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Recent Tasting Notes
The main characteristics of this tea are fruity, herbaceous, mineral and alcohol like. Personally, I didn’t get much butter out of it. It has some bitterness and astringency like one would expect from a Dan Cong, but it’s not overwhelming.
The wet leaf smell reminds me of an alpine meadow in its floral and herbal realm, with some fruity (mostly peach & nectarine) aromas on top. Taste is tart, juicy and mineral overall. There are notes of dry grass, lavender, apricot and pear skin. There is also a strong herbaceous aspect to it that reminds me of Provence. The aftertaste is very long, floral and drying. It doesn’t present many new notes, but they come in different combinations. I found it somewhat sour and reminiscent of peach and lavender for the most part.
Liquor is medium bodied, soft and smooth. Not as thick as some other Dan Cong oolongs, which makes it easier to drink I guess.
Overall, this tea is VERY similar to Zhong Ping “Jasmine Aroma” from YS. So much so, that I am not sure I would be able to discern them unless drunk side by side. This one is surely more fruity, otherwise, the qualities are very comparable, both in terms of character and how enjoyable it is. However, the difference is that the YS one is less than half the price. It’s a great tea (I am a sucker for Dan Cong, mind), but I would take the Jasmine Aroma from YS anytime over this though, given the price difference.
Flavors: Alcohol, Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Cactus Flowers, Dry Grass, Floral, Herbaceous, Lavender, Mineral, Peach, Pear, Pleasantly Sour, Smooth, Stonefruits, Tart
Delicious, thick and smoky, very smoky. I enjoyed it very much, and it has that uplifting and at the same time calming effect that I only get from blacks. It´s such a different experience for me as I am a mostly Pu erh drinker. Love it and it won´t last long!! cheers!!
Flavors: Fruity, Smoke, Sweet
This is a review of a mini redhead I got as a freebie from White2Tea. I have to say that more than 7g of tea in this coin is a bit too much for me, as I usually do solo sessions.
At first I was baffled by the tea, beacause I remembered reading in the description it was made dianhong style. However, the smell and taste is quite far from dianhong – rather it has the characteristics of shaihong, a sundried black tea. And of course it makes sense it is sun dried if it’s going to be pressed in cakes.
It doesn’t have a strong smell, but it’s interesting. It smells like a mix of pinewood, molasses and white pepper. In the empty cup it smells like beeswax, not unlike a young sheng would. The taste is savoury, spicy and bitter. In the finish is becomes a bit more sour and astringent with a hint of sweetness lingering. I found it to be quite defined and evolving taste. There are notes of wood, cranberries, honey and white pepper. The aftertaste is even more spicy and sour. It is very long and expansive.
The best aspect of this tea is the mouthfeel though. It is super thick, coating and soft. I also feel the tea is quite caffeine heavy, it really makes me alert.
This tea sits somewhere between white and black tea with some pu-erh characteristics as well. Even if you don’t like dianhong, I would suggest you try this one.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Cranberry, Honey, Molasses, Pepper, Pine, Sour, Spicy, Thick, Wood
Is almost an actual baked good masquerading as a sheng. I was so blown away by the massive popularity of this tea that I bought a cake blind at a significant markup at a party earlier this year. While there were tastings, it was not possible to get a good sense of the tea before the purchase because of all the giddy socializing. But “dessert tea” is a very accurate description for those familiar with wine and western style dairy heavy desserts. It is gentle enough to splurge on the grammage, offers up a wonderful energy, and features huigan that somehow really is reminiscent of castella. It may be an excellent choice for those trying to give up the crutches of dairy and sugar.
Flavors: Berries, Cake, Cream, Honey, Sugar
My first puer, very strange taste to me! Lid has a very strong pine scent , and hot tea smells of wet hay. Cool tea is mostly hay/yeast with a hint of pine. Letting the tea cool brings out more pine taste. No astringency or bitterness. I can see why this was so affordable for such an aged tea.
