54 Tasting Notes

74

Disclaimers:
This is my first shou mei tasting so I have no basis for comparison.
I am only starting to expand my tastings into white teas.

Steep amounts: 5.4 grams tea / 150ml water @ ~185 deg F
Steep times: 15s, 30, 45, 60, 90, etc.

The cake seems lightly compressed, so it was easy to pry out the amount I need.
Color: The color starts a light yellow gold and goes to a deep amber red at the longer steeps.

Wet leaf: The wet leaves definitely have a strong vegetal undertone, which are coupled with mint (on the first steep), medicinal herbs (on #2), honey (#3), and earth (#4) with subsequent steeps.

Tea aroma: It was hard for me to really distinguish any separate smells from the liquid. There was a damp/musty scent coupled with medicinal herbs. It could have been me — allergy season is rife this time of year.

Tea broth: This tea reminds me of a honey lozenge (similar to a Manuka honey lozenge). The tea starts off very clean with a slight honey sweetness but there’s an underlying tone of herbal medicine (specifically reminds me of all the Chinese herb shops I went into as a kid with my family) and eucalyptus.

This tea starts off very clean and has a good mouth feel with a mild viscosity. The broth is very silky in feel. It never seems to get astringent or bitter, which is why I pushed out the brew times by 15 seconds on each steep. There’s a slight dryness in the throat after drinking it, and a very slight tingling on the tongue by steep #3. Overall, this is a very easy tea to drink. There’s a complexity and balance that I like in my teas.

Do I like it? I’m not wholly sure. The flavor profile is not one I might go for on a regular basis, but I would drink this tea. It warrants additional tastings for me to make a decision.

Flavors: Eucalyptus, Herbs, Honey, Musty, Wet Earth

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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82

This is my first time tasting purple tea, and I am very happy with the results. I brewed this Gong Fu (208 deg F at 15s, 30, 45…etc)

The wet tea leaves smell of honey & raisins or molasses & plums/pluots with an undertone of minerals.

The color is a beautiful orange amber that darkens with each subsequent steep until it begins to wash out.

The broth is very smooth but complex. It starts off sweet on the tongue intermingled with a slight undercurrent of sourness that is pleasantly balanced out by the sweet. There are mild earth & malty flavors that don’t overpower the tea. If anything, this is a very well-balanced tea.

There’s a cha qi tingling on the tongue that goes straight to my head and relaxes the body. It’s got a wonderful mouthfeel, but it’s not that viscous. It’s quite an easy tea to drink. Despite having a clean/short finish, there is a lingering aftertaste of nectarines/peaches on the tongue

I’d be more than happy to drink more of this tea on a near daily basis if I didn’t have many other wonderful teas to drink.

Flavors: Earth, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Raisins

Preparation
0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Malt, Vanilla

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Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Malt, Vanilla

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This is part of a YS sampler pack. These notes are a compilation of about 6 steeps.

Tasting details: 6grams of tea / 100ml per steep / 208 deg F / steep time starting at 20s increasing 5-10 sec with each infusion.

Color is a light orange amber. The wet tea leaves smell of cut wood and sweet hay.

Aroma of the liquid. Oak/wood scent with a touch of leather and slight sweetness (not honey, sugar, or floral).

Flavor: this tea starts extremely smooth with a slight cream flavor in the first infusion. This cream disappears in later infusions, and instead this tea starts very clean, turning into smokey oak with a touch of leather and the barest hint of sweetness. This is a viscous liquid that coats the tongue with a nice texture.

There a mild astringency that starts just after the oak, but it is not bitter; it is the astringency I associate with tannins in oak casket Scotch/Napa Valley Red wines. There is a bit of dust in this tea as it is a small sampler and part of it was somewhat crushed in transit. There was a slight bit of dust in the tea server after each pour, which could have attributed to the astringency.

This tea has an extremely long finish.

The cha Qi is mild, but consistent in nearly every single cup. By the 3rd steep, I felt heat flushed (not from the ambient temperature ) and I could feel heat rising from my chest towards my head.

