390 Tasting Notes
Another sample from the same teafriend! I normally don’t bother with green teas, aside from the occasional sencha or gyokuro, as it’s annoying to have to drink them while they’re still fresh and I just like oolong and puerh better 9.9/10 times. I certainly wasn’t going to say no to a package which included some fresh teas though! I think this one is the first fresh Chinese green I have tried.
I tried it gongfu first, and found it to be so-so. It was vegetal and brothy with a bit of grassiness.
I much preferred it the second time I drank it when I did grandpa style. It took a while for all of the leaves to sink to the bottom, so I had to filter through my teeth for the first couple mugs full. The flavor was actually pretty intense at the start – very brothy and nutty, with a bit of a vegetal flavor as well. The nuttiness was the main flavor I noticed through most of the session. I think there may have been a bit of straw or hay underneath as well. I didn’t pick up any notes which I would describe as “bright” or “crisp.” No fruit or anything like that. The flavor also had an unusual depth to it, which I had a bit of trouble placing, but I think it was some umami in the nutty flavor which was tricking my palate some.
I certainly enjoyed my time with this tea, but Mao Feng won’t be something that I pick up on a regular basis or anything.
Flavors: Broth, Hay, Nutty, Umami, Vegetal
I got a sample of this tea from an awesome teafriend. It is my first go with a Duck Shit oolong or any kind of greener Dancong. I’m not sure I ever actually nailed the brewing over my three sessions with it. First attempt, I used boiled water, and it was generally bitter and unpleasant – failure. Next two, I used 195F water, which was much better.
The dry leaf had a creamy/milky, floral, honeysuckle sort of aroma to it. Once wet, it smelled more heavily floral, and also a bit vegetal.
The flavor was floral, buttery, creamy, and vegetal. I didn’t notice much of any evolution over the course of the session. Pretty constant and tasty. Based upon this session alone, I prefer the darker dancongs, but I still need to try some more green ones.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Green, Honeysuckle, Vegetal
An interesting tea for sure. I picked up a sample of this and some of W2T’s other really high end stuff to see how it was. I’m really not sure how I feel about this one. It definitely wasn’t a flavor powerhouse, but as he has said, flavor isn’t necessarily what Paul is going for on some of his teas. This one has a reputation of being a bit of a face-melter, and while I didn’t quite have that experience, I definitely picked up on some qi from it.
The dry leaf had a greenish and pungent smell to it – there may have been some florals in there, but it really just smelled powerful to me. It didn’t change much after a rinse. It mostly just smelled “shengy” to me.
I found the flavor to be simple but pleasant. Certainly some bitterness involved, but not enough to chase me away. Grassy at times, but mostly a buttery vegetal flavor in the first half of the session. The flavor started moving in a sweeter, fruity direction around 8 or 9 steeps in, most notably in the finish. By the time I was squeezing the last bits of life out of it, the flavor was slightly syrupy and a bit fruity.
The texture of the liquid was incredibly thick and sat heavily in my stomach. In the first session I did with this tea, I didn’t feel the qi starting to build until I was about four or five steeps in, and it sort of just flowed through me in a relaxing way. Not too face-melty, but nice feeling. The second session was more notable and…weird I guess. Starting very early on in the session, it was distracting me from whatever I was trying to do at the time. I kept hearing music in my head, but not any songs which I knew…strange hip hop beats or something. I don’t usually listen to that kind of music or anything. Maybe it was the Kendrick Lamar song which this tea is named after (which I have never heard). I pretty much couldn’t get anything done as I drank the tea this second time around.
I like this one, and it had a weird qi effect to it. That said, it hasn’t inspired me to buy a full cake of it for the price it goes for. I have enough left to do one more little session with it, so I’ll probably try that with 200F water like Oolong Owl did on her blog review. Glad to experience this one. That second session was sorta surreal.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Fruity, Grass, Sweet, Vegetal
Dry leaf on this one smelled roasty, caramel, earthy. After the first steep, it was roasty and very bready. That scent foreshadowed the flavor of this tea, which remained roasty and very bready – almost doughy in flavor + mouthfeel, if that makes any sense. No off-flavors or sourness either, which is always a plus in these often-scary little TGY packets. I liked it a decent amount, but not enough to want to buy any more of it.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Roasted
I got a sample of this tea a little while ago and just finished it off. Based on when I ordered it, I believe it to be the Winter 2016 crop. The leaves are vibrant and green, and the aroma from them is floral and buttery, with just a bit of a savory character to them.
