Yunnan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes

86

From my records, I see I bought 50 g of this oolong in early 2015 for $8. If only Dan Congs were still that affordable! Before I got my gongfu equipment, I would dump a few leaves of this tea into my Finum infuser and thought it was tasty. Then I tried gongfuing it and it was a bitter mess, leading to its relegation to the “tea museum” at the back of my cupboard.

Okay, let’s try this again. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain teapot at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is faint and is of almond, roast, wood, florals, and peach. The first steep has a pronounced almond note, behind which is hiding tannins, baked peaches, minerals, cream, brown sugar, florals, and wood. The more this is held in the mouth, the more that almond flavour takes over. This isn’t true for the aroma, which is a nice balance among the various flavours. The returning aftertaste is also amazing, with peach, mandarin orange, jasmine floorals, and almonds. The same thing happens in the second steep, with the peach and floral aftertaste being the best part of the experience.

Peach, orange, and apricot appear in the third and fourth steeps, though the almond is by far the strongest flavour. The accompanying bitterness is reminiscent of almond skin. Some grass and grapefruit show up in steep five. By steep seven, the roast, wood, and minerals are becoming more prominent, although the almonds are still going strong and the stonefruit, citrus, and florals are still present in the aroma and aftertaste. The end of the session has notes of spinach, earth, tannins, nuts, wood, and roast, and is quite bitter.

If the floral, citrus, and stonefruit flavours of this tea had made it into the actual sip instead of just the aroma and aftertaste, I’d have rated it in the nineties. As is, the session was kind of frustrating. I’d love to know whether tweaking the brewing parameters could pull these flavours out a little more.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Floral, Grapefruit, Grass, Jasmine, Mineral, Nutty, Orange, Peach, Roasted, Spinach, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Autumn harvest from a state protected forest in the Yiwu mountains.

The sample I have is from just outside the beenghole and has a moderate to tight compression. It smells sweet and cool like an alpine forest with a strong note of baked stonefruits and raisins. The warmed leaf is intensely sweet, same baked stonefruits and now I pick up cherry. A cool undercurrent lies beneath. I gave a rinse and let the leaf steam for several minutes to loosen the compression. Notes of apricot, forest floor, cinnnamon, menthol, pungent herbs and a hint of smoke present. The rinse color is a glowing harvest gold.

The taste is initially somewhat alkaline bitter, umami and nutty, buttery stonefruits with some restrained sweetness. It’s very smooth and round, heavy and light at the same time. Pure osmanthus aftertaste. A cooling sensation grows from a vague feeling in the chest upward along the whole throat and into the mouth. I sit. A wave of sleepiness washes over me. My note for the second steep says only ‘subdued strength.’ I lie down. I can feel the energy in my teeth, electric chatter. My senses are heightened and I’m picking up things I normally wouldn’t, unlike some sheng that seem to gently mute my perception. Can’t describe the feeling well but it feels like coming down from a day trip. I fall asleep mid-afternoon, a bit after the second steep.

The next day, the liquor is like broth, a tone of honeyed apricot juice mixed with walnuts and tobacco, slightly metallic. This character, along with a drying and strong violet aftertaste and returning sweetness, persists throughout the remaining infusions, fading gradually. The spent leaf reveals some of the fattest stems I’ve ever seen.

The tea speaks for itself and is more complex than I can convey. I hope to provide a more comprehensive note next time. Recommended to the experienced. I don’t think a person new to sheng would fully grasp what’s going on here, much like myself. However! that doesn’t mean that only experienced drinkers would gain great satisfaction from these leaves.

In other news, the county is on fire again. The fire started in Napa county and is spreading southwest into the eastern city limits of Santa Rosa. I don’t even…

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Broth, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Drying, Forest Floor, Herbs, Honey, Menthol, Metallic, Nutty, Osmanthus, Raisins, Round , Smoke, Smooth, Stonefruits, Tobacco, Umami, Violet, Walnut

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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88

