JalamTeas

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Recent Tasting Notes

drank He Kai Old Tree Sheng by JalamTeas
435 tasting notes

This was my first puerh from Jalam Teas, courtesy of Togo. I performed some cursory browsing of the website. What I gleaned is that this company does a monthly subscription box with one-100g puerh cake. Sale of that specific tea is reserved first for subscription members and later opened to the public. The club costs $19/mo + shipping and handling of CAD $3, USD $5, International $6. Seems like a viable option for sippers wanting to explore the puerh-producing villages at a reasonable and focused pace; however most of the tea offered is young sheng and as evidenced by this tea, it is not something I could immediately drink 100g of in a month. The 100g cake size might not appeal to people looking to store sheng puerh for the long-term.

That said, I found this to be a nice sheng to drink on a warm afternoon. I can see where this tea would be heading in a year but I’m not experienced enough to determine a more distant future. It has the hallmarks of a young sheng that will supposedly store well: the bitterness and astringency come to the forefront after the first 4 to 5 steeps.

Otherwise, it starts off with a very fruity profile with Menghai characteristics, the county in which Hekai is located. Sour moving to sweet plum is the dominant note in aroma and taste for several steeps and it lingers long in the nose. There is also a strong umami and whisper of smoke that present early. It reminds me of a Greek dish called kreas me fasolakia, or beef with green beans, a dish seared then stewed with tomato sauce. That fades out before the astringency and bitterness come in strong. But before their arrival, other tastes move through including yellow pear/skin, minerals and butter. The aftertaste is fruity, quick to arrive and everlong, starting with plums and moving to white grapes, semi-sweet white wine, and buttery apricot. The mouthfeel in the first few steeps is satisfying — it’s almost syrupy and coating yet very buoyant in the mouth… again like wine. Returning sweetness is decent and of course gets stronger as the bitterness comes out.

The understated powerful energy of this tea slowly crept in and damn if I didn’t feel heavy. An intense craving for pizza overtook me, as a strong young sheng commands: “Get some food in that belly!” So I went to Round Table, had a huge salad, a thin crust veggie pizza and a beer then came home to watch Jeopardy. Good way to wind down the work week. Overall, this He Kai Old Tree Sheng is a nice tea with potential and I would like to store a cake for a year before trying again.

Edited to add a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBG7P-K-r1Y

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Clay, Fruity, Green Beans, Hay, Mineral, Mushrooms, Paper, Pear, Plums, Sweet, Tart, Umami, White Grapes, White Wine

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

I have thought about this club myself. Sounds like good sourcing.

derk

Yes, it’s tempting and affordable at $0.24/g incl shipping.

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85
drank Bada Wolf Sheng by JalamTeas
306 tasting notes

This is a nice sheng, not a spectacular one, but it has no clear drawbacks either. The body is very good and it has a fairly floral character. The aroma is sweet with a lot of floral notes as well as salt crackers, rosemary and chicken meat present. Flavours are strong and mostly herbaceous, notably I can taste some fenugreek. The bitterness and astringency are present, but both in moderation. Aftertaste is long and peppery, with notes like bay leaf. The huigan is notably strong too. As far as longetivity goes, I finished the session after 14 infusions, but could’ve pushed it for a bit longer if I wanted. Overall, a good value for the price.

Flavors: Floral, Herbaceous, Herbs, Meat, Roasted Chicken, Spices, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80
drank Naka Ancient Tree Sheng by JalamTeas
306 tasting notes

This was one of the best teas I got to try at the Toronto Tea Festival this year, and since the price seemed right, I picked up a cake of this tippy sheng.

Tasting it today for the first time didn’t leave such a strong impression though. The tea doesn’t seem to stand out in any particular way. Nevertheless, it is quite tasty and balanced, which would make it suited for casual brews. The main flavours I noticed are the standard ones – heavy honey sweetness, hay, some herbal bitterness, florals like at a summer meadow and such. The body is medium and there is a decent astringency. Aftertaste is not too strong, but does last for quite a while. The tea also succeeded in waking me up properly after a heavy lunch.

So yeah, not bad, but not too memorable either.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Hay, Honey, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank He Kai Old Tree Sheng by JalamTeas
306 tasting notes

First time trying this tea out. Since I have two cakes, I decided to conduct a small test of my personal pu’er storage and left one of them out. I will be regularly coming back to these two to look for any differences. The first side by side tasting is just 3 weeks after I got the cakes, so I don’t expect there to be any differences due to aging, but I still want to see if just the fact that they had to acclimatize to different environments will have an effect.

The “humid” version: more pungent and interesting wet leaf smell, more savoury, herbal, grassy and umami flavours. Stronger and more interesting aftertaste (but tbh it’s very hard to differentiate the aftertaste in a side by side tasting).

The “dry” version: more astringency and stronger flavour (both could be due to different level of broken leaves). More milky, nutty and metallic.

No noticeable difference in the dry leaf smell and mouthfeel.

All the differences are minute though, as one would expect.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
mrmopar

Love that you are trying this experiment.

