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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a nice ripe that was bittersweet at the start with the bitter being stronger than the sweet. There was a fair amount of fermentation flavor to it that lasted four or five steeps. The fermentation flavor was a little unpleasant but not fishy. This tea gradually turned into a nice sweet ripe puerh. In the end it developed a distinct fruity note although I am not sure if I could pin it down to a specific fruit. This was a highly enjoyable puerh tea.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml teapot with 13.7g 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, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. I would say there were two to three steeps left to the tea. But twelve was enough.
Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Sweet
Oh, how I’ve missed you…
I drank too much raw pu-erh today and it got me so uncomfortably wired. I thought sencha (which has a more gentle effect on me) would help to ease me down…but no, it just kept me in that wired state.
Now, I haven’t even finished a glass of this glorious old pu-erh and I’m already feeling better. I’m not going to lie…it’s a lot like going outside, taking a handful of wet, old autumn leaves and brewing it into tea. But, hey…it makes me feel all relaxed and peaceful. And, I would absolutely brew a wet pile of autumn leaves to get that… ;)
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile
I have tried both the Western and Eastern method of brewing this tea, but neither of them were just right:
- Too many brewings became labor-intensive.
- I don’t typically drink ten cups of tea per day, so the last five or more brewings would go unused.
- Brewings were weaker. (I used a perfect amount for my gaiwan, any more would not have been possible.)
+ There was more evolution to the taste.
+ The stimulating and relaxing effects of the tea were more spaced out.
+ It allowed for more use of the tea.
- The relaxing and energizing effects were too condensed into one cup.
- The flavor was less complex and did not evolve since there was only one brewing.
+ There was more body to the brewing.
+ There were not so many brewings that it became labor-intensive.
As a result of this, I decided to find a compromise between the two. I reduced the brewings from ten to five and increased their duration. This was a perfect midway point between the two brewing methods and managed to space out the effect, create an evolution in the flavor, allow for stronger tea with more body, but was not so labor-intensive.
Here were my results:
Tea: 1 tsp
Water: 4 oz
:: Rinse ::
Time: approximately 8-10 seconds swirling the tea in 1-2 oz of boiling water, but more importantly, it was done until the scent shifted from mushroomy to sweet.
:: 1st Brew ::
Time: 2 minutes
Color: deep orange-red-brown
Scent: woody, fresh earth, like taking a shovel and digging in a healthy patch of land, woody like sanding a dark and sweet wood
Flavor: a bit sweet, the taste of fermentation is light and elusive, light dryness, there is a deepness to the flavor but not a lot of body
:: 2nd Brew ::
Time: 2 minutes, 45 seconds
Color: red-brown-orange with ripples dark reddish-brown and lighter orange color when straining the tea at the end, there are clearly clumps still breaking up
Scent: woody, deep, more ubiquitously like fresh earth, but gentle as if you had been working outside in the garden and it permeated the air lightly
Flavor: the sweetness is gone, the dry mouth feeling has become more intense, the earthiness and woodiness is light
:: 3rd Brew ::
Time: 3 minutes
Color: reddish-brown, it has clearly evened out now
Scent: autumn leaf pile, fermentation
Flavor: lightly mushroomy, fermentation, autumn leaf pile, a more ‘wet’ flavor, the dry mouth feeling has leveled off and become more consistent at this point
Note: This is where the relaxed/dazed feeling that pu-erh seems to be known for kicked in for me. If wanting to avoid this effect, this would be where to stop. If not, it would be best to begin sipping more slowly so that this effect is pleasant and light rather than troublesome and intrusive.
:: 4th Brew ::
Time: 4 minutes
Color: lighter reddish-brown
Scent: weaker, autumn leaf pile
Flavor: autumn leaf pile, shifting to a more ‘dry’ flavor
:: 5th Brew ::
Time: 6 minutes
Color: lighter reddish-brown (same as 4th brew)
Scent: autumn leaves
Flavor: autumn leaves, dry leaves, like being outside during a dry autumn day where old leaves are being picked up by the wind
Overall, this method seemed to be a happy medium between Western and Eastern methods:
+ Multiple brewings, but not so many that they became labor-intensive.
+ A progression of flavor notes.
+ Reasonable strength and body to each brew.
+ The relaxing/energizing effects were well spaced out.