This is another of my summer sipdowns. I think this one comes from June. I know it was one of the first black teas I finished this summer. At the time I was drinking this tea, I recalled trying the spring 2017 version and coming away with the distinction impression that I didn’t quite get it. I wanted to give this tea another crack, so I jumped at the opportunity to try another version of it. At first, I did not get this tea either. It actually struck me as rather unpleasant, but then it started to grow on me, and by the time I finished my 50g pouch, I realized that it was actually a very good tea despite a few notable quirks.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional 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, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, cedar, stewed tomato, pine, sweet potato, and sugarcane. After the rinse, new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, butter, and baked bread emerged. The first infusion brought out aromas of cream and banana. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted peanut, roasted almond, baked bread, butter, malt, pine, and stewed tomato that were chased by hints of cream, oats, sweet potato, banana, pear, sugarcane, and cooked green beans. The subsequent infusions coaxed out scents of camphor, black pepper, earth, honey, chocolate, and grass. Stronger and more immediately detectable impressions of cooked green beans, sweet potato, banana, and sugarcane came out in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, cedar, earth, caramel, grass, chocolate, orange zest, camphor, and black pepper. I also detected hints of honey, plum, and red apple. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, roasted peanut, cream, butter, and malt that were balanced by delicate hints of roasted almond, sugarcane, chocolate, camphor, sweet potato, pine, and cedar.

This was something of a prickly and intense black tea. Even though the aromas and flavors I picked up were nothing new for a Yunnan black tea, they frequently expressed themselves in rather challenging and unpredictable ways. The tea liquor was also alternately sharp and starchy in terms of texture, and that required some time and effort on my part to appreciate/tolerate. Overall, this one was a grower for me. I found myself appreciating what this tea had to offer more and more the longer I spent with it, but as of now, I can also easily imagine that the odd texture of the tea liquor and the boldness and/or sharpness of some of the aroma and flavor components would be huge turnoffs for a large number of people. In the end, I would recommend this tea, but I would also recommend it with the caveat that it is very likely not suitable for beginners. More experienced drinkers of Yunnan black tea would probably get much more out of it, but even among that crowd, I think this is the sort of tea that would be very polarizing.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

Here is another of my somewhat older sipdowns. I think I finished what I had of this tea sometime between June and the start of August. At this point, I can’t really remember as I was plowing through some of the spring 2018 black teas I had in my cupboard at a very rapid clip. Overall, this was a more or less excellent Yunnan black tea. At the time I was drinking it, I remembered greatly enjoying the spring 2017 version Yunnan Sourcing had offered. I’m guessing this is one of their more consistent black teas.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional 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, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced aromas of baked bread, malt, marshmallow, and cinnamon. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and sweet potato. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted walnut and hay. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, malt, cream, black pepper, eucalyptus, roasted almond, sweet potato, cinnamon, and hay that were balanced by hints of grass, marshmallow, clove, roasted walnut, and caramel. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of apple, eucalyptus, caramel, clove, black pepper, green bell pepper, grass, leather, cedar, and plum. Stronger and more immediately detectable flavors of marshmallow, clove, and caramel appeared in the mouth alongside hints of roasted peanut and new impressions of earth, minerals, red apple, leather, cedar, green bell pepper, and orange zest. There were also some fleeting hints of celery and plum here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, earth, baked bread, sweet potato, and grass that were chased by hints of roasted almond, cream, hay, green bell pepper, marshmallow, plum, and black pepper.

This was a very complex yet smooth Simao black tea with some absolutely delightful spicy and vegetal notes. Some of the aromas and flavors I picked up I tend to associate more with Feng Qing black teas, which was a bit of a shock. Overall, this was a very enjoyable Yunnan black tea. It is likely that fans of such teas would be pleased with it.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Caramel, Cedar, Celery, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Leather, Malt, Marshmallow, Orange Zest, Peanut, Plums, Red Apple, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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83

Very clean and delicate —
Dry notes: Asparagus, sauteed spinach, brioche,
Wet notes: Crusty bread, egg custard, green nuts, buttermilk biscuits
Finish: bright, clean, mildly dry

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2020 version but i’m too lazy to create yet another year’s entry. Really enjoyed this the other day…lots of wins from my YS order

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85

This is a very aromatic and enjoyable Dian Hong. The aromas are indeed quite complex, with notes of dried fruits and honey. It feels a little harsh and somewhat (not a lot) less smooth and more astringent than most Dian Hongs but maybe that’s also because it’s only 5 months old?

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while the description of this says there are no smokey tastes to this one….that is a lie haha. I’m ok with that though, since i currently have no smokey teas in my cupboard. But let’s be clear…this is lightly smokey. tasty though. more to come once i have it again.

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I’m not sure how to describe this tea. It’s not a honey aroma in the sense that I’m used to (thinking leaf hopper, Taiwan teas) but it’s a pretty good malty, slightly cocoa-y, bready tea. I need to play with this a little more and have a few cups but I think this will land on my “could have often” list.

