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Recent Tasting Notes
I got a Teawarehouse order in the mail today with a couple pretty new teacups, so I figured I’d pick something to Gong Fu today and test out one of my pretty nice pieces of teaware. I didn’t have to do much thinking about which tea to choose though; I actually got a coin of this tea as a freebie with my order so I just went for that.
I actually have a sample of this that I bought from W2T but I haven’t tried it yet, so this gives me a way to without cracking into that sample! Oh, and this is the cup that I’m ‘breaking in’ today:
It’s a nice size/shape to hold in my hand, and appearance wise it’s even prettier in person than it was on the site. Perhaps the best thing about it though, and the most pleasantly surprising, is the texture of the glaze on the cup. It’s satisfying/kind of stimulating to touch, especially on the inner lip where there are so many nerve endings. It’s just making me really happy to drink out of…
I’m initially a lot less impressed by this tea though – I broke the coin in half and gave it a rinse to try and open it up a little bit but I’m three steeps in now and I’m finding it pretty bland tasting/unexciting. It has very basic hay/straw notes a the tiniest hints of cream and floral finishing notes but I have to really push myself and focus to get them. I’m doubtful this is going to be a great session, but I’ll keep going for a little while and see if anything changes for me. I’ll just update the rest of this note steep by steep with any in the moment thoughts and we’ll see where that gets me…
- These ones have a little more body to them; a mix of floral, straw, hay and honey
- I don’t know why I’m so surprised this tastes so generic white tea to me
- I mean, it is white tea; I guess I’ve just come to expect a little more from W2T?
- More of the same, hints of autumn leaf though
- And like a wood chip-y sort of finish
- Still blannnddddd
Yeah, I’m bored with this one to be honest. Kind of surprised I even gave it seven steeps if I’m really laying it all out there. Maybe part of it is that it was a coin? I find coin teas are sometimes a bad representation of a tea’s flavour. Thankfully, I do have a regular sample of this one so I can revisit it again and see if the different pretty style does anything to improve the experience for me – as well as try it Grandpa/Western.
Song Pairing: https://youtu.be/Gcu-fOQ7iDg
Had a sample of this one from last Black Friday order. I found it to be a pretty nice shou. It steeps out a little bit quicker than some that I drink, but not as quickly as, say, a gongting shou blend. I did get a slight bitterness when I pushed it, but only slightly greater than most other ripes I’ve tried. In the early steeps, I sometimes picked up a bit of a raisin flavor. For the most part, this one was the sort of woody flavor you might expect from shou. Less sweet, more robust. A good shou, but I don’t think I’ll be caking it.
Flavors: Bitter, Raisins, Wood
Bought this one a while back from White2Tea because i was really curious about it at the time, but then I just kind of forgot about it/put it on the back burner as far as trying it out goes – there was just so much more to try in the mean time!
I actually ended up getting more of it recently though in my Sipsby Subscription box. This is my second month receiving that box and I’m still pretty impressed by it. They’ve yet to send me anything I put on my “not interested” list and I’m still getting quite a nice range of tea types/flavours. This is essentially my second time getting a tea I’ve had before though; the first was a flavoured blend I’d tried before (and liked), and this time it’s something I actually already own but hadn’t yet tried. I don’t know if that means Sipsby’s algorithm is REALLY good or if maybe I just drink too much tea?
It’s probably the latter.
Anyway, now that I’ve got even more of this I figured I’d better try it out – especially if I want to send feedback in for the next month’s box to help that algorithm continue to improve. I also wanted to compare notes with James on the slack group chat to see if our experiences would be similar at all.
Brewed up, I was a little underwhelmed by this. I didn’t find it bad at all; in fact I genuinely enjoyed the flavour notes I got from it quite a bit – but it really didn’t have a lot of presence/“punch” and I think I would have preferred something far brisker.
– Generic red fruits
- Perhaps leaning a little towards currant and strawberry
- Over ripe strawberry
- SOFT malt, honey, and white peach/peach skins
- The peach is actually very comparable to Liquid Proust’s peach oolong blend
- “Peach vs. Bergamot refereed by Formosa Oolong”
- Light to medium body overall
- Honey and lemon peel
- Specifically the peel…
I’ll probably age this one for a while and come back to it…
Had a sample of this one, which is now sold out. It was a good shou, but not really a standout for me. Wasn’t particularly funky. It had nice, slightly damp woody notes for the most part, with a bit of a creamy texture and sweetness. I could smell a bit of raisin on the gaiwan lid when I was brewing it out, but that never really came through in the flavor for me. Comforting and pleasant morning brew – can’t really go wrong with it.
