163 Tasting Notes

Ineffable rock-candy sweetness with notes of corn and hay, the broth generously lubricates the mouth and is quite persistent in the throat. I’m really amazed at the consistency of this tea that steep to steep pumps out consistently sweet, clean, full-bodied mouth-watering liquor with no ebb in flavor and no bitterness. People talk about price per gram of tea, but maybe there should be a price-per-excellent-infusion category in which the Guang Feng Zhai would challenge for supremacy.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
jschergen

Nice review. Sounds pretty tasty! Do you think the strength is pretty comparable to the 2012?

Doug F

I don’t think it has as much oomph or all-round complexity as the 2012 but there are no “waste steeps.” It gets up to speed quickly and remains there.

jschergen

Got it. Thanks for the note :).

boychik

i feel i dont need tons of cheap average pu. i still have my price limitations but i raised them

jschergen

@boychik. Definitely agree! I think my limit is around the $0.50/g mark or so. Have a hard time rationalizing anything beyond that even if it’s pretty awesome (i.e. Last Thoughts)

Doug F

Yes this cake sits comfortably around the .50/gram mark as does the 2014 Wan Gong, which I didn’t think was quite as good.

jschergen

Yeah. I like that Wangong a good deal, but it didn’t quite have the oomph of their GFZ (at least their 2012).

On a semi-related sidenote, I’m very curious about the Dark Forest that they just added.

mrmopar

jschergen I just put an order in today with some of the Dark Forest in it.

jschergen

@mrmopar . Cool! Looking forward to hearing about it.

Doug F

The description is very alluring.

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This is a dynamic, complex and powerful young tea that starts out sweet and almost buttery with a pleasantly lubricious mouth feel. Make no mistake, this is a bitter tea, but it’s a productive bitterness that coaxes out the flavors of the tea (apricots, nuts and maybe a hint of anise) in the same way that the right amount of salt enhances good cooking. It’s tongue numbing in the middle steeps, and the flavor slowly morphs from fruit to vegetable as the session continues. Another delicious young sheng in the $50/cake range from Yunnan Sourcing. I shared this with some sheng-newbies at work and they loved the mix of drinkability and complexity.

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

Sounds delicious. Next Sheng sale and I’m in big trouble.

looseTman

At least you have enough restraint to wait for a sale!

Doug F

There are a lot of good 2014 cakes in that $50 range; it will be tough to decide which one(s) to choose.

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90

I’ve developed a sweet tooth for many of the YS wild arbor black teas (which often hail from the same villages and mountains as their raw pu-erhs), so I thought I would check out a different kind of black tea. I was rewarded with a really nice cup, albeit one that is a little tough to characterize. In one sense it reminds me of a red robe oolong, a tea that I’m not particularly fond of, but wedded to a creamy, cannabis-scented maltiness and you get a delicious and forgiving tea that can handle a longish steep and extra leaf. It’s very nice to drink in the evening on the cusp of autumn, when the perfume and dried fruit seem to presage the coming season.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

this tea reminds me taiwanese reds. it has this cherry-plummy-nutty notes.

Doug F

I totally agree. It’s really nice!

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Next up on the YS sample tour is another excellent young tea from Bang Dong village. The aroma of the dry leaf is uniquely toffee-like and reminds me of my favorite candy bar: Skor! The first steeps are floral with a caramel sweetness and a nice mouth-coating viscosity. A luxurious creaminess emerges around steep three or four along with a tip-of-the-tongue sweetness that persists through the 10 or so steeps.

This tea really performs best when pushed to 30 seconds or so; the creaminess and floral notes are allowed to shine while the bitterness is still kept at bay.

Another very satisfying raw pu-erh which deserves a place in my decidedly lo-fi storage area—a kitchen cabinet that my wife grudgingly sacrificed to my addiction.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
curlygc

Wow! Adding this to my wishlist!

