15 Years Aged Golden Melon Ripe Pu-erh Tea Tuo

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
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Cocoa, Cream, Nuts, Wood, Bitter, Broth, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Mushrooms, Savory, Wet Rocks, Bamboo, Grain, Metallic, Sugarcane, Sweet, Compost, Smoke, Wheat, Hay, Leather, Decayed Wood, Dried Fruit, Plum, Smooth, Spicy, Anise, Apple, Camphor, Clove, Eucalyptus, Fruity, Vanilla
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Edit tea info Last updated by Mateusz
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 oz / 149 ml

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13 Tasting Notes View all

From Yunnan Sourcing

This tea was pressed 15 years ago (in 2005) by a small Menghai tea factory. These are 25 gram Golden Melon tuo cha (金瓜沱) made from a blend of Gong Ting, Te Ji, Grade 1 and 3 ripened tea leaves. They were stored in Kunming for 12 years in relatively dry conditions.

The dryish aging conditions have preserved the character of this tea, while allowing it to mellow and gain complexity. The tea is sweet, creamy and very thick and expansive in the mouth. It’s a very active and textured ripe tea that has all attributes a good aged ripe pu-erh should have.

Each melon is roughly 25 grams, and can give you 3 to 5 good sessions.

Each Melon is individually wrapped in off-white gold-flecked paper.

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13 Tasting Notes

143 tasting notes

Fish and hay and dirt is what I get. I am an oolong fanatic, just dipping my toe into puerh. But this is not my gateway.

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76 tasting notes

3-stage filtered L.A. water just off the boil into my white/brown “turned” Jingdezhen gaiwan then into one of my rough clay Japanese tea cups from the 1990s.

Breaks apart fairly easily by hand. Small (but not overly broken) leaf material.

Liquor is a clear, burnt umber to auburn gradient.

After a 20 – 30 second rinse, flash brews a few times before you have to start extending the infusions before the color/flavor starts to fade. Goes for maybe 10 infusions, beyond which you’d need to actively boil the tea.

Free from off notes (fishy/sour/funk/etc.), but a touch weak overall. Can grow bitter if pushed, but is largely dusty/earthy/woody with hints of mushroom and old leather. Pairs well with food. A smooth but unremarkable ripe.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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66 tasting notes

Not bad, but nothing special either. I’ve sipped on this shou now and then for a year, and it’s remained steady. Fast infusing, to a dark, rich liquor, smooth & creamy without that fishy taste or “humid” odor. As others have noted, the melon is tightly compressed, but it does break up once you get into it, and since the tea itself has been fairly well chopped before pressing, you don’t need to worry about damaging the leaves. I rinsed 5g (1/4th melon) under hot running tap water for 15 sec in a stainless mesh infuser, then steeped in 7 oz boiling alpine spring water for 30 sec. Re-steeped 8 more times, gradually lengthening to 4 min on #8. Enjoyable, but would be better suited as a base for something flavored. I’ve got 4 more melons that I’ll sip on and gift away over the next years, but won’t buy more.

Boiling 1 min, 15 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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392 tasting notes

At work and thinking back on my session with this little gem a few days ago. This was the first time I felt as though I had any inkling of what cha-qi might mean. Third steep just kinda took me up and away… unexpected, especially as I was distracted by studying. Pretty cool.

Flavors were nice and grounding, but I’ll revisit on that front later.

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24 tasting notes

I brewed this tea Gong Fu as I do for most teas.
Somehow, this ripe pu’erh is better than the Yunnan Sourcing Cozy Pu’erhs, a hard feat to accomplish. The steamed leaves have a typical pu’erh scent with a nice creaminess indicative of a well aged shou (much like the Cozy pu’erhs). The tea liquor itself, however, is insane. It has amazing notes of cocoa, acorn, old DRY wood, and a pleasant creaminess in both flavor and mouthfeel. Whenever I drink this tea, I feel like I am transported to an old Japanese village in the woods.

Flavors: Cocoa, Cream, Nuts, Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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74 tasting notes

Yummy. Brothy and earthy. Cocoa and bitterness as well but it’s quite mellow. Aroma reminds me of… dank castle armories. Strange association but not an unwelcome one.

Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Mushrooms, Savory, Wet Rocks, Wood

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

I actually often get an aroma reminiscent of dungeons or other underground castle spaces in tea, especially with humidly stored ripes! I agree that usually it gives the tea a nice character and is associated with a lot of memories in my mind.

I liked this particular tea, before it was overtaken by mold two years ago, during a time when I was away from home for extended period and foolishly left my tea enclosed without ventilation. Thankfully, this was the only one I had to throw out.


It’s definitely common in my experiences so far. This one just instantly threw me back to the Polish castles I visited in my childhood.

Lucky that you only had to throw one tea out, one that’s relatively inexpensive!

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1 tasting notes

Very good tea for the price. Base notes are earthy and rocky notes while the higher are of old wooden cupboards and cocoa. Some bitterness if brewed for too long. Also sweet but not overwhelmingly so. Texture is thick and creamy.

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226 tasting notes

A tightly compressed tuo that has a disheartening tendency to break apart into small particles. the base tea is not one of the best but the lengthy ageing balances it out. In the taste first that you feel is a strong metallic flavor like… copper. Which is immediately replaced by warm grain, aged wood, bamboo and sugarcane sweetness. Somehow it reminded me of the whiskies from the Highlands. With subsequent steepings the sweetness intensifies, while the metallic overture fades away.

An interesting combination of flavors but not very complex.

Flavors: Bamboo, Grain, Metallic, Sugarcane, Sweet, Wood

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54 tasting notes

Today I woke up and didn’t want to drink ANY of the tea that I’ve been happily sipping on over the last couple weeks. I wanted something new and exciting, alas, all I could find are a couple of these shou tuos (which I had buried at the back of my cupboard for emergencies as I was really not overly fond of this tea when I first bought it). I clearly need to buy more tea.

Anyway, to my happy surprise I liked these little tuos far more the second time around!!! I’m starting to think I happened to drink an off cake last time because there’s absolutely no compost/fishy smell today. This brew is woody, earthy, and slightly sweet when you drink it, but I will be honest — it smells like a barn. The scent of hay or wheat is strong, although not as prevalent in taste. My gaiwan is still stinky after rinsing it! There’s also a very nice leather/smoked flavour that I find is more common with shengs. The liquor is thick, rich, and pure black like coffee for the first four or five brews. Excellent re-steep value and mouth feel.

All in all, I’m now kind of wishing I bought more of these as they were very inexpensive at the time. I hope my third and final tuo tastes like this and not lacklustre/borderline disgusting like the first round. Fingers crossed!!!

Flavors: Earth, Hay, Leather, Smoke, Sweet, Wheat, Wood

Boiling 10 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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963 tasting notes

This is a very nice aged tea. It seems to me that the more I drink it, the more I like it.

The wet leaves smell of old, slightly decaying wood in a damp environment, like a castle basement. Reminds me of one ambient & noise music festival called Hradby Samoty, which happens at a castle every year. I also get some chocolate and dried fruit notes coming through. The liquor is fiarly mellow and smooth. It is quite sweet, resembling prunes and cheesecake, but also has cocoa bean bitterness and little bit of mushroom broth, especially in later steeps. I get a slight cooling effect in my throat and the aftertaste is spicy I would say. There is absolutely no astringency, rather the mouthfeel is soft and mouthwatering.

I think the price these are selling for is very good and I think I will be getting some more once I finish the ones I have.

Flavors: Broth, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Decayed Wood, Dried Fruit, Earth, Mushrooms, Plum, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

Ambient and noise music festival in a castle? Holy shit, yes. Also, tea.


I looked up Hrady Samoty and there was an artist performing this year whose alias is Teapot.


lol, I haven’t been the last few years, but it is usually a really cool festival. The number of people that come is in the range of 200 so by the end, you basically know almost everyone :D


That sounds awesome. Good amount of people. I’ve been wanting to visit the Czech Republic and the festival is after spring semester is over. Time to plot.

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