392 Tasting Notes
This tea is very light coloured despite being 3 years old, but it tastes more aged than it looks. Overall, I found it to have very little astringency and bitterness. I agree with derk’s evaluation, this is an easy to drink sheng that has no obvious drawbacks, apart from maybe being somewhat boring for more experienced drinkers.
There isn’t much of note in terms of aromas. As for the taste, it starts out light and balanced with a grassy character, but quickly turns into a fairly smoky tea with notes of leather and green beans. It has a medium body and a cooling, silky mouthfeel.
The aftertaste is maybe the most interesting aspect of the tea, and indicative of good quality material. It has a fruity sweetness and a sour note. It soon gets quite vegetal with notes like lime leaves and then turns savoury towards the end of the session. This is definitely not a tea to drink when you are looking for cha qi or huigan though.
Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Fruity, Green Beans, Leather, Lime, Plants, Smoke, Sour, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
The description of this tea mentions that the cultivar originates from Fujian. The dry leaf smell, however, reminds me of Dan Cong oolongs, but it’s even more fruity. There are notes of watermelon, peach and other fruits. After the leaves open up, the aroma changes to a more floral, grassy and spicy one. I also get some curious notes of stir fried beef and shrimps.
I found the taste to be very hard to describe. I don’t think I’ve ever had Ai Jiao yancha, but the taste profile does bear resemblance to a fruitier version of some rock oolongs. It has strong minerality and floral components. I brewed it quite strong today, which meant a less balanced profile, but the evolution of the various tastes and textures is pronounced this way and very unique. At first sip, the bitterness hits, followed by an astringency spreading all over my mouth and a tingling sourness at the back. After swallowing, I get a warming sensation spreading through my body and a fragrant, floral aftertaste that slowly gives way to a rock sugar and cantaloupe sweetness. At first, the cha qi seems to be more of a bodily experience, but over time I notice heightened sensations as well.
All in all, this is a tea that I think has to be experienced, there is nothing like it in my past drinking experiences to be honest.
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwcaDvr8f1o
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Cantaloupe, Floral, Fruity, Melon, Mineral, Peach, Sour, Spicy, Sugar
[Autumn 2018 harvest]
This is a nice fairly robust and medium to full bodied black tea with a very distinctive chocolate note in both aroma and taste.
The tea indeed smells mostly of chocolate, complemented by slightly earthy and vegetal aromas, as well as a tomato scent. The taste is strongly reminiscent of cocoa beans and very sweet. There are also weaker notes of sawdust, red pepper, roasted barley and in the finish grapefruit skin too. Aftertaste is still sweet with flavours like roasted squash, strawberry, wood, and honey emerging. It is very long lasting and fragrant overall, probably the highlight of the tea for me. I quite like the mouthfeel too, which is slimy, fleeting and mouth-watering.
Flavors: Bell Pepper, Butternut Squash, Chocolate, Citrus, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Grapefruit, Honey, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Sawdust, Strawberry, Sweet, White Chocolate, Wood
I went shopping to a farmer’s market in town today and found a new cafe/teahouse serving some decent tea, that’s the first one in the Kitchener/Waterloo area that I am aware of. They have some tea from O5 and Kuura. I tried one of the new Kuura shengs – Psychotropical – which was quite nice and reminded me of Bing Dao teas a bit. When I came home, I was craving more of similar style tea so I took out this sample from YS.
It is an elegant, powerful and full bodied tea with an interesting astringency that’s not overpowering, as one would expect from Bing Dao area. It has strong and balanced flavours, mostly sweet, sour, floral, and vegetal with a bitter finish. This is one of the teas, whose autumn version is much cheaper than spring, but given how good this one is, I imagine the autumn is a better value.
The dry leaf aroma is sweet with notes of caramel and hot apple. There are a lot of different smells I get from the wet leaves, including turmeric, nettle, courgette, green pepper, and something resembling a (clean) bog. In an empty cup, the aroma reminds me of orchid, masala chai and honey. The complexity in aromas here is almost unparalleled as far as sheng is concerned.
The rinse taste is a mix of floral and vegetal notes that reminds me of green tea a bit. It is full bodied with a nice bitter finish and a fragrant aftertaste. The taste profile gets heavier very soon, with woody sweetness, and flavours of cut grass and apple skins. The finish is tart and has a medicinal bitterness that I like a lot.
There is also a very pleasant astringency throughout the session that complements the velvety, soft, and lubricating mouthfeel of the liquor. Furthermore, the astringency persists into the aftertaste, which is protracted and evolving with a strong huigan and a nice cooling effect. In terms of cha qi, I found the tea to be calming, warming, and inducing a very peaceful state – just what I needed.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUh51UKxgl0
Flavors: Apple Skins, Astringent, Bitter, Candied Apple, Caramel, Cut grass, Drying, Floral, Green Pepper, Honey, Medicinal, Milk, Orchid, Spices, Sweet, Tart, Tea, Thick, Vegetal, Wood, Zucchini
This is a nice floral, sweet, and full-bodied tea with a long-lasting aftertaste. There is enough complexity, but the taste profile remains fairly balanced. One of the better teas I sampled from CLT. The taste is profile is a little strange, but I attribute that to the fact that the tea is in its transition period already.
