21 Tasting Notes
Very enjoyable, cleanly aged, elegant, great mouthfeel, flavorful, smooth, dynamic, beautiful and intact leaves — right on the money, really. Many positives, the obvious downside is the $1.40/g (and up) price tag, there is no free lunch. The second negative is that it loses steam and dimensions faster than I’d like at this price tag. Now obviously some tea from this years harvest cost more per gram, so hard to complain for 40 years of storage.. But for my palate as a casual oolong drinker, the value proposition of mid-2000s oolong seems superior.
Is it a good tea? Yes. Is it worth the money? Yes. Should you try it? Yes.
Will I buy more? No.
So back in November 2015, I was envisioning how I would spend Christmas holiday drinking good tea and getting back to some steepster reviews .. well, seems like that didn’t happen. I drank all the tea of course, but confusingly steepster is kind of unpractical as a tea log, so I stayed silent about it.
Anyway, it’s not every day I notice a $300+ tea on Yunnan Sourcing, probably because I filter them out for my own safety. This Jingmai caught my attention though. According to description, it hails from mangjing, which I believe is considered more aggressive than “jingmai proper”, in general.
I tasted the rinse and drank the first (flash) infusion thinking “seems a little soft?”, but obviously it was silence before the storm, I had even seen the forecast. Come second infusion, strong mouth-coating bitterness that stayed around ever since, along with astringency. Great mouth-cooling effect and throat feel, makes itself known all the way down, and the buzz is evident. Nice and consistent leaf quality in my sample, crystal clear brew. At about 8g/160ml gaiwan, it’s still potent at about steep 8-10, but it is yielding to become a softer, more balanced drink. Either that, or my palate is completely lost for the day, it’s not clear.
Value-wise, $0.80/g seems in line with todays market for a limited availability high-end tea, but it comes as a big 400g cake, and a $320 entry fee it is a little hard to swallow, but worth considering.
It could become 100 days of pure ecstasy at a shitty retirement home, is that worth $300 less in hand today, plus babysitting it? I will reconsider if it’s still in stock when I get around to finishing the sample – “Limited Quantity”.
Edit: Been brewing this on and off for two more days; it did indeed calm down and has been brewing quite stable sweet/fruity with good texture and a little bite.
I’m not sure what to say about this tea really; it’s clean, smooth, nice huigan, tongue-tingling, mouth-cooling, spicy.. It puts the storage of many teas to shame, and overall it delivers. BUT it’s not as durable as I expected; had to start pushing early/hard and by 13 or 14 infusions it was completely done for, except spicy aftertaste (I can probably do like an 8 minute steep, or dry it out and get a few tomorrow, but meh…)
Is it worth $1100/bing for drinking? No way. You’d have to be a serious collector to buy this. I still recommend sampling it though, it is an excellent dry-stored tea, and in bite-sized chunks it’s worth paying for the education. I have enough for another session, and will do a side-by-side with some other well-stored 90s tea.
Mellow and sweet with some astringency mid-session – light, clean and easy to drink. I could consume 200g of this, but unlikely to buy it because… reasons. If you’re shopping on a tight budget and want something easy-going, it’s a superb deal ($0.085/g you really can’t go wrong). If your preferences lean towards the aggressive, or you plan to age it, the “old tree” bada ($0.1/g) is probably a better buy.
I tried it and didn’t like it at all. It was bitter, astringent, sour without any sweetness. It’s like you and me were drinking too different teas.
Huh! That does sound pretty different. Could be parameters, how our palates are tuned, or maybe even different processing/material between batches.. My sample is gone, so I can’t go back to try again.
It struck me as a boring tea for my taste, and I don’t mind bitter/astringent!
It is definitively bitter, it’s clearly written in the description on Chawang Shop website.
But it’s the kind of bitter that converts to sweet pretty fast.
That bitterness was something I actually look for, transitioning from coffee.
That said, if you use short infusions, this tea is truly mellow and easy to drink.
Not the most interesting tea but it’s my current daily drinker : at work (not paying as much attention to what I’m drinking as I should with tea), for that price, it’s actually quite nice as far as I’m concerned.
At least, it’s as clean as tea comes : no smoky taste (unlike the 2015 cake of the same tea), no funky business whatsoever.
