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Recent Tasting Notes


After drinking Lao Shu Cha, I needed something stronger, something that will really wake up my senses and delight my taste buds as much as possible. So I clutched another one of my long-time favorites – Honyama Kukicha from BJ.

This is definitely one of the best Karigane teas I’ve tried so far. Because it’s composed mainly of stems and just a small amount of leafs, it isn’t so profuse, so I had to use about two times bigger amount than with other Japanese teas – but it’s definitely worth it. The price is very delectable, when you deliberate the quality – this is also the cause of this tea being practically the waste material, made during the processing of high grades of Gyokuro and Kabusecha (sometimes also Sencha) – 6€ for 50 grams.

I let the water to cool down slightly longer than with most Japanese teas – similar to Gyokuro, good Karigane should be infused in water far below boiling point. Color of infusion is yellowish-green and generally very rich. The taste is very sweet, once again similar to Gyokuro (which is no wonder, as it’s probably its side product). However, there is something woody in the taste, caused by the amount of stems – but it isn’t so sharp like with most Karigane teas; in this one, it’s just something you feel on the back of your tongue – you know it’s there, but it isn’t disturbing nor anyhow outstanding. After all, it’s very similar to good Gyokuro in all ways, which is definitely a big plus. I made four pleasant infusions from it, starting with 60˚C water and 40 seconds, continuing with 63˚C water and 15 seconds, 68˚C and 30 seconds and finishing with the same temperature as in third infusion and one minute brewing.
Oh damn, I’m running out of this one! I will definitely buy more… sometimes. I already spent way too much money on tea-related things this week… Argh. Guess I’m obsessed. :D

140 °F / 60 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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I’ve received a sample of this tea with my last order from BJ about a week ago. It interested me from the first moment, not only because it’s probably the most expensive puerh I’ve drank in a long time (40 € for 357g cake), but also because I’ve recently ran out of all sheng (raw) puerh I had at home, so I’m currently looking for something to fill in and it’s always nice to get something like this for free :D

Smell of the dry leafs is quite typical for fresh sheng teas, very fruity and still somewhat “new” – however, there are also some deep tones, typical for older, already ripened puerh teas.

I used about five grams (half of the sample) on my 135 ml yixing teapot, which is quite a classic dosage for me, as you can notice from my previous post. Leaves are still quite strongly compressed and adhered to each other, which is a good sign for me, because I don’t like it when leaves of compressed puerh are too loose, if you understand. Like this, it’s more interesting to watch the process of the unfolding leaves and get more tones in taste.
Infusion color is deep yellow, with very nice smell, lacking the smoky tones of some teas of this kind. The taste is very similar to the smell, soft, fruity and with a little bit of gentle bitterness. There is almost no sourness at all, which is a good sign, too. This tea can be drank for whole day, because it’s really capable of numerous infusions, all of them very interesting and different from each other. For me, the most interesting infusions were probably the third and the fourth one, but it’s hard to say, as all of them had something special to offer.
I would describe infused leaves almost the same way as the seller already did, so I will just copy what they said: “Leaves are subtle and young, but tough on touch and smooth on surface.“ They really are of very high quality, just as one would expect from this grade of tea.
It’s also very stimulant, but I guess it’s like this with most puerh teas, due to their high level of theine (caffeine, if you want).
It’s definitely a tea worth trying and I’m looking forward to the second half of this sample, which I still have, because I believe I will find something new and interesting in it with each try.
I also have two other sheng puerh samples at home right now, one from 2006 and the other from 2007, so I will hopefully write about them soon.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I’ve received this tea yesterday, along with one Japanese green and three puerh samples. The dealer claims it to be from Ujeon (first flush in Korea), but I really doubt about that. Still, it’s worth reviewing.
Price: 12.69 euro for 50 grams
Dry leaves are curled into less or more measured spirals, resembling something between Mao Feng and Vietnamese green teas. Very interesting. However, the smell is more Japanese-like, sweet and with fruity tones.

First infusion: nutty, creamy with tones of milk and pleasantly sweet. Color of infusion is bright green, resembling Tamaryokucha both in taste, smell and look. Very refreshing. The aftertaste is very deep and creamy.
Second infusion: smell is very similar to the first infusion, the taste somewhat resembles sweet banana; first tones of bitterness are present.
Third infusion: smell of the leaves now resembles Chinese green teas more than Japanese; fruity tones are slowly fading, some new vegetal and woody tones are present. Bitterness is similar to the second infusion. Infusion color is more yellow.
Fourth infusion: no sweetness left, completely outbalanced by mild astringency and graininess. However, there are still the original milky tones in smell of the infusion, which I haven’t noticed in third infusion. Smell of leaves is somehow “wild”, resembling good Vietnamese green teas more than anything else.
I made a total amount of six satisfying infusions. In the end, it really is a very good tea, having all what I expect from middle-grade Korean green.
Definitely pleasing.

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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