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Recent Tasting Notes
I had a sample, gor during the free shipping promotion on Black Friday. The cake seems to be pretty tight.
I used a 100 ml gaiwan and 5g of tea. Did the steeps in the range of 30-60 secs. The first couple of them are very light (to be expected), from the steep number 3 the real game started.
The best part about this puerh is the smell of the wet leaf and tea. It is hard to describe but it is very refined. Wood in a forest on a warm day. Not strong at all but quite complex and pleasing – no hint of rot or mustiness.
The taste is along the same lines: it is restrained and refined,. Wood, sweetness, some grass. It is the kind of tea that a successful professional in a suit would sip in their office looking on the spring landscape lit up by a morning sun. And after a short pause turn back to doing Really Important Things, and doing them really well.
The tea resteeps well but is losing its refined complexity rather quickly. If you steep it for 2 – 2.5 mins or thereabout it gains some nice, not excessive bitterness.
Kinda a different puerh from what I am used to. It is good to keep it for a very specific mood but it will hardly become my daily drinker.
Flavors: Grass, Mineral, Sweet, Wood
While I have enjoyed some puer’s lately, its been a while since I’ve written a review of a new one. Today is so cold outside, I wanted something thick and warm to heat me back up. What better than trying a new a shou I’ve been resting?
6 g leaf
5-6 oz water
2 rinses at 10 sec each
The piece I received is a dark walnut brown, the leaves compact but fairly easy to split a piece off of. I only created a small amount of dust, happily. The dry leaf is brittle and smells sweet, dark, a rich earthy aroma that calls to mind a bed of dry forest leaves and mushrooms.
After two short rinses, the compact chunk has fallen apart into thin, rectangular leaves — not quite fully open yet. The liquid itself is a rich color reminiscent of coffee, although far more pleasant in my opinion. It smells similar to the dry leaf, whereas the wet leaf calls to mind the same scents but heavier on the mushroom side and more wet.
1st cup, 10 sec: Mmm exactly the heaviness and warmth I needed. Throughout the sip, it is smooth and rich, the heaviness starting in the middle and bearing in on the end of the sip. I don’t taste any bitterness, not even a trace; instead its sweeter, the aromas brought to life as taste, although more on a woodsy side than a dirt/leaf side.
Flavors: Heavy, Mushrooms, Smooth, Sweet, Wood
It is a very calming and forgiving tea. True to its name, its taste changes little based on the time of steeping. One of the other reviewers said that its main quality is smoothness and I agree. Not much in terms of the flavor, but soothing taste of earth, rotten wood and mushrooms with some sweetness in the background.
all in all, it is a very relaxing and forgiving tea that is not going to disappoint a lot of people. And it comes in convenient balls for traveling and on the go. A keeper.
Flavors: Decayed wood, Earth, Mushrooms, Sweet
I find this to be a decent simple tea. Nothing in your face about it. Has plenty of light floral hints and the slightest bit of sweetness during the swallow and dry mouth after. There doesn’t seem to be any shifts in flavor worth noting over the steeps (on my 8th as I write this). I recommend pairing it with your favorite fruit to snack on.
Hard to say if I can recommend this or not. There is just more interesting things to taste out there for me. So I’ll leave it at neutral.
Flavors: Flowers, Grapefruit
Pulled a session’s worth of this maocha out of the Puerh TTB when it came through last. I was not part of the W2T Teaclub when this one came. The dry leaf had a soft and green sweetness to the aroma – after a rinse, it smelled more like wet corn and alfalfa, with a sour undercurrent.
The flavor of this one was beany and vegetal – very sweet. There is a relatively small amount of bitterness, mostly in the front of the palate. As the session went on, the flavor turned extremely floral, and some astringency built up as well. When I spilled some of the liquid on my tea tray, I was surprised by how sticky it was – almost more like juice. Very sugary young tea.
Flavors: Beany, Floral, Sugar, Sweet, Vegetal
This is my first tasting note on steepster – low stakes, since this tea is now sold out at White2Tea, and, in any case, had more than 30 pretty well-considered notes already. I drank through a cake of this very pleasant tea, and, though calling it easy to drink sounds condescending, it is (or, it was). There’s something worth paying attention to there – and some good feeling, in my experience – but you have to push it absurdly hard to get even a hint of bitterness, which means that you can brew it badly (or, say, absent-mindedly; interrupted by, part of, rather than in retreat from, the rest of life – of course, one drinks tea both ways) with good results. Again, in my experience, it tends to fade really quickly around steep 7 or 8 (sometimes earlier) – not necessarily a weakness, since not all tea sessions need to stretch.
I must admit that the teas which are “high end” teas like this make me avoid going to a companies website and blowing a hole in my wallet just for a “meh” cup of tea. Overall, it was pretty “basic” and “boring” after a while. Toward the beginning of the session, the tea was without much “oomph” or flavor. I had to increase the temperature to 205 F to get anything from the leaf; which resulted in too much bitterness. I reduced the temperature back to 195 F after a while, but after the 9th steep, it sort of died away. Is this worth the $70/cake? For me, no, but I can see how some people may enjoy this one….I apologize to the person who had swapped this out with me, but I still appreciate the swap, despite my hardness toward the tea…
PS. Regardless of my initial “points” awarded to this or any tea, I will always add 5 points to the tea only when it is swapped and/or gifted as a courtesy to my tea friends!
I picked this one up with my first White2Tea order, partly as a novelty as I’ve not tried a compressed pu’erh before. It’s a pretty young sheng, with greenish leaves and a lightly perfumed fragrance. From what I can gather, it’s supposed to be a convenient way to brew pu’erh while travelling, and I imagine it could be (depending how quickly the ball unfurls…) It’s still pretty compact after the first steep (around 1.5m, western-style.)