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90

Very front facing floral notes with a diffuse pastel blue sort of mouthfeel that lingers fairly briefly. The honey comes through with its own natural sweetness, that rounds out the otherwise a little bit flat (though complicated? a strange juxtaposition) flavor of the orchid flowers. A little bit more vegetal than I remember an earlier pick being but not in a bad way, more towards a wet moss. I think the fuzziness of the mouthfeel paired with the rounded fruityness of the honey and tea make for something almost reminiscent of peach.

Flavors: Honey, Orchids, Peach, Wet Moss

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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I’ve only tried a handful of teas from Mengsong, so I’m still formulating an idea of what the characteristics of teas from that area are. If I had to try to describe what I’ve noted about them so far though, I’d say it’s that they seem to be quite aromatic and carry a very unique fragrance in the mouth.

Like with the other Yunnan Sourcing 2019 premium ripes I’ve been reviewing recently, I used half of my sample, so 13.2g in this case, along with the same teaware consisting of my trusty 160ml Yxing zini teapot as well as a teacup and cha hai both made from Jianshui clay. I gave the tea a good, fifteen second rinse, which I drank. It had good body. The taste was sweet, with a somewhat sour and drying finish (in a good way). The sweetness made me think of really juicy, more watery than sweet cherries. A stone fruit of some sort for sure. An underlying mineral character was also present. The aroma of the wet leaves was really nice. Sweet and plummy.

The first proper infusion had a slick texture to it. While the taste wasn’t weak, it was surprisingly restrained. There wasn’t much upfront flavor to speak of, while the finish consisted aside from some minerality solely of bassy notes. The same sour, somewhat drying character was still there. I could feel some fragrance slowly beginning to build up though. So far a very mature, quite elusive tea.

Thankfully the flavor opened up over the next three infusions, growing stronger and fuller with each steep. The liquor had a very solid and stable body across the infusions. The texture, while not stellar, was also well above average and displayed great consistency over the session. It was very smooth, gaining a really buttery quality in the fourth infusion, which is where the tea peaked both in terms of strength and texture, not dropping too quickly after that.

As far as the progression of flavors, the sourness first developed into a more recognizable taste of sour cherries, which was also joined by a touch of bitterness and astringency in the finish. After this the tea made a big shift and turned dominantly earthy. The aforementioned buttery fourth steep had an interesting saltiness to it. I recall some people using “soy sauce” to describe some ripes. While it’s probably not quite right, I think it’s an accurate enough descriptor for the lack of a better word. In the finish I picked up on perhaps a whisper of some dark, fermented fruits, possibly some woodiness as well.

After the fourth steep which acted as a nice halfway point, while the tea retained its earthy, fermented quality and the mineral character running throughout this session, the Mengsong began getting a bit fresher, with perhaps just a touch of some berry sweetness creeping in. In the final brews, the source of the freshness and slight cooling revealed itself to be camphor.

So what are my thoughts on this tea? I think the material is good. It’s been fermented well. This is a good tea. But it isn’t a tea for me. While I got some enjoyment out of it, had some fun with it and found it somewhat interesting, the flavor profile wasn’t really for me. While I do love certain types of sourness such as the kinds you find in rye bread and yogurt, the sourness in this one didn’t appeal to me. It was interesting though as I haven’t run across it too often in ripe pu’er. I think for me the lack of any notable sweetness is what ultimately kills this tea for me, as has been the case with other ripes as well. While I don’t like my teas too sweet, I usually like to see at least some.

Taking a look at the strengths of the tea, while not quite good enough to be selling points for me, the body and texture are well above average and hold stable throughout most of the session. The tea holds up surprisingly well even in the later infusions. While not the most fragrant shu at this point in time, there is definitely a faint fragrance that builds up in the mouth and this is something that will hopefully improve over time. Personally I found this tea somewhat more demanding than your average shu, demanding more attention especially in the early steeps. I feel the wet piling has preserved a lot of the original character of the tea and fans of Mengsong teas will likely be able to appreciate it the most.

Flavors: Camphor, Cherry, Drying, Earth, Mineral, Sour, Soy sauce, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 13 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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75

This has a thick mouthfeel and nice aromas of dried apricots.

