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Recent Tasting Notes
Smokey without being too aggressive. If you are wondering in which way it is “smokey” i would say BBQ. And it is not bad, even it may sound a little bit strange. The tea is full of flavour and aroma even if less persistent in mouth than i expected. Little bitterness but not unpleasent. After several infusion, around tenth, smoke and dark character is less present, but it is still interesting ’cause I had some little sour sweetness in my throat, and some green note in my nose. I do not consider this a top tea just because it is not very persistent after swallow, and latest brews are a little astringent.
I drank this at Hidden Peak Teahouse in Santa Cruz today, gong fu style, with boiling water, 30 seconds a steep. It was $35 for a pot. I also enjoyed appetizers and dessert.
The first first steep was very grassy and a bit vegetal, so grassy that I began to question my life choices. But I remembered that it would probably improve with further steeps, and I was right. The second steep was earthy and slightly malty, with a grassy note at the end of the sip. The third steep was malty and grassy. The fourth steep was nicely earthy and malty, while the fifth was similar, with a grassy note at the end of the sip.
I’m happy I gave it a try. I want to try more fancy pu-erhs.
Flavors: Earth, Grass, Malt, Vegetal
A very very strong tea! An intense, Hekai-typical bitterness (i.e. in contrast to the velvety bitterness of a Lao Man E or an aggresive-focused bitterness of a Bulang, this is rather a citrus-like bitterness) which, despite 5 years, still has a certain freshness, to which now, however, woody notes are added and the tea is heavier compared to a young Hekai. Only very late does the tea show its sweet, slightly lighter side. Altogether a quite coarse tea, which also has the “stable character”, which is very much appreciated by me.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2013-hekai-prsk
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Citrus, Leather, Sweet, Wood
quick rinse, smells uniquely delicious – some gentle wood smoke but mostly luscious charred toasty nuts and burnt sugar and something other unidentifiable wonderful
7s: Bitter. I totally see what they’re saying about grapefruit (yeah, I’ve been primed, but yummmm so whatevs). And some juicy trees and toasty nuts. Strong sweet cool after, no numb or tingle, just like sweet cool ice water on the palate. Delicious. My ears just popped.
12s/18s: The bitter is a little more subdued, a little woodsier, with an immediate tingle on the tongue and hard palate. The aftertaste is cool grapefruit. Sweet saliva over my teeth. Feeling a lot more awake, but not in a jittery way. A heaviness in my neck but my skin feels alive. Pressure between my eyes. Scalp is tingling.
24s: Long delay before this one while I went through piles of paperwork (a task I’ve been dreading). My nose is tingling. The tip of my tongue feels spicy. My torso feels flushed, warmth spreading down my neck and over my chest. Happy citrus bitters in the aftertaste. After I sit and bask a while, my head is pulsing and the back of my neck is sweating, heat spreading down my back.
29s: A bit less delicious at first, the tart overtaking the bitter more than I’d like. But there are shivers racing through the warmth down my back and I don’t care, it’s worth it, it’s worth it.
35s/40s: Flavor more integrated, aftertaste more grapefruity again. That sort of default rich mellow woodsy tea flavor is starting to rise, but still some interesting citrusy bitterness elevating it. I’m started to feel the energy a bit more manic. Sweating further down my back. Wow.
45s: Bitter sorta took over a bit, briefly.
50s/50s: Slightly mellower bitter on the sip, slowly fading out to citrus aftertaste. Not so much body feels anymore.
64s/70s: I’ve been drinking this all day, taking big breaks to do chores. It’s still nice. My nose feels clean and tingly. Only stopping because it’s getting towards bedtime.
(If this were less expensive, I’d definitely buy a cake of it. As is… I’ll probably buy another sample someday and feel sad and yet ecstatic all at the same time while I wibble on whether to splurge.)
