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Recent Tasting Notes
I was inspired by the videos from Scott so yesterday I drank Man Tang Hong Number 2 for the first time and today I’m revisiting the Man Tang Hong Gong Ting. I bought the 2011 sampler with both a few months ago so they’ve had plenty of time to rest. The dry leaf of this one smells like dark chocolate and both it and the tea soup are more pungent than Number 2. That said, Gong Ting is actually rounder tasting and sweeter with a sharp cinnamon taste that quickly fades to more of a feel that goes well with the general thickness of this tea. This tea is definitely smoother than Number 2 with a plummy tartness that emerges in the aftertaste that really rounds out this tea. This tea also leaves a sugar sweetness on my lips like the 2013 Golden Needle White Lotus but this actually has character to it. Number 2 really is a drier tea with more spice flavor and less sweetness. Both definitely share a lot of character and are really nice teas. This one is more of a daily drinker for me due to the more rounded character.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Plums, Smooth, Spices, Sweet
I’m not really familiar with the wide variety of shengs available, but this seems very middle of the road. For a moderately aged tea, you could do a lot worse but also a lot better. It would make a good daily drinker and that’s how I’m drinking it. 5g in a 16oz ingentuitea hitting it with boiling water and just waiting until it looks right. for my notes on taste I did a session with 5g in a 90ml gaiwan.
Early on it’s a bit smokey, but not too strong. More of the petroleum than wood smoke. There is a very distinct saccharine sweetness coming from this, but it balances the bitterness really well. There is still a lot of green to this despite being a decade old and you get a cooked kale flavor from the body that also brings up ideas of tobacco and wet wood pulp. There are some of the classic stonefruit flavors there in the background, but the texture really distracts me away from it. It started out nice and silky but has transitioned to being a bit drying, which is really where I back out.
All around not bad, but I won’t be buying a cake.
Picked up a brick of this from YS in my recent shou-stocking order. It is a good shou imo – I haven’t ever had any sort of Cha Tou tea before, so I’m not sure what/how much those are contributing to the blend here. The brick breaks apart easily compared to a lot of factory brick’s I’ve attempted to break up.
There is definitely still some fermentation flavor in the early steeps, though it is not fishy. Flavor is sweet and easily drinkable. This shou does have a nice floral note that I don’t find a lot in ripes – some have described it as rose. I can’t really pick apart different floral notes well enough to be able to say that. Longevity isn’t that great, but material seems mostly small with a few lil nuggets in there, so that’s not unexpected. Good tea for a pretty nice price too.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet, Wet Wood, Wood
I got this a few months ago with the 2011 sampler and forgot about it but the video on it reminded me. This is a really nice tea. Scott’s description is pretty spot on – camphor, wood, and sweetness followed by spice and dried fruit aftertaste. I’m not getting any bitterness at all unlike him but this tea definitely holds my interest. I can definitely taste a lot of similarities with the Gong Ting version but I want to say that that one was sharper in flavor. I’ll have to order samples of the two newer pressings of the Man Tang Hongs as I really like whatever that fermentation master is doing.
Flavors: Camphor, Dried Fruit, Spices, Wood
(Checking in on how my collection is developing)
Wet Leaves: Smoke. Like Scott says on YS, it’s a distinctly “BBQ” kind of smoke, like savory foods cooking on a grill. Heavy, dense aroma. Smells oily, like resin or lacquer. Hard to pick out aromas. Maybe some fruitiness or vegetal?
Early Steeps: Smoke. Already feeling a little thick. Fairly sweet.
Middle Steeps: Robust. Thick, sweet, and whole lot of bitterness. Smoke has calmed down, and now a fresh fruitiness is peeking through.
Tail End: Smoke has finally balanced, some herbal flavors present, and penetrating sheng bitterness lingers a long time after wards.
Verdict: Good, aggressive young tea, but I don’t enjoy this as much as when I was a total newbie. But great candidate for storage though, obviously. Will probably only drink it in a specific mood.
might as well brew this with its homeland clay…in chaozhou pot.
dry leaf does indeed have pomelo-esque aromas, certainly citrus.
roasted grain, fried butter and mineral with gripping astringency on the finish at tip of tongue.
almost saline mid-palate
First review! I’m moving into a real tea habit and Yunnan Sourcing is a hell of an enabler. This tea is my first real example of a yunnan black tea and it seems like a great place to start.
It has a bitterness akin to unsweetend cocoa with a malty, earthy, slightly nutty body. The wet leaf has a strong cocoa smell with some of those classic sweeter honeysuckle floral notes, and a faint touch of spearmint or wintergreen root. The body has a medium density that doesn’t feel thin and doesn’t really coat.
The aftertaste lasts in the back of the mouth with coffee/ burnt bread like bitterness. Overall I’m very happy with the 50gram purchase, but I’m not sure I’ll restock once I’m through the bag. There are just too many great teas to try at this price point.