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75

The rinsed leaves and first steeps have a spicy/flowery aroma, somewhat reminiscent of Taiwanese high mountain oolongs. The steeps quickly move into something grassy and a quite astringent. Of course this tea is very young.

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85

Really good, especially for 20$ per 250g cake! Beautiful big leaves which show pretty heavy oxidation. Rich honey and melon aromas, thick mouthfeel and thirst-quenching overall impression. Very easy drinking. No astringency, but long aftertaste. Keeps on infusing.

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85

Nice. It has a frivolous flowery aspect that is strong after the rinse, and gradually fades in the later steeps, when the tea becomes more mineral, not so much vegetal. Not so much fruity and succulent, but more cooling and refreshing, hard to explain but I enjoy this tea. A little drying, but not in a bad way. Quite powerful.

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80

Indeed, this seems like a classic MLX Dan Cong. It feels a little less roasted and more refined than some cheaper versions I have had of this, but the flavor profile is very recognizable. I feel that this typical flavor profile doesn’t really do it for me anymore. It’s nice, but I think I am more interested in those more buttery, flowery Dan Cong oolongs. The mouthfeel of this is lively and tingly, which is quite nice.

Flavors: Flowers, Stonefruits

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90

Alright, here is my last review of the day. This was another of my sipdowns from either June or July. I know I finished what I had of this tea a couple days after I finished the second of the Yunnan bi luo chun black teas. At the time I was drinking this tea, I remembered that I had enjoyed the 2017 version, but I had not been totally in love with it. This spring 2018 production was noticeably better.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional 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, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds presented aromas of chocolate, malt, sugarcane, and pine. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of baked bread, sweet potato, and green bell pepper. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted almond, cream, vanilla, banana, and roasted peanut. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of malt, cream, roasted almond, roasted peanut, green bell pepper, and pine that were chased by hints of cinnamon, sweet potato, chocolate, sugarcane, and banana. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of orange zest, earth, caramel, marshmallow, and plum. Subtle notes of baked bread and vanilla came out in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately evident impressions of sugarcane, banana, sweet potato, and chocolate. I also picked up notes of minerals, molasses, caramel, earth, cooked green beans, orange zest, black pepper, marshmallow, lemon zest, plum, and black cherry. Fleeting hints of clove and eucalyptus could also be picked up here and there. As the tea settled and faded, the liquor began to emphasize notes of minerals, malt, cream, orange zest, earth, sugarcane, and lemon zest that were balanced by hints of chocolate, pine, cinnamon, caramel, sweet potato, plum, and roasted almond.

Compared to the spring 2017 version of this tea, this offering was smoother yet deeper and more consistently engaging. Nothing came across as being out of place or out of focus. Everything worked together beautifully. Overall, this was just an expertly crafted and superbly balanced Yunnan black tea. I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone looking for a balanced, sophisticated, mellow black tea with a good deal of complexity and depth.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Green Beans, Green Bell Peppers, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
mrmopar

Good to see you old friend!

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68

Since I have just finished posting a review of Yunnan Sourcing’s spring 2018 Pure Bud Bi Luo Chun and I am not completely exhausted, I figured I may as well go ahead and post this review as a companion piece to that one. I finished what I had of this tea immediately after I finished that aforementioned Pure Bud Bi Luo Chun Yunnan Black Tea. The two were very similar, and quite frankly, I found them both to have the same glaring flaws. Of the two, though, this one struck me as being the better tea overall.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled leaf and bud sets in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional 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, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dried tea leaves and buds emitted aromas of malt, cinnamon, baked bread, molasses, pine, chocolate, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of smoke, roasted peanut, and roasted almond. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted walnut as well as a subtle honey scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, baked bread, roasted almond, roasted peanut, and geranium that were balanced by hints of marshmallow, cream, chocolate, honey, roasted walnut, and sugarcane. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of marshmallow, grass, geranium, earth, geranium, and orange zest as well as stronger scents of chocolate, malt, and baked bread. Pine, molasses, cinnamon, and smoke notes came out in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately detectable impressions of marshmallow, cream, chocolate, and roasted walnut. Notes of minerals, earth, orange zest, grass, cooked green beans, butter, and raisin also emerged. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, raisin, pine, butter, baked bread, and earth that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, sugarcane, orange zest, roasted walnut, marshmallow, cream, roasted peanut, and honey.

