It’s a pretty scrappy looking cake, but the soup it produces is great. The leaves are ridiculously long and many have difficulty fitting into my gaiwan. The compression is so loose that enough leaves for a session can be gathered from the cake just by lifting it and prodding the sides a bit, causing dried leaves to fall onto the wrapper like raindrops. And it’s aroma is extremely pungent. The time spent bent over the cake collecting leaves caused my face to become flushed and my eyes slightly irritated. It smells very smoky and aggressive.

The strength of the aroma carries over to the wet leaves and soup, although the profile changes somewhat. The tobacco smoke remains to some extent, but a certain caramelized fruitiness and faint ginger quality emerges. The mouthfeel is as burly as the scent.

The opening is quick and somewhat dull, with rough, dark sweetness. It rapidly develops into something stronger with average complexity and great depth of character. It lingers expectedly, gradually evolving into a spicy-cool finish in the throat. The coolness is intense and lasts quite some time. The aftertaste is cool and moist, with a kind of sticky sweetness, but my body is warm. The tea is stimulating, but only slightly so. Further steeps add a nice throaty bitterness and more fruity flavors, treading farther from the initial smokiness found in the aroma.

The second time I tasted this I actually measured the amount of leaves I used (6 g/100 mL), but my results were less intense and lighter in depth than the first time. I had used more leaves from the edge of the cake, which are much longer than those closer to the center and those within the body of the cake, and are attached to even longer stems. I guess I’ll have to pay more attention to what parts of this eclectic blend I’m using for each session in the future.


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I’m fanatic about all things tea-related. Lately, I’ve been fascinated with Wuyi yancha, aged Taiwanese oolongs, and sheng pu’ercha. Nearly all of my sessions as of late are performed gong fu, with pu’er tastings comprising probably eighty percent of them. My collection of pu’ercha is small, but growing steadily. Much of the specimens I drink daily are various samples, although I dig into a cake every so often.

I love trying new teas and I am always learning all I can about the world of tea. Hence, I spend a majority of the time I devote to tea either drinking, writing notes in my journal, or reading. But mostly drinking, as I think it should be. Since I have handwritten logs of everything I drink, I cannot usually find the extra time to log my notes here, and unfortunately my online log is underrepresented.

When drinking, I look for a tea that presents a unique experience, something that involves every sense and provides intrigue in every aspect throughout steeps. I search for teas with balanced complexity and something that makes me keep reaching for my cup. I yearn to find all the positives a tea possesses and every subtle nuance hiding among the leaves. I try to be detailed in my notes and deliver a more comprehensive view of the tea, paying attention to things other than simply flavors and qualitative aspects of aroma, such as the form of the liquor and its development in the mouth. Things like this are much easier to compare between teas, as I find them to be more consistent between sessions, and also make distinctions between a good and mediocre tea easier to make.

Adagio UtiliTEA electric kettle.
For gong fu, a 100 mL porcelain gaiwan and a 100mL Yixing di cao qing xi shi pot dedicated to mostly young sheng pu’er.
I drink all green teas in small (maybe 450mL) glass tumblers in the traditional style, with off-boiling water.


Fort Myers, Florida

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