280 Tasting Notes

86

A bread and butter Dayi ripe. Solid little plantation cake that you can’t go wrong with.

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85

I purchased this in hopes of finding a substitute for Verdant’s, since I won’t purchase from them anymore due to their deceptive marketing. This was quite similar to theirs – tiny curled leaves, and a rich malty chocolate type brew. I found this to be a bit lighter and fruitier than what I recall from Verdant. It is quite good.

Sil

i think i like the classic grade a tiny bit more from Yunnan…and it’s winning so far against the verdant teas i have in stock atm.

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drank Toufen 1963 by Camellia Sinensis
280 tasting notes

Thanks, unnamed tea trader, for sending me this sample. I found this tea really interesting. It is older than me! Not by much, though. It brews like a cross between shu pu-erh, hei cha, and aged oolong. The broth is thick, with notes of must, tang, and a strong astringency that works well. Big tea buzz. Very unique, and close to a dollar a gram, so not an everyday pleasure for most of us. But well worth trying to experience such an old and unique gem.

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91

Dug this one out of my shu bin today. Wow, it is really good. The first couple steeps had some fermentation funk, but that gave way quickly to a deep bittersweet chocolate flavor. An excellent shu.

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I don’t know whether I got a bad batch of this, but this tea fell totally flat for me. It had none of the typical Taiwan oolong aroma, or flavor for that matter. The leaves looked fine, but it tasted extremely bland.

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I did not care for this tea all that much. The roast was strong, but without subtlety, it was mostly char flavored. It was short on the dark roast flavors I really like, the whiskey barrel/vanilla overtones. The tea also was acidic and gave me a stomach ache, so it didn’t feel good either. I will put it away for future tasting to see if it improves, though I don’t have high hopes.

Wocket

Sorry to hear it, but appreciate the honest review!

Darren Adams

I actually really liked this one. I brewed Gong Fu style but will give it a go competition style too and compare.

Rich

Oh, that’s good to hear. I’ll give mine a try again in a while.

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I must confess I don’t know what category of tea this is. Maybe hei cha? It tastes like a cross between a ripe pu erh, aged white, and red (Hong cha). It is clean tasting, with notes of ripe age, tart, and black tea. It is really different. It is not at all pretty, it is very dark, with stems, broken leaves, and whole leaves. An interesting one that I think ripe pu erh lovers would enjoy.

Cwyn

Yep that would be Hunan heicha.

Mahjong

This doesn’t sound like one of the classic Hunan Hei’s, at least not any that I’ve encountered in Hunan or any of the many ‘chacheng’ I’ve visited in other places in China (at one point I had close to 100lbs of different Hunan Hei’s aging in my living room, all of which I sourced myself in China). ‘Qing zhuan’ is the ‘dark tea’ associated typically with Hubei Province. It’s known for systematically blending (usually three) different grades of tea in the outer, inner, and center of the brick. It is rather tightly compressed. I’m unsure of exactly how much post-fermentation it undergoes but, if any, it’s very little—I would guess even less than classic Hunan Hei’s (which undergo far less than ripe pu’er). The bricks that I have seen are dark green. The tea tastes to me like very smooth ‘black tea’ (hongcha). Quite delicious. It seems that the tea in question here is from a northern Hunan prefecture that might border Hubei (it certainly seems closer to Hubei than to Anhua/Yiyang, the region where classic Hunan Hei’s are produced). Could be a Hunan version of a basically Hubei-style tea. Just a guess. Very interesting.

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drank 1980s Aged Oolong by Yang Qing Hao
280 tasting notes

Who knew that YQH had aged oolongs? They have just two, a 1970s and 1980s. I decided to take the chance and buy some. If you tried this tea blindfolded, you would probably not know what it is. To me, it tastes like a humid stored aged pu erh. The overwhelming flavor is damp, followed by some dark fruit, and a sharp huigan. It is very different than what I expected. I think his teas are all humid stored, including his oolongs, which gives it a unique flavor. It had longevity, lasting a good number of steeps. I’m not crazy about it, so I’ll put it away in my dry storage environment and see what happens after a while. If anyone is curious and wants to try it, I’m open to swaps.

Liquid Proust

Me me. I’m kind of thankful that Emmett didn’t email me back because I had a lot I was going to buy :)

Rich

I’m sensing an oolong swap! I’ve got that dancong from teahong and a bunch from teamasters and Taiwan sourcing coming if you want to trade a bit.

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87

Chawangshop has some great ripes, at really low prices. This is a $6 100g cake, and it is really good. Pretty smooth, very little fermentation flavor, just deep and rich and hearty. Later steeps had just a touch of tart cherry. It is not earth shattering, but it is really good.

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86

Trying this one I got a number of months ago. This is a cheap $10 ripe cake from Chawangshop, made with purple leaves (at least in part). I’ve never tried a purple leaf ripe. I can’t say I noticed much that was unique about it. But it is a very good tea, killer for the price. A little bitter and acidic, but deep and rich, a little chocolate creaminess, and a whisper of smoke. The flavors mingle well. It tastes nicely aged at this point.

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