Essence of Tea

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9 g 3 OZ / 95 ML

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This is a great everyday hongcha. The leaves are large, wiry, and shimmered gold and black bits. They carry a deep rich grape scent with some dry cedar, burnt sugar, malt, and a brief sweetness. I warmed up my pot and slipped some inside. Once warmed up, they give off some good hearty wood tones with milk cocoa and hazelnut rising up. The scent and nice and roasted campfire peanuts; good and toasty. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste is sweet yet dry. I can pick up tons of smooth wood tones that is mixed in with sweet malt. The brew is dessert like, but a bit burly. The drink is an easy drinker and carries some good energy. However, the next couple steeping yields a drier, woodier, maltier brew than I would care to drink. It’s a simple tea.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Wood, Drying, Hazelnut, Malt, Sweet, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Malty and astringent throughout the session. I wanted to like it, but I’m particular with my black teas.

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It’s malty and astringent, and when overbrewed or overleafed, turns bitter and biting—nothing new for a hong.

It’s bright and dark at the same time. There’s a bit of an autumnal leaf pile and sweetness that lends to the bright side, with a hint of cocoa lending to the dark.

I think the astringency is a bit much in this tea to keep me from getting any more.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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This was pretty cheap so I got a sample. Unfortunately, I tried a few weeks after the Kunlu wild which makes these not enjoyable at all. Kunlu wild is just… the best wild out there and have such a strong taste and brews for days. This is cheap and all, but it falls flat after six steeps with just semi tasting liquid that can pass as ‘cheap’ puerh like Royal Tea Bay type of stuff.


Could you perhaps share your notes for the Kunlu bitter wild?

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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.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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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:

The session:

Wet leaf/ nearing the end:

5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Really want to try this. That price though :D


Rasseru considering the amount of leaf used and the number of infusions the extra cost wasn’t all that bad.


And compared to something like alcohol its a bargain :) I would end up spending a fortune there on only a few samples though… one day I will treat myself though. I need to do some sipdowns first

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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.

6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2000 Kai Yuan Green Stamp – Essence of Tea

Price: £0.52 ($0.77) / g ~£140 ($206) / 357g cake


8 grams in gaiwan.

Summary. An excellent tea which comprises a tart fruity note blended into softened smoke. The tea shows a mature flavour profile with a clean taste, possibly due to good storage. It is thick and oily in early brews with a thoroughly enjoyable mix of aged fruit and well integrated softened smoke. It lacks longevity and power.

Dry:Very dark brown and flatly compressed. Very mild smoky cheese.

Wet: Complex. Medium cloudy smoke; log burning smoke; beefy, deeper base. Bright, light furniture polish, old building – no bird cage. Warm soil. Soft pastry.

Rinse: Very clear light gold.

10s – Med golden. Sweet sip, a tart fruity note in the body. Very long finish, which is sweet, slightly almond. Minute bitterness. Worn out tea. Smoke is very soft. However, it is currently lightly flavoured. The flavour remains long in the mouth like a grape has decayed into soil: soft, sweet, earthy, but with a gentle bright floral note. This is a special tea. The aged flavours are mature, slightly dry and oily. 88/100

15s – Light brown. Thick in the mouth. The tea leaves an oily residue. There are a variety of aged flavours: furniture polish and old books. The tart, fruity note is there and it blends into soft smoke. 88/100

20s – Light/med brown. Smoke is stronger, but it is very worn down. The fruit note sometimes presents itself as light furniture polish – it becomes that bright; at other times it is darker and fades into the finish. Again, quite oily and the flavours are more pronounced. 89/100

25s – Light/med orange brown. Slight astringency. Log burning smoke has softened. The smoke combines with the fruit note to give a smooth aged taste that lasts long into the finish and remains in the mouth. Here it is not the strong old building, furniture polish, but a heavy and worn down log burning smoke with a mild beefy taste. 88/100

30s – Light/med orange brown. The fruit note, this time is polished wood, appears to buzz in the mouth in the body and finish. The smoke remains steady into and after the finish. 85/100

35s – Light/med brown. The smoky fruit note reminds me of smoked paprika in paella. It’s not as bright, but it has that pungent, woody after-taste. 82/100

45s – Light brown. Thinner. Less smoke. 70/100

1 min 15 – Med orange/brown. Base sheng. Thin. Stewed black tea. Slightly astringent. 50/100

8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

another lovely review!


I see that you use the word oily quite a bit… are you referring to the tea’s viscosity and thickness or something else?


This tea is something else :) By oily I mean a residual liquid. Most teas you drink and they go down. This tea had a thick liquid left behind that I could feel go down very slowly. The 2008 Bulang had the same thing.


i do not think I’ve ever had an oily like tea :O

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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.

Flavors: Orange

8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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