106 Tasting Notes
Big big big. That’s how I rate this tea. Big bold body. Wonderfully balanced bitterness. Nice spiciness. If you told me there was lbz in this tea I would not doubt it. Energizing yet relaxing qi. When the sample first arrived I was not impressed either way but after a few months I blown away by how a tea can be so bold without being harsh or obnoxious. Love to try this wet aged for 10 years. I plan to get a cake.
Not sure exactly what to say about this tea. I’ve had Jinggu Bang white tea but never sheng before. For starters, I thought with a tea in this price range it’d be safe to drink 10g before work…oops. Good cha qi for the buck. That’s for sure. It’s fairly sweet and thick with nice floral notes, almost locust blossomy. That said, there’s something lacking, like that bright snap one often gets in a young sheng. I just found it sorta flat, like it needed a shot of acidity or something. I was half tempted to raid my homebrewing stuff and spike the leaves with a pinch of citric acid to see if that helped but I had no time for such experiments so after 6 steeps I tossed the leaves into a thermos and did the grandpa style brew which was pretty good. This cha is a little young to make a totally accurate assessment but it does have its virtues but it also leaves me a little flat. I have about 30g that I’m gonna let sit a while longer and revisit it.
I did not get any sweetness or fruit either. If I did I’d buy a cake for sure as I like the other things going on in this cha. I get lots of smoke, pepper, cumin and perhaps a bit of ancho. In fact, this tea reminds me of the burnt ends of a West Texas brisket hold the sauce. But i find it dry, bone dry . Leave your throat as dry as 120 proof scotch dry. It’s also thin. I like tea with an oily backbone and I’m not getting any. The qi, OTOH is amazing. Tingly, relaxing and chill and of a quality that I usually only get in teas twice the price…so I’m still on the fence about getting a whole cake. I wouldn’t think twice about splitting one with someone though…
I usually don’t get excited over shou but omg! The complex flavors in this sweet brew makes me want to compare it to a port (or a Belgian quad as I’m always comparing tea to beer) chocolate covered cherries and marzipan with a woody earthy backdrop. This is the sweetest, thickest tea I’ve ever had. I’m enjoying it with a brunch of roasted butternut squash and duck bacon. Wishing I had a Peking duck to go with it but Chinatown Philadelphia is a 4 hour drive…not much qi from this but the mere flavors of this stuff has caused my brain to release enough dopamine to keep me smiling all afternoon.
This years is even better than last years. Those who were turned off by the intense bitterness of last years will be glad to know the bitterness is more balanced this year and there is a wonderful wild fruitiness and floral character that changes each steep. I’ve just now tried the wild monk and see a lot of similarities but this is more refined and the qi is awesome. I’ve had a few LBZ teas this summer and the qi of this tea is very similar. My buddy and I split a tong as we were both super impressed.
This tea reminds me of cardamom and pear cider with a touch of grape blossom in the finish. I see that others tasted dill. Looking back I can see that, but it’s odd as I don’t like dill but I really dig this tea. Wish I could take this to the Indian buffet and drink it with the rice pudding that has grapes, cardamom and almonds in it
If my math is correct, this 6g pot of tea cost $60. Is it worth it? Well if I had Zuckerberg’s money I would get a tong of this as the flavor and qi are outta sight. First, the flavor/aroma . There is a state park near where I live called Trough Creek. The rims of the canyon are lined with cedar, oak, rhododendron and white pine. After the leaves have fallen in November and there is a rain followed by a warm day, a beautiful aroma of decaying leaves, evergreen mushrooms and decomposing oak fills the air. That’s the essence of this tea. The qi? This has all the nice tingly mood elevating properties of camellias much debated cousin but none of the goofiness and fogginess or paranoia. Just nice. Add a muscle relaxing property and a bit of mental clarity and you have it. I drank a pot of this at 2pm, took a convertible ride and it was like I was driving through a painting. I then went to a local jam session and each note played really resonated. Was this pot of tea worth $60? Well, I’ve payed that much for 50 year old English barleywine ales, 6 ounce bottle at that. I actually see a lot of similarities between old sheng and old beer. I also see how decades of aging really enhances the qi. None of the 10,20 or even 30 year old stuff I’ve had compares. I recommend this tea for very special occasions. I’m having a pot of 05 naka to see if this tea is really 10 times better proportional to cost. I’d say no but it’s definitely 3-5 times better. Makes me wonder how the puerh sk rareness will be in 50 years…
I initially made the mistake of sampling this tea alongside more bombastic young gushu. At the time, I was like “yeah it’s smooth and warming but meh…” A few weeks later I sampled 8g by itself and the beauty of its subtlety hit me. Again, I make a beer comparison-Irish cream stout. Dark nutty, herbal, vegetal and forest flavors that hide amid the creaminess and oily texture. This tea is quite generous and generates warm fuzzy blanket body feel. The perfect thing to have with a bowl of French onion soup on a rainy day. The price is a little salty but this stuff really strikes a chord with me.
This tea is huge! A while back (before I started this habit of reviewing tea online) I ordered a bunch of 2016 samples and Peter kindly included a ton of samples of 2017 gushu. I believe there was ManNuo, LaoManE, BangPen, Naka and a few others. All of these teas are beautifully processed and have outstanding material. In fact unless tasted side by side , I had trouble telling many of them apart. They have a great consistency. The GeDeng is the one tea of this bunch that knocked me out and the one I purchased a cake of (although I considered the Naka as well). Glad I did as it appears to already be gone. This tea has a big bold herbal kick and smooth bitterness and a nice oily texture. There is a wild, woodsy flavor follows by mild stone fruit and spice. The qi is bold, euphoric and energizing. Just the thing to drink before a long hike or paddling excursion.