Bitterleaf Teas

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Recent Tasting Notes

Gongfu!

My brain seems to constantly want to autocorrect the name of this tea to ‘Plum Blossom’ instead and I think maybe that’s because this session starts off with a pleasant mild sweetness and soft fruity and floral quality. It builds up into something that’s a bit more balanced between the supple sweetness and a pleasant bitterness. I mostly really enjoy the mouthfeel of this tea; it rides a fine line between soft and delicate which also having a rich thickness and viscosity.

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYrrzDdOgfa/

This is unrelated to the tea, but the dice in this photo set are probably my favourite set that I own. They have little teacups inside them!

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbkugCPqxQY&ab_channel=fionaappleVEVO

gmathis

Those dice are amazing!

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Gongfu!

Yesterday I broke into a fresh cake of the new pressing of BLT’s Skinny Dip. The 2019 pressing of this tea is one of my favourite white teas that BLT has ever carried so I was so excited to steep this one up!! It’s refreshingly crisp and vegetal with the sort of creamy cucumber pulp note that I just adore in white tea!! Light, refreshing, and approachable & honestly just insanely good value for how inexpensive the cake was!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYUfP3zOEjv/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGavJgkB7bg&ab_channel=NumberOnePopstar

MadHatterTeaReview

I’m off Friday. I know what tea I’m having first thing!

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96

Gongfu!

So this was my first tea session (though not first tea) of the year – not for any particular reason aside from the fact I got this order in right before my holiday break and I’ve been waiting for a good day to steep one of them up since. As it’s a colder grey and overcast afternoon, the sweet and comforting profile of an orange stuffed tea felt correct for the day. It really is QUITE sweet though!

Opening up the package the aromatic sweet orange notes immediately punctuate the moment, as if to say “You’re in for one hell of a treat!” – and from the first steep my whole room smelled beautifully of the juicy, sweet ripe orange – like digging your nails into the skin of a good clementine or tangerine and breathing in the mist of essential oils spraying back at you as the rind peels back. The session just kept going with the spectrum of steeps ranging from syrupy sweet candied orange to a more full bodied and robust (but still smooth and rounded) coating profile of plump, ripe clementine slices with rich black tea that added additional notes of sweet red fruits, leather, and honey.

Have I conveyed enough of how sweet and distinctly this tea tasted of orange!? It was perfection!! I’m honestly so glad I decided to go all in and get multiples of each of the three tea bases because this is probably one of the most pleasant orange stuffed teas that I’ve ever had!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYM_gd4ugUG/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E84ZuzpxG18&ab_channel=MoreFatter

DrowningMySorrows

Well, that’s another one for my wishlist. Just when I think I’ve figured out my next tea order(s) someone posts about something that sounds absolutely delicious and screws up my whole plan!

Ros, do you have a separate storage area for your orange peel teas? They’re so “smelly” I’ve been afraid to keep mine organized by tea type like I usually do. All the orangey ones have to live in a separate box.

Roswell Strange

The answer is yes and no, haha. I put these ones in a special area because they’re pretty potent smelling and I have a couple more fragrant chenpi shou cakes in the same area; but most of them are stored within their tea types.

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Gongfu!

Enjoying a moment of calm with this session and a new teacup!! One of my favourite notes in a good yellow tea is that lovely toasted peanut or hazelnut note you often get and in particular I’m finding the top notes of the steeps in the early session to have a very lovely rich and buttery toasted hazelnut character. The body of both the sip and the session, as I push past earlier infusions, is surprisingly sweet and fruity to me; like red currant jelly but with a more vegetal and grassy finish that tips this tea’s hand and reveals its closer kinship to green tea. It’s very lovely with a gentle and kind presence!!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CX_x_60uwhk/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUzF_HkBcgo&ab_channel=FamilyTime-Topic

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Gongfu Sipdown (1540)!

Finished my last dragonball this morning with some sweet red grapes snacked on in between the steeps!! I’m keeping the steep times really short because I’m looking to pull some more of the sweet crisp vegetal and mineral notes of this tea, but not the progressive bitterness and astringency and it’s working alright! There’s something about the vegetal notes here – especially early in this tea session – that remind me of the taste of freshly picked cucumbers or sugar snaps straight from the garden in summer. It’s the clean sweetness mixed with the slight minerality of the soil that hadn’t been totally washed off yet. Later steeps progress to more of a green bell pepper type of vegetal flavour, but leaning hard into the minerality and picking up bitterness. It’s good, though not my normal preference and not something I’d repurchase simply because of that fact & I’m happy to have the grapes to nibble on as those elements amp up as this session pushes forward…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWyTn4jrS5z/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6SNKL5JBk8&ab_channel=Jordana-Topic

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70

Gongfu!

