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Recent Tasting Notes
What a glorious surprise this tea is! I purchased 50g somewhat blindly and I’m so happy that I did. It has such a unique smell, flavour profile, and energy about it. It tastes sweet and almost floral/fruity (like a wildflower honey), has a beautiful reddish-brown liquor that gives off a hint of the taste to come, and the cha qi is serene yet invigorating. You can’t go wrong with this bold black tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Cherry, Eucalyptus, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Sugarcane, Toffee
Here is another review from the seemingly endless backlog. I finished a 50g pouch of this tea a couple weeks ago, but I am only now getting around to reviewing it here. Prior to trying this tea, I did not have much experience with Chun Lan at all. It is not one of the more popular or common Wuyi oolong cultivars and it does not seem to attract the most favorable reviews from teaheads whose opinions regarding Wuyi teas I trust. In essence, this tea was uncharted territory for me, and I went into my review session for it with no expectations whatsoever. What happened? I ended up liking it.
Naturally, I gongfued this tea. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of mushroom, char, longan, black cherry, black raspberry, and cannabis. After the rinse, I found new aromas of roasted peanut and orchid. The first infusion then brought out some stronger roasted peanut and orchid aromas, but I otherwise noted nothing new. In the mouth, I found notes of char and roasted peanut on the entry that gave way to mellow notes of longan and rock sugar chased by hints of orchid. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn fruitier and simultaneously vegetal. Cannabis, black raspberry, and black cherry notes emerged in the mouth alongside new impressions of minerals, earth, blueberry, peach, candied orange peel, roasted zucchini, and some odd hints of strawberry. The final infusions emphasized lingering notes of rock sugar, minerals, blueberry, strawberry, and orchid balanced by subtler notes of roasted peanut, black raspberry, cannabis, and char.
This was kind of an odd oolong, but a very rewarding one nonetheless. I would now like to try a more recent harvest of this tea just to get an idea of how it can change from year to year. I’m not sure people just getting into Wuyi oolongs would be pleased with this one since it presents such an odd, powerful mix of aromas and flavors, but those who are more experienced with these teas should find quite a bit to like. I will therefore recommend this tea with the caveat that it probably should not be one of the first Wuyi oolongs those new to such teas should try.
Flavors: Blueberry, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Earth, Fruity, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Raspberry, Roasted, Strawberry, Sugar, Zucchini
I’ve been sitting in front of my monitor for what feels like forever trying to think of a lead-in for this review. I’ve been distracted most of that time, spending much of it watching old Alice Cooper music videos on YouTube. Times like these remind me that I desperately need to work on being more focused and disciplined. I also need to sit down one of these days and make a sincere effort to finally clean out my backlog of reviews. This is yet another on which I have been sitting. I bought a 25g pouch of this tea shortly before it went out of stock, probably around the end of 2016 or the start of 2017, finally working my way through it near the end of April. I’m a big fan of Da Hong Pao, and this one was very good, though it ultimately fell just a little short of being one of my favorites.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 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 leaves emitted aromas of char, cinnamon, pine, and raisin. The rinse then brought out new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, dark chocolate, pear, pomegranate, and lychee. The first infusion introduced a hint of black cherry to the nose as the pear and lychee aromas seemed to swell. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of char and pine on the entry before allowing notes of roasted nuts, cinnamon, raisin, pomegranate, and dark chocolate to emerge. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn woodier, fruitier, and spicier, as new impressions of cedar, ginger, black pepper, sauteed mushrooms, minerals, smoke, caramel, tobacco, clove, nougat, and rock sugar joined belatedly emerging notes of black cherry, pear, and lychee in the mouth. The final infusions displayed a sharp, dominant mineral presence and lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted peanut, pine, char, raisin, and rock sugar. I could also catch some background impressions of cinnamon, ginger, and lychee in places.
There was a lot to appreciate about this tea, but I felt that some of its most appealing qualities faded just a hair too quickly. As traditional Da Hong Pao goes, however, it was very good. The roast seemed heavy, but it had settled enough to allow the tea’s fruitiness and spiciness to shine. This has been out of stock for some time now, and though there are other teas of this type that I prefer, I would probably pick this one up again if it were ever restocked.
Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Caramel, Cedar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Clove, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Ginger, Lychee, Mineral, Mushrooms, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raisins, Roasted, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco
Working through my samples of sheng, this one is a real nice one to me. Nice light smokey flavor with something else I see in a lot of shengs this age but can’t name. Very enjoyable. As it goes through more infusions, there’s more smoke, but a pleasant smoke, very smooth.
My first aged sheng and first yi wu. Definite camphor aroma and taste in early steepings. This tea’s storage offers a dramatic change from brew to brew. Very slight asitringency and biterness, definitely vegetal and turns sweet in later steeps. Brews a deep gold/orange to start. Really gave me a deep appreciation for the journey a wet stored tea can offer. Definable cha qi, mellow and stoned.
Flavors: Broccoli, Camphor, Menthol, Spinach, Sweet
Thank you Evol Ving Ness for sharing. I made this to accompany my black sesame eclair and while the eclair had loads of caramel this tea is all chocolate. The end of the sip as it cools gets a touch more bitter (for lack of a better word). I’m also getting stone fruit which seems out of place. It’s very nice but I think I’ve preferred some of the other blacks I’ve had.
Sampled this one among a few other Hai Lang Haos. Good value semi-aged cake. Seems to have been stored relatively dryly, but doesn’t have some of the sour off-notes that can sometimes be associated with that – good dry storage in other words. Still has some of its youthful bulang bitter punchiness, but tempered by a honey-sweet, woody finish. A good value buy for people looking for a daily drinker with some age on it.
This is another review from the backlog. I finished a pouch of this tea sometime around mid-late February, but forgot to post a review here. I am now remedying that. At the time I was working my way through what I had of this tea, I recall thinking that it was very good, yet perhaps a little odd and a little difficult. Going back through my session notes, I still stand by that opinion. This struck me as being the sort of tea I would not mind having on hand, but would only drink occasionally.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 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, and 5 minutes.
The dry tea leaves emitted aromas of char, cinnamon, burnt wood, dark chocolate, birch, and sweet cherry prior to the rinse. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of roasted almond and rock sugar underscored by a hint of rose. The first real infusion brought forth aromas of smoke, roasted peanut, and honey as well as a stronger rock sugar scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor initially offered a smooth mouthfeel with notes of char, cinnamon, burnt wood, sweet cherry, birch bark, rock sugar, and roasted almond. The finish, however, brought out fleeting impressions of roasted grain, grass, and smoke. Subsequent infusions brought out notes of cream, cannabis, leather, minerals, apricot, orange, peach, toasted sesame, pine, and grilled zucchini. In addition to the new impressions just listed, the notes of roasted grain grew stronger while flavors of rose, honey, roasted peanut, and dark chocolate also belatedly appeared. The later infusions emphasized lingering notes of minerals, cream, rose, honey, and roasted nuts underscored by toasted sesame, char, roasted grain, sweet cherry, and rock sugar.
Overall, this was an interesting and rather intense tea. There was a lot to process about it, thus making it more suitable for situations that allow for quiet, patient, highly focused sniffing and sipping than anything else. There were times when I found the constant multi-directional tug of war among the tea’s flavor components to be a little overwhelming. Also, this is a minor quibble, but given the name, I was expecting a much more overtly floral tea. In the end, I guess I can sum this tea up by stating that I see why some others thought so highly of it, but I found it to be the sort of tea for which I would have to be in the mood. Ultimately, I would recommend that curious drinkers, especially those familiar with Wuyi oolongs, give this one a shot, but do not expect a tea that will avoid challenging you.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Bark, Burnt, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Grain, Grass, Honey, Leather, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Pine, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Sugar, Wood, Zucchini
Gongfu in a 70ml glazed pot, boiling water into a thermos, so probably about 207F. Malty sweet potatoes with a layer of chocolate. Delicious and very nicely balanced with very low bitterness. I usually find hong to be too bitter potato skin or bitter malty/astringent, this is much better ratio of those aspects. Does tend to go a little sour by the third steep. Thanks for the sample, steph!
