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Recent Tasting Notes
I bought this tea for my girlfriend, but turned out she wasn’t a huge fan of it – good thing I like Bai Mu Dan! This one starts off almost cloyingly sweet, with what I can only describe as a floral marshmallow sort of vibe. It settles down a little bit in subsequent steeps with some not-quite-as-sweet florals and a bit of a green hay note. Pretty good daily drinker quality tea for people who like white tea.
Flavors: Floral, Hay, Sweet
I’m drinking this from a loosely compressed sample of mostly nice, intact leaves. It smells pretty dry and not fragrant. I’ve been “storing” my sample in a cheap plastic bag in a cabinet so that’s probably not been great for this tea. Oops. The warmed dry leaf smells like tart apricot. After a quick rinse, the smell on the gaiwan lid is spent smoke/ash. Same thing for the wet leaves. Uh oh, hope this one tastes better than it smells.
The first steep is a cloudy, pale yellow. It tastes herby and a bit vegetal with a background of smoke. Steep number two is darker and thicker but tastes mostly the same. The aftertaste is tart apricot.
Three steeps in, I’m noticing more and more char at the bottom of my cup. That would explain the residual smokey taste happening here. The brew is still quite cloudy but it has gained some honey sweetness as well as astringency.
Fast forwarding to steep ~7 now. The tea is basically static except it’s developed a strange soapy finish/aftertaste. It’s still pretty strong and hasn’t lost its potency.
10 or 11 steeps in I’ve started to arrive at the vegetal/stewed greens stage of this tea. Still pretty strong, but the flavor has changed significantly.
Unfortunately, I think this tea is a miss. It could age into something really nice but I wouldn’t drink this young.
Flavors: Ash, Herbs, Smoke, Vegetal
Last up for this month from Yunnan sourcing tea of the month club for raw. We have Monkey Mini tuo. I started by pre heating my yixing. After doing a single wash which was sufficient since there was very little particulate. I did my first brew which produced a surprisingly golden liquor, it almost looks like it has a couple years of age on it. Tasting it gave me a honey, vegetal and astringent taste and aroma. A little more tasting and I got some actual bitter notes as well as asparagus.
THe second steeping was even stronger as the leaves opened up a bit more, producing a bit darker liquor, the bitterness also came out a bit more in this steeping as well as the honey and vegetal notes. Its surprisingly strong for a raw with no age on it, and the bitterness is fairly controlled.
The third steeping came out very close to the second showing this tea is going to have some staying power brewing it over the evening, I expect to get about 10 steeping from this. Its really surprisingly sweet, and a few years is going to do wonders for this tea, as well as possibly some wet storing.
I do recommend trying this tea if you like strong but sweet raws, with a controlled amount of bitterness. Very nice job this month Yunnan sourcing
Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Bitter, Honey, Vegetal
I am astonished by how many flavors at tea have show! This one is really nice. On the nose it has some roasted flavor, this should indicate that it will keep well, also light gardenia, light cinnamon — really cinnamon, I guess the name says it all, some mineral notes and very light spinach. Palate, round, light floral and mineral notes — lime stone, slightly sweet sugar and cinnamon toast! slightly vegetal and just a touch of tannin. If you like cinnamon, try this!
I found this tea more interesting that the other wild offering from YS. On the nose I get mushrooms, sweet potato, malt, cocoa, slight spice ( allspice ), tree bark, oak moss. Palate; Tangy with some tannin on front of tongue, allspice, wildflower honey, oakmoss, slight mushroom, slight bitter note, settles down nicely after second steeping.
I also got a somewhat over roasted note, though that might it a good to keep for a year or two to see what happens. Nose; slight smoke, dried fruits, lightly sweet and mineral character, leaf is smaller too and darker. Palate; as nose, slight vegetal note, very light floral note.
OK, so I have looked at others notes for this tea in other years, and I don’t know if 2016 was that much better, but I definitely give it a very high rating! I found this tea rich and complex. Nose; Peaches, rich, soup like, slight blood orange, melon, plantain, buckwheat, walnut, allspice. On the palate, it has an interesting beef consumee ( not sure if I spelled that right ) like base from which arise flavors like peaches, walnuts, buckwheat, strawberry, with just enough tannin to give it backbone, wonderful full mouth feel, holds up over at least 7 steepings. I think it is unusual for this type of tea so it might not be for everyone, but if you like different, try this one.