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Grapefruit, Nuts
Scent-wise you can literally feel the age within those leaves – it reminds me very distinct about Chinese or even more of Indian old woodsy furniture – very pleasant! There is definitely a very soft and silky sweetness to its liquor which indicates a certain age. Those very fresh green field flower aspects are grown up – The whole structure gained a certain “old man ripeness” – sounds weird I know – What I mean is – if you imagine an aged man settled and being grounded – picture an image of Grandpa Pu sitting on his porch within its old wooden rocker enjoying a breathtaking red golden sundown while a certain tobacco pipe scent fills the air. Not like smoke or something disgustingly more like you might knew it from essential oils or perfumes with ingredients of tobacco, very tangy smoky and woodsy – this Sheng really aged well and masterfully in so many ways. With this whole sweet tobacco woodsyness there also comes along a fine nutty layer with a touch of bittersweet hints of green grapes with seeds. Different cultures and so many miles between them but this tea really gives me an image of a country like farm scenery in the American Midwest. Warm, chill, smooth, cozy and elegant
This aged dark force is creamy and naturally sweet followed by such a dark thick creamy earthy texture.You literally taste Autumn with all its facets. This tea easily and without a doubt conquers your whole inner mouth section within an instant.
This Shou is just amazing! There is so much going on. Even a hint of pickled cherry fruity sweetness is a undeniable part of this creamy fellow. There is definitely a certain roasted aspect to it which blends in perfectly with this pleasantly basement character which also forms and builds this delicious construction of dark power.
If you dig deeper you might also discover even more sweetness within a light consortium of bourbon vanilla pudding and a very subtle milky chocolate hint to it. This fellow is quite aggressive on the stomach so eat well and enough before enjoying it – would be recommendable.
This Shou Pu-erh was a pu par excellence! It’s age did so much good onto this dark fellow. Creamy and intensely thick as thick it could get plus such a deep and dense Autumn profile. Love it from the bottom of my heart
Very harmonious warming aged Sheng with a sugary sweetness to it like cane sugar. Very well balanced and so so smooth within its taste and texture. So lovely velvety. Aroma is a nice creamy mix of a very woodsy camphor tone, tree resin, wet tree bark, moss and old mossy wood covered with mushrooms like parasol mushroom. A fine bitter taste shines through in a subtle mix of dandelion and gentian. Beside that after a couple of steeps a fine darker chocolate flair gets clearer and clearer while the old profile transfers into a elegant fusion of old leather and Asian wood furniture scent plus a very fine subtle accent of smoked ham. This fine elegant aged fellow really gets better and better with every further steeping. It’s a feeling of meeting someone you get amazed by his or her present and with every minute and every following good and deep conversations you can’t stop listen to their voice – you are literally captured by their way of being and see the world through a different fresh and welcoming perspective. This tea gives you a feeling of being welcomed home, sitting in front of a cracking fireplace, seeing an Autumn scenery outside of those misted-up windows. Cozy and close to mother nature. There are so many ways to describe this fine heart warming tea session – the best way to find your way of telling this story is to start your own small journey with this aged buddy. Just Lovely!
This Yiwu ‘GuaFengZhai’ 2004 is an amazing example of a well aged Sheng with a lot of story telling which unfolds its pages with every infusion you dig deeper into its mysterious tale. This old fellow is definitely a story teller! Loved it! Perfect for an relaxing afternoon session.
This pleasant silky soft and creamy Sheng was such a delicate pleasure in so many ways. The scent of the dried leaves indicates already a very sweet and floral bouquet which also developed a distinct corn aroma. But lets skip to the tasting part what immediately came into my mind was a certain complex structure with a sharing pattern to it – Honey – Propolis – Beeswax – and I loved it. Even the color had something quite honey-ish to it. But beside this getting to the point notes there was also another sweet aspect to it which really reminded me a lot of bourbon vanilla. The aftertaste a small delicious earthquake holds a very herbal menthol spiciness to it which conquers your whole tasting field from the tongue to the palatal deep down the throat. Remarkable. There isn’t such a thing as bitterness to it. After a couple of steeps this fine soup gets creamier and creamier but also his natural aspects of herbal and floral notes are stepping forward like a full blooming herbal garden richly covered with camomile, lamb’s lettuce , mushrooms, a hint of barley grass and soybean sprouts. A very durable one you can enjoy for many many steepings.