Inspired by Theoolongdrunk to dip into this sheng yesterday afternoon with a whole heap of juicy fresh blueberries! Truthfully, while I love blueberry flavoured things, I’m not the biggest fan of actual blueberries because I find the taste and texture often too unpredictable. However this was a pretty sweet pint, and I thought complimented the more green bell pepper & overall vegetal leaning taste of this sheng. While it does have a strong lingering sweetness (a bit like anise) in the finish, I generally don’t favor more vegetal teas so the additional blueberries were an improvement on the tea session for me!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CV5qh0irF6i/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUSr15Lrdxc&ab_channel=TheOrionExperience

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Steeped this up Western style but didn’t take notes, which I’m now regretting. I feel like it will be most interesting once brewed Gongfu, but I did enjoy this last mug quite a bit. Hits deep in the back of the chest, and is earthy and dank in the way a root cellar is. Good. Tasty. Comforting.

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Gongfu!

Taking advantage of the beautiful crisp autumn weather this afternoon to crack into this cake and steep some tea at the park!! This is the first time I’ve personally come across a compressed yellow tea before, and it’s quite interesting! While the first infusions did have a slight fruity sweetness, like most yellow tea from Meng Ding that I’ve come across this session settled into a rather toasty and nutty profile with flavours of golden roasted peanuts and hints of hazelnut complimenting a bit of a sweetgrass and dandelion undertone. This tea session was pretty calm and easygoing, which makes me excited to continue to play with this unique pressing

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CV099k2LC3m/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pnly1_3XnTU&ab_channel=NiceGuys

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87

Having defended my PhD thesis yesterday, I decided to treat myself with a special tea. This is a cake I bought blind this year and the first sniff I had of the tea back when it arrived blew me away. I never thought raw pu-erh could have such a pungent, feminine, room-filling aroma of honey and flowers emerge from a single cake. In any case, I haven’t tried it until today, as there wasn’t really the right occasion for it.

Since I’ve moved continents recently and haven’t had the time to figure out how to set up my storage after the move yet, my cakes are currently stored in bags without active humidification. That may be one of the reasons, why the aroma wasn’t quite as remarkable when I opened the pouch today. Also, after the rinse, the smell is quite weak and merely reminds me of some sweet grassy scent.

The first infusion is a pretty wild ride. It has medium body and a soft, bubbly, and mouth-watering texture. There is a mineral bitterness, strong umami, vegetal, sweet, sour as well as yeasty notes. I detected also flavours of mung beans, grass, and mint.

Second steep has a very unique mouthfeel that I am struggling to find the right description of, it felt kind of … wet? That’s a weird descriptor. Whenever I tried to focus on the textural sensation, it felt as if the liquor almost wasn’t there. I can’t recall ever having an experience quite like this one. The taste is once again sweet and sour with notes of olive oil and spring onion.

Third infusion is the thickest yet. I probably overbrewed it a bit, but I do like the added pungency and bitterness. Subsequent infusions continue in the vein of bitter florals coupled with the mineral profile Naka tea is known for, but they didn’t stick out to me as quite as interesting.

There is a sour umami aftertaste reminiscent of miso at times, wheat-like grainy note, lemon flavour (especially around steeps 8-10) and a lasting black pepper spiciness.

The cha qi had pretty subtle onset, but once it hit I found the feeling to be very relaxing. It’s a perfect tea to slow down.

Given the price it sells for, I am not quite sure if I would wholeheartedly recommend it. I will see how my future sessions are, but the OG Naka from BLT is a better deal I’d say.

Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT5innrMz0k

Flavors: Beany, Bitter, Citrus, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Mineral, Mint, Olive Oil, Sour, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal, Wheat, Yeast

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

Congrats on the defense. May I ask thesubject of your thesis?

Rich

Congrats! I still remember my defense from over 25 years ago! One hiccup but it otherwise went well. How did yours go?

