466 Tasting Notes
I have a been a bit spoiled with my Shu puerh consumption, so I am difficult to please. I wish to state this at the beginning, so if you’re a different Shu drinker than I, please disregard my harsh words. As I stated, I am very picky with my Shu consumption, for I have heard too many horror stories of the disgusting lake bile out there categorized as the “ripe”. This is a gong ting loose, so I didn’t go in with absurdly high expectations. The description reads “smooth, clean, and does not require a rinse”. I will disagree firmly with all three counts. First, I do not know of many Shu puerhs (or puerhs in general) that should ignore a rinse. Second, this was a very harsh drink. Third, a prominent cloudy factor and dirty notes were constantly encountered. Now, into some more details:
The dry leaf is small and tippy with a slight aroma of fresh soil, minerals, and minor cocoa. I warmed my yixing and scooped the bits inside. I washed the leaves and began my brewing as usual; however, I used flash steeping, for this leaf did not need the extra time to open up, for it was loose leaf. The initial flavor was brandishing and drying on the tongue. I would put it as bittersweet heavy dark cocoa. The brew was coarse and chalky. I thought maybe it was my water, so I changed and cleaned the kettle quickly, and I reboiled a fresh pot. Turns out, it was not my water. The brew continued in a simple statement of dirty tasting. The drink was very harsh to get down, but it wasn’t a pleasant harsh such as: leather, mineral, or dark wood; rather, it was just plain dirty tasting. I kept brewing, for maybe it was going to improve. I experienced a slightly decent period around the fourth steeping when the harsh features tuned down and it was of the earthy Menghai profile Shu; however, the next steep brought this back into the Sahara dryness category. I then gave up soon after. This might be Shu for someone that likes the extreme Shu, but I am not in that group of drinkers. I have had some bitter Menghais before, but this one takes the bing (cake, get it lol).
A chunk of this bing made its way to my door, so I grabbed my yixing and started the kettle. The leaf is lightly silver and green with some yellow. I can pick up interesting tones of corn husk, sweet wood, some honey, and a light floral. It smells alike White2Tea’s plantation Mengku, except this has some distinct corny tones (lol). I warmed my pot up and threw this in. Now, this was a very interesting aroma. There is a Ben & Jerry (Vermont Ice Cream) flavor called spectacular speculoo cookie dough (or something??), and this tea smells almost exactly like that. Its a mix of dark caramel, graham cracker, and butter cookie. The scent is thick, tangy, and sweet. This intrigued me quite a bit, so I washed the tea and began brewing. The taste begins sweet with a strong background of grass. The astringency is mild in the back of the throat, and it mixes with the sweet greens. The qi is slight buzz that hits the forehead. However, this tea kinda goes downhill from there. The taste becomes plain and bitter with basic plantation tastes of grass, slight sweetish, and soft woods. I can pick up a bit of undertones of floras, but that is the extent of this brew. So, all in all, this is special for its aroma, but that is it.
Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Cookie, Grass, Green, Sweet
I’m working my way through these odd and unusual teas. This one was verrrrrryy difficult to photograph. This is probably one of the least photogenic teas I’ve ever had, but i still was curios as what beans and oolong tasted like. The leaf is made up of small bundles of dark oolong balls along with lots of black beans. The aroma is some roast and black beans (duh). I warmed up my gaiwan and placed the snack inside. The scent opens into lots of roast along with prominent edamame notes. I washed the leaves once and prepped for brewing. The taste of the drink was full of starch and sweetness. This reminds me of Americanized mole sauce on an enchilada. Its an odd sweet tone with bean and pungent smoke . I was not a fan of this tea.
Flavors: Beany, Roasted, Smoke, Soybean
This is a beautiful new photogenic cake from whispering pines. I haven’t drank from a 100g cake in awhile, so it seems so cute to me and bite sized. The leaves are long and several shades of pale yellow, green, and silver; in which, they are threaded in a mass of puerh goodness. The cake has a very faint aroma of soft grasses and some light florals, but it is hard to tell. The cake is a bit tight in compression, but I managed to jimmy off a section. I warmed my pot up and placed the fox inside. The tea opens into a sweet grassy and wet wood aroma. I can hint at what I call opaque tones (they are cloudy, somewhat milky, its hard to describe…) I washed the leaves once and began my brewing. The brew is incredibly light and subtle, but it has a decent thickness. The drink has the consistency of milk along with tastes of beans, grass, chrysanthemum, and a bit viscosity. The brew hits the tongue with smoothness and softness, but it retracts and bites with a brief tannic bitter. The session continues in this manner. This is a very clean and “springy” tea. The cup never colors darker than pale jade, and the tones never leave the grass and high floral notes of the spectrum. This what I imagine early spring tastes like. I liked the cake, but I am going to be keeping it in storage for bit. This is a fair cake at the price.
its a multipic, so you gota scroll for more.