Imagine standing in the middle of a rainforest surrounded by endless sensory input you can hear, see and scent. Above your head fine countless drums of rain playing his mystical sound on top of this forest canopy. A fine misty layer covers this moist fertile ground winding like endless snakes between your feet and as far as you can see, as the mountains rise up in the sky. In the meantime a fresh intense bouquet of leaves, grass and other impressions enlighten your senses. This inner pictures was my first impression while I was sipping on those golden yellow cups. This last Sheng sample by Puerh.sk stimulated my mind to send it on a very tasteful journey in every possible way. This Gushu Huazhu Liangzi was light but also complex at the same time. A place where peach skin met apricots and went on a walk together with some nashi pears and a fine nutty layer of almond and pine nuts
Scent wise your senses arrived straight into the middle of a fresh blooming sunny hillside covered with field flowers and herbs – very well chosen. Even within its steaming bouquet you can already feel its smoothness!
The main tasting profile is very well rounded with a fine perfectly placed sour astringent layer. Within this raw Sheng even a young one like this – the bitterness level is very well balanced and only noticeable if you screw it up and over brew it massively. There is a certain berry sweetness to it which blends in masterfully with the rest of this deliciously bouquet. After the cup last drop pleasured my tongue the empty inside isn’t that empty at all – this typical beeswax scent is very tasty and gained a level of perfection. Enjoying this wonderful raw Sheng is like feeling the first rays of dawn on your skin.
There is without a doubt a strong placed mineral natural accent to it while the main focus locates itself within a skilled composed vegetable environment filled with young fresh spinach, lamb’s lettuce and such a nice an unique sweet combo of a hint of raspberries and strawberries ~ just lovely! This is a perfect example of great skills, love, wisdom and experiences plus and most important the undeniable beauty of mother nature!
This lovely late afternoon sun scenery really made this special tea even more special. If we talk about raw Sheng Naka is one of my favorites. This freshly sweet, highly floral and unbelievable delicate Pu is a fellow with massive strength, long durability and just masterfully composed. With all its components it is very well balanced with a lot to go starting with camomile followed by beeswax plus cherry blossoms finished with a hint of peach skin and pears. One of the major aspects is corn especially corn syrup. This is a very rich tea with a great viscosity. Within the aftertaste you might also discover a very sweet aspect of raspberry and blue berry gums. This is far from being a relaxing fellow – highly vitalizing!
I tried my sample of this one last night. I’m pretty new to sheng, so take my commentary as novice, but – I thought it was entirely pleasant but not mindblowing. It had a nice light bitterness at the front with big warm soft hay/straw sweetness behind it, and I felt a sort of soft pillowy thickness in my mouth. The aftertaste was nice and cool and sweet, but it only lingered a short while and didn’t go far down the throat.
I went 9 steepings, got a burst of energy and jumped up to do a bunch of cooking halfway through, and when all that was done I stuck the leaves in a jar of water in my fridge to cold-brew overnight. This morning, the coldbrew was light sweet hay/straw with no bitterness at all, totally pleasant.
Overall, nice and gentle and light and refreshing. Soft, but the light bitterness zings it up enough to keep it interesting. If this was cheaper I’d be really happy with it as a daily drinker, but given the price I think the short-lived aftertaste and lack of complexity means that I won’t be ordering more even though I did enjoy the sample.
