Featured & New Tasting Notes
Puerh Tea TTB. This was a potent and somewhat bitter sheng. Gave it eight steeps. There were some sweet notes towards the end. Even apricots in nature.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 100ml gaiwan with 5.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.
Breaking into a sample of this today.
Leaf seems to be very nice with hints of a drier storage aroma.
I got 9.8 grams out for brewing in the gaiwan. Water was heated to 208f to start with. I heated the gaiwan and tossed the dry leaf in and shook it around. Opening the lid the aroma gives a bit of mineral and damp hay in there. Rinsing the leaf for about 5 seconds the aroma goes to a honey sweet hay type of aroma. Brewing the first cup, it doesn’t come across as a heavy type of brew. Semi-sweet and a bit of oily viscosity.
Second brew after letting the leaf absorb a touch are quite stronger. The tea starts to push the bitterness that Bu Lang is known for. The viscosity comes up as well. It hits the tip and side of the tongue well. Some tobacco is in there as well. Sitting back the tingle lasts a bit.
Successive brewing awakes it well. The wet leaf exudes the aroma so well.
Steeps 3 to 5 The activity moves back more in the mouth and throat. The sweetness after the sips will play in there as well. There is just a hint on my palate of smoke in there. This isn’t as astringent as some of the younger teas I have had but it packs a punch under all that sweet aroma the wet leaf gives off. For fans of Bu Lang and Mang Fei this will be right up your alley.
Flavors: Bitter, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Thick, Tobacco
Drank this at work on Friday and it was quite beautiful looking. Looks like a Darjeeling tea with silver hairs all over it. The brew came out nice and dark for the first infusion. This is a solid tea that like Oriental Beauty drops off in strength over a year or two of settling; and this is how I like them both, smoother as time rounds those sharp notes off and leaves behind a softer taste.
Puerh Tea TTB. This was a very tightly compressed. The first two steeps were very, very light, almost the color of water. Once the leaves opened up it was a little better. This was a strong and bitter sheng. I didn’t notice any smoke. This was not an apricoty sheng at all.
I steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.1g 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, and 30 sec.
Trying the 2015 version this morning. I had been avoiding opening it until I used up the 2014 but I couldn’t help myself any longer. This is the 2015 Summer blend.
Pure brown sugar and molasses with enough bite to make you know you have a tiger of an Assam blend. Followed my normal method of Western steep at just off boiling for 3+ minutes then let it cool for about 5 minutes. That step of cooling from scalding hot to warm seems to make all the difference in bringing out the malty, sweet notes in an Assam, at least for me.
It’s been so long since I had GTT/Vadham’s Signature Malt Assam I can’t remember which one I preferred – this one or that one. But this is a wonderful Assam.
The Trails of LBZ, Case 9 of 6
(Liquid Proust search for his favorite laser beam zensheng)
Obtaining some of this through a swap made me incredibly happy because this is a pricey tea. In that same trade I got some LBZ maocha from Tea Urchin as well so I really hope that what I sent to that person made them feel special as I did opening the swap.
Now many had told me that this was the one to compare the others to and if that was true I did it backwards because I should have done it first or second, but it wasn’t but two weeks ago until I had my hands on it. Blah, blah, blah… tasting notes:
The broken pieces are ugly; as I would guess for anything coming off a brick to be honest. The smell of this is quite strong which was unique. The first few steeps seemed to have been the brewing of astringent notes coming out. I’ve been told that true LBZ will drop off quick and become sweet so this astringency isn’t causing doubt for me.
Going into the fourth steep with nothing really to comment on, all of a sudden texture appeared. I’d call it creamy, but it’s really best described as buttery (but I never refer to sheng as being buttery because that’s an oolong thing to me).
Hoping that some fruity sweetness would come out, I was kind of met with this dirty nut from outside laying on the grass taste. While that’s not something bad, but it wasn’t what I had expected. This makes it much different than the others that I had drank.
