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Recent Tasting Notes
All the Pu-erhs #2
These were little individually wrapped cakes. I ended up using 3/4 of one (about 5.8g), but I think I should have used the whole one.
5.8g, 100ml shibo, 212F
Steep time: 5s rinse/10/10/10/15/20/30/40/60/60/3min/3min
I tasted the rinse – watery, sugar cane and floral. Really liquid-y. The liquid/watery note continued through the first few steeps, until I realized that it was still really caked up. Once the chunk had been separated, it shifted to citrus, floral with a hint of astringency. Later, longer steeps had a return of the sugar cane note, becoming thicker and with an oily mouthfeel. It still had the floral and citrus.
Really nice tea, one of the older shengs that I have.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Sugarcane, Thick
Goal: Try all pu-erhs in my house – #1
6.6g 100ml shibo, 212F
I rinsed this – and the drank it. Creamy, with both a hint of bitterness and sweetness.
The wet leaf smells overwhelmingly of citrus. Hopefully this isn’t too bitter!
Steep times: 6/10/10/15/15/20/25/?/re-boil 20/25/30/45s
Creamy, citrus, thick. Aftertaste was citrus and floral. There was some drying in one of the early steeps. Sourness was present in the 2nd to last steep. The last steep made my teeth hurt!
I liked this tea. Consistent creamy and citrus notes. I’ll just remember not to push it so hard at the end. No real bitterness that I could taste.
Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Thick
This is one of those teas that frustrates me..
It starts like a really good Mengsong, but tapers out after not so many brews.
I love the Mengsong taste, especially a rich full one like this tea starts with,
but struggle to justify the price tag to myself when it doesn’t keep up for at least a decent while..
In that sense the 2018 Plum Beauty (Bronze) makes more sense- it has a similar, though toned down taste, thinner, and brews out even faster, but costs a 1/3.. which is probably why it is sold out.
I might give up eventually and buy some in a sale though :P
This is an excellent bitter Sheng.
Beautiful leaves, long brewing session, and INTENSE bitter flavor that somehow manages to not be flat.
I really enjoyed it, and would buy a large amount if I could afford it.. Oh well.
Update: last time I brewed this tea the bitterness was too much and I suffered.. I guess it’s so bitter it’s on the verge of pain for me, and depending on my physical state I’ll end on either side of that ledge.
Update 2: Still can’t afford it, but bought 100g for blending with the sweeter Bitter End version, since the Xtra is so powerful..
most of BLT teas are quite good, but not this one.. at least in my opinion.
I honestly felt like drinking some kind of flavored drink.
At first it was cool, as it was VERY citrus-y, but then..
it’s very cheap though, and I do wonder what (a lot of) age would do to these extreme flavors..
(also, seems like a bunch of people liked it, and at such a low price sampling it couldn’t hurt..)
This is a great daily drinker!
If your looking for a sweet Sheng with a decent mouthfeel and inexpensive you can’t go wrong with this one.. it gives 8 good brews, which is really good for the price.
You can try it in the ‘palate’ sample pack, though it costs about a fifth of this cake, and it’s by far the best of the bunch (the Jingmai and Bulang were cute, and the 4th not so much).
I’ve bought a cake after sampling, and would buy more if I was currently looking for daily drinkers..
Grandpa Style, from this morning.
Didn’t push my top ups of this one too long today; while definitely not a bad profile at all it’s not really my kind of jam. The sweet fruity undertones that crept into the body of the cup were nice; pomegranate/nectarine/plum sort of trio of fruit notes. However the top of the sip carrying into the body had a certain bite/bitterness to it that I’m not really into personally. I know a lot of people who appreciate that quality though! In fact, the coworker who shared this with me loved that element of this tea.
Different strokes though. Maybe I’ll revisit, since BLT’s description says that with age the fruit notes will likely come out more.
