72 Tasting Notes

90

Let’s meet the Star-Fruit!

Bouquet: What you instantly discover is a certain citrus lemon like character within its deliciously steaming atmosphere. The first thing that came into my mind was star fruit aka carambola. Beside this first layer next ones are building their foundation as follow – This buddy literally screams “Spring” – with its freshness and field flower herbal hay bouquet you’re getting a nose full of aromas like dandelion, gentian, marigold, Greek mountain tee with its typical tree resin character further followed by woodsy notes, acacia honey and fragrantly beeswax steaming cups.

Taste: Talking about its silky soft liquor there is definitely a resemblance to a slightly aged white tea like Shou Mei noticeable but also hints of Oriental Beauty (but not as sweet but more like the grasshopper bitten aspect) and also a remarkable similarity with those fresh sun-dried Pu-erh buds. Taste-wise it nearly hits the same aspects as within its actual steaming bouquet with a major citrus star fruit layer all those named fresh hay field flower & herbal compositions plus the lovely finish of acacia honey, fresh cut young woodsy accents with tree resin to it and a certain propolis beeswax coating. Within this with little age blessed Sheng you are also discovering a certain well placed bitterness which I compare the best with the one of gentian. It isn’t overpowering but wisely fused together with all the other parts and pieces of this magnificent symphony. Highly enjoyed it!

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97

Already astonishingly aged and so so GOOD!

Bouquet: The steaming aroma starts with a very mouthwatering sourly layer and smoky tobacco notes which also shape the major aspect of whole experience. There is a certain mix scent and taste-wise to this fellow which contains a fusion of those great lovely pistachio nutty aspects purple leaves varieties got and those thick and already more mature aged facets of wet thick tobacco profiles with smokey pinewood nuances followed buy grilled pears wrapped in cranberry ham and sprinkled with subtle traces of Worcestershire sauce.

Liquor: Taste-wise like I mentioned before both stages walk more or less side by side. As amazing and breathtaking already the steaming atmosphere was as marvelous and magical is its actual tasting experience. The liquor is creamy soft with a constant dense wet tobacco flavor filled with smokey woodsy notes and astringent sourly nutty layer while finished within an echo of grilled ham with cranberry notes and pears but also slightly notes of grilled butterfish with a fine lemon-Worcestershire-marinade plus fine lemon peppery notes of Sichuan pepper and a certain dark rye bread flair fresh out of the oven at the very end of it. Within the 4th infusion its whole character looses a bit of its creamy texture but gains a much more naturally sweet profile.

Opinion: This is really a great slightly aged Sheng which got a massively amazingly potential to be outstanding if you age it for another 10 or more years. Definitely worth buying a whole cake or even a tong.

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98

Breathtaking example of a Ban Zhang-ish Gushu!

Bouquet: First and Foremost the dry bouquet is already a marvelous experience of its own. The actual deep and manly tart notes of oud (aka aged Agarwood), old leather also leading to in leather wrapped very old books and tobacco are crucial elements of this masterfully composed Pu-erh. Especially the last aspects shines through its steaming wet condition which turns on the intensity even more within those former named aspects. Beside those a certain slightly sour mouthwatering experience is making it even harder to resist its actual matured liquor. Later you might also find a slightly hint of pickles inside its steaming atmosphere.

Liquor: This buddy is indeed a massively warming one with a strong and mature manly character to it. Its silky soft texture is so highly exquisite and so unbelievably well composed – it is a massive delight enjoying such a marvelous Sheng. Even for its quite younger age its actual wisdom and mature character tells a different story. With woodsy notes of bamboo and rosewood plus a massive major layer of oud mixed with hints of sandalwood are building the foundation of this highly enjoyable act. Old leather and tobacco are the other major aspects of this composition. Beside those already named nuances the aftertaste is the part of the sweet and very ripe fruity notes which reminds me a lot of apple/pears cider or a very natural cloudy pear juice. There is a certain sensation within its echo which introduces himself a bit like composting fermenting fruits. This buddy gets better and better each round you dig into its complex symphony. After its third infusion it even gets more creamier and silky.