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Scott Wilson is spot-on with his description of this high-elevation tea, which coats the mouth with a pleasant lubricating sweetness and remains balanced and free from bitterness and astringency through many steepings. Prominent mineral, hay, and soy notes linger in the throat. I feel joyful, calm and focused after drinking this tea; any caffeine effects are sublimated in favor of positive energy.

This is a very fresh tasting and delightful tea that is an absolute pleasure to drink right now and a bargain to boot! If I had any kind of influence I would fear that broadcasting its under-the-radar excellence may cause a run on this sheng, but as it is, I urge anyone interested in a daily drinker to give it a try.

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

Twist my arm, as if I needed a reason.

jschergen

One of the staples in Scott’s line. I’m a fan.

TeaBrat

sounds fab :)

boychik

wanted to wishlist, turned out i did it before ;) I think its a sign

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97

I’m a big fan of Man Zhuan shengs and this one in particular. It starts out soft and minty with a hint of lemon. The mid-steeps present a flavor reminiscent of icy-cold mountain spring water with a sweetness that coats the throat and a pleasant touch of bitterness to keep you honest. The tea has a calming energy and good endurance.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML
Stephanie

I love this one!

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94

This is an exquisite black tea with a flavor profile unlike any other I’ve tried. A trinity of flavors (spearmint, candy-apple and fresh tomato) in perfect harmony create a really special brew which leaves a wonderful tingling sensation in the mouth. I might shorten the steep next time to eliminate the modicum of bitterness. I’m looking forward to trying the Wild Elephant from TS soon.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

Sounds really special

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My love for mountains and cold weather draws me to high elevation teas and for no other reason than that (and the entertaining session on teadb.org with Crimson Lotus) I bought a cake of Whispering Sunshine. I’m glad I did—it’s a lovely tea to drink now with a pale pinkish yellow broth and a nutty, evergreen profile that coats the mouth and tongue with a light effervescence.

I pushed the middle steeps to about 30 seconds and was presented with a subtle smokiness that perfectly complements the rock candy sweetness on the tip of the tongue. The energy in the leaves is perfect: buoying but not overwhelming. An excellent tea at this price point and one I’ll surely reorder.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
boychik

Very nice review.

Doug F

Thank you boychik!

mrmopar

It’s a good one.

Crimson Lotus Tea

Thank you for the review!

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95

My mouth is numb and I can hardy speak, much less type. Love this Sheng—not too sweet, moderately fruity and a tad bitter, with a pleasant smokiness emerging in the mid-steeps. And teak.

Very little viscosity. A little bit of vanilla custard sneaking in.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
DigniTea

This is a special tea. Big fan of this one myself.

Doug F

I agree. I ordered the 2013 to see how it compares.

Stephanie

I’m so sad that it is sold out :( I love this one SO MUCH!

Stephanie

By the way the Miles Birthday Blend is 80% the same tea! It’s REALLY good too!

Doug F

Thanks for the tip. Next order!

jschergen

Doug, I’m curious about that 2013. Not much has been said about it, especially compared to the 2012! Please post your notes when you try it.

I think they’ve pressed a 2015 one too, don’t think it’s posted yet too.

Doug F

I will. It’s on the slow road from China along with some YS samples I’ve purchased based on teadb reviews and recs.

jschergen

Cool! Hope you enjoy em.

DigniTea

Thumbs up on Miles as well!

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93
drank Qimen by Joseph Wesley Black Tea
163 tasting notes

The small, expertly-crafted leaf portends an excellent tea, and this Keemun does not disappoint. The dry leaf has a voluptuous chocolate smell which mixes with roasted chestnut when the leaf is infused. I like to drink this in a glass mug to see the rich, reddish liquor, redolent of cinnamon.

Chocolate, cinnamon and clean tobacco flavors are in perfect equilibrium and the tea sparkles on the mid-palate. As it cools, a cotton-candy sweetness emerges. The taste persists in the mouth and throat for a while after the session.

From dry leaf to aftertaste, this tea is a wonderful experience.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

I love this tea ;)

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Profile

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.)

Location

Maine

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