Essence of TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Velvet smooth, fresh and sweet.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2016-xinzhai-eot
Flavors: Smooth, Sweet
Yay, my tenth review! I received ten grams of this tea as a free sample with my order from Essence of Tea. The bag has been sitting opened in my pumidor for over a month so it has had ample time to air out and acclimatize. My sample consisted of one larger piece, big, intact individual leaves as well as some smaller ones at the bottom of the bag. The sample had an air of being prepared with care.
Since there weren’t enough leaves to fill up the rather large Yixing teapot I usually use for sheng, I put 8.9g of leaves in a 130ml gaiwan instead. The dry leaves had a much darker and aged smell than you usually get in a sheng of this age, which leads me to believe what I was smelling may have been acquired in storage. This was a non-issue, though, because after a ten-second rinse the dark aroma was gone and I was greeted instead by a sweet, vegetal scent. After a customary ten-minute rest, I got to brewing. I did a total of eleven steeps, for 10s, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 80s, 2 min., 3 min. and 4 min. respectively. The tea could have gone longer, but I gave up. I did all my drinking from a silver cup that I received from Crimson Lotus Tea the very same day, in case you are a believer in that silver makes a difference in taste. I have yet to do a direct A/B, but the potential influence on flavor is not why I bought the cup.
The first infusion had a thick, soft, creamy texture and a very prominent vanilla note, but also some astringency in the finish that I’m not used to seeing in the very first steep when brewing in clay. I hardly ever brew sheng in porcelain, so I can’t say if this tea is more astringent than average or if I’m just not used to it. In any case the first infusion was excellent. The second steep was less thick and in it the vanilla note was replaced by a creamy taste. It was also much more astringent than the first one or what I’m used to.
The third infusion was still creamy, but started to taste greener while still remaining reasonably astringent. The fourth one was the same, while having perhaps a bit more body and also possibly leaving a smoky tobacco aroma in your mouth. After that the creamy character dropped off and for the next four steeps the taste was green and astringent with some emerging green sweetness. Very typical young sheng flavor.
Starting with infusion nine the other flavors were finally starting to taper off, making way to typical young raw pu’er sweetness, although the sweetness wasn’t especially sweet. The tenth steeping tasted very clean while still maintaining strength really well. The eleventh infusion is where I stopped and that was probably the first time the tea was starting showing signs of dropping in strength.
All in all this was a good tea and a positive session. I didn’t like the tea enough to warrant a purchase, but my pumidor is already starting to get to a point where a tea has to be really special or interesting for me to be willing to devote room for it. If I were to magically acquire a cake of this, I would store it rather than drink it. The tea can be drunk now, but although the early infusions were nice, I think it’s still underdeveloped in other areas and tastes quite young. I found the tea quite astringent at every step, but even at its most intense it remained manageable. The biggest shortcoming I noted for the tea was a seeming lack of discernible cha qi. Normally I would regard this as a bigger issue, but I feel in this case the tea makes up for the seeming lack of qi with its seemingly excellent longevity and the way in which it maintains its strength extremely well throughout the session.
If you like creamy sheng and this tea sounds promising, I recommend trying a sample to see for yourself how you like it. For an Essence of Tea offering the cake is quite affordable and I think this is certainly a quality tea. The tea is okay to drink now, but frankly I think it would be a waste to do so. I can see this tea becoming very yummy in ten or fifteen years and drinking it now would be a waste of potential. I’m sure there are other creamy shengs out there that are more suited for immediate consumption.
In its current state I think this is a good tea. In the future I can see it becoming a great one. I’m trying to be conservative with how I hand out Recommended badges and reserve those to only teas I would buy myself or buy more of if I ran out, so therefore this doesn’t get one despite being something I recommend trying out.
Flavors: Astringent, Cream, Green, Sweet, Vanilla
I had set this bag aside of ‘2000 CNNP camphor EoT’ for when a specific friend came over and today was that day. Due to the darkness of the leaf, I really thought this was a ripe puerh which is why I put it to the side. The first brew came through and I said “wow, this tea has REALLY aged out fast because it resembles an old raw at this point” and so we drank it and I was mind blown. Excused myself to grab my phone, this is because I don’t have my phone with me when I do tea sessions with friends generally, and found out this was a raw!
Some strong tingling with this tea and serious aging on it. Really solid brisky brew each pour towards the end (being 3 hours, 18 steeps). Really enjoyable.
Story time: So we are outside drinking the end of this tea when this dog walks up to us and we are like ‘ugh, what the hell this is a big dog’. Staring at each other, minutes pass and this lady comes by with a Budweiser in her hand and just goes “that’s Luna, she’s a baby”. Then we realized the dog was staring scared that we would move rather than us being scared that the dog would move : )
So we are just chatting away about how she works with autistic children, which is her job since humans are so prone to knowing what people do for a living, we poured hot water in this clear glass device called a gaiwan. Now for the most past in Ohio, gongfu brewing is not a thing. She looks right at us and goes “what the fuck is that”. We both laugh and respond, “tea”. Then as always, we got some confused and somewhat concerned looks. So at this point it’s been a bit so she opens another Budweiser and we talk about poverty until someone brings her Chinese food and then she leaves.
