316 Tasting Notes

80

Last year there were 3 versions; this year only one. I assume this is equivalent to the bronze, based upon the price. After tasting, it is obviously not as good as the silver or gold, which I really liked. The taste is very mild and unassuming, with hints of straw and grass. 3rd steep (20s): Slightly tart and bitter but the grass and straw are still prominent. I backed off a bit on the 4th steep, which reduced the bitterness considerably. Decent aroma, but not much finish. No noticeable cha qi. A decent daily drinker, but not something I would buy more of.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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90

This is a tea that you drink for the cha qi. It’s in the top 5-10% in my experience.

1st steep (10s): Pleasant nose. Taste is closed in at first, but opens. Good finish. Already feeling a full-body cha qi. 2nd (10s): Flavor isn’t as complex as In Bloom, but has nice floral/veggie overtones, and a great finish. 3rd (20a): I’m just going to meditate with this one. 7th (40s): Taste is still really nice, though the cha qi has faded (just as well). During this session I bought a cake. this will probably be my go-to sheng when I want cha qi.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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89
drank bang wei 2007 Spring by Tea Urchin
316 tasting notes

I rated this tea highly in the past but was a bit disappointed this time. It’s possible that poor storage is to blame, I have had the foil pack in my closet for a couple of years, and am trying to sip down those older samples.

1st steep (10s): Nice big leaves. Smooth, but very light in flavor. Nice texture in the mouth, and some complexity. 2nd (10s): Better but still understated. No flaws, but still disappointing, However, as I drink the finish is becoming more interesting: very long and powerful with nice spicy flavors. 3rd(10s): Much stronger flavor, with an astringent woodiness. Great finish and I’m feeling the cha qi. Still not much nose. Late steeps were less interesting.

Overall, the tea was very smooth and approachable, but not very powerful. I suspect it might be a good candidate for the “mom test”. I’d been considering buying a cake but decided to pass. My rating of 89 is an average of several sessions, ranging from 91 to 87.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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91
drank 2006 Tai He by Wistaria
316 tasting notes

I’m feeling guilty that it’s been so long since I’ve reviewed a tea. I’ve been thinking about purchases to drank several candidates over the last couple of days.

This tea was part of one of Liquid Proust’s group buys. It’s on the pricey side, but I like older teas. I started with a 3 s rinse, then a 10 s steep. I drank it while watching a TeaDB episode on Wistaria tea (but not this one).

It had an excellent nose and body. The body lasted well into the finish, which was excellent. Fairly good cha qi. Complex flavors, including some fruit. I found later steeps to be less interesting, though still good. In the end I liked the tea, but not enough to buy more.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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86

Part 4 of my 2016 CWS review. First steep had a pleasant straw/apricot flavor. Slightly sweet. Silky in the mouth. 2nd (10s): Straw/tobacco nose. I’m already feeling the cha qi from the first steep. Nice tobacco/straw flavor and silky texture; Similar to first steep. 3rd(20s): Still rich, but the flavor has shifted from sweet and silky to slightly bitter, tannic and acidic. 4th (30s): Initially sweet, then bitter, then sweet again in the finish. Very powerful finish. Strong cha qi. 5th was an oversteep (90s). Strong without excessive bitterness.

This tea is what I think of when I thing of Chawangshop teas: solid and good value, but not the highest quality. Having said that, I have to note that two of the teas I’ve tried so far, were in fact of the “highest quality” according to my rating system >=90.

After finishing my review I read other reviews that talked about the bitterness of the tea. It certainly became more bitter in later steeps, but I didn’t find the bitterness excessive. I also found that the bitterness was reduced if I used shorter steeps in later cups, yet the straw flavors still came through nicely.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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91

I’ve been tasting my way through the entire 2016 ChawangShop line, thanks to a group buy. This is my favorite so far.

The first steep was disappointing: light straw nose and taste. The 2nd steep started light; mostly straw. However, as the tea cooled, it developed more flavor and texture in the mouth, particularly near the finish, which was long. I’m not noticing much cha qi at this point. The 3rd steep was when it started to shine. It was very full in the mouth. The taste was a mix of broth, weeds, and leather with some bitterness at the finish. Long, long, finish; the finish is definitely the best part of this tea, though the texture in the mouth is a close second.

