171 Tasting Notes

I’ve already reviewed this tea and noted its clean, sweet profile but I just figured out why I’m so enamored of this tea: the wu liang is as dissimilar from green tea as a sheng is likely to get, and not being a big fan of green teas, this is a great characteristic. Very consistent, no bitterness, sweet but with a little bit of fruity bite, this is more like an oolong than most shengs. An excellent tea to drink right now.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
JC

I’ve had this cake for a WHILE now and I haven’t tried it. But I’ve heard good things so far.

Doug F

Yeah, it’s not a “wow, this is the most amazing, complex sheng in the world” kind of tea, but it’s really nice to drink, very easy to brew and you can taste the purity of the leaves and the fact that they grew in such a remote, pristine environment.

JC

Yeah, Wu Lian is never flashy, but I’ve had really good examples of it. I’ll dig this one out this week. I did end up buying a 2015 Huang Shang cake from YS in his last discount. I hope there aren’t any other specials before the holidays, I need to buy presents before I’m Puerh tempted! lol

Doug F

I know. I just ordered a bunch of black tea and the green miracle from Scott’s US site with the 15% discount, but there are so many others I want.

JC

I started putting things on my cart and then I looked in horror, partly because the amount I had accumulated and partly because I knew I needed to start taking a few things off it. lol

Doug F

That’s what I do. Build up and shave off.

Ginkosan

Damn Scott’s Hongcha is what’s up.

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drank BaDa 2013 by pu-erh.sk
171 tasting notes

I’m having a tough time getting a handle on this tea. I’ve had it three times but it’s proving a bit mercurial.

It has a rye bread smell in the dry leaves, which are fairly small and olive green when infused. The first couple of steeps have hints of corn and almonds and caused my mouth to pleasantly pucker. It’s not a thick tea but it creates a kind of swelling in the tongue along with significant salivation.

Steep three witnessed the emergence of a sweeter, stone fruit profile, but also hints of gasoline and substantial bitterness, especially if you push the steep times. And while I wouldn’t characterize the qi as ass-kicking, it’s definitely noticeable—and long-lasting. It’s a good tea to drink at work because it focuses and animates rather than intoxicates.

A hard nut to crack, this one.

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

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drank Wan Gong 2014 Spring by Tea Urchin
171 tasting notes

My experience with this tea represents a cautionary tale not to judge a raw pu-erh on one session or even the first couple of steeps in a session. One’s relationship with a sheng is a story that unfolds over time, with turning points, climaxes, different moods and tones.

When I first tried this tea I thought it was pleasant, a bit mild for my tastes perhaps, but clean and friendly. And that impression continued into the first two steeps of the latest session. But then something happened on the third steep that caused me to adjust my estimation of the Wan Gong. All of a sudden it became a little sweeter, thicker and duskier, with a juiciness you get from eating a red grapefruit.

It could be that I first tried this in the midst of drinking stronger teas and it got lost in the cacophony of those noisier teas. Anyway, this is a really well-processed, calming tea with beautiful leaves that has some surprises in store when you find its sweet spot.

It has taught me to soldier on with All the Light We Cannot See, a book that is a bit precious for my tastes but hopefully will hit some other notes and prove worthy of its considerable reputation.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
mrmopar

I wasn’t too impressed by this one at first. Time to do another brew I see.

jschergen

This sums it up well for me too. I’ve had some very good sessions with this and a few others where it’s good, sweet, but less exciting.

JC

This is what I started doing about a year and a half ago (partly the reason I’m so bad at uploading notes now). I do at least three sessions with a tea before deciding how I feel about it. I’ve had teas blow me away the first time, to only feel somewhat bland later, then I’ve had some that never caught my attention but now turned into daily drinkers. This was the case with a cheaper jingmai that w2t had, mid aged very mellow. Now I’m trying to find it again and I can’t.

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drank GuShu LinChang '15 by pu-erh.sk
171 tasting notes

I’m really loving the oily mouth feel of these 2015 gu shu teas from pu-erh.sk. I think rustic is a good description of the LinChang. There’s no discernible floral or fruity flavors; instead, the broth is dominated by evergreen and smoke, reminiscent of a lapsang suchong. It leaves a little bit of brightness at the corners of the mouth but it’s mainly an earthy tea and, unlike the HuaZhu Liangzi, it calms and soothes.

So if you need a break from the ubiquitous sweet and fruity shengs and your predilection veers toward the more chthonic, give this one a try.

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

Thanks for the note. I have a sample of that sitting around. It smells super smoky.. Have been airing it out for the past month.

Doug F

Maybe I have a high tolerance for smoke, but I felt there was less smoke in the liquor than in the smell of the dry leaf.

jschergen

Quite possible. I haven’t tried it.

I did have the Xiaoshu Lincang which was like drinking an American BBQ. Probably an OK tea underneath it, but was too much for me.

boychik

Ha, Xiaoshu Lincang is my fav. Incredible thick mouthfeel. It is smoky but oily and sweet not smoky bitter.

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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
171 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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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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