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Recent Tasting Notes
Very interesting young puerh, really enjoyed this one. Purchased a 25g sample from YS, reviewing after two sessions.
Appearance: Very attractive green/white/brown contrasting colors in the broken off cake. Fairly large leaves, individual pieces break off relatively intact.
Dry Aroma – Mild sweetness, something reminiscent of milk chocolate, but not exactly. Interesting.
Wet aroma – Sweet plum, moss, early morning dew
Taste – develops from unripe fruit and mild astringency in earlier steepings, more astringency in middle steepings, orange creamsicle emerged later on… really wild. Final infusion had an interesting balance of astringency and vanilla. Didn’t expect that.
Overall – really enjoyed this tea. Nowhere near as aggressive or medicinal as some other young sheng I’ve had. It’s all good, but nice to experience the other end of the spectrum.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cut grass, Orange, Pear, Vanilla
Got this yesterday. It is pretty nice. It has a malty note and I would say a chocolate note. Can’t say that it is better or worse than last year’s tea.
I brewed this one time in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
I learned something very valuable today. You see, when I started buying pu-erh years ago, I didn’t know much of anything about it. I purchased a bunch of it and lost interest in it for a while. Years later, when I tried it, it was delicious. Completely unbeknownst to me, the pu-erh I had purchased was premium stuff.
Now, because I had only ever been exposed to pu-erh of such high quality, I thought all pu-erh tasted like that. So, when I’d see notes claiming that pu-erh tasted like a musty old basement or shoes or rank mushrooms, I just thought: they must not be used to that clean, earthy taste. No. That’s not it. That’s not it at all. There are apparently two very different types of ripe pu-erh: the smooth variety and the gamey variety. This is the gamey variety.
When you get up in the morning, do you think to yourself: I’d just love to drink myself a nice, tall cup of moldy, mushroomy basement! No? Me neither. Well, this is what this tasted like. It only slightly eased up after a few brews. I actually didn’t mind the flavor after the mustiness and rank mushroomy scent and flavor somewhat subsided. The problem was, it wasn’t just the flavor that was coarse and unpleasant, the effect of the tea was like bouncing down jagged rocks. No smooth relaxing sensation or smooth energizing effect. This was relaxing one minute, pounding headache the next — and I had this with food, so I can only imagine how much worse it would’ve been on an empty stomach.
The progression of scents and flavors was strange and vivid, like a bad acid trip. It started out so mushroomy that it was like snorting a line of shiitake. Then, came the mustiness, the staleness, the standing water scents and flavors. It would’ve been more pleasant to go drink a cup of mud. So, I tossed that cup out (something I have never done before) and tried brewing a second cup. This one was as if someone had filled a pair of leather boots with cacao beans and then set them in a dank, old basement and then flooded it with standing water and left it to get moldy, musty, and mushroomy. It was more pleasant than before, but to be clear, that’s like saying that hitting your thumb with a hammer once is better than hitting your thumb with a hammer twice — neither option is desirable. After that, it brewed its way into what I could only refer to as wet book tea. Imagine that someone decided to throw books into that standing basement water, and voilà: the next cup of this. I managed to finish that cup, too, though much to my dismay because my head felt like someone was using it to skip stones…thwack…thwack…thwack, thwack, thwack, splosh…into a throbbing headache — and I’m not someone who typically gets headaches. So, having a headache at all is strange for me. But, one so severe and unpleasant? I can only think of two or three other times in my life that I’ve had a headache this bad.
Truly, this has been the most awful pu-erh experience I’ve ever had. I’m going to let this one air out, maybe age it a bit longer, and if it doesn’t cease to be this rank and hellish basement brew mixed with head trauma, I’m going to chuck it in the bin and call it a day. My taste buds and my head do not deserve this sort of punishment.
Note to self: Always get a sample first. Always. It may take longer. But, just do it. Your body will thank you.
Flavors: Cocoa, Mushrooms, Musty, Paper, Sour, Sweet
Brews a light gold, noticeably less green in smell and taste than the 2016 shengs I’ve been drinking.
The taste is moderately sweet and the mouthfeel is moderately thick, slight bitterness. Flavors of sugarcane, green wood, white grapes, pine, heart of palm, and a mild peachyness. Overall pretty nice, though not my favorite from YS’s collection.
