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Recent Tasting Notes
Tastes like a moderate quality Yunnan black tea, it is very good, but not as good as the loose Yunnan blacks I have had. Sweet and smooth with chocolate overtones, gets easily astringent with higher temperatures.
Very good tea, but I would 100% order loose leaf Yunnan black tea over this, the highly compressed cake is a real pain to break apart and I end up turning a lot of it into tea dust.
Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Cocoa
Another tea I put off reviewing. Kind of mediocre. It’s fairly smooth with some light astrigency and bitter notes. Not much complexity here, and a touch on the bland side, but I won’t hold that against it as I prefer my ‘staple’ teas to be smooth and basic. I agree with another reviewer in that it tastes like a black (basic assam) tea….and actually reminds me of lipton tea but with a tad more complexity and some sweet honey notes that finish up at the end. Honestly, this tea isn’t all that memorable or enchanting (no cha qi) so I won’t order again because there are too many teas out there which have more to offer. What could be expected for the price? ….. the economical price might make it good for Kombucha or as a basic staple. It held many steeps.
Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Pepper
I find this one to be more complex than the other reviewers here. On the nose I got typical sweet potato, malt, also got dates, dried apricot and a buttery aroma with marigold flower. On the palate very similar to nose, slight allspice with Assam tea quality also. Some of the flavors were quite delicate. Not a big and rich tea, but very nice
I decided on something good today, which was the 2014 Yunnan Sourcing Ai Lao Mountain which comes in convenient mini tuo format. Very much a gushu tea with not that much sweetness in it. Darker heavier flavor of Bulang chocolate, grains, chalky note. There are subnotes of berries and florals here and there. Clean and sharp huigans. The viscosity tends towards a thicker soup, on par with the 2004 YQH Dingji.
There is a moderately high level of astringency that should help this tea improve over the decades if stored well. The aftertastes largely tend towards woodsy Menghai florals. Qi is moderately strong and very relaxing as expected in a high quality gushu tea like this one. The leaves lasted about twenty two brews before I put them aside, and there seems to be enough flavour left in them for several more long steeps tomorrow.
This is a remarkable tea, reasonably priced but performing at the premium level, easily as good as Verdant’s authentic Ban Zhang but without that tea’s sticker-glue aftertaste. This tea has some minor flaws compared to superpremium brand Menghai teas, of course, but you can’t beat the price. I’ve ordered a few tongs for the tea cellar.
Flavors: Cherry Wood, Chocolate, Floral, Grain
This Dan Cong was a joy, also my first experience with Dan Cong. It has a slightly milky texture, sticky like sweet potato sap or nectar. I’d recommend getting a larger sample than I did (regretting the 10g purchase, should have been 250.)
10/10 would steep again…
Flavors: Campfire, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Wet Rocks
I don’t usually drink tea at this time, but I wanted something to drink while doing homework and straightening up a bit tonight. I’ve had this one for quite a while and haven’t tried it yet, so no time like the present, right?!
Put 7g into a 100ml gaiwan and did a very quick steep to start, no wash. Pretty deep colored liquor in steep one, and it smells quite robust. Definitely getting wood and roasty notes in the beginning. Not so much nutty as grainy, and a sweet finish that has a hint of cream and a mineral aftertase and building tropical notes. I can tell my tastes are evolving, because I don’t think I would have liked this a few months ago.
A few more steeps in I get a cooling sensation that lasts for a couple of steeps before the tea settles out into a fairly consistent, light blend of rocky, tropical sweetness. I find that it doesn’t really affect my energy levels much at all, which is perfect for this time of night. I’m able to stay focused on my homework and don’t feel overly alert, so I should still be able to sleep without an issue.
