511 Tasting Notes
This is the last tea from my 2019 Shincha order. Since I stored it mostly in the fridge and only opened now, I am hoping it retained at least part of its freshness. After opening I notice that the leaves are quite broken up, I will need to be careful not to overbrew this one.
In the preheated pot, I get an early spring aroma of freshly ploughed soil, sprouting grass and mild flowers. It’s pleasant, but not too pronounced. After the leaves have been infused, the scent is mostly vegetal and kind of nondescript.
After drinking I can say that, just like the dry leaf aroma, the taste profile is well balanced and pleasant, but not very pungent. This tea lacks the umami known from shaded teas. Instead, it has more of a creamy vegetal character with a soft sweetness, crisp tartness, and a bitter backbone to balance it out. One of the vegetables that it reminds me of is okra.
In all fairness, the flavours are not what caught my attention first when drinking the tea. I was just taken aback by the incredibly thick and creamy texture.
The aftertaste is at first mostly grassy and astringent, but later develops a long-lasting sweetness in the throat. There are some notes of onion as well as hyacinth.
This would be a good tea for those who don’t like the profile of gyokuro and prioritize mouthfeel and huigan in their teas. It can also wake you up just like any other good Japanese green tea – these are still my favourites as far as getting my mind in working mode is concerned.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Creamy, Flowers, Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Green, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Vegetables, Vegetal, Wet Earth
This tea is nice even if somewhat run-of-the-mill. Still, among Assam teas it is above average for sure. Apart from the standard black tea aroma, there are notes of chard, woody peat, berries and parsley. The taste is then bittersweet with main flavours being cranberry and dry wood. However, the most memorable quality is its smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
Flavors: Berry, Cranberry, Creamy, Drying, Parsley, Peat, Vegetables, Vegetal, Wood
Having tried mostly recent productions from YS, it is always interesting to get to drink some of their earlier teas. This one is not too complex, but it possesses a great depth. The cha qi is of the calming and peaceful kind, alongside inducing a warming sensation throughout the body.
Aroma has notes of peat, nuts, parsnip, and wild garlic. The taste profile of the tea is, above all, very mineral and cooling. There is medium bitterness and a sweet finish and the late steeps are slightly salty. Otherwise I detect notes of pumpkin and charcoal. The aftertaste has white bread and beeswax notes and is dominated by a strong huigan with a mild tartness emerging. As for the mouthfeel, it is very syrupy, soft and smooth.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Char, Honey, Mineral, Nectar, Nuts, Parsley, Peat, Salty, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Wet Rocks
Like derk, I found this tea imbalanced in the past, with the roast muting its character. However, today it seems much more lively and pleasant. I suppose this evolution could be compared to some lighter roasted Wuyi oolongs. It is still a heavy tea though – in its taste profile, cha qi and also the texture.
The dry leaf scent is fruity with a strong peach note to it, while the wet leaves smell of forest floor, vegetables and some flowers. It is a much less sweet aroma after the rinse.
Taste is now quite well-balanced with a strong woody, spicy, and bitter character. There are notes of fish meat, burnt food, crickets as well as some metallic ones. The woody bitterness persists into the aftertaste, which reminds me of a conifer forest at first. Over time, a sweetness develops that moves the profile more towards honey, milk and raisins. Eventually, pronounced stone fruit flavours come back from the grave too. It is a very long aftertaste that remains interesting for more than 30 minutes after drinking the tea.
The liquor has a medium body, but feels very heavy in the mouth. It has a drying, slightly foamy, oat milk like texture. Topping off the experience is a sort of dizzying and sedating cha qi that is somewhat psychedelic.
Flavors: Bitter, Burnt Food, Fish Broth, Flowers, Forest Floor, Fruity, Honey, Meat, Metallic, Milk, Mineral, Oats, Peach, Pine, Raisins, Roasted, Spices, Stonefruits, Vegetables, Wood
I am revisiting this little cake today. I store it like the rest of my white tea cakes, sealed with no active humidification although I did give it a bit of humidity initially with a boveda pack.
The aging is slow, but still much faster than any of my raw pu’er, as one would expect. The dry leaf aroma is a bit more muted now, while the wet leaves have some new scents of apricot, caramel and wood. The taste is more tart/fruity and less grassy overall. I noticed new flavours such as red apple and tamarind. Aftertaste is quite drying and has a distinctive caffeine bitterness. These moonlight whites tend to be fairly caffeinated and this tea underscores that. The liquor has a medium body and a smooth, velvety mouthfeel.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Caramel, Drying, Flowers, Fruity, Malt, Orange Blossom, Pleasantly Sour, Red Apple, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Wood
Approaching 1 year of age, my green teas from last years harvest are slowly but surely fading. I wish I would have written a note for this one earlier, because it used to be pretty good. However, it didn’t satisfy my craving for a green tea today and I didn’t finish the session.