I’m not sure if this would be to everybody’s taste, but it certainly worked for me. Feel free to give this method a try if you have had the same issues with Eastern and Western brewing methods as I have. :)
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dark Wood, Earth, Mushrooms, Sweet, Wet Earth, Wet wood, Wood
It is a very different experience when cutting down the brewing time to 30 seconds at first, then inching up to a minute, two, and so on. The taste is a bit weaker, but not so different in terms of its notes. The scent of caramel is not as present in this brewing but was not very strong to begin with. The biggest difference is really the energizing effect of the tea. Drinking it slowly like this results in more of an anxious feeling at first and throughout each cup. There is also less of a relaxing feeling later on which I had enjoyed when brewing it for longer times but for fewer brewings.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Fig, Wet Earth
I rinsed the tea every time I brewed it and tried both the Eastern (many shorter brews in a covered gaiwan) and Western (one longer brew strained from a cup) brewing methods. The Western style yielded a less complex brew and was less enjoyable than the Eastern style brewing. I did not measure the duration with a timer and went by the scent and look of the tea. I found this best because depending upon how one removes the material from the cake, they may be bigger or smaller, more or less dense, so the appropriate time varies.
When there were thicker pieces, the first brewing would be more weak because the leaves needed time to expand. That lighter brew would be sweeter and less earthy, with scents of fig and caramel with notes of autumn pile in the scent and flavor. After the leaves expanded more, it would shift to more earthy and less sweet, with the light scent of fig and autumn pile with tastes of autumn pile and wet earth in the flavor. The taste was never bitter through any of the brewings and would always leave a pleasant, lightly dry feeling in the mouth. As the taste became lighter over the course of the brewings, the effect would shift from more energizing to more relaxing.
While I have minimal experience with pu-erhs thus far, this is the most pleasant one I’ve encountered. It’s light but not weak, it’s earthy but not overbearing, it leaves a dry feeling in one’s mouth but not so much as to be unpleasant. It’s really very well-balanced, and I’d highly recommend it.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Earth, Fig, Wet Earth, Wood
This was overall a very nice brick with a moderate amount of fermentation flavor and sweet notes throughout all ten steepings. The fermentation lasted about five steepings. There was no unpleasant note or fishy note to it. I was not really paying close attention to the notes so I couldn’t say that there were chocolate notes in there but maybe. The sweet note in the end I think could be described as fruity although I can’t get specific.
I brewed this ten times in a 160ml silver teapot with 13.9g 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, and 1 minute.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
This tea was good in the end but had a poor start. There was an initial sour note to this tea. Perhaps a factor of too dry storage at Puerhshop but that is only a guess as to the origin of the sour note. The tea did improve as I resteeped it. The sour note lasted perhaps three steepings. BY the eighth steep it had a very nice sweet note. I had just had somuch tea this morning I didn’t feel like continuing. If you don’t mind the initial sour note it is a good tea.
I steeped this eight times in a 75ml teapot with 5g 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.
Got this little cake as a free sample and it was really good, sweet and good to drink now. There was very little bitterness to this tea if any at all. I didn’t find any astringency. What I did find was a sweet taste from steep one to steep twelve. I would call the note apricots and stonefruits in the end. This is definitely one I want to order more of.
Steeped this twelve times in an 85ml silver teapot with 6.1g leaf and boiling water. 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 minutes. This tea would have gone a few more steeps.
Flavors: Apricot, Stonefruits, Sweet
This was a very nice ripe puerh tea from Puerhshop with little bitterness and a semi sweet note from the start. This semi sweet note slowly turned into a fruity note, dates come to mind but this is just an interpretation. Someone else might call it something else.
I steeped this twelve times in a 130ml teapot with 10.1g 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 minutes. Judging by the color of the tea I would say there were another two or three steeps left to this tea.
Flavors: Dates, Earth, Sweet
Courtesy of a exceptionally kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this 13-yr old shou.
Color – Chocolate brown
Fragrance – Very faint
- Warmed leaves – Damp wet leaves
- Rinsed (10s) leaf – composted top soil
- Post 20-min rest – sweet fine pipe tobacco
- Brewed – Mild pu-erh aroma
Liqueur – Amber, initally a little cloudy
Taste – As one would expect with a 13-yr old brick, there wasn’t any bitterness, acidity, fishiness or funk.
It’s likely that I got off on the wrong foot with the Old Youle Brick by following the brewing parameters that have worked so well with many varieties of Menghai Dayi shou.
My first clue should have been immediately after the 20-min rest. I normally use a cocktail fork to loosen up the warmed wet leaves. Typically, this requires very little effort. In this case it wasn’t so easy. In fact, when I broke the chunk open, it was still dry on the inside. Since this was to be our first caffeine of the morning, no red flags occurred to me.
I typically don’t read other tasting notes before tasting a new tea, so as not to potentially color my impressions. Clearly, when trying a new (non-Dayi) shou, I need to check the Steepster recommended brewing parameters first.
Initially with a 10s steep, it was thin, flat, astringent and woody. The 2nd-round was very similar but improved to medium-body. By the third round, it was more mellow, but still woodie at the end of the sip. As I remember, there was a persistent woody aftertaste. (However, I didn’t make a note about this specific point.) Since woodiness isn’t a flavor I appreciate in shou, I lost interest in going any further.
Flavor profile: wood, bark
Impression – Since the brewing parameters used apparently weren’t a good match for this shou, I don’t think I can offer an accurate impression.
