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Recent Tasting Notes
I just tried a sample of the 2017 version of this tea, and I’ve gotta admit I don’t see what the fuss is about. I started at 200F and found it fairly bland, so I switched to boiling and still all I got was very mild bitter/resinous/sweet (not bad, just too mild for me). No particular energy or body effects or aftertastes or anything.
I dunno. I love a lot of w2t’s shengs, and I don’t wanna be a hater or anything. So many hits from these fine folks, it’s just that this one was a miss for me. (So I guess if anyone wants the rest of my sample, let me know :)
Starts a little bitter and rather cigarette-smoky. Fades to leather, which lingers. I feel hit by the energy immediately. After a few steeps, the tips of ears are warm and it feels like my eyes are glowing.
Later steeps turned towards apple juice with some leather keeping it interesting. Pins and needles and eventually almost numbness at the sides of my tongue. Fascinating.
Overall, hard to say? I really didn’t like the flavor of the first handful of steeps, but I liked the later steeps a lot, and the energy was strong but comfortable.
Flavors: Apple, Leather, Tobacco
The first infusion has an almost buttery taste to it (reminds me of green oolong), lingering a little in the next few. Lovely mouthfeel and no bitterness at all in the early steeps. Not much sign of age but very smooth and certainly not rough young sheng anymore. Bitterness at a nice level, balanced with a good sweetness, in the middle steeps, though with quite a bit of astringency that leaves the mouth a bit dry.
Another from my first White2Tea order. I’ve been really impressed with these; they’ve definitely changed how I think of sheng, particularly. I’m brewing this one western style at work, but keeping my steeps short since experience has told me that’s what works best.
The initial sip is very creamy, with a definite dairy/milk mouthfeel and flavour. There’s a slight brassy/sour sheng flavour, but it’s not significant – and nowhere near as prominent as it was with 2015 Poundcake. The only thing missing at the moment is the alcohol!
Second steep has a little more sourness, but I may have steeped it a few seconds too long. The creaminess seems a lot more muted, at least in terms of flavour, but the mouthfeel still has that delicious dairy-like weight and texture.
Third steep is less sour again (25 seconds is as long as I want to brew this one to find my own happy place with it; the second steep was more like 30-35). There’s a muted creaminess, but it looks like I’m not going to be able to recreate the utter yumminess of the first steep again. While the texture is mostly smooth, there are the beginnings of a low-level astringency that’s leaving me with a slightly dry mouth.
Fourth steep was very similar to the third, with the astringency just a touch more pronounced. That’s with a reduced steep time again (15 seconds this time), so I think I’m going to call a halt here for today. There’s no question that I could keep going, but I figure when you stop enjoying something it’s probably time to quit.
I’d purchase this one – or its future iterations – again. The first steep was the best, and at the very least I’d like to experience that another time!
I seriously hope Paul releases this blend again in 2018. I’ve had more expensive W2T blends and must say after spending a year and a half with a cake it’s probably my favorite W2T offering. Of course I haven’t tried any of the Treachery cakes as I won’t blind buy a cake of this price without first being able to try a sample…So I’ve lived with this cake a year and a half and have enjoyed its evolution. I drink it once or twice a month and it tastes a little different every time but always smooth, oily and well balanced. Today I’m getting aniseed flavors throughout the session. The qi is always intense and lingering. I was sad that there was no Bosch in 17 and hope there is in 18.
This is the last of the teas from my first White2Tea order. I can’t remember why I chose this one now, because the majority of the notes seem fairly negative. I’m not a great lover of bitterness in my pu’erh, and particularly not sheng. I must have read something redeeming at some point, though, so I’m going to give it a chance anyway! It’s the oldest of the shengs I selected, so I’m hoping age will be on its side…
I kept the first steep fairly minimal, at around 25 seconds. Fortunately, it’s perfectly smooth with absolutely no bitterness. It doesn’t have a huge amount of flavour; even the usual brassy sourness is missing! It’s lightly creamy, with a very slight edge of honey, and perhaps the tiniest bit of raw wood at the end of the sip. Pleasant, but not particularly arresting.
