86 Tasting Notes

This was in the November 2021 W2T tea club box. I’ve had a few heichas but I think this might be the first of this style I’ve tried. I’m not sure it’s for me. Maybe my brewing needs adjustment? It wasn’t gross but all I really got out of it was a kind of grassy flavor. Not not fresh young shoots of grass, more like old grass clippings. Slightly smoky smelling…just a little, not like an actual smoked tea. I did 3g in a 50ml porcelain gaiwan with just boiled water. Really short steeps at first because I wasn’t sure what to expect, then a little longer after tasting the tea. It seemed to last on and on without much change or fading of flavor (lost count of how many steeps I did before giving up), which would have been awesome if I’d been into the flavor. I only had 15g but there should be enough left to experiment with a few more tiny gaiwan sessions. Interesting to try and I’d be willing to taste other Fu brick teas if they’re included in club boxes or free samples are given with orders but, unless my experimenting produces a different taste, I don’t think it’s something I’d deliberately seek out.

Preparation
3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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I’ve been drinking teas but nothing really new or needing a whole note of its own.

Aiya Ceremonial matcha – as usucha/thin tea, not life-changingly good or anything but it’s drinkable, definitely worth the $8/tin clearance price, froths well when whisked, it becomes bitter if you veer into thick tea territory (didn’t measure, just dumped some in my bowl), lacking traditional Japanese tea sweets I’ve been having it with little maple sugar leaf shaped candies

Bonne Maman Serenity – my favorite of the Bonne Maman teas, nice before bed tea

Bonne Maman Dream – second favorite BM tea, nice before bed

Tea Drops Glow Sprinkles – much better than the sugary Tea Drops, cinnamon very prominent, grabbed several boxes when I thought this was being discontinued but it looks like they were just changing it from the powder packets to a solid “drop” like their other teas

White2Tea Planetary Shark Feed dragon ball – these are aging nicely, less young ripe wet pile flavors now, more yummy sweet molasses-y flavors

Yunnan Sourcing Taiping Houkui – always a favorite!

First teaware casualties of the year :’(
Matcha whisk holder died in the sink while I was rinsing teathings
Dragon yixing pot now has a small chip in the top edge from clumsily dropping the lid

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This is my favorite of all Yunnan Sourcing’s cha gao. It’s been approximately three zillion years since I last had a Sugar Smacks/Honey Smacks type cereal but this tea smells and tastes a lot like I remember that cereal tasting. Maybe a little less sweet, but that same toasted grain sort of flavor. This one tasted more grainy to me and the Jinggu raw cha gao tasted more caramely. I like both but slightly prefer this one. I didn’t like the ripe Jingmai or any of the other ripe cha gao either, which seemed weird to me because I usually enjoy regular ripe pu-erh.

I don’t think I’ve ever brewed these in a teapot. I don’t think I’ve ever tried them cold either, unless the last couple sips in my cup that have gotten cold count. Usually I end up doing a grandpa sort of brew with a couple pieces in a big mug or thermos, adding more water or another tea chunk as needed. This time they went into a travel mug with a few bits of chunky Himalayan pink salt (not really enough to make the tea taste salty, goofy autonomic nervous system requires me to have a high salt diet, too many fluids and not enough salt leads to cool stuff like passing out, dehydration-like headaches and adrenaline surges that feel like panic attacks…there are few things I haven’t tried adding salt to at this point). A little bit of hot water at first, swirled the cha gao around in my cup until they had dissolved a bit, then filled the cup up the rest of the way. No refills this time, just one giant mug to try to warm up and convince myself grocery shopping was necessary.

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I probably could have steeped this better. I was going to do a proper gongfu session with it but I was freezing (new furnace being installed, no heat all day) and it’s hard to stay buried in my blanket nest and gongfu at the same time. I ended up doing a bunch of short gongfu type steeps but poured them all together in a big travel mug so I could bundle myself up with tea and a book. The tea was smooth and sweet but I didn’t really get the fruit-filled baked goods flavors mentioned in the description. Pleasant but unremarkable. I have one more ball of the 2021 and a couple of an earlier version that I’ll try to make more of an effort with. Hopefully not combining steeps will make it more interesting.

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I decided to see how this does as a sort of western/grandpa/extra lazy steep in the tea press. It wasn’t awful but it lost almost all the wild tropical fruity magic it had during gongfu steeping. I got hints of the powdery vanilla deliciousness now and then and but nothing like I was getting gongfu. It was sort of “just tea” flavor instead an intense fresh fruit juice experience. It was okay for mindlessly drinking all day and didn’t clash with any snacks or meals but disappointing when I know this tea can taste so much better.

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I enjoyed this one more than some of my other August samples. It took me a while to try it because when I smell the dry tea the first sniff smells amazing but if I sniff again something smells off to me. Maybe it’s a conflict between the tea base and the flavoring for me? I’m really not crazy about how the wet leaf smells after steeping the tea. There’s some fruitiness coming from the tea leaves that mixes with the perfuminess of the cardamom in a way that doesn’t appeal to me. The brewed tea smells okay to me, though. The green tea has a bit of a bite but not too bad. The vanilla and cardamom give a lovely vanilla cake batter type flavor. It was really good with a shortbread cookie. This is a maybe for reordering. I wouldn’t make an order especially for more but if I was already ordering some other stuff I might pick up at least another sample bag. I really thought August’s black teas would be the ones I liked best but so far the greens and oolongs are working better for me.

Flavors: Cake, Cardamom, Vanilla

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Bio

I may have a mild to moderate tea addiction. Black, white, green, pu-erh, it doesn’t matter. I’m a little on the fence about oolongs but I’m starting to think I’m just particular about how they’re brewed. I haven’t tried any yellows yet but they’re on my wishlist so I can have a complete rainbow of tea. My tea problem is bad enough that I don’t necessarily even need tea in my tea, most herbals are welcome in my house too.

Favorites: jasmine, moonlight white, shou mei, chenpi/tangerine peel, violet, rose, Mengku sheng (especially autumn), anji bai cha, taiping houkui, blooming tea balls, tulsi/holy basil, chamomile

Dislikes: red rooibos, eucalyptus, allspice, flavorings of unknown origin, pumpkin, apple, banana, annoying flower petals that don’t add any flavor but are thrown in to look pretty (they tend to float and get in my way if I brew tea grandpa style)

Location

Montana, USA

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