Flavors: Grain, Mineral, Roasted, Sweet, Tropical, Wood
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Flavors: banana, Chocolate, Cocoa
I ordered this tea as sample (Autumn 2016 version), as it’s very expensive. My initial impression was disappointment that the color wasn’t as green as what was pictured. I steeped it at 185F and gave it about a minute. The color of the liquor wasn’t strong at all and my expectations really lowered after these two things. However, I was blown away on the first sip. The liquor has primarily a sweet orchid taste, bringing back memories of Hawaii, which eases into a subtle seaweed aftertaste. It has salty (“mineral”) notes as well. There is amazing complexity to it – what one would hope for in a tea that costs this much. Furthermore, it has an amazing cha qi – I felt a sudden clarity and giddiness after consuming the first cup. I was so impressed with this tea that I infused it several times. I think this would make a fantastic ‘social’ or ceremonial tea. This can’t be an every day tea for most of us, but worth having a sample or two around for special occasions. If I’m in the mood for something elegant and refined this is what I will go to.
Flavors: Mineral, Orchids, Seaweed
Pretty good stuff. It has taken me to the next level of dancong scrumptiousness. These beautiful and delicate laves are smaller than I expected. After the first rinse, my nose is met with a complex and intoxicating aroma of ripened cherries, muscat grape skins, orchids, nutmeg, and juniper berries, among other tasty notes.
There’s a lot of mouth activity going on and a definitive structure to the tea. It’s pure and has a velvety texture. During the initial 3 or so steeps, I’m getting prominent muscat grape with perhaps a few orchids thrown in there. It leaves a floral sweetness and slightly numbing sensation on the tongue as it lingers.
After the 5th or so steep, sandalwood and sweet mineral notes take the stage while the florals and muscat linger the background. By now, the tea has filled my mouth with sweetness as well as tingling and drying sensations. With my typical leaf-to-water ratio, I’d say I can get at least 8 tasty steeps. Nice qi in this one too!
Boychik sent me two of these a couple of years ago, and since I’m working my way into year 3 of my Sipdown Extravaganza, it’s about time I start drinking things like this. Plus I’ve had a headache for a few days, and drinking Sheng seems to help, at least sometimes. I have noticed that it is beneficial for allergies, so there.
I do like Sheng, but as a general rule, I don’t care for Sheng Tuocha’s, and this one is no exception.
Yesterday I dropped one into my sheng yixing, keeping the steeps short, and as the tuo fell apart, the spout kept getting semi-clogged with all the powdery stuff. And it was mostly powdery stuff. There were some smaller leaves in there, and they unfolded nicely, and really, the tea itself was ok, good for a headache, bitter & somewhat astringent, and it did get a little sweeter after awhile.
Today I dropped the other tuocha into a steeper basket in a full size mug, and I actually preferred it that way. First, because I just didn’t want to have all that powdery crap in my yixing, and 2ndly because it actually tasted better with more water and a little more time. I went with 15 secs for the first steep, adding 15 to each consecutive steep.
I still haven’t cured my headache, but at least I get to count a sipdown!
Not something I would purchase, but thanks to Boychik for the opportunity to sample it :)
I wasn’t sure what I was going to get when I ordered this, as I’ve never tried the purple tea varietals. This one is a nice strong tea; a smooth, mild black tea, and has a sweetness that reminds me of rose petals or a flower. I found that it steeped best at (1.5 tsp/8oz) 185 F for 3 minutes . I did try 205 F for 4 minutes just for fun – while slightly more ‘potent’ than the first option it was definitely still smooth and not remotely bitter. Not a picky tea IMHO. What I really love about this tea is the ‘energy’ of the tea. It leaves me feeling good about the world and with a sense of wellbeing. Out of all the teas I got last time (most of which I will order again) none of them compared in “esscence”. I hope to order more in the future.
Flavors: Roasted, Rose, Sweet
I tossed a couple little packets of this Heicha into a Yunnan Sourcing order I made a few months back, and one of them just surfaced in my sample box. After drinking it, I’m sad to say they’re gone on Yunnan Sourcing’s site – it was a very interesting and tasty tea. The dry leaf had a pungent prune or other dried fruit smell. The aroma was largely unchanged after a rinse, with a bit of maltiness entering the mix as well.
