107 Tasting Notes

92

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 :)

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

I read this review and marched immediately back to our pu’er storage vault and pulled out one of these cakes. I love this tea. It’ll be out for us to prepare here at the tea shop for the next few days, for sure. I’m so happy that you are enjoying this tea, my friend! It’s a winner. I can’t wait for you to try the Noble Mark sample that I sent you. It is a blend I created from Yong De area where I was there in April. While very young, I think you will enjoy it. I don’t just buy 200 + lbs of tea if I don’t think it’s going to age well :) Thanks for the review!

Garret

Went back and counted inventory on this cake. 9 left. One will be snapped up by yours truly, and my partner just said he wants one, too. Our session with it here is going very well :)

tperez

Eek, I guess that means I need to order one soon! I’m very excited to try the Noble Mark, I think I’ll brew some up tomorrow :)

Garret

I’m working on securing some more of them, but so far none of my connections there can find it. I’ll be back in SW China soon enough. I’ll see if I can find some then!

mrmopar

sorry garret, i think you will soon only have 6 left i think!

mrmopar

oh i am going to be shot for this…..

ashmanra

Mrmopar! Did you buy all the rest of the tea? LOL!

Garret

Huh… that’s funny… all of the sudden the stock is down to 6 :) I am glad you are going to try that Noble Mark, too!!!! Along with that loose tea, I’ll send you a sample of the cake I had pressed of it, too. Still waiting for the remaining 320 to get here so I can put them up on the site!

mrmopar

no i just grabbed one and a noble mark sample. garret thanks in advance for the sample of the pressed cake! mr tperez and i have very similar tastes on our pu-erh( he.. he.. i think i got him hooked on it.) thanks and best wishes always!

tperez

I know where you live Mr. M!!! ;D

mrmopar

ha ha stop by any time and i will share tea with you! your choice, oh the discussions we could have about pu-erh…….

tperez

Haha, well I’d be glad to take you up on that offer some day

mrmopar

anytime, you are always welcome here.

Terri HarpLady

You guys are a bad influence on me…or maybe you’re a good influence on me…le’ts just say I just kind of went crazy & placed my first Mandala order…finally!

mrmopar

Terri, you will not be disappointed with that purchase!

ashmanra

Go, Terri!

Claire

Terri, I can’t wait to hear what you got!

Garret

Hey y’all! Can we possibly get any groovier people on this thread?? :) Terri and John, your orders just got picked up!!! They are on their way to your wonderful selves!

Terri HarpLady

Yay!! More and more tea! Claire, after perusing various people’s comments about various teas, I kind of went overboard & got the following:
Phatty cake 11
Yong De 07
Menghai dayi red rhyme 08
Menghai “Zi Yun” Ripe Pu-erh tea (purple rhyme) 09
& a sample of Noble Mark
Now I have to figure out where to keep it all! Some day when I get old & pass away, my kids will be going through my stuff & it will be like one of those Hoarders reality shows, with cakes & tins of tea everywhere!

Claire

I am so excited to read those reviews! I have to wait until the end of this month to get more tea and I swear, a month has never seemed longer! XD

Terri HarpLady

Need I mention that I have a tendency to contemplate at great length before I buy anything, & then all hell breaks loose…obsessive-compulsive-addictive

mrmopar

oohh Terri the red rhyme is great ,the purple rhyme is too and the phatty cake you will like as well! congrats on you getting a great selection. Garret can’t wait to get it in!

Terri HarpLady

I’m super excited!
Sadly, one can only sample so many teas in a day…

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97

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.

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

This is one of the one’s that I’m probably gonna have to get sometime soon. :)

mrmopar

still has a little “camphor” bite in it but like you said very good for multiple infusions. i am anxious to see how this ages as well. i have no doubt of the quality here. i think it will get better and better.

Garret

HI! The material I used to press this cake was 2006 spring leaf that was ripened in 07… this tea, because of its fairly light oxidation still has plenty of room the grow. I’ve got 7 cakes set aside for my personal stash. And while I do not want to wish time away, I do look forward to seeing what the next couple of years will bring to it!

Garret

Pu’er… the one thing that makes me wish for immortality! I honestly get a little sad when I see my newest pressings in the vault and know that I likely will not get to taste them when they are 50 years old. And then I get happy, cause I have them to drink now. Where there’s tea, there is hope, right?!!?

JC

LOL! I like that. That’s how I feel sometimes (look! a great cake… but.. but I wont be able to taste it at 50 years of aging). Tea is amazing, and think about this way. The light oxidation allows for complexity to be formed! You could become a legend!

tperez

Man, all this talk of aging pu’erh is making me drool :P

mrmopar

garret it will be yummy! i don’t think the phatty cake i have is going to last longer than 2013!!!

Bonnie

Doomed! At 65 I’ll never know what aged puerh tastes like but the way I love puerh,not sure I could wait anyway without drinking it all up!

