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Recent Tasting Notes
18 years old. Brought to my cupboard in a single-serving sealed pouch by White Antlers.
Before brewing, this tea had dry and warm aromas of an old leather saddle hanging in a hay barn with a muted dark berry note. The tea took a while to wake up in its age even with a long rinse. With the second steep it opened up into a simple almost musty, bitter-peachy, clean mineral-hay profile with a whiff of some type of incense. Incredibly drying and unchanging. I’m not sure this was intentionally aged or paid attention to/re-roasted over the years.
Flavors: Barnyard, Berry, Bitter, Drying, Hay, Leather, Mineral, Musty, Peach
Based on White Antlers’ timeline of Swedish Death Purge teas and some label handwriting sleuthing, I’m pretty dang sure this is the one.
Had a gongfu session a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Guessing age has really smoothed out the roast and intense nuttiness I’ve experienced in other dong ding.
I’m feeling crummy. The hip had me limping today. I’ve been resting in bed since I got off work. I was craving sweet liquid nourishment, so I steeped up the last 2.5g western. It’s a really smooth, nutty-milky-honey-mineral cup with floral-woody and cinnamon tones, a mild cooling finish and lingering sweetness, both of which are reminiscent of green cardamom. Perfectly mellow tea for a balmy evening.
Dong ding still isn’t a preferred oolong but this is so smooth, I do recommend.
Thanks for providing this much needed warm cup, White Antlers.
Another pu erh sample that I haven’t tried or written about yet. It has a sort of pungent, arboreal scent in the packet.
Gaiwan. Boiling. Rinse. Let sit 15 minutes. 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60
The most noticeable change in this from steep to steep is in the color. It started as a sort of apricot color and moved to a dark amber.
The flavor seemed to me rather consistent from steep to steep, and rather what I generally taste in sheng. A sort of white chocolate, buttery note. This one has a bit of sweetness to it, and also some smoke.
I don’t get the bitterness others have noted, but then I steep very short. The one time I steeped sheng long, I did get quite a lot of bitterness.
It’s a good tea. I have to say that I’m discovering I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to pu erh. The production of doing multiple steeps makes the experience less enjoyable for me. I know I’m in the minority — and the mindfulness of taking the time to steep is relaxing to some people. But for me it’s more of a chore than anything else.
Then again, I could just be feeling the pressure of all that’s going on in my life. New car has arrived and I’m going to pick it up later today!
Flavors: Butter, Smoke, White Chocolate
Another pu erh sample, leaving 13 left to try and write an initial note about.
The leaves smell richly woody dry. I am pretty sure I massively overleafed and next time I’ll cut back a little.
But the effect of the massive overleaf was a very, rich, round, fudgy flavor with a sort of maltiness that I also experienced in the Life in Teacup shu sample I liked so much.
I rinsed at boiling and let the leaves sit for 15 minutes before steeping in the gaiwan at 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60
The color ranged from a cloudy butterscotch to a clear amber, and the flavor. Except for a bitterness around steep 4, the flavor was pretty consistent.
I’m a big fan of Life in Teacup’s teas. This is the first of their shengs I’ve tried and I am excited to try the other samples I have.
Flavors: Butter, Malt, White Chocolate, Wood
This is a sample I’ve had for a really long time, but never opened. I am really pleased that I finally did.
This is unlike any pu-erh I have had to date, and in a very good way. I rinsed twice and then steeped in the gaiwan with boiling water for 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 60, 120, 240, 260 and 480 seconds. And for once, I didn’t feel in a rush to get through the steeps.
Because this tastes more like a Yunnan black to me than a pu erh. Yes, it has something of an earthiness to it that makes me know it is pu erh. But unlike other shus I have had recently, this one’s primary flavor profile isn’t earth, leather, and mushrooms.
Instead, this has a sugary sweetness to it. The note starts as a dark and heavy one, like molasses and evolves into brown sugar by around the sixth steep. Around the second steep, I even got something a little like cocoa. I hesitate to call this malty, because it doesn’t have the sort of depth I associate with maltiness, but it is mild and smooth.
There was a slight fishiness coming from the packet, but it washed completely away in the rinse. The liquor started very dark, like bourbon, and over time lightened up to a more medium amber.
While the tea didn’t undergo a dramatic transformation, it was sweetly delicious throughout.
I’m a little afraid I liked it because it wasn’t like pu erh. But who’s counting?
