2005 Changtai Yun Pu Zhi Dian / Top of the Clouds

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
Pu Erh Tea
Apricot, Bitter, Bread, Camphor, Dates, Dried Fruit, Eucalyptus, Fruity, Marshmallow, Musty, Paper, Raisins, Smooth, Spicy, Tannin, Tobacco, Walnut, Wet Rocks, Anise, Autumn Leaf Pile, Biting, Drying, Grapes, Herbs, Honey, Kale, Lavender, Menthol, Metallic, Mint, Nuts, Plum, Rainforest, Rice, Stewed Fruits, Sweet, Tannic, Tea, Thyme, Pear, Peach, Stonefruit, Apple Candy, Earth, Forest Floor, Mushrooms, Floral, Jasmine, Smoke, Thick, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Vegetal, Mineral, Petrichor, Butter, Wet Earth
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Edit tea info Last updated by Togo
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 10 oz / 307 ml

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27 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Honestly, I can’t smell anything or taste much right now. It’s actually a great time to focus on the general impression of a puerh and the way it feels in my mouth and body rather than my default...” Read full tasting note
  • “I have been going through my CLT samples, thinking whether I should get any of the cakes, and I realized I never wrote a review for this one. It is among the better semi-aged teas I’ve tried, but...” Read full tasting note
  • “Gongfu, 100C 5g 100ml The wet leaves look darker than a young sheng, clearly this has been aged. Smell faintly like dry fruit. Only one rinse. Steep 1-4, 20-30s: immediately i am hit with a thick,...” Read full tasting note
  • “Have 25g worth of a sample that I just got around to breaking into. WHY DID I WAIT?? 5g in 70ml gaiwan. Water right off boil. Flash steepings x6-7 each friggn delish both in mouth feel and...” Read full tasting note

From Crimson Lotus Tea

This tea was featured in the Serious Eats article Where to Buy Amazing Tea Online. Sample sizes are available.

This is a very special puerh prepared by the Yunnan Changtai Tea Industry Group. The blenders who work for Changtai are true masters of their craft. The leaves in this puerh are a blend of 15 mountains, Spring picked in 2005. The name for this cake “Yun Pu Zhi Dian” means “Top of the Clouds”. Since Yunnan means “Southern Clouds” this name has a double meaning. It refers to the heavenly experience and also that this puerh contains the best from Yunnan.

This is the one that I mentioned in our blog post from Lijiang. This is the first sheng puerh that really opened my eyes. That vendor was selling these cakes for $400USD/cake! We found a better deal with Changtai themselves. We bought as much as we could this Spring, but sold out of most of it quickly. We tried for a while to get more at a good price, but this tea has been going up in price every month since. We finally got our hands on some more to sell.

This puerh was aged since 2005 in Guangzhou, China. This hot, humid city was perfect for aging this puerh. This tea will brew smooth and mellow with intoxicating aromas and flavors. Apricot notes are often present.

Use 5-7 grams of leaves and brew with 6-8 ounces of water at or near boiling. Wash once for 3s, then start with a quick steep of 6-10s. With each re-steep adjust the steep time to your taste.


About Crimson Lotus Tea View company

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27 Tasting Notes

1573 tasting notes

Honestly, I can’t smell anything or taste much right now. It’s actually a great time to focus on the general impression of a puerh and the way it feels in my mouth and body rather than my default mode which is to get lost in tastes.

Despite my schnoz not working well, I am able to pick up on aged puerh smell and forest floor in the rinsed leaf along with yeasty and bready qualities. The liquor has an oily thickness to it that when combined with a general tartness and minerality gives the impression of a lighter-bodied tea. Seems like it might taste of tobacco. The initial infusions feel great going down my throat and leave a thin and cooling camphor coating. There is also a bit of throat drying early on along with slight bitterness that does grow stronger but it is complementary. A light returning sweetness presents, seems date-like but combines with the back of the tongue bitterness to give a bittersweet lingering. I do notice some roughness and numbing of the tongue.

The energy is notable for me in the regard that it gives me a general sense of well being and positivity and it makes me dance. I much prefer this feeling to heady teas since I’m always thinking anyway.