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drank Mengsong Sheng by JalamTeas
338 tasting notes

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78
drank 2015 Bulang Purple by JalamTeas
316 tasting notes

No flaws, but nothing interesting either. Decent, basic sheng. Purple tea is supposed to have lots of cha qi, but I didn’t notice any here.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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75

Wow. Ok. Got some things to say about this one!
First off, I think this is the tea I have in my cupboard that I bought ages ago at the tea festival? I hope.
It steeps up pretty dark, like a chocolate brown. Not quite coffee. Later infusions are lighter, of course.
There are plenty of woody notes but then somewhere around the fifth infusion, some intense aromas of garden soil emerged, while the taste was more of garden rocks. I had a very difficult time deciding whether I liked it! My brain told me I should hate it… but then I couldn’t figure out if that was psychological or not, and some strange throwback to my childhood made me think well maybe I should enjoy it after all… because I wasn’t permitted to lick rocks as a kid and it would be some kind of secret revenge LMAO. Not that I can recall ever wanting to lick rocks, but I’m certain it would have been prohibited!! Sighs. Yeah. I belong in the loonybin, I know.

Welp. It did go back to more of a woodsy note after two infusions. And then towards the end I noticed a sweet honeysuckle type note, and that airiness I love when I make it to late infusions of pretty much any oolong or black/puerh tea.
None of the notes (asides from the soil aroma) were particularly in your face, so I would say that its pretty smooth and mild. Not much of a caffeine buzz.
Also, I would say that there is almost no astringency, except it does have that drying sensation at some points, the kind I often see associated with clay notes. Here, that dryness was present during most steeps, petrichor and woodsy, although it did fade mostly in the last two infusions. Personally, I wouldn’t call that sensation astringent, as it didn’t have that typical sourness to it, and the drying sensation sat more at the back of the mouth, versus the front. Maybe my opinion on astringency will change, if I see it often after this? Oh. And that sensation did get a bit overwhelming at one point, and I had to take a break with another tea before coming back to this one.

Overall, I love the complexity but as you can see, its thrown me off a bit!! I guess it’s fitting that I hear rain tapping outside my window. There was snow earlier.
Feel free to judge. I’m a crazy bird what can I say :P

gmathis

Not just you. A lot of pu’erh’s are cave-flavored to me.

Indigobloom

what I found strange about it was the shifting back and forth between hay and cave-ness. Usually I find it is one or the other!

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drank Mengsong Sheng by JalamTeas
1759 tasting notes

The flavours don’t change much from one infusion to the next and it is relatively pleasant. I’ve been quite distracted today. It could be my mental state, but I was a tad dismayed to find such little variation. Will definitely give it another go.
Also should be noted that the cake was quite dry despite being in my cupboard. So that could be why as well. What a long week.

Kirkoneill1988

what year is this cake?

Indigobloom

Good question. I’ll check when I get home

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The first time I made this, I honestly hated it. I liked it at the tea festival a year ago when I got it and I steeped it up here at home either Shortly after that in the spring or near the end of the year last year. I really can’t remember. I didn’t like it at all at that point. It was not my thing at all.

Today I’m trying it again, and for some reason I thought I’d try a lower water temp as maybe that’s why I hated it? Maybe I had used too hot of water? And I thought maybe it was a green tea in my head for some unknown reason?

Anyways, I did 75C water. And I like it much better, but I still don’t love it. I don’t hate it, but it’s definitely not one for me. To me it just tastes earthy and like hay almost. I was hoping for some more interesting tasting notes than that. Someone else that reviewed this tea said they taste plum or fruit notes? I wish I got that. I don’t find those flavours in there….

Maybe pu’erh teas are just not for me…. I obviously don’t have a refined enough palette for them. I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with this tea now…

mrmopar

Puerh can be as much about how it is brewed sometimes. Always rinse and most is actually better gong fu. Don’t give up yet as I think you will find one that hits the spot.

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My card was separated from this cake, so I’m not certain this is the correct tea.
There are strong fruity notes and a hint of smoke, so it makes sense…
Really loving the dryness here. It was why I bought the cake, after all!
Sadly, I may have burnt the leaves, as I absentmindedly dunked the leaves when the water was rather hot, shortly after I poured the boiled water. It doesn’t seem to have done much damage so I’ll have to see what happens next time I brew it up.
I’m on the third infusion now and it has only gotten sweeter, and a bit lighter.
Funny, I bought this because I’ve been craving the flavour profile, and yet I’m tempted to age it and see how that goes. Except.. it means that I’d have to avoid hoarding. Knowing me, my tastes will change long before I finish of the cake (I hope), so that I can store it for experimentation down the road.
I’m quite happy with this investment :)

Ken

Are you a member of their tea club? How do you like it?

Indigobloom

Sadly I am not. I grabbed a bunch of cakes at the Tea Festival. My tea preferences are too wide ranging for the subscription not to overwhelm me haha. I’ve heard good things about it, but most people I know end up with far more than they could consume and cancel it after they pile up

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80

Filtered Toronto tap, run through gravity filter, water stored in Lin’s ceramic kettle, then brought to temperature in Bona Vita variable temperature kettle. This is a great young sheng, and insanely unforgiving to steep. Going to age well, I think.

