127 Tasting Notes
After having several sessions with this, I feel more confident about my impressions of this tea. It’s one of the most complex teas I’ve tried (just barely a notch below the Colbert Holland – my favorite W2T pressing). Certainly something to savor slowly and quietly. These brewed leaves are gorgeous. I must thank Paul or who ever thoughtfully took apart this cake so that the leaves in my sample could remain intact. They exude a green-ish floral and dried fruit fragrance after rinsed.
Very powerful, rich, deeply penetrating, soothing, calming, and highly energizing. I drank the rinse on this one. Good clarity here. Nice density combined with a penetrating and lasting mouthfeel and huigan from the rinse onwards. This tea quickly fills the mouth moving throughout and down into the throat. It then lingers in the cheeks for a long time.
I’m actually not a fan of the flavor in its early steeps. Too much sugary dried fruit and clove – reminding me of a Christmas fruitcake which I just love to hate. Fortunately, by steep 4, my tolerance is rewarded with more intense mouthfeel and enveloping qi that is felt in at first cerebral and then moves to the chest and spine. My eyes are wide open; posture corrected. I am all Here.
Early sweet medicinal flavors are replaced with the notes of honeysuckle, tamarind, cherries, peaches (farmers market-fresh), and aged rum. I get an interesting mingling of bitterness/tartness (green apple), spiciness (juniper berries), and hardwood/mineral base that reminds me of cherrywood.
Later steeps much fruitier, especially in the prolonged aftertaste – honeycrisp apples, red plums, and yellow peaches, to be exact. It’s less thick and dense, yet still strong in terms of mouthfeel and body-feel.
Afterthoughts: This be the good stuff, and I know it is because I questioned it for some time. I thought my first 3 sessions were only somewhat memorable, but not enough to demand >$100 for a 200g xiao bing. I’m now reconsidering that value per gram assessment.
This reminds me of the small batch of wild oolong (see testing note) Cindy had harvested and crafted from the same tea leaves used to process their popular wild lapsang souchong. The tea liquor is a crystal clear orange hue and is very smooth in texture. The tea can be felt in the corners of my cheeks and in the back of the throat. I would say the aroma is more of the show-stopper, while the tea flavor is extremely soothing, lively, and bright. Both in aroma and flavor, it has a definitive granite/karst mineral base, highly floral, and something juicy that is reminiscent of a very ripe vine tomato. I can get a good 7 steeps out of this one before it looses flavor.
I haven’t familiarized myself with Yiwu teas due to limited budget and the availability of good teas from less pricy regions. Nonetheless, with the price of most teas skyrocketing, it made sense to sample some reasonably priced Yiwu material from Scott’s pressings while I still can. I also have a strong bias for spring teas, but here I am again forced to sample autumn teas from expensive regions.
I had a mixed experiences with Scott’s 2013 line, but this was a very nice surprise. I will echo his description that the tea “is not autumn in character”. Indeed, it’s quite concentrated with a strong mouthfeel and heavy qi.
Typical Yiwu sweet hay and grain-like base. It coats the entire mouth cavity with its expansive and intense presence. It’s sweet, spicy, woody, and moderately bitter, with prominent notes of raw honey, nutmeg, dried apricots, and hay. It’s consistent through many steeps and lingers for a long time. Love the qi on this!
I am reminded of W2T’s 2009 Yiwu Gushu, only this one has smaller leaves. Another bonus is the very pleasant raw honey and floral fragrances coming off the empty cup!
I’ve been waiting to find some free time to try this one. As expected from this vendor, the tea’s quality has surpassed my expectations.
The brewed leaves are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen – expertly processed. They’re very green and plump. The aroma is fruity, floral, and subtly grassy in a white tea sort of way. Nice pale tea soup. It’s a very gentle, rich, full bodied, and well structured tea that is delicate yet robust. It’s extremely fresh, lively in the mouth and uplifting with a gentle qi. Initial steeps are typically sweet and floral in a way that is unique to white teas.
But, this one offers something else. There is depth, mellow qi, and structure with lingering sensations and aftertaste. I prefer the later steeps (passed steep 5), which are increasingly spiced (cinnamon, nutmeg, and pears), a bit tingly and cooling with interesting karst-mineral and complex woody notes. This is indicative of high quality tea leaves from well-established plants. This is a proper white tea.
Rich, thick, and complex. Pay attention to this tea’s depth, mouthfeel, structure, and aftertaste rather than just flavors. It brews a clear orange liquor that is thick and velvety. The aroma is heavy — mineral-like, floral, and lightly roasted.