Flavors: Sweet, Thick, Wood
Big big big. That’s how I rate this tea. Big bold body. Wonderfully balanced bitterness. Nice spiciness. If you told me there was lbz in this tea I would not doubt it. Energizing yet relaxing qi. When the sample first arrived I was not impressed either way but after a few months I blown away by how a tea can be so bold without being harsh or obnoxious. Love to try this wet aged for 10 years. I plan to get a cake.
FDT is all about the texture! The broth is weighty and sticky, like drinking a bone dense stock, making for an interesting body feel of a tea session.
Flavor note wise, it is light. FDT leans on the savory side with sweet grass, vegetal, and sticky rice. It does get stewy tasting in the later infusions, but it very much drinkable. I think leafing harder than normal gives the best result, and I wouldn’t go under boiling as you’ll lose the texture and the flavor would be too weak.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2017-farmer-direct-tea-sheng-puer-white2tea/
Turtle Dove is a bargan for a white tea, considring how complex ansd how powerful it was. I got tea drunk off of a mini gong-fu session with it, and even broke out in a sweat! This tea became surprisingly aggressive, and seemed to turn into a highly oxidized black/oolong tea half way through. One thing I liked about Turtle Dove is that it has a wide array of tasting notes that seemed to keep transforming throughout the session. Despite this tea’s aggressiveness, I believe that Turtle Dove was intended to be bought for aging purposes. I say this because this tea has a lot of positive characteristics that shows that this tea will age beautifully, and will probably become tamer over time.
You can read my full review (with photos) here…
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Malt
A really pleasant astringency in this tea that ends in a wonderful smooth sweetness. This tea is mellow but with enough flavor to support it. Its almost as if someone put some cream in this tea and mixed it up. Hold up well with heat and long steeps a nice energy that really heated up my body a lot. Poundcake is appropriate name for this tea but it also has a name vegetal and medicinal aspect to it with a wonderful sweetness at the end that keeps you going back. Very nice tea.
Flavors: Cake, Cream, Medicinal, Vegetal
This was a surprise. I inadvertently did a blind tasting with this and I really like it. What I appreciate most about this tea is the combination of good depth, power, and interesting flavors that are not one particular note. The liquor is a clear, pale yellow and the leaves have a smoky and wet, old-growth forest scent. Immediately, it displays great depth and three-dimensionality. It’s quite smooth with medium viscosity. The mouthfeel sits very nicely and is accompanied by powerful qi after the 3rd steep. I agree with Paul’s description of “subtle strength”. It sneaks up on the drinker and then takes the driver’s seat.
Fantastic subtlety, yet with a boldness conveyed through the huigan, mouthfeel, and qi. This tea doesn’t exude very much of that Yiwu-sweetness that I am used to. The sweetness lies in its high floral notes which are coupled with strong bitterness and notes of tart/dry grape skin. I’m sure there’s a lot more going on in there I am not covering, but there you have it. There is that mossy, old-growth forest note (not simply earthy) that I found in the Colbert Holand and 2 Late. This is noticeable right away, here. The hay and tobacco are gentle, but are probably the key indicators of the tea’s eastern Xishuangbanna provenance. It’s an excellent blend that I wish I could afford.
Very nice! Gives a nice core sample of the exemplary flavors associated with yancha. Nice malty roasted notes that come with a moderate-to-strong weed funk but still allow a lovely lilac note through. Wonderfully balanced and definitely going to be in my regular rotation!
Flavors: Cannabis, Floral, Malt, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Walnut
Scented marker, Windex, chrysanthemum. Brewed it gongfu style with some peel. Not “bad” but definitely an acquired taste I haven’t acquired. Super strange tasting – there aren’t a lot of easy reference points. Not a particularly pleasant drinking experience though – aggressively cloying, and the flavors that come through are more household chemicals than nice mulchy earthy shou flavors I’m used to. I’m happy I tried it and white2tea’s prices are great, but it’s more of a curiosity
Flavors: Artificial, Dried Fruit, Hot hay, Orange Zest, Soap
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Forest Floor, Honey, Wood
Great to drink now grandpa style or daily drinker, or age for later. This brick is compressed very tightly and you will need to be cautious. White tea bricks are always a disaster.