The tea starts off with mostly vegetal flavors, kind of kale-ish with a buttery texture. The finish is more fruity or floral, and the tea has a mouthwatering sweetness. It is very easy to drink.
As the session went on, I found it getting more juicy and/or crisp, and the finish became more buttery. The tea went on and on and on, easily 16 steeps, maybe up to 20. It seemed like no matter how many times I steeped in in the last half of the session, it just kept on giving a nice and pleasant creamy flavor. Not as flavorful as earlier infusions, but very drinkable and tasty.
This is an awesome green TW oolong. I will definitely be ordering some when I make my next order from BTTC (hopefully soon!).
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Kale, Sweet, Vegetal
Didn’t realize this was an iron-pressed cake when I bought a sample of it. Those normally annoy me greatly, but this one wasn’t too bad. It took some work to chip a piece off the sample and then get that piece to break up in my gaiwan, but nowhere near as much as some of these other highly compressed cakes I’ve tried. The aroma after my rinsing didn’t please me too greatly – a bit leathery and acrid with a bit of a camphor-y aroma. Not damp or musty though.
The first steep was a little unpleasant – leathery, cloudy liquor, but there was some pleasant woodiness underneath which gave me hope for the rest of the session. The leaves also look a lot better than most highly compressed tea I’ve seen. Not too great of quality, but not absolutely lawn-mowered.
The rest of the session got better for sure. Mostly woody sweet notes, with maybe a bit of a floral touch in the early part. The texture was milky, but did not really fill my mouth, and the flavor did not linger a long time. I didn’t pick up any qi off of this one either.
Seems to be simple, decent tasting aged sheng. Not a lot going on though, so no chance that this would be a full-cake purchase for me.
Flavors: Leather, Sweet, Wood
Finished off my sample of this one western style. I didn’t take much of any detailed notes, just what I remember. The first cup was nice and rich, a bit of chocolate, malt, and honey. From this cup alone, I was convinced that Western Style was better for this tea than gongfu, but the rest of the session made me less sure. The tea dropped off a cliff both flavor and intensity-wise after that first steep. It was still good, but more of just a light honey sweetness like when I was brewing it gongfu. Even when I accidentally let the third steep go for nearly 30 minutes!
Seems to be a black tea on the lighter side of things. Easy sipping.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Sweet
Just tried this one for the first time last night – I brewed it up gongfu. Pretty nice looking leaf. It smelled chocolatey and a bit malty when I sniffed the dry leaf. The flavor simple. Just got some honey sweetness and a bit of sweet malt. Pleasant though. No astringency or off-flavors or anything. I’m going to try to brew the second half of my sample Western-style and see if it yields anything more interesting for me.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Sweet
I got a sample of this tea months ago in a reddit swap. Yellow tea is not something I have encountered a lot of – the only other one I’ve tried came from Teavana. This tea was pretty nice, but I had trouble describing the flavors I was tasting. The dry leaf had a slightly salty and sweet aroma, reminding me of pretzels and raisins, oddly enough. After they took a bath, they smelled buttery, grassy, and almost smoky for some reason.
The flavor started off light with some grassy notes and a sweet finish. The finishing sweetness intensified as the session went on, while the front of the sip became more of a dry grassy/straw flavor. I could not put my tongue on what exactly the sweetness reminded me of. Some things I wrote down included fruity, candy, cotton candy, and spiced cake (that was only on the last couple). I’m not sure what I would really compare it to, but it was a pretty strong sweetness. The texture was thicker than most green teas I drink, but didn’t really approach the viscosity some puerhs give to the brew.
One that I enjoyed drinking and am glad to have tried, but not anything which I need to buy more of. It also hasn’t really convinced me to go seeking out other yellow teas.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Fruity, Straw, Sweet