On that note:
Album pairing: Paul Simon - Graceland, found in my housemate’s record collection

This is a solid aged sheng, one I could see keeping as a daily drinker.

Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
Martin Bednář

Get well soon!


Thanks, it’s a mild cold


Hope you feel better!


Indeed, get over that cold.


I remember hearing the Graceland album for the first time and being totally blown away by the crazy wonderful mix-match of instrumentation :)


Thanks y’all. Hopefully today was the worst of it. Dang was I grumpy!

gmathis: It was the first time I listened to Graceland. I didn’t expect the album that contained “You Can Call Me Al” to have that range of instrumentation and influences!

Regarding this tea, I’m still working on the teapot from yesterday after a short rinse to wake up the leaves again. The liquor is still oily but the texture has morphed from thick into what a lot of reviews mention as fluffy/marshmallowy. What I can taste does fall in line with a marshmallow sweetness, nutty. I think I’m currently somewhere around 10 long steeps. The flow of this teapot is slow, around 12-15 seconds but I enjoy what pours from it :)

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971 tasting notes

I have been going through my CLT samples, thinking whether I should get any of the cakes, and I realized I never wrote a review for this one. It is among the better semi-aged teas I’ve tried, but the price reflects that as well.

The highlights of the tea for me are its flavour complexity and the cha qi. It also steeps for a long time. Even though I don’t find it quite as appealing taste & texture wise, I might get the cake with the current sale. I’ve been generally disappointed by CLT’s house productions, so I may not add anything else to the order. If you have any strong suggestions, let me know please :)

The aroma is deep and sweet with notes of rainforest, plum, fermented fruits, copper, thyme, honey, and a touch of lavender and nettle. Taste has a lot going on too. It is bittersweet, crisp and tannic overall with a good astringency. Over the course of the session I noted flavours of eucalyptus, autumn leaf pile, anise, grape skin, kombucha, chamomile, bread crust, walnut bread, rice paper, and red grape juice. Aftertaste continues with the impressive display of flavours, ranging from kale, to apricot and macadamia nuts. It is pungent and mineral, with a fairly long-lasting huigan and a camphor-like throat cooling quality.

Body is light to medium with a drying, bubbly mouthfeel that becomes a bit more milky mid session and silky at the end. The cha qi is noticeable and fast to appear. In my older notes, I described it as a full-body experience, but I am not sure I am getting that this session quite as much. I do get some slightly numbing sensations in my legs, but it seems mostly just very calming today.

Flavors: Anise, Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Biting, Bitter, Bread, Camphor, Drying, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Herbs, Honey, Kale, Lavender, Menthol, Metallic, Mint, Nuts, Plum, Rainforest, Rice, Stewed Fruits, Sweet, Tannic, Tea, Thyme, Walnut, Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
TJ Elite

I ordered a sample of this around a year ago and recently received another one as a freebie with an order. It’s interesting to hear you call it complex. All my sessions with it I found it incredibly one-note. Brews for many infusions, but never really changed over the course of any of my sessions. Only my final session with it where I used clay and brewed it with a much heavier hand did it become more enjoyable. With my standard brewing style my first few sessions were rather weak and took ages to get going.


yeah, that’s interesting indeed. I think it happens to me sometimes that if a tea doesn’t pull me in at the start (which could be for many reasons) then I drink it with a different mindset (I think often unaware of the fact) and it will also affect how I approach it in the future (for example by drinking it at occasions when I specifically don’t want to give a tea my full attention).

But there’s big variance from session to session even for teas that I expect to be able to get a lot out of. In today’s session of this particular tea, more than half of the associations I mention above didn’t really stand out to me I’d say, they come from my first session with the tea, which happened quite a while ago in fact. And again, this is definitely a result of both external and internal (to the mind) factors I believe.

This is also partly (other reasons would be more abstract and ‘meta-physical’) the reason why I seem to think of tea reviews as much more subjective (or you could say relative) than most other people do (especially those who do not participate in such note-taking as some of us do here on Steepster).

