14 Tasting Notes
I haven’t had a mini-tuo for years and don’t think I have ever had a raw one as I generally avoid them as a rule. That being said these were rather cheap and as I have been noticing a fair few mini-tuos and cakes coming from vendors I trust I figured they would be worth a shot, though I didn’t have high hopes before starting the session.
The tuos have a very faint smokey smell to them which upon heating becomes a bit more pronounced. After a rinse the leaves give way to a bit of grain/hay/wood scent as well as the smokey notes that were there initially. The leaf material is fairly chopped which I was expecting.
After 1 rinse I did a quick 5s brew, sadly the tuo is still half intact so I am not getting the full force of the leaves during the first brew. The liquor is light in flavour with a gentle tang and some grassy hay notes. Not much thickness or returning taste sadly. 2nd infusion was similar in flavour profile to the first but with more oomph and a bit more of a bitter bite, though with no discernible sweetness and with only a little returning flavour on the finish. The main point of comparison that I would have so far wouldn’t be other young sheng but instead would be low grade gunpowder greens that I used to drink a lot of. 3rd infusion the bitterness came to the front with less of the hay/grass and a bit of smoke.
The remaining infusions didn’t really bring much new to the tea after this. Sadly not one I would recommend, though due to the sale at Canton it was an interesting purchase that has at least made me appreciate a lot of the other sheng I have! Mostly what was missing for me was any thickness or real body to the tea and any returning flavour/sweetness to balance the bitter. Guess I now need to work out what to do with the other 9 tuos that I have!
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Hay, Smoke
It’s been a while since I tried this cake but I always remember it being a very fresh clean young sheng.
The dry leaves didn’t seem to have darkened quite as much as I was expecting but a lot of the fresh younger scent seemed to have given way to something a bit more aged. The colour of the brew was still a rather bright yellow but was definitely darker than before.
The flavour still had some floral sweet elements like when the tea was younger but has now given way to a lot more straw and wood elements. The body of the tea is still thick and there is a good energy that comes with drinking it.
Using it as a test of how things are ageing in UK climate, it seems as if it is a slower process but it seems to be producing good results, (it helps that I enjoy the younger characteristics of this cake as well)!
Flavors: Floral, Grain, Straw, Sweet, Wood
Brewed this in the gaiwan with a slightly lower leaf to water ratio than usual and longer steep times. The heated dry scent of the leaves were a mix of hay sweetness and autumn leaves and was the kind of slightly aged white tea kick I was looking for.
Got a good number of steeps from the tea (around 7/8), gradually increasing the brewing time. The initial steeps were thicker, sweeter and had a good tangy element of stone fruits as well. Later steeps were a bit thinner and moved towards a mineral, woody, hay flavour. I still would like a bit more depth from the tea but for the price range it does most of what I want it to. The feeling the tea gave was particularly enjoyable, even helping to propel me through the final parts of a job application!
After the brews in the gaiwan, I thought I would see what happened if I boiled up the leaves on the stove for a while which produced a very dark brown liquor which had a slightly medicinal scent. The tea had a very soft texture this way and a biscuit flavour which wasn’t there in the gaiwan brewing. I will definitely try a few more white teas brewed this way after a normal session of tea.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Hay, Mineral, Stonefruit, Sweet, Tangy, Wood
I really enjoy a good smokey tea, especially during the winter months and have found it interesting to drink this from Postcard teas. It is made of a blend of Assam, Lapsang and their Beijing Breakfast tea. I have been lucky enough to try and enjoy both their Lapsang and Beijing Breakfast and it is interesting to see how they interact with each other in this blend.
I have brewed in a gaiwan but have used longer infusions and slightly below boiling water. I managed to get 5 good infusions out of the tea, though the first 3 were by far the most rounded and full with later infusions leaning more towards a subtle smoke and mineral flavour with less of the richness and depth of the earlier brews. The earlier brews initially hit you with a good wood smoke taste which was followed by a smooth malty base to the tea with a touch of sweet brown sugar coming through as well.
Even though the tea is mostly about the interaction between the smokey Lapsang and the malty Beijing Breakfast, which is very enjoyable, it has been particularly interesting to note the mineral notes from the wuyi Lapsang coming through on later brews as the malt from the Beijing Breakfast fades away. Perhaps I will have to start making my own smoked blends as well……
Flavors: Malt, Mineral, Smoke, Wood
Looking at the cake I have tried this a few times in the past but can sadly remember much of my previous encounters with it (more due to time than due to the tea).
The first infusion brewed rather lighter than I was expecting (considering this is now around 7 years old) and didn’t pack a huge punch. There was a fruitiness and subtle creaminess, with the tea seeming to have mellowed over the years.
The strength increased for further infusions with more bitterness coming through and a nice lingering taste coming back a while after drinking the tea. Some almost citrus notes appeared to be present later while drinking as well, which offered a certain crispness to counteract the creamy element.
All round I would say the tea is perfectly pleasant, though not to complicated tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Citrusy, Creamy, Fruity
Think I got this as a mystery tea from the site as I can’t find it listed to buy. From the scent of the dry heated leaves it smells similar to a Japanese sencha so I decided to treat it in similar way to one with regards to brewing.
The first infusion had a lot of the umami, grassy tones similar to some senchas I have had, though without the same level of depth. The 2nd infusion was more grassy than the first with some fruit flavour as well but a bit less umami and a bit more astringent (though that could be due to my lack of expertise brewing Japanese style greens).
All round an interesting and unusual tea which is what I want out of a mystery tea from What-Cha. I have tried a few Georgian black teas, which I have enjoyed so it has been good to try a green tea as well.
Flavors: Drying, Fruity, Grass, Herbaceous, Umami
I have had this sitting round for a few years now and thought I would see how it is developing. I decided to have a go at drinking it before breakfast as well to see if my taste-buds were more sensitive as another experiment. I brewed in a fairly leaf heavy (for red tea) way with lots of flash infusions, slowly increasing the time brewing.
The scent of the dry leaf before heating was quite hard to pick up, I think this is due to storage. The heated dry leaf mostly smelt like a medicinal roasted barley, which strangely was very inviting to me!
The wet leaf scent lost some of the barley but had more dark berry smell to it which from memory is similar to how this tea was when I first tried it in 2013. The initial brews were mostly quite fruity with a good bittersweet flavour and a lengthy finish with some returning sweetness. Later brews lent towards a malty assam characteristics and lost a bit of the fruity jam flavours in the early brew.
All round a very enjoyable start to a cold morning.
Flavors: Cherry, Dark Bittersweet, Jam, Malt, Roasted Barley, Wood
Sat down with this as an afternoon brew as I have a sample. I agree with the other reviews that it is nothing to write home about.
It took a while to open up and later brews were more pleasant and rounded. Not a huge amount of bitterness with the brewing that I was doing. the main notes of herbs, leather and wood seemed to not last for that long and I didn’t get much of a coating mouth-feel from it. For the money I don’t think it is bad but I don’t need any more daily drinkers like this!
Flavors: Herbs, Leather, Tobacco, Wood
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Flavors: Bitter, Grain, Wood