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Recent Tasting Notes
It is very mild, not viscous like hua zhuan or sandy as hei zhuan. Maybe closer to qian liang but feels more complex and subtle at the same time. Actually reminds me single origin ropes but really aged, maybe like in Singapore. It is as different from any heicha I had as Macau to Borneo storage for liubao. It has weird contrast between how unoily it is and the warmth it sending from stomach to lungs. I went thru half of 350g pack of raclette cheese meant for cooking while drinking liabaos and files for last few hours this morning. Now this one halted this madness. So good for not munching. Can I drinkmit at work ? I mean, is it a day tranquilizer. If so, I can value volume 5 times from aged liubao. Maybe this is the future of post-pandemic investment. Now will have to monitor my dreams. Will I wake up on different planet ? I am getting tired of waiting for mother ship to take from this planet anyway. Maybe it’s a shortcut. Chawangshop is your place to go for pressed tickets to inter dimensional travel. One way for me please.
I could have added profile picture from their website. But maybe someone else wants to do it with actually how it looks in a bag. Not much of a drinking note, more what goes thru my mind while drinking it. Got a free huaning cup so experimenting with that. Not sure if should get matching gaiwan, Japanese style. It is close to traditional style of liubao. Looked at nixing teapots, not sure how to combine by brutalist thermos brewing with aesthetics of teapot. I mean, it should at least look like something I want to hold in hand. I was just thought if I was on a yacht, what kind of clay would be best to absorb sea air. What kind of tea I would like to have after drinking craft beer the night before, while sitting at a terrace looking out on a beach, waiting for omelets to be ready. Maybe get eggs from seagulls. Maybe catch a crab. Maybe put a seaweed into my thermos. Thank god I am not in position to make any of these life defining decisions. One observation. I recall reading about yak butter tea that it was custom to fill it up to the drink and refill after few sips. I do it with most teas. This one, no. As if it needs to be cooled and drank from the bottom. I guess that’s normal. My issue with anything but porcelain/ glass that I can’t see colour of the brew. This one is beautiful in a yellowish speckled cup.
I do try lots of teas and my taste shifts with cravings for other consumables. So this is not strictly a review rather than my observation as why I was drawn to it and why it is worth considering as a sample. I am very messy person and even grandpa brewing leaves collateral damage. I am still amazed that I have no insects nesting on my floor considering layers of stems and dried berry stones covering it. So my only way to brew is mirror lined thermos. I did try clay lined thermos but to no avail. The only other way I try to brew tea is boiling them from cold which works for qian liang and liu bao. I progressed from oolongs to raws and onto liubao. So any other buys are incidental. But this one is something. It smells like oolong but brews like raw. The taste reminds me of white chenpi. I know you are disappointed with the depth of lame detail. I just think it will appeal to anyone into stoney greens or light oolongs. Not sure about body feel because I am buzzing from blackthorn that was boiled in fu brick. Another tea that comes to mind is Hainan green. Anyway, it’s subtle and unique as expected from vendors description. Just recalled years ago I was into golden key oolong but this one has flowerer aftertaste. The good thing it doesn’t make me sleepy or hungry and in fact has subtle chelation effect as if you chewed dried dogwood berries. I thought Tahiti was on my bucket list but even in good flat earth times it was more than 24 hours flights. I think this just changed to the teahouse I got it from. They are very generous with samples from their private stashes, the ones that are not on sale but something that is a treat for guest. Now I am thinking about adding few tea leaves to jam jar for soaking. It means I have to reboil the tea and see what other rogue ideas are being broadcast in the aether.
An unexpensive yet well balanced tea. It doesn’t seem to have aged a lot as it tastes a bit younger than the tag. But the truth is that I don’t feel any outstanding flavors or aromas that need much more polishing to be enjoyable.
Bright, greenish, herbal, bitter and slightly astringent. Soapy bitterness that leads to a quick huigan slap. In the nose there are aromas to lime leaves and capers. Some chaqi but not much. The material has a fair amount of whole medium leaves and twigs.