Flavors: Hot hay, Mineral, Pine, Yeast
Not really sure where I stand with this one yet. It’s like a tamed mix of the two most recent sheng I’ve had, both from Menghai but with different qualities. This one had a mellowness in delivery compared to the other two. Is this autumn leaf material?
The dry/warm/rinsed leaf aroma was sweet and syrupy medicinal, with plum, tobacco, autumn leaf and a bitter tone. The taste remained relatively unchanging and lacked some high notes. Short steeps in the beginning started off brothy, alkaline and leafy then moved into medicinal with a buttery quality. Bitterness and astringency were moderate and there was a noticeable but not strong returning sweetness. In the first several steeps, the liquor aroma and bottom of the cup also smelled quite medicinal. The tastes moved into a good brassiness, wood, leaf and dry grass and followed through into the end of the session. Seemed to have decent longevity, though I wasn’t keeping track. I experienced a calm and slow-moving energy that at one point had me wanting to lie down but I got sidetracked. I was able to fall asleep easily once I did go to bed.
This tea didn’t pack quite the punch I was expecting and didn’t leave a strong impression but I can appreciate that. Does seem pricey for what it is. I’ll have to revisit in a few more months.
This is a review of one of the little Lullabies that I received as a freebie with my order.
It is full bodied, very fragrant and flavourful. Its balanced nature makes it possible to brew quite strong. It is definitely a high quality tea, but I didn’t find it to be particularly special. the other Bai Mu Dan from White2Tea from 2018 – Censers – is more memorable and complex I think. Lullaby is more of a tea to enjoy mindlessly, it also helps by inducing a tranquil state. The name is quite fitting. I would choose it when I want something refreshing, thick and tasty with a long aftertaste.
Flavors: Drying, Fruit Tree Flowers, Herbaceous, Herbs, Medicinal, Pear, Sweet, Tart, Thick
I used Oolong Owl’s tea spreadsheet today and cataloged all my tea. I found the result to be interesting. I now know what I have. Over 230 teas. Which means only 50% have been entered into the cupboard.
Most bought category: Oolongs then blacks.
Least bought: Green and what I do have is old. Like these teas were once green, but now look grey old. These will be my next sipdown targets.
Dry leaf smells fruity and pretty fresh – coming out of the vacuum package from the tea club.
2 min 185F – way nuttier, more vegetal.
I’ve been drinking a daily drinker quality long jing at work – this has more oomph to it, even 2 years (2 years!?? according to the other reviews) out. There’s a sweet end note. I may have overleafed this tea a little, but I still have a cold and taste is off a bit.
Flavors: Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal
This tea is too expensive for anyone to get it solely for this purpose, but here’s the thing. I don’t have a good reaction to it during gong fu sessions, but even 3 grams of spent leaves added to a 500ml pot of more spent leaves brewed grandpa style really elevates the brew and gives it a great energy. :shrug: Maybe this tea just gets good results from straight up boiling?
Fun name to go along with a promising dry leaf smell, but this one doesn’t do anything for me. I tried it twice during different times of day. I have enough of the sample left to up the amount of leaf or try it at slightly cooler temp. Maybe its charms will reveal themselves before it’s all gone. Others seem to have really enjoyed it, so perhaps I simply don’t respond well to material from this region, wherever that is. I remember from the raw sampler pack there was one that made me feel similarly, so if I can find that mini-cake and read the label, I might be able to identify the region to avoid.
There is an energy, but it isn’t straightforward. It is a sharp, somewhat superficial background frequency that instead of relaxing me gives me major munchies. They are unfortunately not the feel good sort of munchies, but an instinctive and ever-so-slightly painful urge to protect one’s insides with food matter in response to this tea. I got this feeling after the 10th steep or so regardless of whether I began the session after having already eaten something. If I had a cake, I’d stash it for a good decade before trying it again. Maybe longer.
