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Recent Tasting Notes


This might be the last sheng pu’er from BanPen in my collection.

Overall, the tea has depth with subtle complexities. It is bright with strength in the aftertaste. Decent body. There is some bitterness as I’d expect but it is so well integrated I don’t notice it unless I pay attention.

Some of the more upfront tastes are sweet and plummy. I also experience playful and fleeting berry-like wild tea character. The taste flows so well into the aftertaste where it blooms with these amazing bright stonefruit and herbal-floral flavors, like crisp, warm apricot overlain by lavender, thyme, sage and blackberry leaf. A beautiful reverb effect occurs where the aftertaste flows into the next cup which flows back to the aftertaste. I’m currently sitting only 6 or 7 steeps in, but half an hour after the last cup, I have a vague taste of prune, tobacco, butter and sour orange in my mouth. Nice cooling mouthfeel persists throughout the infusions. Powerful energy. I liken the feeling to a happy, self-assured person, the personality whose presence remains after departure.

This reminds me quite a bit of Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s 2013 Banpen Raw but without the horrendous astringency and acidity.

Right now, it’s too strong for my body but I would LOVE to meet again if it were under moderate humid storage and several years from now. My storage wouldn’t be able to change this tea into what I think it has the chance to become.

I’d love to see somebody else’s impression considering this was only a sample!

Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Blackberry, Butter, Caramel, Cream, Dates, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Herbs, Lavender, Mint, Orange, Peach, Plum, Prune, Raspberry, Resin, Sage, Smoke, Stonefruit, Straw, Sweet, Thyme, Tobacco

Martin Bednář

It is Chinese based company? If so, getting tea from them is too tricky for me. Customs are working very slow!

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Edited life If you’re curious about unnecessary complaining, maybe it’s on the internet archive.

So I drink my first tea since Monday. Look out from the front porch of the in-law unit. Beautiful. Should I ask to rent this place? Solitude and sheep.

It’s a regular stonefruity sheng with forward engaging mineral-astringency. Early cooling in throat. Starts with creamy-juicy feel/taste and waters down intro straw-stonefruit after 5 steeps when some lingering throaty bitterness turns into a hint of butterscotch aftertaste. The warmed leaf aroma is the best part of the tea — strong stonefruit in a pool of warm white chocolate and caramel. If the character of the tea changes enough to warrant an update, I will do so.

These watered-down flavors could all be a water issue though since I’m using bottled Trader Joe’s ‘mountain spring water’ at this place. I should try the well water.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Creamy, Floral, Forest Floor, Mineral, Mint, Salt, Stonefruit, Straw, Vegetal, White Chocolate


Hope you get feeling better.


It sounds like a beautiful setting to recover in, rogue sheep notwithstanding!

Evol Ving Ness

Hope things clear up soonest!


I am feeling better thank you. It’s just frustrating to deal with this like every 3 months. It’s strange how pain effects my brain, any level of thought or concentration goes entirely by the wayside. But, like you said gmathis, I couldn’t ask for a better recovery setting.

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I did not expect the sample that came with my tea board to get me this tea drunk. I am buzzing!

Not a very complex pu’erh in taste. I find the aroma far more intriguing. It smells like a shoe box, and I happen to like the smell of shoe boxes. Seriously, I don’t expect I’ll be too picky with pu’erhs as long as it gets me feeling fuzzy.

I’ve put together a small pumidor… Glazed airtight crock, humidity pack, two cakes for now, and a bluetooth-enabled hygrometer. Seems to be working well enough at around 70% humidity.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 85 OZ / 2513 ML

woot. I’m too lazy to bother with humidity packs and techno-hygrometers. Curious how it’ll all work out for you with time. My smaller crocks are airtight, the large ones meant for kraut are covered with loose-fitting terracotta saucers that I keep damp with distilled water.


Curious too… I got a Boveda pack to see how long it lasts in there and if recharging it is viable. If not, distilled water and salt it is.


Have you had many pu’er teas yet? I got super picky super quick which I wasn’t expecting. I’m much more forgiving with other types of tea.


Not very many at all, as someone who’s barely scratched the surface of the tea world. So far I’m less forgiving with green and black teas but I’m prepared for that to change. I still try to appreciate the teas I’m more critical of, though that may be the cognitive dissonance from my limited budget in effect. Perhaps I was a bit overeager in buying 25g/50g teas and whole tea cakes instead of samples first. :P


Personally, I use humidification beads from RH shield. They are safer than having liquid around your tea and easier to recharge than boveda packs.


