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Recent Tasting Notes
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
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
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
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 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
I have decided (same as yesterday morning) to make this tea grandpa style. So, four-five grams of tea, 300 ml of hot water (was boiling 3-5 minutes before I used it). So I guess it can have about 90°C.
Anyway, my cup is fulll of leaf now. It is making dark gold, of course bit cloudy – as no rinse was performed, with aroma of sweet malt, but bit spicy and bit of forest honey.
In taste it is light, but still somehow full-bodied tea. Nothing too much to write about, as it is just black tea :) but certainly it is smooth, enjoyable, easydrinking tea with low and nice price tag . Okay, it has got medium malty flavour with hints of spices!I bought it for 14 dollars per 100 grams, now it is 3 dollars more. But still I guess very nice price.
Edit: My Tasting note No. 200 !!! Woohoo!
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Spicy
Teabox Tuesday! This is another of the old samples I snagged from the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox, so thank you to tea-sipper for organizing and to all those involved who were nice enough to share their teas! I decided to prepare the 3.1g sample I had gong fu style and sip on it while watching a movie I brought home from the library.
Apparently this is the summer 2016 harvest of this tea, according to the note I wrote on the front of my sampler packet. I do not drink white tea very much — most of the white tea I do drink are flavored blends that I prefer by and large to cold steep and drink in water bottles as refreshing iced teas — so pure white tea brewed warm is very much still in my realm of exploration, so I wouldn’t take anything I say too seriously. I’ve always brewed my whites warm in the 175-185F realm, but after reading the other reviews on this one that recommended bumping up the heat on this one, I just decided to opt for those suggestions and turned up the heat on my kettle from the get-go.
3.10g / 80ml (in a 100ml capacity shiboridashi) / 205F / 20s|30s|40s|50s|60s|75s|90s|120s
The wet leaves were very aromatic, smelling of damp autumn leaves, grapes, and floral perfume. The tea steeped a light yellow color, and the first steep had a soft floral and muscatel aroma. The flavor was very grapey, with strong muscatel and floral notes, and a more subtle leafy note in the background. It was a very sweet infusion! The second infusion brought out a more fruity aroma from the tea, and the flavor was less sweet, with a fruity flavor at the beginning of the sip with notes of grapes, berry, and currant, but the end of the sip was more of a vegetal note of autumn leaf and hay which settled toward the back of the tongue and left a mild astringent/drying after the sip. The third infusion brought out a citrus flavor in the fruity notes, tasting very much of orange rind; the vegetal notes were still quite strong in the third infusion, but the citrus note became more pronounced in the next two infusions, hitting its peak by the fifth. The fruity notes started to drop off quickly after that, and the rest of the session was mostly a soft but pleasant floral tea. By the eighth infusion the aroma on the tea was fairly weak; I was still getting floral flavor in the tea but it was noticably weaker, so I wrapped up the session there.
I really enjoyed this tea! It had quite a bit of variety in flavor and I was surprised by how much it had to give, especially for the age. Maybe I’ve been sleeping on whites for too long. Most of the ones I’ve tried in the past just tasted really strongly of autumn leaves, occassionally of florals, and I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong fruity presense. It was a fun exploration!
Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Berry, Black Currant, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Hay, Muscatel, Orange Zest, Vegetal
Incredible example of Jingmai tea. Mouthfeel is light but full bodied. I taste well balanced flavors in here. From my experience with other teas, this is noticeably old tree material. The brew carries forth slow and steady cha qi and at its climax is floral and elevated with orchid flower notes. I described the taste of this tea to a friend while we were drinking: “This tea tastes like a bitter tree leaf that was dipped in orchid flower essence water mixed with coconut oil and then shaken off.” Great job Farmerleaf I’m continually impressed.
Flavors: Bamboo, Bok Choy, Cactus Flowers, Coconut, Grass, Marshmallow, Orchid
Obtained through Sheng TTB#3 The dry smell of the dry leaf is extremely strong and sweet and thick. Its what I imagine snorting icing is like.
