2003 Changtai "Ji Nian / Memorial" Sheng / Raw Tuo

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Pu Erh Tea
Earth, Smoke, Vegetal, Bamboo, Dates, Hay, Musty, Sweet, Wet Earth, Peat, Wet Moss
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Bulk, Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by TeaExplorer
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 oz / 117 ml

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11 Tasting Notes View all

  • “OK well… this is a weird tea. Remember, I’m new to different types of pu. This tea is one of the best shous that I’ve ever drank except that its a sheng!! Here’s the story. I am a shou lover and...” Read full tasting note
  • “First tasting of the day is 2003 Changtai sheng. I got this as part of the “what is pu’erh” set. I started by getting my little yixing pot and giving it a quick rinse. The rinse came back fairly...” Read full tasting note
  • “Got a 20 gram sample of this to try at teafest (which was awesome, btw) along with a few other things, although we didn’t linger too long to do tea tasting as Glen and Lamu already looked super...” Read full tasting note
  • “Very nice, reminded me of an early morning in the deep forest. Nice soup, sweet and earthy.” Read full tasting note

From Crimson Lotus Tea

This aged sheng puerh comes from the Yunnan Changtai Tea Industry Group. They have been in the puerh business since the late 90’s. We had the chance to visit with them in Kunming this year. We blogged about that here: http://crimsonlotustea.com/blogs/puerh/12480085-sampling-aged-puerh-with-chang-tai

This 100 gram mini tuo is called “Ji Nian” which means “Memorial”. Changtai chose this name and blend to memorialize their history.

Changtai is well known for the quality of their early 2000’s puerh. Their master blenders created this blend from Menghai area Da Shu (Big Tree) puerh tea trees in 2003. It has been stored in hot, humid Xishuangbanna until this year. This blend is ungraded and contains both large leaves and tiny buds. The leaves are darker in color than the similar 2003 Changtai “Yuan Nian Shu / Ancient SouthWest” Sheng / Raw Tuo Cha and seemingly contains more large leaves.

This has all the emotion of a well aged sheng puerh. The warming leaves reveal an inviting, deep, dark musty aroma of age. As water washes the leaves a refreshing aroma of earthiness with a rich sweetness comes out. The liquor is a hue of dark amber. The flavor is smooth and thick with a strong mustiness. It is sweet and heavy without bitterness or astringency. It’s a very comforting experience that feels familiar.

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11 Tasting Notes

5 tasting notes

OK well… this is a weird tea. Remember, I’m new to different types of pu.

This tea is one of the best shous that I’ve ever drank except that its a sheng!! Here’s the story.

I am a shou lover and still working on the sheng lover side. I got a sampler from Crimson Leaf which included this sheng. The first cup I made, I realized that I grabbed the wrong tea because there’s no way a sheng is this dark, with this earthy of an aroma. So I checked the wrapping and it was definitely a sheng. I wrote a comment on a tea forum stating that if all aged shengs were like this… I was an aged sheng lover!!! A nice gentleman from that forum sent me several samples of old shengs to explore and I"m taking my time with them. The first gifted sheng I tried tasted like a sheng to me with a green fresh flavor and light yellow liquor. I tried a sheng that was older than this sheng and it steeped the same: light greenish liquor with a grassy taste. So I realized that I messed up and went back to this 2003 Changtai sample, made another batch of tea and again drank one of the best tasting shous that I’ve had. I started wondering if maybe the wrong tea was placed in the wrapper so I contacted Glen at CLT to ask and he assured me that it was a sheng. All I had to do was read the description on the website… so I bought two tuos to enjoy.

Glen also stated that aged sheng is supposed to taste like this, which sort of makes sense as the wodui fermentation process for shou is intended to make shou imitate aged sheng. However, I have yet to taste another aged sheng that comes close to the taste of this sheng. Hopefully the tuo tastes as good as the sample and I can find more aged sheng as good as this one.

I’ll add more comments on flavor when drink from the tuo.

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109 tasting notes

First tasting of the day is 2003 Changtai sheng. I got this as part of the “what is pu’erh” set. I started by getting my little yixing pot and giving it a quick rinse. The rinse came back fairly clear with little dust. I decided to skip the second rinse and go right to the tasting.

