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Recent Tasting Notes
Nannuo sheng sold by Farmerleaf is not the most exciting tea, it is just very good. The clear highlight is its mouthfeel that’s among the most oily and smooth ones I’ve tried. Such a full bodied tea with no abrasiveness is a clear mark of quality material and processing.
The flavour profile is mostly sweet and floral with quite a lot of higher notes. Notes of cream, dry grass, thistles, pollen and alpine meadows appear throughout. Additionally, I picked up some fleeting aromas of orange zest, nuts and cooked leaf vegetables. There is a cooling aftertaste and a warming body sensation as well, neither of which makes the tea stand out in particular.
This is one of the best teas I can imagine as a young sheng introduction to newer tea drinkers.
Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Dry Grass, Floral, Flowers, Nutty, Orange Zest, Sweet, Thick, Vegetables
This is a nice sheng whose character is somewhat rustic, sweet and floral. In some sense it reminds me of a mixture of a more old school Yi Wu (especially in the aftertaste) and a Menghai area (Meng Song?) tea. At the same time, I also notice some similarity with Yunnanese green teas.
It has a thick buttery mouthfeel and a cha qi that is both energizing and very warming. It’s a good winter tea for such a young one and albeit sold out now, the price was very good too.
The aroma is predominately flowery and spicy with notes of bacon, thyme, and peppers. The taste is crisp, floral, and a little toasty with a bitter and nutty finish. Permeating the whole experience is a lasting molasses sweetness. In the aftertaste, it is complemented by a floral, mineral and tart flavours with notes of jasmine and rice water.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Flowers, Mineral, Molasses, Nutty, Pepper, Spicy, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Thyme
This tea displays a lot of gushu qualities – strong minerality, long-lasting, expansive aftertaste as well as a thick buttery mouthfeel – but it is generally very muted in flavour. As such, it is not one that would impress on the first date.
Aromas are classic and slightly skewed towards the greener side, they are mostly sweet and floral with hints of nuts, gasoline, and evergreen vegetation. The empty cup aroma is especially pungent, which manifests itself later on in the aftertaste dominating over the taste.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Mineral, Pear, Sweet, Thick
This tea from “greater Jingmai area” is light bodied with a very up-front floral but not perfumy character. I am not a big fan overall, but I do like its creeping, grounding cha qi that induces a great mind-clarity.
In the aroma, there are notes of light smoke, citrus zest, beef and focaccia. Taste is sweet and flowery with a milk note initially. Soon enough, a nice bitterness appears that has a tart and nutty backbone. The finish is buttery and the aftertaste vegetal, cooling and sweet with notes of olives and peach. Later on in the session there is also a hint of an interesting black pepper like taste and a more woody character overall. All in all, there is complexity, but I didn’t find the profile to be particularly enjoyable. The tea also doesn’t really last beyond 200 ml/g worth of infusions.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Black Pepper, Butter, Citrus Zest, Floral, Flowers, Meat, Milk, Nutty, Olives, Smoke, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal, Wood
This Ai Lao sheng sold by Farmerleaf is decent, albeit not spectacular. It has a green, burly leaves, a fairly well-balanced character, and a smooth mouthfeel.
The aroma is herbaceous and sweet with cooling forest notes, wet earth, walnut, hot hay, bone broth, celery and seaweed scents. Taste, on the other hand, is buttery, nutty, bitter and fragrant, followed by a very floral aftertaste. The aftertaste is kind of funny in a way. It feels like it should be sweet with its high floral fragrance and a sort of honey like character, but in fact it is more bitter than sweet.
Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Butter, Celery, Floral, Forest Floor, Honey, Nutty, Seaweed, Smooth, Walnut, Wet Earth
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
Oh well, another sipdown. And probably my first puerh sipdown. Quite happy with it; but not that great considering I bought it two years ago and only sample.
I decided for gongfu and made 6 or 7 steeps with various steeping time from 15 seconds to 3 minutes. I noticed again chocolate notes, not much of the vanilla today; very thick liquor here though. Comforting first steeps, but the last ones were somehow heavy for my stomach and it is a bit upset. It isn’t somehow complex too, which is quite sad, but well I paid a 3 USD per 20 grams sample.
I wish for more complexity in this session.
Flavors: Chocolate, Thick, Vanilla
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