40 Tasting Notes

drank UNTITLED 02 by White 2 Tea
40 tasting notes

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Don’t often drink shu, added to basket during last sale. Glad I did.

6g chunk in 100mL teapot, gongfu, boiling water, 3x rinse.

Not much I can add others haven’t said, thumbs up for this tea. Its good, inexpensive, flavorful, aromatic, lots of longevity. I think grandpa brewing this will last you all day.

Not much in the way of chi, but my feet/legs got cold after drinking this. Will need to see if this is recurring in future sessions. This may have just replaced my previous favorite shu…which was Hojo’s 2012 Gong Ting shu.

Not sedating, road-safe for driving. A very good daily drinker shu, did I mention inexpensive?

Flavors: Bark, Caramel, Cherry Wood, Chocolate, Coffee, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Mineral, Oats, petrichor, Spices, Sweet, Wet Wood


This is nice for the price on it for sure.

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8.1g, 90mL zisha teapot

Each session I realized I wasn’t getting the most out of this tea, so I bumped it up each time from 4g to 6.5g to finally 8.1g today. Now I finally see what this tea has to offer.

Very smooth. after the first few steeps, this huigan hits you and just keeps going and going I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a huigan that lasts this long. It just doesn’t stop, very pleasant.

Its fruity, sweet, fresh apricots, solid flavor but not intense.

Balanced all the way. There’s just enough bitterness in there and a hint of astringency to keep you going and provide a “backbone” to this tea, but unless you’re looking for it, you won’t notice the bitterness or astringency. Very subtle kuwei.

The aroma coming form the cup is really strong, as I am smelling it right now from the cup sitting on the table next to me as I type this. aroma of sweet apricots perfume…

I wonder if Hojo vacuum sealed this tea for the last 4-5 years (2012 tea drank in 2017)? Perhaps there is a method to his madness in vacuum sealing? He’s preserved the high notes and that apricot-ness unique to fresh sheng, but also mellowed the harshness of fresh sheng. Its a dampening/mellowing effect similar to how white tea ages.

It seems too smooth and soft to be fresh, but too floral/apricot-like to be 4 years old.

The aftertaste goes on an on…very nice. Hojo’s ambition is to produce a long lasting aftertaste and he did very well here. A lot of times with other shengs I get an initial sweet aftertaste, but then it will turn to a dull mushroomy paper flavor that is not so pleasant. This tea however, is able to maintain that fresh ripe apricot sweet aftertaste the entire time, it never turns mushroomy blandness. Due to the very subtle bitterness, I think the reason is because after the aftertaste fades, a very subtle huigan returns to prevent that mushroomy flavor. Its so subtle in the transition from aftertaste to huigan, you don’t even realize it happened. I would have to say this is the most hidden/subtle huigan I’ve experienced. That is the reason for this aftertaste that lingers so long.

Hojo is a rather controversial vendor for his methods and claims about aging, but I think the proof is in the pudding here. Is this the best sheng I’ve ever had? No. Is it a very good sheng? Yes! Is his vacuum sealing method of aging working? In this case, I think so. Not sure what will happen after 20 years, but after 4 years I am pleased with the results today.

Lastly, this tea put me to sleep. Very relaxing and sedating. Don’t drink this at work or prior to operating motor vehicles or machinery.

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7.5g, 90mL zisha

Imagine your morning toast is a bit too well-done but not quite burnt. That’s what this tea was like. deep roasted but not burnt or smokey, no bitterness, very clean and smooth, no aftertaste, a very clean feeling left in the mouth.

This tea put me to sleep too, and I drank it just after breakfast…whelp…back to bed for a bit!

If you like the heavy roasted wuyi’s this may be worth getting a sample of, if you like the fruitier/sweeter then this may not be your cup of tea.

Flavors: Roasted

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6g in 100mL teapot

Maybe the fanclub will come at me with pitchforks and torches, but here are my last thoughts on this tea. For a vendor to say “This tier of tea rarely sees the light of day in the open market,” but does not tell you why, instantly begs the question…why? Yiwu gushu?

The vendor says “Not a blend we would recommend for beginners” nearly compels the drinker to either force themselves to say they like it, or risk being called an amateur if they don’t. Ego aside, I did not enjoy this tea because the good aspects were too fleeting and overall it made me feel uncomfortable, restless, and agitated.

