98 Tasting Notes
Dry leaves smell faintly smokey, wet leaves smell so strongly of smoke that they smell a bit like burnt fruit. Lost my notes on the first 4 steeps due to a restart. Will try to reconstruct as best I can.
1/15s: Very little of the smokiness that made me shorten the first steep time shows up in the cup. Instead I get hay with a bit of melon.
2/20s: Same as previous, with perhaps a bit of smoke
3/30s: Pushing here just a little bit. Getting very noticable astringency, but it’s not unpleasant. Lends a crisp finish to the cup. Hay as moved to a bit more of a background note and the melon tastes are front and center.
4/35s: Actually getting some bitter notes and more of the smokiness I’d smelled in the leaves. Hay is back to the forefront with the melon sort of fading.
5/35s: Hay, smoke and melon. Still picking up a bit of bitterness.
6/30s: Hay melon and detecting a note of apple. (red delicious sort, not tart)
7/30s: Melon, apple… hay in the background on this one. Some pleasant astringency, no bitterness.
8/40s: Flavor is consistent, but any time I push past 30 – 35 seconds, that bitter note shows up. I’m not used to brewing with such a small pot nor with this particular tea so this is very experimental. Melon is prominent. Can still detect apple and hay.
9/30s: Same/similar to steeps 6 & 7
10/35s: Same/similar to steeps 6 & 7
11/40s: Big melon with hay and apple. Nice astringency is still there. Bitter note detectable, but not as biting as previous steepings.
12/50s: Interesting cup. No bitterness, but the smokiness is now showing up as more of a cacao note with hay, apple and melon, though the latter two are now more background notes just present enough make clear that you are indeed still drinking the same tea as previous.
13/60s: Ok this is turning into something both lovely and surprising. More fruit and cacao than anything with a bit of hay. More of the flavor profile I’d expect with an oolong. More rounded taste here with the only astringency present as a crispness in the finish.
14/65s: Same as previous. Lovely. May need to put this pot to more use…. or heaven forbid, buy more 80 – 100mL teapots. _
15/75s: Falling in love with this oolongs now. Wonderful steeps here. Curious if it’s just the tea or a matter of brewing a smaller pot.
16/90s: That stepped up the cacao a bit. Very nice. Still lots of fruit tempered with a bit of hay. Bit of irony that I’m enjoying such a remarkable tea on what may prove a most negatively momentous day. LOL, guess it all a matter of perspective and perception.
Flavors: Apple, Cacao, Hay, Melon, Smoke
This session was an experiment to see if I could taste a difference in tea brewed in a yixing teapot vs a fine silver teapot. I went with a ratio of 1g/20mL as I needed the tea to not be overpowering, particularly in the earl-middle steeps, if I was going to pick up nuiances in taste. Grrrr! Just realized at the 3 steeping that my kettle was set to 195 degrees not 208. Increasing temp at steep 4.
Fine Silver 11g in 220mL
1/5s: Pot: 104oF Brew: 138oF at first slip. Super clean. Only the tiniest hint of astringency. No bitterness.
2/5s: Pot: 103.7oF Brew: 144oF. Pleasant astringency. Not quite metalic, there is a sort of sharp note in there. Bit of bitterness at back of the throat.
3/7s: Pot: 101.8oF Brew: 138oF. Not sure if it’s the taste of silver or the truth of this tea, but there is this sharp sort of tinny background note. It’s not huge, but there if you’re really looking for details in taste. Huigan is now present and in a big way with the light astringency that I so love in this tea that melts into sweetness. Plenty of body in this cup. Tiny bit of a bitter note as the huigan settles and fades.
4/9s: Pot: 102oF Brew: 150.4oF. Punchy. Good astringency and sweetness in the mouth and at the back of the throat. Has nice bite/body. The sharp note in the earlier steeps is completely gone. Damn good tea! No bitterness at all. Amazing, amazing huigan. Love how the astringency melts this way. Nice crisp, dry sort of finish that has long lingering sweetness thanks to that.
5/9s: Pot: 125 (100)oF Brew: 143oF. Tiny touch of bitterness at the tip of the tongue. Fades quickly. That buttery effect is showing up in this steep. Sweet astringency is still spectactular. Huigan is fucking spectacular in this cup.
