66 Tasting Notes


I bought this in early ‘21, and the cake was loosely compressed with a stained and torn paper wrapping. Had a couple nice long gong fu sessions with this, after a 15 sec rinse under hot tap water, covering 13 steepings (100 ml ea) from 4g tea each time. The flavor and aroma were mild and of generic black tea, with moderate astringency and no hints of swamp or fish. By the 5th steep I’d begun sweating, reflecting the caffeine. Overall a good, if unremarkable, tea. By the last steep, the aroma had faded and the tea flavor muted. I wouldn’t buy this cake again, especially after seeing the price rise 30% over the past few weeks. I don’t see much depth of flavor to support further aging, so I’ll just be doubling the dry measure and sipping it down to make room for better things.

Flavors: Tea

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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As a lover of the Assamic cultivars, I have learned that they can make outstanding black, oolong, and pu’erh teas whether grown in Assam-India, Taiwan, Burma, or Yunnan-China. So the concept of a New World Assamica was intriguing to me. Well described by H&S, this Colombian Black had a great honey and malt nose during brewing and sipping, and a smooth, sweet aromatic flavor. The dry tea has an aroma of cocoa powder. Clearly Assamic, with low astringency, the large chop leaves took 4-5 minutes to steep Western syle, and produce a long-lasting aftertaste that keeps a smile on my face. This is a good quality tea produced on my side of the planet. I wonder what would result if they took some of the more mature leaves and processed them for a sheng, puer-style aged tea?!

Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Malt

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Still enjoying this a year after my first note. Has not changed. Yum!

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A fun tea! Bought in early 2021; though the tea is undated, the seller writes “The material is 2012 “da shu” tea from De Hong”. Getting the tea out of the bamboo was no problem. I simply tapped a meat cleaver into the end of the bamboo, working it in until the bamboo began to split and could be pried apart with leverage from the cleaver. Found only 41g of tea in the first bamboo casing. The tea leaves came apart readily and infused quickly. After infusion, I observed that the leaves were chopped into quarter inch chunks. Smoky, spicy aroma, with a flavor of sage, celery and cedarwood. A pleasant tea that I’ve enjoyed both gong fu (14 good steepings) and Western style (4 big mug steepings) in a stainless steel strainer basket. Sometimes it’s fun to explore off the beaten path, and this tea didn’t disappoint.

Flavors: Ash, Black Pepper, Campfire, Cedar, Celery, Pine, Sage, Smoke

4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Bought this in late 2020. Used a teaspoonful in a paper t-sac with 8oz boiling water. The medium-chop leaves brew up pretty quick to give a nice medium “red” liquor. Brisk and strongly Assamic, this gives a good maltiness and caramel flavor in a single steeping. This is a good wake-up brew for me and it’s enjoyable. I don’t give a hoot about the “organic” nonsense, but I like the flavors and aftertaste. A classic middle-of-the-road Assam tea, affordably priced. A novice can drink a few cups of this and compare it with a Ceylon black to quickly learn the major differences.

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Really good! Received this as a free sample with a recent order in early 2021. The dry leaves separated easily and still had a dark green color. Rinsed 5 sec under hot tap water then 5 sec with boiling water. Used an unglazed Yixing clay teapot dedicated to raw Puer. Brewed up to a deep golden liquor with vanilla notes in the first few steepings, pleasantly brisk, floral, sweet, rich, chewy and complex. Not smokey, absolutely no fishiness or hints of earth or compost. By steep #5 the large leaves had fully expanded to their deep green glory revealing also some large stems. Vanilla aroma in the first steep only, after which the aroma was pretty flat. On steep #6 I’m still enjoying the now slightly floral taste and briskness (astringency) with something else—tobacco?. Supporting the claim of being from wild trees, there is no discernable assamic character. But I’ve noticed a lingering very nice molasses-like flavor on the back of my tongue. Steepings have gradually lengthened, and #7 went on for ~3 min. and was still quite flavorful. I think I may invest in a cake or two of this one!

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Brewed up a golden yellow, slightly smoky, slightly bitter, slightly astringent. Not as smooth as expected for a 16 yr old tea. No fishiness, compost notes, or foul odor. The leaves are chopped into 1-2 cm pieces, are now a green-brown color, and darken with each infusion. Tasty and enjoyable nevertheless. 8+ infusions. The tuo was very tightly compressed and I had difficulty prying off chunks with my pick.

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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Left-coast reared (on Bigelow’s Constant Comment and Twinings’ Earl Grey) and right-coast educated, I’ve used this moniker (and Email) since the glory days of AOL in the 90’s, reflecting two of my lifelong loves—tea and ‘Trek. Now a midwestern science guy (right down to the Hawaiian shirts), I’m finally broadening the scope of my sippage and getting into all sorts of Assamicas, from mainstream Assam CTCs to Taiwan blacks & TRES varietals, to varied Pu’erhs. With some other stuff tossed in for fun. Love reading other folks’ tasting notes (thank you), I’ve lurked here from time to time and am now adding a few notes of my own to better appreciate the experience. You can keep the rooibos LoL!
Photo with Aromatic Bamboo Species Raw Pu-erh Tea “Xiang Zhu” by Yunnan Sourcing, which is most definitely aromatic!



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