Steeped for about 11 steeps, opening with a thick texture and an almost painful chemical sweetness which was odd, hadn’t had that in a sheng before. It ALMOST has a huigan but not quite there yet, I think this needs more time. By middle steeps develops some up front bitterness to counterbalance the sweetness, And steeps out very sweet. Not unpleasant, and overall very enjoyable, but I think needs to rest a little longer before I can truly evaluate if this is worth the price.
I actually tried this for the first time a few months ago, but I loved it so much that I wanted to wait until after ordering a cake before posting my notes here:
Quick rinse. Smell is light spicy wood, made my nose tingle.
10s (started at 200F): Warm woods, my nose is tingling, and it has that sort of big air mouth-stretching sensation I enjoy and have mostly gotten from some of bitterleaf’s teas before. Afterwards, a sweetness builds in the depths of my throat.
15s: A bit of slightly tart fruitiness and the barest hint of bitterness join in.
15s (switched to boiling water now): More bitter, in a good way! The liquid feels thicker, brothier, and I feel that mild/moderate bitterness go down my throat. The path it follows feels vivid for a while after, carved and memorable. After the sip, that path slowly fades to cool and sweet. Really enjoying just sitting here and experience that transformation.
20s: Pop rocks at the back of my mouth at the start of the sip. More umami and astringency joining in. Cheeks going fuzzy. Breath going colder, faster.
25s: OH this tea just really came into its own. Initial pop rocks and brightness. Bitterness is more direct and aggressive, but at the same time there’s a higher airier note accompanying it, adding some needed complexity. Then the bitter charges down my throat and leaves cool air and teeth and sides of tongue and throat in its wake, but also that higher unidentifiable aroma note stays in my mouth to elevate the whole experience. My cheeks are warm and lightly fuzzy, my teeth and palate and throat are cold, my heart is starting to pound. Feels like ice at that spot right behind my top front center teeth where I tsk at people who are rude on the train. This is where it’s at!
30s: Same except now my tongue is starting to go numb after.
35s: My first thought: tastes like liquid gold. Staying bright, getting sweeter and also more mineral overall. Oh, I like this one a lot!
40s/56s/70s: Mellowing, fruitier in the throat. This tea could easily go longer, but I’m out of time for this morning.
On the walk to the train afterwards: Tongue feels almost gritty. Lips feel almost numb. I feel like I’m glowing. Not a manic high, I really just feel GOOD.
Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Spicy, Wood
I first bought a cake of this on a whim in december 2017 (drunk, impulsive, same thing). It was coincidentally also one of my first shengs and I hated it. Coming back to it now after six months and having developed my taste more, here are my thoughts.
The leaves are easy to pry off. You can do it easily with a butter knife if you wanted. I did 1gr to 15ml gongfu style in a jianshui teapot. The tea started out soft with an astringency that sticks with you throughout the sessions. It settles in the back of your throat. The tea soup is quite thick and in the mouth it feels smooth and almost oily.
Only in the fourth steep or so did a bit of sweetness come through, but only peeking out so much before the taste turned flowery. It is hard to explain, but once you’ve swallowed the tea, you’re left with a strange bitter and flowery aroma and taste in your mouth. Like you’ve munched on some rose petals is the best to describe it (and yes, I have done that to know). It is not at all unpleasant, but I can see why I did not like this tea very much back when I was new to puerh tea.
The bitter flowery taste becomes more apparent and around steep number seven I found it leaning just a little bit towards orange peels. The soup kind of sticks against the back of your throat and with further steeps, I found it to begin to have some tardiness to it. Astringency is still there. Towards the end, it was mostly bitter with no further notes or aromas.
Cha qi is quite strong. I felt very alert and aware of my surroundings after, some lightness in the head and almost fidgety. Something I don’t get often either. It gives me great energy.
