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Recent Tasting Notes
This is the lone sheng pu’er sample among the massive pile of ripe samples in my recent Yunnan Sourcing order. I’ve never seen Jie Liang talked about anywhere else, but Scott mentions it in his descriptions for the Lao Man’e teas on his site. He describes it as being very similar to Lao Man’e, though even more intensely bitter. Since Lao Man’e is my absolute favorite tea, I naturally simply had to try this tea out.
For this session I used my standard setup of 7g in my 100ml Yixing jiangponi gaiwan. I used a single intact piece, which meant the tea would start off a bit more slowly, helping control the potential intensity. The rinse and the first couple infusions were quite thick and incredibly sweet. There was virtually no bitterness, but I could sense an underlying potency waiting to be unleashed.
Once the chunk had properly come apart, the expected intensity did indeed arrive. The tea was intensely bitter, but you could tell it had mellowed out quite considerably since its youth. For a seasoned Lao Man’e drinker such as myself the bitterness was perfectly palatable, but for those more faint of heart the tea could certainly still be too overwhelming. The bitterness is very persistent lasting for a long time, but unlike most bitterness of such kind I didn’t find it unenjoyable at any point during the session. The bitterness is accompanied by an almost equally intense sweetness and an underlying fruitiness completes the tea. The fruitiness is reminiscent of the grapefruit note I get in Lao Man’e yet not quite the same.
The tea has excellent longevity and I would highly recommend sticking with it till the end as the 2 min. infusion was actually my favorite of the session. In the late extended brews the bitterness and intensity start to die down, which reveals the more subtle and nuanced aspects of the tea. In addition to the aforementioned fruitiness, I noted a different kind of character which helped set the tea further apart from its cousin Lao Man’e (at least the young teas from there). The lack of association makes it difficult to describe, but it was a nice quality nevertheless.
I ordered this sample purely as a curiosity. Since I own two different vintages of Lao Man’e gushu, I never expected to even end up considering purchasing a cake of this tea. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the Jie Liang. While it does still have quite a bit of intensity left in it, I do prefer teas that have plenty of kick to them, so for my tastes the tea has mellowed perhaps a bit too much even. Early on the similarities with Lao Man’e are also so plentiful that one must ask is there any point in having both. But over time the tea does reveal its own unique character distinct from Lao Man’e, making it worth existing and experiencing.
What sealed the deal for me was the cha qi. During the session I experienced very little qi, but then half an hour after I’d already stopped it suddenly caught up with me. I suddenly had a massive headache, my face felt like it was melting and I was all wobbly. It’s been a while since a tea has made me so tea drunk. While not necessarily purely enjoyable, the qi was very fitting for a tea like this and most certainly elevated at least my experience with the Jie Liang. While the headache and muscle pains faded, I was left energized for the rest of the day.
So now I want a cake of this tea. The price is certainly quite high, but very reasonable given the quality and age. A young Lao Man’e will set you back about as much, and we’re not even talking about gushu. I would consider this tea to be really early in its semi-aged stage, but it has a good head start and will hopefully develop into something even more interesting in another five to ten years. Personally I still prefer Lao Man’e, but I’m now a fan of Jie Liang as well.
Edit: I just realized my gaiwan is actually 120ml, not 100ml. I had it right initially, but seems I’ve been confused about that for many weeks now. It’s not a huge deal, but I’ve been slightly under-leafing my teas per my own standards. Good thing I caught that.
Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Sweet
I’m happy to have found this one still around on the internet. I didn’t see it on the YS website, but I’m 100% that’s where I picked it up a while back. It’s a beautiful tea. I had two full cakes, but the first came and went within a couple of months. It took me nearly two years to break into the second, but I’m nearly to the end of this fantastic blend. I’m happy that Moylor has it in stock; however, I’m trying to go until Fall 2020 before I buy anything else…
It’s a special puerh for two reasons: Firstly, it was one of the first young sheng blends that stood out; secondly, it was the first that I drank an entire cake. It’s sweet, mellow, astringent (only when pushed, but not even that much), and goes on for some time. I’ve turned this into a bi-weekly tea, since it’ll last me longer. Unfortunately, I’ve maybe two or three sessions left until this is tea dust and wrapper.
