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
Aroma:
- 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.

Note:
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

Preparation
18 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
looseTman

Question: I noticed that stems were included in this shou brick. Are stems likely to contribute to a woody flavor? Thanks!

mrmopar

That is a good possibility. Sometimes the tea can look a bit rough.

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looseTman

Question: I noticed that stems were included in this shou brick. Are stems likely to contribute to a woody flavor? Thanks!

mrmopar

That is a good possibility. Sometimes the tea can look a bit rough.

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Bio

My wife and I are passionate about teas that are full-bodied, rich, thick & creamy smooth. I joined Steepster to explore Multiple Infusion Teas (MITs). Currently, our focus is on ripe pu-erh teas.

We especially enjoy teas with a mildly-sweet rich chocolate flavor profile as opposed to bittersweet cocoa.

Cost-effective organic teas or teas that meet the EU Food Safety Commission Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit EUROFINS are greatly appreciated. Many people drink tea for the anti-oxidant health benefits. So why would health conscious tea lovers drink tea that contains pesticide residues?

Complete steeping instructions on the bag are greatly appreciated:
tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min. for both Western & Gongfu brewing.

Our recent orders have been from: Yunnan Sourcing, Crimson Lotus, Little Red Cup, Berylleb (ebay), King Tea, White 2 Tea, Tao Tea Leaf, Whispering Pines, Yezi, TeaVivre, What-Cha, Mandala, Zen Tea Life, Arbor Teas, Verdant, Grandness (Aliexpress). Kudos to them as they have all been extremely helpful.

Our cupboard doesn’t include the many greatly appreciated samples generously provided by Steepsters’s favorite tea suppliers and by several very kind Steepster members.

Current Gogng Fu Brewing Method:
10-15g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 5s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30 / 60 /120. Every two steeps combined in a sharing pitcher.

RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Digital variable-temp electric kettle and a tempered 6 oz. gaiwan:
http://steepster.com/teaware/bonavita/39130-1-liter-variable-temperature-digital-electric-gooseneck-kettle
https://steepster.com/teaware/butiki-teas/39240-flower-gaiwan
https://steepster.com/teaware/shanghaistory/75184-double-wall-clear-glass-cha-hai-tea-pitcher-200ml
http://steepster.com/teaware/shanghaistory/75183-sonsitai-sst-082-ss-fine-mesh-tea-strainer
http://steepster.com/teas/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.
Our 450’ well provides hard water. For details see: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/176233#comments.

Solutions:
#1. Rainsoft water softener with
Q2 computerized control valve

#2. Abundant Flow Water
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with re-mineralization filter
Model: Zeta RO: https://www.afwfilters.com/drinking-ro-systems/6-stage-alkaline-zoi-zeta-reverse-osmosis-system-16.html
Includes:
- Dow Filmtec TFC R.O. membrane
- Omnipure Inline Post filter
- Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter: http://www.puregen.com/products_detail.php?id=301&lang=en
-————————————
Update 10/27/17:
Today, I sanitized our RO system and replaced all the filters (routine RO system maintenance). We upgraded from the Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter to the Zaria Everest Alkaline Water Filter:
https://steepster.com/teaware/zaria/68637-everest-alkaline-water-filter
The major difference is the Zaria Everest is NSA-certified, the Puregen is not.
-———————————
Options:
- Aquatec ERP-500 & ASV 2000
- 3/8" Output
- HM Digital DM-1: http://www.tdsmeter.com/products/dm1.html

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