The price of this masterpiece is definitely not for small pockets BUT as high as it is the quality is even higher! Definitely worth trying and one of the best textbook examples for a perfect aging participant!

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92

Barbecue meets Dark Forest meets Darjeeling meets Dark Chocolate!

Bouquet: Everything starts with steaming mist of smoked cranberry ham followed by flavorful waves of Worcestershire and hints of Barbecue sauce. Within the following deep breaths you’re also going to discover baked potatoes, subtle aspects of sweet paprika spice and oregano. Very thick and deep notes plus massively juicy mouthwatering! The roasted smokey atmosphere gets even stronger within the later infusions.

Taste: This amber colored cup delivers such a nice silky creamy liquor with woodsy elements of aged wood like a fine mix of sandalwood and agarwood, birch juice plus a leathery tobacco mix but not overpowering with a dark sweetness of dark chocolate at the end of it. Later those dark aspects of chocolate with a hint of raisins to it plus another subtle note of dried figs builds the second layer above the earthy aged wood base of this highly intense and delicious act. I never experienced something like this before but this is the first time that the whole composition of an aged Sheng reminds me a lot of a strong first flush Darjeeling red tea (if you keep the tea longer in your mouth). There is a lot of this typical red tea (black tea in the west) character to be found. You can literally taste all those twigs, fallen leaves and tree barks along the way with its dark sweet elements of chocolate, raisins and dried figs. There is also a certain subtle sour-ish comeback within the aftertaste which builds up a lot of juice inside your mouth. Within the later infusions (4+) the black tea (red tea) flavor completely vanishes also a lot of the dark chocolate aspects while the woodsy leathery and tobacco front stepped more onto the front stage of this play.

This is a fantastic example of a well aged Sheng with deep and strong flavors. But if you’re just into those more stronger aspects they might vanish soon. But you can enjoy its stronger side for at least 6 times.

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90
Spring all day long!

Bouquet: This fine buddy develops a very nice thick mouthwatering vegetable sphere with a mix of kohlrabi (turnip cabbage) & eggplant in a slightly grilled or baked version plus a fine layer of cranberry smoked ham finished with a elegant placed peppery note and fine herbal field flowers to it.

Liquor: The actual texture of this sligh

tly golden Sheng is quite silky soft with a strong beeswax scent within the emptied cups. The tasting profile is very well balanced and with such a full and thick composition. It feels like a fresh blooming Spring meadow while fresh cut and dried hay is spread around this field. Within the actual taste you can definitely taste fresh juicy kohlrabi cut in slices to be eaten as a refreshment under an old oak tree. There is something woodsy to it but just a hint of it followed by another major note of Korean pear (nashi pear). Some people might think about too young Sheng’s as being too fresh and for those I think this fellow is the best choice because it still got those Spring freshness inside his composition but the whole symphony matured a bit because it already past a couple of Spring seasons and picked the best parts out of those years on its way. The Aftertaste is a sensation of its own! Even after the last sip is done and a cooling feeling sets in suddenly out of nowhere your inner mouth section starts watering like if all those juicy aspects are coming together again. Within the aftertaste the Korean pear part especially of its skin is crucial for the major concept of its unfolding followed by a slightly nutty undertone of walnut and a sweet syrup like echo of raspberry and cheery blossom.

Definitely enjoyed this buddy a lot. It presents itself in a very nice composition between fresh Spring notes and already some slightly aged Autumn parts. Very juicy and complex profile!

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100

Bouquet: Within its dry stage there is a very lovely forest dark honey layer to it plus a good amount of pine needles. After steaming heat kissed those arbor leaves its whole body language turns more and more into a very vegetable one filled with artichokes, steaming chestnuts further followed by avocado and eggplant.