Togo

Thanks :)

@derk, I was building a mathematical framework for describing concepts such as information, complexity, etc from the perspective of them being resources for particular tasks that one may be interested in achieving. It’s a kind of interdisciplinary work using mathematics to establish connections between physics, theoretical computer science and hopefully other fields (biology for example) in the future

Togo

@Rich, it went really well, neither of the committee members tried to give me a particularly hard time :)

Leafhopper

Congratulations on your defense! It’s interesting that so many tea people seem to be involved with math/information systems in some way.

mrmopar

Awesome job and congrats on the defense.

Martin Bednář

Congrats on the defense! What a big step!

Michelle

Congrats on defending your thesis! Is the abstract posted on line?

tanluwils

Congrats! I’m sure the feeling of concluding a long stretch of hard work further enhances the effect of a tea, but there is a point when a tea surpasses our expectations in which case the tea speaks for itself without our biases. It sounds like that was the case here. One day I’ll have to try a sample of this one. Maybe on my wife’s birthday morning?

Togo

@Leafhopper: True, but even in this community is a very niche hobby, let’s see if we can change that :)

@Michelle: It is now ;)
https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/handle/10012/17739

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I’m a big fan of the 2019 vintage of this tea and the 2021 harvest does not disappoint. Having already reviewed the (now sold out) 2019 version, most of the things I wrote there should also apply to this tea, so I will keep this short and sweet and not repeat myself here.

Like its predecessor, the 2021 Full Frontal is a strong tea with plenty of bite and great longevity. The soup is thick with a pleasing texture. While obviously still floral, I actually found the ’21 less of a flower bomb than the ’19 and instead it displayed some interesting hints of a cocktail of various fruity notes alongside the florals.

While it starts off sweet and gentle, the bitterness ramps up as the infusions progress and grow longer. While I virtually always brew my raws with freshly boiled water, this is one of the teas where I like to do two infusions before reboiling. I find Full Frontal to respond well to ~95°C water and alternating between 99°C and 95°C gives a fun insight into the more biting and slightly gentler facets of the tea. If you’re afraid of this tea being too intense, you can experiment with using less leaf and slightly cooler water. I would expect it to still perform well.

I’d regard Full Frontal ’21 to be just as good as the ’19. If you missed out on the original or have already drunk it all, this tea comes highly recommended. I remember considering this tea to be a good value, but upon checking the price on the website, I needed to do a double take when I was the price per gram. 22¢/g is ridiculously good value for this tea! I’d expect it to sell for at least 30¢/g and even 40¢ wouldn’t be unreasonable at all. I’m tempted to pick up a cake myself, because I don’t have that much Jingmai and this tea ticks all the boxes for me.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Fruity, Sweet, Thick

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Grandpa Style!

I don’t think I’ve tried a lot of Bangwei sheng before, but I’m enjoying this one a lot – it’s reminding me of some of my other favourite & ‘go to’ regions, mostly for its sweet and floral character. Very “Jingmai meets the sweeter and more fruity part of Yiwu” IMO. Saturated orchid syrup notes that are just to die for. I believe I have one more dragonball left that I’ll brew gongfu – but I could definitely see thing being a tea worth caking…

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CUusoBuA265/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iG45jI8GMA

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90

I bought this cake a while ago, having previously tried the 2019 vintage, but I only broke into it today. Overall, I think I like it even more than the 2019 version. The tea is very pungent and complex, I’d recommend shorter steeps for this one.

The aroma is nutty and forest-like. Throughout the session I detected scents of fruit tree flowers, plum, lavender, and juniper for example.

Rinse has a light to medium body and a velvety, numbing mouthfeel. It already has quite a lot of strength and width. It is sweet, mineral, and bitter with notes of dry forest soil, yellow sugar, licorice, and parsley root.

First proper infusion is pungent, acerb, and juicy. There is a hint of citrus zest and a strong aftertaste that brings a mix of sour, floral and bitter flavours.

Second steep bring in a grapefruit bitterness and substantial astringency. The body is medium to full. There is a light earthy peatiness present and the finish reminds me of stonefruits and citric acid.

The third, on the other hand, is floral and sweet with a decent umami too. The taste is a bit like that of shellfish. Subsequent infusion is the thickest yet and very mineral. There are notes of tobacco leaves and slivovitz.