The texture and taste stays the same throughout without much to point out after steep 8. Realizing the price factor on this tea and trying to evaluate it the best that I could, I ended up going 27 steeps all by myself. This lasted all morning and I ate nothing until I finished this session with a purpose; test those feels. So what is the conclusion? I felt absolutely nothing in regards to power which is odd. With no feels and a taste profile that is somewhat like a nutty yellow tea and a freshly dirty raw pu’er (if you know what I mean), I cannot sell myself on it. Honestly I could put this up against a lot of Mengku cakes and it wouldn’t stand out.
Honestly, I was disappointed and still am. Not only did I not eat anything so my body could feel the tea even more, I set aside the whole morning to do this because I knew it was a special occasion that I wouldn’t get again unless I paid a decent amount. As of today, the 2007 Mengku LBZ is the best bargain for feels when it comes to this search. With the Tea Urchin LBZ maocha , 2010 LBZ from YS, and puer.sk 2004 bamboo stored LBZ, I’m almost to the end of my road with these unless someone else comes along with a surprise.
Yeah, so I have been continuing my green, white, and oolong days as I continue my acupuncture and Chinese herbs treatments. Surprisingly, the transition from black teas has not been all that difficult. I am not giving them up forever, of course, just for the time being to not contradict what is happening in my treatments.
The tough thing for me has been giving up milk, as well as black tea. I find myself craving lovely sweetened chais and good strong tea lattes. I predict I will be breaking down and having one or two some time soon. I do miss them so. I only hope that, when and if, I do break down, the milky cup in front of me will be worth it.
Back from my tangent to this fine tea. Very very lovely.
My first steeping was full of lovely heavy red wine— reminds me of Mondavi vineyards— and chocolate notes. These flavours dissipated in subsequent steepings, but the cups continued to be lovely. Many many steepings later, I am still enjoying the tea.I might have to make a Rishi order very soon. Just as soon as I can justify it.
Flavors: Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Red Wine
I’ve actually had this tea for a while. Why I haven’t reviewed it: I have yet to properly cold brew it. The first time yielded some nice results. I put my pot instantly in the fridge overnight after splashing 190 F hot water. Eight hours past, and I got a cool baozhong with green hints and a discernible background of watermelon. Re-steeped it a few times with cool water, and the watermelon quality opened up more. Yet in that entire session, it was very light. The cool water overwhelmed the tea. I’ve looked up a few ways to brew it online, but I prefer listening to what you guys have to say about cold brewing.
Which brings me to being naughty this morning. I’ve asked Andrew before about this tea being served hot-and as I thought and as he thought OBVIOUS-this tea was meant for cold brewing. Hot watermelon=weird. However, I was curious.
I got a serving of only the baozhong leaves without the watermelon. Steeping it western, and I got an enhanced baozhong. It still had the crisp green and floral qualities of the oolong type, but with the accents of sugarcane and watermelon. A Baozhong with watermelon and sugarcane notes. A hot tea I have no complaint with drinking in the morning.
I will write another note when I’ve brewed the tea properly. For now, I’m just enjoying the sippin’.
I really didn’t like this all that much. There were notes of leather and tobacco in the beginning with this tea. They did slowly evolve into something nicer, not sure how to describe them. More and more I am coming to the conclusion that I don’t like aged sheng. It’s not that this was terrible or anything but it had too much leather and tobacco for me. I can tolerate that in an aged sheng if it’s got strong qi. On this one I got no qi at all so it didn’t have that going for it.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9.1g 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, and 1 miin.
Flavors: Leather, Tobacco
This has to be among the top 10 most unique oolong I have been able to drink thus far. At first I thought it was stored wrong because it smelled like chai in a way. I ended up brewing it and was just… wow, this stuff is complex and confusing.
