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Recent Tasting Notes
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #45
A standard moonlight type white tea. The flavor is tough to describe though. I don’t think it compares to to Butiki’s White Rhino though… even if I’m probably seeing the White Rhino through the rose colored glasses of the past and love for Butiki. But this is a good example of a moonlight with all its unique colored leaves, some light, some dark, some fuzzy, some like old autumn leaves. The flavor doesn’t have as much smoothness and depth as I expect a moonlight to have though.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 30 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
This is a nice, clean young puerh tea from Farmer Leaf. No smoke or toasty off flavors, suggesting a processing that is to my taste: clean, pure, and highly aromatic. The fragrance is strong with sweet musk, a fruited sweetness, and a little roasted-corn-like character. Not overly vegetal, with some nice bitterness that is not overbearing. This is a bargain, in my opinion. I purchased a 100g cake, but after this tasting I think a full-size bing is going to be in my next order. Not totally mind blowing by any means, but definitely a great tea that could work well for a nicer daily drinker.
This tea begins very light, and then the astringency creeps up on you like some sort of ski-masked purse-snatcher. Three/four steeps in, and all of a sudden the sides of my tongue are numb and the insides of my cheeks are dry and tingly, like I’d just eaten a Saltine Cracker. Farmer-Leaf self-describes this tea as having a “very active” and “robust” mouthfeel, and they’re not lying, in the best way possible. Complex mouthfeel is a front-runner for what makes puerh so unique, and this tea is a great example…
Link to full review: https://shenggut.wixsite.com/shenggut/single-post/2017/10/08/Farmerleaf-Jingmai-Tian-Xiang-Spring-2017
Flavors: Orchids, Stonefruits, Tobacco
Last night, I was drinking several teas along with this one; however, this was the only one which I made any notes on since this was the only one not being had with people via Google Hangouts. I had the time to make a few notes with this tea since I wasn’t preoccupied. I had grabbed a few samples from the “swap box” for the session online with tea people; however, since there were plenty of those samples leftover to review at a later time; this one wasn’t so fortunate to have had been enough for two sessions. ;)
Tea Notes: This one brewed pretty lightly when I had first started with the ‘basic’ temperature that I often brew my tea (195 F). After attempting to get more than a “light honey sweetness, but nothing else,” I increased the temperature to 200 F per suggestion of another. That did the trick. I had a lot more honey sweetness, a thicker mouthfeel, and a slight note of ‘sheng taste in the aftertaste.’ See, I don’t know what that sheng taste is per se, but I recognize it from time to time…..hahaha. Overall, this was a very nice session. I brewed it out about 10 times from last night to this morning.
A place to release some air: I’ve come to the conclusion that tea is among one of the few comforts that I have (reading & hiking fall closely behind) which give me an absolute sense of ease from the oftentimes unintentionally sought out chaos which befalls us in this world. I am at the point where I must stop purchasing tea and drink what I have (I’m 100% ok with this, though) and to learn to appreciate and feel fortunate that I have what I have (a practice on humility)….Anyway, I could go on, but I feel that this would overshadow the tea review, rather than becoming a place to rant and rave about my own misfortunes and eventual blessings which derive from them….
PS. Thank you to whomever swapped this out with me. My memory isn’t so great, so I forget who I swapped tea with. ;)
Fresh and strong, bitter-sweet with slightly fruity note.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2016-jingmai-gulan-bana
Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Sweet
Very fresh, slightly bitter-sweet and a bit astringent.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2016-nanzuo-lao-shengtai-bana
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Sweet
i really enjoy William’s teas, but i can’t say i really like this one.
it has no negative issues like bitterness or smoke or harsh aroma.
but the positive effects are near to none also.
the aroma is only slightly there, like when you want a hot shower and you get lukewarm water or you need a strong beam in the shower but only get a third of the pressure.
yes, it’s autumn, and of course it’s not that powerful, but this one combines the lesser autumn power with a lukewarm aroma.
the aroma itself has no interesting tones for me while the ones it has are rather good than bad ones, but they are so powerless.
the price for it is very low, like 10 euro/100g, so the price is ok, but you have to ask yourself the question: would you want a great tea for an appropriate amount or a tea that has near to no power and near to no intense aromas for for less money.
maybe it’s because the bushes are young and it’s autumn..
maybe some people might enjoy it nonetheless, but for me it’s between :/ and :), and that’s just 50 points here. i add 10 points for quality and rather good than bad aroma, but i can’t really give it a full 67 smiley face. sorry.
aroma is like: sheng, mild, slightly sour, slightly autumnal sweet fruity
intensity starts slowly (first steep is watery) but you can get quite a lot of steeps from it.
