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Recent Tasting Notes
Imagine if you will, that one perfect swimming hole. Deep in the woods, there might be a waterfall. You spent a summer visiting it and the feeling of the water, the sun on your back, the smell, and the atmosphere all are imprinted in your very psyche. That is how Dian Lu Eshan Mao Feng affected me the first time I had the pleasure of sipping it. It starts out clear and refreshing, with slightly vegetal notes and a sweetness, which while noticeable, was neither cloying nor overwhelming. As steeps continue the clear liquor slowly becomes more and more yellow, ending up for my last few steeps as a hay color, and tasted similarly. Despite there clearly being no mint in the tea, it almost seemed mentholated in its cooling qualities. It left me feeling refreshed and going back for more. Honestly I’d rate this 100%, but I’m leaving room for a perfect tea when I find it. This is however, the closest I’ve come.
Sampling at home required a little experimentation, as the first time I tried it I was in Dobra. But after a few tries I was able to get the right temperature down and the steep times. It’s honestly not the easiest tea to master, but I got it in the end.
Flavors: Flowers, Forest Floor, Hay, Ocean Air
Visited Dobra on a recent vacation to Asheville. Oh how I wish my area could support a nice tea house! Looking at their menu I planned to try their Gui Fei oolong, but they were out. The worker there recommended me a Thai Honey Oolong which was quite similar to Gui Fei and it was very good. In retrospect I probably should have bought some to go, but I decided to go with my staple Yunnan black since I hadn’t brought any with me to the mountains.
The Jin Zhen/Golden Buds is a fairly nice, very smooth black tea. It hints at fruity cherry and soft milk chocolate notes, slightly tart, as well as the standard malt and sweet potato. It’s good, but the flavors are not as full/defined as I’ve been accustomed to with hongcha from Yunnan Sourcing or Teavivre.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Tart
Drank this tea at Dobra Teahouse. It wasn’t amazing, but not bad. I wouldn’t have it again, but wouldn’t necessarily steer people away either…some notes from the session:
1- slightly bitter in a good way, earthy
2 – darker, bitter like dark chocolate, but not sweet at all
3 – dry mouth
4 – hint of sweet, fruit?
7 – continued earthiness, fruit sweetness is still very faint, still dry in the mouth
8 – a little less dry mouth by now, a bit of a sweet aftertaste – Going to up to 45 seconds for next one to test…
9 – more sweetness with longer steep?
10 – I actually let it steep about a minute due to talking to one of the workers here and now it’s nice and sweet. Maybe I should have been increasing steep time as I went (they recommended 30 seconds, not increasing…).
12 up to a minute. it’s slowing down I think, earthy sweet still there, but fading. Gonna hit it hard next time
13 7 minutes, weak and sweet
14 15 min, done, slightly bitter
My first Puerh!
If it’s true that you always remember your first, this was a nice way to begin. Had around a 6 hour session at Dobra Tea, sitting in the back corner, attempting to get work done.
Steep – Just off boiling, but kept in thermos at table, probably not steady @ 30 seconds
1-2: very sour in a good way, little bit sweet, nothing bitter which surprised me as I thought that was expected in young sheng.
5: smoothing out, still sour, but not overly
10: sour diminished, with much longer sweet aftertaste, kinda numb in the cheeks, head heavy, super focused, but not on my work…got up to ask them what year this was (2011) and couldn’t talk very well…
11-14: Where did the day go? This music is really, really good.
14: getting a bit weaker, but not near done yet, tiny sour (slightly bad sour, but now only in aftertaste), sweet diminished, not quite sure what is going on now.
16: steeping for 45 seconds now, brought it back!
20: by now the tastes are all kinda muted, coalescing into a tasty, but somewhat bland tea. Think I’m pushing it here!
22: forgot about it and steeped 10 minutes. sweet up front, aftertaste is the first time it’s been bitter!
23: forgot it again but only for 1 minute. bitter again
24: back to 45 seconds. sweet and weak, but more in there…i’m letting it win, gotta go home…
[Edit]: wanted to add that I went to bed with a sour taste in my mouth even though I stopped drinking the tea in the early evening. It wasn’t a bad sour, but certainly noticeable!
Flavors: Sour, Sweet
3 years ago, this was the first Oolong I ever tried. I was told to put down my Green Tea, and brew some of this for it would warm my soul on a cold Maine afternoon. And it did. Now 3 years later, when I’ve finally returned to Tea again, I decided to pick up where I left off.