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Earth, Molasses
Getting towards the end of my Dark Matter teas now, but still a few treats (including this one!) to go. The initial steep initially tastes like wet raw wood, but that gives way very quickly to a fairly intense sweetness. There’s a fruitiness (stone fruit?) that lingers in the aftertaste. It reminds me, at this stage, of a roasted oolong – although a really good one!
Second steep is woodier and earthier, more approaching shou pu’erh levels of flavour. I’d say it’s also slightly less sweet, although there’s still an element of sweetness that keeps the other flavours from becoming too overpowering or savoury. The initial fruitiness has disappeared.
Third steep is similar, although less intense overall. The raw wood flavour is still most prominent, along with a subdued earthiness. The sweetness is diminishing rapidly.
I’ll probably give this one another few steeps, at least until I go home for the day. I don’t mind it, but it’s not making my soul sing in the way some of the other Dark Matter teas have done. It’s fairly middle of the road, in my estimation.
This tea came to me from Liquid Proust’s Dark Matter group buy, all the way back in 2016. That’s how very behind I am with tea things in general. I decided to try this one first as I recently tried the Teavivre version, and I really want something to compare it to. Judging from the notes, this one’s going to be a very different experience!
I brewed this one western style, for around 3 minutes. I can’t say I was paying that much attention if I’m absolutely honest (work…), but it wasn’t longer than that. It’s a beautiful golden brown in colour, and smells rather deliciously of chocolate and malt.
The first thing I noticed was how smooth it is. I’ve said that about teas before, but this one brings new meaning – it goes down like silk. In flavour terms, it’s absolutely delicious – dark chocolate, with a touch of blackcurrant, and a slight underlying earthiness. A far cry from last weekend’s “sweet water” experience. It’s malty, too, but not at the expense of the other flavours, and less prominently than I expected.
This is a tea that shines. I could drink it all day, and I just might do that!
ok…I’m embarrassed to admit that while I spent all of yesterday afternoon drinking this tea, I didn’t write anything down and seem to have amnesia about it.
I do remember that it was enjoyable, a little bitter at the beginning but not in a bad way, and gradually sweeter, and it had a nice tanginess. Also a little shroomy brothiness at some point.
I know…that’s pretty generic…sorry…
I had eye surgery a few days ago, so now I’m sitting around wearing sunglasses, basically doing nothing, except sipping tea & listening to podcasts, while I wait for the swelling to go down. In order to read, I have the words on the screen expanded to a ridiculous size, but other than reading a few tea reviews, I’m mostly sitting around with my eyes closed.
So, I swear I wrote a review about this tea a few years ago, but it is nowhere to be found, so I guess not. This tea was a $1 sample that Life in Teacup was selling a few years ago, and of course, with a pic of Che on the wrapper, who could resist, right? I didn’t buy a whole cake, just the sample, but somewhere I’m sure someone has that wrapper framed and mounted. Just because it’s cool looking :)
7g + yixing X 10/20/30/40/…
I’m steeping in pairs, as I often do, so one round is actually 2 steeps, but sipped separately.
The first round is mildly sweet, with a creamy sensation, and faint undertones of molasses, toasted barley, and well composted pine needles. Nothing fancy, but pleasant enough.
Round two adds a little bolder coffee-like depth, and a thicker resinous quality.
Round three less sweet, more savory, kind of like a chewy barely sweetened (black strap molasses) whole grain bread.
Next round same, with a slightly grassy aftertaste…make that sweet grass…
The next 2 steeps are 90 seconds, and 2 minutes. Nothing new, still drinkable, but fading.
I might go a few more rounds @ 3,4,and 5 min, but I need to take a break for lunch because too much tea on an empty stomach = not so good for me.
However, all in all, this is a pleasant little shu. Nothing complex or particularly nuanced, but there aren’t any off flavors too it, & @ 15G for $1, I’m not complaining.
OK, so I don’t really have much to say about this one, even though I’ve been sipping it all afternoon. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. I just that I’m not feeling particularly poetic today, and I can’t think of much to say.
It has a pleasant tanginess & a kind of fresh taste, which I like. And it’s very ‘clean’ tasting, no musty shroomness or anything.
The leaf is beautiful, and hydrates up very quickly, with a fresh light green color.
It’s not overly sweet, although it smells like it should be sweetish, but that sweetness never did materialize.
The flavor profile stayed the same throughout: Green apricot, creme of wheat cereal, and fresh hay
Also not really a huge dose of chaqi on this one, just a very mild buzz. Very mild.