By the seventh or eighth steep, the tea is not as astringent anymore. Moreover, its profile moves in the direction of woody, sweet and nutty flavours. There are notes such as radish, beef steak and hot hay here.

Flavors: Alcohol, Astringent, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Citrus Zest, Citrusy, Earth, Floral, Forest Floor, Fruit Tree Flowers, Grapefruit, Hot Hay, Lavender, Licorice, Marine, Meat, Mineral, Nutty, Parsley, Peach, Peat, Pepper, Plum, Sour, Stonefruit, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco, Umami, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I nearly bought a sample of this tea from BLT myself, so I’m glad I could try it anyway courtesy of Roswell Strange. It reminds me of the Jiu Tai Po tea from Yunnan Sourcing which I like a lot – mainly by virtue of its thick texture and bitter, grainy taste profile.

The aroma reminds me of hazelnuts and sunflowers. The taste is quite pungent. It is floral with mild fruitiness. The grainy aspect gives it an ale-like vibe. There is a long-lasting sweet, mineral aftertaste too. The liquor is full bodied with a lively syrupy and velvety mouthfeel.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Grain, Hazelnut, Mineral, Sweet

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Gongfu!

This was an early morning weekend session for me. I remember when the original 2015 version of this sheng came out; the name and description intrigued me but back then I was intimidated by pu’erh so I passed on trying it. Even if this isn’t the exact same thing, it still feels like a second chance to revisit a tea that I always wondered about – and its good!! Starts off pretty soft and sweet; more so than I would have expected. There’s a floral “flower nectar” vibe to the early steeps, and as it progresses the texture of the soup becomes a bit thicker and slightly astringent but the overall sweetness remains alongside a greener edge and a slight candied yuzu taste. When pushed it can get more bitter and pithy, but the huigan is more intense as a result!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CUQGIzLASsW/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NWngyxdaCY&ab_channel=RareAmericans

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79

Even though it is from Yunnan, this is a fairly sstandard Bai Mu Dan in its profile. The taste is savoury with a mild bitterness and flavours of vanilla and custard. The aftertaste is sweet and floral. There is also a lasting woody fragrance to it.

Flavors: Bitter, Custard, Floral, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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90

Gongfu!

Woke up weirdly early today and realized I actually had enough time to start my day with a tea session, so I pulled out a shou since that’s something I’ve been craving since the weekend. This is definitely one of those teas that I regret not buying more of when I had the chance – it’s honestly one of the most aptly named ripe pu’erhs that I’ve come across. Just so incredibly smooth with notes of fudgey dark chocolate chip cookies mixed with the more characteristic sweetly earthy & woody notes of Menghai shou. Really, really cookie like.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTPqAWGLmJL/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuvN39H2dRw&ab_channel=HippoCampus

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I got my second COVID shot today, so in honor of that I decided to Buckle Up. While apparently quite renowned in China, in the Western pu’er circles I feel like Xigui remains still somewhat obscure in the shadow of giants like Lao Ban Zhang and Bingdao. Even my own experience with tea from there remains fairly limited. I keep hearing talk of how it’s famous for its unique fragrance, but I’ve still yet to identify what that fragrance is. The characteristics that have seemed rather consistent from tea to tea are the very mineral-driven taste coupled with lightness and subtlety.

In its first infusion, Buckle Up offered just that. But that first impression betrays this tea, as from the second infusion onward it is a very different experience. The very sweet and mineral character is joined by a fruitiness that to me tastes distinctly like peach, complete with both the sweet, fruity character as well as the earthy, garden-like facet of it.

As the infusions progress, a pastry-like quality joins in along with some lemony notes. Together with a pleasant sourness characteristic of this tea, they produce something with an uncanny resemblance to a lemon-peach cheesecake. The body that keeps thickening as the steepings go on completes the picture.

Each infusion is different in terms of taste. There’s a lot of complexity and the session is rather dynamic. On the flip side, where Buckle Up shines in complexity, it perhaps loses out somewhat in terms of depth. But there’s a lot to like and overall this Xigui is rather refreshing and energizing. Bitterness and astringency start off low and continue to gradually build over the course of the session, but remain quite palatable even by the end. All in all Buckle Up is a very approachable tea.

