46 Tasting Notes
Tea: LazyCat House Rou Gui 2017
Drinking in 2018.
This is also not a formal review. I just want to post my thoughts so I can remember them. This is a beautiful rou gui, with a good tea quality and a good roast to bring the tea out into the open. The tea is a playful and enjoyable rou gui with spicy flavors and active mouthfeel. The roast smoothes things out well. It is rich and dry, never quite “sweet.” It is quite a pleasure to drink.
Tea: 2016 Winter “Trad Roast” Shui Xian from YS
Reviewing in 2018.
This will not be a very formal review as I usually do, I just wanted to make a note so I can remember in the future. I have tried dozens of YS oolongs over the years and found a very small handful that I enjoy. This tea is in that ‘drinkable’ handful. Normally my complaint with YS oolongs is that they’re roasted inappropriately to compliment the tea, either too much or too little. This oolong has a very good roast: it is enough that the texture of the tea is smooth and the flavors can pop but are not “green veggie stew” as some of these underroasted yanchas can be, and it is not ash as some of the overroasted yanchas can be. The flavor is rich but dry with subtle “dark” flavors (chocolate, toasted nuts, whatever), and the texture is smooth, as it should be. This is a very drinkable shui xian, and it steeps out long enough to get good sessions with.
I am drinking a “wild orchid pearl” oolong from Nepali Teas. 10g pearl in 120cc, boiling water. Steeped for about 30s then let it sit and steam for 5 minutes to unroll a bit, and broke it up with my hands the rest of the way. Followed by 10s, 20s, 30s, etc… to chase flavor.
Was bland in the early steeps, turned very sweet after steep 5. Notes like sugarcane, almost no bitterness or harsh notes. Balanced roast, slightly nutty, not very floral. Not very fragrant either. Not incredibly interesting but enjoyable. Died by steep 9 or so.
Tea: Koubi Shiage, Miyazaki Oolong. From the LPT International Oolong buy.
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, 5g. 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, etc..
Sessions with this tea: 2
Lots of chopped up leaf in this sample. Somebody else added a “freshly baked bread” note and I gotta say that’s mostly what I get. Not a dark bread and not sourdough, but like a soft wheaty loaf. It has a subtle corny sweetness, some hint of roast note but is mostly on the greener side. I spaced out my sessions a few months apart to see if the leaf calmed down any, which it seems to be better at my second session. The roast steeps out after 3 steeps, leaving behind the soft sweetness. The mouthfeel is on the thin side, but is still smooth. Mild body caffeine feeling.
Unfortunately because of how chopped this is, it steeps out very quickly. I was pushing these by the 5th infusion. This is an interesting oolong and is nice to have some oolong from another production area other than china and taiwan. The flavors are quite balanced, and the roast is well done. I honestly haven’t tried to look at the pricing so I will not comment on whether or not I think its worthwhile to buy a larger quantity.
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, 3-5g. Longish steep to open her up, flash steep x2, 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, etc..
Sessions with this tea: 8
Taste: almond skin bitterness up front with apricot returning sweetness. Some soft smoke or charcoal which fades out. Later steeps are more open with a maybe onion soupiness.
Body: mouthfeel moderately thick. Strength in the jaw. Slippery on the tongue/roof-of-mouth which builds on itself with each steep. If you have a fast-paced session with this tea, expect to salivate some. Moderate energy, but one out of every 3 sessions so far has made me quite jittery and skittish.
Summary: I feel like I’ve seen this tea on the YS website forever and is one of the oldest teas that isn’t a factory tea in the “humid stored” section — how have more people not reviewed this tea?! Briefly, is in a good place w.r.t. age — not too mellow, but the bite of the bitterness is mostly gone and this tea is very enjoyable for its price.
Tea: Clover Patch. I think LiquidProust sent me this?
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, 3-5g. Flash steep x2, 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, etc..
Sessions with this tea: 2
Once I accidentally microwaved honey for too long. It turned into burnt carbony sweetness, but still tasted unmistakably of honey, and it filled my kitchen with sweet smell. This is basically that. Early steeps are clean floral honey sweet, later steeps are cooked caramel-y honey sweet. Leaves honey sweet note in my mouth afterwards.
Body: thick tea, not a lot of body or energy-giving to me though. Aroma is good.
Tea: TTB review: Tea Urchin 2013 Peacock
Prep: 100cc gaiwan, 6g. Longish steep to open her up, flash steep x2, 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, etc.. Probably 12 steeps before it’s out.
Sessions with this tea: 4
The early steeps are a marine/salty bitterness with a green pepper bite with some returning sweetness. The sweetness then shifts more to the front and is a bit rounder, like the pepper was roasted a little bit. To me there’s still some salty note lingering about. The later steeps get hay-sweet.
Body: thick slurpy tea, very pleasant. Some drying of the roof of the mouth and then returning sweetness with salivation in the throat. Also somewhat cooling. Later steeps are saliva-inducing everywhere in the mouth, with a pleasing lingering after-taste. Energy seemed a bit lacking to me though. I didn’t really feel this much outside of my mouth and neck. Very nice mouthfeel but a little disappointed with the body.
Good blend, enjoyable tea. This is probably something that Westerners, who put a lot more focus on flavor, would really enjoy. Tea Urchin has a sizable catalog and I have been hesitant to begin wading through their teas. I may have to begin that soon, as this is a popular blend they make and it is enjoyable.
Tea: TTB review: 1996 CNNP Green Mark Teji Ripe
Prep: 100cc gaiwan, 6g. Longish steep to open her up, flash steep x2, 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, etc.. Probably 8 steeps before it’s out.
Sessions with this tea: 1
The early steeps give a rich creamy but very earthy flavor, with robust sweetness, molasses or caramel or something rich. In the middle a simple-ish woody note comes out and joins the earthy mix and we roll around in the mud, salivating like a fool.
Body: This tea made me feel like somebody built an addition onto the back of my head. Like suddenly there was a lot of extra space for my brain to move around in. Fortunately I can fill that new space with all this extra saliva. This left a thick sticky sensation in my throat and a warm slippery peppery coating in my mouth.
Sample: a 6g and a 9g chunk o’ cake traveling around in the box. The chunk split in half easily with my thumb, the material is finely cut and there is a fair amount of shake, but the sample held up to steeping well.
Somebody said our box was supposed to be sheng only, but with shu like this in the world how can you be snobbish about sheng. I’m certainly not a shu aficionado but I’ll probably be looking for more of this, and this sample alone makes me happy I signed up for the TTB. NB: I’m purposefully not drinking all of this so that somebody else can experience this wonderful tea.
Tea: TTB review: Bitterleaf “Diamond Cutter” 2002 Lincang sheng
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, 4g. Longish steep to open her up, flash steep x2, 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, etc..
Sessions with this tea: 2
Taste: this tastes like young apricot with the skin still on, astringent at first with lots of sweetness at the end. Unfortunately the sweetness is stevia and thin and plain and kinda boring, without many extra notes. As the tea steeps out there are some non-specific woody notes.
Body: mouthfeel starts medium, eventually turns thin. Moderate energy. Not much going on in my body or headspace with this tea
Sample: chunk o’ cake traveling around in the box. This is hard to break and fragments a bit.
Summary: I wonder if this tea would have been more interesting as an adolescent. The flavor is understated in both astringency and sweetness, and the body is very mild. Maybe I could leaf this a lot harder? Maybe it has changed temperatures too many times as a result of the traveling box? This would probably be described by many people as “clean.” I guess I like my teas just a little bit dirtier.