Tuhao as Fuck is a pretty big and powerful tea. I pick up some wet straw and apricot in the nose. Flavor was mostly bitter, a little bit of astringency, followed by a stone fruit finish. Not particularly sweet, even in the finish, though. I found this one more about body and feels than flavor – it certainly tasted nice though. The body was thick and full in the mouth and down through the throat. I felt progressively warmer as the session went on, getting almost uncomfortably hot towards the end. Went along with a pretty relaxing feeling as well. Hmmm, I liked it better than my review indicates, but I never took particularly good notes on it or anything. This one will definitely be on my radar if I decide to buy some higher-end cakes anytime soon.
I found this puer to be pretty one-dimensional. The dry and warmed leaf smelled very strongly of stewed prunes. Rinsing revealed the aged aroma of the leaf. The thick, amber liquor was mostly dark-honeyed plums in flavor with a little mineral sneaking in. It aslso possessed a dark warm, woody quality but was not woody in flavor. Due to some astringency, I’d suggest starting off with steeps around less than 10s for the first handful and after that it really needs to be pushed because it can lose its flavor quickly and thin out, devolving into something sour but not unpleasant by any means. Aftertastes were light and range from smoked meat to dark honey, fading into unripe stone fruit. Bitey in the throat later on.
The most notable quality of the tea for me was a moderate warming/cooling effect in my chest. The energy was felt in my facial muscles and I also had this weird wrinkled-nose dog smile going on which made me laugh a little. Definitely feels like a post-dinner drinker for me.
I think this tea might be best for someone with proper storage to keep it aging along and to keep the astringency and sourness in check. Makes me wonder what higher humidity would do. Seems like a pretty average aging sheng but might turn into something a little more interesting in several years.
I haven’t had many black teas so far, so here’s me working on that. This is an interesting black tea. The first thing that I noticed sniffing at the wet leaf was some savoury smokiness which came to me totally unexpected. It was almost barbecue-ish. That toned down quickly and by the third infusion there was still smokiness but no longer so meaty and savoury. The other dominant notes were tobacco and herbs – of the medicinal type, not those you use in the kitchen. It reminded me of those herbal medicine shops, where you can’t really pick out any one herb but it’s all mingled in a single powerful redolence. All this was backed by a thick body, slightly malty, with some underlying sweetness. In later steeps some fruitiness was present as well. The liquor was a beautiful amber color and teeming with tiny hairs when seen against the bright window. The empty cha hai had a strikingly strong sweet aroma reminiscent of herbal honey. This tea had a very gentle uplifting effect even though it was a long session.
Flavors: Fruity, Herbaceous, Smoke, Tobacco, Wood
Today I was in the mood for white tea so the White Tripel freebie (thank you white2tea) seemed like a good candidate to satiate my craving. I’m quite happy with the choice.
Anakin goes Vader, that’s what popped up in my head thinking about this tea. It goes from light to dark – taste, smell and color. It can surprise you with something new even in steep 10+ so don’t give up on it early. I think this is my first tea with such a prolonged development.
Gongfu, 6g, 130ml, 25+ seconds (I have to buy a timer, counting after the fifth or sixth infusion is not something I’m particularly good at.)
Dry leaf is always a bit hard for me – sweet and floral but also something stronger and heavier I can’t pinpoint.
Wet leaf is a beast. Starts all light, sweet and floral, some green nuttiness. I even got some very light red berries, like raspberries and redcurrant maybe. It darkens progressively. At various stages I get some rose, oxidized fruit, darker honey, and even spices like cinnamon and tonka bean.
Liquor also starts light – say acacia honey, and darkens with time to a deeper orange wildflower honey. It has a relatively think mouthfeel and quite a lot of bud hairs floating around even though there aren’t that many buds in the leaf. The hairs produce a sort of scratchiness in the back of the throat that I am not very fond of but I guess that’s what it feels being part of the Dark Side (phhhhhh… phoooo… phhhhhh… phoooo… I’m Vader).
