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Recent Tasting Notes
Sweet, caramelly mineral roast with surprisingly fruity body. It gets thinner and a bit astringent as you brew it out, but not unpleasantly so. Flavors are balanced and elegant, my biggest complaint is that it dies a bit too quickly for my taste, around steep 5 or 6. Best/strongest steeps are the first two.
Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Roasted, Wet Rocks
Note: This is the version W2T sent out in a recent teaclub box – I think a new version from their previous stock.
This was quite an interesting tea, and certainly different from any other Da Hong Pao I’ve tried. The dry leaves have a nutty sweet aroma, augmented by a bit of mineral and maybe chocolate. After a rinse, they smelled roasty and medicinal, with the notable stank of weed as well. I kind of thought I was imagining it, and that part of the aroma didn’t stick around for the whole session, but I’m pretty sure it’s there at least in the early-going.
Even having three sessions of this tea, I found the flavors a bit difficult to describe and pick out. I think it’s a pretty complex tea. It started out a bit lighter in texture than I expected, with a mineral note and a very sweet, slightly fruity aftertaste. It also produced some pretty immediate and strong (especially for a non-puerh tea) body feeling.
The tea smoothed out a bit as the session went on and the flavors seemed to meld together into a bit of a sweet mineral and medicinal taste. The tea also packed a solid qi punch. The longevity is not particularly impressive, but it’s also not abhorrently bad.
On my final session with this tea, some of the leaf was a bit crushed up. This, along with the fact I used just a bit more than I normally would to finish off the sample, led to a sort of oversteeped tea which I found pretty unpleasant and funky, especially in the early steeps. Other yancha, including Da Hong Pao, have been more suited to this kind of heavy brewing than this one seems to be.
While I did enjoy this tea, I can see it would not appeal to everybody, including people who are fans of a more typical Da Hong Pao. I’m not sure it’s one I’ll really consider buying more of, but I think it’s a good one to have tried, and I’m sure will really appeal to some people a lot.
Flavors: Fruity, Medicinal, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Sweet
I let the tea rest for a few months then removed the wrapper.
The aroma was strong and I thought whoa glad this tea was inexpensive.
However, the one I received was not at all fishy, it was a pungency I can’t define other than I kept thinking of petroleum.
I broke up the ball and kept it in a stoneware jar for another month. The strong scent has mostly dissipated leaving a sense of old books.
As with my Lao Cha Tou Ripe nuggets, after rinsing the tea twice I steeped it in a Banko-Yaki Houhin. For my cakes I use Jian Shui teapots but I like experimenting with Banko.
I found the tea mellow, creamy with nice spice from the peel.
Not at all what I expected when I first unwrapped it.
Update: In my second and last session with this tea there was a lingering nutty taste.
Tea sent via the monthly tea club, so relatively small quantity.
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, almost full, boiling water, 10s, 10, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60
Sessions with this tea: 2
Taste: This is primarily a fragrance lover’s tea. Medium-spectrum malt and roast notes, some light fruitiness. There’s not much to the taste of this one for me though. But the fragrance pours off of it and fill room with rich floral notes.
Body: Medium mouthfeel, not as thick as I look for. Not much playfulness across the tongue. Not much minerality to this one either. Really not much at all going on in the body of this one.
Ultimately this tea is too light and delicate for my taste, and doesn’t steep out as long as I would like. I do enjoy fragrant teas, and this tea would be excellent for oolong lovers who love chasing brightness in their tea.
I’ve fallen back on not reviewing many teas again because I feel like my tastebuds have just faded and there isn’t much I can do about it.
But I sat down with a notebook for this one. Tossed the first rinse.
First steep was very thin, mineral, almost metallic, bitter but smooth, not drying on the tongue; maybe faintly vegetal.
Second steep was more vegetal, still thin but smooth, still felt it was almost a metallic bitterness, but not wholly unpleasant. Bitterness lingered on the tip of the tongue.
Third to about fifth steeps (15 seconds) it evolved to more steamed vegetables, and evolved to a more drying astringency on the tongue, which stuck with you after each sip.
Purchased one of these to send out to all the newbies last year and I sent out about 130g of it and kept 70g for myself.
I’ve had quite a few sessions and enjoy the leaf assortment in this cake, however I have a huge issue with how tight it was compressed because it doesn’t really make for a tea to leave the leaf intact which is something I want in my midtier teas.
A little sweetness, not particularly fruit but somewhat like sugarcane with a hint of bitterness that faints away into an old blade of wet grass. Not sure if my taste buds have changed or if I have been drinking stuff beyond this in quality or just taste in general, but this didn’t ‘wow’ me. If this was a recipe for poundcake I would probably give a 7 out of 10 as it provides what I was looking for, however it wouldn’t be party popping dessert.
Pretty sure this is something that will age beautifully because there are some wonderful leaf within this cake that are assorted in size, shape, and color. Really like the small leaf with thick stems which I will say gives that sweetness as I have noticed with most teas; maybe they are just like fruit and vegetables, bigger does not mean better.
