312 Tasting Notes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been drinking some of the samples that I bought through the group purchase arranged by Liquid Proust. I got greedy and ordered samples of all of their teas, so it will take a while to review them all.
This one pushed all of my buttons. From the first steep, the tea had a powerful nose, strong taste and long finish. Best of all, each was different, making for a really interesting, complex tea.
The first few steeps had a nose of spicy straw, and a deep rich, fruity finish that went on forever. Oh yes, and a really strong cha qi. The taste was a mix of the two, that I swear reminds me of raisin oatmeal cookies, probably because of the cinnamon and molasses flavors. The finish was so long that it resonates with the taste, each sip adding a layer of richness.
The rea isn’t at all bitter, although there is an astringency that showed up in the end and 3rd steeps. I"m currently on the 5th steep and the deep richness is fading, leaving the straw and spice to dominate the flavor, which is still very strong. The nose, taste, and finish are all still very strong.
I have the feeling I may have to buy more of this.
From the 2016 Sheng Olympiad.
I have a new year’s resolution that I’m trying to start early. In order to drink up all my samples, I’m going to sit down and have a formal session, with tasting notes and Steepster entry every single day. Lately I’ve been just grabbing something to drink while I work or watch TV so don’t really focus on the tea. Since I’m not paying enough attention to the tea, I tend to drink average-quality teas that I own a lot of, and leave the samples alone (all ~200!). So, let’s see how long it takes me to drink down all my samples – longer than I think: I have samples on the way from Farmer-Leaf teas, and intend to order the 2017 Sheng Olympiad (and probably everything else the Liquid Proust puts together).
So, after this long introduction, what about the tea? My first sip was very bitter. Usually I don’t like bitter tea, but this was also deep and rich with overtones of tar and fruit that I found enjoyable. The second steep lost some of the fruit, though it was still there.A short steep didn’t reduce the bitterness, so I decided to embrace it: think of this as the espresso of teas!.
Around the 5th steep, sweetness began to challenge the bitterness for dominance, but the finish stayed bitter. The interesting flavors faded along with the bitterness. An interesting tea, but not one I would purchase.
From the Puerh Plus TTB 2
This is actually a tale of two tastings. I really liked my first sample of this tea. It was light but elegant, with citrus and floral notes. As I drank it, the flavors grew on meand my enjoyment increased through many cups. Thinking I might like to buy a cake, I kept the remaining 3 grams of the tea to enable me to try it again, before making a purchase decision.
The second tasting started out similar to the first, with a light, elegant flavor with floral and citrus highlights. However, this time the tea seemed to get worse, rather than better, losing the fruit and becoming bland. At the 4th cup, it was a slightly bitter straw; not bad but not the lovely tea I expected. A shorter steep at cup 5 removed the bitterness, but left a pleasant but not very interesting tea. I suspect that different steep times, temperature, etc. could develop different characteristics, so you could have some fun with it.
I wound up recommending this tea, because I think it is good value as an everyday tea. However, I’ve made a vow to not buy any more everyday teas, so I’m going to pass on this one. My numerical score is the average of the 87 I gave this on the first session and the 81 I’m giving it for the second session.
From the Puerh TTB-5
One of my favorite teas is the 2013 TU Peacock, so when I saw a 2016 peacock in the TTB I got greedy and took all 10 grams. It’s been resting for a few weeks, and it’s now time to taste it. I decided to make a big deal out of it and am tasting it side-by-side with the 2013.
Both teas have 3 grams, with roughly 70 cc steeps of 10, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60 seconds at 200 degrees.
1st steep: Both have a fairly light straw color, with the 2016 a bit more green. 2016 has a light nose with hints of fruit, straw, and spice. The taste is more of the same. The nose is more subdued in the 2013 and it has less fruit but a richer texture in the mouth. Later steeps show a tropical fruit underneath a straw flavor. The 2016 has good mouth-feel but the flavors are more on the surface, with much less richness or depth. The Finish is very good, but light and fruity rather than deep and complex. In the absence of a comparison, I would like the 2016 quite a bit, but it suffers in comparison with the 2013, though when I come back to the now much cooler 2013 it doesn’t seem as good as it did.
2nd steep (after 15 minutes to let the cha qi settle; I can still taste the tea a bit!): 2016 tastes richer than before with spice and some fruit. Excellent finish, despite the fact that the flavor seems to be mostly on the surface. The 2013 has less spice but a rich fruitiness that is further back in the mouth, and continues through a long finish. Both teas has such a long finish that the whole side-by-side tasting is compromised: I sip one tea while the finish of the other is still very active. I’m also feeling a full-body cha qi that is probably affecting my tasting. I’m also noticing a significant level of astringency.
The third steep is usually my favorite. Here, after another 15 minute break, the 2016 has a nice, spicy nose, and a crisp acidic taste with hints of fruit and spice. The finish seems more powerful than the taste, which to me usually indicates a need for aging (at least with wine). The cha qi hits me almost immediately. The 2013 is much less aromatic, and the flavor is richer yet more subdued. This tea also seems to get bigger after I swallow. Big and rich, and I’m riding a tea drunk. Drinking the two teas in short succession brings out the best in both, due to the long finishes. Awesome tea drunk.
I waited a couple of hours to continue. 4th steep is spicy but too astringent, but I really like the finish. 5th steep is sweeter, but also with less fruit and spice. The flavor seems to have moved to the roof of my mouth. It has a thick, chewy texture that fills the mouth and lingers in the finish.
Bottom line is that I like this tea a lot, but I don’t think it’s quite as good as the 2013. The question is whether it will age into what the 2013 is today. I may need to buy a cake to find out.