167 Tasting Notes

95

It’s nice to take a break from my raw pu-erh obsession to remind myself that there are other teas I love besides sheng (and Yunnan black teas). Yesterday, I had a cup of the intoxicating shincha kunpu from Den’s tea and today I spent some time with my first love: Darjeeling! This first flush is beguiling, with initial flavors of honey and tangerine that cede to a heady floral perfume. I know first flushes can be a little challenging to steep but this one has no astringency or unpleasant bitterness.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Whoa! Within seconds of tasting the first steep, my and my coworker’s heads were already buzzing and the tea was quickly blooming in our mouths with a heavy, lubricating, candy-corn sweetness. Flash steeps kept the bitterness at bay and allowed the sweet citrus taste to emerge. There was very little drop-off in flavor or body after 7 steeps, at which point I had to step away to eat before being fully possessed by this tea.

My first selection from pu-erh.sk is a strong and delicious winner!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 130 OZ / 3844 ML

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This is a highly lubricating, cooling tea that promotes intense salivation. Notes of butter and apricot mix with a little smokiness and a more pronounced fruitiness in the later steeps. Not overly sweet with good longevity.

Like Superman in his guise as a mild-mannered reporter, the smoothness and amiable nature of this tea belies its powerful narcotic effects, which are considerable.

A really nice selection.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
JC

HA! Man, we are in sync I started it last night and I’m drinking it right now. I though it was going to be more complex based on the dry leaf scent but it is mostly balanced and thick with a sort of light oil feel. Nice note.

Doug F

That’s hilarious! We do seem to have similar tastes. I’ll probably return to it this afternoon.

JC

I’m going to try the 2015 Da Qing Gushu later. I haven’t tried it yet but I did open the sample bag to open it. If you have it I’ll go ahead and say it smells promising.

jschergen

I’m a fan of that Daqing. That and the Huangshan are my favorites of the Jinggu teas Scott released for spring.

Doug F

Something else for my wish list!

JC

Jschergen, those two are VERY good. Doug get ready to be broke this coming holidays. lol

Doug F

I’m already spending my annual bonus. I just got in touch with Emmett to get in on the group order of the YangQingHao teas. The Yiwu chawang that James just reviewed sounds delicious.

jschergen

Nice! Those are some great teas. The TsangLiu (to be reviewed next week) is another option if you want something a little heavier. Same price. Hard to go wrong with any of the Yiwu/Mengla County teas that Yang is selling.

JC

This is the Puerh version of the opposite of an AA meeting. LOL I’m just making notes on what to try next. See you in the next PEA meeting guys. (Puerh Enablers Anonymous)

jschergen

Hahahaha :).

mrmopar

This is a great tea.

DigniTea

Definitely agree with @jschergen “Hard to go wrong with any of the Yiwu/Mengla County teas that Yang is selling.”!!!!

jschergen

Did you start working your way through them @DigniTea?

DigniTea

Worked through several samples Emmett sent with my order. Next week I’ll start hitting the new cakes!

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97

Many teas don’t have to be complex to be appreciated. They might display a few outstanding characteristics that make them a joy to drink. Case in point: this 2012 Man Zhuan. Enticingly sweet, thick and oily mouth feel, bee pollen and fruit flavors and slow-building Qi.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
DigniTea

I enjoy this one very much!

jschergen

Good point re: complexity. Reminds me of the Marshaln post where he describes all good teas being the same.

Doug F

Thanks. That’s an interesting idea and true, I think. Whether I’m drinking Keemun, Darjeeling, Assam or Pu-er, there are certain basic attributes that resonate: good body, balance, aftertaste. I guess that’s why I don’t get too consumed with the exact provenance of teas: this bush or mountain or plantation; a good tea is a good tea is a good tea.

jschergen

Yep, exactly!

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93
drank Qimen by Joseph Wesley Black Tea
167 tasting notes

When I’m not drinking Pu-erh, I’ve been instinctively reaching for a few select black teas, one of which is this Qimen. It’s like pouring black-cherry and tobacco infused honey that has been stored in oaken casks down your throat. So smooth, immune to over steeping and light enough to drink any time of the day. 50 grams gone; I’ll have to double down.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
TheTeaFairy

Whoa! Awesome description, that tea is exactly that!!!

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91

This is a rival for my Yunnan black tea affection along with the Jingmai Mt. Wild Arbor. Equal parts chocolatey and fruity, with just the right amount of bite and a bit of a nutty finish. Super drinkable: it’s one of those teas where you turn around and realize you’ve guzzled the whole thing down. Kind of like my relationship with Skinny Pop popcorn.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
JC

HA! I just had this yesterday. I agree with the chocolate and fruit notes. To me it was a fun transition between a maple like note to a light cocoa note and then lots of stone fruits and apricot. I also got nutty notes not sure which I’d use to describe it, but definitely included corn. I’d give this about the same if not a bit higher score. NICE NOTE!