In the 4th steep I was finally feeling some cha qi. The nose and taste are weedy, with hints of grass. Really full texture in the mouth; slightly astringent. For me, a tea normally peaks in the 3rd steep, but I liked this steep better. I want to just keep rolling it around in my mouth. Then, the finish keeps it going. 5th steep (40s): The nose is full and rich. Taste is too. Huge finish. The 6th steep finally showed a bit of weakness; still quite good, but less so than the 5th.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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81

This was my second tea of the group buy tasting. I didn’t like it nearly as much as the Jinggu You Shang gushu.

The first steep had a weak nose. Sweet straw flavor is light in the mouth. This may be partly because the cake was relatively solid, so I did a poor job of breaking it. Waited 15 minutes for next steep to let the chunk loosen. After 4 steeps, it was fully separated. The tea never really developed: decent flavor but straightforward, and slightly astringent. A longer steep just produced bitterness. I gave up after 5 steeps. Not really a bad tea, just average, which is no longer what I am hoping for.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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90

I’ve decided to go back and review all of the samples I got via the 2016 group buy. I’ve had the samples about 6 months, stored in a room that has averaged 60% humidity. This was the first sample, and the good taste is what inspired me to try all the others. I may have to place an order.

The first steep didn’t have much nose, but the taste is good: straw with some stone fruit underneath. Nice chewy texture. 2nd steep (10s): Much nicer nose shows spice and old leather. Powerful taste with full body in the mouth and strong finish. Strong cha qi. Strong, yet elegant. Slightly acidic, but not very tannic or bitter. 3rd (20s): Big and spicy and beginning to get very tannic (my mouth is all puckered). 4th (30s): Still very good, but I’m seeing less flavor; just tannin, though less than before. 5th (1m): Nose is rich and spicy. Excellent taste also shows spice. Much less tannic. I got another 6 steeps or so (much more than I normally get from a 4 gram sample. They were all very enjoyable, with good taste, not much bitterness, and gradually becoming less complex.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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90

This was an interesting tea. It started out with a light straw flavor with just a hint of mint in the nose, but around the 3rd steep it suddenly got quite aggressive, powerful and woody. Both guises were fairly complex and enjoyable. From the first, the cha qi was pretty close to overwhelming. I’m getting a full-body effect and general lassitude.

Flavors: Straw, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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86

From the Here’s Hoping TTB.

The nose is lovely with apricot/floral flavors. Taste is also very good, with the fruit more subdued, but the tea flavor is good as well; a good balance between the two flavors. It may just be I’m getting used to it, but the fruit seemed to fade as I sipped, and a strong astringency began to dominate in the finish. Not bitter, but my whole mouth is puckered up.

The fruit is less obvious in the second steep, but I find that I still enjoy the tea. The fruit is there, just less obvious. I’m also picking up the flowers more, and seeing less astringency in the finish. Overall, a very good tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Bio

Retired engineer/physicist.
My ratings will usually be based on multiple tastings. Oolong teas are generally 3 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 1 minute. Black teas are 1.5 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 3-4 minutes. Pu-erh is 3 grams in 2.5 oz, generally 10, 10, 20, 30, 60 sec. Since I use less tea, 6 sessions is equivalent to twice that many for people who use 7 grams of tea.

My numerical ratings are all based on how much enjoyment I took from the tea. Since I prefer blacks and oolongs, they will receive higher scores. I also give a couple of extra points to decafs, just because I can drink them in the evening without staying up half the night. I don’t dislike flavored teas, but find that they lack the complexity of finer teas.

90-100 = superior, worth a high price
80-89 = Excellent. Will buy again
70-79 = Good tea, but probably won’t buy
60-69 = Nothing really wrong, but…
Below 60 = Wouldn’t drink again. Probably didn’t finish

I am having computer problems and my password is lost. If my computer dies, I won’t be able to access my account, so will need to start a new account as Dr_Jim. This statement vouches for my new identity.

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Massachusetts

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