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Recent Tasting Notes
First sheng from Farmerleaf.
Of all the Jingmai sheng I’ve tried in the past few weeks, this is the most subtle. The dry leaf aroma is bright and fruity-floral-honey, much stronger than the liquor fragrance which is something close to osmanthus but savory-musky. The profile is light-bodied (becoming medium with longer, later steeps) and oily, very clean, highly mineral with a very active salty mouthfeel. At first it is soothing then plenty of young woody astringency and soft, cactus-like bitterness emerge. Fresh, golden straw glinting in the sun with mild orchid florals — this isn’t giving me a headache like other perfumed Jingmai. Quiet honey-orchid-brown sugar aftertaste. It takes a few steeps, but a stevia returning sweetness presents at my sinuses before emerging from deeper in my throat as brown sugar. Mildly menthol cooling in the chest.
I don’t want to fault this tea for anything, but the caffeine content is much too high for me. The energy is soothing at first until the caffeine kicks in and I become scattered and shakey. Otherwise, this is a fantastic, subtle tea. I’d love to experience the development of this tea over the years. I’d highly recommend Spring 2018 Jingmai Gulan to more experienced drinkers.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Floral, Green Wood, Honey, Menthol, Mineral, Orchid, Osmanthus, Salty, Straw, White Grapes
Using slightly under 8g for 120ml gaiwan. Flash rinse followed by 5s steep, +5s each infusion.
Warmed leaf smells like grape and grapefruit. Rinsed leaf smells like flowers and bitterness.
(Starting the session, getting used to the site). Just rinsed, letting the leaves rehydrate before doing the first steep
First steep is really good. Long lasting taste. Hint of bitterness that appears in the end.
I’m surprised that this first steep is so strong, the tea is already awake!
The second steep is fruitier. It reminds me of their flagship tea, the Jingmai Gulan. The sample has been well rested. Very enjoyable.
The leaves themselves are sturdy and good quality. I wish this was a cake instead of a sample.
Nice qi as well.
I have a cake of KingTeaMall’s LME and this one seems nicer. I think it is the “sweet” variety, compared to KTM’s bitter version.
The fifth steep is still going strong. There is a very strong cooling sensation on my tongue. The tea is very drying as well. I feel a little spacey by now.
Really great LME. The aftertaste lingers for so long. Great longevity!
Flavors: Grapefruit, Grapes
Easy-drinking with light, vibrant flavors and aroma. Delicate malt and florals with a fruity tone that leans citrus, like white grapefruit mixed with stonefruit. Tingly, never bitter or astringent. The fruit pops more when brewed around 200F versus boiling. Good for 2, maybe 3 steeps western. The spent leaves show the low oxidation with a palette of muted red, green and brown splotches. The leaf and bud usually destined for puerh production is healthy, thick and fuzzy. Thanks for the generous sample, Martin :)
Flavors: Citrusy, Floral, Grapefruit, Malt, Mineral, Stonefruits
With my first Farmerleaf order, I got this mini cake for casual drinking. It delivers more or less what one would expect from a Jingmai plantation tea. It is tasty, pungent and not too complex with quite a floral profile. The aroma is green and grassy with notes of dandelion among other flowers. Taste-wise, I found the tea to have a good balance of umami, sweetness and bitterness. At this young age, it is still a bit grassy and a little salty. Mouthfeel is soft and drying, and I get a warming sensation spreading throughout the body after drinking.
Flavors: Bitter, Dandelion, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Salty, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
I rarely get to try a sheng this fresh, but after more than a month long journey from China to Ontario, I felt compelled to give it some time to rest and only broke into the cake I got today. Having been hit by a car while cycling earlier today (I came out lucky with no serious injuries), I won’t remember this day for the tea that’s for sure.
In any case, the tea didn’t leave a very strong impression on me in this first encounter of ours, I will try reserve my judgement though. It may need more time to show its true character. At the moment, it is quite crisp, grassy, sweet, and salty, with notes of seaweed and tropical fruits. The body is medium thick with a powdery and slightly astringent mouthfeel.
Flavors: banana, Grass, Green, Marine, Salty, Seaweed, Sweet, Tropical
I didn’t take as many notes on the session as I wanted, but I noted that it had ‘soft, creamy, sweet, honey’ notes. This is one of those young puerh teas that are just too complex to describe in full detail. It is one of those teas that bring you to silence, allowing the time to pass without words. It’s similar to an unwritten love poem, moving you to the point of stillness, which can be called a quiet love, I suppose.
Farmerleaf has a few teas that fill me with such stillness and calm, that I cannot simply spend the time reading, writing, talking, or gaming; rather, I sit in silence, musing only over the tea.