Beautifully spicy and oily without being too heavy, but still with an interesting texture. Unfortunately only very discreet Qi. [only had a sample]
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2011-yibang-prsk
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Spicy, Sweet, Thick
Traditional-stored Sheng with barbecue sauce – that’s how this tea can be summed up. Moist, warm, woody-sweet notes under a very intense layer of smoke, which is not a bit aggressive but a very pleasant, super soft texture. Rather unsorted leaves – from large, strong leaves to the whole branch – everything is included, which makes this already extraordinary tea even more extraordinary.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2002-somkey_lee-prsk
Flavors: Leather, Smoke, Sweet, Wet Wood, Wood
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This is a delightful young sheng! I don’t have enough experience with aging sheng to imagine how this tea might transform over the years; however, it is an incredibly light and easy drinker for how young it is, so it might not have the oomph to stand the test of time. I got notes of white peach, grape, yam and honey as well as a very crisp cane sugar flavor. The body is velveteen and thick, quickly coating your whole mouth <3 I get heady stone fruit aromatics, but the white peach is all that made it into the cup for me. I generally have a hard time getting into tea / alcohol that doesn’t have a bitter component to push back against sweetness, but all the sugar works for me here! All the characteristic Yiwu qualities are present in this tea. If I decide to beeng this, I will have a hard time not drinking it all young – which might not be such a bad thing ;~)
Flavors: Honey, Peach, Stonefruit, Sugarcane, Thick, White Grapes, Yams
Man this guy gets some amazing gushu! The Rareness is remarkable with its jasmine and almond notes with stellar qi and was the best young sheng I’ve had until I tried this Rareness 3. I could spend an hour listing all the herbal, wild floral , evergreen camphor and citrus peel notes I get. I could talk about how there is a lingering sweetness that clings to the throat for hours reminiscent of mango sticky rice. I could wax poetic about how this stuff made my whole kitchen smell like the Olympic rain forest in Washington. I could explain that during the 4th steep my face went entirely numb and I was grinning like Jimmy Carter and by the 10th steep I was so tea drunk I could have listened to Fleetwood Mac without my eyes bugging out my hair standing on end and breaking out into a rash which is usually the case. Yes, I could go on about this tea for hours but no words could do it justice. Best to try for yourself. One thing though. It is touchy. Brew to light and it’s thin and you miss a lot. Pushed too hard it gets bitter quickly. Brewed slightly hot for a little longer than micro steeps seemed to work best for me…
I initially made the mistake of sampling this tea alongside more bombastic young gushu. At the time, I was like “yeah it’s smooth and warming but meh…” A few weeks later I sampled 8g by itself and the beauty of its subtlety hit me. Again, I make a beer comparison-Irish cream stout. Dark nutty, herbal, vegetal and forest flavors that hide amid the creaminess and oily texture. This tea is quite generous and generates warm fuzzy blanket body feel. The perfect thing to have with a bowl of French onion soup on a rainy day. The price is a little salty but this stuff really strikes a chord with me.
This tea is huge! A while back (before I started this habit of reviewing tea online) I ordered a bunch of 2016 samples and Peter kindly included a ton of samples of 2017 gushu. I believe there was ManNuo, LaoManE, BangPen, Naka and a few others. All of these teas are beautifully processed and have outstanding material. In fact unless tasted side by side , I had trouble telling many of them apart. They have a great consistency. The GeDeng is the one tea of this bunch that knocked me out and the one I purchased a cake of (although I considered the Naka as well). Glad I did as it appears to already be gone. This tea has a big bold herbal kick and smooth bitterness and a nice oily texture. There is a wild, woodsy flavor follows by mild stone fruit and spice. The qi is bold, euphoric and energizing. Just the thing to drink before a long hike or paddling excursion.
Best Yiwu I ever had. From about 1991 til last year I was a second flush Darjeeling fanatic, Singbulli,Jungpana, Castleton, Thurbo etc. Then I discovered Yiwu sheng last winter and realized it gave me everything that a good Darjeeling could and more. My Darjeeling collection is probably going stale. Anyhow, this tea transports one to another place. It’s loaded with notes of jasmine and what I liken to the smell of the evergreen rainforests of the Olympic peninsula in Washington. In later steeps, notes of honey and almond seep in. The qi is outstanding and takes one to a land where it’s always afternoon. Can’t wait to try rareness 2 and 3. As for Yiwu in this price range I also really liked Hai Langs . It was more aggressive with more wild jungle taste…but I found it’s qi to be unremarkable. Of course qi is rather personal. Anyhow, you need to try a sample of this. Wish I could afford a tong!
Very smoky and sweet like caramell!
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2015-xiaoshu-linchang-prsk
Flavors: Caramel, Smoke, Sweet
Heavy sweetness, thick and woody note.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2013-man-zhuan-prsk
Flavors: Sweet, Thick, Wood