My favorite ripe shou to date, this one is rich and creamy from start to finish. Definitely a solid daily drinker for anyone who would want to replace their coffee with tea. The flavor just keeps getting deeper and deeper for around 10 steeps, but I found that around 9-10 it started dying down a bit.
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Coffee, Cream, Malt, Mushrooms, Vanilla, Wet Wood
I decided to drink this yesterday when I couldn’t make up my mind on starting a tea or not. This being an iron cake is no lie. I started it early in the day, did four steeps (washes) with long rests in between each before it started to open up. Long like…I went to do dishes after one, went to groom my two dogs after another, went skating after another…you get the idea. I’m glad the chunk I pulled out of my sample was perfectly sized at 7g so I didn’t have to do anything to it.
Once the leaves did separate themselves from one another, their quality became apparent. I steeped this tea out throughout the afternoon and evening of yesterday and continued with it this morning. I didn’t get much out of it as far as complexity goes. It mostly tasted vegetal in the way green tea does, which I found interesting.
I will certainly give this one another try, but at this point it’s one that I would rather let mature than drink at this exact moment.
This tea had everything I was looking for!
First, some background. While I love my wife, her mother is a real witch and we do not get along. But the wife insists that her mother visit us for a couple of weeks every winter.
This year, after three days, the old bat was really getting on my nerves. So at breakfast yesterday, I prepared this tea using 10 grams in 120ml gaiwan and a 5 minute steep. After the first cup, the old bat packed her bags and left.
I love the smell of Often in the morning. The smell, you know that smokey smell, the whole kitchen. Smelled like… victory.
Not for beginners (as the man says)
My most intense tea experience so far. I needed a break half way through and this has never happened to me before.
The flavour is very pleasant, mild and sweet. The dry leaves in particular have a very clean fresh fragrance. Hits all the right notes, absolutely nothing in the flavour profile disrupted the enjoyment of this session. Nothing to wash out, nothing to wait until it dies down nothing to bypass or get over.
The interesting (and high-price justifying) aspects of this tea are the effects and body feeling. I know it affects everyone different, but I feel stoned. Actually stoned. Properly stoned. Yes, stoned. Light sweating, numb head, floaty feeling limbs. Whilst this may be groovy, it limits when and where I can enjoy this tea. The term “Daily drinker” has never made more sense to me, because this is the polar opposite. I don’t know how often I could sit down and, well basically, consume drugs.
I want to get a cake though! I’m a big Bob Dylan fan and the fact that the name comes from one of his poems (“Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie”) and the entire poem is transcribed on the wrapper…… This may just tip me over the edge. Darn you TwoDog and your cool hipster marketing ;)
Definitely get a sample next time you’re ordering. Just for the experience. And set aside a few hours.
UPDATE: I just ordered a full cake.
Holy hell, I’m getting tipsy at work! This teas is thick, and smooth and delicate and mineral, and fantastic.
Ok, so. I first tried this tea a week after I got it because the note said to wait. I brewed it too hard I think because it was bitter and Meh in flavor and feel. All around an ok tea. Nothing special. Then I brewed it up again about a month after getting it. I was at work and the water is 165 degrees there and even at lower temp it was largely the same experience.
I had been keeping the mini cake in it’s original wrapper in the original airtight pouch at the time of those first two steeps. After the second steep I noticed that I accidently ripped the seam of the airtight bag and for the the last couple of months it’s been living in fresh air with my other puerhs in an old bread box.
I remembered I had it and was like, i’ll take it to work and brew up 7.6 grams in my new Manual tea brewer (175ml). I wasn’t expecting much but a decent Puer.
I WAS WRONG! This tea is amazing. The aroma, the color, the flavor and oh man the feels.
Hit me so hard. I feel fantastic. I guess when He said to wait he meant it!
I’m bringing the water to a boil, waiting a couple min, adding a splash of room temp water into the kettle and then infusing for around 10 seconds.
I’m only 3 infusions in. I’m gonna have to take a break and eat lunch. but oh man I like this tea. Thanks White2tea.
anyone else cracked into it again?
Flavors: Fruity, Leather, Mineral, Sweet
I tried this a couple times with the sample that came in the club a few months ago. Both times I brewed it pretty heavily, 5g:60mL. This was a really nice oolong. The aroma from the leaf was complex. From the dry leaves, I got notes of mineral sweetness, honey, and roasty nuttiness. After a rinse, the roasted aroma was more prominent, with some medicinal notes, along with a distant fruitiness and a nuttiness which reminded me, strangely enough, of peanut butter on first whiff.
I found the flavor of the tea to be pleasantly complex as well. In the first steep, I tasted a bit of a chocolatey note, but that didn’t stick around much at all. Early steeps displayed mineral, nutty (roasty), and floral notes, along with a red berry finish. That finish was unexpected and pleasant. This finish carried on until maybe the mid-point of the session before it began to drop off slowly. Late steeps were characterized by a lighter, but still tasty mineral sweetness with some floral hints along for the ride. Especially early in the session, the body of this tea was very thick – I could feel it going down my throat and settling in my stomach. There was a relaxing qi involved as well.
