110 Tasting Notes
If my math is correct, this 6g pot of tea cost $60. Is it worth it? Well if I had Zuckerberg’s money I would get a tong of this as the flavor and qi are outta sight. First, the flavor/aroma . There is a state park near where I live called Trough Creek. The rims of the canyon are lined with cedar, oak, rhododendron and white pine. After the leaves have fallen in November and there is a rain followed by a warm day, a beautiful aroma of decaying leaves, evergreen mushrooms and decomposing oak fills the air. That’s the essence of this tea. The qi? This has all the nice tingly mood elevating properties of camellias much debated cousin but none of the goofiness and fogginess or paranoia. Just nice. Add a muscle relaxing property and a bit of mental clarity and you have it. I drank a pot of this at 2pm, took a convertible ride and it was like I was driving through a painting. I then went to a local jam session and each note played really resonated. Was this pot of tea worth $60? Well, I’ve payed that much for 50 year old English barleywine ales, 6 ounce bottle at that. I actually see a lot of similarities between old sheng and old beer. I also see how decades of aging really enhances the qi. None of the 10,20 or even 30 year old stuff I’ve had compares. I recommend this tea for very special occasions. I’m having a pot of 05 naka to see if this tea is really 10 times better proportional to cost. I’d say no but it’s definitely 3-5 times better. Makes me wonder how the puerh sk rareness will be in 50 years…
I initially made the mistake of sampling this tea alongside more bombastic young gushu. At the time, I was like “yeah it’s smooth and warming but meh…” A few weeks later I sampled 8g by itself and the beauty of its subtlety hit me. Again, I make a beer comparison-Irish cream stout. Dark nutty, herbal, vegetal and forest flavors that hide amid the creaminess and oily texture. This tea is quite generous and generates warm fuzzy blanket body feel. The perfect thing to have with a bowl of French onion soup on a rainy day. The price is a little salty but this stuff really strikes a chord with me.
This tea is huge! A while back (before I started this habit of reviewing tea online) I ordered a bunch of 2016 samples and Peter kindly included a ton of samples of 2017 gushu. I believe there was ManNuo, LaoManE, BangPen, Naka and a few others. All of these teas are beautifully processed and have outstanding material. In fact unless tasted side by side , I had trouble telling many of them apart. They have a great consistency. The GeDeng is the one tea of this bunch that knocked me out and the one I purchased a cake of (although I considered the Naka as well). Glad I did as it appears to already be gone. This tea has a big bold herbal kick and smooth bitterness and a nice oily texture. There is a wild, woodsy flavor follows by mild stone fruit and spice. The qi is bold, euphoric and energizing. Just the thing to drink before a long hike or paddling excursion.
Note- this review is for the 2017 which I find better than last years. This tea claims to be very similar to LBZ without having any actual LBZ material. Now I’ve only had 5 true LBZ teas to date so I’m no authority but they all have had a specific taste I haven’t been able to put my finger on until now. Forgive me for another beer comparison but to me the flavor of LBZ ive had had all had a bitter backdrop identical to beers brewed with a hop variety called Northern Brewer. Brewers describe this hop as tasting woody and minty but it has a distinct unique flavor. Think Anchor Steam. Tuhao AF also reminds me of a hop variety but not Northern Brewer. It reminds me of a U.K. Challenger, the main hop in Fullers ESB. It’s more of a lemony peachy affair. So does this tea taste like any LBZ I’ve had? Not quite but damn good. Is the qi similar? All the LBZ teas I’ve had I’d liken to a stoned roadrunner feeling. This tea is no exception. I recommend an experiment get a pot of this and a pot of real LBZ (Hai Lang Hao from ys has the most of this character) and get a bottle of Anchor Steam and a bottle of Fullers ESB and you’ll see what I mean. Tuhao is a fine tea by W2T but Ive tried almost all their top shelf offerings for 2017 and my fave is she’s not me which is not listed here yet.
F*ck what you smelled would be a more accurate description to me. After smelling the dry leaves (obviously of top shelf quality) I was expecting a fruit bomb but instead got flavors of quinine and slate…I was reminded of some Lao Man E sheng I’ve tasted…not really my bag but I expect this to change dramatically in coming months. I expect this to age into a monster but being this young I can’t give an accurate rating. It is attitudinal and has potent energy…gonna set the rest of this sample back and try it again on a cold February morning. I’m going by memory but this reminds me of the Hao Lang Hao Lao Man E I sampled from Yunnan Sourcing only less expensive.
Of course I love pussy…I also dig this tea and suspect it’ll get one into less trouble (of course drinking too much then driving could be a little risky as tea drunkenness is a real possibility). Have I been suckered by hipster marketing into buying a tea with a funky wrapper called pussy?…probably…but while I am utterly disgusted with what hipsters have done to craft beer (my other beverage of choice) I wholeheartedly dig what they’ve done with tea and this is no exception.
I have a habit of comparing tea to beer. In this case I’m seeing similarities between pussy and a New England ale. Woody bitterness up front followed by sweet , oiliness that lasts for hours. Later steeps reveal notes of candied orange peel. It’s a brisk September morning and I’m enjoying this tea with a breakfast of fried apples, pumpkinseeds and bacon with maple syrup rosemary, cardamom and goat cheese…a perfect accompaniment.
Bought a cake of this last winter and after trying many other high end sheng began to agree with the ho hum reviews on this site. I then let it age a few months and broke it out with some cranberry scones recently. Lo and behold this tea came to life. Big cranberry, nice menthol and evergreen. The qi is pleasant but subtle. There are much better recent shengs in the same price range but I think this one is evolving into something special so you may want to revisit it especially when consuming cranberries. The flavors that were a semi interesting backdrop to this tea have now come to the forefront and are quite distinctive.
I want more of this tea. It’s outstanding. Glen sent a sample in the spring and I read reviews of how undrinkably bitter it was so I began with cool 75 deg steeps for like 5 seconds and ramping up the time and temp. Using this method I was able to get aggressively bitter tea that was balanced by honeysuckle and apricot flavors. It truly reminds me of a new school west coast IPA. The qi of this tea made me more aware of my surroundings and boosted my creativity while I had a permanent smile. Can’t wait for the 17. If anyone wants to trade some of this I’d be willing as C lotus sold out.