136 Tasting Notes

drank 2017 Four AM by White2Tea
136 tasting notes

I had the opportunity to taste this in “pill” form (i.e. individually pressed 7g mini cake) from Liquid Proust. Overall, it is a soft, sweet, tasty little treat. Nice soft sweet mushroom broth body with sweet floral, stone fruit, and citrus notes. No bitterness or astringency. Easily a drink-now sort of sheng.

I would recommend this tea solely based on its flavor and quality. However, after looking at how much a cake is going for, I would say you can get similar experiences for much cheaper. Good tea, but overpriced – currently $110 for only 200g…
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Dry leaf – dried apricot, light honey, sweet floral

Smell – honey, floral, sweet mushroom broth, orange blossom, hints of gummy peach candy and light pepperiness

Taste – mushroom broth, floral, honey, hints of apricot and sweet citrus – just a bit of Menghai fruitiness; very floral on the aftertaste.

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93

A tasty, creamy, sweet ripe. It has a typical savory-sweetness like cream of wheat, but there are substantial cream ale and vanilla bourbon cask notes that set this apart from other ripes. Very creamy and sweet – it has improved with a little age.

Unfortunately, this is no longer available on either YS site. However, I think this shows that you don’t have to break the bank to get really tasty stuff. Thanks to Scott for sourcing good product and offering it at incredible prices.
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Dry leaf – vanilla, cream ale, bourbon cask

Smell – cream of wheat, cocoa, creamy woodiness, vanilla, bourbon cask

Taste – cream of wheat, bourbon cask, macademia nut, vanilla, cream ale, some creamy woodiness in finish; aftertaste is cream, vanilla, bourbon cask

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93

This is an excellent Wu Yi, particularly for the price. It is bursting with flavor – chocolate, nutty, fruity, creamy – it’s all there. The roast is present, but it is mild and pleasant, and marries very well with the other flavors. There is also a very subtle dryness that helps balance the chocolate and creaminess. It is sort of like the expected minerality of Wu Yi, but just a mild sensation of it, and less of the actual flavor.

I should also note that I was brewing this in seasoned clay (jian shui), which I have found to improve the flavor of my Wu Yi oolongs across the board. I forgot to do a comparison with porcelain.

This is no longer available on YS, which is a real shame. It would easily have become a tea that I would have bought in bulk. I hope it comes back at some point so I stash a bunch away.
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Dry leaf – chocolate, roasted peanut, roasted barley (thanks, TPerez! – excellent observation!) notes of tart raspberry. In preheated vessel – fruit and mineral notes much stronger.

Smell – roasted peanut, charcoal roast, mineral, notes of slightly burnt chocolate

Taste – arrival of chocolate, roast peanut, roasted barley. Creaminess develops in-mouth, balanced by mineral-like dryness. Creamy chocolate and tart raspberry finish. Tart berry and citrus notes increase in aftertaste. Hints of yeast roll and cinnamon butter present in finish and aftertaste

tanluwils

I really like YS’s mid to heavily roasted shui xian yancha. Have you tried the wild da hong pao?

apefuzz

Haven’t tried the wild Da Hong Pao yet. I’ve enjoyed the few DHP that I’ve gotten from YS though – still working through the ranks and exploring what they have. Golden Guan Yin DHP is another good one.

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Patience is the key word here. First, patience as the ball opens up. It takes it a while, but luckily the early infusions will have some flavor if you let the ball sit and do its thing.

Second, patience while drinking. This is a subdued tea. The flavors are very light – the overall flavor, in my humble opinion, is basically a black tea blend. It has some fruit and floral notes to keep it interesting (even some spiciness that reminded me of black peppercorn), but really, I tasted a high-quality English breakfast tea.

Not that that’s a bad thing, but if you are coming here because you like a whallop of flavor like you would find in an oolong or pu’erh, you won’t find it here. On the other hand, there isn’t any bitterness to subdue – and I was brewing it HARD to find some flavors.

So, I find this tea to be a novelty, and maybe a good gateway for those looking to bridge the gap between English breakfast and more authentic Chinese teas. However, for those already drinking more serious teas, just be aware that this one is very mild and easy-going.
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Dry leaf – honey, dried apricot, slight perfume floral. In preheated vessel – honey-lemon black tea notes.

Smell – honey, light apricot fruitiness, light black tea blend, hint of cinnamon butter, sweet floral, grape leaf, and black pepper

Taste – light black tea blend with notes of honey and apricot. Hints of black pepper and lemon. Aftertaste is lightly fruity with some citrus cutting through it.

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drank Hualien 1980 by Camellia Sinensis
136 tasting notes

This is a great experience. Jam-packed with interesting flavors that develop smoothly and cohesively. It is an incredible combination of deep, earthy flavors and light, floral flavors.

It isn’t cheap (currently $38/50g), but given its quality and age, it’s worth a splurge. Split and share with your friends.
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Dry leaf – pond flora, decomposing wood, hints of vanilla. In preheated vessel – cream of wheat, dried hardwood, dates, some light charcoal notes

Smell – cream of wheat, floral, flower pollen, date, spicy woodiness

Taste – cream of wheat, walnut, pollen, hardwood, hints of date. Aftertaste is floral, lemongrass, berry-like tartness and sweetness

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgmihRqH6cU/?taken-by=apefuzz

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This is a fairly savory green tea. Notes of roasted corn and mesquite wood are prevalent. There is some corn and honeysuckle sweetness in the background and aftertaste.

You really have to watch your brewing parameters on this one. Make sure to use low green-tea temperatures when brewing. It gets overly vegetal and bitter if you’re not careful with temps or brewing times. If you are careful, however, you will be able to balance the savoriness with a fairly rewarding sweetness.

