97 Tasting Notes

90

Free sample from my last YS order.

Today I woke myself up at six in the morning, packed my gear into the car, and drove out about fourty five minutes northwest to Clermont, which is sort of the Mecca of longboarders and cyclists in Central/South Florida. While most of Florida south of Gainesville is pretty darn flat, Clermont and the surrounding areas have big, rolling hills a bit like Kentucky, but well… bigger. The fastest I’d ever gone before was about 30 mph, today I made it up to 45, and man that felt great.

I spent most of the day riding down said hills and then walking back up them, which is, as far as I’m concerned, what they do up in heaven (When they’re not drinking tea, of course.) By noon I was completely exhausted and pretty much swimming in my own sweat. So, I headed back towards Orlando and (after a nice cold shower) decided to wind down with a nice session of tea, and was especially craving some sheng :)

This is just the second “fairly old” sheng that I’ve tried, and I really enjoyed both. Even with two quick rinses, the taste started out pretty mulchy and musty, but by the third steep it was much cleaner and delicious. Raisin, clove, and walnut were the main flavors I picked up on. A bit of bitter, but not enough to be off-putting. Despite it’s flavors not really being “fresh” ones, it still has the refreshing qualities of younger sheng. I got lot’s of relaxing, stimulating feelings drinking this, and by the time the leaves puttered out I was about as tea drunk as I’ve ever been.

Between the endorphins from exercise and the qi from this tea I’m feeling pretty darn good right now. I’ll probably make something for dinner and then head to bed early. Today was a pretty great day (albeit slightly hermitic), and exactly what I needed in a weekend.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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84

I’m not dead! But it has been forever since I’ve posted a tasting note, first due finals, then to my computer charger burning out, and then just spending time with friends and family back home.

This is a really tasty and interesting tea! The dry leaves are very green for Chinese tea, and there’s quite a lot of stems mixed in. When dry, the leaves look like they’re shredded or torn up, but once wet the reveal the smallest, tenderest tea leaves I’ve seen with a translucent, emerald green color.

The flavors are interesting, too. Notes of brown rice, grass, honey, and a sweet ginseng aftertaste. Blindfolded I’d guess I was drinking ginseng flavored kukicha. Fairly resteapable, but not extremely so. The brewed leaves are super tender and make for good munching.

Overall pretty nice, and completely different from what I’d expect in a Chinese green.

Claire

This reminds me I need to post a tasting note so I can say I’m not dead either!

mrmopar

Ha it would only be from a tea overdose if that was the case! I was on the verge of one Tuesday!

tperez

Haha Claire, undead Steepsterer party!

Mr. Mopar, too much of a good thing is… a very good thing! I’m taking online classes this summer, which makes drinking tea all day while I work verrrry tempting

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93

Man oh man, I recieved this sample from Teavivre quite a while ago. I brewed it a few times and wasn’t impressed. As it turns out, I think I was just brewing it wrong. This is a wonderful tea!

Dry leaves: The dry leaves are “every color” ranging from warm brown to black, to military green, to gorgeous white tips. The leaves are fairly small for an oolong, and have a nice apricot aroma.

Brewing: When I made this tea before, I was not using enough leaf, and the result was a weak, bland brew. It needs more leaf than I would think, it seems to be lighter/fluffier than it looks. This time I filled my gaiwan up about 1/3 of the way with leaves. The spent leaves open up to short and plump in chocolate brown color with a twinge of green. Brews up a gorgeous red-gold liquer!

1st steep: The first steep yields a rich, spicy flavor of apricot, nutmeg, moist butter cake, and pineapple with a slight roasty/woody quality like dry fall leaves.

3rd steep: Around the third steep the tea begins to smooth out with a very slight grassiness and a fresh, cooling mint note that contrasts the overall warm flavor. The tea is mildly sweet and has a creaminess as if milk were added. It flows over the tongue like a rive of warm silk.

7th steep: Around the seventh steep, the fruityness starts to wane, revealing clover leaf, champagne, and citrus tones as well as a pastry-like quality. Very tasty oolong, and pretty resteapable as well.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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97

Man this is good! Taking a break before getting back to the finals grind.

This tea is warm and hearty like a Taiwanese black, but clean and refreshing like young sheng. There’s also some pretty interesting flavors here that I haven’t tasted elsewhere, and I really like it.

One of my favorite things about tea is the endless variety. I love trying new things, and I sort of hate to buy the same thing twice (even if I love it), and so far I haven’t bought a second batch of any tea, but I think this is one I’ll need to keep stocked in my cupboard.

But then again there IS the light roast version of this tea… :P

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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82

Seems like I got this FOREVER ago from Rachel Sincere! Thanks very much!

This is a nice, bold Yunnan black with lots of black peppercorn flavor, and a bit of yam and sugarcane. The leaves are sort of medium sized for a Yunnan black, and mostly chocolate brown/black in color with some golden buds mixed in.

I’ve been blending it with Fengqing dian hong, which is milder and yamier, and it makes a for a nice balance of flavor.

