479 Tasting Notes

Finished sipping down a small sample of this tea the other day. It’s a good aged tea with an appreciable amount of dankness to it. Woody and camphorous for the most part. Easy to drink. At the price BTT sells most of their older sheng, it would make a good ‘daily drinker’ sort of old tea, whether it’s actually from the 1990s or not. Good storage and a good tea.

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drank Bao Tang 2017 Spring by Tea Urchin
479 tasting notes

A random sample in my last TU order! This Bao Tang reminds me pretty strongly of Yiwu in character, with a relatively soft and sweet flavor. There’s scarcely any youthful astringency to this tea. The sweetness is mostly vegetal and floral, not really leaning towards the cakey/vanilla sweetness that can be present in some Yiwu. The texture is where this tea really shone for me. It’s oily and thick both in the mouth and down the throat. True to TU’s description, there is a bit of a cooling sensation in the finish of this tea.

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drank Da Hong Pao (2015) by Old Ways Tea
479 tasting notes

This is a solid DHP. It has rested long enough that the roast is neither sour nor overpowering. Aroma is roasty and sweet. The flavor is mostly nutty and sweet. There is a slight sharpness in the front of the sip, sort of a walnut astringency. The finish is moderately complex, with almond, dark chocolate, walnut, or toffee notes competing for primacy depending on the steep, though most fade to a dry cocoa which lingers in my mouth for a couple minutes after the steep. I also detect slight spice notes, perhaps clove or nutmeg. This DHP is a solid offering which has me looking forward to trying Old Ways’ more aged DHPs.

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I tried this both on its own and side-by-side with its charcoal-roasted counterpart from Old Ways Tea. The dry leaf smelled of honey, graham crackers, cinnamon, a light cocoa aroma and maybe some floral aroma mixed in there as well. It seems the electric roast has brought out a host of aromas without really contributing a heavily roasty note to the aroma. Once wet, a slightly toasty aroma comes through, along with a more distinct floral note and dark fruit, like prunes.

The flavor was smooth, tasting lightly of honey with a bit of a fruity finish. The finish wasn’t particularly long. Before trying the charcoal roast, I had no real problems with this, but seeing what the different roast did to the same leaves, I feel this one pales in comparison. It wins out on aroma, likely because the aroma isn’t muted/covered up by a pervasive charcoal roast smell.

That is the only reason I have this marked as “not recommended.” To me, it is worth the very tiny price increase to go for the charcoal roasted Huang Guan Yin from Old Ways. That said, I would encourage folks to pick up at least a bit of both roasts and do their own comparison.

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I recently did a side-by-side session with this tea and its electric-roasted counterpart from Old Ways Tea. Before trying either, I expected there to be a slight difference, but I figured the electric roast would be at least on par with the charcoal roast. Surprisingly, this turned out not to be the case at all. The electric roast was not bad tea, but it paled in comparison to the charcoal roasted tea.

The charcoal roast, unsurprisingly, had a much more charcoal-y and roasted aroma than the electric roast tea. In fact, the aroma was a little less interesting than that of the electric roast, with the roasting overwhelming a lot of the other notes present in the electric roast. Thus I was surprised when I took the first sip of the charcoal roast tea. It was immediately deeper tasting, with more fullness in the mouth and a much longer finish. The flavor transitioned during the sip from a roasty sweetness, with a bit of sharpness common to roasted teas, but was quickly followed by a sweet and juicy, fruity huigan which reminded me of plums or other dark/ripe stone fruits.

Really a delightful tea, and to my personal tastes, there is no reason to buy any more of the electric roast now that I’ve done a comparison between it and the charcoal roast Huang Guan Yin.

Flavors: Fruity, Roasted, Stonefruits, Sweet

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drank 2017 IPA by White2Tea
479 tasting notes

I really enjoyed IPA. I just tried a sample of it, but I think I’ll end up with a cake. I definitely see the comparison to its namesake. Pretty intense bitter hit, sort of hoppy in character, but I’m not sure I would characterize it as such if it was named differently. What really brings it closer to IPA territory is the fruity aromatic and finishing notes that it offers. I tasted what could be pineapple, apricot, or nectarine in the finish of this tea. Pleasantly thick body calls to mind the mouthfeel of a high-ABV beer in a way as well.