Flavors: Citrus, Flowers, Green Apple, Soap, Umami
Gongfu from last weekend…
Really nice tea – I drank it in bed, and snacked on Niagara grapes in between the steeps. It was sort of that type of Gongfu session where you’re just deeply in the moment and not very aware of exactly what you’re tasting, more just how that tea makes you feel. That feeling, for me, was cozy and safe and maybe even a little nostalgic? I did make an instagram post for this tea but even there I didn’t capture a lot of the flavours the day I was drinking this tea – in fact here’s the general three statements I used to sum this one up:
- Deep earthy body
- Smoke and ash notes
I’d add in a bit of leather, thinking back on it as well.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sXTLkjF8bI
Yes, a good one!
Not much to add to the other reviews here. It’s a good harmony of flavours and aromas, doesn’t have the potency of other shengs but it gives a well balanced, floral, fruity and medicinal tasting drink with hints of grass and wood. Cup melified instantly and is easy to drink, because is on the softer side.
The lingering aftertaste is quite long and it reminded me of albariño white wine.
Quite good value at $24. Moar! :)
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grass, Spices
So I wasn’t going to write up anything about this one I was just going to drink it….Then I got tea buzz and I wrote a 5 stars review in my head….Now It’s gone and I don’t know what to say or think or feel…I think feel good tho lol.
This is one of the most Extreme Tea Drunk Buzzy feeling that I have had in a long time, maybe ever.
It reminds me of my earlier years of tea drinking, I stayed tea drunk often both accidentally and on purpose and I really enjoyed it, This time was an accident but I am still enjoying it.
Really tho the force is so strong with this one, it will hit you like a ton of bricks, at one point I wasnt sure about it myself, i was really like WTF!! there for a minute, Very Intense!!
I see you 2 still have this one in your cupboards here on the steepster, taste it, i need to know how it made you feel lol
Gonna go drink more and enjoy my bliss :)
Thank You MzPriss, I think you sent me this one a while back and I’ve been sitting on it.
I’ve just tried a few Chawang Shop teas and this wasn’t a favorite, but it has an interesting character and potential so I’ll mention how that went. I think now (in 2019) it’s right in between losing the last of it’s younger-range character and picking up aged attributes, even though it’s a 2008 version, 11 years old now. The flavor is as subtle as I’ve ever experienced in sheng, which has actually came up before in trying aged Yiwu versions. The thickness of feel is positive, and although the flavor isn’t pronounced the wood and mild floral tones are positive. I think it will get there, it will just take a few more years. For value this is off the scale; it was priced at $40 for a 250 gram cake, and I think it will be subtle but quite decent aged tea within 2 to 3 years. Note that the tea is yellow-golden in these pictures; I think that along with the flavor aspects will change over that time, darkening in color and moving onto warmer tones, maybe even very mild dried fruit range.
The review post goes a lot further with all that and cites a couple of related reviews to support more speculation about aging pace and general character of related versions:
It was interesting comparing this impression with the two reviews here from 3 years ago, since this tea is 13 years old now. It’s still not really completely fermented. As for aspects it tastes a lot like cigar tobacco, including smoke, with decent sweetness and flavor complexity and really good intensity. Bitterness is still pronounced, although astringency is moderate. Mineral taste is notable too, along with floral range or maybe dried fruit; that part is harder to tease out for bitterness, smoke, tobacco, and mineral standing out as much as they do. I think it just needs another 3 years or so in a humid environment to really push over into being a very good tea, and in 5 or 6 might be exceptional, but it’s pleasant as it is now. It’s definitely not in some subtle, quiet “teen years” phase; this tea is intense.
I forgot to mention compression; that’s the part of this tea’s story that account for why a 13 year old tea isn’t aging normally. Of course that makes it harder to split off parts to brew as well. It’s still worth the trouble, and will be even more so later on.