Brewing this in my new(ish) yixing, and I’ve had to use about double the amount of tea that I normally would. So far its still sucking up a LOT of the flavor, more than my other two did. The side effect of using so much tea is a major caffeine high, which, admittedly is pretty nice when studying for exams :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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88

Another cup of delicious from Mountain Tea Co. Floral narcissus aroma with a nice moderate level of roasting. Honey, peach, and, amaryllis notes with a a long lasting fruity aftertaste. Good balance of juicy and dry.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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93
  • This product is rated “E” for extraneous objects

This is manly tea; earthy, brown leaves wadded up into nuggets and smashed into a tightly compressed brick, not to mention a few bits of things that weren’t actually tea at all. From the outside I can see a little wood chip on the nei fei and a thumbnail sized black pebble that looks like flint or graphite peeking out from one of the corners.

Early steeps: Mild and sweet with sage and cedar notes with just a bit of mushroom flavor. It has a really clean taste for shu. Not as clean as the Verdant Peacock Village that I got to sample, but definitely the next most “sheng-like” that I’ve tasted. The taste is earthy, but still clear and crisp. The third steep starts to show flavors of pine and grilled corn? I know that’s a weird one, and its not smokey, but that’s the flavor I get. :P

Later steeps: Around the fourth steep the tea starts to gets even cleaner with linen, spice cabinet, and raw corn flavors, and a mouthfeel like warm milk. Around the seventh steep it starts to show an almost sparkling quality, a cappuccino creaminess, and a fresh, clean taste like a light rain. The tea started to fade in the ninth steep, but held out for a tenth.

Bottom Line: This is a delicious and very re-steepable shu, but not for you if you’re grossed out by the idea of finding “bonus content” in you tea. Personally I’m not really bothered by finding things in my pu’erh, so long as it’s relatively sanitary. “If I were a rich man” (cue pit music) I think I’d buy a few more of these bricks to stash away.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
mrmopar

Well said! Love these lao cha!

tperez

Thanks! This is the first one I’ve tried, I’ll have to check out some more :)

mrmopar

The menghai are excellent from 2011 back.

Kashyap

odd and wow

JC

That is very common in factory production unfortunately. I recently received a SAMPLE size from a Sheng I got from Yunnan Sourcing. It had two granite pebbles and a piece of cloth (Possibly from the mantle things they use to cover they piles while they ferment). Mrmopar is right, older version seem cleaner I guess they weren’t doing so much mass production yet back then.

Tea can still taste ok. But it sometimes it is very off putting to find things in the cakes other than tea.

Kashyap

working in the coffee industry, you find all kinds of rocks, metal, odds’n’ends in the green coffee…most gets discovered when scooping to roast, some on the roasting table, and very rarely in the bucket…but I guess I’m used to that and find only the ‘human’ matter that shows up in some ‘hand-picked/rolled’ teas to be a bit off putting..but I feel 200 degree water should solve for this :)

tperez

It’s funny to think how these things get into the tea. Most of the teas that I’ve gotten have had little to no foreign objects, but this brick and a Fengqing sheng tou that I have seem to be loaded with little goodies :P

Luckily they all seem to be natural things, finding something like a bug would really gross me out

JC

Hahahaha, Same here. Feng Qing has a high probability of foreign material in my experience. I swear one had several broom hairs.

Kashyap, I agree with you, sometimes finding human matter is disturbing but I think most of it is usually during packing, at least with most other tea (aka, black, white, green and oolong), I think what ‘grosses’ me out is that in Puerh is during the process of making it, but it is also to be expected. If you look at the making process of most Puerh (mostly factory made) several people work with the tea, which increases the chances of hair (I hope you exclusively meant hair by ‘human matter’ lol).

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79

Brewing up some hojicha and catching up on Doctor Who. Nice and roasty brew with some apricot and celery notes. When I got this sample I didn’t put in my steepster cupboard, and ended up forgetting I had it. Glad it reappeared :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

My name is Thomas,

Long-time tea and coffee driker, but I only started getting into the world of good quality teas about two years ago.

My favorites right now are pu’erhs, Yunnan blacks, and Taiwanese oolongs. I’m not much into flavored teas, and jasmine almost always puts me off, but I love a good cup of chai or adding a spice or two to my teas sometimes.

I’m a 20 year old currently working in Orlando Florida, taking a semester off from school to try and figure out my place in the world.

I’m also a music lover. I’ve played guitar and violin for quite a while in classical styles, rock, etc., and also learning sitar and hindustani music.

I also love hiking/camping, Minecraft, Dr. Who, and downhill longboarding :)

My Rating Scale:
95-100 Wow! Praise the gods that be!
90-94 Pretty darn good
80-89 Nice, but either not quite to my tastes or not particularly head turning
70-79 Decent
50-69 Potable… under dire circumstances
0-50: Fifty shades of “blech!” Teas that aren’t worth their weight in pocket lint

Location

Orlando, FL

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