Liquor: The actual taste walks again a more or less different path! This fellow definitely got some bitterness to it if you let him to much space to develop it. Starting from this fine layer of tartness it builds up another layer of forest honey within a mix of beeswax. The rest clears up with every sip you do within herbal floral notes of gentian, dandelion, marigold with further hints of camomile and sunflower seeds. While the other half is concentrating more onto subtle fruity and sweet nuances of Korean pear with a certain perfume bitterness to it and sweet tiny hints of bourbon vanilla creme. Within the aftertaste a very nice cooling menthol peppermint like effect sets in.

This is definitely a decision of personal preferences! I am 100% sure some might love this raw Sheng with all its 5 stars they are possible able to give but for me personally I missed something. It really got some nice rudiments and also lovely aspects but I missed those great moments – you know those moments when your eyes are wide open and you think “Oh my god this is soooo good!” – Like those moments where you’re absolutely amazed! Anyway the best way to build your own opinion is to try a sample ~ Cheers

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92
Already with some aged character!

Bouquet: Even for its young age and considering it was dry stored in Kunming there is already a certain nice aged smokey flavor to its profile. Starting with a subtle steaming aroma of grilled fish on a stick it further unfolds within aspects of leather, aged agarwood and tobacco. Already in its aroma the mouthwatering effect is juicing up your in

ner mouth section instantly!

Liquor: The Bu Lang character which I totally adore is noticeable from the first moment on especially within its unique perfectly composed bitter notes. You definitely need to take care about the steeping times because this buddy is getting bitter quite easily. But if you find the right balance of time the enjoyment is breath taking. With its creamy coating feel a whole atmosphere of many countless small sensations is overfloating your tasting buds starting with a very distinct flavor of natural medicinal herbal marshmallow (called Eibisch in our region) followed by tiny aspects of the starting scenting parts of subtle grilled fish on a stick, agarwood and leathery tobacco aspects but also new nuances of rose candies or rose frankincense. Within its taste there is a certain Green profile to it which reminds me of a scenery in the middle of a rainforest. You can taste those green leaves, their buds and twigs, those fine raindrops dripping from some of the larger leaves. There is also a nice layer of fruity aspects to it like common for Sheng pear and grape skin with a little pulp to it. Even after the last sip is done the mouthwatering sensation starts immediately and leaves you longing for another infusion. Within this aftertaste there is also a certain nutty development noticeable.

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92

Bouquet: The steaming aroma is very dark-ish sweet like dark chocolate and roasted hazelnut cream. Talking about roasted or smoked stuff there you might also discover a hint of grilled fish on stick with a fine marinade of soy sauce. This aromatic mist is highly mouthwatering and already foretelling a great tasting experience.

Liquor: This is one of those rare occasions where the dark side of the Force isn’t as dark as you might expect it. This fellow is very light within its coloration but not with its tasting experience. There you also meet up with a very unique dark chocolate more like hot chocolate taste plus a fine layer of roasted hazelnuts. What really amazes me is not the first infusion its the 2nd one! First and foremost – WOW! I experienced a lot but this is another new aspect I can now count to my tea journey. There are creamy and buttery teas but this is a completely other level. Its texture isn’t only creamy buttery its really actually thick like thickened like within a sauce. This is highly enjoyable and uplifts this whole experience. Beside this sensation other nuances are slightly subtle earthy notes but more important a very mineral stony feel within the aftertaste. Despite the fact that its darkness is weak its effect and taste is far from it. This is a highly warming Shou which gives a such tingling warm feel within your chest. If you are still waiting for the grilled fish to be served it is not available for our table but you can get a small taste of it some seats behind you on another table. What I mean is it is just very subtle noticeable within the echo after the last sip is done. There is also a certain sourness with a mixture of bitterness to it which really reminds me of dried fruits especially like figs – taste and effect-wise ~ Cheers

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98

Before I start anything I have to say that this young-ish Raw is so unique and different – it was a honor getting the chance to enjoy this buddy!

