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Recent Tasting Notes
Had this one for a while and have about a third of a cake left. I was expecting much more from this tea to be honest. It is a very earthy tea with some very light juicy notes but is not very complex and other than the earthy notes of an alright ripe puerh not much else.
I have brewed this a variety of ways but I think the best I have dialled in are a 10 sec rinse with boiling water. Then 20s first steep +5s each steep after. Starts earthy moving to more mineral notes after about 5 steeps in my case.
I will keep trying this and if there are any changes I will update. It is an ok puerh which is good for the price as it is fairly cheap. The again it is a smaller cake which brings up the overall cost per gram.
Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Wet Earth
Deep dark liquor when brewed and very thick early infusions are as dark as soy sauce if not darker (if its possible) I brew this one in a 200ml yixing red clay pot which dramatically adds to the thickness. Gorgeous tea and one of my favourites I’m sad that they sold out before I could buy another cake. Definitely worth the price.
Where to start very thick mouthfeel and texture. Coats the mouth as you drink adding to the experience. Juicy on the sides of the tongue and at the back of the mouth. Warming tea and by the time you have finished brewing it leaves you with a gentle heat and slight perspiration. Taste with it has a definite sweetness, fudge with a touch of chocolate and brown sugar. Best way to describe it is a dark fudge brownie with brown sugar. It has a minerality which increases through the infusions.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chocolate, Earth, Leather, Mineral, Toffee, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks
Really good tea. Very fruity for a black reminds me of a dancong! Excellent profile including malt, chocolate, cherry (maybe cherry wood) and some dark berries. From the first infusion it packs flavour. A more delicate tea which is less suited for stronger combos like spices.
Brewed gong fu style 5g per 100ml temp 90 -95°C 5 sec rinse. 10 sex first infusion + 5 each infusion after. Profile develops. Fruit and dark chocolate/cacao in first steeps leading to fruits and malt chocolate before some minerality comes towards the end. Can usually get between 5 and 7 infusions.
Flavors: Blackberry, Cacao, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Malt, Mineral
It is a good tea very interesting blend but I don’t think it has some of the flavour profiles expected. I get the fermented tang, some light fruits, a lot of minerality and some decent astringency. I have brewed a few times now and cant find a particular fruit note to pin down. I would recommend it though as I think it can be quite heady. I want to see how this opens up over time. I’m sure there is more to this and I will keep brewing.
Brewed gong fu style. 10g to 200ml 15-20 sec first infusion after a rinse. +5-10 secs each infusion after. I will edit this if anything changes.
Flavors: Astringent, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy
210 Degrees F, Gongfu, 25 + 5 Sec infusions
Amazing Da Hong Pao. The smoothest tea i’ve ever had, like a very fine whiskey. Charcoal, coffee, chocolate, cherries, whiskey barrels. The finish is just so smooth. It disappears in the back of your throat. Had to start pushing it after the 4th infusion though. Sadly it died pretty quickly after that. I got about 6 decent infusions. Possibly due to the age of this tea. It is a year and a half old. Still the best Da Hong Pao i’ve ever had, but pretty pricey. I would highly recommend this tea as a special occasion tea.
SEASON :April 2018
CULTIVAR :Qi Dan, Bei Dou & Others
ORIGIN :Zhengyan, Fujian, China
PICKING & PROCESSING :Medium leaves
Eyes – Dry Leaf: Very large, dark black and brown leaves
Nose – Dry Leaf: Charcoal, fresh wood chips, sea salt caramel, fresh linen, Coffee
Nose – Wet Leaf: Sweet cherries, Roasted coffee, cilantro
Eyes – Liquor: Crisp, Clear, Dark Brown
Mouth – Texture: Super smooth, melts in your mouth
mouth – Taste: Rocky, Charcoal, Barrel Aged Whiskey, Sea Air, Chocolate, Cranberries
Nose – Empty Cup: Honey, whiskey barrels
Mouth – Finish: Super Super smooth, very slight astringency, light drying effect
Eyes – Wet Leaf: Pruny, Dark Black mushy leaves
Body Sensation: Very relaxing
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Coffee, Cranberry, Ocean Air, Whiskey, Wood
195 Degrees F, Gongfu, 15 sec infusions + 5
This tea seems to have lost some flavor over the past 2 years. I remember this tea having a more unique flavor profile but that’s what happens when you leave tea sitting in a drawer. Still a very nice breakfast tea. Theres definitely a chocolate note there. 8 infusions.
