The Essence of Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

Tried a small sample of this included in a recent private tea purchase. I usually prefer spring teas to autumn, but this was certainly a nice treat. Aroma was floral and sweet. Early steeps were easy-going with a very light astringency and a floral, honey huigan. The body started off a little light, and remained that way throughout the tea, though it did pick up some as I reached the meat of the session. Around 6 or 7 steeps in, the astringency picks up – unsurprising for a tea this young – and soon grows to be the dominant part of the tea, though it is still floral in flavor, especially the huigan.

This tea feels lively in the mouth – both flavor and aroma were solid, where in a lot of autumn teas, aroma is dominant. A nice couple of sessions – doesn’t appear the tea is available anymore.

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I received a sample of this tea ifrom mrmopar in a Christmas card! I wanted to try it with family at a time when we could sit and discuss the merits of the tea and really focus on it, rather than when we were sipping as we palyed games or had snacks. The opportunity came a few nights ago.

The dry leaves reminded me of a tobacconist shop, not something I was expecting from a young-ish sheng. It is an aroma I enjoy, so I had hopes for everyone to enjoy this sheng, even the shu drinkers.

The steeped tea is very, very lively. The briskness translates to such an energy on the tongue, and the aftertaste is sweet and pleasant. We were drinking it shortly before bedtime, and I thought that it would be a wonderful tea to drink as a daytime pick-me-up when energy is flagging but there is work to be done. It didn’t keep me from being able to fall asleep at my usual time, however. The flavor was reminiscent of green teas I have had that are brisk on the tongue with a sweet rising aftertaste. My youngest said it was very minty to her, more like spearmint than peppermint.

My eldest and youngest had a sheng at a tea festival, and the Chinese vendor told them that his sheng sample might not be what they were accustomed to. They bravely told him that they drank puer all the time! He laughed and told them it wasn’t like his, and handed them a cup…and they nicknamed it murder tea. Apparently, it was a VERY sour sheng!

Youngest was one of the people drinking this Bao Tang, and pronounced it very drinkable. It has helped her recover from her sheng trauma. We had numerous steeps before heading off to bed in sloshy contentment.

Thank you to mrmopar for a nice new tea experience!

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What a wonderful example of a good Autumn sheng.

You can tell from this tea how powerful these leaves are. There is much less of a dropoff from steep to steep compared to most Autumn productions. My front pallet is salivating while the back of my pallet is also ringing, great mouthfeel. Great energy, wouldn’t have expected this type of energy from a Autumn.

Fantastic example of how great Autumn sheng can be. This is easily the best Autumn I have tried. Expansive mouthfeel with great energy and flavor. 10 steeps deep and still pushing, VERY nice surprise for low initial expectations.

I would say the only characteristic in this tea relative to other Autumn productions I have tried is the flavor… Light sweetgrass-like scent and taste which is accompanied by a subtle astringency.

Wish I had more, but I will now need to try the Spring version of this tea.

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After several years of anticipation, I’ve finally gotten this tea in my cup.

Initial wafting of the dry leaves met me with freshness (almost menthol) that was unexpected for a tea of this age. I’ve not tried any Essence of Tea puerh before so I am not accustomed to what the storage taste may be. Waited about 2 weeks to air this out and threw it in the Jian Shui (my semi-aged sheng pot).

Now, I went this entire session with a somewhat confused demeanor. Any previously sampled semi-aged sheng that I have had did not resembled this at all; this tea was different. What a friendly tea. I still do not really know what stands this one on it’s own… Lacking smokiness and almost all astringency, it makes for a very consistent brew similar to other semi-aged sheng in my experience.

Wasn’t taken back by the energy, but I usually drink a lot more leaf per session. All-in-all I had a great 15-20 steeps of this and it was still giving when pushed to 20-30 second steeps.

Earthy tones and subtle fruit led this to please me very much for about an hour.

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It’s been a while since I tried this cake but I always remember it being a very fresh clean young sheng.

The dry leaves didn’t seem to have darkened quite as much as I was expecting but a lot of the fresh younger scent seemed to have given way to something a bit more aged. The colour of the brew was still a rather bright yellow but was definitely darker than before.

