Featured & New Tasting Notes

This is delicious. That said, I prefer the third steep because the first two are far too much in your face, far too perfumed. Perhaps I am using too much leaf though I use just as much as I would for an oolong, way less than half of a DT’s spoon. I drink it black. Maybe that is the problem. Either way, my experimenting continues to find that immediate perfect cup. And the next and the next.

Daylon R Thomas

I had the same problem. I do not know if this would help, but I typically drank 2-3 grams in 16 ounce tumbler at about 77 C. It is an awesome blend despite my desire for it to be Apple Cider Panna Cotta.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks, Daylon. Yes, I wanted it to be Apple Cider Panna Cotta too. In fact, I order all the QTT jade oolongs with the same hope.

Daylon R Thomas

LOL dido but you probably read my notes X

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90

I am finally beginning to work my way through some of the What-Cha samples I have been holding on to for awhile (read that as I’m drinking a few teas I forgot I had). This unique green tea was today’s selection. I found it to be pleasant and intriguing, but it also was not quite what I expected it to be.

What-Cha described this tea as possessing a “vegetal taste with sheng qualities.” I found that to be sort of true in the sense that the tea demonstrated a consistent underlying saltiness and sour funk. I would emphasize, however, that there was much more to this tea than that.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a short rinse, I steeped approximately 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This initial infusion was followed by 12 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, aromas of carrot, sweet corn, cream, grass, hay, elderflower, millet, and sorghum expressed themselves on the nose. After the rinse, traces of wood, briny funk, smoke, and sea salt began to emerge. The first infusion produced a nearly identical bouquet with slightly more salt and funk. In the mouth, I experienced a rush of carrot, millet, sorghum, sweet corn, wood, malt, cream, grass, hay, and elderflower notes underscored by brine, smoke, sea salt, and a hint of nuttiness. Subsequent infusions grew more intense, offering up forceful impressions of beech nut, chestnut, lemon, and at various points, kumquat and/or bergamot. The later infusions saw a mellow and comparatively restrained mineral presence merge with lingering impressions of sweet corn, hay, grass, wood, brine, smoke, and sea salt, while hints of vegetables, nuts, sorghum, and a touch of tart citrus remained in the background. The way the sweet corn, wood, brine, and smoke notes lingered on my palate reminded me a bit of a sour mash.

This was an extremely complex, deep, and interesting tea. Fortunately, it was not so busy as to be overwhelming or cumbersome. Like quite a few Vietnamese green teas, it displayed a pungency and astringency that some people may find off-putting, but to be honest, it did not bother me all that much. Those qualities could probably be mitigated by using slightly less leaf anyway. Definitely check this one out if and when What-Cha manages to bring it back, but just be aware that it is more likely to remind you of a high quality Yunnan green rather than a young sheng.

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Carrot, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Grain, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Malt, Marine, Mineral, Salt, Smoke, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

It’s been a while since I’ve seen people use elderflower for a note, though it’s been a while since I had an elderflower.

eastkyteaguy

It’s a very distinctive taste. If you look around, you can find some good elderflower and/or elderberry sodas and lemonades. That’s how I became familiar with the smell and taste of both. There’s a funny story associated with that.

Daylon R Thomas

I’ve had it in lemonade, wine, and kombucha. I need to try it again with the latter two. Tell me the story when you can.

eastkyteaguy

Daylon, the story goes something like this: drinking too much water and elderflower soda got me in trouble at the 2004 Hampton Court Palace Festival in England. Shortly after I graduated high school, my childhood best friend and I took part in one of those two week European package tours. We flew from Kansas City to Houston to London and spent three or four days touring locations in and around London. The tour included a stop at Hampton Court, but part of the property was closed to the public for the Hampton Court Palace Festival. After going to the gift shop for refreshments and guzzling a bottle of water and a bottle of elderflower soda, I realized that my friend and I had gotten separated, so I wandered around the grounds looking for him. Pretty soon I had to find a bathroom (it was a very hot day), ended up getting turned around, and after finding a bathroom, ended up loosing my day pass. While trying to get back to the front of the property, I finally found my friend and we soon realized that we were on the wrong side of the security barricade. We then wandered until we saw event organizers setting up a tent, explained to security that we were lost, and were told to have a seat inside until someone could come escorts us back to the front. Van Morrison was running through sound check inside (he was the featured performer that night). He got pissed that two American teenagers accidentally crashed his sound check, threw a tantrum, and refused to complete his sound check until we left. Now, my friend is Irish-American and was a huge Van Morrison fan. He was crushed. I may have then called out Van Morrison. I called him something to the effect of a “fat crybaby has-been” and a few other choice things. We were then promptly kicked out.