I do a flash rinse with this one, as initial steeps are immediately thick and complex. The tea coats my entire mouth but lingers in the cheeks, back of the mouth, and throat. Notes are savory-sweet zhengyan minerals, florals, red velvet cake(?), cannabis, roasted barley, and a hint of fruit.
Steep 3 onwards reveals the tea’s qi, depth, and structure. Sensations intensify from the back of the tongue into the throat and in the cheeks. The qi is relaxing and warms my core. I can feel the tea’s presence for long time after drinking. Prominent notes here are more floral, zhengyan minerals, cannabis, and hints of roasted barley.
After steep 7, the tea needs to be pushed, and that’s fine. Later steeps are moderately thick and have depth, structure, and a very pleasing zhengyan mineral and floral aftertaste. I recommend taking breaks in between steeps to extract the most flavor. Nice lingering tea buzz!
I’m glad I asked Cindy whether there was an oolong version of her wild growing lapsang souchong; she said there was a very limited quantity and that there was already a line of orders before the tea was even completely processed. I’m glad I got in line on time!
The closest thing I can compare this to is a very lightly roasted Wuyi oolong, as it has a distinctive savory-sweet mineral/rock quality to it in both aroma and flavor. The leaves have an intriguing fragrance that reminds me of roasted sweet tomatoes and orchids. Initially, the tea soup is a dark gold tiptoeing towards light orange.
The tea is very pure and lively in taste and feel. Very nice mouthfeel and qi. It’s crisp and decently thick in texture. It’s also well structured and persistent in the mouth after drinking.There is distinctive Wuyi mineral/rock taste, shuixian-like floral notes, vine tomatoes, brown sugar, and roasted grain. It goes for about 9 steeps but can be pushed further. Flavor, mouthfeel and aftertaste are consistent throughout. I need to do a few more sessions using slightly different parameters. Very unique and tasty oolong!
Bright, deep and persistent with subtle, delicate flavors. The dry leaves have a candied, woody scent. After the first rinse, the leaves exude more succulent, fruity and orchid aromas with a hint of roasted pine nuts. The tea brews a very clear and pale yellow brew.
The first steep was sweet (lilies and roasted grains) and almost tart; it seemed to lack structure and body, but after the 3rd steep the tea begins thicken and coat the roof and back of the mouth, revealing the tea’s structure. The next 5 infusions convey much more body and were much more floral and woody with sweet grain notes. The aftertaste and lingering sensations extend way into the back of the mouth, which are very pronounced and intensify at the 8th and 9th steeps. They induce a mouthfeel and qi that is uplifting, clarifying, and very relaxing. By the 5th steep, the drinker is experiencing a tea that is thick, well-structured and has real depth.
That strong sensation in the back of the mouth and top of the throat remain even in later steeps. It needs to be pushed a bit after steep 10 — I’ve been flash brewing the entire time. This is a very subtle tea that will reward those who take their time.
Very well compressed tea from what seems like the purple leafed varietal. There is forest moss and subtle hickory smoke in the dry leaf aroma. After the first wash, the leaves reveal intriguing aromas – dried plum, roasted walnut, pine wood, and moss after the spring rain. The tea brews a very clear and pale amber. Body is light yet the tea is somehow rich.
It’s a remarkable tea. The Qi is intense from the start. It moves towards the back of the head and envelops the cerebellum, spreads down my spine, and into my shoulders. It remains there, leaving feeling warm and elevated (not hyper) for the entire session and afterwards. It also spreads to my chest and remains. I’m fully alert yet calm and happy. This is really cool stuff.
Initial steeps remind me of Yunnan Sourcing’s DeHong purple tea, but then the tea quickly reminds you that it’s something else entirely. The bitterness and sharpness in the initial steeps is much more similar to wild spring herbs (raw mugwort or ssuk in Korean) than tea, as it covers my entire mouth cavity and morphs on the sides of the tongue into intense tart apricots, sour cherries, grapefruit, dandelion greens, and oregano, but then transforms via huigan into something fruity and savory…and lingers. There is no smokiness in the flavor.
Mid steeps become even more fruity (plum, peach, cherry, green apple), honeyed, and very smooth. I can taste and feel the purity of this tea. It has great depth and, despite my description above, it’s quite difficult to accurately describe. It must be experienced first hand. I am tempted to purchase another bing.