14 Tasting Notes

100

Goddamn! By far the best oolong I’ve ever had. Instantly in my top five.

I need to process and meditate on this cup before I can make a review because there is just WAY too much going on in this. Whoa. Will give a full review in a bit, once my tea drunk wears off.

Flavors: Blood Orange, Jasmine, Mineral, Summer, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
yyz

Sounds good. I do like this style off Dancong when done well.

Anlina

This sounds fascinating and delicious.

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82

I received this as a sample from a fellow connoisseur, Joe. (Thanks for the hook up by the way, man!) This is my first time having this, and I’ve been meaning to pick up a brick for a while now. So, with my first attempt of brewing this, I used a little bit too much leaf, not realizing how strong this was. I tend to use a bit more with Aged Sheng because I really like to as much camphor out as I can. Anyway, I had to reduce the amount by about half, and it without fail helped preserve the flavor. Right away this gives you a punch in the face. This sheng is quite strong, and with it being 13 years old, it is a decent “middle-aged” puerh. You get the same astrigency, and bitter tannins you would with a young fresh sheng, and the smokey, dusty, camphor taste you get with an aged. It really is a mix of the two. I didn’t catch any mineral flavor, to my disappointment.

I brewed this in my sheng yixing, at boiling for about 7 seconds each infusion up to about the 9th where I tripled the steeping time. Two 4 second rinses. After about the fourth infusion, there are notes of malt, barely, tobacco, and an aftertaste of what I caught as strawberries?

This was a very enjoyable tea, but there are quite a few flavors and notes I can’t really pinpoint. I think with this session I can probably get maybe a dozen more, but for now I’m gonna let the leaves rest a bit and try this again tomorrow. Maybe I can get more of review out of this.

I feel this could be an absolutely amazing experience if this tea sits and ages again for maybe another 6-7 years. It seems it may be similar to the 1982 Menghai I had a while back, if left in dry storage long enough.

I’ll give another review on this tomorrow once my pallet is a little more open.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Camphor, Dust, Malt, Roasted Barley, Scotch, Smoke, Strawberry

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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80

I stopped TNT a while back looking to pick up a new gaiwan, and on a whim decided to pick up a good amount of this tea. This TGY is a traditional so naturally it’s a bit more roastier/darker than say a Imperial grade. It’s decent, I have no real complaints. It holds itself well in gongfu, and my gaiwan seems to like it. The leaves are nicely rolled, and open up nicely. The body of the tea is a bit bolder than I generally prefer my TGY, but it’s not bad. There are good notes of chocolate, and banana which is nice little surprise. It’s a bit different from a standard TGY, because it is darker, it’s almost a bit reminiscent of a Wiyu oonlong in a way, and I can pick up some similarity with a Shui Xian or a Dong Ho Pao. Overall, this is nice, fresh, crisp, and sweet, with hints of fruits, cocoa, and darker oolong notes. It’s nothing that will blow you away, and it’s not really the type of TGY I would probably ever use for Gongfu when friends come over, but I do enjoy sipping on this grandpa style at work, so that’s nice.

Flavors: Bamboo, banana, Chocolate, Hay, Vegetal, Walnut, Whiskey

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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15

Nope. Nope. Blasphemy. Whole lot of hot nope in a cup.

If you know me, you know very well I firmly believe Teavana is Satan incarnate. Firstly, Senchas are some of my most precious and favorite teas, and I know very well, they can be difficult and quite tedious to make, and have quite the learning curve. But, for some reason, I don’t feel that Teavanas employees receive any training or gain any basic fundamental knowledge on tea. (When going into the store once I asked if they had any Pu’erh, and they asked is that a brand, and that isn’t a type of tea that exists.)

So regardless of my bias, this tea was terribly terribly made, (they asked if I wanted milk or honey in the tea, and I probably looked at the poor cashier like she asked if I wanted to buy drugs) and the quality of the leaves was nothing but subpar. The brew was too soupy, burnt, and tasted like it had been sitting in that tin for over a year, all the flavor had vanished and all that was left in my cup was the shell of it’s former self. I have had this actually at least twice, trying to give it another chance, but it generally tastes like this each time. The flavor isn’t there, it just tastes astringent.The water was far too hot for a japanese green, and there was far too much tea used. This tea was also brewed for probably at least two and a half minutes…. Do I need say more? I have a feeling that Teavana, adds flavoring to it’s tea as well, even the ones that seem to be just pure tea and aren’t a blend, to try and improve the falvor. Gyokuro is generally a very buttery, flowery umami sencha, this is something different. It tastes like tea powder from a bag of lipton tea.