The flavor was pretty out there – I got a lot of that same sour dried fruitiness, I’m gonna call it prunes, throughout the session. The first steep was prunes and dried cherries with a slight cooling mouthfeel. I haven’t ever tasted a tea that was much of anything like that first steep. It was like everything I always hope for (and have never gotten) when black teas are labeled as “fruity.” Nice and bright flavor.
I didn’t taste the cherry after that first steep, but the rest of the session was nice as well. It got a touch of bittersweet chocolate to it, with the fruit a little more distant in the finish, but still quite there and quite pruney. The chocolate vibe only lasted through around steep 4, but even once it was gone, the tea retained a bit of a bittersweet note to it which I couldn’t pin down.
Compared to a lot of the puerh and stuff I drink, this one didn’t have quite the longevity – I got 8 steeps out of it, and the last two were pretty diminished. Despite that, I would buy up a lot more of this tea in a heartbeat if it were available. The single-session packaging and affordability make it a no brainer for such an interesting tea. I really need to try some more Tian Jian and other heicha…haven’t had great experience with Liu Bao, but these other heicha have been nice.
This one kind of reminded me of a really funky and whacked out black tea – like black tea’s psycho cousin. I liked it a lot.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Sweet
This one has great qi, but more subtle in flavor than I expected. Dried leaf has a floral and sweet grassy scent and when steeped becomes more floral (honeysuckle) with some steamed brussel’s sprouts. Tea soup is clear, pale yellow, and viscous.
It’s quite active in the mouth. Some nice cooling effects going on here, too. I detected whispers (yes, I said whispers!) of honeysuckle, acorn, pine, buttered zucchini, and snap peas. A bit of an ordinary flavor profile, IMO. The best part is how it lingers in the mouth…more than 20 mins! I can see this becoming even more interesting over the years.
I bought this tea because the description sounded similar to WP’s Wildcrafted Da Hong Pao, one of my all time favorite wuyi oolongs. This tea has a lot of characteristics that I like in DHP.
At first it was a little aggressive, but after resting a few months the roast has mellowed out and the char flavor is gone. The dry leaf smells like dark chocolate and wet wood. When brewed, it has the classic wuyi rock flavor, along with some oak and a hint of florals in the finish. There’s some honey that pops in occasionally. It’s a quite potent tea so less is definitely more. I grandpa steep this with just a pinch of leaves and it can go all day.
This is a smooth, enjoyable wuyi that’s not quite as sublime as the WP one but is stellar tea in its own right and a better value at half the price.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Oak wood, Wet Rocks
I wanted to like this more. I did two gong fu sessions over the weekend and wasn’t getting any thing but a weak bland flavor. Decided to do western style just now and heavily leafed it. It is a bit stronger but the malt note is falling short and it has a rather generic black tea flavor. It isn’t bad but isn’t anything special.
A nice aged-ish orange liquor from this one, I’ve aired it for a couple months now and all but a hint of those wet humid storage flavors have lifted, leaving mainly the aged flavor behind. A good relaxing vibe from this tea, it is a bit rough while opening up, but smooths into a more creamy texture and a distinct sweetness by the fifth or sixth steep. Not super complex or deep, but not boring either, and the more mellow woody background of a few years of aging present. Went for a respectable 11 or 12 steeps if I recall correctly and the energy is nice and relaxing.
This was a quite good mid aged tea for the price and would make a good daily drinker, in my opinion if the flavor appeals to you. Nothing outstanding, but very solid and enjoyable. There also seems to be some evolution in store for this tea to go as well, based on the astringent ‘bite’ still going strong in the first four or five steeps. I can also definitely see certain flavors in this evolving into a strong date sweetness with time as it’s currently flirting with that as it is.
Flavors: Astringent, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Sawdust, Sweet, Wood
NOt sure what to say about this tea. While I could have over brewed it, It seems to have a note of sour fruit to it. Not so much that it is undrinkable but still there.
Brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 185 degree water for 3 minutes.