2003 bu lang mountain raw puerh brick. From yunnan sourcing.
Small yixing teapot.
Dry leaf: musty, green, sweet.
Wet leaf: earth, fermentation, pepperoni.
Note: Forgot to take photo. Must have been tightly compressed as the leaves were not really opened yet.
1x medium rinse.
Light steep; I taste/smell: (smell) nothing. (Taste) subtle
-> sweet, green, honey, spices.
Medium steep; I taste/smell: (smell) subtle musty. (Taste) subtle
-> honey, spices, earth. Light sweet.
Heavy steep; I taste/smell: (smell) subtle earth. (Taste) light
-> earth, fermentation, honey, sweet, spices.
All in all, a yummy tea. I rate a 80/100 since it brewed rather weakly, Even with 5g. See note for wet leaf. Nice cha qi and flavours.
End note. I should have upped my brewing times
Flavors: Earth, Green, Honey, Meat, Musty, Spices, Sweet
Our final stop on our tour of Yunnan regions. We return to where it all started – PUER…
Region 4/4: Simao/Puer. Location 1/3: Wu Liang
A fairly vegetal and herbal experience, this one. There are some pleasant honey notes, which I found fairly thick, but they are in competition with the overt vegetal notes.
There are also some noticeable char notes in the nose, but the smokiness and ashiness are not particularly strong in the actual taste.
Overall, I would say this needs to be aged to a more appropriate puerh drinking age. The flavors are still a bit unsettled, underdeveloped, and rough around the edges. But, the price is reasonable and there is certainly some initial strength of flavor that has promise for the future.
Dry leaf: fresh dill, parsley, pollen, mesquite smoke, hint of honeysuckle, wildflower honey
Smell: green vegetal notes – spinach, zucchini, squash; char; dark honey
Taste: herbal/parsley, vegetal, some notes of char/ash, straw and hay, and English breakfast tea. Finish of fairly thick honey notes and pleasant tannin. Aftertaste has a cardboard or linen-like driness and taste.
First tasting of the day is Fu Yuan Chang Raw cake from Yunnan sourcing and the third item from the monthly raw puerh club. This tea is lightly aged at about 8 years old. I really like tea at this point, age has taken off some of the rough bitter edges, but it hasnt quite gone all the way into deep earthy tones yet.
I started this by doing a wash, there was a tiny bit of particulate but it seemed a single wash enough to clean the leaves and then get them to open up. I tasted and smelled the wash and it was vegetal, astringent and gave off a strong green tea aroma. The liquor was a pale golden color, not at all surprising, showing a bit of age but still keeping the young raw characteristics.
The first infusion darkened slightly and mellowed as well, bringing out some honey, grass, hay, umami and sweet flavors and aroma. There was a slight bitterness and astringency as well, but it was very subdued. It smoothed out alot in the first infusion.
The second infusion got some more vegetal and hay aromas as well as a bit more honey and sweetness. It has a nice mouthfeel as well now as the leaves are opening up a bit more. The grass and hay are still there as well, it seems to be blending a bit better now with the flavors mixing more completely.
The third infusion was the best, a bit more bitter, but the rest of the flavors popping out more strongly. It was also the most complex, with some of the flavors and aroma’s subtle and I couldnt quite get them all.
The tea seems to have some staying power and I figure I will get at least 10 infusions from it. As is normal with pu’erh it seems to peak around 3rd or 4th infusion and then slowly come down from there. The leaves are now fully opened up and the tea was at its darkest in the third infusion. A medium golden color. The fourth was almost but not quite as dark , even though I steeped it a bit longer.
I highly recommend this tea if you like the in between stages, the place between a young and an aged raw. I happen to love it at this point, as the tea still has some bite, but has lost some of that young bitter astringency.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Hay, Honey, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Golden flat needles, of a lighter shade.
Aroma of hay, earth, and wood.
Taste of Malt, earth, wood, Bamboo…
This tea has a smooth mouth, a fulfilling feeling about it, and a satisfying earthy depth, almost like chocolate or coffee, almost like a shu puerh, although that may because I went a little heavy on the leaf, since this is a sipdown.