TL;DR I got lost looking for a bathroom after drinking too much water and elderflower soda and then got kicked out of Hampton Court after insulting Van Morrison for being a jerk.

eastkyteaguy

And to be clear, when I say he threw a tantrum, I mean stomping, screaming, cursing, demanding we be removed, demanding his band members and road crew ignore us, and then hiding at the back of the stage so he wouldn’t have to look at us. I can understand being angry if someone crashed a performance without paying, but that wasn’t the case here. It was just a sound check and rehearsal, there were plenty of other people around (road crew, lighting and sound people, security, and event staff). All we were doing was sitting where we were instructed to sit until someone could come escorts us back to where we were supposed to be.

eastkyteaguy

My phone keeps changing escort to escorts. I have no clue why. Sorry about that.

Evol Ving Ness

Great story. Delighted that you are sharing it.

My elderflower story involves elderflower syrup my friend used in combination with other ingredients to make very delicious martinis. That’s all I remember aside from that they were very delicious. Nothing embarrassing happened.

Daylon R Thomas

Wow. Only story I could come up with was accidentally bumping into Zahi Hawass as I was running back to the hotel-for a private lecture with Dr. Zahi Hawass. My father and I were totally oblivious and embarrassingly polite as we passed him through the revolving door. Nothing to do with elderflower or musicians lol.

Evol Ving Ness

Was he wearing the Zahi Hawass hat?

Daylon R Thomas

He was in a suit.

Daylon R Thomas

He did at Giza.

Daylon R Thomas

Never mind the Mena House is ON Giza too lol.

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100

Drinking this one again. I guess the question now is how is it doing in my storage. I don’t feel the teat has degraded in what is fairly low humidity. I don’t know exactly what it is but it cannot be higher than 50% or so if that much. It seems to me that shou is not as susceptible to low humidity as sheng. This one tastes really good with a bittersweet note at the start and a fair amount of fermentation flavor. Neither of these notes lasted too long and were replaced by a sweet note. Sort of a dry fruit note. I am noticing a little bit of astringency, just a very small amount. This is good tea and for the price I paid it had better be.

I brewed this twelve times in a 160ml solid silver teapot with 14.6g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. I could have gotten a few more steeps out of these leaves.

Preparation
Boiling 14 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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drank Coffee Cake by DAVIDsTEA
768 tasting notes

A friend of mine came over to teach me calligraphy. I was never that interested in this Coffee Cake tea, but she saw it and showed immediate interest. which is also interesting because she doesn’t really like coffee.
And the experience of drinking it together and having her enjoy it so much, gave me a very positive opinion of this tea as well.
it always smelled good to me, and my favorite teas are always the cookie and cake types (vanilla, brioche, chocolate, french toast, etc), so my liking it wasn’t a big leap.
now, a few weeks later, i find myself coveting the last oz i have. i might have to place an order. (and maybe buy one of those new tea cups.)

Kittenna

I really liked this one – I had missed out trying it the first time it was available, so just got a skinny tin of it this Christmas! Mmmm.

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63

Guess what! I’m back again. It has been way too long. I was forced to spend the majority of last week in a caffeine-free funk due to a work-related training in Louisville. This is the first opportunity I have had to try a new tea since before I left. I, of course, had to pick an oolong.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced lovely aromas of honey, apricot, red osmanthus, raisins, dates, and prunes. After the rinse, I picked up stronger honey, raisin, and date scents accompanied by emerging impressions of fig and wood. The first infusion produced a nearly identical bouquet. In the mouth, I detected slight notes of dates, fig, raisins, prunes, apricot, nectarine, honey, and red osmanthus with an underlying complex of malt, toast, and wood. I should have gotten thicker, more expressive flavors, so this steep was clearly too short. The second infusion offered some improvement in the flavor department, but nothing new. The tea did not really hit its stride until the third or fourth infusion in the series. At that point, I was picking up everything previously mentioned plus hints of hay, butter, cream, and eucalyptus. The following infusions grew ever gentler, milder, and more savory as malt, toast, butter, eucalyptus, cream, hay, and wood began to increasingly define the tea’s aroma and flavor profiles. Later infusions were mostly a wash of wood, hay, cream, and butter underpinned by minerals and hints of dried fruit, red osmanthus, and honey.