Overall, don’t try this tea, and please don’t purchase from Teavana. I have plenty of reasons why, and really I only need one reason, and one reason alone why they are the devil.

That reason is: Oprah Chai

Flavors: Astringent, Burnt

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 8 g 24 OZ / 709 ML

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85

Brewed this in a mini-gaiwan. I’m not a big red tea drinker. But, man oh, man. This is wonderful. It took me a while to stand up after drinking this. There was for sure a tea drunk euphoria floating around and within me for a bit. I don’t know why I enjoyed more… the flavor of this, or the euphoric buzz it gives you. The name doesn’t lie, Drunk on Red Sun, for certain. So much Cha Chi. This flavor is really complex, lots of fruit notes, and lots of darker, woodier smoky notes too. It’s got really good balance. This had no bitterness, and the mouthfeel was cooling, and refreshing, almost menthol. I highly recommend this. It comes in a small bing, but i’m sure you’ll make it last.

Flavors: Black Currant, Chocolate, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Narcissus, Orchid, Raspberry, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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94

When sharing this with my girlfriend, our reactions to tea are always very different from each other. That being because she is a coffee drinker and doesn’t really consider herself a teaist by any means, however, she still keeps me company while sitting for gongfu of some good cha. This experience, is note worthy because our reactions are hilarious. Hers being more so.

Her: “Ugh, this tastes like an old wet leather boot.”
Me: “AH!! Oh my god! What?! Holy shit!! This tastes like GOD!”

Had a bit of this recentley from a sample. Oh, boy. Brewed this in my Gaiwan. This is what aged pu’erh is supposed to taste like. 20 years has been very kind to this tea. There is so much complexity. Heavy on the mineral, light on the bitter. I got through NEARLY 30 INFUSIONS on this. It lasted about 3 hours. The Chi has evolved into what feels like getting a Hadouken in the throat chakra, and then getting a nice warm cuddle. Hits you hard at first and then gives you the lovin. This may be one of the best teas I’ve ever had, Smoky, beachy, roasted nuts, pine. Viscous is nice, and leaves your tongue slightly numb and wanted a whole lot more.
Not too tippy, and doesn’t have that overwhelming fermented taste. This was a hell of an experience.

Flavors: Anise, Bergamot, Berries, Camphor, Mineral, Ocean Air, Pine, Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Tealizzy

30 infusions??!! Awesome!

Air_Chrysalis

Seriously! I was getting inpatient too, I had things to that morning! But, yes, it lasted forever.

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39

Meh. Nothing spectacular. I’m a big fan of Taiwanese High Mountain Oolongs, and I generally really enjoy Tung Ting. However, this was flat, bland, and lacking any complexity or depth. The flavor held as if you were smelling a bag of Jin Xuan, but not actually drinking any. Generally this tea should be kept in a chilled environment, like matcha. I don’t believe this was though, and is probably the reason for it not having any taste. I think i’ll pass.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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95

Whoa. Amazing. I’ve had a long of Sheng in the past few years, but as far as young Pu is concerned, this is out of this world. It’s thick, soupy, sweet, bitter, corny. There is a lot of flavor going on in this, and it’s easy to get lost dissecting it. Each infusion brings out a new experience. It’s quite fruity, with mango and zest notes, with a woody, ashy back flavor. I’m blown away by this. For the price point, this is one tea, you have to pick up. I think I may order a few cakes, and age them for a long while, and periodically check them, because this can continue to evolve into something truly amazing.

Flavors: Ash, Cedar, Cherry Blossom, Citrus, Creamy, Lemon Zest, Mango, Mushrooms

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Bio

Punk rock Dharma bum, certified tea-snob, and jazz enthusiast. Murakami-wannabe.

I’m addicted to Puerh, and gongfu is like Zazen to me. I’m just a nomad, who enjoys being a pretentious tea-snob, and sharing the Tao of Cha with friends.

Location

Durham, North Carolina

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