374 Tasting Notes
I recently got my first Jianshui teapot (which I am already in love with) and decided to have the first session in it with this tea. I think that having a dedicated (and beautiful) pot for Dan Cong oolongs will let me get more into them.
This Ba Xian is quite wonderful. The floral fragrance is magnificent, as is its extremely long aftertaste, and a silky soft and ‘misty’ mouthfeel.
Dry leaf aroma is quite medicinal, fruity, and sweet, while the wet leaf smell is more flowery I’d say. The taste has a plum sweetness, green bell pepper bitterness, and a vegetal note of dry grass, among many other flavours. It is a smooth drink with a nice honey finish. Aftertaste displays further notes like orange blossom, spices, wood, citrus zest, and celery stalk. Over time, it becomes increasingly floral and fragrant.
Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Bitter, Celery, Citrus Zest, Dry Grass, Floral, Flowers, Green Bell Peppers, Medicinal, Orange Blossom, Plums, Spices, Wood
I was not feeling the best today, so I took out this sample I got from derk thinking it could be a good tea to cheer me up and relax. I think that worked to some extent, the tea kept my attention for several hours and allowed my mind to abandon some toxic thoughts.
My main takeaway about the tea from this session is that it indeed has a strong cha qi, not really of the dreamy kind though. It did help dissolve my thoughts, but didn’t really enhance the creation of alternate reality to replace them. The other thing I will remember this tea for is how much it reminded me of Dan Cong oolongs, more than any other sheng I can remember. In particular, I got reminded of Dan Congs of the floral/vegetal/buttery kind. Personally, I didn’t find the bitterness overwhelming at all and the astringency was almost unnoticeable among other characteristics.
The tea has a piercing aroma of sauna, peat, coriander seeds, wood, incense and a hint of smoke initially. Later throughout the session, I also picked up distinct peach and pine scents. The taste starts off bitter, vegetal, and crisp with a significant walnut flavour. Around steep 4, it gets more tart and floral, displaying notes of citrus zest, parsley, light smoke and meat. Aftertaste is sweet and cooling with flavours such as peas and honey. It has a good huigan and longetivity, as one would expect in this price category.
The texture is very viscous and oily, but the liquor feels light in the mouth nonetheless. After swallowing, there is an interesting milky mouthfeel and a slightly cooling throatfeel. As I mentioned already, the cha qi is strong and grounding. Early on, the sensation involves a pressure in the head and I can feel blood pumping in my face. Then there is about half an hour that I have almost no recollection of. I did meditate a bit and then I might have been sleeping but maybe not, I really can’t remember. After I came back from the high, my whole body was incredibly warm and relaxed yet alert.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Citrus Zest, Coriander Seed, Floral, Honey, Meat, Parsley, Peach, Peas, Peat, Pine, Smoke, Tart, Vegetal, Walnut, Wood
I find this DHP much less interesting than the 4 year older one. None of its qualities really caught my attention, maybe with the exception of the bubbly texture.
It still has some charcoal aroma, complemented by notes of cucumber, old books, moth balls, and very light cannabis. Wet leaves, on the other hand, smell of metallic, roasted pear, and ash. It’s a sweet, but not very pungent aroma. The taste is muted and somewhat boring – mostly woody and sour.
Flavors: Ash, Cannabis, Char, Cucumber, Metallic, Pear, Sour, Sweet, Wood
Today I am tasting one of the very first tea cakes I bought. I am quite happy that it doesn’t seem to lose pungency in terms of its fragrance. It is, however, entering a sort of transition period in its development. The flavours are not as bright, although still quite vegetal. There is definitely a strong pine note in the finish and a distinctive lactose sweetness that I can’t quite recall from sessions a year ago. Overall, it is a very flavourful tea with good bitterness, sour grass note and a marine and yeasty character. It is also super smooth with an extremely soft and oily mouthfeel.
This is a very interesting green tea, which is quite different from the others I have had. I wasn’t sure how to brew it, but in the end I used 4g for this session in a 100 ml gaiwan with a fairly constant 80°C water. The infusion times were 60s/20s/30s/60s. It turned out well, but given the character of the tea, I think it can perform quite differently with other parameters.
Dry leaves smell of watermelon and popcorn, and in the preheated gaiwan also vegetables and spinach. Once wet, I get aromas of stewed carrots, beef broth, and gardenia flowers.
The first infusion is extremely smooth and full bodied with no astringency and only light bitterness. It tastes of sunflower seeds and broth with a slightly grassy finish. After swallowing, the tea is cooling in the throat and displays crisp sweetness with flavours of nuts and green apple.
Second steep has more astringency and lighter body. Higher notes are more present with a crisp profile and citrusy flavour. Aftertaste again has some sour green apple note, but is also reminiscent of copper, sand, and spices. Third steep is somewhat less interesting in this particular session, but it has a sweeter long-lasting aftertaste with a new melon flavour.
Finally, fourth infusion is again fairly distinct. It has a strong melon seed flavour and notable dryness, but overall is more savoury once again.
One final thing to note is that the tea has a strong cha qi for a green tea. It is relaxing and warming and makes me sweat.
Flavors: Broth, Carrot, Citrus, Drying, Flowers, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Meat, Melon, Popcorn, Sweet, Umami, Vegetables
I got a sample of this tea earlier this year and after one session went and bought the cake straight away. It’s a pungent and clean tasting tea with a unique aroma, bitter and floral taste, and a lightly fruity aftertaste with a strong huigan. The price is relatively good at the moment as well, so I had no reason to hesitate. Interestingly, the leaves have a relatively dark olive green colour, darker than any young sheng from standard varietals that I can recall.