One last thing—despite the ‘age’ of it, I’m finding it to still have a reasonable price tag. And if I’m lucky, I may pick one cake up down the road…On the account that four remain on the Moylor website. ;)
I slowly make my way into oolongs. They often come to me as being to sweet and "loud’, and as not having enough of malty backbone that I typically like in Chinese red teas. So, outside of Tie Guan Yin I was rather shy about blissfully swimming in the sea of oolongs. However, this Ben Shan considerably softened my guardedness.
It has a rich smell of tropical fruit, lilac and gardenia. I had it both Western and gongfu and it carried itself well in both. Creamy, sweet, mouth-enveloping, with a pronounced aftertaste. The taste itself keeps evolving with the subsequent steepings. Lots of fruitiness, spinach and butter, some spice and some vegetal notes. A pleasant pale liquor. There really wasn’t any area where this tea was appreciably lacking.
I know that Ben Shan oolongs are often considered to be less complex and exciting then, say, Tie Guan Yin and other more famous brethrens but it did not came out that way to me. And, as new and inexperienced I am to the world of oolongs, I can say with a certainty that this particular tea would not disappoint another relative novice like myself. Especially given its very accessible price.
It’s very possible that several months later, after trying a few other oolongs I will have to come back and lower the rating I am about to give to this Anxi Ben Shan but for now, based on the amount of pleasure I derived from it compared to the other teas I had tried up to this point I have no choice but put it in my personal 90s.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Gardenias, Melon, Molasses, Spicy, Spinach
I’m going to put my note in as I wrote it, because I found this interestingly changeable for shou. It is actually the 2012 that has varied reviews, but the reason could be similar.
Continuing with the shou because of my cold, I broke out my 2009 Nan Jian 801 tuo from YS. This doesn’t seem to have much to show for the age – it’s another quite woody and earthy shou, has good thickness, but there isn’t really anything that says it is older than the 2016 Yong De I was drinking before. Wouldn’t get this one again because there isn’t much point (yeah, it was a cheap tuo). The tuo and the wet leaves in the pot both smell much more interesting than the tea.
Oh hang on! I am now on my second 500ml water in my thermos, and now I get huigan if I riffle it in my mouth, which admittedly I don’t do that much when drinking shou. That makes some sense of the split in reviews for this tea – it has multiple entries under slightly different names on Steepster, and some say it is sweet and some say it isn’t. Either that, or the character really does change after 500ml of steeps, which is odd given that it isn’t that tightly compressed and the leaf I put in the pot was not a single big chunk but mostly loose.
Ok tea, you have risen in my estimation mid-review and become significantly more interesting. (I do prefer it if my shou isn’t finicky though!)
I’ve been putting in ~6g of these to give me more thicker infusions for my throat – that’s more leaf than I’d usually use. (Gongfu in 140ml clay pot, not entirely full – I’m getting 85ml out in my cup, most steeps about 25s, increasing as it thins out).
ETA: Water temp. Close enough to just-boiled gives huigan, once it has cooled a bit it doesn’t.
Menku “yue guang bai” white tea roasted in aromatic bamboo. Bought from yunnan sourcing.
Dry leaf: musty, sweet.
Wet leaf: floral, sweet, roses, Cookies, cookie dough.
Light steep; I smell/taste:
(Smell) light musty?
(Taste) light —→ floral, sweet, ground pepper, seaweed, Metallic (iron).
Medium steep; I smell/taste:
(Smell) light —→ cookies, metallic (copper/iron).
(Taste) light to medium —→ floral, nutty, roses, seaweed, pepper, metallic (copper/iron).
Heavy steep; I smell/taste:
(Smell) little to nothing.
(Taste) light —→ roses, metallic (iron/copper), floral, pepper.
All in all, an amazing tea! Enjoyable all around. I rate 100/100. The best white tea I’ve ever had.
I suggest you try this tea!
Flavors: Cookie, Floral, Metallic, Musty, Pepper, Rose, Seaweed, Sweet
It’s a simple, decent Ben Shan with a full-bodied flavor followed by a medium-long finish. Very drinkable at the price point. Astringency grew from barely noticeable in the first steep, to quite potent by the fourth. The leaves are full-green with some withering, that unfold fully in the pot.