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Sour, Sweet Potatoes
This 2006 cake of yiwu area leaves was wet stored in xishuangbanna for 10 years, and then I assume in Oregon with Scott until I ordered it (Jan 2018). This tea hints scents of
chrysanthemum and camphor. The first few steeps have some damp tastes to them. The liquor was immediately sweet upon sipping. It has a very mellow flavor, and the tea soup is extremely smooth. There was a very light aftertaste of honey and some ripe melon. Warm hay scents and flavors were abundant throughout the tasting experience. Overall this is a soft and mellow tea, and a great introductory humid stored tea to try. This pu’er handled being overbrewed well, and would likely be inoffensive to most drinkers, even those who don’t normally drink puer teas. If you’re looking for an extremely vibrant tea, this one could be a pass, but as a soothing after-dinner drinker, I am happy to have this regularly.
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Sweet, warm grass
This review marks another Dancong sipdown. Prior to trying this tea, I was wholly unfamiliar with Ba Xian Dancong. I was aware that Ba Xian was popularly referred to as “Eight Immortals,” but aside from that tidbit, I could not tell any of you anything else about it. It took a couple days to grow on me, but for the most part, my first impression of this type of Dancong oolong was thoroughly positive. I found this to be a mellow, aromatic, and flavorful tea with more than enough complexity and depth to satisfy.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 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 produced curious aromas reminiscent of flowers and stone fruits. After the rinse, I was able to pick out somewhat clearer aromas of orchid and some emerging scents that were simultaneously citrusy and vegetal, yet I still could not place the stone fruit aromas. The first proper infusion brought out touches of pear, magnolia, and jasmine on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered pleasant notes of orchid and magnolia on the entry that were quickly balanced by impressions of pear, peach, and lychee before a subtle grassiness emerged on the finish. Subsequent infusions brought out hints of jasmine in the mouth and a little more pronounced grassiness. New impressions of apple, almond, lemon, orange zest, violet, orange blossom, plum, honeydew, and minerals also appeared. The later infusions retained subtle impressions of minerals backed by fleeting notes of pear, grass, citrus, almond, violet, and a belatedly emerging maltiness.
An interesting and satisfying Dancong oolong, I could not find much to fault about this one. For me, it ended up being an exceptional introduction to Ba Xian-I am now looking forward to trying at least one or two more in the coming year. Though the leaves in my gaiwan were not as long and intact as those in the photographs provided by Yunnan Sourcing/Yunnan Sourcing US, I would not display much hesitation in recommending this tea to anyone curious about some of the less heralded Dancongs.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Floral, Grass, Honeydew, Jasmine, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Violet
It turns out that I had a few more of these spring 2016 Dancongs than I thought. I’m now prioritizing finishing them before I move on to some of my remaining 2017 teas. Those of you who read my reviews should expect a steady stream of Dancong reviews with a few breaks here and there for at least the next two weeks. As of this writing, I am down to my last 3-4 grams of this tea and have come to the conclusion that this is an exceptional Dancong oolong.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent 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, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected an orchid scent coupled with hints of stone fruit and something like caraway. The rinse brought out a much more intense orchid aroma as well as aromas of pomegranate and citrus. The first infusion then brought out a peach-like scent. Yunnan Sourcing’s description mentioned something about dried cannabis flowers, but I did not get anything like that. In the mouth, the soft, smooth tea liquor offered a dominant orchid note with some underlying stone fruit hints. Subsequent infusions retained the strong floral character, but also added impressions of peach, honey, plum, candied orange peel, pomegranate, tangerine, malt, toast, minerals, and marshmallow underscored by hints of caraway and damp grass. The later infusions were heavy on mineral notes, though I could still detect infrequent impressions of toast, marshmallow, orchid, citrus, and damp grass.
A surprisingly refined, mellow tea with admirable complexity and a respectable layering of aromas and flavors, this reminded me of a somewhat less fruity Mi Lan Xiang. I loved the way the alternately sweet and pungent orchid impressions filled the nose and mouth, and I also appreciated the fact that the liquor never turned all that soapy. If you are a fan of floral oolongs, make a point to give this one a try. I doubt you will regret it.
Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange, Orchid, Peach, Plums, Toast
Prior to trying this tea, I had kind of established the idea that Ya Shi Xiang was just not my thing and never likely to be. I’m still at a point where I am learning about Dancong oolongs as I go, but so far, teas like Mi Lan Xiang and Da Wu Ye have been consistently more satisfying for me. This tea, however, convinced me that it was absolutely necessary for me to be more open-minded about Ya Shi Xiang Dancong oolongs. I found it to be a wonderfully mellow, subtle tea with an absolutely fantastic texture in the mouth.
Naturally, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 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, I found that the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, vanilla, and flowers. After the rinse, I noted emerging scents of roasted almond, butter, rose, violet, and orange blossom. The first infusion brought out some scents of toast and caraway. In the mouth, I noted mild flavors of roasted almond, cream, butter, vanilla, toast, and orange blossom. Subsequent infusions brought out the caraway, rose, and violet notes in the mouth. I also began to catch emerging impressions of minerals, steamed milk, earth, pomelo, lemon zest, watercress, damp grass, cattail shoots, banana leaf, and toasted marshmallow. The later infusions were predictably mild, offering lingering notes of cream, vanilla, toast, and minerals up front and fleeting nutty and vegetal characteristics on the swallow.
I’m rather used to Ya Shi Xiang Dancongs that offer a blast of caraway, rye, and muddy vegetal and earthy notes through the majority of a gongfu session, but this tea was much more mellow and displayed a greater integration and a more sophisticated layering of aromas and flavors. Unlike many Dancongs, this tea was also neither soapy nor slippery in the mouth. Instead, it displayed a wonderfully creamy, milky mouthfeel. In the end, this tea just struck me as being so nice that I cannot help but recommend it highly.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Grass, Lemon Zest, Marshmallow, Milk, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Rose, Toast, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet
I had to take a few days off due to illness, but I’m back again and ready to post some more reviews. This last week has been so frustrating. I interviewed for a new job, but I ended up not getting it. Has anyone ever had one of those interviews where you can tell the interviewer has already made up their mind and isn’t taking you seriously? This was definitely one of those interviews for me. The interviewer did not even bother to show up on time for the interview. It was that bad. Then the brakes blew out on my car. Then I ended up once again dealing with sinusitis when the cold weather broke. It’s been a struggle. This was the tea that kept me company through most of the week. Like my week, I found it to be difficult and frustrating. Unlike my week, however, it was not necessarily bad overall.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 15 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 reminiscent of char, dark wood, cream, and stone fruit. After the rinse, I found aromas of wild mushroom, cooked spinach, and some sort of roasted vegetable. The first proper infusion brought out hints of burnt sugar on the nose. On the palate, the liquor expressed elusive notes of burnt sugar, cream, wild strawberry, peach, and pomelo backed by hints of dark wood and char with a ghostly floral quality on the finish. So, the first infusion was not all that much like the nose. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of rose, honey roasted peanut, roasted almond, orange zest, sweet cherry, earth, minerals, and slightly stronger impressions of wild mushroom and dark wood that belatedly managed to show up in the mouth as well. The char notes started to recede into the background while the nose started to take on some citrusy qualities. I also started to note emerging impressions of roasted green beans, watercress, cooked spinach, and collard greens. Interestingly enough, the finish on each of these infusions started off with hints of char, burnt sugar, earth, and vegetables before a blast of floral notes took over, dominating the aftertaste. To me, it was like a blend of rose, chrysanthemum, and dandelion. There was also something of a cooling presence in the nose, mouth, and throat after the swallow. The later infusions were mostly dominated by notes of minerals, dark wood, earth, and a stronger char note up front, though fleeting underpinnings of wild mushroom, cooked spinach, honey roasted peanut, and roasted green beans were still just barely detectable before cream, burnt sugar, and those odd cooling sensations once again took over on the finish.
There was a lot going on with this tea, but it was all so hard to pin down throughout the session. Just to be sure I wasn’t making this harder than it needed to be, I brewed this tea Western and tried a slightly different gongfu preparation and got very similar results. Overall, this just struck me as being an odd and rather difficult tea. It was also a little rough around the edges; the aromas and flavors it displayed clashed in a few places, setting up some odd, awkward contrasts. Again, it was not bad, but it also was not great. I’m glad I took the opportunity to try it, and perhaps others will get more satisfaction from it than I did, but this did not offer everything I tend to look for in a Wuyi oolong.