OK, so I’ve popped back in and edited this 3 times, LOL
One more comment, which is the taste of olive leaf in the later steepings, and some bitterness that is satisfying, but not over the top.
It’s raining here in St. Louis. It’s been raining all day. That makes it a perfect day for tea, right? Not to say that every day isn’t a perfect day for tea, because really, I drink tea all day every day. But something about a damp rainy day that is somewhat cool, like today, puts me in the mood for making a pot of soup & long tea sipping sessions. And so, I continue on my quest to sample all of the Life in Teacup samples that have been loitering in my shelves, waiting for their opportunities to shine.
My formula = 7G + 120ml yixing
I kept it real short at first, like maybe 5 – 7 seconds?
The first steep – interesting milky kind of feeling, nice and smooth, even reminded me of the taste of milk somehow
2. tangy green plum, hinting at sweet, but not really.
3. More green plum, but also a bitter note on the back of the tongue, which will hopefully pass, because there is bitter, and then there is Bitter, and its the later of the two.
I continued on through several more steepings, but quit counting. The bitterness became a little tingly as well, kind of like Hops, with a nice ‘green’ taste.
That milky quality came back, but more of a feel than a flavor.
It never did really get sweet. The plum idea went away and was replaced with more of a persimmon dryness.
That’s all I’ve got.
Enjoy the weekend, everybody!
I’m not sure if this is the right tea, as mine doesn’t have the word “Alkaid” on it. I know I got it as part of a sample set a year or 2 ago, and I’m finally drinking it.
So…I’ve been sipping this tea all afternoon & evening, per the usual Sheng parameters…and I don’t really have much to say about it, not because it isn’t good, but because in between sips I’ve had several students, a few hours of practicing for an orchestra concert this sunday, and some time spent in the garden, ‘obtaining a yield’, as we say in the permaculture world (aka harvesting veggies and stuff).
So what can I say about this tea…
it gives a good tea buzz, which interestingly seems to be centered on the left side of my brain, that’s a little different…
It’s a little rough on the tummy, so that I had to take a few breaks to ingest carbs, in the form of plantain chips, to avoid queasiness…
It’s a little on the bitter and astringent side for me, however it is very clean tasting, no mustiness at all.
Tastes like…hay, mainly. Kind of a strong grassy taste overall. Very herbaceous, although in the later steepings I got a hint of weird fruit loops kind of taste/aroma, LOL
I’m finally working my way through the various tea samples I got a year or 2 ago from Life in Teacup. I didn’t drink my daily quart of Nettles over the weekend, so this morning my allergies are back to full bloom, resulting in overall irritation and headache, and low motivation. I’ve been sipping nettles all morning, and starting to feel improvement, and so I’ll take a break from that herb and sip some shu for awhile.
Sometimes when drinking Shu I treat it like black tea, 4 Grams in a standard cup steeped for 3 minutes, followed by a resteep of 5min. For this tea I broke out the yixing and am going with a parameter 6G X 10sec/15/20/etc, or something like that. I’m still pretty fog-headed, so my counting might not be exactly accurate today. Anyway, each Round is 2 steeps, combined in a mug.
The initial aroma of the rinsed leaf reminded me of cream of wheat with a little honey in it, and the taste of the first round even reminded me of that, in a way, with a hint of a dark chocolate base note. It was actually very sweet! And very smooth as well. And very dark!
Round 2 is more of the same, but with a buttery taste to it, and I’m thinking of a bowl of Hominy with butter, and a side of whole wheat toast. This round is not as sweet as the first, and has what I like to think of as a Matte Finish (I don’t know how to explain what that means, but lets just say it’s smooth but not too shiny?). I can feel a sense of electricity starting to happen, as if my synapses are rebooting, and it feels good.
That’s all for now. I’ll keep sipping, and report back if I have anything to share.
I’ve been enjoying this one today, and am glad to finally be going through the Life in Teacup samples I got a year or 2 ago (has it really been that long?)
So…usual parameters…, yishi, short time, etc, combining 2 rounds at a time in one mug, so that I could carry it around with me and sip while I was teaching this morning.
This is a savory broth of wood and maybe a little smoke, with an underlying bitter base note that I found satisfying overall. It has a very clean mouthfeel & taste. This is one of those teas that is probably more about effect than taste, and very quickly there was an electric current flowing from my tongue to my brain, awakening all of my tastebuds and neuro-synapses up and down my spine, spreading to all my extremities and leaving me with a mixed sensation of heightened awareness and relaxed acceptance. Perfect for gardening, so I’m headed out the back door right now!