Strong notes of cinnamon come through with this odd taste of butternut squash. Almost like cinnamon butter and sweet potato fries. While it sounds like a fun blend, this is a straight tea. Really messes with my head as I drink it and to think it’s about $10 an ounce is a great price for such a unique oolong that has aging ability that would be much different than other oolongs
Of all the David’s Teas I’ve tried, I love this one the most. And it’s real, genuine love, let me tell you. I’d only had one cup in my life, and I thought we’d never be reunited, but thanks to Roswell Strange I now have a fresh sample pouch.
Its good getting reacquainted, and absence really has made the heart grow fonder in this case. I’m fully aware that there’s hardly any tea in this blend – I think my current cup has maybe three green tea leaves? – but I just don’t care. The wet leaf smells a lot like freshly baked apple pie – delicious in itself – but the flavour I get from the brewed cup is pure, buttery popcorn with just a touch of crisp green apple in the background. There’s also a maple-like flavour that’s adding a touch of sweetness, and the whole thing together – popcorn, butter, apple, maple – is pretty close to perfection in my book (as far as flavoured tea goes, anyway).
I’m so glad to have this one back in my cupboard – it’ll definitely be coming to the movies with me next time I go…
Random cheap eBay Tie Guan Yin, was originally for trial for bulk alcoholic tea making, it turns up and its a roasted version. bummer. Didnt mention that in the listing. I was presumptuous :D
But – its not too bad, hints of milk, chocolate & hazelnuts in the medium-light roast, if steeped strongly the floral/vegetal tgy comes through and while isnt the best ive had it isnt bad either. Quite sweet, so it reminded me of cadburys dairy milk or even galaxy (shudder) type of chocolate (but only hints). Later steeps became a mix of vegetal and lighter roast, aroma was hard to place. Nice though.
£8/200g, pretty cheap. I dont really drink roasted TGY. I always wonder about perceived quality when drinking cheap or expensive tea but I havent any other to compare it to so I just have to judge on whether I liked it or not. It was ok – Im not knocking it, and probably nice if you like sweet chocolate milkshake :)
Flavors: Chocolate, Hazelnut, Milk, Roasted, Sugar, Sweet, Vegetal
This is an interesting tea. It does not seem to have notes of malt or chocolate. The main note is fruity in nature, not sure what fruit, maybe plums or peaches. I did add sugar to this so that note is intensified. There is no bitterness.
I steeped this one time in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 min.
I bought this as a special treat at The Fresh Market today, where the bad girl in me always wins and gets to put something we really don’t need in the basket.
I liked Emperor’s Pu-era by Numi but really disliked their Mint Puerh. I could have sworn that I had tried their Chocolate Puerh but apparently I haven’t because there is no note for it.
I love cardamom and recently had a white tea with coconut and cardamom that I liked a lot, so I decided to give this a try. I thought it was going to be sachets but it was teabags. Boo! I sniffed the bag and went MMMMM! at the powerful scent of cardamom followed immediately by UGH at the scent of their Puerh. I love Puerh. This one had a fresh poop smell, not the nice aged barnyard we know and love.
Happily, though, it tastes quite good! And judging by the incredible inky color of the first cup that developed so quickly, I suspect I will get at least two resteeps out of this. All in all, it’s a good tea to have on hand when you want something nice, good for your tummy, and easy as pie to make. Also a great no-hassle tea for work or to throw in a purse or book bag, since the bags are individually wrapped.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I bought this tisane solely because it’s supposed to brew up purple. Not “Hibiscus” purple, mind you, but honest to goodness purple purple. When it showed up today, I did crack the bag open out of curiosity though; while I was totally suckered in by aesthetics, you have to admit that taste is still probably the most important factor…
The smell of the dry leaf is incredibly powerful and pretty darn unique; it’s like a blast of your grandma’s garden: very fresh and aromatic. However, the only part of good ol’ nana’s garden you’re smelling is the patch where she’s growing all her own spices, and then maybe the roses in their planters across the lawn since the breeze is carrying their scent over your way too. It’s very particular, and very unique.
