89 Tasting Notes
Got a decent sized sample with the Sheng Olympiad. Brewed the whole thing in one go, zisha teapot. Small leaves, slight whiff of more humid storage than what I can do here, evident in the browning already on the leaves. Liquor more amber than is usual for barely close to five years old.
Some light bitterness and medium thickness, more on the spicy end than floral. Pleasant drinker with decent storage. I understand this was a pricey tea but not premium price. I can easily drink this but it’s not strong enough a sheng for me in terms of caffeine and bitterness. If it didn’t say spring I would guess this to be an autumn tea. After about eight steeps I felt like the tea needs coaxing and longer steep times.
I have a fairly generous sample of this with decent dry storage. Heavy fermentation so leaf is rather dark. Still a bit of fermentation left in the flavor. I enjoyed the first four cups which were creamy and smooth, but the tea petered out, a struggle to squeeze out even eight steeps.
I got a sample of this tea from mrmopar as part of a swap in exchange for something he wanted from my stash. His review appears here also, so the reader can keep in mind we are drinking the same cake.
Taking the time to review because I really like this tea. If I can get the money together to buy one at only $74 for 357g, I will. The leaves are still fairly green after six years, but the brew is a dark golden yellow. Not terribly bitter in my book. Floral top notes with vanilla and oak. What’s amazing about this tea is the tongue coating and huigan. This tea coats the entire tongue hard with returning sweetness and balls up in the throat too. Some presence in the stomach. Very strong caffeine. Bit of qi in the back.
12+ steeps and not done yet.
For me this is plenty easy to drink now, but will be even better. I see some char in the strainer but not much, didn’t think this terribly smoky at all. The mouth huigan is just wonderful though, such long lasting enjoyment of vanilla and wood for me. Awesome stuff. I like teas that give unique experiences. It isn’t always about qi or tea drunk, this one just shines for the mouth activity and full flavors. Beautiful tea.
Flavors: Floral, Oak wood, Vanilla
Ordered this tea from blogger Wilson’s new store adventureineverycup.com. He is selling off some of his rather sizable collection. He likes to travel from Singapore where he lives to China and other destinations to buy tea.
This tea arrived with a nice smell of light traditional storage on the wrapper, a sign of a more humid climate like Singapore. The cake is nicely browned. I broke off a generous amount of leaf, maybe 7g and brewed in a Novak mineral clay teapot. I cold rinsed the leaves and then two hot rinses which I probably didn’t need to do.
The initial nose is a whiff of Chinese medicine that goes away quickly and changes to that fabulous old book storage flavor which I love and am always looking for. Tippy buds. Thick, motor oil tea leaves a bit of char in the strainer. The brew is very brownish red which makes the tea look like it has aged already.
But make no mistake, this tea is nowhere near aged. This tea is tongue curdling, ass puckering bitter. My eyes are watering and my hemorrhoids went up into my throat. Lively in the mouth is an understatement. The returning sweetness is almost because the tongue runs and hides and has nowhere left to go. I’m sweating like a pig in a mire on a hot summer’s day, and my scalp is coming off the top of my head. Straight up Menghai profile, cool in the throat with camphor and my mouth swallowed an unripe lemon. Omg wow…
This tea is one powerful son of a gun, and if you bought this, contact me and I’ll buy it right off you. Wish I’d bought more. I don’t care if it real LBZ or not. This tea is kicking me up left and sideways, and tongue rape in the afternoon tea saloon is just fine by me. Hell yeah. This is why I drink sheng. Still flash steeps at eight.
Points are 70+15 for Wilson’s fine storage and another 10 on the tea for what it is, whatever it is. Plus one for kicking Cwyn’s arse.
Flavors: Camphor, Honey, Lemon, Medicinal, Oak wood
I have already written about this tea on my blog. My note there says everything about this tea but does so in themes using a local folklore style and a true story from my life. Perhaps that note is best read after spending some time with this tea, because the details about the tea are less important than the experience and the reason why you might choose to drink it. This is a very high quality experience, you have to gut yourself in every way in life to get to a place where you need something more. But details matter for purchase decisions, they don’t matter to me on my blog but make more sense on Steepster. I also don’t want more people asking me about it, so here are more details for people who really need them, or for the merely curious person who won’t be buying.
I drank approximately 6g per 100 ml with boiling or just a few degrees under. I brewed the tea in a Lin’s ceramic teapot, and eventually transeferred the tea to a very thick porcelain teapot. Both pots hold very high temperatures.
This is a very high tier of puerh evidenced by the thickness of the stems, the durability of the leaves and a myriad of physical effects that you must drink a lot of tuition tea to recognize. The tea is motor oil thick, even with the cake still very wet and with the lighter amount of leaf I used. Flavor explodes in the front of the mouth. The liquid then goes into the throat like a ball of Nyquil and remains there. Finally, it settles into the stomach and stays alive there.
Top notes are both apricot and the grape, early steeps are bitter with honey sweetness creeping in much later. Peppery and medicine in the throat but without the medicine taste, just the burn. Right now the tea is very green and wet and has a lot of settling down to do. Some steeps were yellow or greenish yellow, suggesting that the tea is still green tea. Processing of course is top notch. Some older leaves in the mix of buds and leaf/bud combination stems.
Mega steeper and I’m still trying to steep the tea out after four days. Lost count now past 15 steeps. However, because the tea is wet I’m getting some degradation of the leaf due to high brewing temps that will not be the case in 6 months to a year. That wet vegetal needs to dry out a lot more. I’m amazed the tea holds up so well in the wet state, for example last year’s Poundcake, a lower tier tea, broke down after 8 steeps while this wet. This tea is definitely much more durable. Qi is energy in the middle of my back. I’m not noticing any psychedelics yet, might be too early and too wet. I did, however, get heartburn from the tea which is due to the greenness. I never have got a heartburn from a tea before. But this is powerful stuff, and I expect the greenness to turn and it won’t happen again. I didn’t get any bowel effects as I would from cheap tea though.