Let’s ignore the fact that I botched the start of this session for a moment and concede that this came across as a very smooth, pleasant, approachable tea. Unfortunately, it also struck me as being all of these things in a fleeting and superficial sort of way. Its most appealing aromas and flavors faded fast, and while they never entirely disappeared, I did not find enough to hold my interest later on in this session. Indeed, I could have probably squeezed at least one more infusion out of this tea, but I did not see much of a point in attempting it. The tea had already said all it had to say. Overall, this was a decent, likable oolong, but it was not really my kind of tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cream, Dates, Eucalyptus, Fig, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Osmanthus, Raisins, Toast, Wood

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

Sipdown

Just finished this one and I am already said it’s gone. It combined maple with my beloved marshmallow treat genmaicha and the blend was perfect. It will be missed.

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71
drank Holiday Blend by CitizenTea
1685 tasting notes

I finally figured out what puts me off. While I don’t think this is a bad tea… the addition of apple seems to ruin the balance. It really doesn’t do much for me without milk, not unless I’m especcially in the mood for it, which is rare, but with milk, the apple bits just don’t seem to fit.
Once I get through the first few sips it kinda grows on me a teeny bit. Slightly remnicent of what I’d imagine an apple pie latte would taste like?
Also, the base tea is highly astringent in the sour ish way. So between those two factors, I’ll easily finish the sample…. but I won’t be replacing it in my cupboard!

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80

Revisiting this sample as I’m dreaming up a big order from the YS China site. Overall it’s cleaner and tastier than I remember it being when I last drank it. Still a little bit “dank”, but slightly more positive tasting notes of damp wood, burning incense, and mineral-rich mountain spring water. While mostly aged out, there’s still a hint of something green and cooked vegetable-ish.

It’s good, but not fantastic: I’m still undecided on wether or not I need a cake of it.

Any Yunnan Sourcing recommendations? I’m looking for a bit of everything; sheng and shu samples, blacks to refresh my stockpile, fresh green teas, and some cheap-ish Wuyi or Dancong oolongs.

Flavors: Mineral, Vegetables, Wet Rocks, Wet wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 90 OZ / 2661 ML
apefuzz

Raw pu’erh: Qing Mei Shan, Bang Dong Village, and Jing Gu Old Arbor were all very tasty. Stood out among 10 samples that I picked up earlier in the year.
Ripe pu’erh: I love Yang Luo Han. Great depth of flavor for a ripe.
Black: Golden Monkey (Bai lin gong fu). Excellent stuff. Tons of flavor.
Wu Yi: Golden Guan Yin Da Hong Pao. Cheap(ish), but complex. Great value.
These were all my favorites from last year’s stockpile!

tperez

Thanks apefuzz! I’ve had one season’s Qing Mei Shan and it was good.

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65

This tea started off with a very herbal and grassy taste. Couldn’t pin it down to a particular herb and it was not all together positive. This lasted well into the sixth steep. After that it was a little bit better. It did not develop a taste of apricots or that sort of thing. I guess I could say it got sweeter. But overall this tea was not as good as the Bing Dao I reviewed from Meimei Fine Teas the other day.

I brewed this ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 9.7g leaf and 190degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.

Flavors: Grass, Herbaceous

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 9 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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67
drank Nostalgia by Liquid Proust Teas
8271 tasting notes

GCTTB

thought i’d give this one another go since it was in the box. Turns out, i’m still sort of “meh” it’s just a little bland for me…kinda like a basic black tea.

Final Count: 82

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85

This was a sample Christina gave to me some time ago and I didn’t get around to trying it until now.

I did two quick rinses on this tea and brewed 10sec. This puerh is very sweet and creamy tasting and stayed that way for a few infusions (or at least as many infusion as I could drink , which is only 4). This is one I would like to have a cake of but it’s sold out AND I have too much puerh right now. I am trying to go through any samples I have to reduce my quantity. I plan on trying to get my count down to 15 or less for puerh in my collection.

