280 Tasting Notes
Another winner from Dayi. If you’ve tried other years’ versions of this cake, you know what to expect. It is as good as others I’ve tried. Small plantation leaves that give a lot. It brews up dark, with hints of cocoa and bitter chocolate. Stout qi. Get some while it’s still fairly cheap at Yunnan Sourcing.
What kind of tea can you get for $20 for a full sized cake? Turns out a pretty good one! This tea brews up thick and dark, just like I like em. A hint of coffee and bitter chocolate, followed by simple yet fairly smooth steeps. A little rough around the edges, but it is a great daily drinker, especially for those of us that go through a lot of shu. Comparable to a good middle of the road Dayi ripe.
I’ve been trying some of the more expensive “high end” shus, particularly from YS, lately. First, my review of this one. It is definitely pretty good, but kind of uni-dimensional. The flavor is simple but soft and nice, with very little fermentation funk, and a musty note here and there. It reminds me of cola. Not very complex, but enjoyable for sure.
Now to the bigger picture. This flavor and quality profile seems pretty similar to other high end shus I’ve tried. They tend to be single-origin, as opposed to blended, which may add to the lack of complexity and depth. They tend to have less fermentation flavor, taste cleaner, and last longer than standard shus. If they were the same price as average shu, I might buy some here and there. But these prices simply do not reflect a similarly high level of flavor, even though I understand they are expensive because the leaf is expensive and usually reserved for sheng. I find these shus too soft for my tastes. These higher priced shus tend to be at least 2 to 4 times as expensive as good “regular” factory or house brand shus. Since I tend to leaf 10g or more per session every day, these are too costly in my book. I recently tried a high end Hai Lang Hao ripe and it was really good, albeit simple, but again, not good enough to justify the cost.
I may continue to sample these here and there, but I’ll take a YS house ripe any day. Lucy and Serendipity are especially good ones this year, I prefer them to expensive shu.
This is certainly an excellent ripe, and a cut above even really good ripes. The mouthfeel is wonderful, thick and full. It is really, really smooth even at this young age. It’s got all the best players flavorwise – coffee, dark chocolate, a touch of bitter. The Qi is stimulating but not overpowering. This tea is just something to experience for yourself, it is one of the best ripes I’ve ever tried.
As to the price, sorry but it is over the top for me. It’s bascially the equivalent of $125 for a full sized cake. Is this 4 times as good as Scott’s house ripes? Not to me. This is a super good tea, but I will not shell out close to $400 for a 1k brick. I’m glad a bought a sample and tried it.
This is an interesting tea. Like the description says, I can taste different styles. The first few steeps tasted like half aged library book and half newer chocolatey Scott style ripe. In later steeps the newer ripe flavor was more dominant. Definitely tasty and high quality, and unusual.
I’ve ordered samples of all of Scott’s 2018 ripes (five have been released so far this year). I will try to review them all. I tried Lucy a while back (and reviewed it), and it was very good. This one is also very good, but it is a different style than is typical. I’d say its defining characteristics are sweet and simple. It is pretty smooth with almost no astringency/bitterness. It is not very complex, but it has a very unique flavor. It has a sweetness I associate with lao cha tou (ripe nuggets). It has a nice feel and good flavor, and solid qi; the sweet is front and center, with burnt coffee and a hint of chocolate in the background. I don’t think I’d reach for this very often, but I will definitely get a cake or two. I bet it will age very nicely, and will be very smooth and straightforward.