Cultivar: Xingcun Xiao Zhong
Origin: Zhengshan, Fujian, China
Picking: Young Leaves
Eyes – Dry Leaf: Very small black leaves
Nose – Dry Leaf: Malty chocolate, wood, cranberries
Nose – Wet Leaf: Chocolate mustiness, sour apricots
Eyes – Liquor: Dark amber brown
Mouth – Texture: Medium
Mouth – Taste: Malty Roasted Chocolate, Honey, apricot
Nose – Empty Cup: Raw Cane Sugar
Mouth – Finish: Slightly bitter, pretty smooth, mildly drying
Eyes – Wet Leaf: Small brown leaf fragments
Effect: Mildly energizing
Flavors: Apricot, Chocolate, Honey
First Brew 120 degrees F 2 minutes
I have to be in a particular mood for this tea. It has a strong Umami flavor that you either love or you hate. The first infusion is a powerhouse of umami, spinach, and pumpkin seed that will surprise you. It mellows out throughout the next 4 infusions, but it is a definitely a unique tea. Not many sweet notes in this one. A wonderful tea if you enjoy strong vegetal green teas with a lot of umami.
Season: May 2017
Origin: Fujieda, Shizuoka, Japan
Picking: Bud and one or two leaves
Eyes – Dry Leaf – Small, Forest green, seaweed green, oily
Nose – Dry Leaf – Pumpkin seed, Umami, Butter
Nose – Wet Leaf – Strong Umami, Pumpkin seed, Buttered Spinach
Eyes – Liquor – Cloudy Pear yellow/white
Mouth – Texture – Thick
Mouth – Taste – Strong Vegetal, Umami flavor, Slight bitterness, Pumpkin Seed
Nose – Empty Cup – Pumpkin Seed, Sweet Potato
Mouth – Finish – Clinching, Slightly Drying, Light Bitterness
Eyes – Wet Leaf – Oily, Fresh, Dark Green Leaves
Effect – Energizing
Flavors: Pumpkin, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Umami, Vegetal
This is the last of the Mei Leaf pu’er samples I had in my stash. Two five gram sample packs totaled eleven grams, so once again it was time to bust out my 165ml silver gaiwan which is the perfect size. I did a brief flash rinse, followed by a few minutes of rest while I sipped the wash. It was strong, citric and piny/foresty with a rich aftertaste.
I followed up with eleven infusions, the timing for these 7s, 7s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 80s, 2 min. and 3 min. Canopy Flasher started off strong, thick and coating. The taste was citric, creamy. The mouthfeel was great, very full. There was plenty of aroma permeating in my mouth and nose, which is always a good sign. From the second infusion on, the tea gets bitter. Overall, I’m very much reminded of the Crimson Lotus Tea “Danger Zone”. Both are incredibly thick and creamy, the differences being Canopy Flasher is much more higher noted and the citric and bitter characteristics were absent in Danger Zone.
All in all, Canopy Flasher isn’t the most dynamic or exciting of teas. That is not to say that it is totally boring either. The strength and bitterness are definitely its defining characteristics, with the latter varying from fleeting to intense to one that transforms quickly to sweetness. The tea is very energizing, one that makes you feel awake. It is not just ridiculously thick, but the mouthfeel is great as well. Your mouth will feel numb whilst being flooded by the sugary sweet aftertaste. If you are a fan of intense teas and Nannuo teas in particular, this one might be for you. Personally I prefer the (more expensive) CLT Danger Zone, even though I complained about it not being nearly bitter enough. The material here is clearly good — one of the better Nannuo teas I’ve had — but after trying several teas from this area, young and aged, none have ever grabbed me and this tea was no exception. I think it’s starting to feel safe to say Nannuo isn’t my cup of tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Creamy, Pine, Sweet
My hit rate with Mei Leaf teas hasn’t been the greatest. The teas I like from them I’ve really liked, but the majority of them have been rather disappointing and lackluster. Although there have been a few exceptions, generally speaking nearly all of their teas have also been rather overpriced. That might have to do with the British pound and them being based in London rather than China. I wasn’t planning on ordering any new teas from them, but as I ended up ordering some teaware from them, it made sense to throw some pu’er samples in my cart as the shipping was rather expensive and my goods not so much. This tea was one of them.