The taste isn’t as complex as the wet leaf smell but follows the same development. Starts light with flowers, honey and green nut milk(?) and by the end with the rose, spices and oxidation it’s almost like drinking a very light black tea. (I wouldn’t know what kind as I haven’t had that many blacks so far but I’ll have to work on that.)
I don’t often mention body sensation because I’m relatively new with tea, and coffee was never my thing, so I almost always get the caffeine rush. This tea is no exception. It’s not as strong as sheng puerh but I’m definitely wide awake and alert.
Overall I’m pretty happy with this tea. It’s most interesting to follow it along its transformation. I wonder how it will age so I’d consider buying a cake.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey, Spices
So, this is a tea I drank – but this tasting note isn’t really about that. It just happened to be what I was sipping on when I had to put down my fancy rat, Wasabi, earlier in the week. I can’t say I was paying attention to the tea at all; it was just liquid warmth at a difficult time.
A few weeks ago I came home from work only to find him shaking in his cage, completely soiled in what looked like bloody stool. It was really scary; especially because he’d been perfectly fine just this morning when I left for work. I cleaned him up, and then brought him upstairs to watch TV with me so I could keep an eye on him. That evening he only appeared to be getting worse/more sluggish/weak and he kept having liquid, bloody looking stool. So, we brought him to the 24/7 emergency vet clinic.
They basically told us that he had a colon infection, which is what was the issues with his stool, but we also learned that he very well might have colon cancer as well. They basically told us that they couldn’t be sure if he had cancer until they cleared the infection, so if we wanted to pay for the antibiotics that it would treat the infection but we should also know that it wasn’t a guarantee that he would get better if he was experiencing more than the infection. We took the chance, and I got the antibiotics to treat the infection.
So, for ten days I syringe fed him a liquid pain killer and antibiotic twice a day. For a while, he did look like he was getting better. Slowly his stool went back to its normal shape and he seemed happier and more active. However, a few days after the antibiotics ran out things took a turn for the negative. He began eating less frequently, though he was still drinking plenty of water. He was still active, though – seemed happy and moved around normally. However, the amount of food he was consuming daily just increasingly became less and less, and he started losing a scary amount of weight. We tried different types of foods/diets, and for a couple days it looked like maybe we’d found a good combination. I think it was a fluke though, because he quickly went back to not eating much, and then not eating at all. The weight loss was scary; and around Thanksgiving he was running up one of the ramps in his cage but clearly struggling with doing so because of the fatigue from loss of food. He slipped, and fell off the ramp onto the bottom of the cage. It wasn’t long after that that he stopped drinking water, as well.
I had definitely been slowly coming to terms with the fact that he simply wasn’t going to get better, and I think subconsciously I was definitely preparing myself for the reality I might come home from work one day and he’d have passed or that I would have to put him down. On Monday I decided to book a vet appointment to see if there was anything else we could do, and we scheduled it for Wednesday evening. However, Wednesday morning when I woke up and then went to check on him/feed him he was almost completely still/unmoving in his cage – and when he did move, to come to the cage door and greet me, his back legs weren’t working, and he had to drag himself forward with his front legs and his back half was completely lifeless. He appeared to be paralyzed.
We brought him in to the vet immediately and it was decided that the best thing to do for him, given how much pain he was clearly in and the progression of his cancer, was to put him down. It was hard; but it was the best thing that we could do for him. I at least had plenty of time to say goodbye to him, and had basically accepted this as an inevitability a long time ago – so while it wasn’t easy, it was expected.
So this note is for you, Wasabi. You were such a good, gentle and well behaved rat. Over the approximate three years that we had you, you never bit anyone once, and you were always so generous with your kisses. A truly good companion.
Absolutely phenomenal, hard-hitting, electrifying qi. This tea was liquid uppers, the kind of uppers that don’t have you standing there smacking your lips all night but make you fucking move (pardon me, I’m a blue collar gal). First few steeps had me precariously perching the cup in my fingertips and staring deeply into it as my eyebrows and sinuses vibrated with pleasure.
