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Recent Tasting Notes
I like this tea, but I’ve had it twice now and for some reason I’m not clicking into a full note-taking session. Letting that be what it is. There are definite notes of brandy and plum pudding. I don’t get a lot of the florals and wood perfumes that I have come to expect and love in high mountain teas, but I recognize the cultivar is somewhat more vegetal and grounded. Not a terribly long-lasted tea; I think I got 5 or 6 satisfying steeps. This is probably not a reorder for me personally, but it’s good and I’d have no issue serving it to a friend.
Flavors: Brandy, Bread, Grain, Plum, Spices
I am feeling a bit underwhelmed by this possibly-30-to-40 year old tea. I got heavy, HEAVY brandy notes from the leaves and first steep, which really intrigued and excited me. Flavors on the first two steeps were stewed fruit, raisins, spices, and alcohol. It’s probably the most liquor-tasting tea I’ve ever had. That said, I felt it muddied and washed out to a meh-tieguanyin without stopping to say goodbye. I thought of Octavia Tea’s Brandy Oolong immediately, but this one doesn’t last quite as long or come across quite as distinctly.
That all said, I am a newb and still have trust issues with my palate — so I’ll revisit, focus more, and see what else I can find. It’s good, absolutely… but maaaaaybe not a reorder as of this session.
Flavors: Alcohol, Brandy, Plum, Raisins, Spices, Stewed Fruits
Opened my day up with this little beauty. Tasting a new tea is so exciting, nevermind when it’s amazing… what a delightful thing.
Quite a dark and moody little scoop of nuggets, the charcoal notes coming off the steam took me aback a bit. Poured a light tan, scents of pine and woody perfume; the flavor of cedar followed up in the first sip. Reminded me at the top here of What-Cha’s charcoal roasted Taiwan oolong. Second steep saw some floral poking through, with just a whisper of tar.
I was surprised by the tannins that came through in steeps 3-5 or so — not unpleasant at all, and not very drying, but definitely present. Leather here in the 3rd, too.
Some fruit started opening up in the fourth, which was so fun. I was half-expecting the tannins to pour out into wateriness, but this little gem had waaaaay more surprises in store. Pear, wheat crackers, dry grass in this steep.
Tannins are still present; bay leaf in the fifth.
And then! Baby powder in the top of the sixth steep, and then sweet, thick-syruped cherry pie, I kid you not… stuck around for 3 steeps before we watered out.
Lovely journey, not only in terms of intrigue but just in straight-up delicious dawdling. Looking forward to more of this!
Flavors: Baby Powder, Cedar, Cherry, Dry Grass, Floral, Herbs, Leather, Pear, Perfume, Pine, Sandalwood, Tannic, Tar, Wheat
My Wenshan Baozhong smells like baby powder and I love it! I am glad to see a tasting note where someone else smells/tastes baby powder in tea!
Started a nice chunk of days off with a session of this when I got home this morning… yesssss.
On the steaming leaves — roast, toast, nuts, wood perfume, strawberry. I don’t think I found the strawberry last time. Sweet and light little whiff.
First steep smelled of almonds. A little thin on layers here, maybe should have steeped it longer. Second cup was an oily, swirling pour. Here it comes… the nose on these juicy little buckets is so full: redwood, raspberry, hay, mushroom and loam, sweet and light spices like snickerdoodles. Cedar. Tastes, finally, of strawberry, with a sweet nose as it’s sipped — perfectly ripe and plump.
Third opens up to smoke, wood, tobacco, vanilla, toffee. The scents are just so much bigger than the mouth. I don’t mind. I taste apricot now.
More smoke and wood perfume in the fourth steep… peanuts, some astringency, caramel, cotton candy(!) and molasses. Some more pronounced tannins after that, with caramel, and it started to get watery around steep 6 or 7.