Bouquet: Like with most raw Shengs there are similar structures within its profile but on the other hand there was something I never experienced before. First and foremost the beeswax and wild forest dark honey layer is thick and massive – it conquers every inch of your near surroundings. If a Sheng is a masterpiece of a symphonia then it should water your inner mouth already and straight from the start and that’s the case for sure with this young Pu. But that’s not all – already within its steaming aromatic unfolding there is something happening which is hard to explain. Within its bouquet there is something spicy but so different something I never experienced before and this certain aspect gives you a massive tingling within your cheeks and lower lip. The best way to describe it is a feeling you get in winter coming from the outside cold into a very warm room and your whole face turns red and you get this certain tingling in your cheeks and lips. Fascinating! Beside those already named aspects its essential character is very fruity sweet with a nice floral spring freshness and a lovely composed herbal spiciness. What I really loved about its scent and the upcoming taste is this very delicious fruitiness of small wild strawberries plus a delicate layer of cherry.

Liquor: Its actual taste isn’t pleasing less in fact its composition reaches its main act. It comes along in a very creamy and thick way while after the 3rd infusion a very sweet caramel flair is adding itself to this delicious play. Major nuances are definitely those fruity wild forest strawberry and cherry ones but also other natural sweeties of pears, mango and especially blackberries plus a tiny hint of chocolate banana. But this sweetness isn’t only a direct image of the actual fruit – in some ways it really reminds me of those Capino cream candies (I am not sure if they are known outside of German speaking countries). Its liquor is quite coating and the aftertaste long and fruity sweet. The herbal floral aspects are getting stronger within later infusions also a certain astringent spicy peppery layer & a corn syrup sweetness sets in.

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79

Bouquet: To start with the stranger things – there is literally not much steaming aroma to its profile which is really weird only slightly floral notes of orchid are distinguishable with a subtle grassy undertone to it. Considering the beginning within its dry stage there was plenty to go with its still fresh field flower unfolding of orchid, rose & camomile bedded on a fine layer of honey. But there is no beeswax scent within those emptied cups = which is normally the case with young Shengs = quite different this fellow!

Liquor: But the major attraction isn’t in fact the aroma it’s definitely the actual taste. This comes along quite nutty bitter with nuances of pistachios presented in a golden thick creamy slightly sweet liquor. Especially within act I-III the main cast is for sure a quite herbal root earthy one with layers starting with mushrooms stored it cardboard boxes, bamboo, ginseng, kohlrabi and hints of potato. This leads to the next layer of subtle floral sweetness which will get its main performance within the 4th infusion and so on. There you might find aspects of floral layers like those named orchid ones transforming into nuances of a slightly cane sugary notes followed by subtle nuances of sweet corn, dark forest honey and red apples while finishing their show within a gummy fruity dark berry aftertaste! Especially within the first three infusions while the bitterness is quite strong there is a certain fury sensation going on within your mouth especially on the sides of your tongue.

Opinion: This still quite raw Sheng isn’t exactly my cup of tea BUT that’s just my personal preference. There is definitely quite a lot there to be discovered but something about it – how it is composed isn’t the kind of profile I 100% enjoy within a raw buddy. But the best way to find out if it is totally your cup of tea is trying a sample and find out on your own ~ Cheers

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Bio

Ahoi,

I am a tea taster and tea-blog author from Vienna. Since my early Childhood days I was always drawn to East Asian culture especially China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. It wasn’t a thing I discovered because of my parents or my environment – it was a thing that started on its own and spread its antennas into nearly every direction what Asian culture could deliver.

I felt in love with their history, movies, Tv-Shows, food, Anime, Videogames, tea culture – nearly everything. 2009 was the first time I visited Japan – it was a feeling of finally being home. Since that time I developed such a passion for tea because tea combines so many aspects I love. Taking photos, writing, Asian culture, the connection to mother nature and its history, the love for craftsmanship (Teaware etc).

Within 2013 I started my teablog called ZeroZen(https://zeroteazen.wordpress.com/) – the first couple of years I only posted content in my mother language German. But within 2016 I discovered Instagram for myself and found the perfect medium for my artistic output which is now completely and exclusive in English ^___~

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Vienna

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