While not even close to a budget tea, this one’s still somewhat more affordable than Xigui gushu, while still offering many of the qualities you’d expect from high-end old arbor. I quite like this tea; it’s rather unique. If someone served me this tea, I’d happily drink it. But at least for me it’s more of a tea that’s nice to sample and experience a couple of times, rather than something I’d cake. And that’s my recommendation for others as well: definitely buy a sample of this if you can and are interested; cake it if you really like it.

While different, this tea does remind me a lot of Naka. It’s probably the strong mineral vein running through both of these teas. I’m typically not a big fan of mineral-dominant teas, but these two areas seem to be the exception. Personally I do prefer Naka, though, and would probably rather grab a cake of OG Naka for essentially half the price(/double the tea). Both are great teas, though. I recommend grabbing a sample of both and doing some back-to-back or side-by-side comparisons.

Edit:
Having now had my second session with this tea and finishing my sample, my opinion of it has elevated. Because it was the bottom of the bag, my ratio was slightly heavier than normal at around 7.2g/100ml. The tea could handle it with ease and seemed to respond well in fact, producing rich and flavorful brews.

I find the flavor profile of Buckle Up very enjoyable and unique. The lemon cheesecake taste is so delicious! Together with great mouthfeel and calming qi, this tea’s a winner. While it may not be cheap, I’m now going to be ordering a cake in Bitterleaf’s upcoming anniversary sale.

Flavors: Cheesecake, Citrus, Earth, Mineral, Pastries, Peach, Pleasantly Sour, Plum, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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70

Grandpa style!

I didn’t read BLT’s tasting notes until after steeping, so I missed their note about this sheng getting bitter when pushed. Even still, the bitterness really didn’t get to a point in the cup of bothering me – though it was certainly noticeable! Instead, this was softly vegetal with some sweet notes of sugar snaps and orchids before taking on more of a leafy green flavour – think kale, arugula, collard greens. I’m not personally a huge fan of is tea in this particular steeping method, but it’s because of the vegetal notes and not the bitterness. I like BLT’s description of “a flower with teeth” and I do have one more dragonball to finish off, so gongfu with short steeps seems more promising!

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CSsJL6-gVXK/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbFD7Ii5Hus&ab_channel=JORDANN

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Gongfu!

Sipping down one of my two dragonballs this afternoon – steeped up grandpa style. The 2020 production doesn’t stand out in my mind as having been particularly good or bad, but this year’s is really impressing me this afternoon! There’s certainly astringency while steeping, but pleasantly so. I also really like that astringency as an offset to what I’m finding to be an otherwise very sweet floral and fruity puer – with notes of lemon zest, lilacs, green apples, sweet & tangy nectarines and even at times an almost “lemon meringue” kind of sweet citrus flavour! The finish is bitter but clean – and I appreciate the counter balance, while not dwelling on that note for too prolonged a time period. I’m curious how brewing this might change the impact of those flavour notes, or if I’d get new ones entirely…

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CSKLzHWgyea/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOJ2346dG1Y

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It took me a couple of years to warm up to Bitterleaf’s original 2018 Naka and by the time I started liking it it had appreciated so much in value that buying a bing wasn’t even a consideration. Now we finally have a follow-up and after some deliberation I decided to grab a cake of it blind (along with a sample). My very positive session with OG Naka only heightened my expectations for this tea. Now, with a couple of months under its belt, I could wait no longer.

From the first sip, this is one of those teas you just know to be good. And it puts a smile on your face. Or makes you say out loud to your drinking partner, “This tea is pretty f***ing good,” in my case. And like in the case of other teas of this caliber, trying to pin down what it is that makes it so amazing is quite elusive, and frankly you find yourself beyond caring.

Instead of trying to describe what it is that makes Eminence great, I’ll simply describe what it is like instead. …But since I don’t want to repeat myself, if you haven’t read my OG Naka review yet, I ask you to go do that, because pretty much everything I said about OG Naka applies to Eminence.

Then what’s different? Well, my expectation of Eminence being a much more subtle tea was totally mistaken. It somehow manages to be even more flavor-packed than OG Naka, which is saying something. Whereas I don’t recall OG Naka being particularly bitter, Eminence again surprises by being quite bitter indeed. Not in a bad way, I’d say, but not in a good way either. It could be a deal-breaker for some, though.