Flavors: Beany, Biting, Floral, Grass, Milk, Wet Wood
This is probably the first Georgian tea that I’ve ever had, so there’s that… The leaf is scraggly and dark black with wafting of roast, dark wood, pomegranate, and tobacco. I warmed up my pot and tuck some in. The scents opens to a great aroma of ginger snap cookies and pancakes. This was an unusual aroma for me. I washed the leaves and set to steep. The first sip brings direct taste of dried berries to the tip of my tongue alone with some wood (pine? maple?). The brew is sweet but a tad dry. The tea tastes a bit flat, and its a little thin. The brew grows with some thickness, but it also brings sour notes and with some salted caramel. This was a very “alright” tea, but I wouldn’t chase it down.
Flavors: Berry, Caramel, Dark Wood, Maple, Pine, Roasted, Sour, Sweet, Tobacco
I somehow accumulated a fair amount of this, so I decided to give it a shot. The dry leaf is a wild mixture of light and dark tones with a mass of big white tea flaky leaves. I can pick up an odd grape, hay, dark wood, and hazelnut tone from the mixture. I warmed my shibo up and placed what I had inside. The scent opens into some mild malt, hay, oak, and (take a guess) brandy (lol). I actually chuckled when I picked that scent up. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. This drink is semi dark orange with a nice aroma to it. The taste is smooth, slightly thin, with some candy sweetness. I can pick up the base of dates, burnt sugar, and smooth soft woods. This is a decent tea, and it actually works in its franken state. The brew continues in the same manner, but it yields some heavier wood tones along with a molasses sweetness. The qi is fair, and I experienced quite a bit of heat. I actually liked this tea, and it is definitely a weird one.
Flavors: Alcohol, Brandy, Dark Wood, Dates, Grapes, Hay, Molasses, Oak wood, Sweet
This tea is in the top three for surprise productions. The leaf is silvery and spindle like with sweet and light floral tones as well as some high notes of soft wood. I warmed my gaiwan and slipped some inside. The scent opens into highly sweet aromas with incredible high “white” notes (unripe mango?). I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The base of the tea is cedar with some lovely high notes of pink lady apples. The brew yields a lasting oily honeycomb sweetness with sunflower florals on the exhale. The drink has few sticky rice tones along with a robust caramel color and succulent sweet vapor rising from the cup. I was pulled in tight with this one! A pleasant sour note comes through later as a complimenting bitter, and it provides some good tongue curling. However, this tea its all about the exhale. I was pulling great marshmallow sweetness that engulfed my senses. The qi is high cooling sensation that targets the head and provides nice uplifting sensations. I was picking up Bosc pear by steep 3. The brew ends with a cane-sugar sweetness and the qi drives towards the back of the head with good pressure. Now, after this session I was curious as to what this tea cost. I know with Hai Lang Hao it is either a bit pricey or its cheap. This is the later, and it surprised me quite a bit. This is a great example of the fact that its all about storage and processing. I am a big buff on quality material, but if you don’t know what you’re doing you can really f*$# up. This tea has amazing tones, huigan, and a bit kuwei for the price, plus the qi is actually notable; in which, I find that quality to be rare with plantation tea (especially) at this price.
Flavors: Cedar, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mango, Marshmallow, Pear, Pleasantly Sour, Rice, Sugarcane, Sweet
This one has an odd grassy tone. I can pick up the familiar grassy green tea scent; however, there is a bit of peach and asparagus in there that makes an odd mixture. I pulled out my shibo and brewed her up. The taste is very bean-y. This is an incredible amount of bean. The astonishing beanator. The great gam-beanie. hahah. I could also pick up a bit of lemon grass, but that was about it with this tea. It’s very simple, basic, and not complex at all. It was super easy to drink, brew, and clean up. This is the foundation of a daily drinker. If you like beans, that is.
Flavors: Beany, Lemongrass
This is a great everyday hongcha. The leaves are large, wiry, and shimmered gold and black bits. They carry a deep rich grape scent with some dry cedar, burnt sugar, malt, and a brief sweetness. I warmed up my pot and slipped some inside. Once warmed up, they give off some good hearty wood tones with milk cocoa and hazelnut rising up. The scent and nice and roasted campfire peanuts; good and toasty. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste is sweet yet dry. I can pick up tons of smooth wood tones that is mixed in with sweet malt. The brew is dessert like, but a bit burly. The drink is an easy drinker and carries some good energy. However, the next couple steeping yields a drier, woodier, maltier brew than I would care to drink. It’s a simple tea.
Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Wood, Drying, Hazelnut, Malt, Sweet, Wood