Also, I think it’s a good idea to buy a cake or two early on even before you have sampled stuff. Getting to know a tea from a sample is quite different than having a lasting relationship with it. What I like about my early cake buys is that they allow me to calibrate me experiences. Inevitably, the way that I drink and enjoy tea change over time, so having a tea that’s been with me since the early days is useful.


Fair point! And I’ll definitely consider RH shield next time, thanks for the suggestion. Do you get the tubes or do you just stuff the beads into something else?


Yeah, I got the tubes, they are really convenient imo.


In agreeance with Togo’s tea wisdom.

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A 357g cake of this is now going for $923.99.

Initial flavor like sour plums and witch hazel, some smoke but it’s not the star. There’s a little upfront sweetness that hits the tongue and also hits the top of the palate, marshmallow with a hint of date. Bulang green tobacco bitterness which initially numbs the tongue becomes less pronounced after several infusions. I think the Mengsong material lends some florality and a light and refreshing, cool, sweet finish. Session ends with accent of date flavor. The rinse liquid and final drips from each pot display turbidity in the mason jar – a sign of active fermentation? The leaf quality is good on this one and I don’t get any bits of chop or char in my cup.

This is the most balanced and not boring of the 3 price-gouged Dayi sheng I’ve had recently. You decide if it’s worth the current $2.89/g. For me, no way in hell. That is nowhere near what I paid for my 8g sample a few years ago… I’d recommend this one if it weren’t so expensive. It has a nice punch and smooth, long-lasting caffeination.

Song pairing: Scatman John – Scatman LOL Did my tea make me feel this way?

I’m getting more comfortable on my board. I feel like I’m riding way more relaxed now. Kick turns are getting easier, dropping short elevations easier, tic-tac no problem. This week I want to work on dropping off curbs and riding switch (which would be normal stance since I’m goofy). I’m totally going to rock the gmathis shawl while riding this week!

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Dates, Dry Grass, Floral, Forest Floor, Licorice, Marshmallow, Mint, Olives, Pleasantly Sour, Plum, Smoke, Sweet, Tobacco

Martin Bednář

Dang… no way getting a cake for that price! And even the price of today is… not only overpriced I guess :D


Love hearing the update on the skateboard!


Must see photos!


Prices like these are one of the reasons I’ve stayed far away from puerh! If I hated this tea, I’d feel ripped off, but if I loved it, I could never afford it again.


gmathis, my camera crew refuses to work pro bono but I might be able to get Kiki to take a pic.

Leafhopper, this is a far outlier. The current price might be a result of a wacky investment market across the world or price control by Dayi. Seeing what kind of money you spend on certain teas, most puerh worth drinking lies within your budget. Most vendors, like King Tea Mall, offer samples :)


I’m glad to hear that most puerhs aren’t that expensive. I’m definitely willing to spend on teas that I think are worth the price, especially if we’re talking about 25 g samples and not whole cakes.


I like puerh but….not that much.


Don’t mess those ankles up! I’m too old to get on one of those things again.


Wow! At $2.89g for young Dayi I don’t feel too bad for paying $1.50g for top shelf Chawangshu.

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At this point in time, early 2021, I’m surprised at how young-tasting this still is. The material was pressed from 2015 leaves, so that puts it at about 6 years old. I’ve read other people mentioning notes of diesel/gasoline/kerosene in some young sheng. While I’ve not experienced those notes before, this sheng comes about as close as I can imagine. It’s astringent. It’s boring. The smokiness is toeing the line of cigarette smoke. Nice Bulang leaf and no char in the bottom of the cup, though. If I had more, this for sure would go to the depths of storage. As it is now, it’s a pass. It’s sold as both 150g 357g cakes. Strange. Another meh Menghai.

Also, holy fuuuuug, this is up to $550 for 357g. I read in somebody, somewhere‘s blog that there’s something going on with who can sell Menghai/Dayi. I’ll have to search for it. Maybe that’s why King Tea Mall is selling these cakes for ridiculous prices now.