Flavors: Almond, Char, Cherry, Citrus, Cream, Dandelion, Dark Wood, Earth, Floral, Green Beans, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Rose, Spinach, Strawberry, Sugar, Vegetal
Steepster really does not seem to want me to post this note. As I was typing the next to last paragraph of a review for this tea, it deleted my note as I was typing. It was literally there and then gone. Let’s try this again. I finished up a 50 gram pouch of this tea a little over a week ago, but opted to prioritize a few other reviews and didn’t get around to seriously thinking about posting a review for this tea until this evening. I found this to be a very good Yunnan black tea, but I seem to be something of an outlier in that respect because this does not seem to have been one of the more popular 2016 Yunnan Sourcing black teas.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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 produced aromas of cedar, pine, malt, molasses, and caramel. After the rinse, I found emerging scents of honey and roasted nuts. The first proper infusion brought out a stronger roasted nut scent. On the palate, the liquor offered notes of malt, caramel, and honey balanced by a touch of molasses and impressions of bitter roasted nuts (almost like black walnut and hickory). Subsequent infusions brought out notes of butter, cream, vanilla, cocoa, tobacco, pine, and roasted peanut, while the cedar finally started to show itself on the palate. Hints of smoke, marshmallow, minerals, ginger, toast, and orange zest also emerged fairly late in the session. The later infusions emphasized mineral, roasted nut, and malt notes balanced by hints of caramel, orange zest, ginger, and toast.
I’m not sure why, but I was not expecting much complexity out of this tea. Instead, I got a ton of it. Though this may not be one of Yunnan Sourcing’s more popular Yunnan black teas here on Steepster, I found this one to be extremely enjoyable. Your mileage may vary.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cocoa, Cream, Ginger, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Toast, Tobacco, Vanilla, Walnut
This tea was such a pain for me. First, it was one of those teas that I opened and then forgot about for a longer period of time than was appropriate (I noted a few small punctures at the top of the pouch, so I ended up sealing it in another pouch. That’s probably why I forgot about it). Second, I just never got to a point where I was comfortable brewing this one. I tried two different gongfu sessions, and one was pleasant, yet not exactly consistent, while the other just yielded exceedingly bland, boring tea. I then started brewing this tea Western and got much more desirable results compared to the second gongfu session. When this tea was good, I enjoyed it, but I never quite felt that I got it right.
[Note: Of the three preparations, the initial gongfu session was my favorite overall, so that is the one that will be described below.]
When it came to preparing this tea, I opted to gongfu 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water. After a quick rinse, I steeped the leaves for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 11 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 18 seconds, 22 seconds, 28 seconds, 35 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes. I know this was a weird way to do things, but it was rather late and I kept messing up my timing, so I had to keep making little adjustments until I got to the longer infusions.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves offered muted aromas of flowers, ripe plums, and sweetgrass. After the rinse, I picked up stronger floral scents (orchid, but there were other flowers there too. I kept thinking of both plumeria and geranium, but I wasn’t sure about either) and hints of roasted almond. The first infusion yielded no real difference on the nose as far as I could tell. In the mouth, the liquor offered delicate notes of roasted almond underscored by plum, sweetgrass, and orchid impressions. Subsequent infusions brought out a very smooth liquor without the expected dancong soapiness/slickness. I found emerging impressions of cream, butter, wood, and marshmallow joining stronger plum, sweetgrass, and orchid notes. There was definitely some geranium in there, and in places, I could find underlying impressions of minerals, rock sugar, cherry, malt, and toast. The later infusions were quick to wash out, offering very fleeting notes of minerals, cream, butter, and marshmallow with some distant, lingering hints of orchid, stone fruits, and sweetgrass.