Flavors: Almond, Cocoa, Honeysuckle, Malt, Mineral, Spearmint, Umami
This sample is from Arby. Thank you!
It’s been so long since I’ve had a nice cup of Silver Needles of any kind. It’s like coming, although this one feels more robust than I’m used to. I like it when they are a little more.. ethereal? The second steep fulfilled my wants for an even lighter sweet tea though (playing with steeping parameters).
Personal fun fact: I hated cucumbers before I was introduced to white tea. This type of tea and Dragonwell got me into vegetables!
Steep Count: 2
Flavors: Banana, Cucumber, Floral, Hay, Lemon, Lychee
Since I’m not fond of aggressive roasting, Wuyi oolongs are always a bit of a gamble. This one from 2015 was never too roasted to begin with, and I’m sure the years have mellowed it even further. I steeped about 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, and 120 seconds.
This oolong has notes of wood, caramel, honey, minerals, undefined fruitiness, florals, and yes, even some cinnamon. The roast stays in the background, supporting and not drowning the other flavours. By the third steep, the tea has become simultaneously greener and more roasted, with some lingering charcoal. Like another reviewer stated, I find many of the nuances emerge in the aftertaste. By steep seven or so, it starts getting less interesting, fading into minerality and roast.
I did a long steep overnight and the results were surprisingly good, with wood, spice, and a lot of astringency.
Although I want more fruit and cinnamon in my Rou Gui, this is a complex oolong with a roast that doesn’t remind me of a campfire.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Floral, Fruity, Green, Honey, Mineral, Wood
Sipdown! This is my fourth sipdown today, and I’m still going.
This is a really typical Fuding black tea. Primarily smoky leather notes, roasted barley, unsweetened cocoa. Mostly the leather flavour though.
Flavors: Cocoa, Leather, Roasted Barley, Smoke
I have had a sample of this one laying around since perhaps my first YS order. I just got around to trying it somehow. After rinsing, the leaves had quite a sweet aroma, like woody marshmallows. The flavor was also rather sweet, but I didn’t find it to be particularly strong. Good body and thickness to the liquor. Woody earthiness and a bit of chocolate on the finish.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Thick
Just finished my sample so I feel like it is time to do a final review on it. Dry leaf has quite a bit of gold to it and opens up to fairly burly leaf. The aromatics of this tea are all around great – dark, bitter chocolate with occasional hints of spice. Similar in both dry and wet leaf but once wet I can make out a bit of pile funk. Taste varies depending on how hard I leafed this. There is a very clear sweet spot where the mouthfeel is best and the taste doesn’t punch you in the face. I’ve had some of the 2011 production and age will definitely make this a nonissue though. Anyway, tasting notes are primarily dark chocolate though spice notes come in later alongside some medicinal cherry flavors. There is a fair bit of pile taste in the early infusions but I only do a brief rinse and honestly, it makes the tea a more interesting experience to me. Qi is pretty intense and sheng-like but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is one of the best parts of this for me. Though some of the first infusions can be almost chalky, once this gets going it has a very slippery oily mouthfeel. Aftertaste is lasting and interesting. This is a great purchase now for aging or if you like intense young shou but many people will probably want to wait a while to drink it. I’m planning on grabbing a bing or two though to drink when I get a taste for something strong.
Flavors: Cherry, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Medicinal, Natural Pumpkin Spice Flavor, Spices
I bought this mostly because the price was reasonable, and I’ve started kind of exploring puerh. I was interested to find that this doesn’t have the kind of fishy taste that I noticed in others. I actually don’t mind the wet/fishy taste, but this tea is pretty smooth without it. I’m not sure how to describe it, other than easy to drink, and sweet, like others already said. I kind of am tasting an undertone of a little bit of spice maybe? I might be imagining that, though. I think it’s actually my favorite puerh so far. It’s just toasty and approachable. I’m glad I bought a little cake!
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Flavors: Umami, Vegetal
The leaves are remarkably uniform and all sank to the bottom of the gaiwan. I have been mostly drinking Japanese (steamed) green teas and am just starting to explore Chinese greens so will not say much more. My first impression of all Chinese greens is the roasted flavor. I look forward to becoming more familiar with this tea and Chinese greens in general.
The aroma of the rinse was rich, buttery, like a floral crispy pastry. The first sip reminded me of the caramelization of meat or sweet potatoes roasted in honey. Later, I got an intensely floral flavor – again like honey. There was something in the experience that reminded of a church smell if churches smelled good – maybe somewhere in the area of old library book about bees and summer flowers.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Meat, Sweet Potatoes
Very small black leaves. Brewed it has a sweet fruity aroma with a slight resinous note. The sweetness and the resinous note carry through to the taste with the barest bitter note and a bit of something that might be a buttery note. Nicely tasty.
Edited to add that this is a wonderful tea that I have thoroughly enjoyed. I am upping the rating.