29 Tasting Notes
With little knowledge of Panyong besides how it smelled and that it was a Chinese black tea, I picked up a couple ounces of this tea. I do not regret it. Even though this is my first tasting of the tea, I can tell that this is going to be a new favorite of mine. The first sip was intense. The dark chocolate nose translated well into the flavour, and it bares some resemblance to Verdant’s Laoshan Black despite being a fraction of the price ($5/2 oz.) Along with the bitter dark chocolate taste, it carries the starchiness of a potato or yam, and the scent of wood or bark. While bitter like dark chocolate it is not sour or tannic. This tea is enjoyable on its own, but could easily be paired with foods, both sweet or savory, without being overpowered. I’m quite happy with how this tea has turned out, and I hope this tea takes up some permanent shelf place at Tilly Mint’s because I will be looking to drink some more.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt, Potato, Wood, Yams
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Flavors: Flowers, Grass, Umami
This tea is very similar to the Valley Green which Shan Valley also offers. This tea keeps the hay like quality of its sibling, but ditches the fruity taste it had. This flavour is much more vegetal, similar to the taste you would get from zucchini, with the spicy afternotes you might expect from a phoenix dancong. As mentioned in my review of Valley Green, this tea is reminiscent of a young sheng, and I feel should be judged similarly to one.
Be careful when steeping this tea because it is prone to going bitter if oversteeped. 15 seconds seems good, 30 seconds is too much for this tea.
Overall, I found this tea more enjoyable than the Valley Green, whether it be it has a slightly less hay like taste, or that I am more so thinking of this tea as a puer.
The dry leaf smells very grassy and doesn’t have the same hay like, barn smell that Shan Valley’s Valley Green had. For me this is a positive. After a quick rinse the wet leaf smells like a roasted oolong, that toasty caramel smell and a sweetness of grapes.
The flavor is sweet, raisin like, and roasty. My favorite teas tend to be oolongs so this is right up my alley. It is more astringent than I expected, but it is pleasant.
Flavors: Caramel, Grapes, Grass, Raisins
Unlike Shan Valley’s black tea, the leaves of Valley Green are very whole. The dry leaf smells similar to a barn, very much like hay. However after brewing the tea, the leaves smell like a young raw puer, sweet and fruity. It brews a pale gold brown liquor. It has a feint astringency and is feels viscous. The flavor is somewhat fruity and sweet and tastes strongly of hay.
Second steep with same parameters. Man oh man does this smell like a young raw puer to me. This brew is a little more astringent, a little less hay like, a little more sweet, and a mineraly flavor.
Impressions: I was not too keen on the first steep, but the second one I’m enjoying a lot more. I would consider brewing this tea for a shorter period of time but keeping the other parameters the same. If you like green teas that are not grassy, but that have a hay like flavor, this one may be up your alley.
Flavors: Mineral, Stonefruit
The leaf of this tea looks like it is CTC. The scent after brewing is somewhere between a light smoke and freshly cut tomatoes. The flavor is strong. It’s astringent but not bitter. Very pleasant and robust. The flavor works on its on, but could also go well with spicy or heavily seasoned food. This tea reminds me of a tippy Yunnan black I used to have: earthy, smokey, and bold.
I kept the second steep at the same parameters because the first steep was so strong. The flavor evolved with a stronger mineral flavor while cutting back on the smokiness. This steep is much less astringent and in your face. I prefer this steep to the first.
Overall Impressions: This is an enjoyable everyday tea. I could see myself using this is a travel mug because it doesn’t go bitter, and strong enough to pair well with food. It’s a good tea for this snowy winter season and I’ll be enjoying many more cups of this tea.
Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Tobacco
A sweet tea that has the buttery characteristics of gaoshan. Smells of butter and maple syrup. Very full mouthfeel. Be careful when brewing as it can become quite astringent if over steeped.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Honey, Mineral
A very dry, light, floral, and sweet tea. This is one of my favorite oolongs. Start with short steeps of ~5 seconds and go up by 3-5 seconds based on taste. Starts off a very pale gold, almost clear, and slowly becomes darker. Drink this on it’s own as it can easily be overpowered by food. Good to drink on a cold day.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Honeydew, Melon, Orchids