With that said, the tea lasts a short while—not as long as some teas that I typically drink—but it can take a hard hit with boiling water/steep time, without growing bitter, sour, or astringent. It’s light and pleasant, through and through.
I only wish that I was capable of making a better note on this tea. It’s a good one, that’s for sure.
Sample from Farmerleaf, brewed in gaiwan.
First 2 steeps unimpressive, it felt faded. It developed much better character in the following steeps once the leaves opened up.
Feels a bit younger than the age the tag suggests but is still interesting and not too sharp. Fruity, flowery, moderate bitterness that kicks back a nice huigan aftertaste. Comforting, tonic, mild cha qi.
This one leans to the delicate and balanced side of the sheng spectrum. Though generally speaking is a good tea I don’t believe I’ll be ordering a cake. I’d like to contrast it with a further aged version and see where it goes.
Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Lime, Melon
Decided to brew pu-erh in gaiwan again, I need to calm down and this somehow works well to me. Not just tea, but sitting and enjoying the cuppa.
I prepared 5 grams in 85 ml gaiwan, boiling water in thermos. Quick rinse (10 seconds), letting humidity for 5 minutes to entry the chunk of tea.
First steep was ten seconds long and it brewed so dark… bit oily brew. The taste was quite boring, typical shu flavour, woody, no notes of chocolate I noticed last time.
Second one was with 5 seconds extra, brewed even darker, the taste is nice and mellow, but again that typical shu, without any complexity. I haven’t reached that soup is ultra thick and will coat your mouth throughout the session, just like a good old Irish stout! yet too. But it looks like that for sure. Some sweet notes bit reminding vanilla appears.
Third one, 25 seconds. It’s not that dark! Dark mahogany colour right now, clear.
Indeed some sweet notes are there. Not sure about the vanilla, but sweet. What is sweet, but somehow mild? Not sugary sweet? Is it that notes of chocolates I noticed other day?
Another. 30 seconds.
Smooth shu. There are no rough notes. Decent.
45 seconds. I am drinking it somehow fast. Do I hurry? Noo! Why then? Anyway, it’s so nice, mellow, easydrinking.
Another 45 seconds long steep. Did I bite dark chocolate? No, it is just a tea.
Praying for justice and calm heads in US, I hope that methods of police will change too. I don’t consider normal kneeing on someone’s neck. Moreover when he was trying to breath. I don’t say that riots will solve anything, but honestly I am not surprised. What else they can do? Should they remain silent? I am afraid that is what they want.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Vanilla
I am the first one to write a tasting note? And this tea is actually gone!
Anyway, quick (+- 10 seconds) rinse of 6 grams of tea in my 85 ml gaiwan. That is 1 gram for 14 ml of boiling water in thermos.
1st steep, as usual, was 15 seconds long.
It pours light brown colour. Rinse and first steep has got generic shu aroma, in taste mellow, not-metallic, rather sweet side of chocolate.
2nd steep, 30 seconds
Mellow, still sweet chocolate taste. Not very complex taste. But full-bodied for sure.
3rd, 45 seconds
It becames darker, so does in taste, more like dark chocolate now.
4th, 60 seconds
Full bodied, nice to drink. I do not think it will change flavours, so I will keep drinking. They claim it can be up to 12 steeps, so – I guess it can be true. But I would not write about every single steep.
It is good, but maybe I expected something bit more complex.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate
And now a tea I am drinking while writing. That works best.
I did 10 seconds rinse, then let leaves absorb the humidity for 10-15 minutes and then started with 10 seconds long steep.
1st steep, 10 seconds
What a nice mounthfeel. Smooth, almost velvety, with taste of stonefruits, again as I mentioned before, peaches and apricots. No bitterness, little astringency
2nd steep, 20 seconds
Brew is light green, in taste more astringency; but still very smooth. Taste more green, bit hay.
3rd steep, 30 seconds
Astringency withdrew, smooth taste. Again some fruits appear, bit woody. Tends to sween notes a bit.
4th steep, 40 seconds
Hmm, stonefruits! Maybe little bit citrusy.
5th steep, 50 seconds
Again astringency creeps a bit. Indeed citrusy with hints of floral notes.
And I will say goodbye to this tasting note as I don’t like long ones, but it keeps giving. Easydrinking sheng for simple and unexperienced puerh tea drinkers as I am. It is though very nice to drink puerh after long time. Or actually any tea in gaiwan.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Citrus Zest, Hay, Peach, Stonefruits
15 seconds rinse
Floral, stone fruits, mineral. Not really bad. Probably stonefruits as apricot / peach, mentioned by others in previous years. Medium astringency.
1st / 30 seconds.
Quite mineral and astringent, not much of fruity notes. Quite drying and long mouthfeel.
2nd / 30 seconds.
