8 Tasting Notes
At the time of drinking, this tea is 16 years old. Just got a sample of this guy in. I find this tea very surprising. Upon first sipping, my mind is tricked into thinking I am drinking a younger tea. There is some bitterness that fades after the first 3-4 steeps, and a healthy serving of astringency. If I had to pick a wonderful exhibit of semi-aged Kunming storage done right. While many young pungent flavors still last in this tea on the nose, and through character, the tea transforms after swallowing to form a rounded and deeper flavor – immediately dispelling the expectations a young sheng would leave behind. Notes of honey and stone-fruit dominate the character of this tea. I definitely have no mastery over identifying regions, but I think this particular blend adds a nice character and complexity to the tea. While it is certainly a dry tea, and will force you into dryness, the flavors it leaves behind are more than worth the upfront aggression. For me the tea had a calming and relaxing qi, I felt focused and…actually got some things accomplished! Thanks tea! Overall, I’d call this a holistic success, but the more I experiment with dry stored teas pushing out past 15 years, the more I find myself falling into their sweet siren calls. So do take this with a grain of salt.
Flavors: Apricot, Drying, Honey, Honeysuckle, Stonefruit
13 years in to this tea now. Smokiness that had been mentioned in reviews a few years back did not present itself to me in this tea. I also did not find this tea at all astringent. The sample I received was mostly form the binghole (I can’t even write that with a straight face). The wet leaf smelled reminiscent of pine forest. Smelling the lid of the gaiwan, I picked up pine and slight lemon/citrus. This tea was very fragrant and smooth. Bitterness quickly left after a few steeps. I would best describe the tea as mellow, and rich, with decent sweetness left over after swallowing. I found the tea to be quite nutty from the 4th steep on, reminding me of pine nuts. Might be worth trying again for those who had it a few years back. It could be that somehow this tea is right up my alley. I do very much enjoy Kunming storage, and being a desert dweller myself, dryer storage never phases me. Overall, I would say that this tea is a success, and I would eagerly await the flavor it may present in another five to ten years.
Flavors: Citrus, Honey, Nutty, Pine, Sap, Wood
This gongting cake is wonderfully fragrant. I brewed it up in a 100ml gaiwan, using water just off the boil, and very quick flash steeps. The warm leaf is soothingly sweet and floral. After giving the leaves a quick rinse, I took a whiff of the lid. The aroma was the most pungently floral (in a good way, but WOW powerful) orchid and honey smell. The tea soup was silky smooth, and had some wonderful bitterness up front. This tea produces a very strong huigan. A wonderful aftertaste of honey/honeysuckle stayed afterward for a very long time. I am a big fan of long lasting fragrances. I must say that while I don’t know exactly how long all of these teas have been stored with John in Guangzhou, I must say that I am a fan. Similarly aged teas from kunming (which I am also a huge fan of) while very floral, aren’t quite as smoothed out as John’s GZ storage appears to be. This same cake stored even dryer might be a wonderful experience, but I might caution a few more years to round it out. Dayi’s gongting qingbing is a bombshell of fragrance. I wouldn’t say for me this is a daily drinker, but something I want to visit often.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Orchid
This 2006 cake of yiwu area leaves was wet stored in xishuangbanna for 10 years, and then I assume in Oregon with Scott until I ordered it (Jan 2018). This tea hints scents of
chrysanthemum and camphor. The first few steeps have some damp tastes to them. The liquor was immediately sweet upon sipping. It has a very mellow flavor, and the tea soup is extremely smooth. There was a very light aftertaste of honey and some ripe melon. Warm hay scents and flavors were abundant throughout the tasting experience. Overall this is a soft and mellow tea, and a great introductory humid stored tea to try. This pu’er handled being overbrewed well, and would likely be inoffensive to most drinkers, even those who don’t normally drink puer teas. If you’re looking for an extremely vibrant tea, this one could be a pass, but as a soothing after-dinner drinker, I am happy to have this regularly.
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Sweet, Warm Grass
Dry leaf looks nice on this guy. Smells good in a warm gaiwan. Wet leaf is a warm sunny fragrance with some hints of dried fruit. The warm cup after wash has a beautiful brown sugar and raisin fragrance. Reminds me of homemade oatmeal. I had this right before trying the lanhua. The tea has a nice subtle little aged flavor to it, of course at 10-11 years now it’s still relatively young. For a semi-aged puer it produces a very smooth drink, with pleasant aftertaste. I find that these teas are much more interesting after swallowing, which is something I quite love about them. Meihua’s liquor is smooth, carrying some astringency, and muted sweet taste in the mouth. It becomes more interesting with its brown sugary raisin huigan. This tea lasts in the throat and back of the mouth for quite some time. This tea claims to be bulang material, but for those that are worried about the upfront powerful stern characteristics that bulang often carries, fear not. Meihua has developed a pleasant and calm taste, despite its youth. A few more years will likely do it some good and I will likely sit on this for a while, but I would say this is ready to drink daily as an affordable and unoffensive daily drinker in a pinch.
Flavors: Astringent, Brown Sugar, Raisins, Smooth, Stonefruit
cake is pretty easy to pick apart, nice compression and compared to the big factory cakes the leaves are whole and quite nice looking. I gave it a decent first rinse. The dry cup and gaiwan lid produce a smokey scent that I was wary of, as well as some hints of dried fruit. Upon sipping there is some immediate smokey bitterness in the first few cups, followed by a creamy body, and sweet floral return. The prolonged aftertaste is fairly floral, with a slight hint of stonefruit much later on. Although Awazon isn’t the most recognized company, and has no real ground in the community at large it seems, these cakes deserve a try. While it surely isn’t your hand crafted gooshoo billion year old cake, it is a pleasant daily drink. I can only imagine a few more years of aging will produce even more fragrance, and perhaps that remaining smokiness will transform into something even more beautiful. Awazon doesn’t have to pretend to be anything it isn’t. For what it is, I find it to be a treat that doesn’t require guilt or too much attention. Pick one up and pick at it from time to time, you might find a hidden treasure.
Flavors: Apricot, Dates, Dried Fruit, Floral, Fruity, Smoke