121 Tasting Notes
-Dry leaves: Deep dark purple/black leaves accented by a few reds and greens. Thick, musky aroma. Peppery, tropical fruit, touch of smoke.
-1st steep: Dusky yellow infusion common of purple sheng. Notes of caraway seed, camphor, honey, papaya, carrot, and fresh greenness. Mild for a purple tea, but not as mild as Mandala’s other offerings. Incredibly clean, fresh taste.
-5th steep: Calming, steadying qi sets in. Pomelo and pine flavors with a long lasting fruity/perfume-y aftertaste.
-Spent leaves vary in size, and colors range from dark green to reddish purple. Strong leaves with a slightly rubbery appearance common of purple tea.
Overall an excellent tea. Very flavorful, infusible, and not lacking in strength.
In addition to this tea, I also need to praise Garret’s almighty tea soak! For the past couple of months my stainless steel mesh tea strainer had hardly been letting any tea through (it would take about a minute to let 150ml through, on a good day). I’d tried boiling it in water, boiling it in vinegar, and scrubbing it to death with baking soda and NOTHING would help. I had already given up on it and ordered a new one. After soaking for about 20 minutes in the tea soak and then swishing it around it was like brand new! This stuff really is magical.
Flavors: Camphor, Carrot, Citrus, Honey, Pine, Tropical
-Dry leaves: Medium sized leaves, warm brown with a spicy-sweet aroma. They’re covered in little silver hairs that give them an almost holographic look
-1st steep: Soft yellow infusion with a sweet and savory tastes that lingers in the mouth long after drinking. Unique taste that reminds me of green pepper, accompanied by mineral, molasses, and wet moss notes. Slight bitterness, but still pretty mild.
-2nd and 3rd steeps reveal more sweetness. Notes of muscadine grapes, rich soil, and something reminiscent of white cake.
-Around the sixth steep a menthol/cooling effect becomes noticeable, and a slight mushroomy flavor. Unfortunately the leaves are beginning to loose some of their strength already. I squeezed out ten infusions, but the last few were pretty weak.
-Spent leaves are slender and olive green. Plump stems with less defined veins. A good number of the leaves have browning/damaged edges
-Overall a nice sheng with a good amount of flavor and power, but burns through it’s stamina quickly. Like the other sheng that I’ve tried from Mandala it is fairly mild and has nice a nice cha qi.
Flavors: Green Pepper, Honey, Mineral, Peat Moss
Got my sampler today! I greatly enjoyed the 2012 Wild Monk maocha that I tried a while back (the leaves in my profile pic came from it) and I’m excited to try the new batch as well as the other offerings.
Dry leaves: Medium-small leaves have a peppery aroma, light brown-green color.
The first steep is very pale and clear. Mild taste with a nice round mouthfeel. Bready rye flavor balanced out by tastes of olive oil, fresh camphor, and a slight nectarine sweetness. Little astringency, bitterness is nearly non-existent.
Second and third steeps reveal more sweetness and tastes of glutinous rice, honeysuckle, and minerals. Cha qi becomes evident in later steeps, and I would consider this tea pretty strong in it. The tea provided me with eleven infusions, and I might have been able to squeeze out one more.
The spent leaves are very attractive. Medium-small size with a few budsets, but mostly single leaves. The leaves are delicate but have nice thick veins and a rounded tip.
Overall this is a nice clean tea with good stamina, but a bit too mild for my tastes. Very similar to Yunnan Sourcings Ailao shengs.
Flavors: Camphor, Honeysuckle, Olive Oil, Rice, Rye, Stonefruits
Today I felt like having something a little different, so I mixed together three different Yunnan blacks.
-2013 Hong Yun Yiwu Mountain Wild Arbor black tea cake from Yunnan Sourcing: A very fruity, floral, almost sheng-like hong cha
-Some cheap dian hong from an AliExpress seller: A very earthy, malty black with a honey sweetness
-And bit of Adagios Yunnan Gold, which is a very silky and smooth tippy Yunnan
Three different extremes of Yunnan black tea that balance each other quite well :)
Brewed in my black tea yixing, which has started to take on a really gorgeous patina
I dropped (and broke) my gaiwan in the sink the other night while cleaning it out, so I’m brewing this in a glass measuring cup with a gaiwan saucer over it. Sad to lose my gaiwan, but it served me well over the past two years.
I’m really enjoying this tea tonight. It’s very tasty, but has a different flavor profile than most. No “peach and tobacco”, but softer flavors like olive oil, grain, bamboo, and white wine. It’s not super sweet, but the sweetness lingers in the throat for a long time. It makes a good many brews, a bit more than average, and has one of the strongest cha qi’s of pu’erh I’ve tasted.
Soo, since I’m in desperate need of a new gaiwan I’ll be pushing up the Yunnan Sourcing order I had been planing (they also have some celadon cups I’ve been eying). I’ll probably just stick to the tea wares, some black tea ,and some pu’erh samples since I need to keep this fairly cheap. Any favorites you think I should try?
Flavors: Bamboo, Grain, Olive Oil, White Wine
Creamy texture and caramel, spice, and fruit notes. Slight mineral quality, excellent cinnamon/floral aroma.
This is the best Wuyi I’ve had, though that being said I haven’t had very many.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Floral, Mineral
Today I’m having something black and delicious and Fuijan-esqe. Though i’m embarrassed to say I don’t know what it is. It was in a plastic baggy, probably the last of a sample from Teavivre or Yezi or something I got in a swap.
Very sweet and thick with a slight salty note. Yammy and chocoalty and has a good buttery pastry-like quality. Needless to say I’m enjoying it
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Pastries, Salt, Yams
Rediscovering just how much I like Taiwanese oolong! For a while now I’ve been drinking mostly pu’er and Yunnan black, neglecting the first tea I fell in love with.
This is a very good one, still delicious despite not being very fresh. Mellow and juicy. Green-ness that reminds me of the amaryllis bulbs my grandma used to grow, balanced with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut with the bright tang of tamarind.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Coconut, Tangy, Vanilla
The dry leaves have a thick aroma of ripe fruit and tobacco. Most are medium-large leaves in a deep purple black hue with high contrast of bright red, green, and gold leaves standing out.
Initial infusions have a strong smoky quality. More of a bold “charcoal” flavor than the lapsang barbecue type. The smoke was much stronger, but has faded over the past months.
The tea brews a gold-orange color. Clean, pure, wild taste with a thick mouthfeel and a fruity aroma that stays in the mouth long after you drink it. Strong tropical fruit flavors (something I associate with purple tea) like guava, longan, and plantain. Very tangy, but also very hearty with tobacco, barley, and dark beer flavors.
The charcoal taste fades in the later steepings, and is replaced by a nice mineral quality. I’m left with strong qi feelings running along the forehead and feel strong and steady like a mountain. This isn’t my favorite tea from Yunnan Sourcing, but it is quite nice and I enjoy the unique purple tea qualities. Good bargain.
I’m really itching to place a big YS order, it’s been almost a year! I’ve been saving up money for it, but this past week the vacuum tubes in my guitar amp have gone microphonic, so it seems my tea acquisition has been set back yet again.
Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Roasted Barley, Tobacco