17.7g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 10s rinse / 20 min rest / every 2 steeps combined: 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30
Pretty thick texture, the front notes are quite fruity while the back end of this tea is more of what I would expect from a young sheng. Got a little bit astringent but nothing unpleasant; if anything it adds to this tea’s body and complexity. Smaller leaf puerh but has a pleasant amount of cha qi. At steep 7 this tea started to die down flavor wise but was still delicious would definitely recommend.
Flavors: Astringent, Fruity, Honey, Vegetal
Quite a while ago I ordered a bunch of samples from Puerh Shop, tasted one or two, and subsequently forgot I had them. I found them again and started drinking them, and while I’ve had some teas I liked from Puerh Shop, unfortunately most have just been mediocre.
This one has a very mild flavor, but gets bitter easily if overbrewed. Tastes of green wood, wet moss, and heavily diluted whiskey. Slight lingering aroma in them mouth, body is fairly thin. Overall it’s just ok, as might be expected from a cheap tea that claims to be “Bulang Wild Grown.”
Flavors: Green Wood, Wet Moss, Whiskey
This tea, once you get the steeping parameters right, is a nice tea. I started out with a 10 second steep. The tea was relatively flavorless. I upped it to 30 seconds for the second steep. It got a little better but still not good. I was using 8.2g leaf an a 150ml gaiwan mind you. At one minute it was finally what I would call enjoyable. There were notes of malt and baked bread in this steep, as well as some bitterness. Steeps four and five were decent at two and three minutes. But it does seem that this tea does not have a lot of good steeps in it. It might be better brewed western style with a large amount of leaf and a long five minute steep. I think there is flavor in this tea. It was just hard to coax out. I only gave the tea five steeps and I think that was about all I was going to get out of it. I definitely don’t think it is as bad as the other reviewer. If I had stuck with the standard gongfu short steeps I would probably agree but this tea required a longer steep from the beginning.
I steeped this five times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 10 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 2 min, and 3 min. I think this was a tea worth buying as it was not too expensive and once you get it right it is tasty. It is not a tea for a lot of steeps however.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt
This is a nice ripe that started out with a fair amount of fermentation taste and a bittersweet note. One might interpret this note as bittersweet chocolate but that is a matter of opinion. After about six steeps the fermentation was history, I would say the bitter note lasted maybe four steeps. It developed into a nice sweet puerh. I think this one will be really nice in a few more years when the fermentation clears completely.
I brewed this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10.5g 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 minutes. The tea was not finished at twelve steeps. I think I could have gotten another 4 or 5 steeps out of it judging by the color of the tea.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Sweet
This was a very tasty ripe tea by Puerhshop. It started out with a sweet note and no real bitterness. It did have a fair amount of fermentation flavor but that flavor was not the unpleasant sort and it certainly was not fishy. It was dark and rich in the early steeps. By the twelfth steep it had thinned out a bit but there was still a nice color to it. I suspect I would have gotten between two and four more steeps out of it. It was very good but not spectacular.
I brewed this in a 150ml gaiwan with 11g 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 minutes.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
This tea is surprisingly good considering what I paid for it. One of the other reviewers said it had a buttery texture and I would agree. It was sweet with little bitterness and a fair amount of fermentation flavor. But that flavor was neither unpleasant or fishy. This was one good tea overall. I steeped it fourteen times in a 120ml shibo and think it would have gone a few more.
I steeped this tea fourteen times in a 120ml shibo with 10.2g 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, 2 min, 2.5 min, and 3 minutes. There were maybe two to three more steeps left to this one.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
I don’t have a ton of thoughts on this tea, I can mostly just compare it to the other three MangFei cakes I’ve tried lately. The four cakes were two Yunnan Sourcing cakes (‘11 and ’16), Bitterleaf’s Take My Breath Away (‘16), and this one. Of the cakes this is probably my least favorite, but not due to it being a bad tea. I’m a big fan of the YS11 as I find it the most multidimensional of the four. Bitter leaf’s is also excellent and I would call that my favorite, very young mangfei that I’ve sampled (although it’s got a steeper price). This PuerhShop tea is fairly good, but a little boring. It had a strong start, being by far the most bitter of the four even with two being five years younger. From there the tea just sort of faded away, not really bringing anything new to the table just mellowing out the bitter taste from the first few steps.
I have to give a mixed review of this tea. It started out quite unpleasant tasting. A note I can only think of as turpentine, not that I know what that tastes like. But I can’t think of any other word to describe the aged note this tea had taken. However by about the sixth steeping that note was pretty much gone and began to be replaced by a better note. By the twelfth steep there was a fairly nice note to the tea. Not quite sure if I would use the word sweet except in the sense that it was not bitter. But because of the initial unpleasant note I find myself not recommending this tea.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 9.3g 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.