This tea is among the more expensive ripes that YS has produced and one can tell it’s not your standard shou. In fact, it is one of the most unique teas in the category, but in ways that are not always immediately obvious. Despite having a complex flavour profile, I found the experience being mostly anchored by the mouthfeel and cha qi. Unlike a lot of other ripe pu’er, this is not a tea to drink on empty stomach – it is more of a powerhouse than a comforting tea in terms of its energy.
As for the smell, I can detect notes of beef and yorkshire pudding before the rinse and wet earth, coconut shell, caramel, fermented citrus fruits afterwards. There is a very pungent empty cup aroma, which hints that the aftertaste is going to be strong too.
The liquor has a lot of different tastes going on, ranging from honey, cookies, cocoa and roasted nuts, to grilled aubergine, red apple, chamomile, and oak wood. The finish is very sweet and yields to a long-lasting floral sweetness. On top of that, the aftertaste displays an interesting vegetal sourness and a grapefruit bitterness. It is somewhat reminiscent of wood, molasses, and medium roast coffee.
The texture of the liquor is buttery and smooth with a full bodied, bubbly character. After swallowing I get a sandpaper-like mouthfeel which is not drying.
The cha qi is subtle, yet very strong and warming. I find it to be quite disorienting without being defocusing.
As I wrote earlier – a unique tea. It is hard to speculate how it will age, but it’s delicious already.
Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Char, Citrus, Cocoa, Coconut, Coffee, Compost, Cookie, Floral, Flowers, Grapefruit, Honey, Meat, Molasses, Oak wood, Pastries, Red Apple, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Sour, Sweet, Thick, Vegetables, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wood
After a lengthy hiatus, I am back to reviewing teas on Steepster, now that I am finally in a new house :) Hopefully I won’t have to move too soon again!
I wrote in some other note that I am not that fond of Man Zhuan teas, and this one definitely doesn’t change that. The profile of these teas just doesn’t suit me.
The aroma is sweet and perfumy with notes of custard, peach, and grapefruit early on and complemented by roasted walnuts and wet earth in later stages. I’d say that, for me, the aroma is the most agreeable aspect of the tea, maybe with the exception of the qi.
The taste is very floral (reminiscent of Lishan oolongs), vegetal, and sour. It has notes of bitter melon, yeast, and a decent umami. Consequently, the aftertaste presents new flavours such as nectar, cocoa beans, olive oil, and paper. It is quite drying and cooling in the throat, while the liquor itself is fairly mouth-watering, silky, and thick.
I do like the body sensations from this sheng, but it is too expensive to buy based on that alone. It has a creeping chest energy and induces shivering sensation down my spine coupled with numbness at the back of my neck. Overall, it is quite a calming tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter Melon, Cocoa, Custard, Drying, Floral, Grapefruit, Nectar, Olive Oil, Paper, Peach, Perfume, Roasted nuts, Sour, Umami, Vegetal, Walnut, Wet Earth, Yeast
This Dan Cong is reminiscent of Taiwanese high mountain oolongs a bit. The flavours seem more interesting than aromas here though. I can also see the similarity to Wu Dong Chou Shi Dan Cong (made from the same varietal), but this one has lighter body and is less complex for sure. Compared to similarly priced teas, it does last quite a bit.
In the dry leaf aroma there are notes of milk and fruits. After the rinse the bouquet changes to a more green and floral one with hints of bay leaves and some vegetables. The taste is crisp, tangy and sweet with notes of cream, fruits and grass. On the other hand, the aftertaste has a more floral and umami character with flavours like yellow bell pepper and plantains.
Flavors: banana, Bell Pepper, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green, Milk, Sweet, Tangy, Umami
This is the first (and to this day the only) Qian Liang tea that I’ve tried. I am definitely intrigued – it is a really unique tea, which I also haven’t found the right way to brew yet mostly due to it being pressed so tightly. It seems to require a rinse of several minutes followed by a lengthy rest at the very least.
It is a very comforting and warming tea that seems very much suited to late autumn days. The main flavours includes earhty, spicy (bay leaf, caraway, star anise) and sweet (tamarind) ones.
Flavors: Anise, Bark, Earth, Mineral, Spices, Sweet