Doug F

Funny. I’ve had it for a couple of months but just got around to posting a review. I like it more and more and could easily see giving it a higher score. It’s so ridiculously inexpensive too.

JC

Agree with you there. I think this is the kind of stuff you drink to treat yourself, my wallet can’t handle a daily drinker like this. I’d do one to save completely for a while and one to slowly and jealously pry every once in a while.

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This is emerging as one of my favorites from my recent sample haul—deserving of a cake purchase. It has some sweetness but it’s definitely a bass rather than a treble tea, most notably in the smokey, pine forest taste that really stood out to me this time. This tea deserves attention: one can parse out a panoply of interesting textures and flavors. And as someone that can handle pretty strong shengs, I can tell you that this one provides a pretty potent high.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
Charles Thomas Draper

I agree with you

jschergen

I like this one too. One of the better values and a standout + good value tea.

Stephanie

Nice, nice

mrmopar

Fantastic tea and excellent dollar value.

Doug F

@jschergen Would you consider eot’s Yuanwei a good value at $90 for a 200 gram cake?

jschergen

I’d say it’s a fair value and a good tea. Not a deal IMO.

According to my tastes, the best value in the $0.35/g+ range YQH teas Emmett is coordinating.

jschergen

To be clear. Above comment is talking about the YuanWei, and not the Kuzhu.

Doug F

Thanks James! Sorry, what does YQH stand for?

DigniTea

Yang Qing Hao (also translated as Yan Qing Hao). A few of us have taken part in group orders placed by Emmett through a TeaChat posting.

DigniTea

High quality YiWu productions. James mentioned one (mid-way down the page) in a YiWu report.
http://teadb.org/slightly-aged-yiwu-puerh-june-2015-report/

Doug F

Thanks DigniTea!

jschergen

Yep, thanks Dignitea. Feel free to shoot me a PM/email if you want more details.

curlygc

I nearly got in on one of those YQH buys, but I didn’t pull the trigger b/c there was no way to sample the tea before plunking down a couple hundred bucks for cake. I don’t mind spending money on tea I know I like. I wish YQH tea was more available here. I’ll probably end up regretting my decision!

jschergen

Maybe buy the cheapest and ask Emmett to send you samples :)? Pretty sure you wouldn’t regret it. I understand the concerns though. Some really good teas.

curlygc

@jschergen: I did ask him, but he didn’t get back to me and I didn’t pester him about it. I was considering the 05 TsangLiu. Grill said he’d put samples in the TTB, so I will eventually get to try it. I just don’t know if the opportunity to purchase it will happen again!

jschergen

Been messaging Emmett just today. Should be happening next month :).

TsangLiu is a very solid tea. There’s also a 2007 tuo that’s something like $130/300g that’s also quite good if you want to try the bare minimum.

curlygc

Ohhh! Maybe I can get in on the next buy then. Thanks for letting me know :-)

jschergen

No prob. Hope you get to enjoy these teas!

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98

I enjoyed another session with this delicious tea that starts out light and sweet and emerges in the middle steeps with a strong honey/rock candy sweetness, excellent throat feel and powerful chi. Lemon and apple linger throughout and there’s just the tiniest hint of orchid woven through the profile. Alas, my sample of this benchmark tea is kaput.

On a side note, I find it odd that I have a high tolerance for chi but a low tolerance for caffeine, so my capacity for drinking sheng is much higher than black tea, for example. Are there any other caffeine-sensitive folks that experience this?

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 130 OZ / 3844 ML
boychik

Chinese black or Indian/Ceylon? chinese black or pu dont bother me at all. i can drink them at midnight no prob. Assam is a different story.

Doug F

I have to limit all types of black tea to one or two cups a day, but Indian teas definitely affect me more.

boychik

You need to try Old Arbor Mu Shu Hongcha spr15. I’m falling asleep after two chahai

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87

This is a nicely balanced black tea akin to a medium-bodied Assam. It has just the right amount of sweetness and could serve as a perfect morning cup, especially on this wind-whipped New England fall day. A little bit of smoke and leather to keep you interested.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Oh my God, my mouth is still salivating three hours later and it won’t stop. I’ve been hoarding this for a few years, parsimoniously steeping some here and there. It’s so delicious, with a mix of butter rum, cherry pipe tobacco and eucalyptus. This tea vibrates from the throat down to the chest, with a cooling, mellowing essence.

It’s nearly 10 years old now and it’s fascinating to experience the metamorphosis to deeper tones.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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Bio

I love tea and living in a place that is cold or cool nine months of the year, tea is a constant source of warmth and education. I always drink tea straight and rarely drink flavored teas or Tisanes, except for the occasional Rooibos. I’m a proud father of two young boys, an avid skier, motorcyclist, reader, and runner. I have a doctorate in English (dissertation on Emily Dickinson.)

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