Supposedly from Bing Dao and gushu material no less (make of that what you will), I believe this is the most expensive sheng they are currently offering, although I could be wrong on that. Mei Leaf offers 5g samples of their pu’ers, and since that is a bit light for a proper session for the teaware I like to use, I ended up ordering two sample packs. My largest gaiwan is a silver lined one that’s 165ml. Ten grams would be a bit light for that, but weighing my samples I was very happy to see the first one contained 5.5g and the second 5.4g. That’s just about ideal. All tea vendors should take note: the first step in making me a happy customer is being generous with your samples. Small sign of good will can go a long way.
While transporting the samples from home to where I was actually having the tea with some company, I had them in a small ziplock bag, and while the leaves themselves outside the bag didn’t really seem to have that smell, smelling the empty bag itself at my destination I was smelling straight up strawberry marshmallows. That’s pretty rad. I rinsed the leaves briefly for five seconds, giving them a few minutes to soak up the moisture while I sipped the rinse. Since the sample was essentially in loose form, the wash was already quite strong. The notes were leaning toward dark and foresty, with your typical young sheng creamy hay notes present in the finish.
I proceeded to do a total of eleven infusions, the timing for these 6s, 6s, 8s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 75s, 2 min. and 3 min. respectively. Night Forest Muse starts off dark and mossy, subtle yet potent. This tea is a true depth bomb. The experience is extremely layered, without any clear distinctive flavors you can pick out. While no flavors jump out at you, the tea is very potent and the body thick. The aftertaste is long and stable, with cooling noticeable in the airways.
The strength continues to build up with subsequent infusions along with the body and mouthfeel, with the tea becoming very full and expansive in the mouth. Despite its strength, the tea never becomes overbearing, always remaining palatable. The enigmatic nature does not lift and Night Forest Muse remains a subtle and nuanced affair. At times the tea does develop some edge to it in the form of some acidity and astringency, but this never grows to a level where it starts to detract from the experience and in fact at times contributing to it.
In the mid steeps the tea soup is so viscous in the cha hai that shaking it sharply from side to side, the tea liquor moves in one direction, a little bit in the other and then comes to an immediate stop. It feels really heavy. It is in these mid steeps that you also start experiencing the huigan. People in the west often use the term very loosely and it can mean different things to different people. What I’m describing here is the closest thing to how I understand the term — a literal returning flavor, distinct from any other type of sweetness, originating from the throat and the back of the mouth. Some people seem to describe nearly every tea as having huigan, for me it’s a rare thing.
After a few more steeps, the tea develops an immediate upfront sweetness as well, which lasted up till the point where I stopped. Like with most teas, the other flavors started tapering off around this point, with some harshness accompanying the sweetness, but never beginning to dominate the tea. At the point which I stopped the tea was still going, but I was feeling pretty bloated so I decided to call it there.
All in all Night Forest Muse was a capital tea! One of the best teas I’ve had in recent memory. I wasn’t expecting that, given my track record with Mei Leaf teas. This is a tea that’s very hard to try to put into words as it really is more of an experience than anything else. This was only further confirmation that I should be focusing more on Lincang and Mengku specifically as I’ve always loved teas from there. Alongside Bulang it is definitely one of my two favorite regions.
As for the price… $0.77/g. Perfectly reasonable to me. This definitely falls in the $0.5/g to $1/g bracket and smack in the middle sounds about right. Even though my pumidor is short on space, I ordered a bing right after the session, so yeah, this tea is worth it for me.