As far as the brewing process goes, I was totally skeptical but as soon as the water hit my tea (I of course used a clear, glass mug) it started to infuse a kind of grayish blue which then gradually became a deep, sultry sort of blue/purple. Very brilliant and touching on “royal” in hue while still having that darkness that screams “It’s not a phase, mom!”. It’s a little hard to explain and holy fuck do I wish I’d had my phone with me and charged because it may just be the most beautiful infused liquor I’ve ever seen. Actually; no, it IS the most beautiful steeped liquor I’ve ever seen. Honestly, it’s incredibly stunning!
But of course I still wondered about the taste: would it taste like dear sweet Gammie was shoving her summer bumper crop of spices up in my gullet? Actually; given the intensity of the aroma I found this was pretty soft all things considered. You absolutely get a clear taste of the basil in the blend meaning this is definitely a more herbaceous/savory profile. However, that said, I also get some sweetness that reminds me of fennel or anise and there’s the soft, rose/floral undertone as well that cuts in and keeps this from literally being a mug of brewed up spices. At moments I also felt like I was getting the refreshing feeling of peppermint as well, though that’s maybe a bit of a stretch. Still it’s nice, it’s layered and it feels very romantic and poetic to be drinking it. Like I’m in my ivory tower waiting for Prince or Princess Charming to come and sweep me away.
I mean, the fact I was drinking it at near midnight on my balcony while listening to the drizzle and pitter patter of rain probably doesn’t do a whole lot to hinder that imaginative imagery but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this is just a really enchanting and unique tisane overall.
The Trails of LBZ, Case 8 of 6
(Liquid Proust search for his favorite laser beam zensheng)
So… I got on Steepster and looked around to see if anyone owned some of this because the samples were and are sold out. Being that it is $190 a cake, it’d be a gamble that if good would be a steal for what it could cost but if not it would be a whole $190 out; or just saying an opportunity cost of possibly 2 Dong Ding cakes and a Jingmai cake.
So, I found someone and tempted them with the now sold out 2009 LBZ that YS had which was at $240 but I doubt that is what it would be sold for now. That tea set the bar for everything else period. As the best sheng I ever had, I’m still upset I cannot buy it as it’s the first cake I’d pay a few hundred for: http://steepster.com/Proust614/posts/335389
The leaf looks like nothing special and has a scent of old tobacco and whorish storage; it’s been places :P
The first few sips were odd because it was like a tea that was made from wood and then aged in a tobacco jar that wasn’t fully cleaned. With those thoughts aside, and being authentic on my experience, I found that the storage notes faded at around steep 3ish. Now it was time to play with this : )
So… this is darker than I would like it to be, which has something to do with being 11 years old and the storage that it has gone through, but I was able to push through multiple steepings of this because of those feels. Taste wise it stays with that grandpas old tobacco that grandma hid 30 years ago so he couldn’t have it and then someone stored some sheng in it not knowing that it needed to be cleaned.
So why are those feels what am I talking through keyboard? Yes, something as if that sentence you read correctly and now I recollect thyself.
Okay: This tea did a few things for me. Number one, my eyelids are heavy and I look like I fell asleep in a hotboxed car and just woke up. My arms are really light feelings so I can be one of those outdoor floats if I wanted to be right now. This is a calming tea for me, like a … relax and let time continue on slower than it really is passing by; I could talk about the perception of time and the time that Data encountered this complex issues in The Next Generation, but now is not the time.
So the taste of this is not what I prefer but this feeling of just floating on a cloud and letting the cotton candy caress me is quite enjoyable as well is the clarity of my imagination that I’m trying to hold back on while I write this up.
I hope that the same that I sent to my friend ends up being favored over this as well so I can find more confidence in myself in evaluating tea. As the world of evaluating tea is very scary when it comes to pu’erh, I want to establish myself as a laid back dude who knows taste accommodation with people who will vouch for me as I start to bring people in and make recommendations.