Flavors: Creamy, Sweet

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83
drank Mesozoic Malt by Tea-Historic
1685 tasting notes

This is goooooood. Highly malty and bold with a slight astringency that comes across as sour, in a pleasant way. It lingers in the aftertaste. More astringency comes out as the tea cools. And when I say malty, I mean… enough to fill a malt ball. Ahhhh love it!
There is a slight dustiness underneath it all. Not in a bad way… more like the tea is covered in velvet, or rather the tea is sipped through a velvet cover? It’s an interesting sensation!
I love how complex this is. The molasses type note in mid swallow is fun as well, not something I see that often in an Assam, not this strongly anyhow! :)
Thanks for the sample Nicole!

Nicole/Tea-Historic

This is far and away my fave Assam right now. It’s only from the summer flush, though, so I have to really stock up this year. :)

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90
drank Bamboo Buddha by Zen Tea
1182 tasting notes

Finally a sipdown. This was my first experience with bamboo leaf, and I’m not inclined to try some more blends that use it. The problem with such a light tea is that you get so much in your sample that it isn’t really just a sample any more. My sample was only 15g I think …this did about 15 pots of tea. Anyway, I didn’t want to get rid of it, it is a lovely tea and all. I’m a bit bored with the flavour right now, but I’m sure I’ll be back.

Overall, very fruity with lots of mellow (not acidic) flavours of lemongrass, bamboo leaf, some sort of berry? (it isn’t generic berry flavour, but I can’t pinpoint which distinct berry it is), goji, and tropical fruits (papaya, pineapple, banana).

Flavors: Bamboo, banana, Berry, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Goji, Lemongrass, Pineapple, Sweet, Tropical

Indigobloom

Might be great for blending, to brighten up other teas :)

Brandy “Lil' Niggggga” Lehmann

Take a closer look at https://essaysreasy.online/ where you get lots of interesting articles on the various close topics.

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90

I love watching these pearls unfurl in my clear glass steeper: like teeny delicate question marks tinting the water as they steep. Beautiful tea, delicate and fragrant. The jasmine scent is just the right balance for the tea itself. My afternoon had been moving along rather nicely and yet this fragrant tea has made it even better.

Thank you, Angel, for the sample.

Drinking this lovely tea throughout the afternoon brought me back in spirit to this lovely lovely town that I stayed in for a time in China and the teahouses that I spent hours contemplating life in. The teahouses I am talking about and the town that I am referring to are pictured here. (To be clear, this is not my blog.) One of my very favourite places in China. http://www.bootsintheoven.com/boots_in_the_oven/2012/03/zigong-sichuan.html

Flavors: Green, Jasmine

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Inkling

Your description of how these steep is so poetic! I can see it. :)

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Inkling. :)

TeaVivre

I do love the Zi Gong Leng Chi Tu Rabbit Meat, so delicious!

Indigobloom

I second that. Always enjoy reading your posts, regardless of the tea (I’m not a Jasmine fan). And rabbit meat… I’ve never had that before!

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Indigobloom. Very kind.

TeaVivre, I loved ZiGong, the street bbqs, the hotpots, the tea rooms, street noodles on the shopping street, and yes, the rabbit too. I liked everything about it really. Actually, I loved Chengdu as well although they are very different, Chengdu being a big city. But there is something very special about Sichuan and its people and its food and culture. It left a deep impression.

TeaVivre

Yes, Sichuan is a very special province with lots of extremely delicious and great food, people in here are very nice and if you love spicy foods, then you’ll get used to Sichuan food!

Evol Ving Ness

I love spicy food. When I ordered Szechuan hot pot while I was there in a small restaurant in Zigong, ALL the restaurant AND kitchen staff came and stood around my table and watched me eat.

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Golden flat needles, of a lighter shade.
Aroma of hay, earth, and wood.
Taste of Malt, earth, wood, Bamboo…
This tea has a smooth mouth, a fulfilling feeling about it, and a satisfying earthy depth, almost like chocolate or coffee, almost like a shu puerh, although that may because I went a little heavy on the leaf, since this is a sipdown.
For me, this is a more savory Dian Hong, not as sweet as some, a little more earthy and Manly, but perfect for this morning, when I’m prepping to go out to play in my garden.
Ensemble: Bass, cello, viola, bass clarinet, clarinet, Bassoon, English Horn, Bamboo flute, wind chime, wood block.

