4 Tasting Notes


Question? Does your mood affect your tea experience?
Generally I wake up in the morning in a good mood, I am grateful for a new day and looking forward for what the day will bring. Today, however, I was feeling a little off – I didn’t want to speak and I just wanted to be left alone – don’t talk to me husband, don’t purr at me cat, stop following me around the house dog, ugh. I was feeling pretty damn grumpy. So grumpy that I actually sat staring at the wall and contemplated for quite some time about having a tea session. I finally decided on having some tea and decided to try one of the newer teas I recently purchased.

A couple of weeks ago I purchased an 11 year old puerh — which is the oldest tea in my collection – 2006 Yi Pin Tang “Menghai Lao Shu” Ripe Puerh Tea Cake – I am really trying to explore the world of ripe puerh and have been starting out with ripe puerhs older than 5 years. My thought in purchasing this tea and others was also to explore not only the age but to figure out if these price points were truly worth the investment for my tea drinking overall? Does price truly matter? (A topic I plan to explore later down the line.)

But back to this Menghai Lao Shu cake, I have to say that this first session was very uneventful. And I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that it was my mood. Not to say there aren’t bad teas or that my taste buds just ain’t feeling this particular batch – but I am telling you at this time it was the worst tea I had ever had. I was not impressed and I found it hard to touch on any flavor profile or aroma.

The flavor took quite some time for me to pull together – all I could think was it tastes like “storage” – like it has sat in a cardboard box in the back of a closet for years?!?! Which it probably has. Then eventually, after 4 steeps I got hints of wet wood — Still not something I was feeling at all. The aroma was of cardboard – dry leaf to wet leaf…I was not getting anything more than cardboard.

So again I wonder was this my experience due to my mood at the time. Will this change the next time I have a session with this tea? My hope is that it will, but I am definitely taking notes of this first session with this tea and will make sure the next time I sit with this I am in a better mood, and see what differences may come of it…..

Fingers crossed for a better experience next time around. To Be Continued…..

Flavors: Wet wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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What a lovely tea! First of all the tea cake is gorgeous, you almost don’t want to chisel through. The initial aroma gave me hints of citrus and spice. The soup started out a beautiful golden and with each steep making its way to an amber. I started my steeps and progressed as follows:
1: 20 sec @170F / 2: 20 sec @170F/ 3: 20 sec @170F/ 4: 20 sec @ 200F / 5: 30 sec @ 160F / 6: 1 minute @ 140F/ 7: 1 minute @ 140F

At the last steep I was loosing flavor…I am thinking I should have gone back up to a warmer temp to try and push it…which will be my note for the next sesh with this tea.

Overall, I loved this tea, it was very very delightful….although this m y first go around with this tea it left a very good impression on me. I plan to explore this more throughout the week.

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Enjoyed a tea sesh with this tea yesterday morning. First ripe puerh I have gotten into (been drinking raw puerh up until now) and the darkest tea I have ever drank. The dry leaf had a dried salted fish aroma but also earthy. I did the recommended steeps and got a thick & velvety soup, rich molasses color and it overall reminded me of coffee (which I rarely drink). This was a great introduction for me into ripe puerhs – looking forward to more exploration. (Gong Fu Style in a glass gaiwan)

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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This is the first of 7 teas I ordered from Whispering Pines, that I have tasted. First I would like to note I am a newbie, an amateur, so my tasting notes will reflect that of a novice. Second, I keep hearing from seasoned Chinese Tea drinkers that puerh is no good to drink unless it is at least 10 years old – any younger than that, you will not get much flavor or body. With that said — each time I try a raw puerh, I seem to get the same flavor results & thought = green/bitter. After drinking the 2016 Silver Fox, I definitely got similar notes – I went through 6 steeps. At first it started out very bitter but with each steep it dissipated. It tasted very “green” and around steep 4 I noticed a dry sensation in my mouth. The tea was not bad at all – but I wonder what it will be in 5, 10, 15 years down the line? The question is should I purchase another cake to store? I will have to go through a few more sessions to determine that for sure.

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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The Evolution Of A Tea Drinker!

I have been drinking tea since I was wee tiny kiddo. “Tea” has always been a huge part of our lives growing up. My mom gave us peppermint and ginger “tea” to cure any cold, lol. I remember when I was in elementary school, my grandmother would grab plants to boil and make “teas” for us grandchildren almost everyday after school. I remember everyday of high school I would wake up to the sound of the kettle and my mother preparing cups of “tea” for us before heading off to school.

It wasn’t until I went off to college, when I started to explore loose leaf “teas” and build a collection of tea ware. I started having friends over for tea parties and ditching the tea bags.

As time went on I began incorporating certain teas into a morning tea ritual as part of my meditation and yoga practice. Tea become my personal get away, calming and soothing private activity.

I soon began to incorporate teas into my business (I am a chef and own a line of condiments). I started pairing teas with foods and infusing them into foods. I started to explore the idea of becoming a tea sommelier and came across Chinese and Indian teas. About 3 years ago, I discovered eastern brewing and started incorporating Gong Fu Style brewing into my daily tea ritual. This year I began my exploration into puerhs and tea cakes.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how important of a role tea has played in my life over the years – its kind of a funny thought, that most people wouldn’t understand, but I am pretty sure many of you here in this community understand all to well.

My taste has grown significantly over the years and I am here on Steepster to explore even further and learn from others, try new teas and build on my collection of stored teas.

~Salut ;-)





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