Starting with the dry leaf aroma, I can smell nuts, apricot and spinach most of all, but also some kind of flowery scent. The aroma of wet leaves is strong, complex and hard to identify. It is a little bit oolong like (think Taiwanese high mountain oolong without a lot of the florals). Some all-over-the-place fleeting notes I get include coffee, tangerine, stewed vegetables, and popcorn.
The rinse already gives a good impression of the tea’s taste profile. It is a mix of bitter, floral and sweet; very viscous and yet it feels light in the mouth. Later on the tea gets incredibly fragrant, but not as perfumy as some other Yi Wu shengs I’ve tried. Apart from that, it tastes grassy and woody, with a decent umami and notes of roasted nuts, white grapes, swiss chard, and burnt food. Deep bitterness persists throughout the whole session, but the tea never gets overly astringent.
Ding Jia Zhai is an all-round great tea, but its aftertaste is one of the highlights for sure. It has some spiciness and a kind of sticky sweetness to it. On top of that, a few fruity flavours emerge that are absent when drinking the tea, most notably tones of orange, grapefruit, pawpaw, and chamomile. The huigan is remarkable even relative to other (supposedly) gu shu teas. The flavours of this tea stay with you and slowly evolve for a long time.
Mouthfeel wise, I found the tea maybe a bit less interesting, but still very enjoyable. The texture is smooth and oily and the body is medium. As for the cha qi, this tea has a nice subtly creeping, calming energy that’s not rushy. It is not one that would send you to the stratosphere I reckon, but I like it. I think this would be a good tea for social occasions.
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wxZ1DV9xO4
edit: I ended the session at 17 steeps today, but the tea seemed like it had a bit more to give, being still quite flavourful and thick even at these late stages.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Burnt Food, Butter, Citrus, Coffee, Floral, Fruity, Grapefruit, Grass, Nuts, Orange, Popcorn, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Tropical, Umami, Vegetables, White Grapes, Wood
I have been going through my CLT samples, thinking whether I should get any of the cakes, and I realized I never wrote a review for this one. It is among the better semi-aged teas I’ve tried, but the price reflects that as well.
The highlights of the tea for me are its flavour complexity and the cha qi. It also steeps for a long time. Even though I don’t find it quite as appealing taste & texture wise, I might get the cake with the current sale. I’ve been generally disappointed by CLT’s house productions, so I may not add anything else to the order. If you have any strong suggestions, let me know please :)
The aroma is deep and sweet with notes of rainforest, plum, fermented fruits, copper, thyme, honey, and a touch of lavender and nettle. Taste has a lot going on too. It is bittersweet, crisp and tannic overall with a good astringency. Over the course of the session I noted flavours of eucalyptus, autumn leaf pile, anise, grape skin, kombucha, chamomile, bread crust, walnut bread, rice paper, and red grape juice. Aftertaste continues with the impressive display of flavours, ranging from kale, to apricot and macadamia nuts. It is pungent and mineral, with a fairly long-lasting huigan and a camphor-like throat cooling quality.
Body is light to medium with a drying, bubbly mouthfeel that becomes a bit more milky mid session and silky at the end. The cha qi is noticeable and fast to appear. In my older notes, I described it as a full-body experience, but I am not sure I am getting that this session quite as much. I do get some slightly numbing sensations in my legs, but it seems mostly just very calming today.
Flavors: Anise, Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Biting, Bitter, Camphor, Drying, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Herbs, Honey, Kale, Lavender, Menthol, Metallic, Mint, Nuts, Plums, Rainforest, Rice, Stewed Fruits, Sweet, Tannic, Tea, Thyme, Walnut, Wet Rocks
Holy cow, this tea is smoky. I got it as a sample from tperez and maybe the fact that it was stored broken up in a closed ziplock enhanced the smoky aspect of it, because this is extreme for a tea that’s not advertised to be intentionally smoked.
It’s not bad though, and definitely quite unique. Dry leaves smell of smoked bacon and even in the wet leaf it’s hard to get behind the smokiness, but there are some vegetal aspects to it. The taste is quite bitter and metallic, with notes of quinine, pine resin, mild yeast and a mix of sugarcane and pickles in the finish. Texture is nice – buttery, bubbly and fairly drying.
Flavors: Bitter, Dill, Metallic, Pine, Resin, Smoke, Sour, Sugarcane, Yeast
oh. my. god. I have found my desert island tea. I think this is the first tea I could see myself drink every day and not get tired of, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I’ve only had it twice by now.
This is yet another blind cake purchase and I don’t regret it one bit. This tea has everything, and I find it hard to believe that it could get even better in a couple months, let’s see.
The aroma is very clean and pungent, with notes of oak wood and moss. It is earthy, sweet and spicy. The liquor is full bodied and active, with an oily, lubricating mouthfeel. Both the aroma and texture are great, but the tea shines in its taste.
Overall, the profile is bitter, fruity and woody with light sweetness and tartness. The tea is bursting with strong and well-defined flavours. These include strawberry, celery, cedar wood, lamb meat, vanilla ice cream, and cognac among many others. In the very long and sweet aftertaste, I get further notes of honey, straw, chocolate, tomato vine, and various spices.
After drinking Purple Voodoo, I feel full of energy and my mind is more focused. The qi is good for working, but at the moment I find the tea too interesting to use for work. It asks for attention from me and I find it hard to refuse to pay attention to all its nuances. However, as I get to know it better, it could become a great tea to drink while working, albeit a little pricey for that.
Flavors: Bitter, Brandy, Cedar, Celery, Chocolate, Fruity, Honey, Meat, Moss, Oak wood, Plant Stems, Smooth, Spices, Straw, Strawberry, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Vanilla, Wood