506 Tasting Notes
This is a “border tea” that I had received a little bit ago. I use the term border tea to define those that are made as puerh; however, they are made outside of Yunnan. The dry leaves are a bit curled and give off subtle scents of earth and dry leather. I warmed up my gaiwan and scooped some inside. The leaf opens up and gives off some stronger aromas of dark chocolate, espresso, and black cherries. I can already tell that this is going to be a heavy hittin’ Shu! The flavor was pretty consistent with the scent of the gaiwan, for it was punchy and bitter. The flavor began with dry cacao and moved into salt and mineral with lasting tannin. This was a chewy and sharp broth. The later steeping brought on some semi-sweet choco. chip flavors, and the qi was smooth and warming. This was an interesting tea, but it was a bit too aggressive for me. I would categorize this leaf as the “espresso” of puerh.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Espresso, Tannic
To me, the perfect morning cuppa is fresh green tea. This is some high quality Dragonwell that Adagio is now beginning to source through their new Sub-Comp. “Masters Tea”. The leaves are thin, vibrant green/yellow, and with a heady sweet aroma and dashes of tangy fruits like tangerines, pineapple, mango, and papaya. It’s quite a bouqet! I brewed this several different ways, but i recommend a glass teapot (6oz), a small handful of leaves (2.5g) and brewed at 185F with the lid off. The broth is an opaque yellow with silky chestnuts, mild vegetle tones, and sweet clean finish. It’s a great tea, and again its a perfect start to a day!
Flavors: Chestnut, Sweet, Tropical, Vegetal
It’s been a long time since I’ve been on Steepster (since Dec 2017 to be exact), and I’ve been re-familiarizing myself with the discussion board and a stack of messages that I need to answer. I thought the best way to get back into the motions is to start drinking and reviewing!! Therefore, I began with some Grandpa Balls!
I picked these up quite a bit ago, for they are the perfect add-on to a free-shipping promo. I know that these “should” be brewed in the true Grandpa way, but I went for the Gongfu route. They are tightly rolled and give off a light aroma of dark fruit; however, these are not overly fragrant. I warmed up the Shibo and dropped the shu inside to settle in. Once I lifted the lid, I was greeted with typical Menghai tones of soil, sweet clay, wet wood. I washed the puerh and began my brewing. This lil dude is super smooth and hardy. I played with my parameters, and there really isn’t away to over-brew this. The tea kept its smooth pace with an easy-going sweetness. The qi was comforting and relaxing with heavy warm waves and a state of ease. I still have a ton of these on hand, so I think these will be my go-to car teas. I figure I’ll grab a couple of these and throw them in my big thermos during long drives!
Flavors: Mushrooms, Sweet, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
I do not have a lot to say about this tea, for it is a straight forward brew. It’s a jasmine green tea. Therefore, it tastes like Jasmine and green tea. Hahaha. However, I will say that Jasmine pearls are an all time favorite for me. Actually, jasmine tea in general is almost always a win in my box, except some the very poorly executed greens that curl your tongue. This is not one of those tongue curling monstrosities. This is actually quite nice and quite meek. The leaves give off a very subtle and sweet waft of jasmine that is warm and feminine. The brew itself matches the subtlety and quiet approach with a tantalizing sweet touch of jasmine. the follow-through is filled with basic soft watercress tones. It’s good stuff.
Flavors: Jasmine, Sweet, Vegetal
I usually am not a fan of aged oolongs, for they sometimes hurt my stomach. I’m not sure what it is, but there is something about the aged tones that act aggressive towards my digestion. This is only apparent in aged oolongs though, for I incredibly enjoy aged puerh. This tea did not have that effect on me. The leaves are nice and dark and carry dry oak tones along with some roasted fruit. The impression is tangy, mildly acrid, and without complexity. I warmed my pot up and placed what I had inside. The aroma from the leaves is prominent with roast, and there are a few sweet tones and some cedar that take the backseat. This is a nice experience, for it is both smoothly sweet and harshly bitter. I washed the leaves quickly and steeped away. The bowl contains a drink that is very heavy with roast; however, it is not overwhelmingly so. The roast brings some good mouth watering and a returning sugar cane sweetness. The brew is mildly oily. The drink continues in this manner with a smooth appearance that covers the muted rough wood tones. I enjoyed this tea, but the aged tones were almost non-existent. I can guess that age shows its face with curved cedar tone, but it is mostly consumed by the classic roast and cliff taste. Perhaps this hasn’t aged enough, or perhaps it was re-roasted not too long ago. In any case, this is still a fair tea, and it makes a good daily drinker.