The flavour still had some floral sweet elements like when the tea was younger but has now given way to a lot more straw and wood elements. The body of the tea is still thick and there is a good energy that comes with drinking it.

Using it as a test of how things are ageing in UK climate, it seems as if it is a slower process but it seems to be producing good results, (it helps that I enjoy the younger characteristics of this cake as well)!

Flavors: Floral, Grain, Straw, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85

Smokey in the first two steeps but it quickly faded. After that it’s unfading, gentle sweetness that lasts steep after steep. The mouth feel really embodies what it means for a tea to be “sticky.” When I drink it, I have the mouth feel of kinda of chewing on a sticky boba (from milk tea). The sweetness is not like honey or stone fruits but more like sugarcane and sticky rice.

I like this tea.

Flavors: Sugarcane, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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A small sample I took from the previous Puerh TTB I believe. Humid storage and woody, maybe petrichor notes on the nose. A lot of the same in the cup too. Moderately dank – not overpoweringly so. Good body and color to the liquor of this tea. Tea was lively on the tongue and those damp woody notes were backed up by a very slight metallic sort of flavor I’ve tasted in other Liu Bao before. This was a nice one – I don’t think I would pay a premium price for it, but it was an enjoyable aged tea.

Flavors: Metallic, Nutty, petrichor, Wood

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

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75

Interesting fragrance, but very light in taste and reminds of white tea. A pleasant, calm tea for a longer infusion time.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2016-secret-garden-eot

Flavors: Flowers, Hay, Sweet

Preparation
8 g 80 OZ / 2365 ML

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85

Soft and heavy, due to a certain humidity a very nice moss note which also makes the tea look much older.

Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2015-huangshanshu-15-trees-eot

Flavors: Heavy, Moss, Nutty, Vegetal, Wet Moss, Wet wood

Preparation
8 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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96

This tasting note is going to be short sorry!

I’d really say that this tea is wonderful for those who are accostumed to ripe puer and would like to start drinking raws, or the other way around. It’s a raw that has very comforting darker notes, such as vanilla, and almond, and some toasty flavours too. It’s like the perfect puer for a cold winter day, sat right next to the fireplace.

I couldn’t finish my session as I had to leave before I was finished, but from the 3 steepings that I did get in I’d argue that this is a very very good tea.

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75

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Bitter Melon, Citrus Zest, Herbaceous, Tobacco, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 180 ML

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Obtained a full cake of this from a friend and very glad that I did.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BbGHR2AgiUL/?taken-by=liquidproust

This is the first raw puerh I’ve ever drank that had more than just that menthol feel… it had a minty taste. It is/was so unique. The tongue seemed cool and tingled after each sip with a nice sensation for at least 20-30 seconds. Fantastic feel and a decent texture to the liquid. Good dry age to this one at this point and I look forward to drinking the heck out of it this winter : )

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I got this as a free sample with my order and was quite surprised how much punch it had. The flavor has a perfect level of strength, which is a nice contrast to all the sweet light 2017s right now. The notes are daisy, stone fruits, buttered green beans, and slight char. It gets sharper in flavor each infusion, and also builds up some astringency, but a drinkable dryness. The energy of this tea hits after the session.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2017-nancai-ancient-sheng-puer-essence-tea/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 g 1 OZ / 15 ML
mrmopar

You tried the Jingdong yet?

Oolong Owl

I sadly didn’t get that one. I just have Secret Forest left to try for puer.

mrmopar

I still have some of the Secret Forest too. Message me your address I will pack you some Jingdong. Be warned potent like Lao Man’E if steeped too long.

Alexander

Haha, yeah Jingdong is super awesome! :-)

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99

delicious stuff. Lovely ‘wild’ fruit taste, with less bitterness than others I have had from around this area. A hint of steamed darkened fruity leaf in there.

It just goes and goes with limited change to the taste of the steeps. Robust good leaf. Soft gummy plump mouthfeel and more candy huigan. So good :)

Flavors: Fruity

Sqt

It’s like nature’s own haribo :)
If it just had a bit more of a punch to it I would get a tong.