Arby

I almost had this for my morning cup before I left the house. The description of “earthy and manly” made me laugh, I think I’ll have to try this when I get home or sometimes this weekend.

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79

GCTTB Going to be a few of these today if i can have quick breaks while working.

This was sort of middle of the road for me. Not a bad tea, decent cup of slightly honeyed brew…but nothing out of this world. it was smooth and enjoyable, but not a tea i must have in my cupboard. Happy to drink it again if it comes around though :)

Terri HarpLady

Hey Sister! :)

Sil

miss you! Maybe we’ll take a road trip with ruby to come visit…heh

Terri HarpLady

:)
That would be awesome

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Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep….

Seriously, insomnia is at full throttle tonight. GM is the best thing to keep one from going insane. Thick, creamy, earthy, mineral-y, smooth, & rich.

Mmmm mmmm mmmmm mmmm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-GMDMnep3E

Shae

Me too!! I hope you finally made it to sleep.

S.G. Sanders

I had around 3 A.M., but the early sunrise is calling for nice brisk walk before work today. Might as well take a stroll since the temperature will drop a significant amount over the weekend.

Evol Ving Ness

Video is unavailable in this country. :(

I feel ya with the sleep pain.

S.G. Sanders

Evol Ving Ness the video is “Asleep” by the Smiths.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you. I will look it up.

Evol Ving Ness

Beautiful. Thank you.

S.G. Sanders

No problem! :)

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90

Ooo, this is lovely! Reminds me of Mandala’s Yellow Buds which I tried a while back and really enjoyed. It brews up to a pale yellowish green color with a scent like freshly mown hay. The flavor is light, smooth and sweet with notes of hay and corn. (That tastes better than it sounds, I promise!) I would definitely consider re-purchasing this one when my sample runs out.

Flavors: Hay, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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80

Brief Note

While getting ready for work, I’m brewing this up as I get ready…

Notes: Tastes like a lumberyard smells; smells like an old wet basement (mildew?).

I like it though.

CrowKettle

Sounds like the good kind of basement mildew! XD

S.G. Sanders

It is the good kind of basement mildew. ;)

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80

I wrote a tasting note for this last night but my computer glitched and deleted it before I could publish it. I got lazy and decided not to rewrite it but I’m being lazy st work and decided to just note that this was awesome. Both spiced and tangy and it smelled amazing.

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90

Noms. Mellow, smooth but with a little bite if left to steep for a long time. Not a bad bite, mind you. The first thing that hits is the malt and, wow. A bit of sweetness in the sip but not as strong as the malt. Can’t wait to try again with a bit shorter steep and see if that takes out the bite. Thanks, Indigobloom for sharing this one!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Indigobloom

I think we share a tea heart Nicole :P
Seriously. Assam has been my fave for almost ten years now (odd for me, I change my mind a lot haha)

gmathis

Assam is what good tea was intended to be. The rest is just fluff ;)

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91

Alright, this respiratory infection has got to go. At first I thought it was just a run-of-the mill sinus infection, the kind I get around this time every year, but no, it had to be something more. Now it’s day six and I’m done with feeling miserable. I decided to break out some sheng and hopefully move on with my life. Before I formally go about introducing the denizens of Steepster world to my impressions of this tea, however, I am going to devote a little time to an issue that seems to weigh on a number of folks in such a way that it brings out the worst.