Here we go:

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Earth, Menthol, Plum, Smoke, Vegetal, Zucchini

Mastress Alita

Perhaps the pu you’ve left aging in your car will develop those diesel/gasoline notes. :-)


Haha, you remembered. My truck passed smog last month, so that’s unlikely :P


I cleaned out the cab last week and did find a package of tea that I never mailed to my friend in Ohio…


He proceeded to comment that I have not changed my ways. Something about finding a bloated half gallon of milk and rotten oranges in the back of my Taurus in like 2001.


Dayi is nuts lately. I have been purchasing other teas instead.


When one can buy 2 cakes of good 20 year old Taiwan stored Yiwu for this price all I have to ask is why?


@Natethesnake, I have stuff not even 1/8 th this price from 03. Changtai, Che Shun Hao, HK style 8582 and some more..

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Is this the same as that?

I don’t know. I didn’t save the original image to my computer for uploading when I created this page. Instead, I linked the image and the link is now broken.

If this is that, then what. the. fuck. Over $1k USD for a 357g cake? I would have never bought a sample of something so expensive. Speculation is a bitch, I guess.

Because this is pretty boring. It’s balanced I guess. Rich aroma, fluffy sweetness disappears quickly as bitterness flows through but this is about as shallow as my appreciation for pop country music. Decent body. The returning sweetness is kind of sickly, like sad, not like licorice sickly sweetness. Hint of camphor, body warmth.

Idk about you, Dayi.

Sorry for cursing but I’m sincerely dumbfounded. It is developing aging flavor but is still kind of boring. Maybe I appreciate teas differently than the targeted market? I have a difficult times seeing this transform into something ‘worth’ well over 1k by the time it’s 15+ years old.

Edit: Since I started off with a Dayi tea, I’ll sample through all my Dayi/Menghai sheng.

Martin Bednář

I would rather buy something more useful than tea if I had to pay over 1k USD. That’s shitload of money.


Yowzas – if it’s the same, then it CERTAINLY should have had better flavor.

Mastress Alita

TBF, someone could serve me a $1k pu’erh and I’d still think it tasted like dirt, swamp water, or acrid bitter vegetables.


Yeah, it ain’t gonna taste like gold even at that price! haha


I find my stuff from 2014 to still be in the ageing zone. In 2020, I’m mostly drinking sheng from 2004 to 2008 and that’s developing more complexity. It can definitely be hit or miss with pu. The prices get silly quick.


For every Dayi tea I’ve tried, I was able to name a tea that was twice as good for half the money…at least

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Pleasant, balanced bitterness, turning into sweetness in the throat. Leaves are already comparatively dark, tightly pressed. Missing some more aroma, but it’s an OK-tea. It took about three steeps until it was “awake”, but it lasts many steeps. As I’m not a gushu-pro, I’m not able to tell if it’s authentic gushu or not.

Flavors: Honey, Leather, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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Tasted and reviewed this one a few weeks ago, but I’ve only just got around to logging it on Steepster.

I read Derk’s tasting note before trying it. Got to admit, it really got my hopes up for delicious stone fruits and brown sugar. But I didn’t get that at all. I’m mostly putting it down to inexperience (my first puerh), which is why I’m not rating it either.

I got a mix of steamed green vegetables, mostly.

Steep 1, 10 seconds, medicinal pak choi flavour and steamed veg aroma.
Steep 2, 15 seconds, complex cruciferous veg flavour with a hint of sweetness and strong camphor aroma.
Steep 3, 15 seconds, the same as #2 but with a gentler flavour and saltier aroma.
Steep 4, 20 seconds, no change.
Steep 5, 20 seconds, weaker but still that distinct, leafy green cruciferous vegetable flavour.
Steep 6, 50 seconds, less vegetable-like, more green tea-like and more mellow in flavour with a hint of bitterness.
Steep 7, 2 minutes 30 seconds, the vegetable flavour has turned almost grassy and astringent with an unusual sweetness that reminds me of unripe melon. It’s the flavour of the thin slither of green right at the edge of a slice of honeydew melon.
Steep 8, 6 minutes, mellower vegetable notes – predominantly green beans – with the unripe melon notes and a sweeter aroma. The texture has become quite drying.
Steep 9, 10 minutes, the same as above.
Steeps 10 through to 15 gradually weakened out and didn’t reveal anything new.

