240 Tasting Notes
Orange and grapefruit aroma, with some honey behind. The profile of this tea is on the sweet and fruity side of things, with a bit of floral component, not surprising for Jingmai. Nicely clean and complex shu. Moderate endurance. Subtle, sweet, and with decent complexity. A very solid, enjoyable ferment.
Flavors: Fruity, Grapefruit, Honey, Orange
Lightly buttery and creamy. Super smooth and clean. Faint freshly brewed coffee and distant toasted cocoa husks. Incredibly smooth and ready to drink, but not particularly complex or enduring. A ready to roll daily drinker, but not much more.
Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Coffee, Cream
An interesting departure from the classic lineup of YS ripes. Wild and earthy, with dried barks, roots, and leaves. Distinct cocoa. One of the few shus I’ve had that actually reminds me of aged sheng, with that unique cola flavor. Mouthfeel varies a lot across the session, dry up front, then moderately sweet, then becoming terse again, before lightening to a hui gan focused sweetness. Enjoyed this and its contrast to the other shus in the 2018 samplers.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Cocoa
4.5g sample brewed in my 65mL gaiwan. Strong laundry soap and meat aroma. Early steeps have good clear orange sweetness balanced with a cool, menthol bitterness. But, empties fast around steep 5 and brings on astringency and throat scratchiness. Off-putting aroma plus total lack of endurance make this a poor quality tea for the cost.
Flavors: Meat, Orange, Soap
15g sample. Notes from across multiple sessions.
Soy sauce and ginger dry leaf. Mothball wet leaf. Nice sandalwood, spice, and cola in early steeps. 4th steep has some cooling menthol. Gets more savory and herbal in late steeps, with dryness. Finished with used coffee and cacao husks. Some warming in the belly and light drunkenness.
I think this tea offers me a bit of confirmation bias against Hong Kong style storage, as I’ve had a number now and never fully loved them. This one really puts me off with the mothballs. It’s obviously good tea, but it’s just not to my taste. And that’s okay, considering that I know I enjoy Malaysian and Taiwanese stored aged sheng.
Flavors: Ginger, Herbs, Spices
5g in 500mL tea thermos, grandpa style. Strong honey, orange, fermenting bread dough, and earth aromas. I like this one, it’s rich, smooth, silky, and has lots of good well-fermented flavors going on. The energy is even, focusing, and balancing. My one quibble might be that it doesn’t have a lot of endurance. Usually, I can get two respectable grandpa-style steepings out of a shu and this one didn’t have much to offer in the second steep. Otherwise, enjoyable.
Flavors: Bread, Earth, Honey, Orange
5g in 500mL tea thermos, grandpa style. Feel conflicted about this one. Has much more thickness and sweetness than ‘16 Brown Sugar, but the energy is incredibly jittery. Flavors are more in line with my tastes, with lots of fall leaf litter, paper, and toasted brown sugars. It does start out a fair bit astringent, as though some portion of the blend has been lightly fermented. The body buzz is almost hard to contain, as it’s made me very jittery. The astringency on the forefront is a little off-putting, but there’s definitely some good stuff here.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Brown Sugar, Toasty