I’m torn on how this might age. The bitterness could transition into something interesting, but at the same time, the higher fruity notes will probably age out of it in time. To preserve more of the original intent of the tea, I will probably end up drinking it up relatively young. Of course, that could all be empty talk when it ends up on the bottom/back of my pumidor and I forget about it for a decade – who knows.

Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Hops, Medicinal, Pineapple, Stonefruits

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drank Taiwan Wuyi by Floating Leaves
479 tasting notes

Great value tea from FLT. Not an overly complex oolong, but very enjoyable regardless. Aroma and flavor are both mostly roasted nuts, coffee, and a strong caramel-sweet finish. This one does a good job of toeing the line – it tastes pretty heavily roasted, but isn’t sour or dominated completely by roasty notes. Texture is smooth and full throughout the session as well. Really pleasant daily drinker type of tea.

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I was really looking forward to this one, after having enjoyed FLT’s Lishan Tie Guanin more than I have enjoyed much of any tgy previously. I was a little disappointed, unfortunately. It was certainly enjoyable, but that metallic tgy taste was quite prominent. I find it rather distracting in teas, as it is not a taste/sensation I appreciate, personally. The description of this tea specifically states that it has the “classic metallic mouthfeel that TGY drinkers love,” which leads me to believe I may have been correct in classifying myself as a non-TGY drinker.

That said, it wasn’t too overpowering, and it was accompanied by some nice ripe fruity notes and a bit of caramel roastiness. I would not personally go for it again.

Mine was the 2018 version of this tea.

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drank 2016 Tuhao as F*ck by White2Tea
479 tasting notes

Tuhao as Fuck is a pretty big and powerful tea. I pick up some wet straw and apricot in the nose. Flavor was mostly bitter, a little bit of astringency, followed by a stone fruit finish. Not particularly sweet, even in the finish, though. I found this one more about body and feels than flavor – it certainly tasted nice though. The body was thick and full in the mouth and down through the throat. I felt progressively warmer as the session went on, getting almost uncomfortably hot towards the end. Went along with a pretty relaxing feeling as well. Hmmm, I liked it better than my review indicates, but I never took particularly good notes on it or anything. This one will definitely be on my radar if I decide to buy some higher-end cakes anytime soon.

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drank 2010 Black Gold by Crimson Lotus Tea
479 tasting notes

A really complex and tasty shou. More than I would normally pay for a shou, but if I was more into them overall, I could see myself going for a cake.

Aroma is woody, spicy, molasses. The flavor is definitely woody, but not the forest-floor sort of woodiness I get from a lot of shou. This one was cleaner, but definitely a bit “old” tasting if that makes sense. It brought to mind images of a well cared for antique chest and/or spiced wood. Texture is pleasantly thick, and there is zero funky pile taste or anything like that. Not musty or even particularly damp tasting.

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A bit about myself: 22 years old, college grad (Double major in Anthropology and History). I plan to make a career of archaeology and hopefully travel (much of) the world in my days.

I enjoy many things aside from tea, including gaming, mixing cocktails, reading, watching anime, and painting miniatures.

My favorite type of tea is sheng puerh. Particularly younger stuff, if only because I haven’t gotten the chance to taste much of anything aged. I also really like oolong (Taiwanese, Wuyi, Dancong, etc.) and Japanese Green Teas. I do also enjoy most other kinds of tea, but they aren’t what I normally buy. I’m not a huge fan of shou puerh, black tea, or flavored blends, with few exceptions.

I really like interacting with the tea community, so if you ever want to talk or swap teas or anything, feel free to shoot me a message or something. Follow me and I’ll follow you back. Probably ;)

You might also see me on reddit as /u/Matuhg



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