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Recent Tasting Notes
This is W2T’s fifth anniversary cake. Back in 2017 I was just dipping my toes into the world of pu’erh tea so this was something I absolutely passed over, as it was very intimidating to me at the time. It’s hard to imagine exactly what kind of impression this pu’erh would have had on me back then, but experiencing it now there’s something just absolutely brilliant about it! It makes me excited for five years from now – not just to see what this tea will be like, but to also see how much will have changed in my own tea journey!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cdl0nToubzH/
Flavors: Camphor, Red Fruits, Smoke, Stonefruit, Tobacco, Vegetal
Grabbed this very old sample from the final “Here’s Hoping Teabox” which occured right around the time I joined Steepster (thanks to all participants that added tea and tea-sipper for organizing!) Finally drinking this for my “one gong fu session a month” goal.
80ml (shiboridashi) | 4.15g | 205F | Rinse/10s/15s/20s/25s/30s/35s/40s/45s/50s
I gave the tea a pretty long rinse while I was getting all the gong fu stuff ready. The leaf had a very sharp and somewhat bitter wet hay aroma afterwards, which presented in the rinse liquid. My first infusion is more mellow, though (which I prefer) so maybe a long rinse is to my benefit. There is a bit of that grassy/hay quality in the aroma, but it is very floral, and lacking the sharpness. It tastes like a pollen-heavy floral nectar, chased by a little grassy/hay note, and just a hint of bitter melon. The second infusion smells delightfully floral with a bit of a fruity undertone, and a new gold raisin flavor is presenting in the flavor, with an apricot/nectarine sort of stonefruit aftertaste. A green tea sort of beany/smoky note lingers on my tongue, as well. Went through nine infusions before the liter of water I’d heated was out so I wrapped up there, but I think it could’ve given even more.
Flavors: Apricot, Beany, Bitter Melon, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Hot Hay, Pollen, Raisins, Smoke, Stonefruit, Vegetal
Enjoying a tea session of this tea at the park this afternoon! There’s something about this heicha that really brings Glossette’s Chocolate Covered Peanuts to mind for me. It’s just sort of the exact right combination of raw peanut flavour with that borderline waxy milk chocolate note, though this tea also has a hint of tobacco or peat-y smokiness as well any made just a smidge of sweet grass. I never liked Glossette’s as a kid, but despite that there’s still something pleasant and kind of nostalgic about experiencing those flavours in this tea!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdTv8RyOdgd/
I’ve been on a strong white tea kick this week, so I’m continuing down that path with a tea session of 2018 Arbor White. In general I much prefer the black tea version of this material, but today the sweet and syrupy liquor and brighter and more fruity nectarine/apricot and honey leaning tasting notes were more in line with my cravings. Along with that sort of “fruit nectar” like quality, this is also a white tea with that trademark straw/hay flavour as well – almost in equal parts to the sweet fruitiness, at least with today’s session. It’s really nice, but truthfully probably my least favourite of all the white tea sessions I’ve steeped up this week…
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdOdHujO77M/
4g, 175mL(?) KamJove. Yeah it’s low ratio. Can’t handle too much young sheng, but still can’t help but indulge once in a while. Quick boiling rinse, w Brita tap. Sometimes boiling, sometimes not. Not focused today. Maocha is from Paul’s mystery box. This still tastes mostly young. Standard basic young sheng notes: dried apricot and peachiness, some mintiness. Some dried apple like notes. Not particularly bitter, quite sweet. Decent mouthfeel. Some warming initially, but very cold after.
Would like to do a normal ratio session run, but it might be a while before I get around to it since it’s not entirely in the sort of comfortable to drink age yet.