TJ Elite

I usually base my reviews on my first session with a tea. I find that’s when I’m most attentive and most free of preconceived expectations (as much as one can). Every session that follows, I find myself comparing the tea to that first session, having expectations. I’m usually able to pick out only a fraction of the subtleties and various facets of the tea compared to the first session. With enough time having elapsed, memories faded and perhaps a different vessel to spice things up, I’m usually able to have a fresh perspective again. By that time the tea is likely to have changed notably anyway.

No two sessions with the same tea are the same, not even two sips from the same cup. Time, temperature and our own bodies and minds all play a role. Two people can be drinking the same tea and still perceive it differently, let alone people brewing it by themselves. A review is always going to be just a snapshot – one person’s perception of a tea over a single session or a period of time. Hopefully most people who have drunk enough tea, especially pu’er, can understand not to expect having a very specific kind of experience. Then again, even vendors are often filling people’s heads with expectations. I recently had Crimson Lotus’s Altered State – a tea advertised for its cha qi – and, well, it had no impact on me. I didn’t go in expecting it to and they do mention in the description that tea affects every person differently, but if I was a newcomer to the world of pu’er, I’d probably feel quite let down.

Flavor ranks close to the bottom nowadays when it comes to my appreciation of tea. To my surprise I’ve recently come to value aroma far more – the two have essentially swapped places as far as my priorities go. Tea is much more of a feeling. If a tea is really special, sometimes I can tell just by the first sip or two. Likewise, after a session I can tell if the tea was good by listening to my body. Even if my memory of the tea was wiped, 99% of the time I could tell what my impressions of it must’ve been by just how I’m feeling. That’s why my opinion of a tea seldom changes radically after the first session – even if the flavors I was getting were dramatically different, typically my overall opinion remains more or less the same.


Lovely notes on tea, TJ Elite. This comment make me appreciate tea even more. :D

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61 tasting notes

Gongfu, 100C 5g 100ml
The wet leaves look darker than a young sheng, clearly this has been aged. Smell faintly like dry fruit. Only one rinse.
Steep 1-4, 20-30s: immediately i am hit with a thick, silkt texture, with dried fruit taste, like dried pear—it is light and not too acidic. The chunk of leaves are still opening up, and seem to be mostly leaves with only a few stems. The liquor is a rich color between honey and molasses. By steep two this is becoming a little bit more acidic like a darker dried fruit(dates). The retronasal taste (finish) i notice an almost eucalyptus-like freshness.
5- 7, strong musty sort of spicy taste— is this what camphor is and what shou pu aspires to? I’m starting to get some astringency.
8- , astringency lightening, everything giving way to some sweetness/hui gan, and this induces lots of salivation. Liquor lightening, i wish i had leafed harder. Fading back to a silkier mouthfeel on the way down again.
One of my first aged shengs, and i liked it.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Eucalyptus, Pear

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2 tasting notes

Have 25g worth of a sample that I just got around to breaking into. WHY DID I WAIT??

5g in 70ml gaiwan. Water right off boil. Flash steepings x6-7 each friggn delish both in mouth feel and interesting in taste change. Picking up notes of light woods faintly smoked, indistinct fruits. Not Bitter but somewhat astringent making me want more after each cup.

Im no ace at tacking down notes so take mine with a grain but I was very pleased with the first session of this sample.

Qi… yep there in spades too. loopy stoopid lookin at my toes like a stoner askin “What r those?” And Im not usually one to mention the feels. Pretty stoked to have received this little stash and would be very happy to have a cake or two in my stash.

How do I get bings past the spouse without getting more storage vessels?

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

Get to know your mail person. Bribes always help. Have a secret hiding spot.

Crimson Lotus Tea

We’ll deliver to your office. :-)

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27 tasting notes

My first aged sheng.

Didn’t know what to expect. The leaves definitely looked more similar to ripe pu than the young sheng I’ve had.

Rinsed for about 5 seconds, then did first steep of 5 seconds, and increased by 5-10 seconds after that.

Wow. The imagery of biting into a slightly overly ripe peach pops into my head whenever I take a sip.