I’ve done a couple sessions with this one, both with boiling water, and would say that it is a good tea. Not interesting or dynamic or anything, but solid and drinkable. The leaves smelled like a white tea mixed with a sheng. Mostly floral and straw, with a bit of that strong shengy aroma that often comes off of young leaves.
The flavor starts out light, with mostly floral notes, but moves quickly into a sort of sugary sweet, lightly green hay (not straw) flavor. The texture is a little bit milky, but not super thick or creamy. This is one that I enjoyed guzzling while I was playing video games – it didn’t require too much in the way of thought on my end.
I’ll probably try it at lower temps as well to see what sort of different flavors I might get out of it, or if it will be more complex or anything like that.
Flavors: Floral, Hay, Sugar, Sweet
Oh man, been a little bit since I’ve posted a tasting note. I’ve been hella busy traveling for work and stuff. I’m actually finishing off this sample in a hotel room in Northern Minnesota – super pretty up here. Glad I got to come back again this field season. I would characterize this one as a lighter puerh. I get a lot of light floral notes, along with some nice nuttiness, starting around the mid-point of the session. Very slight astringency if oversteeped, but really a more friendly one. It has a pleasantly thick, but not oily, texture, and I don’t really pick up much of any qi from this tea. I’d say it’s good, but certainly not a standout.
Flavors: Floral, Nutty, Sweet
I really hate when there are multiple “teas” for the same teas, for I get confused on where I should post…
I grabbed this tea from my sample sack and got to brewing. The leaves are loosely threaded with a sweet menthol lick scent along with some wood, roast, and an odd sesame scent. I warmed my pot and placed a bit inside. The scent moves up into roasted veggies with some tandly light green wood. I washed the leaves once and prepared for drinking. The tea has the iconic odd “pencil shavings” taste which translates to a sweet dry wood. I can not some faint honey tones later one, but the brew does grow bitter. An intense green wood note (paloverde?) comes through with the pencil shaving building up. The pencil-y wood note was very direct and easily spotted. The tea is decent, and it makes fair travel tea, but it’s nothing I would keep as a staple. The qi is good though with a clear head feeling and nice energy.
Flavors: Bitter, Green Wood, Honey, Menthol, Sweet, Wood
The leaf is long and threaded loosely. I am picking up tones of sweet roast, fresh greens, butternut squash, and popcorn. I warmed my pot up and placed some inside. The scent explores into some sweet steamed greens and minor tobacco with smoke. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste starts with sweet sugar water. The thickness is on the medium side and a wildflower honey tone comes up in the aftertaste. The brew moves into some peppercorn spice territory along with a heavy green base. The brew balances out with smooth and bitter grassy tones with an alternating sweetness. This tea is pretty average, but it isn’t a bad drinker.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Green, Honey, Pepper, Peppercorn, Smooth, Sweet
This was a creamy, easy-to-drink, sweet puehr. I really enjoyed it. I agree that it seems dry stored. It has really great mouthfeel with a bit of fruit/citrus to it. There was a decent huigan that popped up. I really enjoyed this, much like the other Farmerleaf puehrs. I am finding them particularly easy to drink and fresh tasting, which is usually what I look for in my young (and young-ish) pu’s.
Finished off another Farmerleaf Sample today in a teachat hangout. This one was pretty nice, though not particularly remarkable. The dry leaf had a sweet straw and young sheng aroma. After a rinse, it got a bit more green tobacco-y.
The flavor on the first two steeps was grassy with a bit of a marine, briney note. It was thick from the beginning. On the second steep, there was a bit of fruitiness in the finish – a portent of things to come.
The main body of this session was characterized by a thick fruitiness – I described it as “jammy” in my notes. I wouldn’t call it apricot, like you get in a lot of young sheng, but it certainly wasn’t a dark fruit like raisin or plum or anything. It was a little unclear, kind of just a murky fruity flavor with accompanying thickness. One session out of the three I did yielded more of a floral flavor for some reason – still murky and thick, with slight fruitiness though.