I left the second steep a little longer, just to see. I’ve found a touch of bitterness, but really no more than that. The flavour this time was unexpectedly smoky, with a woody undertone that’s quite pleasant. I’m surprised how different it was from the first steep, but I’ll probably reduce the time again for my next.
Third steep for 30 seconds, and the bitterness was again absent. I think there’s a fairly fine tipping point with this one; a case of a few seconds perhaps. The smokiness is present a little, but mostly in the background. For the most part, this is back to the smooth, creamy flavour of the first steep. It’s pleasant, but it’s finicky and lighter in flavour than I expected. On this plus side, no characteristic raw sheng flavour!
Third steep was for around 25 seconds; as the leaf unfurls, it obviously brews more quickly. There’s a tiny hint of bitterness, a touch of smoke, but mostly a raw wood flavour. The creaminess has disappeared. I could continue with this one for a while yet, but it’s time to go home! I may save my leaf and resume tomorrow, or I might move on to something else. I have enough left that I can return to this one in the future if I want to.
Unlike a lot of the teas I go for, this tea is by no means assertive or flashy. It is, however, thick, durable, and a pretty consistent qi bomb. The flavor is tough to pin down; maybe a hair alkaline, but mostly juicy, sweet, and without a hint of bitterness. It can be finicky, though; if you steep it aggressively, it’ll get really astringent really fast. So long as you can keep that in check, you’ll be rewarded with an excellent, long session that’s all but guaranteed to leave you in a state of blissed-out relaxation. I’ve seriously brewed this tea to calm my wife down from a panic attack before.
I’ve owned two cakes of this for a while, but it’s taken me some time to get around to reviewing it. This is up there with Last Thoughts and Treachery of Storytelling for me, and I’m very fortunate to have it in my collection.
This is an interesting tea. This has a thick and velvety mouthfeel, almost like a broth. I think that contributes to the umami character I pick up with it. It isn’t salty, but it reminds me of drinking a warm, salty broth. There are general vegetal notes to it as well—nothing specific, but just a general vegetal flavor.
Overall, I enjoy it but am not overwhelmed by the flavor. It’s the type of tea that I would have to be in the mood for in order to have again, but I can see it being very appealing for those times when I am in the mood for its unique character.
Flavors: Broth, Umami, Vegetal
The reviews of this are so good, I feel kind of nervous. What if it doesn’t live up to the crazy expectations I now have for it? That part of the reason why I’ve left it so long, I think. That, and no bad ever came from leaving sheng a while. It might even be better now than it was before.
While brewing, I get the typical sour, metallic scent I get from most sheng and dislike intensely. It’s one of the things that puts me off; that, and the Teavivre Fengqing from 2006 that actually tastes like that scent. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that one.
The first steep does have a brassiness to it, but underlying that is a thick creaminess and a light sweetness. It develops a little in the aftertaste into a definite sugarcane flavour, with a hint of baking flour. I’m hoping the top note of sourness will fade in successive steeps…
Second steep retains most of the metallic/sour/brassy flavour; it’s perhaps even a touch more prominent than it was. The creaminess is developing, however, and there’s still a light sugariness underlying. As it cools, I’m picking up the tiniest hint of menthol. I’m finding that there’s a happy place with this one, where the creaminess is at its peak and the sweetness is most noticeable –it’s not when it’s freshly brewed or hot, and not when it’s cooling rapidly, but somewhere in between. It’s hard to define, but it’s almost like it needs to settle a bit first to be at its best. If you catch it at this point, most of the characteristic “young sheng” flavours are significantly muted…but it doesn’t last long!
Third steep is much improved, with the sourness finally fading. The creamy sweetness prevails, with a hint of flour, but I’m not getting a lot more from it than that.
Fourth steep is very similar to the third. I’m not getting as much from this one as I expected to, but the mouthfeel alone makes it worth drinking. I’ll probably take it through a few more steeps before I call it a day, but I don’t expect too much variation for the new few.