The notes are hot forest floor, honey, paperback book, light molassess, and malt. Grandpa styles gives you more of a meld of malt, milk, and floral, almost like a dian hong with 6 infusions.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2017-turtle-dove-white-tea-brick-white2tea/
This is the second of the pu’er samples I ordered from white2tea. It has had three weeks to sit in my pumidor before this session. I used 8.4g in a 130ml gaiwan and drank the tea from a Jianzhan teacup I received the same day, in case you feel that may have had an influence on the tea. To my nose the dry leaves seemed to have a smell of pretty typical young raw pu’er. The wet leaves also had a fairly typical warm green, perhaps a bit buttery scent. The smell of the leaves did gradually change over the course of the session, but I didn’t commit to memory all the various stages.
The sample I received was practically mao cha, with only a couple very small intact pieces from the bing in the mix. There’s a fair number of stalks and unlike “f*ck what u heard” where the sample seemed to consists nearly 100% of large, whole, intact leaves, there’s a decent amount of broken leaves to be found. Whereas with “f*ck what u heard” I commented about the rehydrated leaves looking quite healthy, in this tea’s case they seemed kind of sad, pitiable and droopy to me. The leaves seemed so thin they’d disintegrate like wet toilet paper if you rubbed them between your fingers.
I gave the leaves my standard 10s rinse followed by a 10 minute rest. In the meantime I did sip the rinse to get a feel for the tea. It was still light in flavor and texture, which isn’t that unexpected even for mao cha. The tea seemed to feel warming in my mouth, and in my mouth only. The flavor was soft and “white”. I could feel some astringency at the tip of my tongue. After this I proceeded to do eleven steeps, timing for these being 7s, 7s, 7s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 25s, 40s, 70s, 2 min. and 3 min.
The first infusion tasted of cream and vanilla, with some astringency. The next one was water thin in viscosity. Some of the cream was still left, but it was combined with your typical young sheng greenness and astringency. There may have even been some bitterness in this steep, which I don’t recall ever experiencing in a sheng apart from the one Xiaguan tuo I’ve had. The flavor of this infusion did linger in your mouth.
The third steeping had a soft taste of cream merged with green. The astringency was minor at first, but grew over time in your mouth instead of you getting an aftertaste. I may have even detected a slight peppery sensation at the back of my throat. The following steep was super thin in body, with the flavors starting to get thinner as well as a result of me not extending the steeping time thus far. Some of the earlier vanilla was back, accompanied by greenness and astringency.
Starting with the fifth steep, the cream and vanilla finally dropped off and you were presented with a smooth green flavor, with perhaps some slightly vegetal character peeking through. The sixth steep was also mainly just green tasting, with perhaps some butteriness to it, although I’m not totally sure. The seventh infusion was probably the only one I experienced that had even some minor mouthfeel to it. It had perhaps some vegetal and possibly even mineral sweetness to it. This sweetness I experienced struck me as something that might have promise for evolving with age.
The astringency was back from the eighth steep onward. The brief prior mouthfeel was gone and the tea was less enjoyable in general. Flavor-wise the mineral or perhaps vegetal stuff continued to have a presence somewhere in the background. The ninth steep tasted of mineraly low-grade green tea with astringency to it. Ditto for infusion ten, where some minor mineral sweetness may have also hinted of its presence. The eleventh infusion turned out bitter and astringent and just nasty in general. I ended up tossing it.
And there you have it. All in all this tea reminded me a lot of the Essence of Tea 2016 XinZhai that I reviewed a sample of some months ago. The flavor profiles are similar, although the XinZhai was tastier and much, much thicker in the early steeps and also displayed better overall longevity, while Pussy had perhaps a bit more going on in the steeps past the first four, although not much. Both taste still very young and seemed to be quite lacking in qi for me, but the one area Pussy was especially disappointing in was the lack of body. I severely hope this will improve with age. Comparing the two, while they may age to be two very different teas, looking at them now the XinZhai seems to offer a much better value in my eyes. The Essence of Tea offering will set you back around $0.21/g when talking about a full cake, whereas Pussy is more than twice that at $0.45/g. Personally I would drink neither now, nor would I purchase a cake of either, either. For the price Pussy is going for, there are a lot of fantastic teas out there. Do your research and find out which ones you prefer.
Flavors: Astringent, Cream, Green, Mineral, Vanilla, Vegetal
I didn’t know what to expect from this tea. Honestly, I don’t think Paul’s descriptions on the W2T website are very helpful, so I emailed him describing the teas I enjoyed most from his selection and he recommended the FDT. So I added it to my cart, taking advantage of the free shipping weekend.