Like sitting under a stick lean-to by a forest pond, burning marshmallows and incense into a lazy fog.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Astringent, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cotton Candy, Hay, Loam, Molasses, Mushrooms, Nuts, Peanut, Raspberry, Roasty, Sandalwood, Smoke, Strawberry, Tannin, Toasty, Tobacco, Toffee, Vanilla, Wood
I was ridiculously excited to get this open and in my cup yesterday, but I don’t think my palate was quite settled for it. Trying it again today and I’m finding it just lovely. I’m not sure what the base of this tea is… yesterday I’d thought it was Tung Ting and felt sad that I’d bought the big bag, hehe. I still am finding some of that earthiness today, but it’s not flat or uninteresting by any stretch. Maybe someone here knows?
Pours a light brown, maybe on the redder/pinker side of brown, but definitely brown… increasing in saturation with every steep. Color didn’t really peter out with the taste. There is a lovely light floral on the nose here… I can’t tell if it’s going to get perfumey or not.
Hints of nuts and toast, with just a whiff of floral, on the first steep (no rinse).
Second and third steeps kept the nuts, added sweetness, bran flakes. Maaaybe sweet potato, but I’ll wait to tag that until my next sitting.
Fourth. The nose is really something, my best guess is lily. It’s a round, sweet floral. Not perfumey, smells really fresh like a tiny spring bouquet. Mouthfeel has been fairly thin the whole time; I wouldn’t call this creamy or buttery, just light. There is some twiggy/woody arriving here in the fourth steep. Never a bad taste, but a sign that the big exciting flavors and scents are probably mostly gone for this session. Some cocoa on the nose, which is remaining a bit more interesting than the taste.
Steep 6 or 7… I think that’s about it. Looking forward to more time with this tea, as there is certainly more to find. The scent profile is so full, with the taste lagging just slightly.
Flavors: Cocoa, Floral, Grain, Lily, Roasted Nuts, Sweet, Toast, Twigs, Woody
I am on my second steep of Melody and have already had scents and flavors fly by me that I couldn’t identify in time, before they flew away. Charcoal-roasted and aged for 15 (17 by now?) years will do that, I suppose.
Lots of perfume on the nose, concentrated florals. Gardenia, maybe? I am not great identifying specific florals yet, but this nose is deeper, heavier scents… florals that kind of want to punch you in the face and also that would be fine, thank you.
This is a Li Shan. I would like to start comparing different Li Shan (Li [Pear] Mountain) and Ali Shan (Ali [a Taiwanese folk hero?] Mountain), and further educate myself about Gao Shan (high mountain/elevation) teas in general. I stumbled on this post (https://tillermantea.net/2019/07/gaoshan/) and need to revisit it when I have more free time on my hands. I am very slowly starting to tuck away and recognize words as I taste more teas and try to wrap my head around all the naming conventions and jargon. I recognize more understanding here will help me navigate to teas that I will love. That said, I am certainly finding I don’t really share the enthusiasm so many have for Tung Ting/Dong Ding, the old “high elevation” tea… but my spirit is really captivated by these higher-high elevation (and, I just learned, newer) varieties. What a time to be alive and have tastebuds.
My fourth steep is going in the pot and I just really am being astounded by this tea. I’ll write up a proper-something from a later session, but for now… gods.
Flavors: Cedar, Gardenias, Perfume, Toast, Umami
Trying new brewing method for greens. Using intentional temperature and amounts. Brewing in round glass pitcher, naturally strains better than other pitchers I have.
2 grams aiming for 130 degrees F starting brew temp.
This tea was good for 3 or so steeps. Tasted fresh, but gyokuro is not my favorite – I don’t tend to “get it”.
High temp water gave a few more steeps in the end. Tea was broken and light as to spill a bit into cup. Method better for heavier/intact tea leaves.
Tea pot – using my neglected, first intentionally purchased clay teapot, maybe 180 ml?
First ripe puerh is a few months. I had forgotten the unique flavors and progression of shou, and am glad I’ve broken the ice with this old friend. Shou was the tea that got me so “into” tea years ago.
I’d also gotten so used to using the Hawaii pot (very tight fitting lid) that I’d forgotten what spilling water/tea was all about. I’ve missed watching water spread and creep along my unfinished tea table. The patterns that water takes on wood grain are enchanting.
This is effectively my first tasting of this tea from a small sample I received months ago. It has been kept at about 70% RH with my other shous.
I rinsed the first pot. Second and third were pleasant and subtly dramatic – I haven’t experienced these flavors in a while.
