316 Tasting Notes

88

Straightforward tobacco flavor but very good texture and finish. 2nd steep: Some dark spice in the nose. Tobacco, wood, and tar flavors, with hints of bitterness. Astringent in the finish. Good body. 3rd: The rich texture is the best part of this tea. Dark flavors, and rich finish. Pretty good cha qi. Several more good steeps.

I found the tea very interesting but a bit too dark for me. I would recommend it on an absolute basis, but I’m not sure it is a particularly good value at the price.

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

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89

1st steep (10s): Mild nose. Taste is very sweet and approachable straw, with floral notes and a hint of spice. This isn’t terribly complex, but is VERY enjoyable. Pretty good texture as well. (10s): Similar to first steep. Moderate cha qi snuck up on me. 3rd (10s): A bit more to this one. A bit of a meaty flavor, with some tobacco. Good finish. 4th Mostly wood and tobacco. Long finish. Overall, I liked this tea. Very approachable at first, it gained interest in later steeps.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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91
drank Xi Kong 2011 Autumn by Tea Urchin
316 tasting notes

The nose is soft, with straw, tobacco, and mango. Tastes of spice and pepper. Slightly tart on the tongue. Good texture. 2nd steep similar but richer and a bit darker. Powerful finish. Some cha qi. 3rd: I love the aroma! Several other good steeps.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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86

1st steep: Really nice texture; viscous on the front of the tongue and smooth going down. Not much nose, and light straw flavor. The texture is the main thing, though it seems to open up in the finish. As it cools, a light straw/apricot flavor becomes more apparent in both the taste and the finish. 3rd (20s): aroma of toast. There is now a strong component of wood to the taste, though still some apricot underneath. Later steeps became increasingly tannic. I loved the first two steeps, but the later steeps were somewhat disappointing. Still, a good tea overall.

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

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79

This is really smoky. I actually like smoky teas, and thought this one was pretty good in a smoky/woody style. Got a little bitter in the later steeps, but the early steeps were very approachable (did I mention the smoke?). I liked it , but others might not.

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

I have intentionally left this one out after the vendor description mentioned the smoke. It will subside in a year or two I think.

Dr Jim

Chawangshop says “slightly smoky”. I’d hate to try their version of “very smoky”.

mrmopar

I learned this from one of their previous productions.

Cwyn

This production is one Chawangshop gets with and without the wood smoke. The smoked one is the wood fire, and is cheaper than the cake made without. I have a smoked one of these from a few years ago. The smoke airs out for the most part. I can hardly detect it now,

andresito

agree with cwyn. smoke in 2015 is already fading into deeper flavors of complexity, but doesn’t taste like ash. I expect a few more years it will be barely noticeable.

andresito

I liked the smoked and unsmoked versions equally, but they’re different teas IMO

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90

From the group buy organized by Andresito.

The nose is herbaceous, with hints of wood. Taste has some veggie, straw, and good mouth-feel. Very clean taste, and good clean finish. 2nd steep: Floral nose has hints of vegetation, apricot, and straw. The taste is more apricot, with a hint of bitterness. Finish is very tannic, but not bitter. This is definitely my favorite of the 2016 ChawangShop teas so far. Not a whole lot of cha qi. Later steeps show more of a tobacco/wood profile that is increasingly tannic, but still interesting, as the fruit and floral notes slowly fade away.

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

Very-well described and concisely too.

Rich

Hmmm… very different than my first tasting! Perhaps I should try again.

Dr Jim

I steep at 200F, which seems to help the softer flavors show.

Cwyn

I just ordered a tong if this blind, after drinking all of my Hekai cake from 2015. It relieves my edema for some reason better than any of my other teas.

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90

I was part of the group buy organized by andresito and am pretty much just drinking one tea per day. I realized that since these are relatively new teas, it was important to publish notes.

The first steep showed a really fine nose: rich and fruity. Good taste has layers of flavor. Sweet and fruity with hints of tobacco and straw. Flavor is all on the roof of the mouth, not the tongue. By the second steep the fruit was dominated by an excess of tannin (though not really bitterness), particularly in the finish. The fruit still appears occasionally, but the tannin dominates. I kept trying to like the tea, but it was just too tannic. Perhaps this will improve with age, but I’m afraid the fruit will fade away.

I’m not giving a numerical score. I initially had a fairly high score, probably based upon the first couple of steeps, but upon reflection thought that was probably too high.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 g

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87

From Liquid Proust’s 2017 Regional Oolong sampler

I steeped this gong-fu style, which I don’t usually do for oolong. It came out so well, I will have to do it more often.

Many of the teas in the sampler have been too heavily roasted for me. I realized that my taste in oolong has been compressed into those teas in the mid-roast range. I’m not crazy about green oolongs, or heavy roasts. Having said that, this tea hit my sweet spot. It had quite a bit of roast, but I was still able to taste the underlying tea.

The first two steeps (10s) were pleasant and toasty, with herbal notes. The roasted, almost burnt, flavors were stronger in the second steep, but I can still detect the tea behind the roast. Nice finish. Surprising amount of cha qi. 6th steep (30s): Still potent, though more in the nose and especially the finish than in the taste. Rich and toasty with a hint of spice caramel.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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89

From a Puerh TTB (don’t remember which)

I’ve been bad about reviewing teas lately, In large part because I don’t feel like writing a long essay. So, my new goal is just to say a few words and give a rating. No muss; no fuss.

So, this is a really pleasant tea. It strikes almost perfect balance between the aroma, taste, and finish. The finish is also long enough that you get that nice synergy where you are still tasting the last sip when you take a drink.

The flavor is good, but doesn’t stand out. It is mostly tobacco, but with nice floral and vegetative highlights. Becomes darker, though not bitter, in the finish. By the third steep, I’m feeling a nice thick texture, particularly on the roof of my mouth. The cha qi is noticeable, but not overly strong. This tea will help you relax but not put you to sleep.

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

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87
drank Nanzuo Lao Shengtai by Farmerleaf
316 tasting notes

I was prepared to not like this tea. It is the younger sibling of the single-tree Nanzou that I drank yesterday, and I expected it to do poorly by comparison. It turned out to be a very good tea.

The flavor is very similar to the single-tree, whether due to the terroir or the processing, I don’t know. It has that dark, almost meaty flavor that reminds me a bit of raisins or meat broth. The aroma, taste, and finish were all very strong, and it also packed a pretty good cha qi. The main difference between this tea and the single-tree is complexity. This tea is fairly straightforward, though rich enough to be interesting, but lacks some of the fruit/spice/straw overtones that made the single-tree so enjoyable. Still, at $30 a cake, this strikes me as a great bargain for a daily drinker. My problem is that I have more daily drinkers than I have days.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 g

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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.

Location

Massachusetts

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