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Milk, Pineapple, Toffee
No noticeable smells were in the leaves.
1st Steep: I taste the slight hint of sweet and a little bamboo.
2nd Steep: I get the strong impression of honeysuckle on the tongue with a lingering sweet flavor.
3rd & 4th Steep: The leaves break apart and get stronger. Light vegetable notes come through. Like carrots. Sweet ones.
5th Steep: The brew gets darker and the sweet veggie flavors stronger.
6th and beyond: It quickly got weaker and tapered off.
I do recommend it. The sweet veggie flavor paired with the bamboo is great.
Flavors: Bamboo, Carrot, Honeysuckle, Sweet, Vegetables
As soon as I saw this I knew I had to pick it up. Sounds cool as hell.
1st Steep: No strong flavors in the first steep besides some bamboo and floral hints. The wet leaves smell like an odd combo of smokey and sweet. Makes me think of bbq.
2nd Steep: The black tea wakes up and breaks away powering up the flavor. I find tastes of caramel and malt. There is a drying feeling in the mouth afterwards.
3rd Steep: The brew darkens up a lot to a deep umber red. The malt flavor gets taken over by the bamboo some and tastes very floral. Hints of roasting start to appear. My mouth is even more dry then before.
4th Steep: The roasted flavor brightens up and the drying goes down a bit.
5th and Beyond: Things turn back to the floral side slowly and weaken. Longer steeps do well. You can get a ton of steeps out of this. On my 15th now.
Not the greatest flavors ever but defiantly interesting. I highly recommend it.
Flavors: Bamboo, Caramel, Drying, Floral, Malt, Roasted, Smoke
I find it hard to believe that I have never reviewed this tea.
I’ve enjoyed this tea in a variety of ways:
5G + tiny yixing X 10/20/30/40/50/60sec/1.5min/2/3/4/5 min
That parameter starts out herbaceous, with a sweet after taste of sugarcane and grapes, and a eucalyptus quality that rises into the sinuses as an after aroma. Steep by steep the sweetness abates and is replaced by a grapefruit taste, including the bitterness of the inner peel. In spite of the growing bitterness, this is another one of those teas with a great cosmic energy too it.
4G + 10oz mug X 3/5 min
Interestingly, this has been my preferred method with this tea. Somehow it was sweeter and I didn’t get as much of a grapefruit peel effect.
Overall, not my favorite of the purple teas, and I know this is a lame review, but that’s because I want to get back out into the garden, where I belong :)
Started out with a thicker mouth feel which was good. Not too much of the Bulang kick to it, but I suppose this is 7 years old now so that’s to be expected. As it sits now this tea is good, but a bit caught between stages. I think this will be great in a few more years and wish I had more than just the 5g sample.
I bought a handful of different teas, and the shipping took forever, but opening up the package just on this tea was worth the wait. Rich, sweet smell. The tea itself has no astringency and is light and airy. Just a wonderful tea if you like sweet, hay like teas in general. It’s more robust than it looks, but not overly flavorful. It’s worth trying but many other teas out there that are more economical as far as price is concerned.
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Smooth
I forgot to submit this note yesterday and it got deleted, but I didn’t get to steep the tea for too long, so I saved the leaves to continue with today.
Yesterday’s steeps mostly brought forth woody flavors with a nice, thick mouthfeel. There was some bitterness at the beginning, and every session was quite enjoyable.
Today’s steep was sweet from the start. A bit less thick, but still nice and smooth, with no bitterness or astringency. Finished up with a long steep, in which the thickness returned. Definitely enjoyed this one!
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet, Thick, Wood
It seems that I’ve been falling behind on reviewing tea lately. Work has been quite an adventure. There are many shipments sent out during this time of the year due to post-Thanksgiving and Christmas; therefore, my shifts have been starting at 3 P.M. and ending around 1-1:30 A.M. And to be quite frank, a cup of tea can make one unable to sleep…heh.
Anyway, this has been a daily drinker for me this week. I love the depth of flavor that arises from the liquid. It’s a dark tea, with many deep earthy/moss flavors. Fortunately, it’s fairly inexpensive, so using a lot of leaf (approx. 10g for 100 ML) for each session isn’t a problem. I must admit that I will push this tea with the temperature of water/amount used per session. This usually lasts me about 10-15 pots per session; which is a nice session before work.
