Cedar smoke and petroleum. It tastes like going camping, taking off your smoke saturated wool shirt, boiling it, and throwing some oxidized oolong in the water. This is good.
Flavors: Camphor, Cedar, Decayed wood, Earth, Smoke
“Cedar smoke and petroleum. It tastes like going camping, taking off your smoke saturated wool shirt, boiling it, and throwing some oxidized oolong in the water. This is good.” Read full tasting note
“Malt, smoke and caffeine…pretty simple. Reminds me of a German rauchbier or perhaps Alaskan smoked porter not peat smoky like a scotch but wood smoke. If you are the type who likes to eat burnt...” Read full tasting note
“Iron compression. Leaf material is mostly black, with a few dull gold bits. Dry leaf smells sweet, woodsy, and slightly smokey. Brewed aroma is, mostly, a heavy campfire smoke, with an underlying...” Read full tasting note
“A solid aged sheng. The tea had a pleasant, smoky flavor which didn’t change much over the course of ~15 infusions. While the flavor was not very complex, it was pleasantly rustic with notes of...” Read full tasting note
2006 Old Bear Fangcha Raw 100g
The Old Bear brick is a smokey, heavy tea that is ideal for tea drinkers who enjoy flavors that are present in Scotch whisky, cigars, and pipe tobacco.
The Old Bear is a 100 gram brick that we found unpackaged in a warehouse. The tight compression of the traditional fangcha [square brick] style served it well, as most pieces are wholly intact. The characteristic smoke of the fangcha has faded slightly, but still carries a punch in the early steeps. The tea is a burly daily drinker for tea drinkers who want some oomph in their cup.
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Malt, smoke and caffeine…pretty simple. Reminds me of a German rauchbier or perhaps Alaskan smoked porter not peat smoky like a scotch but wood smoke. If you are the type who likes to eat burnt ends from leftover barbecue for breakfast whilst getting wired on cheap coffee, get you a cake of this.
Iron compression. Leaf material is mostly black, with a few dull gold bits. Dry leaf smells sweet, woodsy, and slightly smokey. Brewed aroma is, mostly, a heavy campfire smoke, with an underlying sweetness. The sweetness reminds me a bit of tar now. After two washes, I start brewing.Brews up thick, and lubricating. Color wise, it’s sort of a peach-yellow/orange. First sip is smokey. There’s a pine tree sap sweetness to the smoke. Pine tree is actually a perfect descriptor for this tea. That’s about it. There’s very little evolution in this tea.
Flavors: Pine, Sap, Smoke
Pretty much every other review is spot on. A solid, semi aged sheng that’s got a good amount of smokiness to it. I personally can’t stand tightly compressed cakes just for the sake of getting off enough for a session without breaking a sweat or stabbing myself, and this brick is nearly as compressed as an actual brick. I know this would have likely aged differently given a different level of compression, but I would give a higher ranking right this second for convenience sake if it was a little less compressed.
Another sample from the Beginners puerh box. The first three steps were lovely, smooth tobacco smoke flavor, no bitterness. If Lapsong is like campfire smoke, this is your grandfathers soothing pipe smoke. Subsequent steeps had too much bitterness that overwhelmed the dwindling smoky taste. I’ve added this to my wish list because I am wondering how it will age in the next 5-10 years.
Flavors: Bitter, Smoke, Smooth, Tobacco
In a way, puer, people and animals are alike: every one is different, sometimes unpredictable, slowly fermenting away inside… A major attraction of puer is that its ‘alive.’ So why not anthropomorphise it? Hello, Old Bear!
This bear is up-tight and refuses at first to yield when asked to leap onto the scales. 6.5g in ~90ml yixing made for a potent trip down the forest trail. I ran through it quickly, as if being chased… Yes, there’s a bit of an animal in there. We know this tea is potent and smokey. But I’m a fan of lapsang, rauchbier and Islay whisky.
As much as smoke (more peat and oak than pine or beech – so I disagree with lapsang analogies), I perceive a decent rounding from age and storage, which makes the power of the tea and its latent, but potentially aggressive bush-like flavours quite manageable. Short, cautious steeps yield an enjoyable brew with a pleasantly smooth mouth-feel. The finish is a contest between drying smokiness that reminds me of Laphroaig (a bit like piss and tweed…) and a slight trickling sweetness consistent with the tea’s age and W2T-type storage. As with some comparable whiskies, this tea has the body to back up the smoke (unlike Laphroaig, imho), and I like it.
Pros: potent, enduring and interesting; almost balanced – provided you like a smokey kick. Uplifting.
Cons: heavy on the stomach, despite its 10yrs of age. Occasional flashes of huigan contend with a slight, unpleasant constriction of the throat that reminds me this is likely particularly cheap plantation material. Then again, I’m sure its tough to tame a bear. And really, would we want to?
When I opened this tea I thought it was very beautiful! However, it’s incredibly compressed. I stabbed myself twice while picking away at it. My partner told me to get stitches even.
Anyways, I also gathered a lot of tea dust trying to pry the damned thing open.
When I started this session I started a mustiness which only points to humid storage. The rustiness has dried out since the last time I tasted this tea (this is my 3rd session) and is starting to settle down more. I first noticed that this tea tasted like tobacco in its early infusions. The wet leaves smelled like a Cigar Lounge!
In it’s middle infusions, it started to get sweeter. The tobacco started to taste sweeter; even more sweeter than the last time I had a session with Old Bear. There was a lingering aftertaste of wet wood that stayed in my mouth long after sipping the tea.
It’s later infusions started to get a spice to them, and the aftertaste of wet wood started to linger out. In the end, I never tasted ‘bitter’ in this tea. I steeped it at the oolong temp – 176 degrees F. I also noticed that this tea got a strong punch if I over steeped it, so it’s definitely on the more sensitive side.
Overall, this is a good brick and at a great price as well! I will buy this tea again and i’m really curious about how it’ll age!
*Note: Due to rough storage, some bricks may be 75g instead of the advertised 100g.
Flavors: Musty, Smoke, Spicy, Sweet, Tobacco, Wet wood
From Pu TTB
A nice somewhat smokey (not as smokey as I expected) sheng with pine, tobacco, peat, and sugarcane notes. Obviously not made with the highest quality base material, but a bit of age has made it quite nice. In later steeps the smoke fades and is replaced by more fruity sweetness. This is my first tea I’ve tried from W2T and it definitely exceeded my expectations!
Flavors: Peat Moss, Pine, Smoke, Sugarcane
Pu’erh TTB 2015 Tea #12
This had the most flavor out of all the W2T that I drank on Sunday. Rather nice taste, but it was a bit darker than I like my pu’erh. I think it’s the flavor that makes this special. It doesn’t seem that 9 years has really mellowed out all of the bitterness, but sometimes that’s okay because with a nice punch you want to feel it