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Recent Tasting Notes
Dry – Woody rich dark notes
Wet – Rich woody notes, broth-y/savory, wet storage, decayed wood.
Liquor – Light Brown
Initial Note/caveat – I’m drinking the loose version of this tea, the pressed version may differ due to the the pressing process
Initial steeps are smoother than you would expect for the scent of the wet leaves but still rich wet wood notes with cedar (spicy?) and some camphor and a fair amount of thickness that is brothy/leathery/musty (think mushroom soup) and as it washes down it has some astringency to it, but not unpleasant.
Mid steeps (4-6) were similar but with some of that ‘dankness’ of mushroom soup and leather mellowing down, but also loosing some of the body with each steep. Somewhere in here the cedar comes upfront, I think because the slight spice note numbs my tongue a bit and it also has some more astringency than I expected, but still not unpleasant at all.
Later on it keeps loosing steam in the strength of the steeps, so you have to start pushing it a bit. However, it does hold up well with longer steeps and gives more than I expected from it.
The tea kept loosing steam, but I lost steam a bit quicker. I came in biased with this tea expecting some bulang character and found none of it. I did a few more steeps and I was over it, I bet people who love wetter stored tea will love it.
Flavors: Cedar, Leather, Musty, Wet Wood
This is the first border tea I have tried. It was fairly good. There was an initial note for the first two steepings which I found unpleasant. About the third steeping a little bitterness crept in and lasted maybe two or three steeps. This was replaced by a sweet note. I am not sure what to call this sweet note either. I don’t quite get apricots but maybe that is because this tea has turned a corner on aging and lost that flavor. It was still a nice note.
I steeped this twelve times in a 75ml teapot with 5.5g leaf. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. The leaves were not done at twelve steeps. I am sure I could have gotten another four to five steeps out of the leaves if I wanted to continue.
7g, 100ml jian shui dragon egg teapot, aroma of dry leaves is one of the better smelling fruity/ripe fruit aromas I have smelled. I didn’t want to stop smelling it! aroma of dry leaves translated loosely into the flavor. Flavor was not weak, but well balanced. Flavor out-lasted me. Not sedating, but I did take a good long nap in the afternoon about 2/3 way through this session. Lasting aftertaste mouthfeel, but aftertaste flavor was not lingering. No bitterness even when pushed. Very clean flavors, no huigan, was still enjoyable tea. well processed. Its also CHEAP!!! Definitely worth getting a cake. daily drinker with some aging potential. qi is unremarkable.
I got a few remarks on the unique compression of the oolong tea. For some, this is a new concept. I like that. The dark rock smells of hay, char, dry wood, and mineral. I can see little dimples on where the press struck the cake. I warmed my gaiwan up and crumbled the brick inside. The aroma opens into hearty charred mesquite, roasted dark fruits, dark cocoa, and burnt sugar. This is a roasty one. I washed the leaves three times (sooper kompressed) and gave her a taste. The taste begins with heavy roast and a sweet and fruity aftertaste. The base is of mineral and the qi begins right off the bat. A nice heartwarming feeling complements the float-y headiness the brew gives me. The brick is heavily compressed so the session lasts for quite some time. The taste develops into some rich dry cocoa along with some black cherry. I can hint at the coffee notes, but I feel the brew was little too abrasive for that tone. The taste is decent even when it pushes into the char category. The energy is fair too. The qi continues to build and take up house in my head. I liked this tea, but after five or so steeps my stomach began to rumble.
Flavors: Black Currant, Burnt Sugar, Char, Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Drying, Mineral, Roasted, Sweet
Its a small sample given in my last chawanshop order. Smells in the packet very old and dusty.
Taste is quite mellow really, tastes aged – not fruity but just old and stuff. reminiscent of a mellow shou puerh, but with a thinner-transparent soup. A slight oil & salt on the tip of my tongue but generally its unsalty/mellow.
Aroma is mellow leaf-pile. Apparently the mellow is a classic three-cranes style.
Not the best i’ve tasted, lacking depth & richness and the flavour is a bit dusty & old & twiggy, but if you like that/shou lover that wants to try everything, you might like it more than me. Its so cheap!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dust
This 2016 Lao Man´e is sweet without any bitterness.
