106 Tasting Notes

This is definitely the best Mengku area tea I’ve had. Big woody, minty notes, super clean storage, thick as oil and steeps forever. Calming, euphoric and clarifying qi…but is it worth $450 a cake? I’d have to compare it side by side with a 2008 Bingdao and the 2011 Mushucha from YS that I’ve had in heated storage (that’s really done wonders) both for which I paid a fraction of this price. I’m not a big Lincang drinker and usually drink it to change things up a bit. It is amazing tea but for that kind of coin I’d prefer to spend it on a high end Yiwu. If Mengku area teas are your thing this is a must try.

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Holy camphor Batman! Throw in some pine needles, pine smoke and pine tar and you have this tea. Very resinous old school Yiwu. None of gentle smoothness I expect from Changtai. Early steeps are dry, thick and resinous. Later steeps are sweeter. None of the florals or gentle relaxing qi I expect from an Yiwu, even an old school resinous Yiwu like the Naked Yiwu from Teas We Like. This stuff is very medicinal tasting and leaves me feeling stoned and jangled in a not so groovy way. Interestingly it was dry stored in Houston. This sample only arrived 2 weeks ago so perhaps I should let it rest before making a final judgment but as it was ground shipped over 3 days I doubt it’d make much difference. If you like aggressive lapsang teas or jangly unnerving stoner qi you may dig this stuff. I don’t see myself caking it anytime soon.

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If you are wanting to throw $500 at a 200g cake of tea, this is an excellent choice but a tad too rich for my blood. Very glad I tried the sample tho. I’ve drunk a fair amount of young WanGong and it’s one of my favorite tea areas. This is my first with a bit of age (Xishuangbanna I’m guessing) on it. Big camphorous forest flavors and deep woody notes…exactly how you would expect this tea to age. Big stoner qi with all the muscle relaxation and sweating you’d expect from such a tea. It’s very costly but considering there are vendors selling 2016 teas of unknown origin for almost as much it’s not out of line. If you share my love of border tea and can swing it I recommend sampling this and any of the teas on this site.

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I’ve been drinking a lot of Thai teas lately and this one is among my favorites. Like the other Thai shengs I’ve had this one benefits from a bit more leaf and pushing a bit harder than you would a Yunnan counterpart. I get about a dozen steeps and am rewarded with caramelized nuts, Red Man chewing tobacco, curry spices and a mild cedary note I typically only get from Yibang teas. Medium bodied, very clean storage and evidently very high quality old tree material. Deep meditative qi. Doesn’t have quite the depth of an Yibang tea but at 1/4 the price or less I’m in. If I drank this blindly and you told me this was a Taiwan stored Ding Jia Zhai or something similar I probably wouldn’t argue. Interesting thing is I’ve been sampling a good bit of young Thai and Laotian material and they taste nothing like Yiwu to me. They remind me of lemongrass soup. I’ve also sampled the 0803 which is priced the same and a similar tea but has a more bitter up front taste and lacks the cedar notes. I recommend sampling any of the teas from this vendor.


I love this one too! Very well-aged tea :)


I like it enough to grab a few cakes…

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I’ve had a difficult time trying to acquire a taste for Fu Zhuan. I have a gallon sized ziplock bag of samples that have gone mostly untouched. Typically I’ll try one steep, make a funny face and dump it out . I just find it weird in a way I can’t relate to. Likewise with old puerh that has golden flowers. Just a peculiar mold with a strange character. Today I decided to give another shot expecting to dump it and reach for an aged sheng. This stuff has lotsa golden flowers. I’m nervous. Wet leaf surprising smells like Amaretto. A good sign. Taste is of marzipan and wet wood. No basement weird character to speak of. Through the steeps, the sweet nutty flavor gives way to tart woody dry almost English old ale notes. I don’t know if I’ve finally acquired a taste for this stuff or if it’s just this particular tea that’s struck a chord with me. Gonna have to try another one tomorrow and see. I have read others notes that say the qi for this style is grounding and balanced. I can see that. As for body feels it’s more of a superficial tingle accompanied by a relaxed head. I was going to go for a bike ride on this cloudy day but after drinking this I’m content to stare out the window…

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One of my favorite tea mountains and a really good year for Yiwu area tea. Big, thick forest notes and smooth bitterness harmonizing with the sweetness. Notes of fruit and honey. Fairly long steeper. Nice drowsing yet alerting and contemplative qi. This is sold as gushu but I’m not sure of the age of the trees as the leaves are firm but the stems are significantly thinner than some top shelf GeDeng teas I’ve had. Those teas were twice the price and somewhat better than this tea but not twice as good…diminishing returns. If you want a solid GeDeng tea at a reasonable price this is the one I recommend.