Flavors: Green Wood, Peach, Pine, Resin, Sugarcane, White Grapes
What I enjoy about this tea is its body. Aroma-wise, it’s not the headiest (at least at age 3), though the wet leaf smells a lot like a Taiwanese oolong in its latter, more vegetal steeps. There’s no smoke and very little bitterness or astringency. It seems to need to be pushed a little. But around the third steeping, it begins rolling around on the tongue like cream, and clings to the back of the mouth, a tiny bit of camphor, a little spice and pancake batter.
Flavors: Cake, Cream, Orchid, Vegetal
strong malty and baked potato, wood shavings. bit of something sweeter like marshmallow.
Palate is round, soft and malty with touches of smoke. as my morning tea, this is just fine, but not very complex.
Curious if this will change with time
Sheng are still an unacquired taste to my palate.
I would say this one is not too strong and a good introduction to appreciating them.
Smooth notes of hay and bamboo shoots, there is a bit more character through a smokiness that reminds me of whiskey. On it’s best infusions it gets sweet and floral,ending with a kick of red chillies.
Interesting and approachable.
I received a bag of this tea from Yunnan Sourcing a few days ago. Yesterday afternoon I had a chance to enjoy it.
Used 4 grams of leaves, ca. 150 ml. water, 205°F. Brewed in Giawan. Didn’t wash. First steep was ca. 10 seconds. The second steep was ca. 15 seconds.
To start I warmed the giawan and tea cup with the almost boiling water. Put the tea in the giawan and put the lid on, let it rest for 10-15 seconds.
Dry leaf gave off a somewhat blueberry aroma.
First steep of ca. 10 seconds. I got a quite pleasant kudzu blossom smell from the tea and from the leaves remaining in the giawan after pouring the tea. If you don’t live in an area where kudzu grows you can substitute a rich grapey smell, but to me that’s no quite right. There was a light astringency in the front of my mouth that hung on, not offensive at all. Mouth feel was a little light but for the first brief steep I don’t think that out of the ordinary.
Second steep is always the one I look forward to eagerly, ca. 15 sec. long. The kudzu blossoms came right to the front with this steep. Quite pleasant. But now had a green leaf undertone as well. Like if you waded into a kudzu hell, breaking vines and crushing leaves as you went, getting to a blossom to smell. As the liquor cooled slightly a caramel note joined the kudzu. Then I noticed a light sweetness in the liquor that faded to a light astringency moving further back in the mouth. The liquor now had a thick mouth feel and I noticed a watermelon after taste once the liquor started to shift from hot to pleasantly warm.
I didn’t go beyond 2 steeps but look forward to see what happens when I do.
this tea has some qualities of a sheng,however it reminds me of a green tea. i shall buy this tea again in a few years.
A fantastic tea. Great complexity – a balance of savory, sweet, spicy, and smoky.
It is also very dynamic – every infusion brought out a whole new balance of flavors: sometimes sweeter, sometimes smokier, sometimes spicier, etc. Highly recommend gong fu style with plenty of leaf so you can treat yourself to very engaging tea session!
There is an element to it that does require some getting used to. Some of the notes that come through are simply not that familiar. The carob and light malty-sweet smoke notes (for lack of a more accurate description…) are a bit strange at first, and are not something you find in other teas. So, give yourself some time to acclimate, and you will find yourself wanting to explore this tea more and more.
Last question – is there a bamboo aroma? I don’t know. Haven’t sniffed bamboo in a long time. I’ll sniff some the next time I go to the zoo and will report back.
Dry leaf: dark caramel, wildflower honey, grape stem, hints of sweet smoke; complex note like apple tart (cooked green apples, caramel, spices) comes through
Smell: dark caramel, carob, sweet smoke. Apple tart note still there. Leaf/stem note you get with roasted oolongs or black tea blends.
Taste: strongly brewed English breakfast tea, dark caramel, apple tart (green apple, caramel, spice), dry spice – allspice, hint of black pepper. Carob, dark chocolate, and dried tart fruit (cherries) in aftertaste.
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Mineral, Orchids
Bright, flavorful with expressions of malt and orange zest, seems to be a hint of Dan Cong oolong in there somewhere. Had nice endurance with flavors consistent throughout session. I could see this as a base for Earl Grey. Had a bit of zip to it as well. Enjoyable
I had a sample of the autumn 2014 Da Qing and loved it. I decided to opt for an entire cake, but went with the spring version.
