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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve ordered a couple of ripes lately because I drank down quite a bit of my relatively small ripe collection over the winter. This one sounded nice, and for only $16 I thought why the heck not!
The cake smells fairly clean for a young ripe, and the taste follows suit. It makes a bold brew with a thick mouthfeel. Tastes of wet earth and pecan with a bit of camphor and mineral and a brown sugar sweetness. Comparable to Dayi’s more premium ripes. I like this tea quite a bit and it’s a steal at it’s current price.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Camphor, Mineral, Nuts, Pecan, Wet Earth
One of the many 2017 green teas I have been working on finishing up lately, this ended up being an odd, yet also very enjoyable drinking experience. I hated this tea the first time I tried it, and that was surprising to me considering that I normally love Yunnan green teas. As days passed, however, this one steadily grew on me. By the time, I finally felt comfortable with it, I only had one serving left. In a lot of ways, this was a temperamental and sensitive tea, though it also displayed admirable complexity, depth, and longevity on the nose and in the mouth.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. Yunnan Sourcing recommends a temperature around 185 F for its green teas, but I am used to water temperatures around 175-180 for most Chinese greens, so I went with what I knew. The initial infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted mellow aromas of grass, corn husk, and lemon zest. The rinse brought out hints of malt and nuts on the nose. The first proper infusion then introduced some subtle hints of lettuce and spinach. In the mouth, the liquor initially offered mild notes of malt, cream, corn husk, grass, lemon zest, and lettuce underpinned by hints of nuts and spinach. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of straw, honey, minerals, seaweed, orange zest, and lime, as well as more distinct notes of peanut, hazelnut, and chestnut and a slightly salty, brothy umami presence. I also noted hints of wood, sour apricot, smoke, garden peas, and sugarcane in places. The later infusions offered dominant mineral, malt, and cream notes balanced by lingering traces of grass, seaweed, corn husk, nuts, and citrus.
There was a lot going on in this tea, but it took some time and effort for me to get it dialed in. I think lowering the water temperature helped with this one tremendously. When I tried it at a higher temperature, the liquor was less aromatic and flavorful and considerably more astringent. To be fair, the higher recommended water temperature may work for some people, but it did not do it for me. I would also recommend that this tea be either prepared grandpa style or gongfu. I only tried it once, but brewing this in the Western style yielded a much flatter, less dynamic tea liquor. Overall, I greatly enjoyed this tea and would recommend it to fans of traditional Yunnan green teas, but I would do so with the caveat that this tea will likely not be for everyone as it can be a bit difficult to both brew and appreciate.
Flavors: Apricot, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Grass, Hay, Hazelnut, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Peas, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Sugarcane, Umami, Wood
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Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Peach, Roasted
I brought this tea out this weekend expecting to do a fairly disappointed review. I had been drinking it at work and was never impressed. But, I wanted to give it a fair shot over the weekend with a few gong fu sessions.
Turns out I was wrong. It’s a very nice tea, especially for the price. I would say that it does require attention (something it didn’t get at work with me!) It tends to be a bit woody and grainy in the arrival, but there is a slow development to creaminess and fruitiness through the finish into the aftertaste. This development is lost if you don’t take your time and pay attention.
Also, one of the most engaging aspects of this tea is the nose. It is incredibly complex and very fruity. In fact, I had several cups get to room temperature because I spent so much time sniffing them!
Dry leaf – sweet/savory: cream of wheat, forest wood, notes of dark fruit – stewed prunes; spiciness like sassafras or horehound. In preheated vessel, fruit and cereal notes intensify
Smell – fruity, grain: cream of wheat, cherry wood, stewed prunes, raisin, currant, cherry cordial
Taste – Arrival of cream of wheat, cherry wood, dry wood. Development of forest wood, coffee grounds. Finish of slight creaminess. Aftertaste of coffee grounds, wood, notes of stewed prunes. Some spiciness that gets into your sinuses, sort of camphorish without overt taste of camphor.
Blind caked this one, mostly because it was cheap, Dayi, and the wrapper looks gorgeous.
Compression is on the loose side for a factory cake. The smell of the dry leaf is quite funky, almost fishy, so I gave it three rinses. It brews a nice red-brown color and not too murky. The taste is nice, earthy with hints of cocoa and a definite dried fruit note. There is a noticeable date/dried apricot aftertaste. The mouthfeel is on the brothy side, not very clean but this may improve with age. This is the opposite of a woody/camphorous ripe, I don’t get any of those flavors.
This is a good tea, a little funky but that should fade with age. Definitely a good buy right now.
Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Dark Wood, Dates, Fruity, Wet Earth
Another recent Dancong sipdown, I finished a sample pouch of this tea several days ago. This was yet another new kind of Dancong for me-I had never tried a Cao Lan prior to trying this one. I found it to be an excellent tea with pronounced floral and fruity notes.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of orchid, cream, and vanilla with hints of something like jasmine in the background. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of violet and orange blossom. The first proper infusion then brought out a slight nutty quality on the nose. In the mouth, I found notes of orchid, orange blossom, violet, and cream backed by hints of pear, nuts, and herbs. Subsequent infusions introduced notes of vanilla, malt, green apple, minerals, lychee, honey, and peach. Clear notes of almond and peanut appeared and the jasmine began to subtly manifest itself in the mouth. Hints of toasted marshmallow, anise, and caraway swirled in the background. The later infusions offered notes of minerals, cream, malt, nuts, and toasted marshmallow backed by hints of honey and fruit sweetness.