Got a generous freebie of this from Yunnan Sourcing at some point, and I’m working actively on clearing room for 2016 samples. It starts out mostly vegetal, and moves into fruity, and keeps on going, and going, … I could not brew it out yesterday, still potent today, after at least 10 steeps yesterday. Energizing, aggressive, durable and dynamic is how I would sum it up. The only negative for me is that it’s somewhat unbalanced early on, which I’m sure will change with age, or to some extent with parameters.
At $0.275/g, it’s just a touch more expensive than the w2t middle tier; a top deal if you like’em young & wild. If I hadn’t already overstocked on 2015 teas, I would get it immediately. I am probably still getting it. Just not today, I think. Maybe I will just get samples of the different years. Watching this one closely either way.
edit: just to clarify, this tea is potent. If you want mellow, look elsewhere.
Good opportunity to drink this one, since I had an excellent 2004 Yiwu GFZ yesterday. These teas are pretty similar in profile, but this is noticeably more “youthful”; more astringency, a little less slippery, and less humid.
The brew is crystal clear both in appearance and taste, very fruity, sweet, active and enjoyable. Huigan is great. Leaf quality is maybe a little below the GFZ, more broken stuff, but it is “cleaner”, and less affected by storage. Maybe a state-of-mind thing, but the qi was more noticeable for me this session, this tea gives me a buzz.
I would love to own it, but the price per gram is an elephant in the room; at $0.70, I’m not convinced it’s the best value for me. If I had a well-tested storage setup that I knew would do it justice over the coming decades, I would probably pay up the $0.70/g, wallet be damned. For short-term consumption though, it falls in the “maybe, but probably not” category for me
Is this tea really a GFZ? Who knows? My experience with “known genuine, pure aged gfz” is nonexistant, I just got a sample for the educational value as usual. Smooth, creamy and overall pretty amazing texture and mouthfeel. Sweet, nice humidity, coats the mouth and throat, good huigan, balanced astringency, good storage. Leaves are excellent quality, going strong at 9 steeps now.
With todays prices it’d be a no-brainer at $0.40, probable buy at $0.50, but it’s stuck at “maybe” for $0.70. It’s quite a bit of money and from first impressions I’m not convinced the value is there for me. I will consider it closely with the remainder of the sample though, because it is thoroughly enjoyable and good longevity, which to some extent can offset a high price..
Recommend getting a sample.
Thanks! My value judgement is not anyone else’s course :)
It just seems more important for clarifying my thoughts than “hints of spice in the Nth infusion”, especially for teas I don’t own.. so I decided to write it down
I predicted this to be among the least interesting of my random chawangshop samples, but it turns out my prediction was completly wrong.
Youthful and a little aggressive for its age (dry stored), many interesting features. Mouth activity is good, texture is quite smooth with decent body, aftertaste is good with some lingering bitterness. There is definitely chop in it, but it’s not hard to pick out some nice, intact leaves. It’s interesting enough to keep steeping, even on a tea-Friday.
Is it worth $0.30/g though? Meh.. Maybe. It’s a closer call for me than other teas in the sample binge (so far). I wouldn’t mind owning it, but hesitant to take $100 out of the tea budget to get it.
Pretty fruity aroma but the taste is more like earthy-sweet-fruity with some astringency. Marginally more interesting than the 2004 Xinfu Yiwu I had yesterday, which is the same price range; a bit thicker and overall darker notes. Leaf quality is decent, but with a fair bit of chop. It would probably remain drinkable for several more infusions (but it’s going in the bin now because I’m bored with it).
Same conclusion; it’s decent, but also not something I would buy at this price.
Another one from chawangshop bargain hunt. Seem like this tea is no longer available (I’ll refrain from commenting on the chawangshop search feature… suffice to say it may be in there somewhere). Not sure how it was priced; sample was $10/25g, so I would guess $0.30/g range for a beeng.
It is certainly a big step up from the 2005 Nan Nuo I just had; more balanced, thicker mouthfeel, more active. It has lost a bit of steam by the 5th infusion, especially in terms of texture. Profile is quite light and sweet for a Yiwu. Overall good, but not amazing (e: and if it is in the $.30/g range, I would buy something else, but it does show some potential for improvement with age)