Yixing 10g in 200mL
1/5s: Pot:145.5 oF Brew: 145.7oF at first sip. Ok that was kind of surprising! Notably smoother and a bit buttery. More huigan, neither bitterness nor astringency present.
2/5s: Pot: 155.1oF Brew: 145.4oF Pleasant astringency. No sharp note. Again, huigan present here. Buttery feel less, but still present.
3/7s: Pot: 142oF Brew: 133.3oF Buttery, sweet. Astringency still very soft as is the huigan. No bitterness.
4/9s: Pot: 158.1oF Brew: 139.4oF. The butter effect just turned up nicely. Much more body now. Great huigan. Still no sign of bitterness. The astringency is still very light leading so a soft (not crisp/dry) finish. The sweetness doesn’t linger as long on the tongue or at the back of the throat. Getting a bit of a vegetal note. This tea is usually just honey with a touch of grass. Interestingly, the tinny note I kept mentioning in the silver teapot is showing up a tiny bit here now, lol. Truth of the tea.
5/9s: Pot: 158.7oF Brew: 145.9oF. Finally getting that nice sweet astringency. Huiguan is stronger now, but still comparatively soft. Very clean. Lovely, lovely steeping.
So, the first thing of note to me is how much heat Yixing leaks to the outside vs silver. In that last steep on the silver I think I got a less reflective spot, but it outside temp of the pot is still lower. I expected that silver would conduct heat much better and thus leak more heat to the outside. Again this could be a matter of the surface being a bit reflective.
The other big point of note is how differently the pots perform in those early steeps. The first steep in the Yixing pot was miles apart from the silver. Shockingly so. Very happy I went this tea. Hopefully I can sleep after drinking about 2L of tea, LOL!
The dry leaves smell of prunes, apricots, tobacco, wood and something a little spicy. The wet leaves smell more strongly of tobacco with apricots in the background. Really wish I could have this as an incense or air freshener, lol! This one has me looking a bit weird because I keep sticking my nose in the pot and inhaling as if I might be huffing something illicit. _
1/8s: Silky, sweet. Tastes of grass, honey and a bit of stonefruit. Finish is soft in this cup and I’m picking up a nice floral note in the aftertaste.
2/8s: Oh this is good! More honey and fruit in this steep with a clean, crisp finish. Long lasting huigan
3/10s: Little more body/thickness in this steeping. Same honey, grass and fruit notes.
4/10s: About the same as the previous. Love the sweet, slightly astringent finish
5/12s: Fruit and honey fading a little bit as the grassy note become more prominent.
6/12s: Really clean taste. Clear, light amber brew.
7/14s: Noticing more sweetness towards the back of the throat.
9/16s: Took a break, so this one was a little light.
11/20s: Same honey and grass.
13/60s: No bitterness, nice astringency. Grass, fruit and honey.
This is a pretty tasty tea. Just wish it had more punch in the cha qi department. I was drinking on an empty stomach most of the day so if there were any qi to be had I should have felt it.
Flavors: Fruity, Grass, Honey
2007 Yang Qing Hao “Huang Shan LingYa” – 5.35g in 200mL with a 10 second rinse
Wet leaves smell of tobacco and prunes with a note of fruit and a hint of menthol. Going to test this one with 5g first then try it again later with closer to 10g of leaf in the pot.
1/10s: Sort of sweet and fruity with a nice cooling menthol effect. Deep complex flavor. Very tasty! Causes a numbing/tingling sensation on the tongue.
2/18s: Accidently steeped longer than planned, but it just increased the fruity sweetness and cha qi. :) Tiny bit of bitterness as it cools.
4/10s: What a strange and wonderful flavor profile. Sort of sweet, fruity with this notable menthol effect/flavor
7/??s: Sweet and creamy. Really nice cup of tea.
Lots of breaks in this session do to travel, being sick and a refusal to not drink the tea until I could do it without pauses.
2016 Da Qing Gu Shu Raw – 5.59g in 200mL at 208C with a 10s rinse, 10 minute rest.
The smell of the dry leaves is unbelievable! Fruity and thick, like molasses and over ripe apricots. I couldn’t stop gushing over it so I let my wife smell it and her face lit up! Wet, the leaves take on a vegetal note and the fruity aroma takes on a deeper tone, but still smells amazing. Can’t wait to start in on this one!
