pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou

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2017 Wild Yiwu from ‘Yiwu Mountain Tea’ today, part of the Sheng Olympiad.

I pushed this tea pretty hard, not because it seemed weak, but because it seemed hard if not impossible to overbrew. Quite sweet, and tasted interesting, in that “not sure how I feel about this” kind of way. Custardy, I guess, maybe you’d call it sour. Goes down super easy on the body, in stark contrast to yesterday’s WMD (bitterleaf), which was potent in both a lovely and undrinkable fashion. A solid tea, but not exactly my style, and I’m afraid to look at the price.

The 2017 Wild taste very much like the ratatouille I get from a local restaurant here so I would say creamy roasted vegetables with a hint of off tasting spice; no that it taste bad, just doesn’t match the taste profile you know?

Yeah, it didn’t match the taste profile, that’s for sure.

Philip Lee said

For my personal curiosity, what is the taste profile you guys were referring to?

That background sourness that comes from hitting it hard and hot. Probably something that’ll disappear as the leaf calms down.

Even a good tea can have attributes that are not perfect. Many of us try 100s of teas a year so we get really picky with even the smallest aspects.
I already used up the whole sample which was two different sessions meaning I wanted to go back for more.

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“taste very much like the ratatouille I get from a local restaurant” Ouch.

That’s actually a compliment. Ratatouille is delicious!

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Had Stormbreaker 2017 from Crimson Lotus today. I’ve had it for a while and had it broken down and airing out for a few months.

I thought it was terrible, tasted like dirt even after 4 rinses and there was very little interesting background flavor. Thankfully I don’t do tea logs of teas I consider to be below 84. I’m just going to let it age out and hopefully it will get a tiny bit better, but in reality I’m just leaving it alone because I don’t want it.

After tasting Black Gold and this tea, I have such low regard for this company. Wish I hadn’t rolled the dice and bought 2 cakes of each, haha. It’s always disappointing arriving at a different truth about a tea vendor after reading hype after hype. I always fo

Same year of production but completely different $tea$, I had a second session, another 12g of my brand new 2017 Hai Lang Hao “Lao Ban Zhang” Ripe Pu-erh Tea Brick. First steeps are quite aggressive, but I still prefer to brew it in my zini than my duan ni. I felt like Daenerys clinging to her dragon as it shot through the sky. Very strong energy. 5-9th steeps seems to be the sweet spot of this tea. I’m not going to give it a 100 like Allan did but it is definitely above a 90 in its current state. Will do a better review in a few months to be fair to the tea. This is definitely a unique shou and it should age well since the fermentation is on the lighter side… I wonder what it would taste like in 10 years. Unlike with the Stormbreaker though, I’m not sure if there will be any of this tea left in a year or 2!

Sqt said

It’s always a good idea to sample first, especially with more expensive cakes. Just because you hear hype about a tea, doesn’t mean you’re going to like it, preferences are very subjective and can vary a lot. I made a similar mistake in blindly ordering some shou based off of reviews when I was first exploring shou puerh. Those cakes ended up being gifted to people that loved them.

I think Crimson Lotus Tea (CLT) has a very specific profile for both their sheng and shou, which highly influences whether or not you’re going to like it. One of my favourite young shengs is from CLT, as is one of my favourite shou (though admittedly I don’t have that much experience with shou puerh). But I’ve also been left wondering what the hype is about with some much talked about teas from Crimson Lotus and pretty much every other vendor out there that I’ve tried (YS, W2T etc). I’ve also loved some teas that others don’t seem to rate highly at all.

I’ve found that any and all reviews should be taken with a serious grain of salt. Where the value in reviews, especially steepster reviews, lies for me is in finding and following people that have similar taste preferences as your own. That will take some hit and miss, but once you manage it that’s when reviews can really start to add value to purchasing decisions.

Btw, I really don’t think you would have much trouble selling off those shou cakes.

I already broke down the cakes to assist in airing out in my crocks; I’m not so sure anyone would be interested in buying without the intact cake and wrapper. I’ll give it a try though. Luckily they were not that expensive. I really think something isn’t quite right with their fermentation process, I’ve never had shou taste that dirty before, and even the 2010 cake had the same dirtiness so it wasn’t an age issue. It will simply have to be chalked up to difference in taste profile. I imagine their sheng is better, but I am not really a sheng person.

& I’m with you there on those other vendors as well. You forgot What-cha on that list! :P I’m more lenient on YS because they’re essentially the Amazon of puerh and they’ve been adding more premium-priced tea as of late. Because of their large catalog, there is plenty to hate but there is going to be something to love as well.

Usually I buy 50 or 100g samples, so I don’t know what made me buy 2 cakes of each… the hype got me!!

Sqt said

You may have to drop the price a bit if the cakes are broken down, but it might be worth a shot. The one CLT shou that I do like brews up thick and heavy, with a cocoa like bitterness and is indeed very earthy, but that’s exactly what I was looking for. I don’t really enjoy the smooth and sweet easy drinker shou. Their sheng, with one noteable exception, I’ve found to be on the gentler side overall.

The vendors I mentioned are the first ones that popped into my mind when thinking of puerh and I didn’t mean to single them out, but really its hit and miss with all vendors depending on personal preferences.

