27 Tasting Notes
Enjoyed some lazers today from a friend. Unfortunately I should have taken better notes on the flavor, but a few things stand out. There were some seriously huge intact leaves in this sample. No dust, no fragments, all enormous full leaves. This was also a pretty powerful tea that kept going for many, many steeps. I didn’t count, but it had to have been at least 18-20.
Mixing shou and sheng together is something I’ve played around with myself with various cakes I’ve owned, but it’s never turned out nearly as good as this. The ratio of the two as well as the quality of leaves is much better than anything I’ve used. Nice large leaves in the sheng and seemingly quality shou.
Good mostly shou flavors with maybe a bit of bitter, floral sheng flavor in there. The smell of the steeped leaves alone makes this worth it for the cheap price tag however. I couldn’t get enough of the strong aromatic profile of the leaves after each steep. There’s some really nice spicy, rich shou odors mixed in with young sheng floral notes. This is something I would consider picking up a cake of however I have no idea how the two teas would age together and if that would take away from the strong aromatic qualities as the leaves settle in. Also cakes of mixed leaves always scare me as the ratio of the two types will vary so much between sessions. I would definitely recommend sampling this one if you’re looking for a daily drinker.
First Pubertea tasting!
I debated not putting up any thoughts on this session as it was very lackluster, and only decided to describe it here after the last couple steeps. Anyways, here’s my first crack at the aged group buy teas: the 2006 YQH QiXiang.
I steeped roughly 5 g’s in an English tea cup using a mesh basket so this was very dilute compared to normal puer preparation. For this reason the first five or six steeps were basically warm water with zero flavor even after the leaves opened up a bit. Becoming frustrated with wasting part of my sample of such a nice tea I started pushing the steeps hotter and longer trying to get notes of something. I got a few generic aged notes from steeps 6/7-11 or so before finally getting what I wanted. By this point I was to fairly long boiling steeps and finally got to know what the tea was about. Even being so dilute and well steeped this tea became a pleasant surprise. The quality material showed itself in these long, hot steeps. A pleasant mouthfeel and thickness was present coating my teeth and leaving a smooth sweetness. I could see this tea giving a good tea drunk feeling with more leaf in less water as I felt a little of this effect late into the day after 16 or so cups. This could also make the tea more interesting hopefully as from what I tasted this tea had a good texture and lingering feeling in the mouth but a very one dimensional taste.
I normally don’t review a tea after only one sample, but I have had other years of this same tea and wanted to compare. I’m putting the rest of my 25g away to acclimate to the same storage conditions as my 2011 cake as well as to settle down as this is still a very young cake.
A solid, reliable tea. The dry leaf has an extremely strong floral scent to it which I enjoyed. Surprisingly little bitterness here, although I steeped this relatively safely. Unfortunately the lack of bitterness also warned of a relatively simple brew. The tea was very good and a perfect example of young sheng, but didn’t necessary change much between steeps or last past 8 steeps. I expect my notes to be quite more detailed and possibly different when I revisit this, but for now this cake gets my thumbs up which is all this initial tasting/review is for.
Pretty one dimensional, non offensive puer. Not terrible or fishy like cheap shou tends to be, but also not all that interesting. A good introduction shou for someone who has never had any experience before and wants to avoid the fish taste/smell. More experienced shou drinkers will likely find it boring as far as cheap gong ting grade loose shou goes,
A little late to the party on this one. Got a sample in a grab bag of goodies from W2T about a month or two ago. A little light during the first two steeps, but I stepped up the temperature and steep time on number three to near boiling and got a lot more bang for my buck. Malty notes as well a decent amount of chocolate flavor in there. Not a bad black tea, but I’m not a huge fan of black teas in general.
My first tea from Nan Jian. They’re more well known for their tuos, but based on the price and interesting description I threw this one in another order from YS.
Still on the young side, which is reflected in early steepings, but steeps a nice dark orange. The first eight or so infusions aren’t really anything too memorable. No bad notes, just a general youngish sheng profile similar to other Ai Lao material I’ve had which I generally find boring if not outright unpleasant. Longer, hotter steepings later on are when this tea shines however. This cake has by far the strongest sweetness I’ve ever found in a sheng. I was shocked the first time I had this and hit cup number 9 or 10 to find it unbelievably sweet. Up until recently I had never found a cake that had the kind of in your face huigan others have noted, but this was crazy. I’ve had puers with sweet notes, but nowhere near this prominent or that only came out so late on. This makes me want to try a few other cakes I have seen described as having a barbecue smell and strong sweetness. That’s a strange description, but pretty spot on with the aroma when I first opened up this wrapper. It was a very strong, distinct smell of barbecue.
Shortly after reviewing this tea last time I drunkenly ordered a cake remembering how much I enjoyed it. I’m glad I did as it’s just as good as I remember. Fairly cheap, smooth, has had 5 years to mellow out the strongest bitterness, but still very green and young. Basically all the qualities I like of Lincang material without the harshness that cheaper offerings contain. Because of the mellowness this is a great candidate for large steepings. I’ve been returning to 10-14 grams in roughly 250-400 ml cups which has treated me well. Having a lot of leaf, but still relatively dilute for gongfu gives me no less than 15-20 steeps per session all with a strong vegetal flavor, thick mouth feel, and distinct lack of harsh bitterness. This is a perfect tea for when I have time to return to drinking throughout the day. Strong contender for my favorite young sheng, and one that many newcomers might miss in the large volume of Yunnan Sourcing’s older offerings.
This cake is complicated. I like it. A lot.
The completely conflicting reviews I’ve read are interesting. Some say due to wet storage this cake is very aged for only being a 2007, others state a lack of any wet storage notes. I’d have to agree with….. both. This cake is very interesting, especially for the price.
Not overly aromatic sitting in the wrapper, but upon steeping this up I immediately noticed a lot of green left in the leaves and a noticeable flowery fragrance. While still being fairly green, I did get a hint of wet storage flavor in various steeps. Early on there was definite bitterness, but the age/wet storage was there as well. Around steep number 5 or 6 this cake hit a beautiful balance of sharp young sheng flavors I enjoy and a slight aged profile to smooth it out.
I would definitely recommend this cake to several people:
-Anyone just starting to get into aged cakes, as it’s not overly aggresive with the aged or wet storage profile
-Someone who doesn’t completely favor young or aged sheng, as this has enjoyable qualitaties of both
-Anyone on a budget, it’s stupidly affordable for what’s being offered
-Someone looking for a cheap cake to continually drink and follow the aging process without worrying too much about it
My favorite of a group of 5-6 samples of 2-5 year old shengs in the $30 to $60 range from Yunnan Sourcing. This cake had a very pleasant youngish sheng flavor with almost no bitterness. In fact I could hardly get any bitterness even when I tried with near boiling water in later steeps. Not to say that this is a boring tea at all, there’s plenty of good flavor packed in there, it’s just very mellow and relaxing. The loose compression also was a positive for short term drinking. All this considered, this is a cake I will likely purchase at some point as an excellent daily drinker.