This one fits the profile I was looking for. I somehow manage to be that guy who receives the center of the bing, which took some time to pry apart. I’m not a fan of tightly compressed cakes, but I do see some benefits to this if those living in tropical Asia that want to maintain the youth of their sheng. This one felt as if it was still freshly pressed. It had a juiciness and stickiness to it. The initial infusions are light, sweet, floral, and a bit fruity (kiwi/white grapes?)…suspiciously Hekai. The tight compression warranted for longer steeping times.
After the 3rd infusion, I tried to pry apart the chucks while minimizing the ripping of leaves. The tea suddenly becomes thick, a bit cloudy, enzyme-y (almost carbonated!), multi-layered, and nicely textured. Notes of lilies, green apple, cedar wood, white pine, and grape skins join in a chorus of flavors and textures.
The brew is almost singing in my mouth and I feel wonderful. This one lingers nicely after the tea goes down and has a good body feel. The tea keeps this up for the next 6 to 7 steeps until I loose count. Later steeps have a bitter zing that rings for a bit—reminding me of Bulang bitterness. There is good depth in this one all the way to the end.
uck What You Heard was a tea that was exceptionally delicate, and with a lower brewing temperature, more of these delicate tasting notes were able to come out. One thing I like about this tea was its complexity, which came as a surprise. Another thing I like about this tea was its strength, and had great body and energy. Hell, even at one point, it started to taste like a white tea!
You can read my full review here…
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Grass, Green, Hay, Sweet
Brewed in glass teapot.
If you’re fond of Darjeelings, this is a tea you’ll enjoy. It has the ‘fizzy’ top note of a Darjeeling but the body and finish of a Fujian red, slightly biscuity.
Although the tasting notes suggest a ‘jammy’-ness, I actually get something a bit more floral, maybe honeysuckle with a touch of champagne grape, hence the comparison to a Darjeeling black.
I steeped it a second time at the same temperature, probably a little longer, and received the same information. The second infusion was quite consistent with the first.
Flavors: Champagne, Honeysuckle
Life has been so busy that I have been up until 4am to get things done and the sad part is I leave for work at 7:30am in the morning… I think I’ve finally found my limits when it comes to working full time (two jobs…. soon to be one), doing my MBA, owning an online LLC, being engaged, and trying to keep friends close as well as family.
WHEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW LIFE IS AWSEOME
Anyways, I got this tea in these little pill form thingies or whatever for the 2018 Sheng Olympaid! https://www.instagram.com/p/BZHMAsgAxVT/?taken-by=liquidproust
About to be so awesome : )
Drinking one right now and it’s not actually that bitter for being so new. The liquid has a really defined color that’s like someone hasn’t drank water for awhile… you know what I mean???
Anyways, good stuff! Nothing like TAF that I kept using… because it’s my favorite, but this is quite nice. Leaves the mouth a little beat up from the astringency but each brew offers something a little different than the last. Quality plucked leaf as you look through the stems that lead to two leaf that are not ripped for the majority of what I’m seeing.
I picked up 50g of this tea with my last big white2tea order. It’s a very nice hong. I find the flavor to be pretty deep, lower notes rather than high notes. Not particularly complex, but that’s not what I really look for in hongcha anyways. I get some earthiness, malt, and maybe a very bit of dark chocolate. The chocolate note, which is not always present for me, is definitely not a sweet/candy chocolate. Nice tea, easy to drink.
A shame it’s out of stock now, as adding 50-100g of this to any white2tea order would be a no-brainer at the price.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Earth, Malt
Of course I love pussy…I also dig this tea and suspect it’ll get one into less trouble (of course drinking too much then driving could be a little risky as tea drunkenness is a real possibility). Have I been suckered by hipster marketing into buying a tea with a funky wrapper called pussy?…probably…but while I am utterly disgusted with what hipsters have done to craft beer (my other beverage of choice) I wholeheartedly dig what they’ve done with tea and this is no exception.
I have a habit of comparing tea to beer. In this case I’m seeing similarities between pussy and a New England ale. Woody bitterness up front followed by sweet , oiliness that lasts for hours. Later steeps reveal notes of candied orange peel. It’s a brisk September morning and I’m enjoying this tea with a breakfast of fried apples, pumpkinseeds and bacon with maple syrup rosemary, cardamom and goat cheese…a perfect accompaniment.