Before I knew it, I was compelled by the HAND OF DERK to put on music. Hard, electronic music. Started off with Bjork – Pluto and I became electrified, every single hair on my body stood on end and I was simultaneously cool and hothothot, sweat streaming off my scalp. URGENT, URGENT. DERK HAS TO MOVE. Played Vitalic – Stamina for what I didn’t know was going to be a warmup to a 17 minute dance-a-thon featuring the masterpiece Planisphère by Justice. Sorry downstairs neighbor, but if I have to put up with your dog barking all day, you can deal with the ceiling squeaking for 20 minutes. I know you’re home.
So, the other qualities of the tea, right? It’s actually pretty good. I got this as a freebie with my latest White2Tea order. Woot. The sample had a few decent chunks and loose leaf but also a lot of powdery bits. Probably should’ve used a strainer. The warmed leaf smelled strongly of lemon and apricot. The rinsed leaf was very choppy in form and had additions in aroma of wood, powdered sugar, florals, straw and faint smoke. Later on this moved into full on antique store, maybe one that gets a good breeze through it. No mustiness.
The liquor was fragrant and amber-gold in color. It started off light and tart, brothy and smooth with a pleasant astringency in the throat and a complementary bitterness in the back. It went down easily with tastes of minerals and lemon, moving into an apricot-lemon-cream aftertaste. By the third steep of 10s, some herbs, pine and a cooling sensation arrived, with the lemon getting stronger. Toward the end, the aftertaste turned into a light honey. I’d say the main theme of this tea is bright, tart, and lemony but also with a kind of background gravitas.
A few days ago in another review I alluded to the fact that I split with my long-term partner a few weeks ago. Earlier today, I started feeling like myself again. I can’t even put into words how much this tea amplified that feeling for me when I had this session later in the afternoon. A tea that makes me want to move and dance at this point in my life is very much welcome. I think this would be an excellent tea had moments before a strenuous workout or run, or if you just want to dance with yourself.
This is an interesting one. Starts rather vegetal, roasty, smoky even. Reminds me of a spread/dip/chutney that is very popular here in Bulgaria which we call lyutenitsa… good luck pronouncing that. It’s made with roasted sweet red peppers and tomatoes and everyone you ask will tell you that their homemade version is the best (or at least it used to be like that in my childhood, people are oh so busy nowadays).
This savoriness is accompanied by a controlled dose of astringency and bitterness. Be careful with steeping time though. I totally forgot steep 8 or 9 and after soaking for a good 5 minutes or so it was insanely bitter. I drank it all the same, we must not blame the tea for our inadequacies. Anyway, don’t pay me much heed, I’m a sucker for a good negroni… or three, so my taste buds have had some training.
Mid-session this tea takes a sharp U-turn. All the savory goodness is replaced by sweetness, honey, apricots and flowers, something slightly herbal as well. A most intriguing development. The astringency is oblivious to this sudden change of character and keeps diligently to its business, not faltering for an instant.
As for the feeling, I did get a slight buzz but nothing too crazy. I most certainly didn’t believe I could walk on my hands… on the ceiling… blindfolded. Some shengs do make me feel this way. This is not one of those shengs and it’s OK with me.
It was a really pleasant journey.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Floral, Honey, Roasted, Sweet, Vegetal
“I’m not dead yet!” -me, not having posted on Steepster in the past three months
I find myself drinking a lot of Yunnan blacks lately, lots of pu and other things as well, but I think i’m probably drinking more black than anything else at the moment. I ordered a sample of this one from W2T, kind of secretly hoping that I wouldn’t like it too much since it’s a kind of pricey for Yunnan black. Unfortunately it’s excellent! Had to order a cake of this one as well as Censers.
