132 Tasting Notes
Courtesy of a exceptionally kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this 13-yr old shou.
Color – Chocolate brown
Fragrance – Very faint
- Warmed leaves – Damp wet leaves
- Rinsed (10s) leaf – composted top soil
- Post 20-min rest – sweet fine pipe tobacco
- Brewed – Mild pu-erh aroma
Liqueur – Amber, initally a little cloudy
Taste – As one would expect with a 13-yr old brick, there wasn’t any bitterness, acidity, fishiness or funk.
It’s likely that I got off on the wrong foot with the Old Youle Brick by following the brewing parameters that have worked so well with many varieties of Menghai Dayi shou.
My first clue should have been immediately after the 20-min rest. I normally use a cocktail fork to loosen up the warmed wet leaves. Typically, this requires very little effort. In this case it wasn’t so easy. In fact, when I broke the chunk open, it was still dry on the inside. Since this was to be our first caffeine of the morning, no red flags occurred to me.
I typically don’t read other tasting notes before tasting a new tea, so as not to potentially color my impressions. Clearly, when trying a new (non-Dayi) shou, I need to check the Steepster recommended brewing parameters first.
Initially with a 10s steep, it was thin, flat, astringent and woody. The 2nd-round was very similar but improved to medium-body. By the third round, it was more mellow, but still woodie at the end of the sip. As I remember, there was a persistent woody aftertaste. (However, I didn’t make a note about this specific point.) Since woodiness isn’t a flavor I appreciate in shou, I lost interest in going any further.
Flavor profile: wood, bark
Impression – Since the brewing parameters used apparently weren’t a good match for this shou, I don’t think I can offer an accurate impression.
17.7g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 10s rinse / 20 min rest / every 2 steeps combined: 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30
Courtesy of a exceptionally kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this young shou.
Leaf Color – Chocolate brown with some gold tips throughout.
Fragrance – faint fruity
Aroma 60 sec. warmed leaves – Mod strong pu-erh up front with fine pipe tobacco in the background.
Aroma 20 min post rest – mild fine pipe tobacco w/pu-erh in background.
Brewed aroma – Not noted.
Liqueur – Cloudy amber initially
Taste – Ultra-smooth, rich, round, and very clean. There wasn’t any bitterness, astringency, fishiness or funk, which is surprising for a 2016.
Flavor profile – Initially, there wasn’t an obivous flavor except mild cocoa at the end of the sip. Unfortunately, the third round ( 15s & 30s steps combined) weren’t like the previous very enjoyable cups. The flavor profile morphed into a tart acidic citrus that overshadowed all that we enjoyed in the prior cups. Before I could finish this cup I had stomach upset. Tasting session ended.
Impression – This “bipolar” shou isn’t a morning cup. Given the name " Golden Fruit", and the tart acidic citrus flavor, this shou reminded me of Earl Grey. Not our cup of Shou!
10.5g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 10s rinse / 20 min rest / every 2 cups combined / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30 / stopped due to stomach upset.
We ordered this 9-yr old shou based on the recommendation of John @ King Tea and our fondness for Menghai shou. We’ve finished this 357g cake a while ago. What follows is what stood out for us:
Taste – Full-bodied, & smooth. As one would expect with a 9-yr old Menghai cake, there wasn’t any bitterness, astringency, acidity, fishiness or funk.
Flavor profile – Typical Menghai shou flavor. There wasn’t anything that stood out as being particularly memorable. It’s less complex or more homogenous.
Impression – This shou is a good robust morning cup. It’s just not as satisfying as: https://steepster.com/teas/menghai-tea-factory-berylleb-on-ebay/35545-2011-menghai-dayi-100-year-tribute-cake, which is three years younger.
12g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 5s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30 / 60 /120
Courtesy of a exceptionally kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this 8-yr old shou.
Leaf Color – Chocolate brown with gold tips throughout.
Fragrance – mild, sweet
Aroma rinsed leaves – winey, keemun-like
Aroma 20 min post rest – keemun, sweet fine pipe tobacco
Brewed aroma – faint keemun
Liqueur – Dark chocolate brown, thick, viscous with a sheen.
Taste – Full-bodied, thick, rich, round, and ultra-smooth. As one would expect with a 8-yr old premium cake, there wasn’t any bitterness, acidity, fishiness or funk. There was mild astringency that didn’t increase with additional cups of this shou. Perhaps, the quantity of leaves (16.8 g) may have been the cause of it? Perhaps, a slightly lower temperature?
Flavor profile – I was in keemun heaven! This shou reminded me of the best crop-year of Teavivre’s Premium Keemun that I’ve tasted. I was quite surprised and pleased!
Impression – This shou is a bold robust invigorating morning cup that tastes like a full-bodied keemun rather than pu-erh. Keemun lovers rejoyce! “You can have your Pu-erh & Keemun too!” :-) This is an excellent shou.
16.8g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 10s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 10 / 20 / 40 /80
Courtesy of a very kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this 10-yr old shou.
Color – Chocolate brown with some gold tips on surface.
Fragrance – sweet
Warmed leaves – refined puerh aroma, very clean
Rinsed leaf aroma – mild pleasing pu-erh aroma, I anticipate good things!