The dry leaf aroma has a gin and woody quality that turns into a mix of cream, grass compost, camphor and tobacco later on. Towards the end of the session, I can also smell some white peach.
As for taste notes, I noticed flavours of fenugreek, lemon zest, nutmeg, fresh dates, walnut shells and bread. It is somewhat juicy and bitter taste with heavy sweetness and a strong floral component. The aftertaste is dry and tart with notes of honey, dandelion leaves, and guava. The huigan is strong and lasts for a while too.
One of the highlights, and a reason why I think this tea might age well, is its very thick mouthfeel. It is also fairly slick and soft though, with a slight foamy quality that should get enhanced over time. On the other hand, what the tea does not seem to have is a particularly memorable cha qi. However, I don’t really see that as a problem, I don’t necessarily want every sheng I drink to have a hard-hitting qi.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Camphor, Compost, Cream, Cut grass, Dandelion, Dates, Floral, Fruity, Guava, Honey, Lemon Zest, Nutmeg, Peach, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco, Walnut, Wood
This is a nice woody shou with a very interesting mouthfeel. However, given its price, it is not one that I am considering getting a cake of.
It has an interesting anise aroma, which is soon overpowered by the woody notes. The taste is somewhat bitter with flavours of oak, incense, red apple skin, camphor and mushrooms. In the sweetish aftertaste, I get more of chocolate and cherry. For me, the main selling point of this tea is the mouthfeel though. It is extremely bubbly and foamy. The medium bodied liquor is very active in the mouth.
Flavors: Apple Skins, Bitter, Camphor, Cherry, Chocolate, Mushrooms, Oak wood, Red Apple, Wood
I tend to compare every wild arbor black tea from Yunnan to W2T’s Arbor Red nowadays, it has become the staple tea of this category for me. As for Ancient Spirit, this one seems to have a really good reputation on here so I was excited to try it. All in all, it doesn’t reach the heights of Arbor Red in my opinion. It is less well balanced and is not as complex. On the other hand, the longetivity and texture is just as good if not better.
The dry leaf aroma is slightly metallic with notes of sawdust, tomato vine, leather, and cranberry. From the wet leaves I get scents of forest floor, smoke and later in the session also roast lamb. The taste is very smooth and elegant. There are flavours of straw, citrus zest, leather, wood, and brown sugar. They turn into a mineral, woody, and fragrant aftertaste. I quite like the mouthfeel, which is buttery, smooth, soft, and somewhat fleeting.
It’s quite hard to describe this tea overall, but it is very mineral, a bit smoky, somewhat savoury, and lightly sweet. Late steeps then turn out to be distinctively woody.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Citrus Zest, Cranberry, Forest Floor, Leather, Meat, Mineral, Plant Stems, Sawdust, Smoke, Smooth, Straw, Wood
An evening tea choice fell on this sample from tperez and I used all of it, because why the hell not. As others have mentioned the tea does indeed remind one of roses. In fact, I think I like this rose aroma more than most of actual roses, whose scent I tend to find overwhelming. Another very distinctive characteristic is a string minerality and a vegetal nature that comes to the fore towards the end of the session in particular.
In the dry leaves, I can also smell charcoal, blood orange, and stonefruits apart from the florals. The mix of floral and ash reminds me a bit of light to medium roasted TGY. When wet, I get further notes of mushrooms, popcorn, rock salt and various vegetal ones. The taste starts off floral and mineral with a mild banana sweetness and a sour finish followed by a very mineral (almost salty) and buttery aftertaste. Later on, flavours of honey and grass emerge and the aftertaste turns more perfumy. Throughout the session, the mouthfeel is quite thick, but not particularly interesting.
Overall, a nice Dan Cong, but not one I am dying to have in my stash.
Flavors: banana, Blood orange, Butter, Char, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Mushrooms, Perfume, Popcorn, Rose, Salt, Salty, Stonefruits, Thick, Vegetal
I felt like having a Taiwanese white today and I found this sample from derk lying around today after coming home from work. The tea is somewhat less aromatic than other related examples, but the flavours are very yummy. It is sweeter and fruitier than what I remember from other red jade white teas. The texture is very smooth and creamy and the aftertaste very cooling and menthol like with various vegetal notes.
I was also taken aback by the cha qi that gradually started creeping over me. Maybe I should have read the other reviews first, I wonder how much work I can get done tonight lol.
I will be looking to get more of this one, thanks for sharing it with me, derk :)
Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Grass, Menthol, Mint, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal
Unlike a lot of other teas in a similar category, this one is very well balanced. It is probably a bit more expensive than what I’d be happy to pay for a cake though.
It has aromas of wooden cabinet, wet earth, water lilies and some medicinal ones. The taste is tart and fruity with a crisp vegetal note appearing throughout the session and a bitter finish. I can taste dates and honey, although the profile is not very sweet overall. In late infusions, the taste is quite spicy too. The aftertaste is dry and has a perfume-like quality with notes of peach skin, wood, and black pepper.
Body is medium to light, but the texture is at least a bit interesting. The liquor has a coating, cooling and slightly numbing mouthfeel with good astringency. As for the cha qi, I found it to be quite heady and elevating with a mild body warming sensation.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Black Pepper, Dates, Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Medicinal, Mud, Peach, Perfume, Tart, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wood