Wait did I begin blogging on this tasting note? Okay, so back to watching the end of The Flash and Arrow; wish these shows didn’t have to take a whole year to start watching again, I’ve really enjoyed the nightly discussions my dad and I have while watching them.
The last from Dark Matter 2016 series
Well, before I jump into the tea, as of Sunday, I’ve a BA in Education; however, I must now go through more classes to become a certified History/English teacher. I went the long route, but I’ll be done within two semesters.
Now, the tea….
I’ve been drinking plenty of this. I took 7g of the melon and used a 150ml Gawain for the tea. I must say that the past couple days have been enjoyable with this tea. I must say that the wood, wet earth, thick mouth-feel (creamy?), moss, and cocoa notes are pleasant. I told my wife that this was similar to a thick dark beer; quite malty. Anyway, I would say that it’s a “Winter” tea, since I usually go for White, Green, Raw pu, or Oolongs in the Summer months. However, this is a typical morning tea for me….And considering that the price is right, when I’m able to purchase a large quantity in the Fall, I will.
Overall, it’s a solid tea. I’d just prefer to drink it often in the colder months.
Flavors: Cocoa, Creamy, Earth, Malt, Moss
First Steep – 1 minute
Once steeped the tea liquid is dark brown/red with a damp and earthy scent with sweet and sharp rum taking centre stage.
The first few sips reveal a smooth and sweet combination with some damp earth and a touch of sourness, but the rum cuts through the earth and it’s taste lingers. While it’s hot it’s not as strong as the scent in terms of rum but it’s still very noticeable. It’s actually a nice combination, you have the smoothness of the golden tips with some earthiness but the rum brings sweetness but also a strength that matches the wood and damp elements from the Shu.
Half way down the cup and my mouth is completely coated with a soft and creamy rum flavour which just resembles rum ball sweets even more. Also the rum is more noticeable as the tea cools.
The raw leaves are still strong smelling, despite already having one steep.
Second Steep – 2 minutes
More rum in this steep but it remains as creamy as the first cup. The rum is not as medicinal as the first steep but it remains sweet. This cup is perhaps a little dry in comparison but it’s in a nice way.
This is a delicious steep, it has more body but the flavours remain the same.
The loose leaves still smell like rum but there is also a manure like sweetness to it now.
Third Steep – 3 minutes
This steep smells a lot less like rum, with sour earth notes now in control.
In flavour I also feel that the rum has toned down but it’s still there, just softer and less sweet among the thick cream of the golden tips.
This tea is rum-a-licious! A creamy base combined with sweet rum that resembles rum ball sweets brings back lots of nostalgia. The only time I would get rum balls or rum and raisin ice cream is when I went to the seaside, so for me it homes in on happy memories. Plus I like the balance between the two, being a Sheng fan over Shu I find myself enjoying this base quite a bit. The smoothness and cream reminds me of a nice Dian Hong golden tip but less malty and more earthy.
For pictures and more information please view my blog: http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2016/05/25/rummy-pu-rum-infused-pu-erh-adventure/
Flavors: Cream, Drying, Earth, Rum
This is an excellent and I think high quality black tea from Taiwan Sourcing. I was expecting to western brew this today before work, but I couldn’t sleep this morning so I got out of bed and had a gongfu session with this tea. There were two main notes to this tea, both on the lighter side, malt and chocolate. There may have been a third note but I really didn’t pick up on it. I bought 150g of this tea so I’m glad it’s good. I suspect that in the future this will get western brewed before work when I normally don’t have time for gongfu but I am glad to have gongfu brewed this at least once. I didn’t really notice much qi off of this tea. It may have some but I’m not feeling it. This is an excellent tea. It’s nice that both flavors work well together, neither is too strong. I should also note that I really didn’t find any bitterness to this tea.