The first infusion was about 10 seconds at just under 212, and I got a clear brown liquor with mild smokey and earthy flavors. I found this interesting as it felt about halfway between a raw and ripe.

The second infusion was a little darker and more intense. And that was a flash steep in and out of the yixing, basically using he pouring time as the steep. The flavor was very nice and smooth at this point. Taking on a slightly stronger earth and smoke flavor and giving up a little of the vegetal. It tasted more like a ripe at this point.

Third infusion I was a little surprised, the color, flavor and aroma stayed very similar to the second infusion instead of bursting into darker color like ripes do at this stage. It was again very pleasant smooth and easy to drink.

Fourth infusion was very similar to the third although I did a 15 second infusion this time to keep up those lovely flavors and aroma’s of the previous infusions. I was not disappointed.

I started adding 10 seconds to each infusion at this point and steeped the rest of this wonderful tea out till the end. And I got about 4 or so more infusions out of it. I was very impressed with how evenly this held up.

I highly recommend this tea, unfortunately as of this time, this tea and the sampler pack I ordered are sold out.

Flavors: Earth, Smoke, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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106 tasting notes

Got a 20 gram sample of this to try at teafest (which was awesome, btw) along with a few other things, although we didn’t linger too long to do tea tasting as Glen and Lamu already looked super busy with the large turn out, heh.

Opening up the bag to take a sniff comes out with a very strong dried hay scent, although not musty enough to quite take it into ‘barnyard’ territory. It definitely benefits from airing out for at least a week, though (having tried it both ways), as that strong hay storage flavor kind of dominates and threatens to overwhelm the tea if you try it fresh out of the bag.

Super compressed and a bit brittle, I gave up trying to break this up for the most part and just threw a roughly 1/3-ish sized piece into my gaiwan and did a long rinse. Steeped the first steep for a good 15 seconds at least and then let it steam open some more while I went to poke the wood stove fire.

Starts off as a very sweet and mild straw taste as it’s opening up, then brews up a lovely middling thickness of darker red-brown rust soup with hints of dried date and bamboo at the edges of the hay once it’s fully opened up. Persistent undercurrent of aged taste and aroma and a dark, damp earth/soil flavor, contrary to the energy of this tea which makes my forehead feel light and airy, like it might start floating off of my shoulders at anytime (in a pleasant way! :P). There is not much bitterness or astringency to this tea at all.

My SO really enjoyed this. I enjoyed it as well, but just based on the sample pieces, I don’t know if I’d want to wage battle with this tuo to drink it very often, haha. This was very suiting to a chilly Fall day next to a crackling fire, but I think I prefer something a little less straw and a little more punchy in my general day to day tea. My favorite part of this tea was the very relaxing yet happy energy that made my cares melt far far and away and slough off like water and ducks and something else, :).

Flavors: Bamboo, Dates, Hay, Musty, Sweet, Wet Earth

Boiling 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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9 tasting notes

Very nice, reminded me of an early morning in the deep forest.

Nice soup, sweet and earthy.

Flavors: Peat, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wet Moss

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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25 tasting notes

This is pretty much the second time I have had pu’erh, and it is being enjoyed immensely. This tastes like wet earth, like others have said, but maybe a bit vegetal too. I get the sweetness of this, and in later steeps the wet earth taste was less and the sweetness got a bit stronger.

Flavors: Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wet Moss

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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400 tasting notes

Quick Note

I started drinking this earlier this afternoon, but wasn’t able to sit down and have a few cups before heading out to work. I just had my final cup for the evening (steep # 6), and I might get to the rest of it for the morning. As far as my week has been going, I need a solid tea to help me wake up tomorrow.

Anyway, this is good. I like the wet Earth aroma and flavor to this tea. Aged teas are mostly to my liking. They remind me of hiking and the outdoors; which, now that the late winter may be over, can happen. I must admit that the gym isn’t as appealing to me as being out in nature can be. This tea has a solid flavor, thick soup, and a not too overly drying mouthfeel. I might try to find a larger quantity of this tea so that I can enjoy it more often on days like today.


Side Note: On the plus side, I’m nearly done planning the one man trip in August. I want to do something with a lot of exercise (Appalachian Trail?) , historical (Gettysburg? Williamsburg?), and fun. I thought I’d have my wife join, but she’ll have to work, and we won’t have the foster kids, yet. So, since my summer schedule is in, I have to take the time to go somewhere before vacationing becomes less frequent.

Side-Side Note: Cat Steven’s “Tea For The Tillerman” is the album for tea sipping today.

Here’s the track, “Wild World:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj4ibL1VqDo&list=PLtS_jNy6-K_ceZvwxJH93XrWUqu1huEAV&index=11

Listening to this on vinyl is especially enjoyable :)

Flavors: Wet Earth

Tea and Cheese Lover

If you make it to Gettysburg, you’re already more than half way to Philly, and it’s not to far of a detour if you’re going to Williamsburg from there. ;-)


Well shoot. Guess that’ll be the trip then. Ha-ha.

Crimson Lotus Tea

Sounds like a fun trip. I love that area.


I love amount of history in those areas. I figured it’d be a fun trip loaded with history and great food! What could get better than that?


If you get near Southwest Virginia you will be close to me. Tea session!


I’ll let you know when I’ll be there! Tea sessions are always a pleasure to have with others who appreciate the gift of tea!


awesome review man!

Crimson Lotus Tea

Is it going to be a road trip or are you hiking?


I think I’ll do a little bit of both. Visit the historical sites along the way, and perhaps hike for a day in Pennsylvania before heading down to Williamsburg.

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25 tasting notes

i personally love this tea, i started with the sample, and recently received the tuo from glenn at CL, plus a nice sample, thank you!

i dont even designate a rinses for this i just drink every stage. im not sure how to properly describe the notes, but its definitely musty and so smooth with sweetness. i think of this as the “yoda memorial tea” because i feel like the humid atmosphere of dagobah would produce this sort of tea if aged there.. lol.

as the tea develops it actually shows a bit of bite which permeates the surface of the tongue. the qi is chill/relaxing… i really stocked my 125ml pot with 9g, and its seemingly everlasting and strong.

brew starts (if i remember correctly) a dark yellowish colour, then gets rosey, then dark reddish like black cherry, so beaut, and i just got a glass cha-hai so i can see the colour in its entirely.

regarding the qi again, it has crept up on me. after about my second cup i went into the shower, so the shower added to the calm qi feeling. now as i type this the tea is more apparent. trust me a steamy shower or bath plus this tea = not doing much for a while, lol.

i may not be too experienced in the world of tea, but its been a few years and i know enough to know i really like this tea. i rate this a respectable- 91- the year i was born haha peace.

Boiling 9 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

Great review, I love your Yoda theory!

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7 tasting notes

Reasonably priced aged tea. Tastes that I would associate with wet storage. Good Qi.

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5 tasting notes

Um, wow. I think maybe nope. It’s definitely musty, wet smelling and tasting. On the second steep it’s musty with a touch of fresh string beans when you string them. Or maybe fresh Lima beans. Some bitterness, a beautiful amber liquor—like a light bourbon.
I don’t think this is my thing, but…it’s honestly not totally unpleasant after it loses that “wet rag” smell and taste with additional steepings. Drying to my mouth though.
Probably I wouldn’t choose to drink this again.
Definitely interesting! No clue how to rate this, as it’s my first aged sheng.


The mustiness is usually from humid hot storage. Try to air it out a few weeks and see if it changes. Sometimes a double rinse can help in a little way.

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107 tasting notes

Purchased as part of an “Intro to Pu’er” set, along with one other sheng and one other shou. This is the first one I am trying. About 7g of tea, boiling water, two rinses, starting with 5 to 10 second steeps. Interesting. Reminds me a lot of the shou I had last night (2002 Gu Fo Aged), maybe not as sweet though. It’s really dark, definitely the darkest sheng I’ve ever seen. Grassy, but also a bit peppery in the back of the throat. Interesting, I’m about 9 or 10, or maybe 100 steeps in, and my mouth is getting reaaaally dry. So bizarre. It’s like drinking grass, and then suddenly hey, I taste hay. HEY! Is this what tea drunk is? The brew is so, so pretty. Hay, I bet I will not be sleeping tonight. Changtai: 1, Curly: 0. BOOM.

Crimson Lotus Tea

So how did you sleep?


I did not. Not much, anyway!

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