136 Tasting Notes
It’s been a long time coming but I finally feel like I’m in a place where I have enough experience that I can genuinely talk about shou in a meaningful way. I got this sample over a month ago, and tried it about a week after I got it and it was not great, it was plainly boring and empty, so I let it sit for quite a while, and today I’m drinking this and I am shocked, this is probably the most distinctive shou I’ve ever had:
the first thing I noticed was the heavy compression, which is something I tend to try and avoid with puerh in general, because I love making my shou as dark and oily as possible, and the compression makes that .. difficult? Anyway, after my rinses, the first steep was a lighter colour, but when I tasted it I was overtaken with this beautiful blueberry/blackberry note, which I have not come across in shu before and is one of my favourite flavours in tea. As the session continues, the tea is creamy and milky, strawberry, chocolate, caramel, mint, an active mouthfeel with a bit of a tingle yet fat and oily even though the soup is lighter in colour. it feels like a fruity, delicate black tea met a fat, dark shou and those are my two favourite things.
I really want to like bitterleaf, their teaware is amazing and the people seem really solid but their puer keeps falling short for me. Their dancong and blacks were amazing for me, but.. well, I have some of their high end sheng still resting, and this is my first taste of this one.
This is my first really old (>10 years) ripe.
brewing in my 90ml jianshui teapot, just over half full of leaf, rested about 2 weeks since arrival.
It has a very ricey, peanut buttery, earth, chocolate, getting into the mid-session its just a smooth, rich rice taste. The lingering aftertaste is exactly as if I just ate a bowl of white rice, its strange. I like it though. A lot. Doesn’t change too much throughout the session, the chocolate/earth leaves pretty quick, and the mid-end session is sweet, wet rice with some peanuts.
Now, I’ve had a lot of black tea since I got into tea, and never before have I seen such beautiful perfect looking leaves. They’re all like an inch and a half long, fat and twisty, matte black with like 1/20 leaves golden
Brewing at 100C in my ~150ml yixing teapot,
The brew is is smooth, clean, malty, light notes of cocoa, and creamy notes, some light, pleasant astringency and peach, berries and earthy woods, thick, lovely coating of the throat, with a tingly mouthfeel. the brew is a very light orange.
A nice cooling feeling enters in the 4th or 5th steep,
the fruitiness sort of shifts to like grape and orange, lots of minerality becomes noticeable later on, there’s definitely grassiness, and hints of florals way at the back, and then later that fruitiness fades, and its this creamy chocolatey appley deliciousness, I think I’m about 10 steeps in and it’s still going strong (the pot is like mostly full to be fair) I never expect black tea to last this long, it’s late and i want to go to bed.. but this tea is too nice and its still going strong, something I appreciate is that not once, when i took the lid off the pot, was there anything inside the lid, these leaves are big and whole and there is no breakage.
I really like this, but I couldn’t justify the price point.
I bought this about 3 months ago now? This is my first time trying it, and I must say it’s lovely, I’m so glad I have a cake of it, thick and oily, but also with this green oolong-like astringency, drying the top of the tongue and roof of the mouth, smooth, slightly medicinal, some smoke, lots of mintiness, and a strong cooling in the mouth, and a medium qi. Herbs, woodsy, plummy, apricot, lemon peel, notes of like… tequila? the astringency is a little strong, but there’s no bitterness, I’m excited to see how it develops :)
Thanks to bitterleaf for this sample
The first steep or two have very noticeable notes of vegetable broth, wheat, thick in the throat, grass, bamboo, medicinal, || after that it’s not super flavourful, it’s thick and brothy but ….. my tongue feels tickly.. it’s oatmealy, and there’s a pretty noticeable qi, it’s hard to find notes honestly, I mean.. pu’er is usually hard for me but this is like expert difficulty, I mean it goes down easy and has really nice mouthfeels, but the flavours are really muddied and too medicinal and light for me, I’d only drink this for the qi and that’s not really the main thing I’m looking for in my tea when it comes down to it.