Using a porcelain Gaiwan I enjoyed the tea so much I placed another order to make sure I don’t run out anytime soon.
This is my first loose puerh maocha and I don’t know how it will age. When the bag was opened the leaf delivered a savory smokey aroma and taste. I’m experimenting with ways to keep that going.
I’m a big fan of Hekai. It’s bite-y and crisp. This one lays right in those tones, and it’s great. The leaves are long, twisted, and shiny. An intoxicating aroma of warm honey, dry grass, and some light floral lift from the leaves. The fragrance is fresh, pleasant, and lasting. I warmed up my pot and placed a chunk inside. The scent opens into what I would describe as fibrous. A ton of oatmeal with nectar and maple wood. This is a rustic breakfast tea, haha. I washed the leaves and prepared to brew. The taste begins with a sharp bitter bite and instant power qi that washes over the body. Afterwards, a light sweetness calms the palate. I had to wrestle with this tea a little bit, for the bitterness continued to bite, and the qi was overpowering. I continued flash steeping, for I like a challenge, and it paid off. The calms down and presents a flavor profile of light white grape tang and dry sweetness. This is a nice solid tea with bite and soon after soothing qualities. I peek into my pot and notice the heavy bud usage and small stout leaves. I enjoyed the pulsing qi and thick sweet lingering taste in mouth for long after the session.
Flavors: Bitter, Drying, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Honey, Oats, Sweet, White Grapes
Ugh. I love this tea. Huang Pians are simple and sweet. You pay little for high quality material. When something is 6 dollars for 100 grams you expect nothing. This is utterly delicious.
It smells like wild, foresty, savory herbs and beef jerky. Its not a savory tea like a lincang might be though. The taste is sort’ve like a lemon candy with no sourness whatsoever and a continuation of what I want to call floral/herbs but no florals or herbs I have ever tasted, lending a wild and unique quality to the tea. The texture is very, very gloopy. As if its sticking to your mouth, making webs like a chewy gummy candy would. The finish is all pure sugar and it remains in your nasal cavity with a bright sensation.
I ordered chawangshop’s Wu Yi lineup, and I must say all of them are at least very good. This one is top notch. It is the smoothest Wu Yi oolong I’ve had. It’s a deep baked handmade oolong, done exceedingly well. The roast is deep but not upfront in the flavor profile. It is spicy and zesty, with hints of fruit. The broth is silky. Great stuff. Chawangshop is an underrated gem. Don’t be put off by what appears to be high shipping costs, once you place your order and they send you an invoice, the shipping is usually much less than it first appears.
This tea starts bad, does poorly for a while, passes through a period of being plebian, and ultimately settles on disappointing.
If ever there was a poster child tea for sampling first instead of buying the whole cake, this tea is it . All the amazing qualities of ChaWangShop’s 98 You Le are turned on their head here. Still, at these prices, one big winner and one big loser equals an overall success.
Just don’t back this tea – it’s the Washington Nationals in this showdown.
Amazing coloured cake, very green yellow, 200g sliced from a larger piece.
Dark yellow tea soup, with a pleasant old/musty aroma, but also this can be bit bready/cakey. I like it, its nice. Has a bit of zing on the tongue which is pleasant, although not super long lasting huigan or anything.
There is sweetness & a bit of a bready taste, its a bit like cake water, with a slight sweet raisin viscous body. This is also a bit of an old-book-taste, depending on how you look at it.
A slight bit of citrus, maayyyybe? anyway, at the 4th steep & there is still a mini-zing in the mouth & sweetness. its slightly herbal, perhaps a bit of floral.
i’m still pretty new to these types of heicha so i’m gongfu brewing – I think this one can take a bit more punishment than i’m currently giving it, so I’m going to have to keep practising with getting the right parameters for fullest flavour. Certainly there wasnt anything offputting at all with this one, but i’m going to come back after a while with a score as currently i’m still seeing what works best
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cake, Dust, Raisins, Sugar
i received this sample from mrmopar. on the label it says shou at the end, but this sheng is all i could find on the site.. typo maybe? im almost positive this is a sheng, and by sight you would agree. the dry leaf smells great with sour to sweet or sweet to sour, on the inhale. broken up i see the leaves are full and intact, the same as when wet.. they just open up into leaves.
the brew is a lot like the aroma, i mean it is s&s with astringency, its sort of delicate and subtle as well. i hope the cold brew brings out more sweetness. i dont know what it is today, but im somewhat underwhelmed by this tea.. its still drinkable, and maybe ill get some cha qi in the process. seaweed & sand, seaweed & sand. i dont hate it though, i like the small bite it has on the tongue. again western style, so this review may be useless.. oh well. adios
Seriously. Just look at that beauty.