It was beautiful. I don’t know who she was, but at 10pm at night she was able to just stand there and talk to us for an hour not even knowing who we were either as we poured hot water into this gaiwan thing and drank it over and over making remarks like ‘does your mouth tingle still near the roof of your mouth?’. Thinking about it, she was probably somewhat amused by the odd stuff going on with these two men talking about how their mouth feels when a liquid is introduced.
The TTB is due to return to me today, so I’m looking through my bag of samples for teas I haven’t reviewed yet. This is my last EoT tea sample. Strictly speaking, it isn’t puerh, but I’m going to review it as though it is.
My initial impression was somewhat negative, as I’m not a big fan of the damp storage style. The taste and smell was largely earthy, reminding me of the smell of the woods after a heavy rain. As I sipped, Ithe tea started to grow on my. I noticed a bit of stone fruit and spice, and the taste was smooth and well-balanced. After a couple of steeps, the fruit faded, but the spice remained. The cha qi was quite strong, leaving me somewhat drowsy. 95 score on the cha qi.
This was an interesting tea. I’m not used to tea that is fully aged, but this seemed to be the case. I was impressed by the smooth clarity, but the flavor didn’t appeal to me.
As you open the tea you’re hit with the scent of roasted brown rice, toasted grains and some chocolate as well. Upon infusion the liquor becomes very roast and mineral prominent with some of the cereal like grain notes as well. There is a nice milky mouthfeel that just lingers there for a moment. Six infusions before this wanes with the third infusion my absolute favorite. It’s at that moment it just felt everything great about this rock oolong was present. Beautiful charcoal colored large leaf and golden brown liquor with intensely green wet leaf in the end a reminder of what this was when first plucked. An absolute favorite and well worth the extra ducats.
Exactly 5g, 150ml gaiwan with about 100ml of 190F water and a 30s first, 15s second, 30s third, 45s fourth, 60+ for five and six at 200F and one bonus steep that will sit for an hour at least to enjoy later cold.
The dry leaf:
Wet leaf/ nearing the end:
2015 Autumn Guafengzhai Maocha – Essence of Tea
Price: £0.32 ($0.46) / g .
16g free sample received with my order.
6g in Gaiwan
Summary: Aesthetically, the best looking set of leaves I have come across so far. Flavour-wise, it initially provides a fresh, lively juicy mixture of flavours. I feel it does lack thickness.
Dry: Bright, concentrated herbal, darker base – White2Tea New Amerykah 2 comes to mind. Loose leaves, grey and brown, long and spindly.
Wet: Bright and lively, sweet, but with a pungent note.
10s – Light yellow. Fresh, lively, juicy, but has a deep base to it. Sweetness lingers. This has some complexity.
15s – Light yellow. Med bitterness, light herbal. Quite nice. The sweetness lingers, but not heavily, which is a positive for me.
20s – Light yellow. Not so full in the mouth. Very clear liquor. Only very light smoke. No astringency.
25s – It is resisting the high mountain Oolong sweetness, but it’s coming.
30s – Honey sweetness. Still resisting high mountain Oolong sweetness.
10s – There is some juicy currents.
15s – Good body, becoming very sweet.
2005 Chang Yu Hao – Essence of Tea
Price: £0.69 ($1.04) / gram
Summary: Sounds good, looks good, taste fails to impress.
Dry: Med brown, flat, lots of twigs/stems. Med compression.
Wet: Porridge, clay, powdery smoke. A bit flat. No fruit.
Rinse: Light/med golden.
10s – Light/med golden. Sweet dough; thin. 58/100.
15s – Med golden. Sweet hot milk. No bitterness. Flavour is coming slowly. 60/100.
Stab with a fork to open clump of leaves, gently.
10s – Med golden. Am I going to taste anything this time? Golden sweet fruit. The flavour comes in like treacle: soft, subtle and with some thickness.
12s – Dense med golden. Here it is! Soft, sweet dried apricot. The fruit is well pronounced.
15s – Ok it’s here now. Bitter and astringent grip; it delivers an pungent orange fruit flavour. Good body, but not a long finish. Flavours are a bit too close; its too concentrated. 80/100.
10s – Dense med golden. Strong, deep base with only light fruit that is not clearly coming through. It clearly has good strength and is quality material, but the flavours are too muddled.
10s – Dense, darker golden. Flavour is watery. 65/100.
20s – Med golden. Base sheng material. Flat. Reminding me of 2007 Golden Ribbon – well maybe not that bad.
25s – Med golden. Flavour have lost their edge.