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So, this afternoon I’m doing a side by side competition style tasting of White2Tea’s 2015 and 2016 Brown Sugar pu’erhs because I recently purchased samples of both. I’ve tried different years harvests of the same tea, but I’ve never really done a side by side compare before and I thought that would be interesting – especially in the case of Pu’erh.

For both tastings, I’m using 2.2g (because that’s what I broke off from the first cake, so I kept it the same with the second) of Pu in 6 oz. of water – both steeped for three minutes using 95 degree Celcius water. Consistency, bitch.

So without further ado…

Dry Leaf: Comparatively, this seems to be less compressed. The cake breaks up much more easily; though the pieces are smaller/more brittle. Same sort of leaf colouring, though.

Liquor Colour: A dark brown with red undertones. It has a very slight cloudiness to the liquor but overall is pretty clear. Noticeably darker in colour than the 2015 Brown sugar. Not nearly as dark as I’d expect the liquor for a Shou to be; but certainly closer in ‘generic Shou appearance’ than the ’15 .

Aroma: Aroma is stronger overall than the ‘15 and has more presence. It’s very earthy, with a bit of a mushroomy quality too. Has an almost molasses like sweetness.

Taste: Immediately this tea feels more full bodied than the ‘15. The top notes are very earthy/loamy and evoke immediate, intense feelings of wet wood/the forest floor. Body has a little bit of a mineral taste, and some sweetness. It’s also a little woody, not unlike the ‘15 but in a more wet way. Undertones are a little fruity; sort of date like I suppose. While the top of the sip is very unctuous, the finish is short, clean and without lingering flavour not unlike what I experienced with the ’15. It’s interesting to me how this tea is so similar in the second part of the sip to the ’15 but so wildly different at the start.

Having tasted both years now, this is the one I think I prefer. It’s not arguable that there are a lot of similarities, but I think this year has more overall body even if it finishes in the same sort of way that the 2015 does. Plus, something about that more wet, petrichor feelings foresty note that this starts off with really does something for me. Both are very smooth though, and I think would make really good every day drinking type teas.

Link to 2015 Brown Sugar from this tasting:

https://steepster.com/roswellstrange/posts/358855#likes

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Bio

Hello;

My name is Kelly. I’m a twenty something tea drinker and reviewer originally from the prairies, but recently relocated to Quebec. I was introduced to DAVIDsTEA and started drinking tea fairly casually about six years ago. At some point, that casual hobby became an ingrained part of my daily life; I became a part of a greater community, incorporated tea into my daily routine, and it became my career.

You know you’ve got it bad when you get your hobby tattooed to your arm.

I’m a TAC certified Tea Sommelier!

I drink a balance of flavoured tea and straight/traditional teas – in all formats. I prefer to have a wide, and general knowledge over many types of teas and catagories rather than focus on any one specific tea: a jack of all teas, master of none. Loose, bagged, matcha, Western style, iced, latted, Gong Fu…

You name it, I probably drink it.

In that vein, I’ll drink just about any type of tea – those only ones I have a particularly strong distaste for are green teas and Chai, with some exceptions of course. I have a weird relationship with Sheng pu’erh, but have been gradually increasing the amount of it I consume – currently I have a particular fascination with Yiwu Sheng. Other types of tea that I greatly enjoy are Yancha and other dark, heavily oxidized or roasted oolongs, most shou, black tea, and compressed/aged white teas. I’ll absolutely try anything once though; and I like to have an open mind and explore lots of tea types, even if I have reservations. I’ll probably never leave that “Exploratory” phase…

Usually I drink my tea straight, but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea, I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though. If I’ve not mentioned an addition, you’re safe to assume it’s been prepared straight up.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gong Fu. Often I curate very intentional tea and music pairings, and sometimes I share them here in my tasting reviews. Music is something that I find can deeply affect the experience of having tea.

Favourite flavour notes/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strong Chai spice profiles, mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, artificial tasting mango or peach, stevia, saltiness, or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/obsessed with: Sheng from Yiwu, Yancha (Qilan in particular), anything with a strong sweet potato note. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas! Searching for a really good caramel flavoured blend, ideally with a black tea base.

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Goldfish: Dot
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Jade Pixiu Dragon: Whitaker
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ruyao Dragon: Pablo
Ruyao Frog: Bebe
Sculpted Pig: Nelly
Sculpted Tuxedo Cat: Pekoe
Sculpted Tabby Cat: Marmalade
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket
Ceramic Cat: Saffron
Wood Fired Old Man: Leopold

Currently I’m employed at DAVIDsTEA. While I’m still reviewing DAVIDsTEA blends I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any tea blends you currently see with a numeric score that are from DAVIDsTEA were reviewed prior to my being hired there.

Location

Montreal, QC, CA

Website

https://www.instagram.com/ros...

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