If you’re thinking it looks like someone broke apart a couple of wet cigars & shoved them in a bamboo wrapper you are probably on the right tracks.. this one is pretty dank with smoky hints.. cigar tobacco & sweetly sour notes. – Not ‘smoked’ like DHP or Lapsang but just in the background. Also some medicinal & pile flavours but again they all sit behind a plummy Hunan Heicha sweetness. It isnt as strong as a couple of wet cigars, it just gives that impression subtly.
All this is pretty mixed together in the soup, so its either balanced or jumbled, depending on whether you like that or not :) This soup isnt thick & dark & earthy like a shou its more fruiter in the viscosity.
These notes give way to a mellow tea later on in the session, but with a bit of a body feel going on. Crept up on me :) Not massively strong but just noted. turns into library flavours later.
Its not that long lasting. Its not super rich or thick. Its also not expensive & is certainly interesting if you like those old smokey book flavours, while not tasting overly smoked, a slight sweet to balance things out while not being fruity. Maybe its more a bamboo sweetness.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bamboo, Fruity, Medicinal, Pleasantly Sour, Smoked, Tobacco
This tea has fairly strong notes of camphor and spice. There is also a fair amount of fermentation flavor to it. Behind all that I think is a sweet note. This is fairly nice ripe puerh considering the price of only $12 for 250g. I would probably buy this again if I run out. It’s fairly good although not spectacular.
I steeped this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 30 seconds.
Flavors: Camphor, Earth, Spices, Sweet
I am now officially a cheap tea date. 2.5p/g & i’m devouring this like its going out of fashion. Its fruity & old & dank & spicy (like mince pies)… has a slightly tongue numbing sour note, sweet… just so much win for so little wonga.
I mean you just open the bag & inhale the goodness. It’s a bit like the sweet part of a christmas cake or a pack of dates has been transformed into a boggy leafy mess. Raisins? yeah something like that. There is old wet mud in there but because of the fruity flavours it just tastes of win.
It does leave me a little confused though – this seems to be closer in flavour to an aged sheng than any 2012 shou could ever be….? I wonder why that is
Flavors: Dates, Fruity, Pleasantly Sour, Raisins, Spicy, Sweet, Wet Earth
this tea punches me in the face a bit, with some sour/bitter sweetness. im not sure what to say about this tea, it tastes low-key. i think it smells a little like fern plants and tastes like sandalwood. there is some citrus that comes at you with a dry bite to it. this is another tea mrmopar sent me and its unlike any other sheng ive tried so far.. its kind of offensive but in a good way.
Earth. The Final Frontier.
There have been a few reviews on this tea, and invariably the taste mentioned is earh, or soil or such. This is definitely the tea those loamy shous are trying to imitate. You’re not going to get more ground taste in your tea without having to chew.
And I suspect, really, that’s all I’ll need to say for you to know whether this tea is for you. It harbored no surprises, it didn’t evolve during the steeps, nor did it out stay it’s welcome. Although, to be fair, this sort of tea gets brewed very long very early when in my pot by preference (and due to being “bombproof”), so perhaps a more measured approach would extend its number of steeps considerably.
Of particular note is the lack of funky or off flavors, despite a taste profile that usually features some. Not sure how it was stored precisrly, but I did only one rinse and couldn’t taste anything sloughing off as the session progressed. Well done.
Overall, an enjoyable cup, but certainly not one I’ll miss when it’s gone. Perhaps like the fabled Red Marks of old, it just needs another quarter century to come into its own. Don’t look to me to exhibit that degree of patience, however.