Rasseru

oh man, these wild teas are gorgeous but soft arent they. I like them brewed with power & sometimes chop and change to benefit from the strength of one sheng then the fruit of wilds

Sqt

I’ve been considering blending one of them with something that with a little bit more power, but that might overwhelm all those delicate notes.

Rasseru

good idea, I might try that too

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If my math is correct, this 6g pot of tea cost $60. Is it worth it? Well if I had Zuckerberg’s money I would get a tong of this as the flavor and qi are outta sight. First, the flavor/aroma . There is a state park near where I live called Trough Creek. The rims of the canyon are lined with cedar, oak, rhododendron and white pine. After the leaves have fallen in November and there is a rain followed by a warm day, a beautiful aroma of decaying leaves, evergreen mushrooms and decomposing oak fills the air. That’s the essence of this tea. The qi? This has all the nice tingly mood elevating properties of camellias much debated cousin but none of the goofiness and fogginess or paranoia. Just nice. Add a muscle relaxing property and a bit of mental clarity and you have it. I drank a pot of this at 2pm, took a convertible ride and it was like I was driving through a painting. I then went to a local jam session and each note played really resonated. Was this pot of tea worth $60? Well, I’ve payed that much for 50 year old English barleywine ales, 6 ounce bottle at that. I actually see a lot of similarities between old sheng and old beer. I also see how decades of aging really enhances the qi. None of the 10,20 or even 30 year old stuff I’ve had compares. I recommend this tea for very special occasions. I’m having a pot of 05 naka to see if this tea is really 10 times better proportional to cost. I’d say no but it’s definitely 3-5 times better. Makes me wonder how the puerh sk rareness will be in 50 years…

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75

This is an interesting one, albeit more as an example than for its actual qualities. The description doesn’t lie; the tea is elegant, almost to a fault. The taste is essentially single note: a smooth, slightly bitter flavor that seems typical of the region, but which I have a hard time describing. It’s quite mellow, with low astringency and a bit of thickness; early cups left some tingling and my tongue and the session’s concluded with a nice lingering throat-tightness caused by the tea’s light bitterness carrying over into the finish.

That said, the tea is subtle: I didn’t really notice the finish much until the end of the session and the qi and caffeine are both present, but only if you search for them. I didn’t find much durability here, either, having to start pushing it harder than I would have expected after the first couple of steeps. My sample was very loose, almost like maocha, which may have exacerbated that.

I’m not sure I’ve actually had anything that’s single tree before, which is why I grabbed the sample. As I said, there’s definitely a purity here, but it results in a loss of dynamism. The flavor presents itself at its boldest in the first several cups and then fades (a bit faster than I’d have liked) without really changing much. I have no regrets about having the sample, but I also have no desire to go in for a cake.

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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82

This tea is chopped—chopped, and compressed hard enough that the last five gram portion of my sample fell out of the bag with an audible thunk. Breaking that apart took a bit of effort and was only really possible after the rinse. Fortunately, though, it did open up after a steep or two and I could get on with the session without too much difficulty.

The liquor itself brews up an orange-ish brown that’s relatively light for a tea of this age and is indicative of the relatively dry, humid storage this tea’s seen in Malaysia. The taste reflects that as well, with a tart cherry note predominating, along with a cooling finish and some tingling activity on the tongue. It’s got a decently thick mouthfeel and provides a qi that gradually sneaks up on you.

It’s not without its flaws, though. The durability’s merely tolerable—the chopped leaves give up the ghost pretty quickly—and there’s a bit of an unpleasant bitterness not unlike burnt coffee that clashes with the rest of the flavors. It’s not a dealbreaker—you have to look for that flavor and it’s pretty brief—but it does mar the experience a bit. Previous sessions with earlier parts of the sample have been intensely smoky, though this quality’s been absent this time around. My guess is that there’s some variability in the cake.

This was the second sample of this tea that I’ve ordered, as I found myself unable to remember what I thought of it the first time. I’m not sure I’d purchase it in the current market; it’s a pretty decent tea, but I think EoT has some comparable offerings that are better. That said, it’s pretty enjoyable and it’s not the sort of thing I’d complain about owning.

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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I dont even know how to review this:

God: Haha this will totally mess with their heads (removes all the wild tea trees around Jingdong)

Angel Gabriel: I hope you’re going to replace th…. oh my.