For me, this is a more savory Dian Hong, not as sweet as some, a little more earthy and Manly, but perfect for this morning, when I’m prepping to go out to play in my garden.
Ensemble: Bass, cello, viola, bass clarinet, clarinet, Bassoon, English Horn, Bamboo flute, wind chime, wood block.
This is a great tea. I used five grams in a 100ml glass pot, and started with about a ten second steep (after a rinse) which was a tad weak. It’s only the buds so subsequent, longer steeps, 20 seconds on the second, and a bit longer each additional one, is bringing out much more of the flavor. It’s very sweet, with no bitterness, and as I’ve noticed with many white teas, the flavors that develop in my mouth after I swallow it is what I like best. After the sip, my mouth salivates and it releases a very sweet, delicious flavor throughout my mouth that lasts a long time. I don’t know exactly how long, because it’s still there when I take my next sip. I’m glad I bought a tong of this tea, I look forward to seeing how my other eight 100g cakes age over the next few years. This is an excellent tea.
My first tasting of the day is Yunnan sourcing Ye Zhu Tang raw pu’erh cake. THis was the second offering in the raw puerh tea of the month club. I started with using 110 ml of water in a my Yixing pot. I started with a quick rinse of the tea leaves to open them up, there was almost no dust, but the leaves were a little stubborn in opening up so I did a second wash. I did sip the second wash to see what I would be getting, and was surprised it had nice honey and sweet notes and the bitterness was really mild.
The first proper infusion I got a clear pale yellow liquor that was sweet, astringent, with floral, vegetal and bitter notes. It has a wonderful mouth feel and is a bit sweeter than might be expected for a young raw. I really liked this.
The second proper infusion the leaves started to open up proper now, again giving a clear yellow liquor with a bit more of the bitterness coming out now, but not overpowering it. And the honey flavor also became more pronounced, this was my favorite infusion.
The third infusion the bitterness creeped up on it a bit more. It was still sweet, but it had citrus notes at this point, sweet, astringent and bitter, it also lost some of the honey flavors. I have a feeling those will come back in the later infusions.
The fourth infusion was spectacular, the bitterness mostly vanished and the honey notes came back much stronger now. It also darkened slightly looking more apple juice color than before. I havent started increasing the time yet either, this is 1 , 2, 3, pour and let the yixing steep as it pours.
Im going to go steep out the rest of this wonderful tea. I have a feeling I will get 10 from this easy. A very nice young raw with a bit more sweetness.
PS First to post again, Im on a roll!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Honey, Vegetal
This was all soft and gooey today. Not quite chewey. Later infusions had more depth. Overall notes of bread, hay, linen and malt. Slight mineral influence. This time I went super light on the leaf, so I should try more next time. Lately I’ve been going with smaller cups in an effort to get through more infusions. In my mind, that’s getting closer to gongfu. ha!!!
Today we have Yunnan Sourcing tea from the raw pu’erh club. I let this rest for 4 or 5 days first before sampling. I started by lightly breaking up the sample into smaller pieces, heating up my yixing. Then adding the leaf and a quick rinse. It was so clean only one rinse was needed.
The first steeping which was barely more than a flash steeping produced a light pale liquor looking much like a green tea. I got strong grassy note aroma right off the bat. The taste was grassy, vegetal, clean and astringent and a teeny bit too bitter.
The second steeping again flash steeped produced a similar liquor almost exactly the same. Though all the flavors and aroma’s were a tiny bit stronger. The third steeping again produced much the same result, telling me this tea has a bit of staying power. The fourth steeping was actually slightly stronger, bringing in a tiny bit of citrus taste to it. The fifth was also a bit citrus as well.
Im not getting much of the sweet flavors mentioned in the description. I do like this tea, its quite refreshing and though bitter isnt overpoweringly so. I think even a few years on this tea will make it in something exceptional.
I recommend this tea to people who like greens and young raws. Its quite nice , grassy and vegetal with a good mouthfeel and nice staying power.
Ps! First post!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Grass, Vegetal
Holy fizz bomb batman! /O\
I swear it was almost bubbling on my tongue. Pretty cool.
The taste is very mild. Sweet and sugary, and a side of earthy floralness that kinda morphs into a ginseng ish note in later infusions. I’ve seen it before in Chrysanthemum teas before, but not all of the ones I’ve had. I love the fizz factor, but not the odd sweetness.