What-cha is probably going to be hit and miss more than most probably, just because they stock such a wide variety of teas from different terroir… but I love ordering from them specifically for that reason. I love trying teas from different backgrounds but even if they are all of good quality, its a given that I wont like all of them. And there are indeed some real gems in the YS catalog too amidst all the clutter.

It also works the other way around with hype, sometimes I end up loving teas that other’s dont care for and that I could easily have skipped based off of reviews :)

I just saw this review and I apologize for your experience and not seeing this sooner. Those are both some of my favorite shou ever. Perhaps there was some issue with the cakes you received. PM or email me and let me know how I can make it up to you. [email protected]

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Wanted to try Diancha products so I went with Jingmai because it’s a tea area that I’ve tasted most alongside of Bang Dong so I figured I could assess the quality a bit easier with a familiar area. Does anyone else do this?

For reference: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1z10.3-c-s.w4002-15768416868.22.651fa509PJpw9d&id=541969855266

Yang-chu said

Sometimes. I guess I’m more interested in trying to get a grasp of house style. The variation within a region is too great to be dispositive vis producer for me.

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I took the 3 wrappers from the 2004 Zhencang cakes that I had in the Olympiad from Yang Qing Hao… let the dust fall into my shibo and my heart is having a workout right now, I didn’t realize that it was 7g of dust in a 75ml pot and dust is STRONG.

Philip Lee said

We did that with 4 of our single estate gushus… brewing gushu tea dust gongfu style is overkill! I think that I’ll try western brewing the tea dust next time.

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2016 Cang Zhen

Very pleasant and gentle, lightly fermented shou. Not expensive but very good for its price point.

Tasting notes here: https://steepster.com/TeaforSteve/posts/369834

Pictures here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BdmzEYql1Eh/?hl=en

(The tea is listed as 2015 on the seller’s site www.yunnancraft.com but the cake is marked 2016. I assumed this is a typo on the site.)

Error said

corrected:-) apologies for the mistake. I forgot to change it from previous batch.

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On Friday I didn’t have a single tea until around 8pm when I came home with a friend so I decided I wanted one of my favorites. Grabbed the small amount of the 2006 Golden Harmonious/Ticket Dayi and threw some in the pot. That was the first time I had some feelings from it, I’m use to just the strong after taste which is why I love it… but curious, if anyone has a full day without tea does it hit harder later on? (I was on a full stomach too)

p.s. this is the 366g version and not the 666g version which I continuously hear the 366g cake is better overall

> if anyone has a full day without tea does it hit harder later on?

Yes. In fact I find that if I want to be all like El Exigente evaluating a tea, it had better not be the first one of the day.

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Dragoran said

I decided to start in on the Sheng Olympiad, since it looked like other people have beaten me to it. I started off with the Zhencang Chawang, which was pretty great and differed from the Tejipin I own in interesting ways (much more cooling).

Since it’s a bit later in the day and I’m trying to avoid too much caffeine, I’ve moved on to the Bitterleaf Alter Ego, which is also quite enjoyable. Really creamy with readily apparent qi; it reminds me a lot of White2tea’s Fade, which is a good thing. I’ve found little info on the 2017 version of this brick; was this an Olympiad exclusive, or has Bitterleaf just not released this year’s?

meowster said

it hasn’t released yet.
Bitterleaf commented on the Sheng Olympiad post to clarify.

Dragoran said

Thanks! I overlooked that.

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I finally got to storing my cakes in a “pumidor” around Christmas time since I live in an incredibly dry part of Canada. Happy to say that I’ve brought the humidity up from 50% to 71%, which will hopefully help with long-term storage.

I revisited my White2Tea Cream about an hour ago. There is not much complexity at all and the mouthfeel is so pleasant! Really light undertones of smoke and red meat, especially in the aftertaste, and definitely approachable for someone getting into ripes. The heavy shou tastes come through and makes for a great daily drinker.

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mrmopar said

Having Healthy Leafs 2003 Infected Mushroom.
I set myself up some time to do this one. I was given a 10 gram sample of this to try. I heated the water and preheated the gaiwan. I tossed the sample in there after draining the water out and tossed it around. The aroma was pretty light.

Going with the vendors recommendation with a good 20 second rinse since it is a tuo and compressed tight. I let it sit an hour and came back to it.
First brew was light in color and a small amount of aroma woodsy and earthy. The brew was a bit silky and almost creamy in mouthfeel. There is just a tiny whisper of smoke in there. The brew has the wood notes and sweetness to it. I can see the jam note reference.
Second brew brought out some more notes. I can faintly get the juniper the vendor described along with some mineral and sweetness. There is an aftertaste of mint if you let this sit across your palate and breathe in a bit.
Third brew the wet leaf has started getting the whiskey barrel note to it. The brew is darker and full with the smoke coming back in but the sweetness and berry comes at the end.
I expect this one to brew a while and I will add an addendum to this. It keeps getting stronger and may outlast me on the session for today. I have no doubt that this will brew well tomorrow as well.
The thing about this tea is the aging. Not so dry as to not mature and not so wet as to get the mustiness that often accompanies it. This is right and one of the best, so far, Dali Tuos that I have had. I think if nothing else of trying this if you don’t mind the smoke touches in there. A sample if as good as the one I got will give you a great session with this tea.

Flavors: Creamy, Earth, Jam, Smoke, Sweet, Whiskey

JC said

I didn’t even read the note, I saw your flavor list and now I want it.

mrmopar said

I liked it and it went a looomg time brewing. I am going to get one for sure.

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