Flavors: Cedar, Roasted, Sugarcane, Sweet
I feel that Wuyi teas are trickier than Puerh, for there are a lot of Wuyi’s but there are veeeerry few good ones. Luckily, this tea falls into that category. However, I wouldn’t call it luck, for it was well made. This Shuixian this different that ones I’ve had before. I’m a fan of Laocong, for it has a more distinct cliff taste, and I enjoy how oily they are. This tea fits those perfectly. The leaves are nice and long and wiry with a bit of strength to them. They carry a hearty smooth roast of toasted berries and subtle peach pie. It is very pleasant. I warmed my teapot and placed what I had inside, so that the pot was completely stuffed. The aroma from the lifted lid is of intense roast, graham crackers, some slight earth, and coffee. It’s an awakening aroma. I washed the leaves quickly and prepared for brewing. The brew was quick and the water was hot. I pulled out one cup full of laocong goodness. The taste begins very sweet and thick. There is a massive huigan that continuously cycles as it washes over my tongue. The taste is long and filled with stevia sweet sensations. The next sip brings a more prominent cliff taste along with a tannic undertone that scurries behind my tongue. The brew is surprisingly well rounded and full without hardly any edges. Upon completion, I can fell my mouth salivating and tongue well lubricated. This is some awesome stuff. In my experience, shuixian is bit drier and tannic with slate tones. This tea is much different than what I’ve had. I enjoyed my session. It’s good to know there are still great wuyi’s accessible to the west. :)
Flavors: Berries, Coffee, Graham Cracker, Peach, Roasted, Sweet
I have been away for a bit due to life being hectic, my travels, and the move, but I am slowly returning to my affair with tea. I’d like to jump back in with this yancha. This yancha was hand roasted by Cha Ceremony, and it makes for an interesting brew. The leaves are a bit wiry and thin but the have a nice broad leaf and fairly long. Due to the med. roasting, they have retained a good portion of their forest green appearance. The dry leaves give off an aroma of light fruitiness and hay with some dry wood undertones lightly creeping in. With a breath over the leaves, I can pick up a smooth roast tone with berry and yam mixed in. This is a nice classic roast aroma. I warmed my vessel up and poured the leaves inside. The roast scent spikes up with sweet potatoes, mahogany, and leather; thus forming into the typical sturdy and familiar roast scent. I washed the leaves briefly once and began my steeping. The taste is smooth and thick with a good roast base. A light returning sweetness waves over my tongue along with a stout creaminess that remains. I can note a bit of cherrywood that provides structure. This is a decent tea, and it makes for a solid daily yancha. My only addition to add would be that this tea is quite perfectly a “medium”. Meaning, that this tea is grounded right in an awkward middle ground, for the tea is neither dependent on its roasted tones nor is focused on the fruity vibrant greens. Therefore, the tea lacks in each department making it “too balanced”; however, this is me just splitting hairs. The tea is able to withstand a second steeping due to its lack of heavy roast, and it brings back a 50/50 meld of vegetal and char that soothes and calms with a classic cliff taste. I enjoyed this tea, and this would be perfect to stock up on guests that are casual drinkers.
Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Wood, Dark Wood, Fruity, Hay, Leather, Roasted, Sweet Potatoes, Yams
This is a warm and “springy” tea, and I enjoyed sipping on it. The leaves are large and nicely threaded with a sweet peppery scent along with some creamed honey subtle tangy apricots and peaches. I warmed my yixing up and placed some inside. The aroma thickens with some prickliness to it. I can note crisp fruits of pineapple and peach. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The brew is thick and mild with molasses, fat, and apricot. It’s an enjoyable tea and it grows with some bitterness of crisp apple. The aftertaste and long and lingering with sweet oils. The tea carries some good balance of huigan and kuwei, which is nice. The last steeps cause the tea to become soft and sweet with a very faint bitter of buffalo grass. I liked this tea, but I feel at this price point it should stay in storage.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Grass, Green, Pear, Pepper, Pineapple, Sweet
I’ve been looking for a good daily “sencha”, and I think I found one. The leaf is primarily straight; however, I note some curls within the bunch. The green tea gives off an amazing umami scent with some nice seaweed, milky creaminess, and vegetal base. I can also hint at the slightest honey sweetness on top. I grabbed my kyusu and began my brewing. The directions tell for light brewing, so I hit it at somewhere around 176F. The brew is delightfully jade green with smooth deep grassy notes. My mouth fills with umami and a nourishing green bean base. The brew is smooth with a slight dryness alike dandelion. I enjoy this tea, and I can drink multiple pots in one sitting.
Flavors: Dandelion, Green Beans, Honey, Seaweed, Sweet, Umami
This tea had a great price, so I decided to grab a cake to try. I am a big supporter of factory productions, and I like imitations as well, so I kept an open mind when brewing. The cake is moderately compressed with some aromas of hay, slight floral, raisin, and cherry along whit some dark wood. The leaf is a bit rustic in its appearance as well as its scent. I warmed my teapot and threw some inside. The aroma opens into a punchy scent of wet hay, wet wood, grassy, and sharp fruits. I washed the leaf once and began my brewing. The taste is very rustic as well with lots of hay and wood. I can grab at some dry floral along with a sweet aftertaste, but the brew grows thin quickly. However, the qi is good and warming along with a pleasant head space. I liked the qi, but the drink was a bit too much for me. I think this cake will spend its day in storage until it learns to calm down a bit. A perpetual time-out.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Drying, Floral, Hay, Raisins, Sweet