This seems to be the time of year when people get riled up over statements concerning the age of a bunch of trees in a distant land. I understand and share this concern, at least to a certain extent. Do I think this mao cha actually comes from 800 year old trees? No, I don’t. Seeing as how I am most certainly not an expert, have never seen the trees, and possess no actual scientific data backing up the age statement, I have no reason to believe the veracity of such a claim. I could be wrong, but I still remain skeptical. How much do I care about the claim itself? I’m not really sure yet. Clearly my doubts did not prevent me from buying this tea. To be honest, I don’t feel suckered and don’t regret purchasing it in the least. I saw it as a product on the market that I could purchase and review, and anyone remotely familiar with my proclivities should know how near and dear to my heart reviewing stuff lies. It’s kind of what I do. Also, we are all aware that our beloved tea world is filled with falsehoods, especially the nether regions occupied by pu’erh and similar teas. Teas are often deliberately or unintentionally mislabeled, misnamed, misdated, and otherwise misrepresented. The degree to which piracy and other such tomfoolery runs rampant is truly impossible to accurately determine. We should all know this by now. Believe me when I say that if some of you get upset (and not entirely unreasonably I may add) by what you see as potentially dishonest, or perhaps we should still give the benefit of the doubt and say intentionally naive, marketing on the part of one vendor who currently seems to be quite popular, you have probably either excused it or just not noticed it elsewhere. I could be wrong, but I would just about guarantee it because it doesn’t only happen with tea. If I can now offer a point to all of this medicine-headed rambling, I would offer this one: ranting about it on a discussion board is probably neither going to change the business nor the buying habits and preferences of one’s online peers. At the end of the day, does it really matter how old the trees are? Can a tea not still be enjoyable even if it is misrepresented in some way? Do we really need to continue piling on certain vendors who have a habit of making such claims? In situations like this one, I kind of can’t help thinking that all we can do is express our doubts, either try the tea or avoid it, and move on with our lives. Oh, and for the record, I do not think that deciding to buy a product whose marketing is more than a bit fishy can always be boiled down to some sort of moral deficiency on the part of individual buyers or to lack of knowledge and experience. So many of these exchanges prove unproductive when the primary position of one side can be reduced to wondering “why don’t all of these other people feel like me with regard to this issue? What’s wrong with them?” Maybe it really is not a matter of people who choose to purchase such products being morally lacking compared to you. Maybe they are just curious and/or see themselves as giving something controversial a fair shake and then share their thoughts with the rest of the world to provide a balanced perspective. That, in and of itself, can be valuable too.

Enough of that. I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. I followed this up with infusions of 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves gave off muted, musty aromas of tulsi, straw, and citrus. After the rinse, I noted that the citrus aroma grew more powerful. I could not quite place it though. I also started to pick up on flowers and honey. The first infusion produced a nearly identical bouquet. In the mouth, I was able to detect mild notes of brine, straw, tulsi, lemon and honey with a slight minty note on the finish. Subsequent infusions introduced impressions of bitter orange peel, jasmine, and osmanthus while the menthol note on the finish turned into a distinct impression of wintergreen. They weren’t kidding about that. I kept waiting for the apricot to show up in a big way, but I only started to catch a subtle hint of it around the seventh or eighth infusion. I also started getting a sharp, chalky mineral presence on the finish. Later infusions were thin, but still had a little life to them. The dominant notes were of minerals, lemon, bitter orange peel, and tulsi balanced by cooling notes of wintergreen and apricot. Bizarrely enough, I thought I just barely detected a fleeting note of lemongrass at this point, but it may have been me.

Though I wish the floral aromas and flavors stuck around longer, this ended up being the type of sheng that appealed to me. On the rare occasions I decide to drink sheng, I often go looking for teas with some combination of spicy, herbal, and citrusy notes. This tea had all of that. The fleeting floral impressions and the pronounced honey tones just added more appeal for me. I’m sure the fact that it soothed my aching throat while greatly reminding me of a milder version of the honey menthol cough drops I have been wolfing down for the past 3 days only strengthened its appeal. All in all, this one got over with me, dubious claims and all.

Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Jasmine, Lemon, Menthol, Mineral, Orange, Osmanthus, Straw, Tulsi

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

That sounds like the Sheng is on the whiter side of things though I’m probably totally wrong. Then again, I only drink the Pu-Erh’s that Andrew sends me or when I’m in medicinal need for it.

Daylon R Thomas

After reading the other note, like a sour oolongy tasting Sheng. Or just Sheng.

eastkyteaguy

Daylon, I do the same thing with Pu-erh. It’s either that or green tea that I reach for when I’m sick. I don’t know how I would classify this one to be honest. I know I liked it. On one level, it reminded me of a funky Yunnan green, which I suppose it really should, but there was a kind of softness or gentleness about it (the floral notes maybe?) that gave it a little something else.

eastkyteaguy

Yeah, I hadn’t thought of it, but oolongy would totally work as a descriptor.