I kinda get the maltiness but my brain keeps comparing it to gingerale, and confuses my ‘buds. There is no honey, more… stevia? ha.
Not much variation between the infusions, so I agree with pmunney, this is a nice office tea… if I rest it beforehand. I’ll need to break off pieces from the cake and bring them into the office, as I don’t want to keep my cake in my desk drawer.
Well, like someone who only spends two days in Paris while traveling, my pit stop in Yi Wu wraps up a little too soon…
Region 3/4: Eastern Xishuangbanna / Yi Wu. Location 2/2: Man Zhuan (Mengla county)
Notes on tea:
Overall some interesting flavors. Complex floral, fruit, and sweet herb notes that have a dynamic base of earthiness, grain/cereal/hay, and minerality. Some strong flavors come out in the first few infusions. Some sessions had muted and dissipated flavors after five infusions or so, but this could be the result of the tea’s youth. Light floral and fruitiness with a mineral base remains in later infusions.
Notes on region:
I’m noticing some similar characteristics even among other Xishuangbanna (i.e. Menghai) teas. The Juicy Fruit gum and the fresh parsley notes are the most prominent. However, the Menghai teas were much more upfront and bold with their flavor. Yi Wu teas had more apparent sweetness (particularly floral sweetness, some fruit notes and hints of chocolate), but nothing like the bold sweetness of Lincang region.
In terms of price, I really can’t figure it out. What I sampled were definitely quality teas, but they were on par with the quality I have had in other regions. Yet the Yi Wu teas cost substantially more than other regions. I found the sweetness stronger and more complex in the Lincang teas, at half the price. Menghai teas also offered some similar flavors, but with more strength (again at a lower price.)
It is important to note, however, that I was definitely at the cheaper end of the price scale, so there may be a much more substantial return if you are willing to spend more.
Dry leaf: sweet herbal, fruity, dried peach and mango. In preheated vessel – same flavors, but weirdly smelled weaker and more watery.
Smell: fresh parsley, dried peach and date, sweet fresh hay, hints of earthiness
Taste: floral – orange blossom, sweet/savory herbal (parsley), honeysuckle, dried date and peach, honey, grain/cereal, hints of mesquite smoke and spice cake. Aftertaste is creamy and fruity (peach/date). Minerality becomes pronounced in later infusions.
Seems GM has been all the rage lately and I was wondering what I was missing out on, but Steph was kind enough to send me a sample in our swap!
As I’ve stated, I don’t drink shou nearly as often as sheng, so my palate for shou is less developed (not that my palate for sheng is much further along). That being said, I do feel that this was one of the more distinct and defined-tasting ripe puerh teas that I’ve tried.
I used the entire 8g sample, gave it a wash and started with quick steeps, as usual. Nice dark brew with a shifting blend of earth and coffee flavors in the body, with an almost metallic mineral characteristic and a creamy mouthfeel. The aroma that it leaves behind in the cup is mineral and salty, and once I get over that little surprise, the qi comes in.
All throughout this session, with the above flavors, aromas and sensations vying for my attention, I felt myself very surprised overall. This was definitely a unique and engaging session!
Flavors: Coffee, Cream, Earth, Metallic, Mineral, Salt
Brewed with my gaiwan, the look of this tea makes you think, “Wow, dark.” Tiny black leaves unfold into rust-brown leaves, not broad but thin. The smell is very hard to decipher at first, slightly malty or maybe caramel with an overall roasty smell.
It’s a very mild tea, contrary to what you’d expect from those tiny, dark and tightly dried leaves. I would almost agree with the others and call it a weak black. It’s lacking that full-bodied depth and richness that you come to expect from a good black tea. (I even accidentally oversteeped my gaiwan for about 8 minutes before on this tea, and it still tasted very mild alongside all the astringency.)
However for tasting notes themselves, I definitely get the chocolate notes that are advertised. Deep, dark chocolate, maybe even like a coffee kind of taste. The issue is it feels very far away, lost in a muddle of undefinable mildness. Now I know some people don’t like a bold black, and this might be perfect for someone like that. It’s not a bad tea at all, the flavors are appealing but I just want so much more from it. Not my favorite.
Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate