2016 Denong Commemorative Raw Pu-erh

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Pu-erh Tea
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Anise, Bitter, Green Wood, Hay, Herbs, Hops, Mint, Pepper, Sweet
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Edit tea info Last updated by Cameron B.
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  • “(Gongfu, 6g per 100mL, 100C). I picked up the beeng from a local tea shop that carries puerh supplied through Bana Tea Company. I was intrigued by the dry leaf’s sweet and spicy scent—my nose...” Read full tasting note
  • “Well, other than a futon, installing shelves into my curio cabinet (one day that will get done) and maybe a nice rug, my tea room is done! I christened it by painting for the first time in months,...” Read full tasting note

From Denong Tea

A unique raw blend made from arbor tea trees located in Xishuangbanna. The leaves are rich in nutrients, making a bright yellow tea water. The luxurious aroma and full flavors will endure for dozens of brews. A perfect tea for collection, it will only grow tastier and more valuable as it ages.

Region: Xishuangbanna, Yunnan

Harvest: Early Spring

Net Weight: 100g Format: Cake

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2 Tasting Notes

61 tasting notes

(Gongfu, 6g per 100mL, 100C).
I picked up the beeng from a local tea shop that carries puerh supplied through Bana Tea Company. I was intrigued by the dry leaf’s sweet and spicy scent—my nose almost tickles from the peppery smell!
The rinse’s nose is wet hay which conceals the up front flavor upon taking a sip: very herbaceous like both basil and mint with maybe a hint of anise, that delicious combination I’m sure we’ve all tasted in a delicious bowl of pho. The lasting taste is floral with less savory notes, and some minerality.
1-2: 10s Now we begin. Nose is extremely sweet, like a honey dipped apple. There’s some woody bitterness going down, but its pleasant. The finish is only ever so slightly sweet. This has some nice layers to it
3: 20s bitter bitter bitter bitter bitter bitter—tastes like an IPA almost! But I don’t totally hate it unlike IPAs…I might kick the time back down on this one.
4: 10s. That’s better. Sweet going down, but lasting dryness in the front of my mouth and sweetness in the back of my mouth. IPA is a great way to describe this, this is almost hoppy. I’m now realizing this review is in complete and total contrast to ramblingbutterflythoughts’. I’m way less experienced in puerh so I might be in the wrong here, or maybe something has happened to the tea cake I have that makes it taste pleasantly bitter. Or maybe our perceptions are just very different!
5: 15s, this is still bitter but with a sweetness throughout. I’ve referred to this before as “grape skin” but I’m sure there’s a better term for it.
6: 20s The aroma is now like reeds and honeysuckle together, it reminds me of walking by a river. The bitterness has waned, its now letting the sweetness through! There is some earthiness present in the finish.
7: 25s. I’m noticing my cheeks are a little numb. I was struggling to write this grant I’m working on but now I’m typing away…none of it is any good of course, but the qi seems to have loosened me up just enough :). The reedy taste is now replaced with the taste of chewing on sugarcane, bringing me back to spending time with my grandmother in Mexico
8-10: I took a break for some lobster mac and bacon-onion halibut…the latter sort of fell flat so I’m glad to return to my pu after taking a couple hours of a break. It is mostly sweet and clean tasting now, reminds me of a very strong, mineral white tea. The longer I keep drinking, the drier my mouth gets. This is still a young sheng, after all
????: Honestly I lost track. I’m super full and the tea is getting sweeter and lighter. A great tea and I eventually wound down the session once I got to the minutes-long power steeps without much change in color of the liquor. I look forward to breaking into this cake over the years and seeing what happens with the early hoppiness.

Flavors: Anise, Bitter, Green Wood, Hay, Herbs, Hops, Mint, Pepper, Sweet

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921 tasting notes

Well, other than a futon, installing shelves into my curio cabinet (one day that will get done) and maybe a nice rug, my tea room is done! I christened it by painting for the first time in months, I still desperately need new painting supplies, but I have enough to fiddle around still. It feels so good to have my own space, specifically have space that has SPACE, my bedroom was so cramped, now I actually have floor space which is awesome. Plus I only messed my back and hips up a little from moving furniture, which is astounding for me, usually I mess myself up bad because I can’t every wait for help.

Today I am looking at an early spring 2016 Sheng from Denong Tea, their 2016 Denong Commemorative Raw Pu-erh, made from Xishuangbanna material. I have come to really enjoy their teas I have tried, especially the ones from Xishuangbanna, so I was excited to sink my teeth (tea-th?) into this tea. Of course the description says the tea will only improve with age, so really this is like the preview before the movie, and with Puerh I always find having a preview before the main event is just the best, because this is not a type of tea you just buy on a whim, usually it is an investment in both money and time. So, let us see what this tea has to offer! The aroma of the dry leaf had a surprising amount going on, wet hay, a touch of camphor, savory and buttery undertones, bok choy, and my favorite part, the distinct note of rained on peonies. Not just normal peony flowers, but ones that are rained on, bringing out more of the bruised flower and mineral note. It just might be the most floral Sheng I have run into, and to pick one of my favorite flowers to smell like made for a very enjoyable sniffing session.

Into my baby gaiwan the leaves go for their rinse and first steep, the aroma is still pretty potent! Notes of orchid, peony and distant wildflowers blend with watercress, bok choy and tomatoes. It is both savory and floral, which is fun combination, like having a meal next to a bouquet of flowers, and that is classy. The aroma of the liquid is more on the savory side, with bok choy and tomatoes with a hint of cedar wood and distant orchids…like you are at the same table but someone wandered off with the arrangement and left you with the ghost of a smell.

So this is my kind of Sheng, it is light and sweet and for the first three steeps there is no bitterness at all. I know the hardcore Pu-heads like that bitterness, not me though, it almost always reminds me too much of beer and there are few things in life I loathe more than the taste of beer. Luckily for me I don’t have to worry about it, I can just sit back and enjoy the sweet notes of peony nectar, the savory bok choy and watercress, and the touch of cedar wood that pops up towards the end of the third steep. The mouthfeel starts out light, but by the end of the mouth it is smooth and pleasantly cooling, later steeps bring in a subtle thickness that accents rather than distracts from the delicate taste.

The middle three steeps pick up a bit of bitterness, it is more the bitterness of romaine lettuce than hops so I am perfectly ok with that. Can I just take a moment to be amused how some bitter tastes I actively seek out and others make me convulse with disgust? Taste preferences are so weird, I find myself wondering often what causes such contrasting reactions in what is really a small difference. Anyway, tangent for a different time, for now this tea is the focus! The cedar notes from the end of the first part of this session becomes stronger, as does the cooler sensation in my belly. This tea really starts to bloom around steep four, as in it starts to become quite floral, the delicate peony nectar notes intensifies as does the sweetness, and that sweetness just lingers for ever. I had to run an errand between steeps six and seven, and I swear I could still taste that lingering sweetness a good hour later.

The leaves have really fluffed up in these later steeps, barely fitting in my gaiwan, and the golden liquid looks like sunlight, which matches the nectar sweetness really well I think. Mostly here are the end the taste is sweet, peony nectar and a gentle buttery bok choy note with subtle mineral notes. The mouthfeel continues to be smooth and gentle cooling, and the sweet aftertaste continues to linger. This was a really enjoyable tea, not one that was epiphany inducing, but still one that I found very tasty and especially enjoyed the floral notes.

Blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/10/denong-tea-2016-denong-commemorative.html

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