I brewed this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.4g leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 10 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. The leaves were not quite done. I could have gotten a couple more steeps out of them.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
This is the last of the Twinings Indulgence blends I picked up pretty much on a whim. I’d pretty much ruled out Twinings green blends a long time back, but the idea behind these, and favourable things friends had said about them, made me reconsider. I’m glad I did, because these are pretty amazing. I gave this bag 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.
Straight off, Salted Caramel reminds me a lot of the Fudge Melts blend I tried last week (I think…), only with less vanilla. I wasn’t all that keen on Fudge Melts – it sounded great, but it was kind of cloying and over-sweet in a sickly sort of way. Salted Caramel, fortunately, isn’t like that. The initial taste is sweet, rich, soft caramel, but there’s a distinctive saltiness that keeps the sweetness at a manageable level. My head tells me I’d prefer this as a black tea, but I can’t actually taste the green tea at all so I think that’s just my own bias towards black tea rather than a substantial observation.
On the whole, I’ve been pretty impressed with how flavour accurate these blends are, and there are a few that I’d happily drink again (and maybe actively seek out once my cupboard is under control again). Salted Caramel is no exception, so if you’re looking for an accessible, strongly-flavoured caramel dessert tea this would be a good place to start. Yum!
Tried this one hot!
I was definitely of mixed opinion when I tried this one in store, iced but I think the hot version is definitely an improvement.
I didn’t really get that kind of airy quality that cake, even pound cake, often has but I definitely got a buttery, almost sugar cookie kind of element that really complimented the sweet lemon. Like a perfectly baked sugar cookie with some sort of lemon frosting, actually! That lemon note was the most improved part of the tea: it didn’t taste chemical/artificial or bitter anymore which was super nice. That element of the iced tea actually made me feel quite nauseous. However, it also had a lemon note that was very distinctly lemongrass and the thing is that I don’t really love the taste of lemongrass. I will say that it worked with the vegetal, grassy undertone of the oolong itself, though.
Definitely an improvement!
Drinking this 1993 Toucha raw teabag I bought to put in with everyone’s mysterious package for the mystery group buy. James at teadb said that was was worth buying, meaning I should try it. I heard some bad and good things… and then I was like, damnit… I need to just drink it, so now I now!
I took the bag and smelled it, immediately knew it was from 1993 :P
Decided to go easy before hardcore. Took the bag and dropped it in my gaiwan and poured that hot water ontop. After 10 seconds I pulled it and started my first of 15 brews, FROM A TEABAG!
This stuff comes out like a light shou and almost like a light soy sauce which is intimidating at first as I don’t like darker sheng. First sip made me go, ‘what the heck’. I signed online and acted like a kid who is too excited and can’t contain it. This stuff is really really taste. The depth is there, the taste is pure, and the brewing inside a gaiwan for 10 seconds is simple and provides pleasant brew after brew. There’s no doubt that I will be buying more of this as well as seeing what two bags are like rather than one. Very glad that I provided this for others as I feel like it will be a fun time :)
Drank the autumn all day at work today; lasted a solid 7 hours at four steeps an hour, I drink a TON at work.
This stuff is great. I tell new pu’ heads to try Bang Dong or Jingmai because they are light and easily understood while being tasty. Simple brew with some floral undertones. This leaf withstands those long spa treatments that we drink the bath water from quite well. Interested in seeing how the spring taste now, but this is solid… did someone say Bang Dong is coming to the 2017 Sheng Olympics?
From one of the group buys (dark matter?)
Maybe it is my brewing parameters, or queued in my senses due to current life events, but when I steeped this up and the first two steeps, this tea tastes just like that weird plastic sweet scent of new black garbage bags. SERIOUSLY.
Later steepings is malty and coconutty. It did not resteep well though, I got 5 and it died. The flavor is light despite the high gongfu ratio.
I think this would of been better western or 1g / 10ml or jam as much leaf as you can in the gaiwan and flash.