This is good stuff. I do indeed feel like I’m wearing a Big Red Robe. If steeps are layers, this robe is around 5.5 layers deep…
Wanted to add, that it does really well Grandpa style too!
Very citrusy, and im sure it is high in vitamin C or something. I love this tea! I generally have 3-4 resteeps with this one. It goes and goes…. Very piney and slight citrus, with some mellow sweetness. It is hard to mess this one up, but i suggest no more than 1 minute steeps and go less than 190F.
Flavors: Citrusy, Pine, Sweet, warm grass
The flavor was wonderful and slightly chocolatey. The leaves are big so you have to add a bit more due to the size versus the teasoon’ limited capacity. Honestly I would weigh this tea over a volumetric measurement if I could. I got three brews from this tea.!
This sample came from Hapatite. She included several sizable samples with my purchases from her stash sale a few weeks ago. The black tea leaves in this blend actually look like they’re higher quality than I generally see in flavored teas. There are also pieces of what I assume is dried plum? Doesn’t say on the website or in the Steepster description, so who knows? Smells sweetly fruity and there’s something nutty too, but that may be scent contamination from another tea. I steeped it for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
The aroma is mostly black tea with a vague fruity smell. I added some sugar to mine, as I am wont to do with flavored teas. I’m actually pleasantly surprised by this one! I haven’t been loving most flavored teas lately, and some of them even make me feel nauseous… The flavor in this does remind me of a very ripe and sweet plum, and there’s a teensy bit of tartness that makes it seem even more believable. I don’t really have much to say about the base tea besides that it’s mellow and it doesn’t interfere heavily with the flavor. This tea leaves a pleasantly tart fruity aftertaste in the back of my mouth, yums. :D
Flavors: Fruity, Plums, Sweet
I let this one go stale, unfortunately… I overleafed to compensate, but I didn’t really get much flavor until it cooled considerably. It’s not a super flavorful and complex tea to begin with, so I guess it doesn’t bother me too much that it’s past its prime. It’s earthy and familiar and vegetal, light and beautiful to watch steep. Chinese teas have a mysterious, quiet, artistic presence. Tea with a purpose other than to caffeinate the drinker. They evoke and awaken certain feelings.
Drinking this particular one makes me sad, although I am 100% certain that that wasn’t the intent of the blendmaster.
I got it on my very last weekend in college, so just opening the bag and inhaling the dry leaf transported me right back to that day, the sadness, fear, and also strange exhilaration of graduating looming over my head as I made the purchase. Maybe that’s why I went so long without drinking it— I didn’t want to be reminded of the cozy little tearoom where I bought it, or of the friend I was with, whom I haven’t seen for a while.
I think my memories associated with this tea flavored my cup today more than the leaves themselves.
Made a cup of this in the gaiwan this morning. I haven’t had it in a while. I’d forgotten how flavorful it is, despite its deceptively pale color. I may have made it a bit strong, but I got bitter cocoa notes, asparagus, and the same sort of umami quality that you can taste while eating turkey.
A very unique and dynamic cup.
My new gaiwan arrived in the mail yesterday (the glass one, inevitably, shattered). This one is just plain white porcelain, is much sturdier, has a good lid for pouring, and it’s beautiful. I chose the perfect tea to try it out with, too, because this particular tea is known for its leaves that “dance” in the water. Seeing these tea leaves steeping in this gaiwan filled me with a sense of beauty and calm. This tea is very fragrant while it steeps, releasing a floral, springy scent.
It tastes like asparagus and something else that I can’t quite identify. It’s like a light perfume. Lovely, calming tea.
Got a 3 oz bag of this tea on my last trip to Dobra as a college student…
It’s lovely. Very light and refreshing. I haven’t had much experience with yellow teas, so this was an adventure. It’s vegetal and subtle, like most white teas. I’m trying to get more into them because they’re the least processed.
I get a sweet, almost floral finish. Very nice!
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Flavors: Baked Bread, Flowers
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The rich aroma of peat and mushrooms, followed by a taste of sweet earth makes this a really special tea. The umami mouth-feel lasts for ages after a sip. This puer is one of the best examples of why an older Sheng can be similar to, but much deeper than, a Shou.