This was a smooth Yunnan bi luo chun black tea that offered up exactly what you would expect of a tea of this type and nothing more. Compared to the Pure Bud Bi Luo Chun black tea that I tried before it, this one was not as complex, but it expressed itself a little more clearly in the mouth and produced a tea liquor that was slightly thicker and fuller. Both teas were still a little lacking in terms of clarity, weight, depth, and definition, but of the two, this one was slightly better. As I said with the other tea, I would not advise someone to avoid this offering, but there are better examples of this style out there.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Geranium, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Raisins, Smoke, Sugarcane, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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66

This was one of my somewhat more recent sipdowns. I think I finished my pouch of this tea in either June or July. As Yunnan pure bud bi luo chun black teas go, I actually found this one to be pretty boring. It wasn’t unpleasant in any way, but it did not exactly offer anything new or unique either.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional 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, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced aromas of sweet potato, baked bread, smoke, sorghum molasses, cinnamon, pine, and dark chocolate. After the rinse, I detected aromas of malt, honey, sugarcane, and stewed tomato as well as subtler scents of geranium and eucalyptus. The first infusion introduced aromas of butter and cream as well as a subtle roasted peanut aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, smoke, baked bread, butter, cream, and sweet potato that were balanced by hints of sugarcane, roasted peanut, honey, caramel, cinnamon, and marshmallow. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of marshmallow, black pepper, plum, and orange zest. Pine and dark chocolate notes came out in the mouth alongside hints of eucalyptus, sorghum molasses, geranium, and stewed tomato, and stronger and more immediately evident notes of sugarcane, honey, cinnamon, and marshmallow. I also detected notes of minerals, earth, black pepper, orange zest, and roasted walnut as well as hints of roasted hazelnut, roasted pecan, cooked green beans, and plum. As the tea settled and faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, malt, butter, roasted walnut, and baked bread as well as suddenly amplified impressions of roasted pecan. These flavors were chased by hints of pine, cinnamon, orange zest, dark chocolate, and marshmallow.

This was not a bad Yunnan black tea, but as stated earlier, it did not offer anything new or intriguing. It also did not pull everything together in the mouth as nothing seemed unified. I never felt that all of the flavor components expressed themselves clearly or worked together in harmony. Add in the fact that the tea liquor struck me as being slightly thin and watery, and I ultimately came away with an impression of this tea as pleasant but flawed. Personally, I would not advise someone to avoid this tea, but there are better teas of this type out there, and they are not all that difficult to find.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Green Beans, Hazelnut, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pecan, Pine, Plums, Smoke, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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88

Okay, I guess I’m coming back to Steepster now. The funny thing is I honestly had no intention of coming back to the site save to read and like the tasting notes of others or maybe post the occasional comment or question. At the time I decided to step away, I was not only dealing with an avalanche of mental and physical health issues, but I had also reached a point where I did not feel that I had anything else to say. Each time I sat down to post a tea review, I was either filled with so much anxiety and frustration that I had to force myself through the process, or I just could not find any motivation to write anything and would stare at my computer screen for varying lengths of time before giving up and walking away to do anything else. Furthermore, I was extremely angered and disappointed by the owners’ decision to sell to Adagio and was certain at the time that it would be a death sentence for this site and community. Fortunately, I seem to have been wrong about that last bit (to this point), and since I have been doing a little better over the last couple of weeks, I figured that I may as well try to get back into the groove of writing tea reviews and see how things go. Naturally, my already huge backlog has grown even further. I have a pile of unposted reviews stretching from July 2019 to the present, and I am still certain that I have one review from the fall of 2018 that I simply forgot to post. This one comes from either February or March of this year. I recall enjoying this tea, but I also recall thinking that it struck me as being a bit light and green compared to many of other Da Wu Ye I have sampled in recent years.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 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, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of orchid, pomegranate, orange blossom, cream, butter, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of custard, vanilla, roasted almond, pear, and baked bread. The first infusion then brought out aromas of grass and coriander. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orange blossom, sugarcane, grass, cream, baked bread, butter, and roasted almond that were balanced by lighter, subtler impressions of pear, orchid, pomegranate, lychee, custard, plum, and spinach. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of violet, plum, spinach, lychee, sour cherry, and orange zest. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of custard, pear, spinach, plum, and lychee came out in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, white grape, orange zest, violet, sour cherry, and green apple. Hints of butterscotch, apricot, and coriander lurked around the fringes. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized impressions of minerals, roasted almond, butter, baked bread, grass, pear, spinach, and coriander that were balanced by hints of orange zest, pomegranate, cream, vanilla, sugarcane, orchid, and white grape.