Ken

Yeah it does have a citrusy green or oolongy flavor to it. Though for the life of me I couldn’t figure out which citrus fruit it was…

Terri HarpLady

First off, you just became one of my new favorite people on Steepster :)
I agree with everything you said.
Regarding Sheng and sinuses, I have long felt that drinking raw puerh helps ease my allergies (which started back up last week when a a few trees starting spewing pollen into the air.).
I also recommend Nettles tea, not as interesting as Sheng, but extremely helpful with allergies and other sinus conditions.

eastkyteaguy

Terri, thanks for the kind words. When I first posted this review, I was a little concerned that it was going to tick a few people off, but I persisted because I felt like a few points could be made that would perhaps work best in the context of a review. One thing I had noticed was a few of the people getting so flustered over the age statements had never actually tried, or at least did not admit to trying, any of the teas. What really struck me though, were a few comments that found deficiencies in those who had tried the teas and advocated for a recognition of their quality removed from the questionable nature of the vendor’s marketing. I thought such comments were unfair, and being one of those people who actually enjoyed a few of these teas, decided to share my thoughts on this issue while actively discussing one of these controversial teas. I think Verdant catches a lot of flak for the stuff they do because they do it so blatantly and stand by it. If they were ripping off customers left and right by providing consistently inferior products and terrible public service, that would be one thing, but the fact of the matter is they don’t seem to be doing that. If some of the blog posts I have read from them are any indication, even they may be a little skeptical of the age claims, but do not challenge them out of respect for their suppliers. While I don’t think presenting unfounded claims is necessarily appropriate, I can also understand the desire of the vendor to protect the supplier. Another thing to consider too is that it is almost impossible to separate the tea world from false marketing. It’s accepted business practice. That awesome Da Yu Ling we’ve all seen online was probably produced in Vietnam and purchased by a merchant in Taiwan who passed it on to a vendor in the U.S. or Canada. Oh, and that awesome lookimg Jingmai sheng cake-it too was very likely cut with materials from other regions, if it even is what it is supposed to be at all. Heck, designations like Lao Ban Zhang and Lao Man’E are practically just used either as branding or as a descriptor for any tea that kind of resembles teas from those areas on some level. Some people don’t like Verdant and I get that. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you don’t like their tea, that’s cool. Don’t buy from them. If their marketing or some other aspect of their business practices strikes you as questionable, by all means bring it to the community’s attention. However, don’t find fault with people because they don’t see things the exact same way. Also, going off over and over again over questionable age statements for something like pu-erh, where literally everything is suspect, kind of seems unnecessary to me after a point. The way I see it is that the only way you can know that you even have what you’re supposed to have is to physically be there overseeing the entire process from start to finish, and that still may not guarantee much. In the end, we’re still just going to be left with a tea that we can choose to drink or not.

eastkyteaguy

Oh, and this infection I think is a viral thing. It’s awful. To this point, we have had a very mild winter and the weather has been warm and wet for the better part of the last 2 weeks. I work in education outreach and attended a KIWANIS Club meeting in a neighboring county last Thursday to get in some community engagement work. Half the people there were sick. My sinuses were already draining from the weather change, so I was already a little under the weather. I was sick by the following afternoon. The first 3 days were so bad that I couldn’t sleep due to coughing, and at two different points, I was running a fever so high that I was experiencing hallucinations. I went back to work yesterday, but now the congestion limits my ability to smell or taste anything. It’s breaking up though.

Terri HarpLady

Again, I agree with all you have said.
The most important criterion for tea drinking for me is my own personal pleasure in the experience. If a tea tastes good, I’ll enjoy it & purchase more :)
I know there are people who’s egos get tied up in it all. I just like drinking tea.
I pissed quite a few people off a year or so ago, when this whole debate regarding Verdant went down, by stating my opinion that Vendors shouldn’t be bashing one another. It’s not a good practice. If I went around St. Louis telling people that all the other Harpists in town suck, or something to that effect, it wouldn’t be a good business practice.
What one vendor has to say about the quality of another vendor’s goods is irrelevant to me, as they are probably likely to shape the truth as anyone else, but it also tends to turn me off. Verdant may or may not be full of it regarding the age of their teas, but they seem like nice people, and their teas are very tasty and nuanced, & they’ve built an interesting family of tea growers who seem committed to the leaf, and that’s pretty much all I care about. :)

Terri HarpLady

I hope your sense of taste and smell return soon!

