526 Tasting Notes

80

I’ve never had a Hekai/Pasha/Nannuo tea that I would love and this offering from BLT doesn’t change that. It has a smooth texture and well-balanced profile, but nothing really stands out about it to elevate it above the rest. 

In dry form, the aroma is a mix of floral and fruity notes with a distinctive nectarine scent. After the rinse, I find the smell interesting but also hard to identify. Some weak associations would be gardenia flowers, wet hay, seeds, and garden pond. In the empty cup, there is a mostly creamy scent. In total, the aroma does seem to be quite unique for a sheng, but it didn’t turn out to be very memorable to be honest.

The liquor has a very refreshing, juicy character. There are fruity notes (citrus, green apple), as well as straw, grape vine, and butter flavours. The finish is tart and provides a transition into the mildly spicy and sweet aftertaste.

Flavors: Citrusy, Fruity, Gardenias, Green Apple, Hay, Nutty, Plants, Smooth, Stonefruits, Straw, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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86

WMD Mansa is a high quality tea, there’s no question about that. An experience with a tea like this is impossible to summarize, but for me the highlights were the complexity this tea displays both in the cha qi and the taste of course. Despite some similarities with other Yi Wu gushu, it is also fairly unique and I am very glad I sampled it. However, at $1/g, I also doubt I will be buying more of it to be honest, especially since the taste profile is actually not completely aligned with my personal preferences and the tea brews a bit shorter than most gushu does.

I like the fragrance, but I didn’t find it to be an overly remarkable aspect as the Bitterleaf Tea’s description might suggest. Empty cup aroma is mostly floral and pollen-like, while the leaves themselves smell a bit more vegetal. There are also notes of nuts, toasted bread, haystacks, thistles, and parsley to be found in the gaiwan.

The tea is complex and changes throughout the session. The rinse is mostly mineral, sweet and floral. Next few infusions are savoury with a sour finish, a strong creeping (rather than in-your-face) bitterness, and very little sweetness. I find it to be somewhat “wild-tasting” (reminiscent of Taiwanese wild tea) with notes of edamame, chicory, walnut skins, and seed oil. The aftertaste is then a bit spicy, floral and creamy.

Middle steeps are more fruity and sweet, displaying new flavours of fenugreek, peas, and grapes. There is a cooling, nutty aftertaste with an ever intensifying huigan. Late infusions then become mostly sweet and citrusy and remain flavourful until the end. New notes include those of fish broth, carrot, and lemon. The aftertaste is somewhat perfumy and biting at this stage.

After about 13 infusions, the tea doesn’t have enough power to sustain classic brewing. However, as with many Yi Wu teas, one can break up the leaves mechanically to prolong the session if desired. The resulting brews are thick, sweet and balanced with a return of the more vegetal aspects and a sweet cooling aftertaste, as well as another energy boost.

Throughout the session the body is medium to full with an incredibly smooth texture. Early on, there is a mouth-numbing sensation as well. The cha qi is very strong and warms the whole body and soul. In the early stages, it is very meditative, while afterwards I get mostly an energizing feeling from drinking the tea.

Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Carrot, Citrusy, Fish Broth, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Hay, Lemon, Mineral, Nuts, Parsley, Peas, Perfume, Plants, Sour, Spicy, Sweet, Toast, Vegetal, Walnut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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87

Are we getting Steepster back? I hope so! :)

Anyway, here’s a tea I drank today. It is very much a feel-good and energizing tea. At its present state, it is more bitter than sweet, and definitely more bitter than “Keep Smiling”. The bitterness never lets go, but at the same time it doesn’t completely suppress other flavours. It also has less of the metallic and bell pepper like character that a lot of huangpian teas have. For the price, this is some of the best tea one can get imo, just like its cousin – Keep Smiling. The fact that it easily brews 200ml/g just underscores that.

It displays aromas of apricots, peat, carob, candlewax, and a rural, hot hay like scent. Furthermore, in the empty cup one can find a cooling, nutty, and vegetal aroma that is somewhat unique among sheng pu’er. The taste is very pungent, bitter and vegetal with notes of chard, grapefruit skin and rye among other ones. Liquor has a full body and a creamy texture with just a touch of chalkiness in late steeps. As one would expect from the bitter Lao Man E varietal, the bitterness persists into the aftertaste, which is also a bit citrusy, spicy and warming. Towards the end of the session there is the slightest hint of smokiness too.

All in all, I would highly recommend this tea to anyone who likes bitter flavours in their pu-erh.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Floral, Grapefruit, Hot hay, Nutty, Peat, Rye, Spicy, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
derk

Hello! It’s so good to see so many people back.

Togo

Yes, definitely! It would be a shame if the little community we have here dispersed.

Shanie O Maniac

shows up to steepster 15 minutes late with teavana

Wait. What’d I miss?

tea-sipper

Shanie – Steepster was frozen and everyone was huddled in the last posted tasting note for about ten days – a Steepster record. Though it was because Adagio, the new owners of Steepster, are in the process of taking over, and wasn’t moving as smoothly as they had hoped.

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95

I don’t have much to add to my previous note about this tea after today’s session. It did have a more nutty aroma, but mainly I noticed the cha qi much more. It induced a warming feeling throughout my body and helped me properly focus on the work.

Flavors: Nutty

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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79
drank 2017 She's Not Me by White2Tea
526 tasting notes

She’s Not Me is a very consistent tea with a Bu Lang character. Some of the material seems a little aged, but not a large percentage. Nevertheless, the tea is not overly rough or abrasive. All in all though, I just don’t find it exciting enough to justify the price.