Another interesting and complex Dancong oolong from Yunnan Sourcing, this was a very likable, satisfying tea overall. The leaf quality also appeared to be more or less excellent as I noted more intact leaves than I did in either of the last two Yunnan Sourcing Dancongs I tried. For Dancong fans, this would be a tea worth trying.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Cream, Green Apple, Herbs, Honey, Jasmine, Lychee, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Vanilla, Violet
You can read my full review here…
Flavors: Broth, Hay, Medicinal
The taste is surprisingly rich. There’s smokiness alongside with some earthy tones.
It’s not sweet but not bitter either; kinda bittersweet.
The mouthfeel is rather thick and slightly velvety.
The aftertaste is not long yet left a nice refreshing rather sour taste in the mouth.
Flavors: Earth, Smoke, Vegetal
This is a nice tea that provides a fairly unique experience at a great price. I also have a little something extra for this tea – a comparison of cups: clay (jianshui) vs. porcelain (celadon).
First, the tea. It is definitely a great candidate to showcase chocolately notes in a black tea, if you’ve never experienced that before. Lots of cocoa, dark chocolate, and fruit-flavored chocolate notes. It also has strong nut/peanut notes.
One unique aspect of the tea is an interesting finish that reminded me a bit of green oolongs, even high-mountain oolongs. It finished like many black teas, with some blackberry coulee/syrup notes and some nuttiness, but underneath that I kept finding coconut, creaminess, and some light citrus sweetness. Really interesting if you’re paying attention.
Now, the cups. The jianshui clay definitely tamed some of the light bitterness that came up with the nutty notes. It also added substantial minerality to the whole experience (of course). Overall, the mouthfeel felt slightly more substantial, and the experience was smoother. Much closer to a Wu Yi oolong experience.
The porcelain was more dynamic in the mouth, albeit with a slightly thinner mouthfeel. The fruitiness was stronger in the finish, and the nuttiness was more prominent in the arrival.
Dry leaf – dark chocolate, cocoa powder, roasted peanuts, tangy fruit – blackberry coulee. In preheated vessel – strong rich nuttiness and fruit flavors.
Smell – nutty, chocolate, blackberry coulee, fruit chocolate (raspberry)
Taste – roasted peanuts, fruit flavored chocolate (raspberry); finish is syrupy sweet and fruity – blackberry coulee, coconut, some hints of mandarin orange/citrus. After a while, the flavor has some of the barley-sugar notes you get from an unpeated Scotch.
The aroma of this tea is incredible. It truly smells like warm, spicy, sweet gingerbread.
1st infusion 180˚F
The flavour is lighter than the smell, but it is so good anyway. I am so consistently impressed by Yunnan Sourcing’s Dan Cong oolongs and red teas!
2nd infusion 185˚F
Ooh, the tea is thicker, stronger with great body and mouthfeel now. Really tastes like drinking ginger tea!
Flavors: Ginger, Spicy, Sweet
The smell of this tea is very pleasant, mostly displaying charcoal, chocolate and sugarcane.
The taste is fairly savoury and mineral with medium astringency. It is reminiscent of roasted nuts, chocolate, wet rocks and I found some hints of sea food (mussels in particular). The tea has light to medium body and drying, slightly powdery mouthfeel with medium viscosity. When brewed strong, it has some bitterness, which surprisingly doesn’t really appeal to me.
I also found that the taste improves a bit as the tea cools down. In particular, it becomes a bit more refreshing.
I really like the aftertaste though. It lasts long and changes over time, becoming more sweet and spicy, with the chocolate notes still present.
Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Cocoa, Fireplace, Roasted nuts, Seaweed, Sugarcane, Wet Rocks
Smell is very reminiscent of cooked tomatoes (when making ketchup), marzipan, coriander seeds and rose.
The tea is mouth-watering with silky texture and has a decently strong cha qi.
Taste is complex, but fairly subtle and balanced. It doesn’t hit you with any particular flavour. On top of the notes mentioned above, I can taste some rose hips, especially in later steeps when the tea becomes a bit more sour. Even the Vermilion colour of the liquor reminds a bit of rose hip tisane.
Flavors: Coriander Seed, Marzipan, Rose, Rosehips, Sour, Spicy
This tea doesn’t brew super strong, but lasts for a while. The colour of the liquor is paler than other ripe pu’er teas I came across. It has a medium body. The mouthfeel has some kind of cleansing feel to it, especially in the finish.
Without the skin, the citrus sourness is mostly present in the smell, the taste has more of the citrus bitterness.
The tea taste is very brothy (mushrooms) and only a little earthy. The tangerine taste is definitely present in the tea, but doesn’t dominate.
There is almost no sweetness in this tea, it’s mostly a bitter affair, but I think that’s nice. Also the aftertaste in the early steeps is mostly savoury with some bitterness but not much sweetness. The later steeps seem to have more acidic aftertaste.
With the tangerine peel, the liquor smells a bit like an apple pie to which someone added a bit too much of citrus peel. The wet leaf is now really reminiscent of citrus orchard with both the earthy and citrus notes present.
The taste with the skin is more tangy and sour and akin to actual fruit juice, but without the sweetness. I like it a lot.
Flavors: Apple, Bitter, Broth, Cinnamon, Citrus Zest, Cream, Dirt, Mushrooms, Red Wine
Haven’t drunk this in years. Was looking through my stash for something to brew tonight and settled on this mushroom. I hadn’t remembered it as something particularly good. But tonight I brewed it up and noticed a very high level of phenols – distinct flavor of vanilla which was deliciously smooth and calming.