Started my morning with a tea session of Natty Red – complete with bonus tea seed pressed into this chunk of the hong cha cake! Smooth and medium bodied with an abundance of sweet jammy red fruit notes, and a malty woody overtone! A bit of a shorter session but still a lovely way to kick off the week!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdEGxAvOo65/
Grandpa style… ish!I’m keeping my steeping pretty relaxed since I didn’t really want to sit down for a full session so much as I just wanted a sheng to sip casually while catching up on some comics and shows. The dry leaf aroma of this pu’erh cake is pretty fresh and sweet and that sweetness is definitely carrying through to the taste as I sip. I’m finding the liquor to be quite thick and syrupy, while the taste is pretty floral with just a bit of a fruity finish and a greener undertone. It kind of makes me think of elderflower syrup, like one might use to make a sweet floral cocktail! I’m really into the taste and it definitely gets bonus points for having an incredibly smooth mouthfeel as well with hardly a hint of astringency! I guess in summary, the name of this pu’erh might be a chaotic mouthful but the taste is certainly not…
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cc-9DYiueFp/
It’s been a long day, but finishing it off with Judy at golden hour certainly is a nice way to cap it off! This is such a beautifully sweet yet gentle tea! Focusing on just enjoying the taste in the moment, though I definitely want to write better tasting notes that do it justice at a later date.
My friend Justin Other on IG actually wrote a song all about this tea and how much he loves it (you can find it in Spotify) and, as I was drinking this cup, all I could think was “Ok, Justin… I see you and I get it!”
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cclx5SnuqIn/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSnIACaT-RI&ab_channel=ANTI-Records
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Floral, Nutty
Finally trying 2020 Fortune Teller after what I’m pretty sure was over a year of teasers and built up hype on the part of W2T!! My first impression of this sheng puerh is that it’s actually surprisingly pretty crisp, sweet and vegetal with notes of lightly grilled fennel bulb, artichoke, and iceberg lettuce immediately coming to mind. There’s a pleasant gentle bitterness and astringency to the thicker soup, and even with some pretty long steeps – because of that WFH multitasking – it never got gnarly and unpleasant!! This seems stylistically so different from the type of sheng I would reach for often, but I have a few others in my tea stash that remind me of this one. Plus, I do actually reach for them more often than I typically give myself credit for so (based on this session, anyway) I’m actually stoked to add this one to that rotation!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CcQuUnguVh2/
Tried this as part of my White 2 tea order
I wish I loved this tea as much as it deserved to be loved. I’m less a fan of smoke than I thought I was. For someone who does love smoke, this is the flavor. It tasted like a campfire and I am certain it wouldn’t stop giving those notes.
Flavors: Smoke, Vanilla, Wet Wood
My anniversary order from W2T came in yesterday and I couldn’t resist immediately steeping up something new, so this afternoon I’m brewing a tea session with 2022 Peak Vulture! My initial impression is that overall this shou pu’erh has a really round and coating liquor with a baseline earthiness and a little bit of date and red fruit undertones. It definitely still needs more time to rest and settle into itself, and I expected that going into steeping it up fresh from being unpacked. However, I can see this being a really nice and consistent daily drinker given some time!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cb0PAM-OSRl/
Starting my Saturday with a heicha session! I think I prefer this one to the 2021 version, though hard to say without doing a side by side. I feel this is sweeter though; and while it has the gentle grassier and brown rice syrup notes I expected it also has a fruity top note sweetness that reminds me of Pink Lady apples. Just a little bit of acidic snap but mostly an almost effervescent bright sweetness! I’m especially getting that lovely apple flavour in the finish and gentle lingering aftertaste! Mmmm…
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cb2mZ4sOG3r/
Minis/dragonballs are honestly just so convenient. This is a really pleasant and easy brewing white tea but, like its sisters, I’m have a tougher time nailing down what exactly I’m tasting. Lighter body and consistent sweetness for sure, and the earlier steeps had a slightly melon-like note to them that I can best describe as the very initial sticky sweet taste of the juices when you bite into a just barely ripe slice of honeydew. However, in this tea it’s very fleeting. Late steep picks up more body with a little creaminess and then a flavour that’s very challenging to pin point but that coats the back of the throat in a way that reminds me of the feeling of some chrysanthemum teas – NOT the taste, though. This is such an interesting family of white teas; I love and hate how much they break my brain…
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CbnuQjnOt09/
Sipdown. White2Tea – Tea club
Finishing up this green tea from 2021 – I always end up saving these for last. The flavor profile is a no. I brought several to work to use them up due to my tendency of estimating (overleafing!).