I would try another iteration of this one with a future White2Tea order. It’s one of the more palatable young shengs I’ve come across in a long time, even if it wasn’t quite what I was hoping it would be.
Tea Club – been sitting out since I got it.
Gaiwan 100ml, boiling water
10s – earthy and a little sweet, light orange color
After this steep I picked the ball apart, I probably should have waited or let it work itself apart, but I was impatient. Liquor went super shou dark on the next steep.
10s-earth, bit of dark, sweetness
10s – solid earth, hella dark
10s, 10s, sweetness getting longer
More steeps after this but I stopped recording notes. Nice accessible shou
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
Finally getting to the older White2Tea pu’erhs in my cupboard. I’m pretty sure I bought these at least a year ago, maybe longer. I gave the leaves a quick rinse, at least partly so one of the pieces would fit in my infuser basket! My first steep was around 1 minute in boiling water.
The flavour is a little lighter than I was expecting. The initial sip is a touch earthy, with notes of dry wood and a touch of camphor. It really comes alive in the mid-sip, though, with sweeter flavours of bourbon vanilla and molasses. The aftertaste is almost too sweet, in a way that reminds me a little of stevia or liquorice root; it lingers at the back of the throat in the same way those do. Hopefully the flavour will deepen a little with successive steeps!
Second steep has very slightly stronger flavours. There’s more woodiness to the start of the sip – it’s become more obviously a dry wood flavour (kind of like sawdust?), rather than the “wetter” flavours I’d usually associate with a ripe. The sweetness is there at about the same level, although there’s more sugar and less vanilla this time. The cloying sweetness in the aftertaste has dissipated a little.
Third steep is softer and more mellow, with a little more sweetness prevalent and less woody notes. The flavour of vanilla sugar flavour is foremost, with an underlying earthiness; the mouthfeel is smooth and silky.
Fourth steep is similar, although becoming less flavourful. The sweetness is starting to fade now, with just a light earthiness remaining. There’s a creaminess to the mid sip that I didn’t notice previously, but it looks to me like things are beginning to wind down. While this has been a pleasant shou, it’s not one I think I’ll find especially memorable.
The dry leaves smell like sweet cake.
1st Steep: I get a taste that reminds me of a sweet green tea with some hay mixed in.
2nd Steep: Turned bitter and very dry. Lost most of its taste.
3rd Steep: The sweetness comes back some and gets a bite to it that lingers in your mouth afterwards
4th Steep & beyond: The bite disappears and the hay and grass tastes take over the remainder of my session.
Overall not to my taste. Its interesting so I still recommend it.
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Cake, Grass, Green, Hay, Sweet
Great smoky flavour with a good level of bitterness. The most bang on description of a tea I think I’ve ever read. Does well in both gongfu and grandpa brewing. I hope the smoke doesn’t fade too soon, I love this one.
Flavors: Smoke, Tobacco
Strong bitterness if over brewed or with too much leaf (found that out the hard way). With a lighter ratio and short steep times the bitterness is tamed to a good level. Subtle hints of aged flavour like liu bao or traditionally stored 7542. An underlying dustiness that continues throughout the steeps. Seems like a good candidate for further ageing.
Very sweet, nice aged flavour. No bitterness in any steeps. A little weak, requires high gram/ml ratio and tapers off quite quickly around 6 or 7 infusions. Quality daily drinker for aged flavour. Doesn’t have enough strength to seem like a good candidate for further ageing (though I’m not hugely experienced in that regard).
This is the most honeyed pu erh I have ever had. From the first steep, it got more and more intensely floral and honeyed. At the 3rd/4th steep, it reminds me of Ethiopian honey wine or mead, but (obviously) without the sugar and alcohol taste.
The aftertaste isn’t necessarily sweet, just… honey-like.
I enjoyed this a lot… it felt and tasted like an elegant treat.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Honeydew
You can read the full review here!
Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Orange, Orange Zest, Smooth