Yiwu teas haven’t done much for me yet, but this one…

Nearly $0.71/g though. This has to be the most expensive sheng I’ve tried.


It’s $.58g if you buy the cake. The 2016&17 are much less but lack the punch the 18 has. Still not cheap but most other good teas from Gedeng start at $1. The same is true of most of the more potent Yiwu teas with real intense character and heady qi, like the border area teas from WanGong, GFZ etc. that often bring $1.50. Certain Yibang teas bring $3 as maocha. Ouch. The more affordable Yiwus tend to be the milder delicate teas like Walong and Gaoshan which do very little for me…but…in the past I’ve said the same about Manzhuan teas and called them polite as an insult but have grown to appreciate their delicacy in flavor and qi. Some of the YS Autumn teas like the Yibang have a good bang for the buck but high end Yiwu is generally quite pricy and unfortunately my favorite. Some lower grade teas are available but for the money I’d rather buy an old arbor northern tea like boundless by EOT or a Mengku area…

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I’m mainly a sheng drinker and typically only reach for an oolong when eating stir fry, curry or other Asian food. I bought this high end dancong last year (slightly over $1g iirc) , sampled fresh and was underwhelmed. This morning I was in the mood for something different than the young sheng I usually blast my system/tastebuds with, reached into my dancong bag and grabbed this. My oh my what a difference a year makes. Super oily, sweet, plums, lychee, hoisin and sesame oil notes complimented by notes of herbs I have yet to taste (and I have a big herb garden. Typically I only crave roasted oolongs when eating food that’s heavy on toasted sesame oil as they go together so well. I rarely drink them on their own. I could drink this stuff all the time. It steeped forever too. The qi is great too but different then sheng. A chilled out wave of relaxation and contentment. I’m beginning to understand oolong fanatics. I only wish I had a Peking Duck to go with this but they’re a little hard to come by in a small town in Central Pennsylvania at 9am. Luckily I have about 2 sessions left so I see a Peking duck in my near future

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So EOT is offering 3 new Guyolin teas. 2 from 2020 and one from 2019. They recommend comparing the 3 here which I will do here. I blind bought a cake of the 2020 Tianmenshan because one of my favorite teas from last year came from that village in the form of dragon balls sold (bc there wasn’t enough material to cake) by Yiwu Mountain Tea and cost $2g, $1.50 on sale. The tea from EOT from this village this year is $1.20g so I took a gamble hoping they would be similar. They are. Same big oily tropical fruit and coconut oil notes, penetrating qi and both steep forever. The other new Guyolin is the 2019 Yao Zhu Di which has a balanced bitterness, nice balance between herbaceous notes and the signature Guyolin fruit notes. It has active grounding qi but to its detriment drops off rapidly after 6 steeps which is disappointing bc you want the session to go on twice as long. That tea is $1.10g and I would recommend it if it steeped longer…but…now for this tea…

This tea is a shapeshifting monster and the most expensive at $300 for a 200g cake. The first 2 steeps remind me of WanGong area border tea with big, potent evergreen forest notes and coconut oil thickness. From the 3rd steep onward this tea is almost identical to the tianmenshan with its big tropical fruitiness (I want to call it Manzhuan’s big sister). The qi is similar to the Tianmenshan as well but goes deeper. I can feel it in my bone marrow and it lasted most of the day. Not saying I regret buying the Tianmenshan cake instead of this because it’s an amazing tea but this offers everything it does and a bit more. Oh yeah and I lost count of the steeps. Not sure if I’ll cake this or not as the price is close to that of Chawangshu or Tongqingue which are my favorite gardens and I’m waiting to see if anyone releases teas from them this year before exhausting my tea budget but I am tempted. If you are a fan of the more attitudinal Yiwu teas, this is a must try.

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I’ve been a huge fan of all manner of black tea since the early 90s particularly second flush Darjeeling, Fujian, Yunnan and Assam teas but last winter fell headfirst into the sheng world and the rest is history…


Central Pennsylvania

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