Of course the star is the yan yun, and it is absolutely massive! I didn’t think OG Naka could be so utterly beaten, but Eminence does just that. This goes hand in hand with the texture, which is where I felt OG Naka fell somewhat short. While also possessing a huge body, it is the texture that grabs my attention here. It is crunchy! It honestly (almost) feels like there are small crystals, small grains of salt, in the tea soup. After each cup my jaw feels a bit tired, like I’d just finished chewing something. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a soup so… physical.

But in terms of differences, that’s about it. The longevity is about the same. OG Naka might even have a slight edge. But then again Eminence brews up stronger, so they are pretty much even. Both carry a fragrance in the mouth, but I think Eminence more so. Honestly most things the big E takes just a step further.

But is the gushu worth more than twice the price of OG Naka? For me the answer is a resounding yes. But for you it might be more of a maybe. Eminence honestly shot directly up to one of my favorite teas. Granted, the first session is essentially the honeymoon period and things can change. But I don’t see that happening.

My recommendation is to try OG Naka first and move up to Eminence if you like it. Naka truly has a unique terroir worth experiencing. When you drink your tea, please remember to give thanks in your thoughts to the trees it came from, the people who produced it and people like Bitterleaf who make these teas available to us.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Mineral, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 5 OZ / 135 ML
Togo

I also got this cake blind, your note makes me hopeful that it wasn’t a stupid idea :D

Togo

I also really like your idea of giving gratitude to the land, the culture and the entities involved in bringing this fascinating experiences to our cups. I may include something of the sort in my tea ritual.

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Gongfu!

I met up with a tea friend from IG who lives here in Montreal yesterday – we’ve been trying to find a time to have tea together for close to two years now, but the pandemic has added an extra layer of complication to the equation. It was great finally catching up in person though after several years of zoom tea sessions and similar!

We brewed multiple sessions, and this was one of them. He’d never tried anything from Bitterleaf before so I brought over a random selection of cakes and samples to pick from to try. I’ve had this before in dragonball form as part of the Spring pu’erh sampler, but looking at it this was the beautiful greener leaf really stands out! Very soft and sweet throughout with pleasant vegetal notes of sugar snaps. Grounding, approachable, and with a pleasant body warmth!

This was actually the third session of the afternoon (I’m writing notes out of order) so I was BLITZED by this point – I totally lost track of steeps but it was a lot and we pushed this guy until it was completely dead.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTuVsEIgfz4/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyGfzTFVDkE&ab_channel=MsWhite-Topic

mrmopar

In person meetups are always nice.

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Gongfu!

I’m back from vacation now, but still catching up on tasting notes from near the end of that break. This was one of the dragonballs from BLT’s Spring Sampler – but I did blink cake it as well since I do that with every “Year of the…” cake. I had this one with my friend TheOolongDrunk over a virtual tea hangout.

This was definitely one of those situations where conversation reigns supreme and tea becomes a bit like more of a backdrop – but I remember thinking how soft and smooth this seemed in the early session, before picking up into something with a bit more texture and a slightly more hearty “fruity” green taste. I enjoyed it and I think I got something like eight or so steeps, which isn’t anything to sneeze at either. Ultimately I didn’t mind being a bit less attentive because the body feeling was good as I sipped it and I have plenty still to get to revisit more actively in the future.

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Gongfu!

Started this session just before jumping on a Zoom call/virtual tea meet up with some IG tea friends yesterday. I picked this tea out because it steeps for a crazy long time – these little delicious nuggets just keep chugging along. Seriously, I lost track of how many steeps I got. It was a lot. I love the undertones of date cookies alongside warming soft earthiness! It was the perfect smooth and sippable shou to enjoy over conversation.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ3_tRcBOUx/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neNe66vSeZo&ab_channel=StellaBridie-Topic

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75

I got a couple of blind cakes from BLT this year, their yearly plantation Yi Wu being one of them. The tea is on the green side with a bit of a jade oolong profile.

The aroma is savoury with notes of fried greens and nettle. It has a astringent, light to medium bodied, liquor with floral bitterness and flavours of green vegetables and dry grass. Really, the tea is quite bitter and drying, reminiscent of unripe fruit.

The aftertaste, however, is long-lasting and fragrant with a nice tartness and a fruity sweetness that emerges after a while.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Green, Herbs, Mineral, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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