1/10s: Very light, sweet and vegetal. Not really tasting in of the fruitiness smelled in the leaves.
2/10s: Stronger, nice crisp finish. Vegetal note has decreased and the sweetness is a bit more mellow.
3/15s: May be feeling the first whispers of cha qi. The cup is quite vegetal, but good. Tiny bit of bitterness that fades into lingering sweetness on the tongue.
4/15s: Sweetness is back with an interesting, tingling mouthfeel. Have a nice tea buzz going now.
5/20s: Sweet & vegetal. Tea buzz still building.
6/30s: Bit of a break due to work. Sweet, vegetal with something that comes across as a little tangy or tart to me.
7/45s: Same as the previous. Wish I could describe this mouthfeel/taste/sensation I’m getting. It’s like tasting something tangy, but that doesn’t quite capture it. Also, cha qi says ‘Hi!’ :)
8/60s: Heh, getting some of those fruit notes now. Quite lovely this cup. _ Pretty gentle cha qi.
9/75s: Next morning – Same as previous with more sweetness. Setting aside my constant hunt for cha qi, in these later steepings the taste of this tea is really pleasant.
10/90s: Can’t pin down a particular fruit, but this comes across as very fruity now. Still able detect that gentle buzz and alertness from the cha qi.
Interesting tea. This isn’t the first time that I’ve smelled tea leaves and got a completely different taste than what was suggested by the aroma, but the aroma of the leaves is heavenly.
2014 Autumn Bing Dao Raw – ??g in 500mL at 212C
I didn’t have my morning tea before heading to the Dharma Hall for meditation so I decided to put a few leaves in to a 0.5L thermos and bring along a single teacup to sip during the Dharma talk. I was worried that’d maybe I’d put too much leaf and the tea would prove bitter and/or astringent. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Sooooooo effing good! Every last cup! Just enough astringency to make each cup crisps. Sweet and fruity, sort of persimmon like in that the sweetness wasn’t over powering yet had a honey/date like finish, and ever sip you’re just glowing like, sip “Oh that’s good”, sip “Oh so good”, sip “mmmm good”… It’s a 15-20 minute drive to the dharma hall so I have to experiment with this one a bit. Really wish I’d weighed the leaves before hand to know the ratio. I think what’s so amazing is that the treasures that you find and enjoy in the early steeps and in the later steeps are all there in a single cup! Creamy, sweet astringency, fruitiness and just a enough of a hint of bitterness to add delicious complexity. I love that you can fall in love with tea all over again on any given day. This was awesome!
2014 Autumn Bing Dao Raw – 9.13g in 200mL at 208C with a 10s rinse, 10 minute rest.
Reading reviews from other pu’erh drinkers I think I may be using too little leaf in my pot, so I’m going to try adding a bit and shortening the first few steeps.
Dry leaves smell amazing! Aroma of prunes, tobacco and nectarines. Wet, the aroma of the leaves take on a much more vegetal aroma until they cool down and the aroma is once again of tobacco and prunes.
I took a few sips of the rinse…oooohhh boy! I think I may have found a winner! :D
1/5s: Creamy! Sweet with a slightly tingling mouth feel.
2/7s: Same as previous with a bit more astringency. Not overwhelming but noticable. Anyone else notice that astringency and bitterness is much more detectable when the tea cools?
4/7s: With more leaf in my pot I have to pour faster. A little astringent, a little sweet with a creamy mouth feel. Definitely feeling some energizing cha qi.
5/5s: With this much leaf I pretty much have to pour immediately. The upside is that the mouth feel of the tea has an amazing creamy quality. Tiny bit of astringency that turns into a very long lingering sweetness on the tongue. The cha qi is pretty powerful. I haven’t eaten today so that may be making the effects more pronounced.
9/7s: Starting session again this morning. Very consistent taste. Stuffing my little pot like this probably means that I can get 20+ steepings easily.
10/7s: Tiny bit of astringency that turns into a very long lingering sweetness on the tongue. The cha qi is pretty powerful.
Got busy with work so didn’t get to record notes, but this was a very enjoyable tea.