It’s moderately bold and malty, has a fairly thick body, and tastes and aromas of good tobacco, dry herbs, leather, and sandalwood incense. A lot of complexity, holds up to a lot of infusions, and doesn’t get bitter easily. If I could “customize” or describe my “ideal” Yunnan black, this would pretty much be it!
My high view of this tea may in part because I’m partial to of the kind of flavor notes found in this tea, and it might not be for everyone, but I would say that it’s objectively a very high quality black. I’d strongly recommend it to those who like black teas, but also to fans of aged sheng and cigar/tobacco aficionados.
Flavors: Herbs, Leather, Malt, Tobacco
A little over a week ago, I was sitting here at my desk wondering what’s a good break-up puer? A quick search through my cupboard produced this marketing gem. I dedicate this tea to the person whose addiction to alcohol rivals my own addiction to tea. As far as I’m aware, tea is much cheaper, can get me social and buzzed, doesn’t leave me hungover and doesn’t swing me from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Nor does it make me fat, turn my eyes yellow, give me gout in the foot or an irregular heartbeat. I could keep going, oh yes, but I think you get the idea. So yeah, if you’re reading this it’s too late.
The dry leaf pries from the cake without much work using my flathead electronics screwdriver and smells excellent, soft with powdered sugar, fruitiness and young grass. Warmed leaf smells kind of medicinal like cherry, pineapple and mint. The rinsed leaf has notes of apricot, powdered sugar, red cherry, candied apple and citrus fruits. The liquor starts off fragrant with an aroma that reminds me of Christmas candles: cherry, pine and beeswax.
The liquor is nice and thick with tastes of cherry, vegetal, honey, minerals and a non-penetrating alkaline bitterness. The tea remains relatively unchanging, lightening in flavor and texture as steeps progress with metallic, medicinal and tart additions along with some moss. It picks up a little in the last few long steeps with a thick, musty honey showing up. The aftertastes range from cotton candy, red plum and faint flat spearmint to cherry-pineapple, herbs and honey butter, never very strong or long-lasting but nevertheless noticeable. At some point early on, there is a faint cooling sensation in my chest.
Unlike a lot of reviewers, I experience minimal cha qi from this tea, which makes it an excellent, slightly relaxing daily drinker for me. I also don’t experience much in the way of caffeine effects. I’m able to drink it at night and still be passed out a few hours after starting a session which doesn’t last long, maybe 12 steeps.
From what I can tell, the spent material reveals that this is not a blend. It’s getting bronzing but still looks young at the end of 2018. I’d like to put the cake under a little more humidity. As of now it’s stored in a box in the hall closet which is the most insulated area of my home. It also gets the steam from the bathroom but that’s as technical as my pu storage gets at the moment.
I bought this cake blind last year? based on reviews here at Steepster. It turns out the flavor profile is right up my alley and the honey isn’t overwhelming. I don’t experience any astringency and the bitterness stays in check. It’s pretty light in taste but I’m still able to pick out distinct notes. It’s turning out to be a good cake for the price. One that is stable in delivery and that I can count on during this grieving period, lol.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Butter, Candied Apple, Cherry, Citrus Fruits, Cotton Candy, Fruity, Grass, Herbs, Honey, Medicinal, Metallic, Mineral, Musty, Pine, Pineapple, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Powdered sugar, Spearmint, Vegetal
A good everyday shou with a twist. The smell of the wet leaf builds expectations for something quite sweet but the liquor has a pleasant subtle sweetness, reminiscent of dark caramel. There is some of the characteristic earthiness and forest floor of shou, but again in the pleasant end of the spectrum with no off-putting tastes. I also get some very subtle notes of dark berries and cacao beans. What surprised me, and I went so far as to call a “twist” in this otherwise uninventive tea, was the fresh, almost minty, feeling I perceived after each sip. Quite pleasing.
This is a cheap and unfussy shou, perfect for a busy day at work or when you’re feeling too lazy for a 20-step gongfu session.
Flavors: Berries, Cacao, Caramel, Sugar, Sweet