273 Tasting Notes
Opening up the little sample pack I get a strong whiff of “green”. I haven’t had much sheng so young in a while.
This one brews up a bright yellow-gold. Prominent mushroom and fresh mint notes with some green wood, dried herbs, and raw winter squash. Moderately thick mouthfeel with just a bit of bitterness and astringency. As I steep on it gets more honeyed and herbaceous and reminds me a bit of the mead that I tried at a restaurant recently. I get some warm, mellow, floaty qi feels. This is a potent tea that goes many brews.
This is a nice and unique young sheng. I’d like a little more bitterness and strength out of it for aging purposes, but it’s nice, mellow, and potent and the mint and mushroom combination is really nice. Depending on how I like the other samples this might be a cake for me.
Flavors: Butternut Squash, Green Wood, Herbaceous, Honey, Mint, Mushrooms
Brews a medium yellow, pretty light for it’s age. Moderately bitter, but quite astringent. Prominent woody oak note with hints of toasted grains, kale, and honey, as well as the alcohol-like taste of many young factory produced shengs. Good lingering flavor/aroma in the mouth, it’s lightly sweet and floral. As I steep on it gets more of a honeyed sweetness and I get I mild qi feeling in my forehead.
Somewhere I heard someone describe Wu Liang teas as “sunny” tasting, and this one fits that description. Kind of like walking through a lightly wooded field on a sunny summer day.
It’s a nice tea, but the strong astringency is somewhat off putting. Not one I need a cake of.
Flavors: Alcohol, Astringent, Grain, Honey, Kale, Oak wood
A new Vietnamese restaurant opened up near my house, so today I stuffed myself with pho! It was quite good too. There’s two other pho places relatively close by, but this one was by far the best. On par with some of the ones I used to eat at in Orlando.
The dry leaves are nice and aromatic, brews an almost clear yellow-green. Very buttery and chestnut-y and fresh with a hint of fruit and floral aroma. Moderately sweet but more savory. Later steeps are more mild and some minerality becomes apparent.Dragonwell used to be one of my least favorite greens, and while it’s still not my favorite, it’s really growing on me lately.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Fruity, Mineral, Vegetable Broth
A very buttery and somewhat marine tasting green. Moderate peachy sweetness with moderate-high astringency for a green tea. Slight floral aroma that lingers in the mouth. A pretty nice green, but not my favorite from YS.
Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Marine, Peach
This is a very cute tippy little cake, and the youngest ripe I’ve ever bought. I’m a sucker for most of YS’s year of the monkey wrappers. Though if there was ever a year of the red panda I’d buy ALL the cakes! Unfortunately they’re not in the zodiac. Is there somewhere that I can file a petition to have them added?
Brews a nice red brown. The first couple steeps are very funky. Not Bootsy Collins funky, but pretty funky nonetheless. After four rinses I take a sip. Wow! Not what I expected from a young ripe. Nice camphor, mushroom, spice, and a slight fruity apricot note with a brown sugar sweetness. Creamy in the mouth, though not as creamy as the Green Miracle. Reminds me of the 2007 Yong De organic ripe that I’m very fond of and soon to run out of.
This is a very nice tea, give it a few years to let the funk fade out and I think it will turn into something great.
Flavors: Apricot, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Mushrooms, Spices
After months of looking for part time work, today I landed a cashier job at my local Home Depot in the garden department. This calls for celebration tea! The obvious choice was to break into my sample of the pricey wild grown Guo You Lin Yiwu from YS.
The leaves in my sample are medium sized and fairly broken up. Using 5g in my 90mL jian shui pot, this tea brews a medium yellow and is quite potent. I’m immediately hit by the thickness and aroma of the broth. It’s super thick and coats the mouth and throat with bittersweetness and wildflower aroma. The flavor is shitake mushroom with honey, pine, green wood, wild flowers, and steamed vegetables. As I brew it out I begin to notice the qi, first in my head and then in my chest and arms. Nothing stonerific, but nice calming, tingly sensations. Five grams lasts my whole 1L kettle.
This is a very nice and potent young sheng. Worth the price tag? Maybe not for me; it’s really high quality, but just doesn’t have enough “special” to it for a tea with such a big price tag. Very glad to have tried it though, and happy to have had it for a celebration tea.
Flavors: Flowers, Green Wood, Herbaceous, Honey, Melon, Mushrooms, Peas, Pine, Umami
I really enjoyed the aged white tea that I sample from Nannuoshan a while back, so when I placed my Teavivre order for fresh greens I picked up samples of their 2011 and 2012 Shou Mei cakes.
The leaf isn’t pretty, it looks a lot like mulch or something you would rake up in the yard, but and smells a bit like raisins. Brews a gold-orange color. Thick in the mouth and moderately sweet with tastes of raisins, hay, peppercorn, and dried herbs.
It’s a nice and comforting brew, and I look forward to seeing how it compares to the 2012.
Flavors: Hay, Herbs, Medicinal, Peppercorn, Raisins
Brews a medium orange, not quite as dark roasted as I expected from the name, it’s actually pretty similar to the Fo Shou that I had the other day.
Tastes of roasted barley, though not at all burnt or coffee-like. There’s a moderate herbal medicine note and moderate fruityness, though I struggle to identify any particular fruit. There’s a little bit of the same dried seafood note that I found in the Fo Shou, a little bit stronger, and just a hint of floral character. Moderate honey-like sweetness.
Overall it’s pretty nice! Not as clean in the mouth or fruity and mineral as the more expensive Fo Shou, but pretty nice none the less and a good daily drinking Wuyi oolong. I’ve heard that roasted oolongs often improve with a little age, so I’ll try to keep an eye out for any changes in this one.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Marine, Medicinal, Roasted Barley
I love fresh spring greens! While most of the year I prefer to drink darker teas, tis the season for the lightly oxidized. I got a few in my Yunnan Sourcing order, and have a few more coming from Teavivre sometime this week.
The leaves are fresh and soft with lots of silvery buds. Brews almost clear with a light floral and vegetal aroma. The taste is light, fresh, and mineral with notes of edamame, chestnut, and milder mushrooms like oyster or enoki. It’s somewhat sweet and feels round in the mouth. A very enjoyable green, especially when it’s so recently picked.
Flavors: Chestnut, Green Beans, Mushrooms, Sweet, Umami
Today I took my last exam of the semester, and I’ve got about two weeks before summer semester starts. That translates into two weeks to drink lots of tea!
This is a very nice Yunnan black that brews a dark orange. The leaves are really pretty; they’re long and pressed into straight needles with many furry gold buds.
It’s a medium bodied brew with lots of malt and milk chocolate with a bit of yam and a doughy/yeasty quality. As mentioned by someone on Reddit, this tea tastes like chocolate chip cookies! It’s not the most complex tea, but it’s really tasty and goes among my favorite blacks from YS.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Yams, Yeast