As first 30 seconds were quite strong, I decided to make second brew with same time. Yep, it is milder. Bit fruitier. Good steep.
3rd / 45 seconds
This is really nicely balanced between astingency and sweetness. Finishing this steep awfully cold, because I was checking new cars with my dad.
4th / 1 minute
This is following previous note, that it is nice balanced. No cars this time :D
5th / 1:15
I will make more and more brews, but I guess it will be same. Maybe weaker, maybe stronger. Who knows… Just great amount of steeps, I do not want to count it. I am lazy man.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Drying, Floral, Mineral, Peach, Stonefruits
Well, it seems I have aged this tea a bit. Maybe a bit more than I should…
Prepared gong-fu, 3 grams, 85 ml water.
Vegetal, stonefruits, kind of sweet, peas, no or almost none astringency. Haven’t noticed the floral notes I wrote in previous notes.
Leaves after all the steeps I made (that should be around 8-9, as I have ran out of my thermos) are wonderful, some are bit bug bitten, but almost all of them are whole. If I had bigger gaiwan, they will expand fully.
Considering it was that exclusive, I am glad that it has aged pretty well, mellowed the taste and astringency is gone as well. It reminds me another tea I had (Mandalay Spring by Nous Tea but it is from Burma). Maybe the varietal is same or very similar? Keeping the 78 as it isn’t that great, even it is bit better than fresh.
Flavors: Peas, Stonefruits, Vegetal
I took two grams of this maocha today and prepared grandpa.
Turned out very seaweed, salty, vegetal with first sips. Then it turns more vegetal-green and little bit of floral notes. It is quite caffeine-boosting, as I had it in 4 pm and now it is 6 and something and still feel it.
It is not maybe greatest tea (it is after all from Thailand), but certainly nice experience trying so fresh tea (although now it is older than first try).
As I do not have much of it, I hope I will save it and see how it develops with aging.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Salty, Seaweed, Vegetal
Finally! The storms and rain comes, so finally, temperatures drop. It is about 25°C, cloudy, finally breatable air :D.
Anyway, I have decided for this tea (now gone, well only 2 kg batch was made, so I unexpect seeing other tasting notes)
As I have just 20 g of it, I decided to make it different way than today. Only 3 grams for my 85 gaiwan. Boiling water used (duh, maybe lower temperature would be better).
I make about 10 seconds (shorter) rinse, burnt my fingers a bit, preheated gaiwan preheated cup.
It gets really vegetal notes with little smell of floral notes. But it is not DF floral, like explosion of flowers, rather hidden in vegetals.
Pours light green, rather white. Clear naturally. In taste it is full bodied, with nice mouthfeel and bit vegetal too. It reminds me bit of dancong oolong (I did not have much oolongs in my life yet). Those notes were for first steep, about 10 seconds long (only!).
For second steep I doubled the steep time. Pours more distinctive colour, but still very light.
There is some sweetness. Hidden in vegetal taste. Weird, unique, but tasty. Long mouthfeel.
Added another 10 seconds for third steep. (I will do it all the time this session)
Floral notes are way more present. It is present in aroma way more too. Refreshing sweetness.
It is nicely fragant for sure. Light tea. Refreshing. Floral. Just very nice, you know!
I think it is slowly gone. Lost bit of flavour.
it means 6th steep. Last one. Have to do things, then going for summerjob. Definitely gone. It is not so floral as it was earlier.
Definitely good tea to try, maybe I will age it a bit and we will see how it develops.
Flavors: Floral, Hay, Sweet, Vegetal
Summer 2018 harvest
Well, lazy morning again.
I do not want to do anything, so I decided to do a gong fu with another new tea. As I never had a compressed white tea, I took this one.
Clean up the gaiwan (oh, come on, I even left leaves in water and forgot it for two days). Dang! Clean up the cup. Boil water to thermos.
And 15 seconds rinse. 5 grams of tea.
It woke up some aromas. Hard to describe, but closest one would be probably raisins? Is it even possible? Certainly it is some sweet aroma.
1st steep is 15 seconds long (as usual for me).
In taste it is mild, but nothing really distinctive.
2nd, much longer – forgot about it a bit. Around 45 seconds.
I was counting and then I thought, oh I am already on fourty.
It won’t be bad, I was complaining it was not distinctive for first steep. It get some floral notes. More thick too. In aroma of wet leaf I notice something refreshing, like a mint.
Yep, it is floral and nicely round. Little astringecy is there, but not really making it bad.
3rd, 1 minute
Cake chunk broke completely. It is loose leaf now. Haha.
Pours golden, with slighlty woody aroma. In taste it is nice, thick tea, kind of honey smoothness.
4th, 75 seconds
It is really bold now. But still so nice smooth, little, almost unnoticable astringency. No bitterness.