4th steeping has darkened and seems to be improving still. I’m thinking its oaky and there is this sweetness that I can’t peg.
My last tasting of a sample received in Fall 2020.
12/18/2020 mid morning bowl tea.
Listening to Jazz and working in tandem.
I’m very new to charcoal roasted oolong – very complex flavor. Rich.
I’m reminded of coffee. I’m reminded that darker roasted oolong should remain a staple in my collection. Chance just has it that this type of teas seems to dance well with graceful-lumbering jazz. What is a word that describes lumbering, but graceful?
Mmmm, this feeling of chocolate is pleasant.
I wish there was a way to categorize my cupboard in Steepster so I could group similar teas together – create “shelves”
An expression I love is the French ‘jolie laide’-which roughly translates to “beautiful-ugly.” It’s a term that embraces the unconventionally beautiful for whom we need a second look to fully recognize the charm of their oddities. So that could encompass ‘lumbering, but graceful.’
Thank you for the offering! I think I’m after something slightly different. I want to describe the slow, bumbling of lumbering, but eloquence/grace as well. Maybe leisurely… The “ugly” aspect of jolie laide is the part I’m hesitant on. Either way, thanks again for the thought – and expansion of my vocabulary!
12/4/2020 Afternoon bowl tea – first bowl cooled boiling water.
Teas is rolled similar to oolong. Very light first bowl.
Hit the second bowl with water just off boil. This green tea works well with hot water.
Biggest takeaway is subtle and refreshing.
Also benefits from a long steeping it seems. Possibly a good candidate for boiled teas as well – seems patient and sturdy.
I have learned that teas stored as maocha then pressed into a cake lose something vital in the process, and IMHO do not age well. They are not necessarily “bad”, but they are lacking. This cake suffers that same fate. The material seems robust like a lot of larger leaves possibly grade 8, possibly some huangpian, but this cake is lacking. Lacking flavor, mouthfeel, body, and qi. Its just sort of bland. No way else to describe it. I wish GTH would offer samples, and tea after tea, I am let down again and again. At this point I can’t recommend a single tea from GTH, I can’t risk purchasing whole cakes after being constantly let down, and I have not had one yet that I thought was worth the purchase or much less that I would repurchase. My GTH teas are my least drank teas that I only drink here and there when I forget how unimpressive they are.
Hints of caramel and cinnamon appear with a sunflower seed like lingering taste after. The taste doesn’t change over time and appears to need more steeping time then the usual oolong. Its a rather unique taste, I’ll give it that much.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Flowers
The dry leaves have a familiar smell I can’t exactly pinpoint. The first things that pop to mind is a mix of orange and bbq sauce. I know that’s really odd and specific.
It stays very consistent and nets you a ton of steeps. I have been drinking it for hours now. Its has a slight fruity taste and gains a malty undertone after a few steeps. Its to bad this is only available for the month is September with the magazine. Would be a great daily drinker.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Orange Zest
Threw a few grams of this in my 60 ML pot and shared with friends whilst play a variety of board/card games. ‘Twas a fun time with plenty of good company, food, and of course tea. I often drink tea alone, but when there are individuals who say, “Hey tea man, I hear ya have the good stuff,” I have no choice but to bring out the ’goods’ and ‘wares’ to celebrate my friendship with people. :)
Anyway, the overall frequent notes were: pie crust, apple (later steeps), and ‘charcoal dust’.
smells like baked apples, cream, yogurt, pie
tastes like plain frozen yogurt, sweet cream, fresh ricotta, coriander, and wildflowers with the tartness of tall dry grass
later scent becomes evergreen flowers and moss in the winter sun
delicately roasty throughout
Flavors: Apple, Coriander, Cream, Flowers, Moss, Sweet, Warm Grass
I’ve been taking more samples from the swap box to work lately, and trying to get the teas which I’d assume to be best western styled, down as much as possible. I have had this gongfu style, too, but I didn’t take any notes on the session though….However, I had decided to brew a variety of teas at work and note as much as I could during my 10 minute breaks….
On the packet I noted: A mild dark chocolate flavor, with a sweet note which lingers in the mouth.