This is a tea that is not for everyone. I remember regretting buying a whole cake of this, but having revisited it now I can see how I might crave a tea like this once in a while. It’s definitely not a daily drinker for me. There’s still quite some bitterness in it and I was glad to have the jianshui teapot to take some of the edge off. I don’t think most people would enjoy this tea. It’s not necessarily complex in taste, but it has a very straightforward character that will only do for some. I enjoy it, but only once in a while.
Flavors: Anise, Biting, Bitter, Citrus Zest, Flowers
Tossed it in my sheng order because some red tea for breakfast is my way to go. Had it in the afternoon 7g/140ml silver pot.
Smelled the leaves and there was a lot of banana maltiness going on. As im writing this im currently at the 4th steep and it has a nice deep red colour. There is a good bitterness coating the mouth and slight astringency lingering in the cheeks. Sweetness is not super high but its there and fits the overall tea.
Quite a surprise after being slightly disappointed by most of the shengs i received.
Flavors: banana, Bitter, Caramel, Malt
quick rinse, smells sweet and strongly of GUAVA, of all things
7s: Still smelling guava, but mixed with something else now. Light sweet barnyard orchid guava? The infusion is very pale, and the taste is, well, light sweet barnyard orchid guava. Truth in sniffs right there. Faint dryness after, just the barest pinching in of the cheeks, and after a delay the tightness fades out and cool breath fades in.
12s: The scent is now floral straw, the guava seems to be gone. There’s a brief roughness across the roof of my mouth with the sip, and then again with the pinched cheeks but now they’re kinda sticky (which has bothered me in other teas but for some reason I’m kinda into it this time). This time my cheeks stay a bit sticky even when after a delay the brief huigan comes in.
15s/17s: A bit of the guava has returned to the scent, and finally even hit the flavor a bit! The texture is a bit astringent from the start of the sip now, but the huigan is coming in sooner after and feels more floral. I wish it lasted longer. I think my lips are vibrating.
20s/26s/30s: Hay with slowly decreasing flowers. The texture is maybe a bit less sticky dry than before, instead getting just barely a bit fuzzy now. Feeling sort of little muscle twitches at various places around my body. Jumped up after each steep to do chores around the house. Definitely more of a bwee! tea than a sneepy tea.
40s: This is the first bitterness I’ve gotten from this tea. Not really sharp, a sort of floral scented front-loaded dull bitterness that’s fading into into slightly stickyfuzzy cheeks and oh hey the sweetness afterwards is going further down my throat now. Then it finally lingers for longer as sort of an airy floral note by the roof of my mouth.
50s/1min/80s/2min/5min: Floral hay, with vegetal bitterness getting a bit stronger each time (still fairly mild, though), and flowers in the huigan. Could go longer, but gonna stop now just because I’m hungry.
Flavors: Flowers, Guava, Hay
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #45
A standard moonlight type white tea. The flavor is tough to describe though. I don’t think it compares to to Butiki’s White Rhino though… even if I’m probably seeing the White Rhino through the rose colored glasses of the past and love for Butiki. But this is a good example of a moonlight with all its unique colored leaves, some light, some dark, some fuzzy, some like old autumn leaves. The flavor doesn’t have as much smoothness and depth as I expect a moonlight to have though.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 30 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
This is a nice, clean young puerh tea from Farmer Leaf. No smoke or toasty off flavors, suggesting a processing that is to my taste: clean, pure, and highly aromatic. The fragrance is strong with sweet musk, a fruited sweetness, and a little roasted-corn-like character. Not overly vegetal, with some nice bitterness that is not overbearing. This is a bargain, in my opinion. I purchased a 100g cake, but after this tasting I think a full-size bing is going to be in my next order. Not totally mind blowing by any means, but definitely a great tea that could work well for a nicer daily drinker.