This is a little unusual since I’m reviewing this tea in 2019, as an aged product, versus the other reviews here appearing in 2017. I really liked it. Quality was quite evident from the very thick feel, good balance, and overall clean character. It could’ve been a little sweeter, and vegetal range was a little heavy compared to other scope (green wood or just cured wood, or both), but moderate floral range, a pleasant level and type of mineral, and some dried fruit filled that in. This tea is amazing for value, increased from $20 to $24 in two years, for a 200 gram cake. I’m not sure if or when it will “go quiet” due to the teenage years theme but I suspect that moderate humidity storage isn’t rushing that process, so it has probably lost some youthful intensity and bitterness, and the smoke others mentioned, but it’s still quite vibrant and intense. This is the really long version of all that:
This past Thursday was International Tea Day! The first one, as recognized by the UN, in fact! I feel like over on instagram we were all celebrating in different ways & I guess for me that ended up meaning (unintentionally) trying new things with my tea session. AKA stabbing myself with a pu’erh pick for the first time. I was trying to break off a piece of this VERY tightly compressed hiecha brick and I just lost my grip and punctured into the dead center of my right hand about a centimeter deep…
Was it worth it for the heicha session though!? Yeah, I think so.
I guess, after about five years of drinking compressed tea, this sort of right of passage was bound to happen eventually. I wonder, now that the pick has tasted blood will it be out for more!?
Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CAd1hNiAHzB/ Of the tea, not my hand…
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1gQvMF-tzU
Flavors: Camphor, Petrichor, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
This one is weird because it’s from the sort of “limbo” period between when I was feeling really sick and when I was feeling a lot better (though still not 100%). It was a really nice session, and after nearly 48 hours of being stuck in bed, sore, and quite sleepless I found the routine of brewing Gong Fu quite calming and peaceful, and the tea made me feel very relaxed.
I’m still very new to Liubao/Heicha in general and I’m dipping my toes into this new area of tea fairly slowly – but this seemed a lot different than the few other kinds of heicha that I’ve tried before. It’s very tightly compressed into a brick shape but steeping it broke apart so quickly (after like infusion two!) in the little glass Gong Fu teapot I was using and basically was this highly broken up sort of CTC looking grade of leaf. I’m glad I did choose to use a teapot with a strainer in it, because this leaf was pretty fine! I don’t generally use a strainer as part of my Gong Fu set up, so I imagine with a gaiwan this would have really gotten into my Cha Hai and cup…
You can see how fine the leaf was in the final image/video…
Still pretty earthy, but also surprisingly sweet and fruity. I don’t 100% trust my taste buds from this session though because the finishing note for nearly every steep was reminding me heavily of sweet blackberry leaf and Fuzzy Peach candies; which is certainly strange. Probably better to retaste this when I feel completely fine…
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDZkdkPHQ00
(Good music for calm, slow evenings – and when you’re feeling sick and kind of hazy…)
Early evening session – was feeling something earthy and dank as fuck so this is what I pulled out! It’s been a while since I had some Liubao, and this really hit the spot. I got seven infusions before this was too weak to be satisfying, it started off aggressively thick and then steadily decline. So camphorous, with rich notes of wet & decaying wood, forest undergrowth, soaked potting soil, black currant, and molasses notes. It’s a little bit bitter, and thick as mud but I’m loving it!
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anlspQCQswo
So, this is my very first Liubao tea – it’s an area of tea that I’ve been curious about for a while but it wasn’t until I got a bit of gentle peer pressure from HeichaHoliday on instagram that I actually seriously considered buying some to try out. So I did eventually place a Chawangshop order – I’ll be honest I wasn’t super discriminate in what teas I nabbed; biggest consideration was just price. I’m not really looking to immediately dip into high end Liubao here – I just want to ‘dip my toes in’ so to speak and see if it’s something that I find even remotely tasty before I invest serious time or money into learning more about it and tasting more expensive samples…
Cracking open the bag of this one, it smells really interesting. It’s definitely not bad, but it’s sort of different than what I was expecting. At the same time, I don’t really know what I expected either!? It’s very wet/dank smelling though and a little earthy. The nicest and most direct comparison that I can think of is to say that the smell reminds me of the aroma of pond water!? However, pond water in a good way. Like, the way that makes you feel ‘connected’ with nature – not repulsed by it.