I have to say that the autumn version was more approachable as a “drink now” sort of tea – a bit sweeter, etc. This one definitely slaps you around a bit. All of the flavors (floral and vegetal) are pretty big, but nothing off-putting. The bitterness never surpasses what you would find in a fairly tame IPA. At the same time, I see a lot of potential with aging.
It’s a bit unfair reviewing this tea so young. It is still developing and settling down. But, man, there are some great flavors and lot of power. Excited to see what the next ten years will bring…
All-in-all, the experience is very balanced, and very dynamic. There are nuances in the flavor if you seek them out. Everything you would expect when paying a premium for gu shu.
Speaking of price, I paid $80 for this cake, and it was worth it. It is now up to $100. So, regardless of your tea budget, just be aware that this tea appreciates in price fairly significantly. You will pay a premium to get this tea with even just a couple of years age on it.
Dry leaf – apricot, bitter green leaf, sweet floral. In preheated vessel – more intense fruit notes – apricot, prune.
Smell – grilled zucchini (some smokiness, some sweetness, some vegetal notes), sweet floral, hints of orange and apricot.
Taste – combination of floral and vegetal: again, sweet floral and grilled zucchini. Some chocolate notes in development. Savoriness fades during development, floral ramps up, and then bitterness arrives in finish. Bitterness fades to citrus and apricot fruity sweetness aftertaste.
Got a sample of this from a tea friend and drank it quite a while back. I didn’t note it with too much detail, but I still remember the session with it. Steeped up incredibly smooth with a red wash and a nice, dark color in the first proper steep. The taste wasn’t too assertive, but what I got was mostly milky notes. It’s the only cha tou I’ve had, but definitely would look into trying more.
Flavors: Milk, Smooth
I bought this tea a year or so ago, and when I tried it I though it was terrible; like a dirty, funky wet dog in the mouth. So it sat in the back of my tea cupboard and rested. Today I opened it up, and it’s like a completely different tea!
The dry aroma is very sweet, and if I didn’t know better I’d guess it was a black tea. Brews a light orange. Like the smell the taste is sweet, a bit like burnt sugar. There’s notes of malt, green wood, and dried herbs. Specifically like dried herbs that have been aging in your mum’s spice cabinet for far too long. It’s sort of like a combination black tea, sheng pu, and roasted oolong. Doesn’t last many steeps however.
This is a nice tea now, and makes me want to further my Tian Jian exploration
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Green Wood, Herbs, Malt, Roasted
Tea: TTB review: 1996 CNNP Green Mark Teji Ripe
Prep: 100cc gaiwan, 6g. Longish steep to open her up, flash steep x2, 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, etc.. Probably 8 steeps before it’s out.
Sessions with this tea: 1
The early steeps give a rich creamy but very earthy flavor, with robust sweetness, molasses or caramel or something rich. In the middle a simple-ish woody note comes out and joins the earthy mix and we roll around in the mud, salivating like a fool.
Body: This tea made me feel like somebody built an addition onto the back of my head. Like suddenly there was a lot of extra space for my brain to move around in. Fortunately I can fill that new space with all this extra saliva. This left a thick sticky sensation in my throat and a warm slippery peppery coating in my mouth.
Sample: a 6g and a 9g chunk o’ cake traveling around in the box. The chunk split in half easily with my thumb, the material is finely cut and there is a fair amount of shake, but the sample held up to steeping well.
Somebody said our box was supposed to be sheng only, but with shu like this in the world how can you be snobbish about sheng. I’m certainly not a shu aficionado but I’ll probably be looking for more of this, and this sample alone makes me happy I signed up for the TTB. NB: I’m purposefully not drinking all of this so that somebody else can experience this wonderful tea.
This tea is a mix of good and bad. There were no unpleasant flavors and certainly no wet storage flavors. You could say the dominant flavor was a sweet note. However it was weak and not truly flavorful in nature. Who knows if this will improve and the sweet note get stronger. I do like this better than other Liu Baos I have tasted which have a heavy wet storage note.
I brewed this eight times in a 110ml teapot with 6.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.