104 Tasting Notes
Tiguanyinathon Pt. II
I actually wrote this earlier today, but the weather outside was too gorgeous to pass up! A cold front came through the other day and it really feels great. I Spent a few hours skating and few just sitting on a bench reading a book. :)
Early steeps: The early steepings have a tropical notes of pineapple and coconut, and a floral wisteria flavor that is very light for a Tiguanyin. Blindfolded I would have a hard time guessing if this is a tiguanyin, a Taiwanese oolong, or some combination of the two. It has a velvety smoothness that I’ve only ever tasted in sliver needle.
Later steeps: The changes in this oolong were less defined than some. A clean grassiness, and hints of honey and paprika appeared. The silver needle mouthfeel was replaced by a more milk-like creaminess. While I LOVED the early steeps on this tea, the later ones were good, but not particularly special.
Sort of in the spirit of the “Saturday Sipdown” I’m going to be tasting the Verdant spring, summer, and autumn Ti Guan Yins sent to me by Autumn Hearth and maybe even some other TGY’s I have sitting around. :)
Early steeps: The early steeps are sweet and smooth with a nice, milky texture. The flavor is slightly floral and reminiscent of honeysuckle, and I also get notes of pumpkin and hazelnut. The leaves opened up really fast! By the 3rd steep they were almost completely unfolded.
Middle steeps: In the middle steeps, the floral sweetness was largely repaced by savory chestnut flavors, and something that reminded me slightly of turmeric (though that might have just been my cooking) :)
Later steeps: Around the sixth steep, the floral notes return to balance out the savory. These later steepings are well balanced, and have the flavors of the earlier steeps, but I also begin to notice new flavors like parsley and vanilla, a slight cooling effect like mint, and a cake-like fluffiness.
Wow, this is delicious! Tastes like a mix between an oriental beauty oolong and an Indian black tea, which I suppose is exactly what it is! Sweet, peachy, creamy, and a pastry feel with touch of cinnamon and vanilla.
If peach cobbler were a tea, it would be this one :)
A nice, slightly different Yunnan black! It has a deeper, charcoal/cocoa flavor than other Dian Hongs that reminds me a bit of Fuijan blacks and the Sumatra Black Pearl from Mountain Tea Co. Instead of the sugarcane/rum type taste of some Yunnan’s I’ve had, this reminds me more of Israeli date honey or a malty Belgian ale. Its also very infusable, first black I’ve had to last an entire kettle of water.
More in depth review to come, I’ve got a headache and feeling a bit woozy today for some reason :(
Thanks for the sample, Garret!
My first thought when taking a sip of this tea was “Wait, is this the right tea?” I had a few shu pu’erh samples airing out in small cups, but this one looked distinctly different, being the only loose leaf. Yep, this is the right one, but how can a 2011 pu’erh taste so clean?!? Despite its young age, there is little fermentation flavor left in this tea. :)
Early steeps: Being this was a young shu, I was fully prepared to set aside the first steep or so for pouring over my yixing, but I decided to take a sip, and it was remarkably clean and smooth. The main flavors that I picked up on were milk chocolate, cream, and white peppercorn. Sure there was a bit of off flavor, but for a tea less than two years old? This is amazing!
Middle and later steeps: The warm, creamy flavor continues, and I start to notice some bready flavors as well as a sugarcane note that reminds me of a Yunnan black. It is malty and delicious. I didn’t find the flavor to be especially complex, just sweet, smooth, and enjoyable. Perhaps more will come with age.
This is a very soothing pu’erh and would make a great “happy place” tea :)
This is my first tea from Verdant. Thanks Autumn Hearth for all of these wonderful sounding samples! There’s quite a bit more tea here than I expected, I feel like I should have sent more :) My room is currently drowning in teas, teawares, and packaging between my Mandala and YS orders and multiple swaps that all came within the past two days.
This tea is quite vegetal, which usually isn’t my thing, but wow! This tea is nice and refreshing with flavors of green bean, bok choy, fenugreek, and clover. It has a nice, creamy mouthfeel with a subtle honey sweetness. Great stuff!
This reminds me (quite a bit) of Adagio’s Mei Hua, but fresher and considerably better tasting. They look so similar and have pretty similar taste profiles, I wonder if they use the same processing technique? The Mei Hua is from Fuijian, which I looked up and found to be fairly close to Laoshan, but not especially so.
Wow, this is a wonderful shu. I wasn’t completely sure about it based on its slightly muddy appearance and not having heard of Yong De, but seeing it described as a favorite by both Garret at Mandala and (different year’s pressing) by Scott at Yunnan Sourcing, I figured a 1oz sample was certainly worth a try. And it was.
Dry leaves: The leaves are slightly larger than the Menghai pu’s I’ve tried, and are a warm, chocolaty brown in color. The smell is deep and rich, but I have trouble identifying any one note.
Early infusions: The first thing that strikes me in tasting is a sort of marshmallow “puffiness” to the liquer. Even in the first steeping there is no noticeable “off” taste. The tea is remarkably smooth and has a deep woodiness with a pleasant zuchini-like flavor.
Middle Infusions: Around the fifth infusion, the tea starts to open up in flavor with notes of saffron, sea breeze, and cantaloupe. The flavor is woodsy like dry fall leaves.
Later infusions: Around the tenth infusion, when the tea begins to be weaker, the flavors become more sweet and subtle. It has a slight vanilla sweetness, and flavors like a dense sourdough bread. The flavor is very clean, almost like a Yunnan black tea.
This is my new favorite pu’erh, very smooth, clean, and deep. A full cake of it has jumped to the top of my shopping list :)
This is a nice shu! This afternoon I was faced with a tough choice; which tea to try first. :D I was in the mood for pu’erh, and decided to try the phatty cake.
The leaves are attractive and fairly large in size. The compression on this cake is really tight around the center, I could hardly pry a piece out!
Early infusions: The first couple of infusions were a bit disappointing for me. It was a bit too mulchy and mushroomy, but I could taste the good, strong flavors underneath.
Middle infusions: All of a sudden, this tea was delicious! A bold, chocolaty flavor with a slight saltiness, and an unexpected hint of fruit; apricot and, blueberry maybe? Blueberry is definitely a new one for me. There is still a bit of “compost pit” hanging around, but its mostly gone. Around this time I also start to get some “qi” feel with some tingly feelings along the top of my head. Definitely the strongest feeling I’ve gotten from a ripe pu’erh.
Later infusions: Tea! Waht r u doing!! Stahp!!! I have some homework to get on, but these leaves just keep making more tea! These little leaves made at least twelve (I wasn’t really counting) nice, bold infusions.
This is a good, potent pu’erh, but my(not so) expert opinion says it could use a year or two to let the fermentation flavors fade.
I was more than a bit apprehensive to try these powdery, grey-green nuggets. Some people think pu’erh looks scary, but I find these to be far more intimidating.
The taste, however, is quite nice! The first few steeps tasted mostly of the sweet, grassy ginseng, while the later ones showed more of the flavor of lightly roasted Taiwanese oolong. The sweetness of the tea reminds me a bit of stevia, I wonder if there is any sweetener in the ginseng powder, or if that’s from the ginseng itself? The ginseng is quite energizing, and if I didn’t know any better I’d think someone had slipped some Red Bull in my tea. :P
I’m not sure I appreciate the simultaneously peaceful and hyperactive feeling I’m getting from the tea/ginseng mix. Overall this was pretty nice and I’d judge it to be of good quality, but I think I prefer my oolongs plain.