I wonder if most/all aged raw are like this. Impressive.

Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Peach, Stonefruit, Sweet

Boiling 4 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

You are on the path….


I enjoy this tea thoroughly. Very friendly semi-aged raw. This was the first semi-aged cake that I got, 2 of them to be specific.

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24 tasting notes

Smokey, tobacco, sweet fruit (apricots?), smooth. Do not push this one too hard or it will be very astringent. Start with VERY short (3-5 sec) steeps for this first 5 steepings. I used 10 grams in 130 ml Jianshui pot. Next time will only use 7 grams. God solid tea. Easy to drink and enjoy.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 130 OZ / 3844 ML

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21 tasting notes

Update 4/8/2017: I followed my own advice and decreased first five steeps each to 3 seconds. That helped a lot and the tea was much more approachable. This session went a dozen steeps, and although the later steeps were obviously weaker in flavors, they had a delicious creamy texture that made it worth it to keep steeping.

Original review:

My first sheng ever. Before this for puerh I had only tried a couple shu, and one of them was a realy bad marine backwater fest. So, I had no idea what to expect with this sheng.

I read of people talking about all these flavors and fruits in sheng, and I was skeptical that I would pick them out. So, the highlight of this sheng experience was how readily the apricot stood out for me, upfront and as a wonderful lingering aftertaste.

A second session made me realize that the apricot is actually for me closer to a dried fruit from the Andes in Peru called aguaymanto (Peruvian ground cherry, dried). There is a tartness. Also discerned a floral character, jasmine, and maybe honey.

But, I also learned with this tea that I was over-steeping it. With 5 grams/75 ml and initial steep of 20s/10s/7s….I was mistakingly trying to extract a more intense fruit flavor that way, but I instead was confronted with a smoky bitter burnt and too-astringent experience.

So I backed off, increased the leaf:water ratio and less time steeping, that mellowed things out. My bad, but I learned.

Really enjoyed that dried fruit enduring aftertaste.

Flavors: Apricot, Dried Fruit, Floral, Jasmine, Smoke

5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

Thanks for sharing your first experience with sheng! I just started drinking them a couple of months ago and have fallen in love with them. Enjoy your tea journey!


Thanks, you as well!

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6 tasting notes

I really appreciate the longevity of this tea! Just 5g took me from morning to afternoon (around 8 steeps at 200ml each). It’s so smooth, tasty and buttery, without any bitterness at all in any of the steeps. This is the first Sheng I ever tried with some age behind it, and would likely reach for this over a ripe puerh (though I tend to favor young shengs and oolongs overall).
Very nice sessionable tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Smooth, Stonefruit

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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4206 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Six – Tea #27
I had to try this sheng from the teabox! Again, I can’t really offer much insight into shengs, but this one was delicious but nothing spectacular. Mild, sweet, fresh, a bit creamy. The steeps never became too bitter while sheng is usually very touchy for me. Even the third steep at just boiled was tasty. A sheng unruined is delicious enough for me! Not much to say about this one, but I just wanted to make a note for my tea brain (Steepster) that I drank it. Thank you Steepster, for being my tea brain and being a gateway for so many delicious teas!
Steep #1 // 25 minutes after boiling // 35 second steep
Steep #2 // 23 minutes after boiling // 35 second steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 35 second steep

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358 tasting notes

Got 17g of this from Haveteawilltravel’s stash.
The dry leaves have a faint smoky smell that carries over to the wet leaf, when some earthy aromas start to emerge. It steeps to a nice amber color.

Super smooth, a little smoky, definitely a light flavor to start. Faintest hint of some buttery notes at the very end. After a couple of the early steeps some dryness settles in and I start to feel the qi.

Around steep four or five the texture starts to thicken up, and I start to get that fluffy mouthfeel I’ve seen people talking about. It feels even thicker and fluffier if I let it cool.

This tea carried me through most of the day—from late morning through lunch with the SO and into the afternoon. I didn’t really get any sweet or fruity notes, but I enjoyed this and I am glad I have enough left for a couple more sessions.

Flavors: Earth, Smoke, Smooth, Thick

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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