I found this teapot on bitterleaf I’m planning to buy and I have all these sheng samples from them, so I figure I should grab a cake of something if any of them are really good enough, then I can get the free shipping and I have a coupon code thing that ends at the end of the month so I gotta go through them quickly-ish
It’s pretty tasty, nothing overly special, dryness starting from steep 4, very nice textures for the first half of the session, goes down easy with a moderate to strong qi, tasting notes:
Hay, seaweed, sweet and thick, milk, slight apricot/nectarine || creamy, earths/woods || astringency, earth, rocks, sweet, honey, cream || dry, hay, spices, medicinal
This cake looks weird. it’s a very loose compression, and the leaves are black with hints of gold, it looks like a black tea cake
This is really weird stuff I gotta say it took me aback a bit, granted this is the only purple varietal sheng I’ve had, but for the first few steeps it was somewhere between a rock oolong and a sheng puer. I got citrus/apricot notes, and seafoody plumminess and sweet grass, and a lot of minerality. Smokiness entered and this charcoal roastiness came forward, with a lot of sweetness and astringency throughout, it sort of fell into this pattern of smoky, sweet, sour, dry sheng, which was still quite enjoyable, the smoke eventually fades to bring sour florals and vegetables
I didn’t know what to expect from this so I brewed in my gaiwan, I’m sure my qinzhou (young sheng) teapot would’ve helped with the astringency, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable brewing this in it, the charcoal roastiness in the middle was really potent, I wrote here in my notes that if in the future I have a rock oolong teapot, I would actually be comfortable brewing it in that.
I really like this though. I always seem to love purple teas. Anyone have any purple puerh recommendations?
*Ok so this qi just hit me like a half hour after I started drinking this wtf kinda drunk now
dry leaf aroma of charcoal/brown bread,
in the warm gaiwan it’s more like burnt toast, brown bread, seaweed, almond butter
After the rinse, the leaves have a very nutty aroma, somewhere between overly roastd peanuts and almonds
Brewing at 100C with 8g of leaf in 140-150ml
1: Very buttery and smooth, with a thickness that coats the throat, really nice floral notes, very nice lingering sweetness, and a cooling sensation during the swallow, woodsy notes, and some astringency, I get a lingering aftertaste that’s very candied, reminds me a bit of lychee, lots of minerality in this one
2: Stonefruits, such a nice mouthfeel, honey, butter, woods, minerals, pear, very roasty aroma
3: peanuts, peach, butter, honey, minerals, roasty aroma, lingering peachy orangey after taste.
This is really complex tea but these notes I’m getting are mostly fragments in like a very subtle flavour profile, that’s coated in minerality, it tastes like I’m using mineral water, my tongue is still tingling several minutes after finishing that steep
4: minerals, spices, orange, cooked apple, citrus
5: I seem to have brewed this steep weakly it just tastes like mineral water
6: actually it might just be losing the complexity.. I’ll try to brew the next one really strong
7: yeah well it’s stronger, sort of roasty tasting, mostly minerals, I’ll probably brew a few more but I doubt it’ll do anything new now
This was just under $1/g the lack of durability is a little unsettling but the first 4 were really good
My black tea yixing is starting to smell like black tea inside when its dry :)))) I’m so proud of my little Sandy.
The leaves of this are smaller than one might expect for a phoenix varietal, on the website it says the varietal is “feng huang dancong” so uh yeah well anyways
Brewing at 95C, with my ~150ml yixing about half full of wet leaf
the dry leaf aroma is like a chocolate chip muffin
In the warm pot it smells so good, it’s sort of like raspberry cake or a trifle or something, mmm
1: Smooth orange flavour, cream flavours and feels, sugars, berries, there’s definitely a creamy cakey kind of thing too, some hints of earth and wood and sort of like munching on some leaves.
2: very creamy, lots of berry notes, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, malty, munchy leafs and earth. Tingly feeling on the tongue, there’s definitely florals as well
3: earthier and stemmy, still creamy berries and flowers
4: Less creamy, mango notes enter, more floral and sweet
past the 4th the tea becomes a more floral black tea with mango, strawberry, some astringency and a tingly mouthfeel, leading to just flower taste
This actually tastes how verdant described it, how often does that happen?
This is an amazing black tea, a must try for sure.