144 Tasting Notes


The immediate wet leaf aroma is a very pungent sweet must and plum tartness with notes of truffle oil and malted vinegar. In the cup the liquor is sturdy and complex yet surprisingly light. Wafts of bleu cheese and saffron mingle with cidery sweetness and a malted vinegar acidity. White wine marinated mushrooms. The hui gan is ambrosial, a definition of umami, enveloping the palate more so than the actual taste of the liquor.

When brewed stronger, a delicate and entrancing malt is mingled with the fruity must and peculiar acidic flavors. This one gets sweeter as you go. Bumped the score significantly.

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A lovey lighter green with high notes of tropical pomelo and a soft, warm undertone that provides just enough body to balance the brightness. Citrus, fresh shiso herb, gardenia, pistachio.

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Begins with a briny-sweet aroma and dark vegetal depth that translate into scintillating, oceanic flavors in the cup. The mouthfeel is wonderfully round and hui gan is sweet as nectar with notes of white grape and seaweed. The age adds swarthiness and structure and there is a noticeable warm, euphoric energy once imbibed.

Hypnotic and elegant, a nautilus of tea.

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drank Purple Bamboo by Rishi Tea
144 tasting notes

This is an interesting one . . . very downy, wiry leaves, candied orange peel aroma, sticky-sweet delicate butterscotch and honeysuckle with Bai Mu Dan characteristics. Only sweeter and very muscatel. Kind of like what yellow tea is to white/green with the complexity of an oolong. Unique. Use a LOT of leaf.

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Sweet and pungent . . . black cherry chocolate in the wet leaf aroma that gives way to burnt bittersweet florals in the liquor. This is an excellent example of “rock tea” (yan cha) because, amidst the sweet, chocolaty subtlety, the mineral core is undisguised and prevalent. Delicious. Rock.

Later steeps lighten the tone considerably and the deep sweetness transforms into delicate florals and pit fruit. The underlying latticework of the Yan Cha is further exposed to be refined and minimalist.

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Right now I’m going to echo the sentiments of some others who have tasted this tea, including the seller: “luminescence and viscosity”, “acts quickly to engulf the palate”, “buttery-smooth”, “sumptuous”. These are all very true.

This is probably the richest Bai Hao I’ve tasted with prevalent notes of honey, vanilla, creme and almond. There are faint elements of hay and persimmon and the hui gan gives this a sticky quality that I like.

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drank Dian Hong by Cloudwalker Teas
144 tasting notes


Nice and soothing to the stomach while still stimulating the palate. This one is not going to give you the sometimes unwelcome bottom-heavy blackness some other shu puerh deliver. Instead, the tone is lifted a bit providing a nicer, quieter, more geltle experience (thus the little star). I’ve also noticed a subtle edge not present in other cooked puer reminiscent of a soft Yunnan red. Again, it’s subtle and gently lifts the flavor out of the murky depths of lesser shu.

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Wet leaf aroma is of dark chocolate and raisins. There is a soft bittersweet depth and the heavy roast comes through nicely for a warm, friendly cup. Good price for an easy everydayer.

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The first time I cupped this one I stopped after one potato-ey, disappointing steep. My impatience has proven to be folly because this one gets nicer as you go along. It’s not the most delicately imperceptible Silver Needle, but nuanced enough and very durable. Pleasant florals come out with each steep (short, gongfu style) that add complexity to a grassy, relatively straightforward, though sturdy, tea.

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It’s fun when the seller’s tasting notes are sufficient enough. I can just be quiet and enjoy the tea.

Unfortunately, though, I’m becoming spoiled by these high quality, relatively expensive aged teas. Like anything else; if you’re going to do something, do it right.

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