I’ll come back for more steeps this afternoon, as I’m sure there is a lot left to these leaves
This tea has been in my stash for awhile, so it’s time to sample it, finally.
I went through all the usual gongfu protocol…I’m not going to insult the collective intelligence and experience of this group to describe it in minute detail…
So this tea is smooth and sweet from the first sip, kind of with a creamy vanilla mouth, and essence of tangerine and sandalwood. It kind of reminded me of root beer, for some reason. There is a lingering sweet aftertaste of sandalwood and honeysuckle flowers, and by the 3 and 4 steeps it was rich with a thick quality and an almost cloying sweetness. Sadly, this was about the same time my soft palate started itching. I took a few sips of the next few steeps, but the itching only got worse spreading to my sinuses & eyes, and so the tea had to be retired early. Too bad, I was just starting to get a buzz on. And it’s a very tasty tea as well.
I regret not being able to carry it all the way through the rounds :(
This was a very mellow and mild cuppa.
The initial aroma was of tangy green apricots and burning green wood. It wasn’t necessarily smokey however.
The initial steeps were of a lightly salty mineral broth, gradually building a little apricot tanginess, then morphing into a tasty roasty cup, and then gradually getting sweeter. At that point, I had drank plenty of tea and it was getting later in the day, but I plan to revisit this more today, after a quick rinse, because I’m certain that it has much more to offer, and I’d like to be there to find out. Overall, I found this to be a very smooth and soothing session.
I am happy to announce that a good tea has become great under my care and while living in my pumidor.
I got off of work at noon today because I am prepping for a vacation weekend and have drank this for over four hours… still kind of blows my mind.
Using boiling water at this point but it’s solid.
p.s. this is raw
Gift from Life in Tea cup : )
This is such a beautiful raw with the ability to brew at such length with depth and development in taste throughout.
In the beginning it was like old wet forest grass at night, but by the end it was like wet bark laying on a forest on its last few weeks before the season ends.
The brew was gold in color. The storage taste very clean and dry, but its nice that it brews up like its been humid at one point in time. Overall, this was one really pleasant tea that I brewed for 10 minutes during the later steeps to enjoy that dark tasting raw puerh that comes about over time.
Really glad that I was able to steep this 15+ times with multiple people at my place : )
A tea I haven’t gotten to from Dark Matter 2016 yet. This tea wasn’t what I expected at all. The dry leaf was greenish, so I was kind of expecting something in the vein of a sheng puerh, which made me curious as to how it got into the Dark Matter group buy. To my surprise, this turned out to pretty much be a black tea.
The leaf smelled like a fruity black tea – I got notes of dates, fruit jam, blackberries and malt. The flavor of the first steep exhibited very similar notes to the aroma – malty with some dates or blackberry finish. The fruity flavors only lasted around one steep. After that, the tea got nice and malty with a bittersweet chocolate finish and sticky mouthfeel. Around the fifth steep, the texture started to thin down a bit and the chocolate notes mostly dropped off. After that, I just got another four or so malty and sweet steeps.
So I’m not really sure what this tea is, but the aroma, taste, and appearance of the wet leaves were all that of a hong. The dry leaf looked green (much like pine needles) but I guess that was just an odd anomaly. Certainly an interesting find in Dark Matter :)
Flavors: Blackberry, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Dates, Jam, Malt
From LP Dark Matter
This tea was great. I’m not a fan of shou, but this had zero fermentation flavor and was fruity, complex, and well-balanced. I kept going back to the gaiwan. Didn’t keep count, but I think I had at least 20 steeps over a period of 5 days. Later steeps were more fuity and complex, to the point where I bumped my rating up a couple of points.
From Dark Matter 2016:
Near boiling water, gaiwan, rinsed once, steeped starting at 5 seconds and increasing.
I love the large leaves on this. I grabbed one out that was longer than my pinky. The tea brews to shades of dark dusky amber never getting truely dark. I found the flavor to be rather subtle, not in a bad way just not what I was expecting. It stated with a bit of briney flavor and a few steeps in had a nice earthy funk. Got some woody and mineral flavors in later steeps and some sweetness at the end. Pretty refined for something with both “Tibetan” and “Hei Cha” in the name.
Flavors: Earth, Marine, Wood