I know most of the other reviewers rather liked this one, and while I did as well, I found it to be an odd tea. It was not exactly unpleasant, just rather different and difficult in my opinion. I know I should have gotten to it sooner after opening its pouch and then transferring it to a different storage vessel, but I still found a lot in this tea that held my interest. This intrigued me enough to want to give a fresher, more recent harvest a try.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Cherry, Cream, Floral, Geranium, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orchid, Plums, Sugar, Toast, Wood
Another of the teas I finished during my recent hong cha binge, I originally purchased this tea to make up for the fact that I missed out on a similar tea from another seller. When Whispering Pines Tea Company introduced an imperial gold needle dian hong, I kept balking at the opportunity to purchase some. I figured that it probably wouldn’t sell out quickly, so there was a good chance I could still get a pouch when the prices dropped or during a sale. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. When I finally decided to pull the trigger, I discovered that the tea was out of stock. Shortly thereafter, I discovered this tea on the Yunnan Sourcing US website. It seemed similar, so I figured I would order some and try it to make up for missing out on the other. No disrespect to the Whispering Pines tea (which I still haven’t tried, by the way), but I probably should have just opted to go with this one first.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 ounces of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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 produced aromas of baked bread, malt, and honey. The rinse released new aromas of smoke, caramel, and baked sweet potato. The first proper infusion produced a near identical bouquet. In the mouth, the liquor offered incredibly slight, delicate notes of baked bread, honey, malt, and caramel underscored by a hint of butter. Subsequent infusions brought out the baked sweet potato impressions, while butter appeared on the nose and started to really pop in the mouth. I also noted that a slight smokiness made its way to the palate. The baked bread notes started to gradually transform into yeast roll impressions. New notes of orange zest, vanilla, brown sugar, chocolate, pine, eucalyptus, fennel, roasted peanut, roasted chestnut, marzipan, camphor, menthol, and minerals appeared as well. The later infusions mostly featured notes of minerals and malt balanced by a cooling herbal presence, a slight breadiness, and a touch of brown sugar sweetness.
A very nice and very complex dian hong, this made for a truly lovely drinking experience. I loved the way the aroma and flavor components kept shifting and changing. My experience also suggested that this tea had more than respectable longevity. I’m not sure if I would recommend this to dian hong neophytes considering that I found it to be the sort of tea that actively encourages quiet analysis and contemplation, but I would definitely recommend it highly to experienced dian hong drinkers.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Chestnut, Chocolate, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Malt, Marzipan, Menthol, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vanilla, Yeasty
Yay! It’s time for another backlogged review! I recently went through three pouches of Yunnan black teas from the autumn 2016 harvest and this was one of them. Like most of the Yunnan black teas offered by Yunnan Sourcing/Yunnan Sourcing US that I have tried, this one was a keeper. It was quite complex, yet never lost anything in the way of approachability.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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 produced aromas of cedar, pine, malt, honey, tobacco, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I found aromas of baked bread, brown sugar, and eucalyptus accompanying a strong honey scent. The first infusion introduced sharply amplified scents of pine and cedar as well as a stronger eucalyptus aroma. In the mouth, I noted impressions of malt, pine, cedar, eucalyptus, sweet potato, and brown sugar. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of cream, orange, vanilla, caramel, minerals, and black pepper backed by hints of menthol and smoke. Honey, tobacco, and baked bread notes also appeared in the mouth around this point. The later infusions offered notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, caramel, and sweet potato underscored by herbal, menthol-like touches.
A complex, yet balanced Yunnan assamica, this proved to be a consistently likable, adaptable tea. Even though it mellowed quickly, rendering the later infusions rather predictable after a point, it made for a very enjoyable drinking experience. If you are a fan of traditional Yunnan black teas, you may want to consider giving this one a shot.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cedar, Cream, Eucalyptus, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Orange, Pine, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vanilla
I’m obviously still working my way through a few of last year’s black teas, but fortunately, I don’t have many more left. I actually opened this one up around the end of October and used some of it to make iced tea (which was truly great, by the way). Since I managed to rip the bag it came in, I had to immediately transfer it to a tin. I then forgot about this tea until the end of November. After a test brew, I realized that it was still viable, though it may have fallen off a touch. I then devoted my time to finishing the last of it before moving on to something else. Overall, I found this to be a very nice black tea. Despite the slightly less-than-optimal condition it was in when I conducted my review session, it still had quite a bit to offer.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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 nectarine, peach, malt, and honey. After the rinse, I found scents of roasted nuts and wood backed by a hint of citrus. The first infusion brought out something of an herbal quality on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered notes of roasted nuts, wood, malt, and honey with indistinct stone fruit notes and some cocoa tones. Subsequent infusions brought out considerably more cocoa. I also caught notes of red apple, brown sugar, blood orange, red pear, baked bread, prune, eucalyptus, black cherry, minerals, nectarine, sugarcane, and peach underscored by fleeting impressions of nutmeg, cinnamon, and something like camphor/menthol. The roasted nut notes separated somewhat, as I began to be reminded of a mix of roasted almonds and roasted walnuts. The later infusions mostly boasted notes of minerals, malt, wood, roasted nuts, and cocoa balanced by lingering hints of fruit and herbs.