The aroma of the dried leaves was honey and dried ripe apricots. Wet leaves gave a burst of watermelon aromas I wasn’t expecting.

First sip sent a wave of goosebumps opening throughout my chest and then down to my legs, very pleasant. It did not return again. After the 3rd cup, I experienced a really nice cooling sensation rising in my throat, but also did not return again after that moment. As the session progressed I got progressively restless and agitated, with difficulty focusing. Its definitely potent material.

It never really had much flavor. The flavor was clean, clear, nothing off, no burnt, no smoke, no storage. Straw, unripe melon, a tinge of sourness, a hint of tart white grapes. These flavors lingered and lasted and lasted and just never went away. Then the aftertaste turned astringent, then to mushrooms, then to a sensation of mouth coating with no flavor, then it became raw vegetable/melon again, then back to mushrooms, etc. It wasn’t an aftertaste I enjoyed.

Everything was very subtle, and fleeting when it occurred. Its quality material that is well processed, and perhaps this will age into something wonderful. But for the price and my experiences with it, I can’t justify the cost, and there are older teas with more activity available at the same/lower price.

Maybe someone else will appreciate this more than me. Wasn’t what I look for in a tea.

Flavors: Astringent, Green Melons, Straw, Tart, White Grapes

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drank Gu Shu Yinzhen by Hojo Tea
40 tasting notes

4.5g, 220mL porcelain teapot, 2x rinse, 1-2 minute steeps. Tall collins glass. Don’t recommend gongfu brewing this tea, it needs to steep and get some strength to it. This was not a sample but a 50g sachet.

Leaves were intact. no jerky or smokiness for me.

Full bodied, thick liquor, a dark yellowish color, buttery aftertaste, smooth, really nice. Its not a relaxing tea for me, its a tea with some energy that could easily get me going in the morning. I feel like I want to go workout now…without caffeine jitters.

There is a slight astringency on the long finish after 1-2 glasses. And some cooling huigans. The loooong finish is where the sweetness returns. I mean like 5 minutes later you start getting a honey-like green/grassy sweetness. It hits on the lighter/ higher register of flavors, but they’re not distinguishable of anything in particular.

I enjoy it. Its on the ‘delicate’ side of flavor, but on the full side of body and mouthfeel. If you’re familiar with the profile of a majority of Hojo’s tea, they are about aftertaste and body. This hits both qualities really well. If you want a fruity tea, pass on this. If you want something that feels good to drink, with a pleasant flavor, this is a good tea.

I chose to drink this tonight because I needed something that didn’t have a ton of flavor, I’m sort of suffering from sensory fatigue overload tonight and needed something fulfilling yet simple and easy to sip on. The (lack of) flavor was perfect for this occasion.

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drank Lao Ban Zhang by Tao Tea Leaf
40 tasting notes

4.5g in 100mL jian shui teapot. the vendor basically says dry storage in Toronto, but I think its more like dehydrated storage. When I opened the bag to smell the dry leaves, there’s that distinct dehydrated storage aroma…lifeless is the only way to describe it if you’re not sure what I’m talking about. perhaps the storage is where this tea went wrong? maybe with better storage it may have been a better experience?

Haveteawilltravel’s review of this tea is very close to my experience, so I’ll just say what wasn’t already said. Very loosely packed, large whole leaves but also lots of pieces, thick center vein.

Vegetables, smokey, slight huigans after 3rd/4th cups but that went away.

The only redeeming quality of this tea was the oily full mouthfeel, but that may have been a increased or caused by my well seasoned jian shui teapot. I am not motivated to brew with a gaiwan just to figure that out. I’m not motivated to even finish the sample. If someone wants it, message me and I’ll pass it along if you want to try it.

Chi was mostly lower back, kidneys, and uncomfortable. I could feel a little movement in the head but it wasn’t very strong. I was underwhelmed…

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I like all teas but mostly drink sheng, shu, and Taiwan oolong.

My tea notes are just thoughts that come to mind as I drink, so I jot them down. There’s no format to them, just what I want to remember from the experience.

Oh, and why isn’t there a “bacon” flavor option on steepster?


Fairfax, VA

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