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Recent Tasting Notes
One of my swaps from the Steepster meet, this is a Lao Ban Zhang, aka the king of teas, aka the expensive stuff. Number 16117-1 from Chadao.de
First off – amazing colour & fuzz on the leaf! That’s some seriously show-offy silver hair.
The session starts with a glorious sweet perfume right off the bat. It’s one of those tastes that manages to be indefinable, yet so obvious when experiencing. Soft pineapple sweets are there too, such a nice flavour!
Chaqi is strong, but not so much that it’s uncomfortable, I feel relaxed, & over the course of the day I expected bitterness or sour to creep in but had been informed by Rui that this one goes twenty steeps, and so I took it there, and it followed perfectly. I didn’t detect the bitter notes of young plantation trees, so if they were there they were skillfully blended in as not to affect the taste. It also wasn’t face melting aggressiveness like people seem to expect from Ban Zhang, but instead elegant.
Seriously good tea. Throughout twenty steeps it stayed harmonious & balanced, and only when I got near the magic number did it just fade off quietly into a perfume water. I also noted the body still being good well into the teens.
Flavors: Perfume, Pineapple
Gentle and smooth with a slightly fruity sweetnes.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2014-chao-tian-gong-rui
Flavors: Fruity, Smooth, Sweet
Dark leaf, dark reddish orange soup, sweet raisin, sweet feel & some other natural/woodsy Yiwu notes. Not bitter, fairly refined & elegant taste. Sweet fruit aroma. The woody note shares a similarity with Wuyi Oolong, its a really easy drinking one.
Later steeps 5+ there was a gorgeous complex stonefruity/natural/menthol/woodsy flavour. It had a kaleidoscope huigan effect which stayed kept me on my toes – these steeps were really good.
By steep 10 or so, i was in the 1:20 range, the flavour huigan started subsiding but there was still something natural there, the soup was still pretty dark.
I hit this with 90c into my thermos so, 85c or so, & did 1/5/10/15/20/25/30/40/60/1:20 etc
Flavors: Fruity, Menthol, Stonefruits, Sweet, Wood
Quite like this Yancha.
its roasty & aromatic but also citrus fruity & you can taste the Oolong coming through, has a lovely nutty-more-than-woody body & never overshadowed by a burnt wood flavour.
There is a floral aroma thats hanging around still & a buzzy head. Im not sure of the type of floral (terrible at that!) but its soft & petal-like.
I totally love these kind of Yancha that are caramel-richer & thick rather than dark chocolate & heavy roast types..
by steep 4/5 the smoke is clearing & a fruity floral oolong aroma is popping out (I got strawberries & also Turkish delight/rose). The liquor is still a bit acrid (thats too strong a word, but…) due to the smoke in it, but the huigan is nice, and again nice aromas hanging around.
steeps 6/7 & beyond. is now mellow, still a bit thick & dry with a good aroma still. i’m enjoying it at this stage very much. ive been eating dark chocolate with salt & lime & its a wonderful accompaniment (Monetzuma’s brand, never tried before. ok on its own but really very nice with tea ive just found out tonight) im leaving the water in the gaiwan uncounted by now
Nice stuff, having never tried Mei Zhan before, its a bit of a winner, the florals & nutty smoke are still prominent enough in the later steeps keeping me interested :)
Flavors: Char, Citrus, Floral, Nutty, Roasted, Rose, Strawberry
A gift in my chadao.de order, a vacuum sealed dark roasted zhangping mini cake.
This one was finished a while ago -I have removed some of the tasting notes as I might be getting them mixed up with another (that im drinking now & is in a silver vacuum sealed bag) The cake was very dark & dry. light-med smoky as well, but I couldnt pinpoint the type of smoke. overall the taste was smooth & ofc loads of infusions.
I love these zhangping cakes, every one ive had has been a pleasure :)
sorry for lack of picture, it was a dark silver packet iirc, but cant find an image – also for not taking proper notes – but I do remember I really liked it. Im pretty sure it was slightly burnt chocolate but also smooth & lovely.
Flavors: Burnt, Smoke, Smooth
This stuff is lovely. Stewed apricots and cream, maybe apple sauce as well. Nice warming cha qi & beautiful aroma that is very dan cong oolong (reminds me of a ba xian I have), slightly cashew nut, medium thickness & drying of the mouth with some cooling of the lips, although not strong menthol. I was surprised to get an oolong oilyness, this tea is 100% up my street.
Pleasing in every way. It is soft and velvety and unlike any sheng I have tasted up until now. Drank it all day, lost count of the number of steeps I had but the first third of the session were the ones for me.
gorgeous stuff, nicest sheng I have had to date I think.
Thanks Rui A for this lovely sample :)
Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Creamy, Menthol, Nutty