Again, I did not treat this tea as well as I should have, but there was still a lot of life left in it. I kind of wish I had gotten to it sooner and that I had not been so exhausted and stuffy when I conducted my review session, but it’s a little late to do anything about that now. This was a very enjoyable tea. Each of the 2016 Yunnan Sourcing purple black teas that I tried were very good. This one was certainly no exception.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blood orange, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Dried Fruit, Eucalyptus, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Nutmeg, Peach, Pear, Red Apple, Sugarcane, Walnut, Wood
The goal for today was to go out and do some raid battles in Pokemon Go. Caught Ho-oh in the first battle I found in my neighborhood – so that was easier than expected and came home early to lounge around the house for the rest of the day.
Tonight I’m drinking this YS Laoshan. Not what I was expecting. This should be chocolatey – it not. It’s desserty but not chocolate. It’s more sweet potato/pecan pie. Yam/starch, cooked sugar, nutty, and a little roasty. The mouthfeel is also a little thin for my liking – this makes it seem more watery than it really is. This is good – it’s fine – I’m happily drinking it tonight, but it’s not amazing. Thanks Evol for sharing.
I’m using my fun little pot tonight. I really like this pot for black and oolong teas. It doesn’t pour fast enough for moonlight or sheng, but for darker teas it’s a great little pot. Happy I bought it.https://www.instagram.com/p/BcN-UkEhThI/?taken-by=dex3657
I’m on the fence with this one. Two things have happened that are working against this tea: 1) I’ve been blowing away my taste buds by drinking quite a bit of young raw puerh, and so need to fine-tune my palate when drinking something a bit more sophisticated, and 2) I did two comparisons this year of roasted vs. unroasted oolongs, and I noticed how the roasting, I thought, actually detracted from the overall experience. Now, I can’t get that out of my head whenever I drink a roasted oolong.
So, the first thing that happened when I drank this tea was a reaction of “Bleh, charcoal and peanut shell” followed by “This is boring.”
Then I started thinking about my first Wu Yi experience a few years ago. The dryness surprised me, but I was fascinated with how it brought me the experience of a rainy day on my palate – wet rocks, whiffs of green plants, some indefinable sweetness… As I started reminiscing, I started appreciating this tea. I stopped trying to find particular flavors and break down arrival/development/finish, and I just started enjoying my sips of a rainy day.
Dry mineral and nutty flavors arrive in an oily body. Hints of herbs, flowers, and fruit have a passing presence, and then the whole thing ends with a refreshing citrus finish. Definitely more of a mouth-feel experience than a taste-bud experience. But, I think this is the sort of tea that can have a comforting sort of nostalgia to it.
Still not really my thing, especially for the price, but I appreciate the fact that this tea has reminded me of how to approach understated and sophisticated teas.
Dry leaf – nutty and floral: peanut shell, dried parsley and cilantro; notes of carob, dark cherry, baker’s chocolate. In preheated vessel – charcoal roast, red currant.
Smell – roast, heavily roasted nuts, hard wood. Hints of red currant and chocolate, especially when the liquor has cooled a bit.
Taste – mineral, wet rock, roasted nut, peanut shell, oily body. Development has some floral notes arrive. Finish has red currant notes pop up. Aftertaste of citrus – orange oil, orange and grapefruit essence.