179 Tasting Notes
This is the oldest sheng I’ve yet to try and my first Hong Kong stored pu’erh. Brews a dark, coffee-like brown. The first steep tastes of damp earth and menthol with a sweet tangyness like beets. There is no bitterness or astringency to speak of. Also no off flavors. I hoped that the flavor would evolve with subsequent steepings, but the flavors stayed more or less the same; wet earth and beet root. While it was unoffensive, I wasn’t as impressed with this tea as I hoped I would be.
Flavors: Tangy, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
Visited Dobra on a recent vacation to Asheville. Oh how I wish my area could support a nice tea house! Looking at their menu I planned to try their Gui Fei oolong, but they were out. The worker there recommended me a Thai Honey Oolong which was quite similar to Gui Fei and it was very good. In retrospect I probably should have bought some to go, but I decided to go with my staple Yunnan black since I hadn’t brought any with me to the mountains.
The Jin Zhen/Golden Buds is a fairly nice, very smooth black tea. It hints at fruity cherry and soft milk chocolate notes, slightly tart, as well as the standard malt and sweet potato. It’s good, but the flavors are not as full/defined as I’ve been accustomed to with hongcha from Yunnan Sourcing or Teavivre.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Tart
Got this as a free sample with my last YS order
A pretty strongly bitter young sheng. Not unpleasant, but pretty burly. Light fruityness, green grape maybe. I don’t get a lot a flavor complexity off of it, but it has a very nice lingering quality in the mouth. Fairly heady cha qi.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Vegetal
Glad I bought a sample of this before going for a cake
Brews up a dusky burnt orange color. It has fairly strong tobacco and leather notes. Theres a bit of camphor and a light fig fruityness. The main thing that I find off putting is a strong sour/vegetal note that reminds of sauerkraut or artichoke.
The spent leaves look pretty nice. Mostly whole with thick stems and an olive green-medium brown color.
It’s not a bad tea, and I can see someone liking it a lot, but that someone is not me
Flavors: Artichoke, Camphor, Fig, Leather, Mint, Sour, Tobacco
Got this nice sample in a swap from Haveteawilltravel. Smelling the dry leaf it exudes the word “green.” The aroma carries over into the taste with notes of green wood, green apple, green grapes, and celery. Basically all things green. It’s also lightly floral and mushroomy. It’s got a light sweetness, slight mineral note, and a thick hui gan. It’s a very mellow and friendly drink with little bitterness or astringency. The sweetness is unique and lingering and reminds me of stevia leaf. I’ve heard that huang pian has lower caffeine, which would make this a great night time drink.
Flavors: Celery, Floral, Green, Green Apple, Green Wood, Mineral, Mushrooms
A very refreshing and sweet black tea. Oxidation is on the lower side. A strongly fruity tea that reminds me of plums and eucalyptus. Slightly mineral and floral, there’s a yammy/sweet potato note and a sweetness a bit like marshmallows. It’s a sweet potato casserole tea!
I think I’m feeling a bit of qi off this tea, a relaxing, steadying sort of feeling. I guess that makes this a magical sweet potato casserole tea!
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Floral, Mineral, Plums, Sweet Potatoes
The dry leaves have a strongly fruity (fruit loop?) aroma. The flavor has a matching fruitiness as well as prominent notes of yam, malt, mint, flowers. As often is the case with fruity teas, the second steep has even stronger fruit notes. I try to think of a specific fruit to name, but it’s more of a generic “fruit” taste like gummy worms or other candy. Reminds me slightly of a Taiwanese black tea or Yunnan Sourcing’s Ailao High Mountain.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Mint, Yams
Mystery pu! My grandma recently moved to an independent living facility and wanted to get rid of a lot of things from around her house. One was a tin labeled “Pu-li tea”.
She said she had had it for years, and bought it for the tin, though she can’t remember where she got it. Giving it a sniff it’s obviously some shou pu. So I brewed it up!
The taste is, as I expected, not particularly good. There’s a camphor note and maybe a bit of cocao, but mainly just the smell/taste of decaying wood. I’ve had far worse shou, but that said this isn’t very good. Maybe I’ll brew it up again next time I get some greasy take out.
Flavors: Camphor, Cocoa, Decayed wood
Brews a deep deep red. There’s a fair amount of fermentation flavor left, enough that I felt the need to give four rinses. But this tea definitely has it’s redeeming qualities. It’s very thick and creamy, almost buttery except that it’s more sweet than savory. There’s a strong and definite chocolate note, almost like drinking dark chocolate hot cocoa. This is a lower fermentation shou, and it has just a hint of a vegetal pumpkin flavor. Later steeps hint at raisin and ginseng. Overall a nice tea that should get much better with age.
Flavors: Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Mineral, Pumpkin, Raisins