So, for my session I used 5g of Liubao in a 70ml Gaiwan with a ten second or so rinse. From there, I did six infusions in total. My overall experience was very positive, and right off the bat I definitely enjoyed the flavour of the tea. It’s a little hard to describe what it tasted like because there were definitely foreign to me elements, but the most distinguishable flavour notes were wet wood and wet earth, tree bark, petrichor, cocoa, and stonefruit. Just, a very wet/dank overall profile but in a sweet and satisfying way. Those stonefruit elements were more so undertones after steeps one and two; nothing wildly distinct. Just good, mellow generic stonefruit sweetness. Pretty smooth overall; certainly not bitter or astringent.
Biggest surprise was actually how quickly the flavour seemed to fade/dull. I stopped after six infusions not because I wasn’t enjoying the taste of the tea but because I found it was getting really weak/bland and I didn’t feel like I was getting much out of the infusions anymore. Really positive first tasting though, and definitely gives me this feeling of promise and excitement towards trying out the other three that I picked out from Chawang Shop!
A pleasant, though mostly unremarkable, young sheng. Good buttery texture in the mouth with some bitterness and a bit of a sticky feeling, especially in the early steeps. A mostly floral flavor with some hints of vegetal stuff going on in early steeps. The last few steeps were clean and semi-sweet floral.
At first, this tea was pretty subtle. It took a while to open up; I rinsed it for almost 20 seconds first, and the water barely got darker. The first cup was very subtle, with dominant woody taste. Still fairly light in color. It was the second steeping where it really came alive! Then I smelled a distinct smoky aroma, and the flavors really came out: a little smoke, some rich roasted flavors like toasted rice, shiitake mushrooms, earth. Utterly delicious! Maybe my favorite ripe puer so far (I’ve tried about five or six so far, and have been drinking nothing but puer for several months). Great bargain at $6 for 125 g mini cake at Chawang Shop. Highly recommended!
This was the tea that got me in to Pu-erh. These tightly packed little cakes are packed with flavor. A little bit of fishy aroma, but not overly strong or unpleasant. The brew is dark and rich, very earthy, and almost caramel like. I loved it and used it all up before even digging in to the other teas I ordered.
This one has some backbone to it for sure. Scent off the wet leaves clued me in that it would be decently bitter. Sure enough, got a good dose of vegetal bitterness, especially in the early steeps – I kind of thought it was a one trick pony until around steep 3 or 4, the huigan kicked in. It isn’t a big fruity huigan like some of the other ones I’ve had from Chawang – this was a more creamy sweetness, a bit nutty maybe. I really liked how it slowly made itself known. When/if I get around to making a Chawang order, I’ll almost certainly get a cake of this to toss in the pumidor.
This came as a free sample with my Chawangshop order. The dry ball smells pungent and green, making me prepare for a bitter tea. When I brew it however, it is not as powerful as I expected. It tastes of mineral and green wood with a bit of coriander and a sugarcane sweetness. Bitterness is low-moderate, astringency is quite low. Pretty good tea, one of the better dragon balls I’ve had.
Flavors: Coriander, Green Wood, Mineral, Sugarcane
The dry leaf smells smooth and roasty. Brews a medium orange. Initial steeps taste predominantly of roast with a bit of tobacco and leather and a light sweetness. There is a bit of a rubber-like note that fades over time. With the third steep I start to get a good mineral note. I was hoping this tea would get better as I go, but it pretty much stays the same.
Flavors: Leather, Mineral, Roasted, Tobacco