Dry leaf smells of little bit floral, very green bean, & vegetal
I think this one has been open to the air too long. I’m getting green bean, spinach-y vegetal. A little bit of lingering sweetness and super minor floral. I feel like I’m trying to make more of it than what it’s giving me. Probably lost to air and oxidation. I don’t mind drinking it.
Flavors: Floral, Green Beans, Spinach, Vegetal
Steeped up the 2015 Anhua Tianjian from @white2tea while reading up on some Red Dragon & Dragon Turtle lore this morning! This was a nice brothy heicha with a thick liquor and very sweet & umami notes of peat moss, smoked meats, leather, and raisin. Pretty clean and quite smooth!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CbA24wEOEKn/
aroma of steamed leaves in warmed teapot were very soothing, blend between young sheng turning corner into a semi-aged sheng. no aroma from brewed tea. liquor was too thin and watery for the price of this tea that’s advertised as “thick”. however it was smooth in the throat with no catch. flavor was green/vegetable not complex and weak/light flavor. No huigan, no kuwei, no calming, chaotic chi. whatever blend was used doesn’t seem cohesive. The energy is just as disjointed and chaotic. It was pushing my stomach into my solar plexus, and causing a discomfort, like when you have that feeling of a pit in your stomach, but it was moving upwards. Not much flavor or sweetness. Not my cup of tea. Objectively, its also not worth the current price of $249/200g. Its not so much of a flawed tea, just didn’t deliver. W2T seems to randomly/arbitrarily increase prices every year but sometimes you have to ask why isn’t the price going down, like on a tea like this? Maybe its at a weird transitional spot, is all I can think of if I wanted to be an optimist
We brew lots of tea gong fu style, but this tea screamed western style, please! Fox Down has become one of our all-time favorite black teas. We steep it for five minutes in a teapot, and drink with milk that has been warmed. Now that we’ve bought a tong, and the minis (coins) we drink this tea often. Aromatic, malty, smooth with a sweet syrup and cherry tones. The taste lingers and we find ourselves smelling the leaves, wet or dry, as the scent is delightful. And the packaging? Hard to beat.
I got this as a sampler in a very long ago teaware order from teaware.house back in 2018. I figured from the name that this would be a floral-leaning oolong, so I decided to brew this gong fu style this morning for the March prompt “a floral tea.”
180ml (mini pot) | 7.5g | 205F | Rinse/20s/25s/30s/35s/40s/45s
The leaves after the rinse smell strong of bitter melon and lilac flowers, and the rinse liquor smelled similar, with a stronger floral/muscatel presence. On the first steep I’m getting aromas of wildflower honey, stewed fruits, and a mix of a raisiny musctatel smell with bitter melon. The first infusion tastes strongly of medicinal bitter melon, with a pungent and biting bitter aftertaste. The aroma was already smelling more mellow by the second infusion, with a nuttiness coming forward. The tea tasted of syrupy floral honey, raisins, nuts, and stewed fruits, with the edges mostly smoothed out now and none of the face-scrunching bitterness of the first steep. As the tea cooled, a soft lilac florality settled into the aftertaste. The floral notes were more pronounced in the third steep: mostly lilac, but also a bit of that “grapey” jasmine note and an aftertaste of lavender. The last few infusions were quite mineral and floral. Steeped a total of 6 infusions. Plenty of floral, never got any butter. As far as oolongs go, I found this one not unpleasant, but a little meh.
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Bitter Melon, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Jasmine, Lavender, Lilac, Mineral, Muscatel, Nutty, Raisins, Smooth, Stewed Fruits
Tea club sipdown at work – western style
Woodsy, fruity, and comforting. I didn’t pick out any one outstanding flavor. I was just happy it wasn’t roasted. Powered me through mid-Friday afternoon spreadsheets.
Also sipped down this week: Chun Mee ‘precious eyebrow’ Zerama Tea. A Midwest Teafest sample (2019).
Steeped this one up Grandpa style today!
This is one of my favourite ‘go to’ cozy pu’erhs (regardless of which year I’m brewing) for those days when you just want petrichor, camphor, and the rich forest flavours that bring comfort and a connection with nature! Thick and molasses-y with a deep earthiness.
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CakqtRzuHEB/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-yvQpI_-MY&ab_channel=MANE