I plan to let the tea sit now for at least six months and then I will drink it up. I don’t have time to wait in my life to age this, though I expect that lower notes and many more interesting aspects of the tea are yet to come as it changes. There is strength and bitterness to age but I’m too old to wait. I think if a person is older than 35, just plan to drink it. I don’t want anyone else to drink this but me.
If you want to complain about the price, the size of the cake, the lack of details and marketing issues, then go buy cheap tea and drink that. I’m not trying to make too many more notes here than what I’ve written on my blog except to give a bit more for people who want to buy this now, because it won’t be around for long. This is conversation tea in its very early days, and I hope more people decide to go for it and we can all talk about it for the next year while we enjoy it together.
Flavors: Apricot, Beany, Bitter, Grapes, Honey, Pepper
This is for Verdant Tea’s “Thirty Year” Tieguanyin. Probably not worth making a separate database entry for this because it likely won’t be available again. I bought some of this when I purchased their bamboo strainers, which I highly recommend, and I needed to add only a few dollars more to get free shipping. Thus I tossed this into my cart.
This tea is tough to judge because it has been heavily re-roasted recently. In fact it tasted like it was re-roasted right before I got it. Noticed some nearly char black pieces, the roasting is rather uneven. I mainly tasted the roast throughout with a slight sour note. The tea looked green once the roasting soaked off. I don’t think this is 30 year old Tieguanyin but with Verdant’s track record of misleading marketing lately I wasn’t expecting this tea to be as old as advertised.
On the plus side, it does steep quite a long time. I got 8 steeps before getting bored with the tea and it could have easily gone a few more. I don’t remember what parameters I used but I did use quite a lot of the tea.
This tea comes in small 2g sachets. Directions are to steep 4 minutes at 90C (194F) in one cup. Hard to say if one cup is 8oz, rather doubtful., probably less is better. I used 208F slightly hotter water and brewed for 2 minutes.
Flavor is malty and sweet, rather like a Yunnan black but nowhere near the strength. Adding milk somewhat kills the delicate profile. I only ordered 50g or 25 tea bags for $9.99 and wish I’d ordered the 500g, but then this is really pricey for tea bags. Not exactly economical if you drink two a day. So it’s back to English tea bags, this is carrying me over until my box from England arrives. I’m trying to stay off coffee in the a.m., but I need milk in tea to buffer my a.m. Meds. The good news is, haven’t had a cup of coffee since mid-December of last year.
Still, have to recommend these as a step up from regular tea bags. Wish I was a tiny Japanese woman using an equally tiny tea cup. I’d feel so elegant and Zen instead, but have to accept I wake up Slavic rolling with a heavy mug. Japan all the way in the afternoon though.
I got a sample teabag of this with an order. Used my regular teabag cup, but the teabag has only 2g of tea, less than a usual teabag so admittedly I may have steeped in too much water. The tea has a slightly marine seaweed odor on the first steep, not unpleasant. I get slight flavor of black tea, but otherwise the color of the brew looked normal with almost no taste. Maybe the sample is old, I don’t know.
I did buy an order of black tea bags of another type from Yunomi, along with some loose leaf too. Will compare to see how those are. But otherwise, I prefer a tannin bite when I drink black tea, that savory sharpness.
Flavors: Char, Marine, Wood
This is supposedly a very late autumn tea, picked November 6, 2015. Typical northern profile, floral but with decent bitterness. The tea is very young with thin stems, can’t say these trees or bushes are very old at all. But the tea is clearly different from the 1800 cake with the thin stems and fragile leaves, compared to the thicker stems. Not much thickness here in the brew at all, color is a yellow tinging to orange which seems consistent with an autumn picking.
I brewed all six grams of the sample generously provided to me by Steepster pals in the recent Sheng Olympics group buy. About 100 ml or less. Did about seven steeps and our unseasonably warm weather turned my leaves a bit mucky on day 3 of sitting in the gaiwan, so I decided to toss them after getting a murky looking cup.
Couldn’t find any information on the price tag as the tea is now sold out and was available on pre-order only. Still, my benchmark remains the Chawangshop Hekai at $36 for 200g. This Verdant tea is not a bad autumn brew, pleasant enough and would have steeped much longer than the seven steps I gave it. Can’t see any reason to complain about it as a drinker, aside from the thin brew. But spring tea can be had in the $30 price range for 357g from places like Yunnan Sourcing, so the budget-minded have better choices than this. The 300 year is a boutique romp for people with cash who already have everything they want from the 2015 season.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, White Grapes
Actually, I got a sample of the 2015 version but since there isn’t much call for this, I will just add a note to this entry. Again I find myself surprised at a tea from Klasek Tea. I normally order teaware from Klasek and get my samples that way. Unfortunately we are contending with dollar to euro disadvantage plus shipping, so ordering tea on its own just isn’t cost effective since nearly the same teas can be ordered elsewhere. Which is too bad because this is one nice tea. Dark oxidation, rose in the nose and in the cup. This competes very well with Yunnan Sourcing’s Wild Purple Black, with that rose bouquet. But YS is half the price easily and lower shipping as I can obtain theirs from the US site. Too bad, because the cup here is nice and strong, brews several gong fu steeps. Brewed it strong but my son likes strong black tea, and he really liked this one too.
Flavors: Chocolate, Rose