This tea begins very light, and then the astringency creeps up on you like some sort of ski-masked purse-snatcher. Three/four steeps in, and all of a sudden the sides of my tongue are numb and the insides of my cheeks are dry and tingly, like I’d just eaten a Saltine Cracker. Farmer-Leaf self-describes this tea as having a “very active” and “robust” mouthfeel, and they’re not lying, in the best way possible. Complex mouthfeel is a front-runner for what makes puerh so unique, and this tea is a great example…
Link to full review: https://shenggut.wixsite.com/shenggut/single-post/2017/10/08/Farmerleaf-Jingmai-Tian-Xiang-Spring-2017
Flavors: Orchids, Stonefruits, Tobacco
Last night, I was drinking several teas along with this one; however, this was the only one which I made any notes on since this was the only one not being had with people via Google Hangouts. I had the time to make a few notes with this tea since I wasn’t preoccupied. I had grabbed a few samples from the “swap box” for the session online with tea people; however, since there were plenty of those samples leftover to review at a later time; this one wasn’t so fortunate to have had been enough for two sessions. ;)
Tea Notes: This one brewed pretty lightly when I had first started with the ‘basic’ temperature that I often brew my tea (195 F). After attempting to get more than a “light honey sweetness, but nothing else,” I increased the temperature to 200 F per suggestion of another. That did the trick. I had a lot more honey sweetness, a thicker mouthfeel, and a slight note of ‘sheng taste in the aftertaste.’ See, I don’t know what that sheng taste is per se, but I recognize it from time to time…..hahaha. Overall, this was a very nice session. I brewed it out about 10 times from last night to this morning.
A place to release some air: I’ve come to the conclusion that tea is among one of the few comforts that I have (reading & hiking fall closely behind) which give me an absolute sense of ease from the oftentimes unintentionally sought out chaos which befalls us in this world. I am at the point where I must stop purchasing tea and drink what I have (I’m 100% ok with this, though) and to learn to appreciate and feel fortunate that I have what I have (a practice on humility)….Anyway, I could go on, but I feel that this would overshadow the tea review, rather than becoming a place to rant and rave about my own misfortunes and eventual blessings which derive from them….
PS. Thank you to whomever swapped this out with me. My memory isn’t so great, so I forget who I swapped tea with. ;)
Fresh and strong, bitter-sweet with slightly fruity note.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2016-jingmai-gulan-bana
Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Sweet
Very fresh, slightly bitter-sweet and a bit astringent.
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2016-nanzuo-lao-shengtai-bana
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Sweet
i really enjoy William’s teas, but i can’t say i really like this one.
it has no negative issues like bitterness or smoke or harsh aroma.
but the positive effects are near to none also.
the aroma is only slightly there, like when you want a hot shower and you get lukewarm water or you need a strong beam in the shower but only get a third of the pressure.
yes, it’s autumn, and of course it’s not that powerful, but this one combines the lesser autumn power with a lukewarm aroma.
the aroma itself has no interesting tones for me while the ones it has are rather good than bad ones, but they are so powerless.
the price for it is very low, like 10 euro/100g, so the price is ok, but you have to ask yourself the question: would you want a great tea for an appropriate amount or a tea that has near to no power and near to no intense aromas for for less money.
maybe it’s because the bushes are young and it’s autumn..
maybe some people might enjoy it nonetheless, but for me it’s between :/ and :), and that’s just 50 points here. i add 10 points for quality and rather good than bad aroma, but i can’t really give it a full 67 smiley face. sorry.
aroma is like: sheng, mild, slightly sour, slightly autumnal sweet fruity
intensity starts slowly (first steep is watery) but you can get quite a lot of steeps from it.
I’ve done a couple sessions with this one, both with boiling water, and would say that it is a good tea. Not interesting or dynamic or anything, but solid and drinkable. The leaves smelled like a white tea mixed with a sheng. Mostly floral and straw, with a bit of that strong shengy aroma that often comes off of young leaves.
The flavor starts out light, with mostly floral notes, but moves quickly into a sort of sugary sweet, lightly green hay (not straw) flavor. The texture is a little bit milky, but not super thick or creamy. This is one that I enjoyed guzzling while I was playing video games – it didn’t require too much in the way of thought on my end.
I’ll probably try it at lower temps as well to see what sort of different flavors I might get out of it, or if it will be more complex or anything like that.
Flavors: Floral, Hay, Sugar, Sweet