5 Tasting Notes
Lightly fermented factory shou. Not bad but strong fermentation flavor, especially the first few steeps. Actually more fermentation flavor than expect from a 3 year old shou. Drowns out the finer notes. A bit too medicinal for my preference, but the aftertaste is nice. I will probably steam the rest of this tuo and let it air out, but I think a few more years is needed on this one. If you are reading this in the future, this tuo is certainly worth checking out.
The tea soup is light and red-brown, never turns really dark even when pushed.
I brewed 10 gram in 100 ml of water at boiling 100 C. Might want to play around with the parameters. Lasted quite a few steeps. The first few it was a bit harsh, peaked around steep four or five for me.
Flavors: Chocolate, Mushrooms, Nuts
I first tasted a sample of this tea and decided to get a cake. The dry tea smells of leather, sweet smell of caramel from the wet leaves. The leaf grade is small and the material looks good.
Strong notes of dark chocolate and walnuts. Hints of coffee and cardamom. Sweet and with a pleasant bitterness, very smooth and easy on the stomach. This is a lightly fermented, easy drinker. Very little fermentation flavor for such a young tea. The aftertaste is not overly strong but very pleasant and lingers for a long time. Keeps going for more than 10 steeps and lands softly rather than collapsing. It takes a few steeps for the tea to get going (or you can do two rinses and let it sit a while).
At this price point you are of course not going to get super-complexity and cha qi coming out your ears, but that said, this tea punches above its weight. It’s a gentle drinker rather than a punchy show-stopper but a very pleasant tea. My rating of 90 is relative to the price point, not absolute.
I bought this tea from www.yunnancraft.com and have not seen it anywhere else. I brewed it for 12+ steeps, 11 g in 100 ml and boiling water.
Flavors: Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Walnut
Strong notes of nuts and coffee, some fruitiness and chocolate. Viscous mouthfeel. A smooth and accessible tea, for being shu, so if you like your ripe really earthy and bitter this may not be for you. Brews up nice and dark. Holds well for at least five infusions before it begins to fade. The leaf material is good with few sticks. I taste little or no fermentation flavor so the 2008 production date is perfectly plausible.
For such a modest price this is an excellent daily drinker and I think this tea punches above its weight. In fact, I put my money where my mouth is and ordered two more tongs. This will be one of my daily drinkers during work hours for a while. I bought this tea from www.yunnancraft.com
Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Nuts, Sweet
The 200 gram cake is highly compressed (not quite to the level of factory toucha but you do want a pu’erh knife for this one). The dry tea has a faint but pleasant smell and it’s very clean with few stems and sticks. Nothing unpleasant about it. At this point I have had a couple of sessions with the tea and I have found it enjoyable. The 908 is not particularly complex (compared for example to the last factory ripe I bough – the Dayi Chun Pin – the 908 is a bit of a one trick pony). The tea brews up thick and dark, the wet leaves have a typical ripe earthy smell and it takes a while for them to open up due to the compression.
The tea has strong cocoa and coffee tones. I say cocoa rather than chocolate because it’s got that notable (but pleasant) bitterness that you get from cocoa powder or really dark boutique chocolate (but not from milk chocolate). This flavor profile is so strong it mostly overpowers the earthiness and slight fruitiness of the viscous and thick soup. Of course, simple does not necessarily mean bad and what this tea lacks in complexity it gains in oomph. In fact I think that the straightforward flavor profile makes it suitable as a daily drinker or beverage to sip while reading or watching TV. The flip-side is that it has less to offer (compared to more complex teas) in a concentrated session. I found the tea to be very un-dynamic, meaning it does not change flavor between steeps but stays very consistent and keeps going for a long time. I also thermos-brewed this tea (using the steeped-out leaves from my gongfu sessions) and that was a success, again thanks to the somewhat simple profile, I believe. Finally I felt very little fermentation flavor, and only in the aftertaste.
I brewed this tea gongfu style, 8.5 grams per 100ml in a yixing pot using close to boiling water. The first steep is a little thin, after that the leaves open up and it keeps going for 7-8 steeps. The tea can be pushed hard without any overpowering bitterness. The 908 is recommended as a cheap but perfectly decent factory shu, providing one does not have a problem with the lack of complexity. Picky ripe pu’erh connoisseurs may find this too pedestrian.
Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Earth
Impressions after one session: The tea is only 1 year old at this point so of course a fermentation flavor is present in the form of a distinct licorice note, strongest in the first steep, later mostly in the aftertaste, but not at all offensive to me. The tea tastes of coffee and chocolate, sweet and warming, especially when the steep times are pushed a little bit. Less earthiness than I expected. Hint of menthol/mint in the aftertaste. The liquor does not feel particularly viscous and its color range from coffee to reddish brown depending on steeping time. The wet tea leaves has a distinct nutty smell but very little earthiness. The dry cake smells very clean and pleasant. There is nothing offensive or funky about this tea. I got about 6 really good steeps out of this, then it went downhill but still perfectly drinkable for another couple of infusions.
This is a very friendly tea and I enjoyed drinking it quite a bit. I paid $25 USD for a 357 gr bing and at that price I find it to be fabulous value for money. I suspect this tea will benefit from a few more years of storage but it’s good even as it is. I shall consider buying a few more bings for later. A great daily drinker.
Brewed gongfu. Water @ 95C. 7 grams in a 90 ml yixing pot. Steep times about 5/5/10/10/15/25.
Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Licorice, Nuts