This was an extremely interesting and satisfying Dancong oolong. The mix of aromas and flavors was great, and the liquor it produced consistently felt wonderful in the mouth. Many Dancong oolongs can become very woody, vegetal, or astringent in the mouth, but this one never did. It was also much lighter in body and less savory than many of the other Da Wu Ye I have tried. I suspect that the roast on this tea was lighter than that of previous years. Anyway, this was a very good tea that was very approachable. I tend to be a big fan of traditional Da Wu Ye, so this tea did not quite tick all the boxes for me, but it was still very good. I am willing to bet that people who are into lighter roasted oolongs would love it.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Butterscotch, Cherry, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pear, Plums, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Leafhopper

Glad to have you back! I also thought that Steepster’s change of ownership could have a negative effect and am glad that things have evened out after some initial issues with the website. That Da Wu Ye sounds like my kind of Dancong.

derk

Welcome back to steepsterspace. May your return be the beginning of a healthier guy. It’s been a tough year. I look forward to your in-depth tasting backlogs being posted as the urges present.

Martin Bednář

Welcome back! I know exactly what are you talking about; I had same moments, though my reveiews aren’t that complex as yours. Maybe “care less” about the reviews, write them when you feel to, maybe forget the “long waiters” — we will survive not seeing them :)

Just be happy with this community that luckily haven’t disappeared yet. This year was stressful for everyone, including myself, sometimes I don’t post anything here as well, I am sometimes just reading others notes and I really enjoy that! There are so many teas which sound interesting or nice to try, there are companies who I never heard of and they deliver sometimes awful teas — but that’s the path of tea explorers! Be safe, don’t feel that you have to share everything with us. You don’t (this applies to me as well!) !

tea-sipper

Welcome back and wishing you well

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91

9 Sep 2020

- 7g in 230ml Yixing teapot [[Hybrid brewing]]

- Dry leaf smells nice.

- Rinsed once. Wet leaves have a mysterious, rich sweetness to them on top of the typical ‘crystal cavern’ clear mineral scent

- First infusion (95˚C, 25s):
- Wet leaves and Tea liquor both have incredibly distinct, beautiful aroma of honey dates. Super flavourful and sweet. The texture of this tea is silky and almost syrupy. Want to rate it a 95 already!

- Second infusion (96˚C, 45s):
- Now got more of that classic ‘astringent green tea’ aroma to it. Might have oversteeped a bit.

- Cold Brew (5 hours): Flavourful though not sweet, lovely body to it and no astringency (unlike another raw pu-erh I’ve cold-brewed).

- My Rating: 91

Notes: Honey Date, Mineral

Flavors: Dates, Mineral

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 230 ML

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84

18 Sep 2020

6g in 230ml Yixing teapot [[Hybrid brewing]]

Dry leaf fragrance just jumps out at you – so sweet and fruity!

Rinsed once.

First infusion (95˚C, 30s): Wet leaf smells typical raw pu-erh, nothing to write home about. Liquor smells fruity and floral, a bit tangy (green mango). Flavours are really well-balanced and it’s comforting and warming. I like a lot! (But wouldn’t pay more than US$50 a cake – haha it costs US$53 for 400g, I’m spot-on!)

Second infusion (96˚C, 1:05): Liquor smells lovely, combination of florals (orchid, apparently) and toasted pastry. However, it tastes very astringent – I overbrewed. Will maybe go for 50s next time.

Verdict: I’ll try the 2014 Yunnan Sourcing Impression Raw Pu-erh (low-tier daily drinker) again and if I like this better than I’ll get it too as a Mid-tier daily drinker.

My Rating: 84

Flavors: Astringent, Green Apple, Orchid, Pastries

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 8 OZ / 230 ML

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91

This is a lovely Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. It is good both Western style (where it comes out honey-sweet with a backbone of malt and grass) and gong fu (where it gives you at least 4-5 distinctly tasting steeps). Prepared gong fu it evolves through honey/caramel/flowers to herbs/spices/vegetal and then to vegetal/malty.

Overall, it is way less malty and baked potato-y then a typical unsmoked lapsang. The aroma is decent and the flavors are pure and well-defined.

Flavors: Caramel, Grass, Herbs, Honey, Malt, Marine, Melon, Mineral, Mint, Spices, Tree Fruit, Vegetal

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