Surprisingly, this is a fairly well-balanced tea esp in infusions 2-5. It’s easy to drink and super smooth.

Having said all of that, this is not quite to my preferred flavor profile but I enjoyed the experience. For anyone who likes the oaky flavor of Scotches or wine, this might be a good tea.

Preparation
6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

This is a gorgeous bright sunshine yellow tea that reminds me of early summer.
The color is that of sunshine yellow as it moves through the day. The first infusion was a summer morning, 2nd infusion moved to a mid-morning yellow, then lightened up by the 4th & 5th infusion.

I brewed this gong-fu style, despite TS’s recommendation of brewing for a longer period of time. Start @ 20 seconds at 208 deg F, then increased 5-10-15 seconds per infusion

It smells of cream and light florals.

#1-2 infusion: Light floral notes of chrysanthemums. It’s a very bright team with a light cream & citrus aftertaste. It has a short-medium clean finish. There’s hardly any drying sensation. It has a nice light mouthfeel.

#3-4 infusion The aroma starts off citrus then finishes milky. This infusion starts off with a light astringency that I associate with most oolongs. It still has a lot of bright notes of florals, citrus…it has a nice light cha qi. It finishes with that nice creamy aftertaste.

It’s quite an enjoyable oolong for those days you want something bright, not too heavy, but a nice finish.

Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Floral

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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First, I don’t know if this is Summer 2017. There’s nothing to indicate harvest time or year on my sample.

Second, I brewed this per their recommendations. 100ml-5-6 grams @boiling water temp, with steep times of 3 min/3min/4 min respectively.

1st brew: the aroma is of mossy wood but the flavor is bitter dark cocoa nibs — no sweetness just the bitterness of the nibs. There’s a mild astringency aftertaste and medium mouthfeel. Overall, it has a good medium mouthfeel and is very smooth.

2nd steep @3 min: I smell camphor and mossy wood. The flavor is a milder bitter note that evens out towards the end. There is a slight astringent finish but still a good viscous mouthfeel. The tea soup is very smooth and not harsh.

3rd steep @4 minutes. I had to reboil water for this steep. I am unsure if it’s the water temp (I suspect that the water temp might have been slightly higher this time around) or if it’s the 3rd but this one is the most balanced of all three brews. I still smell the camphor and mossy wood aroma, but the bitterness has softened as the astringent. The mouthfeel is still good but the flavors are balancing themselves out.

Overall, I’m on the fence about the tea. It’s a good tea but different from what I normally prefer in its tasting profile, but it’s very smooth and has a really good mouthfeel. Others might enjoy it better. I’m going to play with different brewstyles to see if it speaks to me more in other ways.

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Bio

General: A crafty geek girl who has a love for tea, cats, writing, books, as well as learning a multitude of post-apocalyptic skills…just in case.

Tea: I’ve been drinking tea all my life. My grandfather was half-Chinese, but I was always too lazy to brew anything other than Western style. In the past 5 years I’ve been changing that; trying to develop my tea-tasting chops and still a lot to learn! I prefer oolongs, blacks, and greens (in that order), and I’m trying to expand my knowledge of tea from all over the world (and not just China & Japan). I do tend to stay away from herbal tisanes or overly flavored teas as I find them much too sweet and overpowering.

My ratings explained.
90-100: Exceptional tea. The tea I want with me on that desert island. It is the tea I’ll take time to relish and enjoy.

80-89: Very Good Tea. It fits my flavor profile and I enjoy drinking it.

70-79: Good. I like it, but might not be one I reach for on a regular basis..

60-69: Solid. Better than average, and something I’ll grab when I need to “run-out-the-door” and can’t take time to really appreciate the tea I’m drinking.

50-59: Decent/Average. Not my preferred flavor profile or something I won’t purposefully go out to buy. It might lack that “Something” in its aroma/flavor/mouthfeel/finish.

40-49: Below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Gross. Didn’t finish it or refused to drink anymore.

Location

San Francisco Bay Area

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