455 Tasting Notes
Picked up some of this one in a recent smaller W2T order. Compression is pretty tight, but comes apart without much of any fussing – so definitely not on the scale of an iron cake or some of the peskier tuocha/fangcha that are out there.
This one had a bit of a dry woodiness to the aroma that may be imparted by the bamboo, or may just be part of the flavor profile. It is definitely young sheng, and being slightly smaller material, it can definitely go astringent if you don’t brew it with a proper touch. Definitely some sweetness and thickness, to the tea. To me, this one is drinkable now, but would certainly benefit from some age. Wasn’t smoky or funky at all – pretty clean taste.
Finished off a small Taobao sample of a 2004 Xiaguan FT brick – recommended to me by James of TeaDB. It was a pretty enjoyable session once I got past the first two steeps which, 14 years later, retain plenty of that distinctive smoky/burly quality that young Xiaguan teas often possess. The material was chopped to hell, but excessive compression wasn’t really an issue.
Flavor in the later steeps was nice and woody with some sweetness and a hint of smokiness. Definitely one of the nicer examples of Xiaguan tea that I’ve tried – this and a few others allow me to believe that Xiaguan can age into something pleasant and very drinkable. I don’t think this had particularly humid storage – not enough to come through in the flavor or aroma certainly.
Sampled this one among a few other Hai Lang Haos. Good value semi-aged cake. Seems to have been stored relatively dryly, but doesn’t have some of the sour off-notes that can sometimes be associated with that – good dry storage in other words. Still has some of its youthful bulang bitter punchiness, but tempered by a honey-sweet, woody finish. A good value buy for people looking for a daily drinker with some age on it.
Sample from my Secret Santea this year – and very thankful for it :)
I’ve come to expect a certain “cleanliness” from Tea Urchin sheng – I haven’t had a whole ton of their teas, but just about all of them have had that clean feeling going for them. I don’t know if that’s really the right word, but that’s how my brain/taster/body process it. It manifests itself in both taste and body feeling. No off flavors strange sourness that can be common in puerh and no crummy feelings or roughness in the gut. It’s sort of become what I associate TU’s teas with – not that all others seem grubby in comparison, just that these are particularly…pristine?
This one is no different – it has a pretty heavy bitterness which I fully expected going into a Lao Man E tea. That kind of clean bitterness though – not really astringent and didn’t make my mouth feel funny or anything. That bitterness is followed by a nice sweetness, though the bitterness is what leaves the lasting impression in my mouth. Great thickness to the liquid of this tea. I didn’t really pick up on a lot of qi in this session.
Definitely one I would like to order at some point. I really ought to try to pick up more TU this year. Or maybe I should focus on drinking some of the tea I already have. What a crazy idea.
Wow, this one was good. I heard a lot of hype in my tea-circles about it, so I gave it a try a little while ago. I don’t know if it’s just my brain making associations based on the name or what, but it really does have a flavor which reminds me of buttered waffles with a small amount of maple syrup on them. Very tasty, thick, sweet. Just about all you could want in a shou. I’ll almost certainly nab a cake when I make my next W2T order if they’re still in stock.
Another TTB sample I believe – just got 4 grams of this one, enough to do a sesh with my 60mL gaiwan. I was pleasantly surprised by this one – I expected these Laotian border teas to be a little bit rougher, but this one didn’t have much of anything unpleasant going on.
There was a relatively unfamiliar and slightly unusual herbal note in the first couple steeps – I can’t describe it any more certainly than that. The rest of the session was pretty pleasant – creamy texture with a good amount of bitterness as one might expect in young sheng. Again, didn’t really take notes or anything, just remembered that it was better than I thought it might’ve been going in, but that it didn’t strike me as anything too special.
Had a session of this one out of the Puerh TTB. It didn’t really stand out to me. Still has a good deal of bitterness, but some of the higher notes it probably had in youth were gone. Seems like it might be in an awkward stage age-wise. Or maybe I just had an off-session with it, who knows. I didn’t take great notes, but I remember bitterness, vegetal, and decent (but not great) body.
Picked up a sample of this one a while back when I was seeking out puerh pressed with aged maocha. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t for me. Leaves had a smoky, slightly pungent aroma. The taste followed closely, with smoky notes dominating. There was a sweetness and pleasant finish to the brew, but between the smokiness and the smaller material, this one was a bit rough.
Could be quite good once that smokiness starts to fade, though will likely retain a punchiness throughout its life due to the small material. Reminds me of a Dayi 0622 that I have. It certainly did seem a bit more aged than I would expect from 2012 material.