eastkyteaguy

Terri, the taste and smell are touch and go right now. I can taste sweet again as of today. That’s an improvement over yesterday. I tried to drink some oolong and could smell it, but couldn’t taste a thing. I remember that thread, by the way. It was right around the time I signed up. I think the controversy had already struck for the most part, but I know the discussion was still ongoing. I totally agreed about vendors not bashing one another and was surprised that such a thought was so controversial. I don’t know what the intent was, but I felt like the way the vendors involved approached things left a lot to be desired. To me, it would have been one thing for the vendors to approach the issue in such a way that demonstrated respect for one another. It would have been one thing to approach both Verdant and the community at large with questions. Saying “hey, this seems questionable to me. None of this jives with what I know and what I have been told. Do you care to explain?” would have been much more professional. On some levels, I think that may have been the intent, but to me, it kind of came off like they were calling Verdant out or just outright attacking them. The bad thing is I like all of the vendors involved. The furor, however, turned me off to pu-erh for some time. I’m just now starting to get back into it. I wish I would have known you were located in St. Louis. A couple of friends of mine in Kansas City got married a couple years ago and wanted a harpist. They thought they had someone, but the organizer of the event managed to somehow mess that up, and scheduled a group to cover. It ended up being a skinhead punk band.

Terri HarpLady

From harp to punk… I could see that… :)

eastkyteaguy

Terri, it gets better. After said skinhead punk band started playing, the ceremony was crashed by bikers.

mrmopar

eastkyteaguy you hit the nail on the head on quite a few points. I wish that whole thread had never started. I think the tea that you drink no matter what speaks for itself.

Terri HarpLady

I played a biker wedding a few years ago, all Classic Rock. It was awesome!

LuckyMe

@eastkyteaguy, I completely agree with your points about Verdant getting unfairly maligned over this tree age stuff. I can only speak to their non-puerh offerings, but their teas are consistently good and that’s what matters at the end of the day. Hope you get feeling better!

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100

Yep, very delicious. Nothing new to add besides that it travels well. And that the fact that it contains rooibos comes as a surprise.

Today, I find myself wondering what a normal person spends on tea in a month. Nevermind.

mrmopar

Just what you can afford…..LOL!

eastkyteaguy

I wonder that all the time. Then I wonder about what exactly constitutes normality.

Daylon R Thomas

You know half the answer to that question for me lol. “Oh, once I have my staple white, oolong, and black, I’ll be set-Oooh! Shang Tea has a scented white tea that ISNT JASMINE-GOING INTO CART NOW!”

Evol Ving Ness

hahhaha, enablers, all of yas. :)

Evol Ving Ness

eastkyteaguy, I kissed normal goodbye a long long time ago. Don’t seem to miss it at all.

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80

My first tasting of the day is Yunnan sourcing Ye Zhu Tang raw pu’erh cake. THis was the second offering in the raw puerh tea of the month club. I started with using 110 ml of water in a my Yixing pot. I started with a quick rinse of the tea leaves to open them up, there was almost no dust, but the leaves were a little stubborn in opening up so I did a second wash. I did sip the second wash to see what I would be getting, and was surprised it had nice honey and sweet notes and the bitterness was really mild.

The first proper infusion I got a clear pale yellow liquor that was sweet, astringent, with floral, vegetal and bitter notes. It has a wonderful mouth feel and is a bit sweeter than might be expected for a young raw. I really liked this.

The second proper infusion the leaves started to open up proper now, again giving a clear yellow liquor with a bit more of the bitterness coming out now, but not overpowering it. And the honey flavor also became more pronounced, this was my favorite infusion.

The third infusion the bitterness creeped up on it a bit more. It was still sweet, but it had citrus notes at this point, sweet, astringent and bitter, it also lost some of the honey flavors. I have a feeling those will come back in the later infusions.

The fourth infusion was spectacular, the bitterness mostly vanished and the honey notes came back much stronger now. It also darkened slightly looking more apple juice color than before. I havent started increasing the time yet either, this is 1 , 2, 3, pour and let the yixing steep as it pours.

Im going to go steep out the rest of this wonderful tea. I have a feeling I will get 10 from this easy. A very nice young raw with a bit more sweetness.

Highly recomended.

PS First to post again, Im on a roll!

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Honey, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
mrmopar

Yes you are. The 2015 is nice as well.

Ken

Yeah I can imagine this is going to get better with age. Still building my collection at this point, so Im tasting through the tea club offerings.

Ken

THis one was a little sweeter and less bitter than the immortal monkey.

mrmopar

I haven’t tried the monkey yet. I have it scheduled on the next YS order though.

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