflip

wow, 99. i tried a sample of this not too long ago when i was but a babe in the way of puerh and i remember it being good (like pretty much all of tim’s tea).

teaddict

You reminded me to go back and finish the tasting group from last week. Thanks!

the_skua

I was very impressed. Unfortunately, it sells for a price I couldn’t even imagine paying for a cake.

teaddict

I hadn’t looked at that. Yikes. I am really enjoying my 2008 Yi Wu bamboo aged puerh from Norbu—another stellar brewing on Friday got people very enthused—but I probably will drink it all up long before it gets another 2 years on it, to see if it could achieve similar class to this one.

Oh well.

the_skua

That one looks mildly more affordable. :) Glad to know it was good, I’ve been wanting to try a bamboo pu’er for a while, so I may give that one a run.

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69

Picked this one up from JAS eTea to have a relatively easy drinking shu pu’er at work and am very satisfied. It breaks easily into a nice array of small leaves, with a pleasant, slightly cocoa-infused dry leaf aroma.

Overall, it has a pleasant, soft grain flavor and texture. Cream of rice or cream of wheat, perhaps. A bit of honey, a bit of chocolate, and nice classic shu pu’erh flavor. Those fearing strong “wo dui” will be glad to know this has little to none. It is a bit simple, but not boring. There are hearty flavors there and for me, it delivers what I need from a shu pu’er. It’s certainly a great value for the money and quality.

cultureflip

whats wo dui?

the_skua

http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.cgi?phrase=wo+dui

Piled fermentation smell. Often, fresh shu pu’er will have an intense “wo dui” aroma, which can be fishy or rotten smelling.

cultureflip

ah. ive gotten that before. not good.

cultureflip

“dude, your breath is wo dui. you need gum.”

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94

I purchased this exact tea through JAS eTea (and didn’t have to deal with shipping from China).

The aroma on the dry and wet leaves of this tea are incredible. They have the dankest, most aromatic puckery white grape smell. It’s just incredibly pungent, fruity, and floral, backed with some straw and immediately sweet. It’s not the most even pile of buds, there are a few unfolded leaves, stems, and bits of other things.

I hold in my mind a real notion of wildness with this white tea. Something a little rough around the edges, of forest-origin, and maybe a bit unpredictable. The flavors rise from the forest floor in a certainly musky and rich combination of young pu’er like funk and the delightful strawberry flesh that I find many white teas have. It’s got a delightful fermented character to it that lends a bit of fino sherry or white wine flavor, deepening the overall complexity.

I really enjoy the super-high-grade silver needles that are refined, elegant, and perfumed, but I enjoy this too a funky, fermented, puer-like, wild strain silver needle.

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Bio

Exploring the world of fine Chinese and Japanese teas, my favorites include: sheng pu’er, moderately roasted oolongs, gyokuro, shincha, and high quality, artisanal whites and greens. I don’t subscribe to any particular style of brewing, but incorporate elements from traditional techniques to brew the best tea possible. I also seek to share the joy that tea brings me with others, but am really rather introverted.

Location

Peace Dale, Rhode Island

Website

http://tea.theskua.com

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