Angel Raziel: Thats throat numbing spray.

God: Dont worry lads, there’s a bit of huigan in it.

Flavors: Bitter, Dark Bittersweet, Fruity, Smoke, Tobacco

Sqt

Ordered a sample just earlier today :)

Rasseru

it tastes like its got age on it already. Strongly deep bitter flavours

Sqt

Looking forward to it. I’ve mostly preferred older shengs so far and am just starting to appreciate the younger stuff.

tanluwils

This sounds like an fascinating tea. Are you still in Singapore?

Rasseru

Haven’t left yet! Going in a few weeks

Sqt

When are you going to Singapore, and how long will you be there? I might be able to introduce you to do a pu-head friend there.

Rasseru

in a few weeks – i’ll pm you

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This is smooth and has a flavour that isn’t like shou, which I had difficulty placing. It isn’t exactly bitter and smells ‘hotter’ than shou. Another review said nutmeg – that might be it. Some spice that is not spicy. It has some mouth-tingling feel.

I also found this a very sleepy tea – I kept dozing off when drinking it.

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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Lovely aroma from the rinse, coats the mouth from the first sips with a sort of soapy moutheel (I know that doesn’t sound appealing, but it’s very nice!). A very light flavor with just an undertone of bitterness, and a nice perfumey, floral top. Some definitely heart-pounding energy to this one.

Flavors: Butter, Perfume, Soap, Vanilla

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This is an awesome puer, especially for the price. The notes are clean and bright, tasting of mineral amber and rocks, rock sugar, stone fruit, and floral. The body is heavy and thick. Wuliang H has plenty of energy too. I got 13 good infusions.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2016-wuliang-h-essence-tea/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 g 1 OZ / 15 ML
tanluwils

Nice review! I know what you mean by a tea being too powerful for as a workplace tea, but not complex enough for an amazing session. That being said, I have a Mangfei and Mengku tea that were at that stage even after they had a year to settle, but are now nuanced enough, and just as powerful as ever, for a good session. Perhaps this tea, too, will require another year to really come into its own.

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85

Three sessions with this tea:
Session 1: Leafed the first bit of my sample into my gaiwan. Through the first few steeps, I noticed a hint of smokiness. Thankfully, this transformed into a mellow sweetness with the fourth or fifth steep.
Session 2: No hint of smoke. Enjoying the mellow sweetness and lingering cooling on the tongue from the first brew.
Session 3: Same as the second.

I suspect I had a leaf or two that spent a little too much time on the pan with my first session. The second and third sessions with this tea were enough to convince me that I needed to pick up a cake…or two.

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Having been on a bit of an aged tea kick lately, despite the seasonal influx of new tea, I decided to pick up a sample of this with my most recent Essence of Tea order. I’ve brewed it gong fu a couple of times and taken it into work for a grandpa-style session once so far, and I can safely say it’s a pretty solid tea, although one better suited to gong fu.

The parameters here are for my most recent session. My work session with this was a little underwhelming—mostly smoke, not a whole lot of flavor or durability—and I was suspicious that I had underleafed, despite using my normal quantity of tea. Thus, this time, I went for broke on the leaf quantity, pretty well packing the gaiwan. I was rewarded for my efforts with tart, cherry-like flavors that gradually subsided to reveal undertones of softer vanilla. There’s definitely some smoke on this tea, though it’s mostly faded and present primarily when smelling the gaiwan lid; similarly, the camphor in the name seems to appear mostly in the aroma and maybe a bit in the finish.

In terms of less immediately tangible properties, the tea’s texture was nothing remarkable, although not too thin. There’s a calm but noticeable qi, and the caffeine levels seem to be pretty low, which is kind of a feature. The tea proved reasonably durable through the session, though it fell off a cliff towards the end—my steep time increments jumped from five seconds to thirty seconds or more pretty quickly.

For the price, this is a pretty solid tea. If you squint, you could think of it as a budget version of the YQH Teji, as the storage seems to have had similar effects. I’d definitely recommend sampling it, and it might be worth a cake.

Flavors: Cherry, Vanilla

Preparation
8 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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