And following ones (adding 15 seconds)
are quite similar. It is not very complex tea in tastes, but easydrinking, warming cuppa.
Food pairing: Vanilla yoghurt for breakfast, haha. Not enough. Bread with salami.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Mint, Raisins, Wood
I decided to gongfu in the evening, so I picked this one. Quick (10s) rinse, not boiling water.
Took first smell and I feel completely confused. Cut grass — sure. But flower notes for sure, meadow, some fruits, probably figs!? Stonefruits a bit too.
First steep 12 seconds
The brew aroma isn’t that strong as wet leaves from gaiwan. It is stonefruits, bit grass seed in scent.
Taste is quite flat yet, again with grassy notes with little fruity aftertaste. Bit herbaceous as well.
Second steep 18 seconds
Aroma is stronger, I get more floral notes. Lilac a bit and orchids. Taste is again bit of grassy, with floral-fruity notes. Herbaceous notes gone.
Third steep 25 seconds
Hints of lilac, orchids, jasmine? It is going to different flower profiles? Taste is pretty much same as previous steep.
Fourth steep 30 seconds
Turned bitter a bit. Vegetal a lot. Not much of those wonderful floral notes that were there before.
Fifth steep 30 seconds
This time it is milder with bit more fruity notes. I feel somehow it is filling me, but I need to eat something as well. I feel quite boosted with positive energy, like this tea is something I needed after this long week.
Sixth steep 40 seconds
I think this tea is over. Yes, it could deliver more, but my thermos is empty, tea is somehow bit weak, but again lots of flower notes, with some stonefruits. Kinda astringent too. There were fruit notes again.
Overall, I bet it is not that high quality as it could be. But for evenings like this and for almost a novice (not anymore, I know), it’s nice. Would get more for the price, as 20 grams sample (I think it was more though) was for nice 3 USD. Ageing for year and half probably smoothed it a bit as well. Good for the price!
Togo, as it is gone from Farmerleaf and you would like to try it, we could agree on some swap, I would love what someone, who have so great tasting notes in detail, taste :) You could me write your contact on Steepster message, I can read them, but can’t reply :/
Flavors: Cut grass, Fig, Flowers, Grass, Herbaceous, Orchids, Stonefruits
I took this tea in my gaiwan today morning.
It was more vegetal than I remember from grandpa brewing. Grassy as well, little sweetness, bit of astringency. Brews easily, I did not care much about steeping times, just when I thought it will be ready, I spilled the tea into a cup. It was good. Nothing really fancy, or some scents or aromas development, just easydrinking tea with nice taste. Reminding me bit green teas, but that is probably bit expected.
Overall, it is nice tea (especially for the price).
Flavors: Astringent, Cut grass, Vegetal
Some dust from bag, grandpa, around 4-5 grams.
Why grandpa you ask?
Well, I am kind of lazy. And in Monday I should have exam, but I decided to prepare more – so, 19th August is new date. I still have two attempts remaining. So, I guess I need to study :P
Moreover, I do not know if I slept badly or what was wrong, but I woke up and everything hurts. Shoulders, arms, legs… weird start of the day.
Haha, okay lyrics do not really mean how I feel, but the name of the song :D
To the tea:
Liquor is green-yellow, bit cloudy. Lots of leaves actually, few stems too, I kept everything in. Oh, look at the size of the this leaf! That one particular was indeed quite big – 5×2 cm maybe? And so nicely green, no bites, not even too fried one.
It smells bit vegetal, mowed grass (I know how it smells :D) and tastes pretty similar. Grassy, easydrinking tea. And it was quite sweet, maybe kind of peas? Overall, I have enjoyed it and for the price! 3 dollars for 25 grams sample?
Flavors: Cut grass, Peas, Sweet, Vegetal
So nice, and easydrinking tea.
Prepared grandpa, one pinch and one smaller pinch, 300 ml glass cup.
Turned same as always. I guess this is my favourite black tea. I could drink it all the time. It’s nicely malty, but not just that, it doesn’t turn bitter and leaves are big and so nice to watch.
Upping a rating from 90 to 96.
Flavors: Honey, Malt
Weirdly, I have only half of this left and… one tasting note?
Well, and few hours backlog; I hate it. I could not go so much into details, because, I just forget them.
Anyway, prepared grandpa, two pinches of tea – no accurate measurment, just boiled water.
Turned out very nice, this time with some stone fruits notes, malty, but still very light tea! Typical black tea flavours appear there as well and what amazes me the most, is that I was steeping it for 45 minutes and it was still delicious without any bitterness.
Anybody wants to make New Year swap (I will include this tea :) )? Just for fun. First two come, first two seved basis. I could not afford more right now.
Flavors: Malt, Stonefruits