The first steep is sweet and mostly smooth, with a hint of floral. It’s a little grassy, with just a touch of astringency towards the end of the sip. It’s not remarkably distinctive or flavourful, at this point.
Second steep for 1 minute. The ball disintegrates completely at this point, and so I’m not entirely sold on the suggestion that this is supposed to be much more convenient than a cake. I wouldn’t find it so, but I don’t typically attempt to lug around a whole cake anyway. I’d take a fragment on holiday, in a ziplock bag, and use an infuser – but I’m using an infuser for this also, so it would make little difference to my personal set-up.
The flavour this time is more distinctively “sheng” – earthy/grassy, with an edge of bitterness. It’s still mostly smooth, more so as it cools, but there’s just that bit of “bite”. This one reminds me most of Teavivre’s Fengqing Raw Cake from 2006, which I seem to possess in quantity but don’t particularly enjoy. It’s pretty hard to describe, but it has the same brassy, almost-metallic background flavour.
Third steep for 50 seconds. The flavour, at this point, seems fairly fixed. Once again, it’s earthy/grassy with a background brassiness, and just a touch of bitterness. It’s still very easy to drink, although it’s not particularly distinctive. There are definitely more exciting sheng pu’erhs out there – this one strikes me as very routine.
I might try one more steep after lunch before I call it a day with this one.
I made it gongfu style, but I didn’t break the squares or did one full square. I treated it like I would with any cake. I find it a very good tea with some stevia sweetness, some wood notes and a linen texture at the first steps. Throughout steps 4 to 7 it started to feel it more honey like and the wood taste got more subtle.
Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Wet Wood
Out of all the samples I’ve been trying recently, this is the one that made me want to buy a bing NOW.
First impression was just pleasantly sweet. I could also taste plum and cane sugar. There’s absolutely no astringency.
I’m not surprised that the 2015 version is sold out, and I plan on buying the cakes for both 2016 and 2017.
A review for the 2016 version mentioned that it lacks depth, which I can kind of see. The taste doesn’t noticeably change from steep to steep, but as of now it’s one of my favorite shengs.
Flavors: Plums, Sugarcane, Sweet
This tea was really great, much higher quality oolong than I’ve ever had personally. Obtained through an 8g sample bag put in my first W2T order. The first steep is a real slap in the face, and I mean this in the best way; all of the colorful flavors and high notes attack your tongue at once, for an excellent floral dynamic. As the steeps continue into the 3rd and 4th, this gets even more diverse, as a very small bite of astringency is present, but is quickly washed away by the sweet notes, offering a very interesting (and good) balance to the tea. Full of sweet and savory syrupy notes with a very floral flavor, this tea left me truly wishing I had more.
8g of tea in 100ml brewing vessel; 5 seconds for first steep + 5 for every after that, till 40 when I switched to 10 second steeps, till 1 minute to 15 second steeps, till 2 minutes to full minute steeps. Ended after 16 steeps.
Flavors: Floral, Sweet
I usually like smoky and spicy puer but this did not satisfy my craving. Medium body, smooth finish, and slightly sour I felt this tea is meant for drinkers who enjoy darker brews of coffee or smoke tobacco. It definitely has this old whiskey/scotch barrel flavor that provides this tea with a little vintage flavor.
Flavors: Mineral, Scotch, Smoke, Spicy, Tobacco, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #42
The tasting notes for this one sound amazing, so I probably wasn’t steeping correctly again. sigh. I have been busy. I have a tough time describing any sheng though unless it is a favorite and that has only been a couple shengs in my life (hint, they are also usually Teavivre shengs.)
The fascinating thing about this tea is the depth and complexity of its flavor. The first infusion tastes very dry and dusty, reminiscent of corn and straw. The second infusion had lingering hints of straw, but was also much sweeter and deeper. The sweet aftertaste that stays in your mouth is absolutely divine, and probably my favorite aspect of this tea.
I would say it requires two rinses, my first infusion was too weak for my liking. It can also stand up to longer steeping times in the beginning, my first was 20 and my second was 30, but I like a stronger brew overall.
This tea reminds me of sunrise in a dusty cabin on the plains. Warm, golden, a little mysterious. My only criticism is that it is a bit too drying for my tastes.
Flavors: Chestnut, Corn Husk, Dry Grass, Fennel Seed, Saffron, Straw
This was my first pu erh and I found it really enticing. The high notes are pretty subdued, mainly mushrooms after the rain. The aroma is musky and meaty, but not overpowering. Subsequent infusions produced very slight charcoal flavors and burnt earth. It evokes the feeling of the calm after a forest fire. It’s so thick and rich that it’s very warming and enveloping. The mushroom notes turned into chocolate at the end of the steepings, but I think I experienced less sweet notes than what is typical for this tea.
My only criticism would be that I wish the initial taste was more clear and strong, it starts off very slight and only really comes out on the out breath.
Flavors: Char, Meat, Mushrooms, Wet Earth
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Flavors: Bitter, Medicinal, Musty
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Flavors: Smoked, Tobacco
7 g leaf
200 F water
small gaiwan, 6-8 oz
I did not rinse the leaves, since they were fairly loose. I think I should have, though. The first steep is weak in color and taste; the color is a light yellowy brown after a 15-20 sec steep. The dry leaves smelled sweet but musty, a bit like tobacco. The liquid smelled less musty, but something reminiscent of tobacco and dust still held. Perhaps a second steeping will bring out a stronger flavor.
Second steep about the same length. Color is a bit darker, more like honey now. The initial sweetness is gone, replaced by a touch of astringency on the end of the sip. No particular flavors stand out to me, although I am holding out for future steeps.