Mellow, malty, brassy, green (melon rind, underripe green fruit), medium astringency, hui gan. Slight tea drunkenness.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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77
drank 2015 Ta Go Raw Pu Erh by JalamTeas
486 tasting notes

Got this one out of the Puerh TTB. The dry leaf had a slightly fruity aroma. After a rinse, it was more vegetal.

The first three steeps were mostly vegetal in character, with a bit of sweetness, some bitterness, and a bit of a funky taste in the finish. These steeps reminded me a lot of zucchini.

By the fourth steep, I wasn’t getting any more of whatever the funky note I was tasting was. At that point, the tea just became a nice and pleasantly thick vegetal tea with some sweetness and, at times, a pleasant bitterness. The aftertaste was neither particularly strong nor lingering. The texture was good and thick, could possibly be described as oily. This went on through steep #11.

The tea started dying around steep 12, with the flavor getting weaker and a little bit odd. I took it two more steeps before cutting it off – it may have had a bit more to give, but I didn’t want it anymore.

This tea was alright – it didn’t convince me to sign up for the Jalam Teaclub or anything, but didn’t convince me never to do so either.

Flavors: Sweet, Thick, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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88
drank 2015 Ta Go Raw Pu Erh by JalamTeas
317 tasting notes

From the Pu TTB round 5
Grassy and buttery with a thick, oily mouthfeel. Moderate bitterness. Slight honey sweetness and a hint of fruit in the later steeps

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Honey

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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85
drank 2015 Ta Go Raw Pu Erh by JalamTeas
1758 tasting notes

Puerh Tea TTB. This is a fairly nice and slightly bitter sheng. It did not have an abiding bitterness that some sheng has. It developed a sweet note but I am not sure if I would call it apricots. It was pretty good. The leaves looked like good quality leaves from what little I can tell from appearance.

I steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7g 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, and 30 sec.

Flavors: Bitter, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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87

I liked the strong bold flavour of this one. After the 15s rinse, so far I’ve had several drinkable steeps at 20s and 30s. I can taste vegetal, astringency and wet hay. Unfortunately I don’t taste the apple peel or corn tastes, or milkiness that others noted.

Flavors: Hay, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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96

This was great. After the rinse I did a short steep of 20sec in the gaiwan. It was lighter than other Shou Puerh I’ve had, bright, not so heavy and earthy. So I steeped it 45 sec for the second drnkable steep. Lovely, more complex than other Puerh I’ve had and still smooth. I’d like to say that there is also a slight fruit taste, perhaps plum or prune but I don’t know that that’s really what it is that I’m tasting. Definitely wish I had more of this.

Flavors: Earth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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82

After a short rinse (15sec), I’ve so far had 2 drinkable steeps of 20 sec. I was pleasantly surprised that it was smooth and not astringent. There’s a smokiness and slight sweetness with a hint of peach at the end. I’ve been having a lot of oolongs, so it was nice to get back to a sheng Puerh. Really enjoyed this.

Flavors: Peach, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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80

I’m in my second drinkable steep. Made it in gaiwan with a 15s wash, followed by 20s steeps so far. The scent was a little earthy but also a scent of sweetness. The taste is similar to the scent. Smooth but also bright. Even though it’s supposed to be a lower caffeine content I definitely feel a stimulating effect. I don’t taste all the complexity the previous reviewer mentioned. At least not yet.

Flavors: Sweet, Wet Earth, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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82

I wish there were other tasting notes because I can’t quite describe what I’m tasting and smelling. I’m currently on the second drinkable steep. The scent seemed smokey. The taste seemed vegetal. It was nice. I’m intrigued by it since there is more here than I know how to describe.

Flavors: Smoke, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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50

Did a couple of sessions with this tea over the last weekend. I’ve used up about half the cake now.

I really do not find this one to be plausible at the price. It is not horrible, but it is… boring. There is a little huigan in steeps 4-8, the mouth feel is decent, and I got a pretty solid tea sweat. But the endurance is poor, the tea being pretty much completely played out after around 10 steeps, and little feeling of power. I would as soon drink young Menghai factory tea at 1/3 the price.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 110 OZ / 3253 ML

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85

My second session with this tea. The first time I thought it was rather boring, but this is really quite nice. Fairly thick mouth feel, sweet and bitter, nice mouth coating by the 3rd steep, smell of something powerfully fruity… pineapple maybe?

After 5 or 6 steeps the lid scent weakens and changes to something more like sugarcane, and I’m getting a pretty decent puer sweat. Tragically I won’t have time to steep it out in the gaiwan, something has come up and I’ll have to dump the leaf in a mug to finish.

Possibly I like autumn sheng more than I thought.

Flavors: Pineapple, Sugarcane

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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70

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Nutty, Tannin

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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83

This tea is now unavailable. I was lucky to get a sample. I didn’t think I’d like a fermented pu-erh, but this is nice. Earthy and smooth. I know there’s another flavour in there too, but my palate is not sophisticated enough to figure out what it is. I’m curious to see how the taste changes after a few steeps.

Flavors: Earth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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