The aroma is sweet and herbaceous with notes of fermented fruits (sea buckthorn juice), sunflowers, thyme and lemon balm. First infusion is already quite viscous with a colloidal mouthfeel. The taste is citrusy and displays a nice sweet finish. Later steeps get more savoury and herbaceous, until the fruitiness reappears after the peak. There are flavours such as those of sunflower and anise seeds, sugarcane, butter, wood, cantaloupe, and spices.

The mouthfeel is generally very nice and foamy. After swallowing there is a prolonged biting and after a few minutes also throat-cooling sensation. The cha qi is energizing and dizzying, but not the most memorable.

Flavors: Biting, Butter, Cantaloupe, Citrus, Fennel Seed, Flowers, Fruity, Grass Seed, Herbaceous, Lemon, Nuts, Sweat, Thick, Thyme, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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74

Pretty nice as far as scented teas go. It has a really soft texture that sets it apart from basic jasmine teas. However, I rarely feel like drinking it actually.

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81

This is what one could call a classic Yiwu tea. It has the floral sweetness and a nice soft texture. It is fairly consistent throughout the session but also not that complex you could say.

The wet leaf aroma is floral, a bit grassy and it includes notes of bay leaf, compost, thyme and a light smokiness. Taste is well integrated with next to no distinctive flavours. It is sweet, floral, and very fragrant with hints of nutty oil flavour. The liquor has medium to full body with some astringency and it induces a cooling feeling in the mouth. What follows is a very nice huigan and a warm sensation spreading throughout the body.

Flavors: Compost, Floral, Grass, Nutty, Plants, Smoke, Sweet, Thick, Thyme

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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68
drank Organic Gyokuro Uguisu by Yuuki-cha
526 tasting notes

I can’t warm up to this particular gyokuro and will probably cold-brew the rest of my pouch. The aromas are weak, the body is lighter than usual, and even though the taste is pungent I find the profile off. I am not quite sure why but it seems like it is somewhat unbalanced and disintegrated.

As for the particular notes, there are hints of cabbage and spearmint in the aroma emerging from the leaves and milk & custard in the empty cup scent. Fairly unusual range of aromas for a gyokuro, but they are so weak that they cannot take the center stage.

As expected first two infusions have a strong umami with a brothy / salty profile, which, unfortunately is not very well integrated with the green, vegetal aspects of the tea. Flavours of corn, spaghetti squash, butter, grass, asparagus, okra, green beans are among the ones I detected.

Flavors: Asparagus, Broth, Corn Husk, Custard, Grass, Green Beans, Marine, Milk, Pumpkin, Salty, Spearmint, Umami, Vegetables, Vegetal

Preparation
145 °F / 62 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 180 ML
LuckyMe

Bummer. I was going to order some Yuuki-Cha gyokuro too for Shincha but held off as it’s always so hit or miss for me.

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85

I am a fan of red jade white (and black) teas in large part because when I crave a tea of this kind, there are very few others that can do the trick. This one fits that purpose, but it’s also quite different from its relatives. The minty character less pronounced and the tea has a more malty profile.

The aroma has a strong dill note, complemented by scents of cape gooseberry and puff pastry. On the whole, it is not as pungent as these teas can be though. The liquor is very refreshing thanks to a fruity tartness, quinine bitterness, a spicy anise finish and a cooling mouthfeel. The texture is buttery and a little bubbly, with a distinct astringency that translates into a sandpaper-like, numbing mouthfeel. There is also a strong flowery fragrance in the aftertaste coupled with some more fruity flavours such as those of grapes and gooseberry.

Flavors: Anise, Astringent, Berry, Bitter, Butter, Dill, Drying, Flowers, Fruity, Grapes, Malt, Pastries, Spicy, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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90

First time breaking into my cake of W2T’s rooster. Comparing my experience with the notes from a year ago show that the tea hasn’t changed much. It still has that lovely upfront bitterness and a mostly vegetal profile.

The dry leaf scent is weaker now though and there are some aromas in the wet leaves that I didn’t pick up previously, such as cream, herbaceous ones, cabbage, and citrus zest.

The taste is a bit more bready with a sunflower seed note and there are flavours of jalapeno peppers and coffee emerging in the aftertaste, accompanying the floral sweetness. I also really like the combination of a throat-cooling feeling with the overall body-warming sensation the tea induces.

Flavors: Bitter, Citrus Zest, Coffee, Cream, Floral, Green Pepper, Herbaceous, Mineral, Pepper, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Profile

Bio

Currently, I am a PhD student at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario. Apart from teas and mathematics, I enjoy sports and traveling, as well as music of all kinds.

I have been a fan of green tea for a while and only recently (in 2017) started exploring other kinds of tea in greater depth. I rarely drink blends or white tea and avoid artificially scented teas. Other than that I try to keep it varied. The one thing that I am currently missing in my collection are teas from India, in particular some Darjeelings.

My rating description:
100 _ Unforgettable tea, an experience that changes your life.
90 – 100 _ Excellent tea.
80 – 90 _ Very enjoyable, I will buy again.
70 – 80 _ I enjoyed it, but I most likely won’t be buying it again.
60 – 70 _ Decent.
50 – 60 _ Average, forgettable.
40 – 50 _ I didn’t really like the tea, but it is drinkable.
0 – 40 _ I would prefer to avoid the tea.

Location

Waterloo, ON, Canada

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