Another interesting note – you can’t eat the leaves. They are tough and rubbery. My experience has been that tougher green teas tend to be more vegetal and bitter, just as this one is. Sweeter green teas seem to have more tender leaves. Not that I’m at home composing mixed green tea leaf salads or anything, but I think it’s interesting to note the difference.

Overall, it’s OK. I’m finding myself much more drawn to sweeter green teas like Laoshan, Xinyang Mao Jian, and senchas. But, this tea definitely has a backbone and will reward you with good, strong flavors.
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Dry leaf – smells like a white tea at first, with honey and honeysuckle and light sandalwood notes. Then roasted corn and mesquite barbecue notes arrive. In preheated vessel – pungent grilled sweetcorn notes

Smell – corn, grass, bitter vegetal (like tomato vine), hints of barbecue sauce and honey, lemongrass

Taste – corn sweetness/savoriness, grilled corn, mesquite, tomato vine, light honey, honeysuckle, dewy grass in aftertaste, some hints of sweet citrus and even light chocolate in aftertaste

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgv_J74HIQx/?taken-by=apefuzz

tanluwils

That toughness in the tea leaves may reflect it’s Yunnanese origins, since large-leaf varietals would probably have tougher leaves. In terms of spring greens, I also lean towards more tender leaves from senchas, bi luo chuns, and the like. Really looking forward to this year’s harvest…as I do every year!

apefuzz

Yeah, good point. I should compare leaf size (age) as well. I don’t know if the tougher greens are also allowed to grow longer, thereby affecting their flavor as well.

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94

This is a wonderful green tea. It has everything you’re looking for – sweet, floral, vegetal, fruity, savory, nutty… It also responds well to different brewing parameters to pull out the flavors you’re looking for. Really a classic tea at an unbeatable price.

Most notable for me was this tea’s marine notes and fruitiness. It has some saltiness and nori-like umami that added a great dimension to the tea. Also has a really powerful fruity taste both in-mouth and in the aftertaste. It’s like a mix between sencha, green oolong, and Chinese green tea.

Also really good for grandpa style – it stays rich and flavorful for quite a while and does not overbrew to anything harsh or unpleasant.
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Dry leaf – toasted nuttiness, sweet like vanilla/maple confectionery, chocolate, soft sweet herbal, fresh mint and cilantro. In preheated vessel – honey butter, cream, cinnamon, yeast roll notes arrive.

Smell – honey butter, hint of cinnamon, edamame, vanilla/maple, mint

Taste – nori, edamame, marine air, cinnamon, honey butter, yeast roll, hints of chocolate, honeydew melon, mint, coconut, notes of pineapple in aftertaste

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgedQXdBZn0/?taken-by=apefuzz

tanluwils

I liked this one too. Hope to get me some again this year.

southwestender

Nice review, this tea went on my wish list.

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drank 2015 Orchid Charm by Vesper Chan
136 tasting notes

A raw pu’erh for dancong lovers! Initially, I picked up on the obvious Menghai fruitiness, but then you cannot escape the floral characteristics of the tea. It is a very perfumy floral – sort of like when you can taste an old lady’s perfume as she walks by. OK, that doesn’t do this tea justice – the floral notes are terrific – but they are very perfumy and up-front. It reminded me of the floral notes I’ve gotten from a few dancongs.

Overall, it is a great balance of these floral notes with the Menghai fruitiness and an underlying mushroom broth savoriness. All of the flavors are rich and complex.
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Dry leaf – Menghai fruitiness (like Juicy Fruit gum) apparent, some hints of humid storage like pond flora/sweet algae (!!!), floral notes. In preheated vessel – thick fruitiness, strong notes of peaches and cream.

Smell – Menghai fruitiness/fruit gum, peaches and cream, mushroom broth, some floral.

Taste – arrival of some fruit gum with floral perfume. Development has mushroom broth and more floral notes. Finishes with fruit gum. Aftertaste has expansive perfume floral notes.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bf6e_fCncsK/?taken-by=apefuzz

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92

Starts off with some pretty bold nut and caramel flavors. There is also some substantial smoky/slightly over caramel, which is very tasty and not at all off-putting.

The best part of the tea is a complex fruity aftertaste, which in the early infusions is reminiscent of the aftertaste you get with some green oolongs. That dies off fairly quickly though, after the 3rd infusion or so.

Another interesting part is a substantial minerality, which I totally dig and found to be one of the best parts of the whole tea. Overall, if you are a Wu Yi oolong fan, you will likely appreciate the dark caramel notes and mineral flavors of this black tea.

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Dry leaf – primary notes of peanut and dark caramel. Notes of smoke, stewed red fruit, sassafras.

Smell – caramel, nut, caramel that is slightly over

Taste – arrival of nut, dark caramel, smoke and over caramel. Aftertaste is complex – dark caramel, red current, pineapple upside-down cake (!), yeast roll. Substantial minerality throughout.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BflJz_7n56N/?taken-by=apefuzz

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Rating info:
100 – I haven’t found the perfect tea yet!

92-95 – So good that I will purchase this tea again, guaranteed. Excellent flavor and value.

88-91 – A tea that I would consider purchasing again at some point. Great flavor and value.

85-87 – Tea that was worth the purchase and that I enjoyed drinking, although I probably won’t be purchasing it again any time soon. Flavor may have slight drawbacks, or the price might be a little expensive.

80-84 – A tea that has some good points, but falls a bit short on its price:quality ratio. Flavor is a bit mediocre.

No rating – I did not like this tea and would not drink it, given other options.

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Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

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