Something like eight infusions total, with life left in the leaf for more – I just never want that much Sheng in one go, it seems. I paired this with starfruit, mostly because I had a lot of starfruit sitting in the fridge that was going to go bad soon. I was going to steep one of the “pieces” off the bar, but this ended up being surprisingly tightly compressed and hard to break apart that neatly. So, it was like 2/3 of a piece…
I was a bit taken aback by the upfront/forward sweetness in this tea. I say this completely uninfluenced the starfruit I was also enjoying, but the taste was sort of like drinking a really nice fruit salad, with perhaps a bit of citrus mixed into it and a pinch or two of good quality sugar on top. Definitely lingering sweetness, as described by Bitterleaf themselves, too! It was really damn nice! Broken up by some intermittent bitterness in some of the steepings; not sure if that was a more bitter undertone to the tea coming out or a result of my being lazy with measuring the time for each steeping. Maybe a bit of both? Regardless I was still really pleased with the session as a whole!
So, I am exhausted and this tea definitely deserves a better tasting note than what I’m about to write for it but I kind of just want to go to bed. Only, I promised myself that I was going to catch up on tasting notes today/not fall behind on writing them during my vacation when I have ZERO excuses to not be writing daily…
I snagged this because I don’t know that I’ve ever been disappointed by one of Bitterleaf’s black tea offerings – and there’s something very, very fun and visually appealing to me about the leaf of this tea. It reminds me of pine needles, in the best way. Even after it arrived I simply could not stop playing with it! It spent ages photographing the leaf, because it’s just stunning to me. Plus, it’s so tippy! Like, I love it.
I steeped it up Gong Fu; just enough leaf to cover the bottom of a 70ml Gaiwan – didn’t really measure it out. It was like two pinches of tea or something like that though? I brewed this one for a long time – at least a dozen infusions, but almost certainly more. It just had so much flavor for a black tea; I find usually they can’t go so many rounds and still be enjoyable after that long! For around half the session, I stacked the cups two infusions at a time in a chahai, but after a while I just started drinking one cup at a time because I was curious to see more closely what the flavor decline would be like.
Flavor notes were pretty consistent and really, really tasty. I described them on instagram as smooth notes of baker’s chocolate, raisin bread, plum, and roasted peanuts. I feel like I didn’t emphasize how strong that raisin bread type of profile was though; it was the biggest body note and present in the most cups that I drank. Raisin, cinnamon, fresh baked bread – all mixed together. There were also some malt notes.
It was a good tea and a damn good start to my day!
(Somehow I keep coming back to this cover – it’s just good tea drinking music because it’s got the upbeat, fun tempo of good bubble gum pop but way more interesting vocals…)
As a big fan of the now already sold out Eden huang pian, I’ve been itching to give this one another go. I did try it a few months back when it was still very young and concluded it needed more time. I had 8.5g of my sample left so I dumped it all in a 130ml gaiwan. Quick five second rinse followed by a five minute rest. The aroma off the wet leaf was really creamy. The wash had a soft mouthfeel. The flavor was strong, really strong. I was getting a blend of mineral and creamy. Some bananas as well. Bananas in whipped cream. The taste of bananas was left lingering in the mouth and the empty cup smelled like burnt sugar.
I proceeded to do ten infusions, the timing for these being 8s, 6s, 8s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 75s and 2 min. The tea soup already had body in the first steep. Smooth texture. While the flavors themselves were light the tea was strong. I was getting garden soil counterbalanced by slight sweetness. The finish had a combination of both fried and raw bananas. The steep that followed saw a slightly diminished texture. I was tasting cream, mineral rich soil and a whisper of caramel. There were definitely raw/unripe fruit in the finish.
The third infusion continued to brew up strong. It had a mineral taste that dominated everything. It’s rare that I’ve gotten so much flavor in a single cup of tea. What I was tasting was primarily that garden soil. The tea had a very clean, clear profile. Whenever I drink a tea this strong, I have very few doubts it would age well. I could definitely feel the tea at this point, but it wasn’t anything overpowering.