I highly recommend this if you’re into the deeper earthy/mossy flavors. It’s quite nice.
Flavors: Earth, Moss
I’m going to refrain from rating this tea because I think I may have infused it incorrectly somehow. It was overwhelmingly bitter for me from the first cup. I did enjoy the flavours beneath the bitterness, however. Perhaps my water was a little hotter than I thought, or my ability to measure time without a clock was faulty and I over-stewed the leaves. If I had more than a sample I might try with a lower temp and / or shorter time.
Brewing this up as I have been retasting a lot of stuff in storage .
I brought this one out and picked 10 grams off to start with. I warmed my Shiboridash and let the water out I tossed the dry leaf in and swirled it around. The aroma was a bit of the heavy tobacco to the nose. I gave it a rinse and let it sit a bit before brewing. The aroma is woody and sweetish in the cup.
First infusion, it has some of that thick almost bitter that belies its BuLang source. The color is a nice light amber in the cup. I sit back and let the tea rest in the mouth . The thickness and tobacco come to the front. A little mineral and a whisper of some smoke.
I have had some BuLangs that will smack you in the chops. This one is a bit more tame. It may even be one you could introduce a newer drinker to the BuLang area.
Later steeps carry through. I let this one cool a bit and it became almost sugarcane sweet.
Flavors: Bitter, Mineral, Smoke, Sweet, Thick, Wood
The wet leaves smell of moss and forest floor. Dry I can’t smell much of anything. This tea cake is very, very tightly packed. I did two 10 sec rinses. Not sure what the recommended steep times are for this tea so I treated it like a shou puerh.
Steep – Time – Notes
1st – 10s – Very pleasantly surprised! The very first thing noted is a butter smooth sweetness. Sort of a jujube taste. (I had to go look up what else this was called as I’d only heard it called jujube the many times I’ve had it in Korea. It’s also known as a Chinese/Korean/Indian date). Very soft finish. No bitterness or astringency to speak of. Packs a sneaky, but fairly gentle bit of cha qi. Mind you, I"m drinking this tea 300mL at a time (I don’t mind not sharing :P )… er maybe not so gentle, LOL! Wow, OK… I’m awake now. If I wasn’t before… I’m definitely awake now! XD Awake and looking accusingly at my cup as if it emptied itself.
2nd – 10s – Much darker brew. A bit more moss in the flavor, but the sweetness and jujube notes is still there. Near the end of that cup I’m pretty sure I started to vibrate a bit. Going to go meditate now. No chance of dozing off, Ha!
3rd – 20s – A little more wet autumn leaves over the moss. Makes me think of shou puer now. I think this tea may know a bit of kung fu. Rather impressive kick. I’ll have to see if I get this effect again. Wondering if I just didn’t have enough to eat today. Still, damn good tea! Glad I tried it.
4th – 20s – Brew even darker, but taste is more mellow, round and sweet.
5th – 30s – Light and sweet. The bold body experienced in the previous steepings is now obviously thinning out. I have a few shou puerhs that I like well enough, but this is easily as good if not better than the best of those. (I do tend to prefer sheng puerhs). Next steeping should be 45s – 60s.
6th – 90s – The jujube flavor has pretty much vanished. There’s a bit of a toffee note showing up. The color is still fairly rich, but the flavor seems about done. I could probably extend the steep to 300s, but I’ll end it here. Very happy tea tasting this one.
Flavors: Dates, Toffee
I haven’t had many Yunnan Blacks, but this is my favorite so far. I liked it better than the Golden Monkey I got from YS. I used 3g in a 60mL gaiwan with boiled water.
This was not complex but was pretty tasty. Malty, kind of chocolately notes for the most part. Maybe honey as well. I didn’t get any of the fruity or smoky flavors I got from Golden Monkey – which is nice, because I didn’t find the smoke in that particularly enjoyable. I was prepared for a good bit more bitterness just based on what I have heard about purple tea, but this one had basically none – in fact the taste was pretty delicate. This tea did not last for a great number of steeps, maybe 6 good ones and a few subpar ones. Good tea for the low price, especially combined with the sale that was going on when I bought it.
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Sweet