As the tea starts to wane, the fruitiness leaves and the thickness diminishes, leaving a moderately sweet floral taste.
A decent offering again from Farmerleaf. Haven’t yet had a bad tea from them. A couple good ones – no great ones. I’ve been saving most of the higher end ones for last though, so we’ll see what those sessions yield.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grass, Marine, Sweet
I have drank this tea around 10 different times at this point because I have a friend who came over with another moonlight and told me that this one was odd.
I have recently found out that this particular one does not provide a great result at 90c. It might be good, but not great. Ramp that temperature to 100c and the strength comes out for sure. The taste is much bolder and more enjoyable. Generally I am gentle on moonlight white so I can find the soft aspect to it, but this one seems to need some real heat to get it going.
$16/100g is a pretty solid deal to be honest. Really liking this stuff and the value is great.
I’m of the opinion that this tea is fairly light and subtle. It was very nice. Not very challenging to be sure and maybe not quite as tasty as the Miyun from Farmer Leaf but still a good quality leaf. The early steeps were quite light and then it opened up significantly around steep three. I need to take a couple more sessions with this before finalizing my opinion. I definitely get Herbals/greens notes from this tea. Quite pleasant. A good afternoon tea.
This tea is like candy. Sweet and easy to drink. It’s teas like this that make me love young sheng. It definitely has those apricot notes and a smooth, oaty texture. Highly recommended, especially for the price. I split a cake through a group buy on a whim and I am really happy I did so!
Flavors: Apricot, Oats
Got this among my Farmerleaf samples a couple of months ago now. This tea just failed to impress me. It was not that it was bad, it wasn’t. It is just that it wasn’t spectacular either. It is no longer on the website so they must have sold out. It did have an initial sweet note, but a mild one. About steep six a bitter note crept in and lasted a couple of steeps to again be replaced by a sweet note. Now I would not go as far as to describe these sweet notes as apricots, they were just not that strong. In some ways it was sweet in the absence of bitterness even. It was just so mild a sweet note it is hard to describe. Was there any qi to this tea? Maybe a mild qi. So far the Farmerleaf teas have just not been really impressive. I have drank sheng I would call impressive, this just doesn’t quite qualify. It’s not even me saying it’s not worth a try. IF you want to try any Farmerleaf teas I would suggest samples because so far I have not drank anything to motivate me to buy a cake. I am not that far into the samples. They now also have a shou for sale. Might be interested in trying that. Of course they may have only made a shou with leaves that weren’t good enough for a sheng. In the end I can neither recommend or not recommend Farmerleaf. They are not bad teas. I just had hoped for more from them.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8.4g leaf and boiling water. 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 min.
Hm, not 100% sure this is the same tea (sample was labeled as 2011 Jingmai Gushu, but ancient gardens sounds pretty close to the same idea and I don’t see Jingmai Gushu for sale on their website), but we’ll stick it here all the same. Tried this out in my new mini gaiwan, little over 4g in a 60ml porcelain gaiwan, preheated, 205 F water, yada, yada, yada.
This is a quite sweet, stone/slate tasting tea, with a bit of metallic milk taste that is really weird when contrasted with the astringency present throughout, but not in an unpleasant way, just a confused combination of flavor processing way. It opens up quite pillowy and thick feeling, which gets cut into a very clean taste and feel by the astringency which grows significantly throughout (but not to the point of being overwhelming).
The throat coating on this one is strong and the huigan builds up a very strong sweetness by the end game steeps (around 7-9), while the upfront flavor becomes thinner and softer around the same time.
Overall, this tea is quite sweet and has almost no bitterness, although there is a fair amount of astringency throughout the ~10 steeps I got out of this. Energy-wise, I got a pretty zoned/focused vibe from this tea, although nothing super strong. The flavor profile is quite agreeable, not as citrusy as the other Jingmai I’ve tried, but nothing too offending and there’s depth and some fun texture to go along with it as well. The aftertaste is quite nice, with a surprisingly deep honey thing on steep 7 that I really enjoyed but didn’t reappear, unfortunately, and I’m still not a fan of astringent tea.
Flavors: Honey, Limestone, Milk, Mineral, Sweet
With my Farmerleaf sample order, I received a couple of samples which were not for sale on their site. They were labeled 2014 Jingmai Shengtai, and there was both a Spring and Autumn version. This seemed like a fun opportunity for a comparative tasting, so I went back and forth between the two for a couple of days. I really don’t know much about these teas – for all I know, they might not be very related at all, and they did in fact taste quite different.