Steep four was sweet. Really sweet. I was also still getting the unripe fruit as well. Bananas, cream… crazy huigan. The garden soil from before was still there hanging in the background. From this point on the body became quite thick with the increasing brewing times while the taste became mainly sweet with the earthiness still present and the minerals sometimes overtaking the sweetness. Steep eight is the point at which the flavors were clearly starting to taper off, but it took until the tenth steep that the tea started tasting nasty and I decided to call it there.
Examining the leaves at the end of the session, they look quite a lot smaller than you typical sheng pu’er picking. While not that well versed in tea picking, this to me would either indicate that these are mixed leaf varietal which I know grows in some parts of the greater Yiwu area (not sure about Man Zhuan) or are perhaps first flush pickings picked at an earlier stage into their growth. Either way, I’m attributing the strength of this tea at least in part to the smaller leaf size which generally tends to contribute to stronger brews.
All in all this was a great tea. It has developed a lot since I had it this summer, and if the huang pian gives any window into which direction the tea can be expected to develop, I would expect it to become hella fruity in the coming months and years. The texture is already very good and I can definitely see Eden becoming a bit of a texture monster a decade down the line. While not cheap, the tea definitely delivers what you’d expect at this price. If I had more space in my pumidor, I’d definitely grab a bing, but as things stand right now, I’m forced to make some tough choices. While Eden was very good, at its current state it didn’t blow my socks off and if I’m going to invest in another Yiwu that’s pretty much what a tea needs to do at this point. I may need to revisit this one six or twelve months from now if it’s still available and see how it’s progressing. Regardless, Eden has definitely earned my recommendation.
Flavors: Banana, Cream, Earth, Mineral, Sweet
From my order during BLT’s Anniversary Sale.
It took a little while for everything to arrive because of the on going Canada Post strike, which has definitely put a major wrench in all my Black Friday(ish) period tea shopping arriving in a timely fashion…
I’m assuming what happened with this order is that Bitterleaf shipped it out in multiple boxes since there was so much teaware in this order – I say that because I’ve now received one small box of BLT stuff with a bit of teaware and some tea in it, but definitely not my whole order. So, I’m sure the other box(es) are on their way. I still couldn’t resist breaking into the tea from the order though – and so I made myself some of this at work, just drinking it grandpa style over the course of a few hours while I did some lab testing.
This was an absolutely beautiful white tea; it was so full of flavor! It offered up a really lovely bouquet of fruity notes – like drinking a bowl of fresh cut berries sprinkled with sugar. Just really sweet on top of that lovely, juicy fruit profile. I actually thought it was best, too, after the tea had been sitting in the water for a LONG period of time without being topped up/watered down with fresh, boiling water. Like, I imagine you could cook this stove top in some sugar on produce a REALLY killer fruity, intense, and just a little bit floral “white tea syrup” to use for all kinds of things.
KILLER offering from BLT.
Another BLT offering that I’ve had Grandpa style at the office.
I actually got this one at work from a fellow coworker, which was kind of cool. He seems pretty into BLT’s Sheng which is something that I haven’t explored too thoroughly myself so it’s been great having him bring stuff in for me to try/learn more about.
I actually liked this one a lot! Like, way more than I expected to based on the company description. Vegetal sheng? Not generally my thing AT ALL. It did taste vegetal to me, but in spite of that I still found a lot of appreciation in the fruity notes accompanying those vegetal qualities. It was wicked smooth, and had a very solid body and balance of bitterness verse fresh, sweet fruit notes. I can definitely see why this is something that BLT identifies as a good daily drinker; I know I drank it for several hours throughout my work day – something that is very rare for me with most sheng.
I got it as sample from Bitterleafteas and first I wasnt into this Sheng but after a few times drinking it I realised that i really like it
Nectar like texture, nutty and flowery smell and a really nice nutty taste with jasmine Hui Gan
This one grew on me