9 Tasting Notes

I could smell the smoke on this one as soon as I opened the sample envelope. Upon tasting it – if this is ten years of mellowing, I can only imagine what this must have been like young. It’s got that peaty smoky flavor, but balanced by a sweetness. Reminds me of sipping scotch. To be sure, not as smoky as a Lapsang or peaty as Laphroaig, but still quite pronounced! The smoke does eventually tame down, and you get tobacco, wood and some lingering sweetness, but you lose the body pretty quickly too. I don’t usually bother to comment on the “Cha qi” but after the first 150ml I could already feel this lifting my spirits, so to speak.

Not bad, but not altogether to my taste either. Glad I got a sample, probably won’t get a cake.

Flavors: Campfire, Peat, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Smell is earthy and sweet with no fermentation aroma. The liquor brews up a deep brownish red, with very little haziness to it.

On the initial taste, there is an earthiness to it, but it’s like the smell of soil after a fresh rainfall – not basementy, mushroomy or musty at all. Very clean taste with some sweetness and a hint of fruitiness under it all. Lasted quite a few steeps (I lost track) and I couldn’t make it bitter if I tried.

Overall impression: this is a very clean, mellow and smooth shou. Easy to drink, easy to recommend.

Flavors: Earth, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Dry leaves have an absolutely delicious smell, sweet and very floral.

Wet leaves smell of freshly mowed grass and grilled zuchinni, with the floral notes returning as they dry.

Initial steeps were freshly mown grass and floral, with a bit of honeyed sweetness. A bit of nuttiness developed as it went on. Very vibrant and appealing, with a good bit of complexity. It’s really fresh and fragrant, and that sticks around through quite a few steeps.

I’d definitely get this one again. Punches way above it’s price range, both compared to other puerhs I’ve tried and just compared to teas in general.

Flavors: Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Honey, Sweet

Preparation
8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Texture of the tea was soft but not overly thick. The most pronounced flavor note was a fairly strong (but not altogether unpleasant) sourness with standard “green” flavors – almost reminded me of a less-floral unroasted tie guan yin. Not much bitterness there at all, but a very noticeable mouth drying effect. Just the slightest hint of sweetness on the tip of the tongue after I drank it.

This one I found to be pretty harsh on the stomach. Actually, it’s the first sheng I thought that about.

Not terribly impressed, probably wouldn’t get more.

Flavors: Drying, Green, Mineral, Sour

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I got this tea as a sample along with some ripe puerh that I ordered from Whispering Pines.

Upon opening the bag, the smell of cocoa was so prevalent that I actually had to check to make sure it wasn’t a blended tea (even though I expect it in a Dian Hong). Brewed up, the cocoa was there in the background but along with a strong maltiness, with strong sweet potato and subtle spices. A very enticing cup of tea. I was impressed – very much in the classic Dian Hong range of flavors, but a very good example of the style.

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Spicy, Sweet Potatoes

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The cake is hard pressed and it really is chocolate-bar thin. it’s very easy to snap off an approximately 7.5g square, but if you want an amount of tea that isn’t a multiple of that, good luck.

The orange taste and aroma is subtler than I was expecting. I had never had these aged oranges before, and it is really nothing like fresh orange peel. Still, I might have preferred more orange in the mix. The good news is that the orange really incorporates into the flavor making it feel like one thing, not like just puerh and orange coexisting seperately in the cup, if you know what I mean. The orange really seems to want to be brewed hot and long for best aroma. There was only a slight pleasant bitterness present, even when brewed long. Texture wise, I prefer a thicker creamier shou then what this offered, but it was still quite smooth.

Overall I’m happy I bought it, but I don’t see myself buying more. That being said two caveats: I brewed this with a 7.5g square when I normally brew with 10g in an 150ml gaiwan because I prefer things on the stronger side. Also, it hadn’t rested at all before tasting. I’ll try it again in a smaller vessel in a week or two and see if my impression changes.

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Medicinal, Orange, Smooth

Preparation
7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I thought the name was just fanciful, but I can really see why one would make the comparison from the smell of the wet leaves after the initial steep. The texture of this tea is really outstanding, with a heavy, thick and smooth with a lingering sweetness. On top of that are some nice classic black tea flavors and maltiness especially on longer steeps.

The tea cake itself looks like moonlight on autumn leaves. Very attractive.

A pretty special tea. Would get more in a heartbeat.

Flavors: Creamy, Malt, Rum, Sweet, Tea, Thick

Preparation
10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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On initial steeping wet leaves have a subtle aroma of tobacco and peat smoke. This bears out in the flavor of early steeps, but goes away quickly. Early steeps needed to remain short to avoid bitterness, but with steeps kept short was very pleasant. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, especially on the early steeps. Later a slightly citrusy, fruity tang creeps in.

I enjoyed this tea and would consider getting more.

Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Peat, Tobacco

Preparation
10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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