This is definitely my favorite w2t oolong I’ve tried so far…though I think it’s only the second one as well, meaning only that I like it better than I liked the Hoplite oolong I tried. Due to the teaclub, I have a few more to get to – the quality of this one bodes well for their revamped oolong line, I’d say.
Flavors: Berry, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Sweet, Thick
First impressions – toned down apricot sheng smell on both the dry and wet leaf. There are some large intact leaves on the top of the cake but the inside looks to be mostly chop. The gaiwan lid smells herbaceous in a way that reminds me of cannabis smoke.
Steep one is light but sweet and some of that herby smoke is present in the soup. Unsurprisingly, there’s some significant char in the bottom of my cup. There’s a pleasant bitterness and a lasting apricot aftertaste.
As I continue to steep this tea, the liquor moves to a deep orange color. It’s gaining some strength as well as astringency and I notice a hint of sourness on the sides of my tongue.
Nearing the 1 minute mark, this tea has remained pretty static. It’s nice and easy to drink but not very interesting or complex. Which, really, is totally fine for huang pian. It’s generally not meant to stand alone. It’s an interesting cake from an education standpoint, which is what this basics set set is all about.
2/14/2017 Tea in the afternoon. 8g/ 4oz/ 212F/5-15 second steeps
A very nice shou for a winter afternoon. Warming and filling. Light pleasant ‘sheep building at the county fair’ aroma.
The tuo has been hanging out in my tea cupboard for a year so, just chilling out. I’m very happy with how well it’s adjusted to my house.
Started drinking this one the other day, drawn in by both its amazing aroma and my love for white tea. I am very sad now, because I love this and just realized it is out of stock. First 1990s hk style and now this! :(
Anyhow…this tea starts out gold, gradually becoming a deep rose gold over several steeps. The aroma and flavor are both that of sweet honey and hay, and the texture is thick and smooth like honey, as well.
Those characteristic spiced notes that I love from white tea begin to emerge after a couple of steeps. I hit this with boiling water to start and gradually reduced to 90C.
This is so good, even rhinkle liked it, and she’s not usually a fan of my white teas!
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Thick
Wet Leaves: musty old books, leather, dried apricots, camphor, baking spices. Nothing smells quite like a middle-aged sheng <3.
Early Steeps: Brews up a bright orange, surprising bitterness develops into a fruity, leathery flavor that is already lingering on my tongue.
Middle Steeps: Flavors deepen, brews becoming more astringent. Fruitiness is starting to dissipate.
Tail End: Flavors faded pretty quick. by steep 7 or so there wasn’t much left but bitter water.
Verdict: Tasty middle-aged sheng that peters out relatively quickly. I’m biased to sheng of this age, but I still feel like this is the strongest cake in the basics set.
Wet Leaves: very sour smelling (almost like pickled greens or olives), hay, fresh cut grass.
Early Steeps: delicate floral sweetness leads into a somewhat dull vegetal flavor.
MIddle Steeps: Sourness is now showing up, vegetal flavor has taken over, astringency is building.
Tail End: Not much change, high notes have all faded, dull vegetal flavor is the only thing left, along with dominating astringency.
Verdict: It has that interesting huang pian sourness, but…not much else. Simple, palatable, and rather uninteresting.
Wet Leaf: That “sour” sheng scent present in the 2015 spring has turned into a very distinct scent of olive oil. The smoke on this one comes through more as well. Hint of some kind of stone fruit peeking out in the later steeps too.
Early Steeps: Pretty much exactly like the spring 2015.
Middle Steeps: The flavor has darkened, less high notes as the 2015 and an increased depth of vegetal flavor. Bitterness develops in the mouth the same way, increasing with the session.
Tail End: Similar to the 2015, sort of just fades into astringency.
Verdict: Some subtle, but noticeable, improvement compared to the spring 2015. Drinking this in early 2017 makes me wonder how much the differences are due to terroir or age. But either way, based on the way this developed compared to the 2015, I’m looking forward to it’s evolution. Probably won’t touch this for a couple of years though.
Wet Leaf: That distinct “sour” sheng scent, wet hay, green beans, hint of smoke.
Early Steeps: Very light, light floral sweetness gives way to a faint sauteed greens flavor.
Middle Steeps: Bitterness kicks in, mild huigan sets in the tongue, flavor reminds me of 2nd/3rd steeping of a mao feng. Astringent.
Tail End: Wet leaves have a TCM herbal shop smell to them now, vegetal flavor is fading, being taken over by a faintly grassy bitterness that lingers on the tongue.
Verdict: a decent young sheng to introduce to new people. Simple flavors, minimal steeping evolution. A decent baseline, but not much more.