Brewed aroma – Very mild aroma – citrus
Liqueur – Amber, initally a little cloudy
Taste – Medium-bodied, very clean, ultra-smooth, & rich. As one would expect with a 10-yr old premium cake, there wasn’t any bitterness, astringency, acidity, fishiness or funk.
Flavor profile – I agree with mrmopar, this shou has a mild mineral flavor that was more obvious near the end of the sip.
Impression – This shou conjured up thoughts of a very refined introvert skilled in the art of diplomacy to win over your tastebuds and your smile. It isn’t a bold robust extroverted morning cup. This shou is perhaps best served at the traditional English afternoon tea time. This is an excellent shou.
11.6g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 5s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30 / 60 /120
Courtesy of a very kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this 8-yr old shou.
Fragrance – nothing obvious
Color – Chocolate brown few gold tips on the surface.
Rinsed leaf aroma – pleasing, sweet, moderately-strong, barnyard smell
Brewed aroma – mild typical pu-erh aroma
Liqueur – Dark brown
Taste – Thin, flat, homogenous, woodie, w/o bitterness, fishiness or funk. However, there was noticeable astringency that gradually increased with each serving. There was also a woodie aftertaste that persisted long after this gongfu session. Even though we had toast with our tea, we both had stomach upset after drinking 6oz each of this shou.
Flavor profile – Woodie
Impression – Not our cup of tea. Perhaps the 10-sec rinse suggested in mrmopar’s review may have helped. Unfortunately, I didn’t read it until after this session as I didn’t want it to potentially color my observations.
12.6g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 5s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / stopped session due to stomach upset.
Courtesy of a very kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this 5-yr old shou.
Fragrance – faint cocoa
Color – Chocolate brown with some gold tips throughout.
Rinsed leaf aroma – rich leaf compost
Brewed aroma – mild typical pu-erh aroma
Liqueur – Amber brown
Taste – Full-bodied, round, rich, & creamy smooth w/o bitterness, astringency, acidity, fishiness or funk.
Flavor profile – This shou brought to mind the flavor of an exceptional, freshly-baked, wholesome, multigrain-bread.
Impression – Of the few Haiwan shou I’ve tasted to date, this is clearly my favorite. Ufortunately, this ebay supplier now wants $85/cake. Too bad – at this price I’ll pass.
14.5g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 5s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30 / 60 /120
It’s been quite a while since since I’ve written a review. However, my wife & I have been enjoying shou puerh every morning since being introduced to it here on Steepster. Yes, we’ve come over to the Dark side! :-)
Courtesy of a very kind Steepster friend, I brewed this Haiwan shou Gongfu style: 15g / 6 oz. / 205° / 5-sec rinse / 20-min rest / 5, 5, 10, 10, 15, 30, 60, 120-sec for a total of 8 6-oz. infusions. Every two steeps combined in a sharing pitcher.
I understand that this shou is known by at least three different names: Supreme, Ultimate, and also perhaps Peerless.
Aroma: Faint cocoa or chocolate
This ripe pu-erh is dark yet light-bodied, velvety smooth, and somewhat rich w/o any astringency or bitterness. There were no off-putting flavors or aromas of any kind. However, there was a slight woody flavor at the end of the sip. I didn’t notice any cha qi. Additional infusions had the same “delicate” (my wife’s accurate & concise dsecription) flavor profile using longer brewing times.
Impression: I agree with mrmopar that this shou is better as an afternoon tea, as it’s not as robust and invigorating as is typically enjoyed with breakfast: https://steepster.com/mrmopar/posts/184618
tperez wrote an incisive review of the 2010 version: https://steepster.com/tperez/posts/337954#comments
Gong-Fu Brewing Method:
Please see my profile.
Today, courtesy of a very kind Steepster friend, I brewed this highly-recommended Menghai shou Gongfu style: 10g / 3 oz. / 205 / 5-sec rinse / 20-min rest / four identical steeps combined into a tea mug / 5, 15, & 30-sec for a total of twelve 3-oz. infusions.
This ripe pu-erh is robust, dark, rich, and velvety smooth w/o any astringency or bitterness. There were no off-putting flavors or aromas of any kind. It’s invigorating enough for breakfast. I didn’t notice any cha qi. Additional infusions had the same enjoyable flavor profile and were nearly as rich using longer brewing times. I also tried a fourth round of infusions @ 60-sec. However, it was too light-bodied.
Impression: I agree with DigniTea & mrmopar that it’s an excellent affordable everyday shou. This is also an excellent choice for pu-erh beginners like us who enjoy full-bodied black tea.
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
Brewed gongfu-style using a digital variable-temp electric kettle and a tempered 3 oz. Ru Kiln gaiwan: http://steepster.com/teaware/bonavita/39130-1-liter-variable-temperature-digital-electric-gooseneck-kettle
In lieu of a sharing pitcher & tea strainer, a tea mug http://steepster.com/teas/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs with a http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket placed in the tea mug were used.
It’s that time of year again for great tea value opportunities! …
TeaVivre’s 4th Anniversary Celebration!