I appreciated it as a tea. I’m not sure I liked it though.

Flavors: Green Beans, Melon, Vegetables

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

Sheng was an acquired taste for me, much like beer and coffee. Trying a wide variety of samples — different ages, different mountains, blends — from a range of vendors opened up my appreciation for a tea that can have immense complexities. It took a while to get used the range of characteristics but something clicked one day and I was hooked. Western-focused vendors tend to offer sheng that are immediately drinkable for inexperienced palates; maybe this tea isn’t one of them. It’s still young, too, in the timeline of puerh aging. Maybe my tastes have developed in a way such that I can look past a lot of the ‘greenness’ in young teas.

Sorry your experience wasn’t what I described mine to be! If you have a large sample, stash it away and come back to it when the time feels right.

Martin Bednář

A first pu-erh is bit different than others. I had Waffles from W2T, which was quite good, but I noticed different notes a bit too.

Just keep trying.


Thanks, both of you :) I’m not giving up, I’ll try and find some more small samples to try. This one was just a 5g sample included in a King Tea Mall teaware order.

I did a little research before drinking it so I had the idea that it would be vegetal and green in my mind from the start. I’m wondering if that also impacted my ability to taste any subtler notes.


I agree with derk, puerh takes some getting used to. Even though I love green tea and green oolongs, I’ve yet to acquire a taste for sheng…the bitterness is off-putting. But I do like shou puerh, which has a darker flavor. Like black tea without the maltiness.

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A modest sample from King Tea Mall and my first venture into this company’s offerings.

The sample came as half loose leaves and a thin, intact layer. Smelled rich and sweet. Warmed leaf was still very rich with sticky, ripe stonefruits and powdered sugar, alpine air. Rinse brought out a full, thick aroma with an definition of apricot.

The liquor was drying on the sip and opened up into a souplike texture mid-mouth before plummeting down my throat, leaving it warm and prickly. The finish was drying along the sides of my tongue and back of the mouth, not a full on astringency. Flavors were like the aroma, round and fruity, rich and sweet with something like powder-sugared black plums and melon with an apricot brightness. Almost buttery and syrupy. Interesting aftertaste of peach skin and pine. Pronounced herbal and balsamic cooling in the mouth, chest and sinuses, maybe a hint toward this tea developing a camphor note in the future. Seems highly mineral for a sheng with plenty of salivation. Tip of the tongue numbing.

That was the first 3 steeps. Fourth through 9th thinned out and became astringent more than expected. As these qualities became prevalent, the pleasant prickliness in the throat became irritating and some bitterness showed up at the back of the roof of my mouth (how is that possible?). Some straw and floral plum came out along with a citric quality and a barely noticeable returning sweetness. The finish grew flavorful and very complex but it didn’t balance the thinness of the liquor. A sniff of the spent leaf revealed cucumber and honeydew.

I usually leaf my sheng sessions between 6 and 7 grams per 100mL, so 4.8 grams with my 110mL clay teapot was light for me; I really had to push the brewing times of this sample.

Gushu? I’m skeptical but I am a beginner with the softness of Yiwu teas, often preferring bold sheng. The leaves are thin and tear easily, granted they do look to have been processed well enough. The longevity was lacking for my preferences, putting it in a daily drinker category. If anything, the soft and sweet fruity flavor of this sheng has me wanting to explore Yiwu teas in greater depth.

Life sure has been happening. This was a very welcome and mellow end to an exhausting and sleepless week.

Have a song of beauty: Brian Eno and John Cale — Spinning Away

[4.8g, 110mL, 212F, flash rinse followed by 9 steeps starting at 10s going up to 10min]

Flavors: Apricot, Citrusy, Cucumber, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Honeydew, Melon, Mineral, Peach, Pine, Plum, Powdered Sugar, Round , Stonefruit, Straw, Sweet

Boiling 4 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

Hope this current week is less exhausting!

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drank WanGong GuShu by kingteamall
9 tasting notes

WanGong(弯弓) directly means “Pull the Bow”, though just a name of tea region.
Taste character is soft, sweet, lingering tea flavor, viscous.
Bitterness and astringency is so minor near none, though still can be perceived.
Brewed tea leaves are like noodles curled together.
Sleek silk like smoothness and brightness.
Always called “油润光泽 YouRun GuangZe” in mandarin.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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