The spring tea’s leaf had an aroma which included grass, spice, straw, tobacco, and fruit. It was a very interesting tea. Early in the session, I noticed notes of pine and sweetness, along with just a bit of mintiness. The texture was thick and creamy, and the flavor filled my mouth upon swallowing. The middle of the session was more of a sugarcane sweetness, with a bit of fruity to back it up. The late session threw me for a loop, as the sweetness remained alongside a resurgent minty flavor – it was kind of like drinking Creme de Menthe. The tea went for a good 15 steeps before it was done also.
The Autumn tea was also enjoyable, but had a much less diverse and deep character to it. This tea had similar notes in the aroma, but it was a little more airy if that makes sense. The early session was characterized by a crisp and vegetal sweetness – I would almost call it beany. It was not particularly heavy though there was a bit of thickness in my mouth. Later in the session, the flavor was more sweet floral hay, like an alfalfa field in bloom. The flavor did not linger for more than a few seconds, a marked difference from this tea’s spring counterpart. The Autumn did have similar longevity.
I have often heard Autumn puer described as more aromatic and less thick or deep than Spring puer, and I certainly found that to be the case when comparing these two. There were many differences in flavor as well, which was another fun comparison to make. I think I enjoyed the Spring one more, but the Autumn tea was easier to drink, both because it was more approachable and simple (not a bad thing), and not quite as heavy in the mouth or stomach.
Thanks, Farmerleaf, for including these samples in my order!
I got three really enjoyable sessions out of this sample – another hit from Farmerleaf for me. The dry leaf has a very sweet aroma – reminiscent almost of icing or marshmallow. After a rinse, it remains sweet, but more like dry pipe tobacco.
The tea starts off pretty crisp, with rather bright and grassy notes, accompanied by some sweet straw undertones and a quickly thick texture. The taste is quite clean and the tea feels good in my mouth and down my throat. Easy drinking from the beginning.
The grassy flavor doesn’t last beyond steep number four, though it is replaced by just a whisper of a fruity flavor. It’s hardly there, more as another dimension of the tea’s sweetness. Around the fourth steep, I started to feel a bit of qi from this one. Within the next couple of steeps after that, a bit of drying astringency started to creep into the tea – still quite a small amount for a young tea though. This astringency was completely muted when I brewed it in my Jianshui pot for the third session.
Steeps 7-10 were very enjoyable, with a slightly fruity/floral sweetness – it was hard to distinguish precisely. Here the tea’s long-lasting and powerful huigan shone the brightest. I also found myself feeling steadily energized by the tea.
Steeps 11-15 were a little bit different as well. Some of the sweetness dropped off to a degree, allowing the tea to take on a bit more of a savory character. It was nutty, with a bit of vanilla in the finish. The tea was certainly still sweet, most notably in the lingering aftertaste. The tea lasted through another couple steeps, which came out lighter, but still pleasantly sweet. In my Jianshui pot, it only went around 13 steeps, likely because that thing has such a slow pour that just using the pot ends up pushing the tea a good deal harder.
This is definitely the highest quality tea I’ve tasted yet from Farmerleaf. I don’t know if it technically counts as Jingmai tea, as it says Nanzuo is a hamlet “bordering Mt. Jingmai” on their site. This has a decently different character than their Jingmai teas I’ve tried so far, but I’ll be interested to compare it with their other higher-end offerings. Very easy to drink, clean, almost zero astringency, pretty solid texture and energy. There’s a lot to like about this tea.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grass, Nutty, Straw, Sweet, Vanilla
Don’t beat around the bush, if there are thorns they will get you regardless how careful or not you are.
This tea is more or less better described as a black tea with honey notes coming through like neighbors talking at 2am and your walls are thin; you know its there and you get about 40% of what’s going on.
I think this is only the 2,3, or 4th batch… and there is much to be worked on as it tries to emulate OB; it’s not actually OB if you know the processing and all, or at least that’s my understanding (which I didn’t even describe, woooho scapegoating with my own knowledgessssssss)
I’m tired. This tea is fine and all, but go into it like the orbs… it’s pretty much 90% black and 10% OB/shoumei