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80

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.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec
ashmanra

I love plain oolongs, but I love this one also and keep it on hand! Perhaps it was coincidence, but I drank several steeps one day when I felt a sore throat coming on and I didn’t get sick. Now I reach for it if I think I might be catching cold.

tperez

Really? I might have to try that the next time I feel like I’m getting sick :)

Azzrian

I was surprised to find how much I love Ginseng Oolong! I was not prepared to like it – actually thought I would dislike it but it is quite yummy!

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82

This is my first Da Hong Pao. It brews a nice warm brown-gold color. The taste is bold and dry and reminds me of a dry sack wine. Its mildly sweet and mineral, and the main flavors that I pick up on are apricot, clove, and slightly cooling spearmint-like note.

I don’t think I used quite enough leaf, as only the first infusion really seemed strong enough. I think I’ll be making it again with a bit more tea.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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88

Received a sample of this with my last YS order.

The leaves are a dark olive brown with plenty of furry white buds. I wasn’t too impressed with the first two steepings, as they were mostly tobacco-ey and bitter. After that, however, the flavor became quite mellow and sweet. The flavors that come to mind here a ginger, almond, and wheat flour. This tea is fairly similar to my 2012 Wuliang Mountain cake, but gives a stronger ‘qi’ feeling which shines on the crown of the head. Very infusible, made about twelve times.

My initial impression was “meh”, but the later steepings were delightful; this is a nice tea.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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84

Eek! I got this free from Nature’s Tea Leaf for reviewing like a month ago, and just realized that I hadn’t posted a tasting note. Sorry!

The dry leaves are slim and tender with a cool green-gray color and are covered in a downy white fur. This is the second silver needle I’ve tried, and it seems to be much fresher than the first.

The tea brews a nice daisy yellow-gray, and the wet leaves gain a soft, grey, leathery appearance that reminds me of baby lizards.

The taste is sweet and smooth with notes of fresh linen, green peppercorn, and melon. The tea is very slightly floral and reminds me of freshly trimmed gardenia bushes.

This tea was wonderfully soothing and brought me back to center after a long, stressful day.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Denise @ Nature's Tea Leaf

Better late than never. So glad you enjoyed it.

Kasumi no Chajin

“baby lizards” If I was not interested in the tea before, you now have my undivided attention!

tperez

Kasumi, its really good! Did I send you a sample of it in the holiday swap?

Kasumi no Chajin

you did, thank you.

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65
drank Lapsang Souchong by Twinings
107 tasting notes

Got this from the “three free samples” promotion from Twinings, and I have to say it isn’t half bad! Pretty smooth and fairly smokey, but bear in mind this is the first lapsang souchong that I’ve tried.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Kasumi no Chajin

need to try one myself!

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75

Thanks so much Nicole for this nice black!

The tea brews a nice amber color. The taste is smooth and sweet with a slight floral flavor and hints of pecan and red grape.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Black Pearl by The Mountain Tea co
107 tasting notes

Soo many teas I need to try and write notes for! And I think I have some more waiting for me when I get back to school. :P

Dry leaves: The dry leaves have a thick, chocolaty aroma that reminds me of brownie batter. Its mostly chocolaty, but with some nutty/bready smells as well.

Brewing: The wet leaves have a strong, juicy aroma of red apples. Not like “a little bit apple-ish”, like “if I was blindfolded I would think there was a red apple in front of my face” haha This tea brews lighter than I expected, with the red-gold color of oriental beauty.

Tasting: The tea has a heavy charcoal flavor that sort of reminds me of the coffees grown in Sumatra. I wonder if this is coincidence, or a flavor imparted by the land like the Wuyi “rock” flavor? There are notes of honey, walnut, fresh red apple, and I might be crazy, but anchovy? Not in a bad way, just interesting and I don’t have a better word for it. The tea has a soupy quality that reminds me of some Chinese greens like long jing and bi lo chun.

Overall this is a fairly nice tea. Not a favorite, but definitely unique and worth trying, especially with Mountain Tea’s low prices.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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89
drank Black Pearl by The Mountain Tea co
107 tasting notes

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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 three years ago.

My favorites are pu’erhs, Yunnan blacks, and Taiwanese oolongs. I’m not much into flavored teas or jasmine/florals, but I love a good cup of chai or adding a spice or two to my teas sometimes.

Currently taking a break from school, working in Orlando Florida and trying to find my place in the world.

I’m a music lover and have played guitar and violin for quite a while and have also learned to love the sounds of the sitar and hindustani music in all its forms. I’ve become a bit of a guitar “grease monkey” and find building, modification, repair, and dissection to be even better than playing sometimes.

I also love hiking/camping and downhill longboarding when I have the time to make it out to somewhere hilly.

My Rating Scale:
95-100 Wowza!
90-94 Pretty darn good
80-89 Nice
70-79 Decent
50-69 Potable
0-50: Blech.

Location

Orlando, FL

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