Flavors: Astringent, Hay, Moss, Olive Oil, Sweet, Tart
London was the final stop on my Eurotrip during which I dropped by Mei Leaf in Camden. I’ve been curious about their GABA teas but didn’t want to commit to a large quanity so I ordered this iced. A few sips later and I ran back to the shop to buy the 70g brick. That’s how impressive this tea was. It had a smooth, fruity flavor with a honeyed sweetness. Some hints of spice and baked fruit.
I didn’t know GABA tea could taste like this. My only basis for comparison are a budget GABA oolong from TTC and an Alishan GABA green tea from Taiwan Sourcing. Both had some off-ish notes and struck me as something one would tolerate drinking in exchange for the health benefits of GABA. Not so here. It’s a delicious tea that’s enjoyable on its own.
Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Spices, Stewed Fruits
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Cut grass, Floral, Herbs, Sweet
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Flavors: Coffee, Cream, Tobacco
When trying to get into Shou Pu’erh we bought a lot of it, this being one of them. While not the most flavorful of Ripe pu’erhs that we’ve tasted it is any easy drinker. That classic moisture rich toiled soil taste that is distinctive to ripe pu’erhs is present and is reflective of what a good Shou should provide. While it lacks some of the richer fruity notes and earthier base, it is a pu’erh we’d would recommend for those trying to figure out the base flavor profile of a ripe pu’erh
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Compost, Decayed wood, Dirt, Earth, Espresso, Leather, Medicinal
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Flavors: Almond, Chestnut, Nuts, Pastries, Roasted
Malty with a sweetness that remembers gum candies or dried sweet fruit (red fruits or figs).
Nice sweetness in the aftertaste. Down deep there’s a hint of the typical puerh’s earthy/minerality.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Honey, Malt, Red Fruits
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Flavors: Apricot, Cookie, Dried Fruit, Toast
I did 2 rinses and 9 steeps of 10 seconds and I added 3 seconds each steep. I used a Juanshui clay teapot of 200ml during this tasting.
Before the rinse, I got some earthy chestnut notes followed by a slight burnt aroma.
I got more or less the same aromas but I also got a very light citrus smell after the second rinse.
In general, I can say that all steeps had one thing in common: there was a combination between warm notes on the one hand, and a sharp taste on the other hand. What it is exactly difficult to describe and that is why it is such an interesting tea to drink.
1st steep: during this steep, there were no exceptional and intense flavours. There was a slight earthy and blackcurrant taste. It was earthy from the start and then gradually changed into more blackcurrant notes. There was no bitter and / or astringent aftertaste. Drinking this tea gave a very pleasant feeling in the mouth.
2nd steep: still a bit earthy but a bit less than the first steep. Some blackcurrant notes in the middle and these died out slowly towards the end. In the end, it gets bitter and that is why this steep is a bit too intense for me. On the website, it says this tea is not bitter but I experienced some bitter notes.
3rd steep: This one is really difficult to describe. I got some warm notes in combination with very sharp notes. This steep is not as intense as the previous one and tastes a lot better. In addition, the aftertaste is a lot less bitter.
4th steep: some slight burnt notes in combination with blackcurrant. The aftertaste is even less bitter than steep 3. Really enjoyable to drink.
5th steep: this steep is not as intense as the previous ones. No burnt and earthy notes and also no bitter aftertaste. This is a really enjoyable steep to drink.
6th steep: very light flavours during this steep. Some slight earthy notes in combination with a very light citrus flavour. The citrus flavour is only barely noticeable.
7th steep: This steep is more or less the same as the previous one. Light earthy flavour in combination with some citrus notes. These notes are very light and barely noticeable.
8th steep: very light earthy tones in combination with some sharp lime, citrus notes. This is a really nice steep to drink. Pleasant feeling and taste. `
9th steep: no earthy flavour. Only some very light citrus notes. This creates a clear and fresh taste.
As I have said before, this tea is a tea of extremes. It’s the combination of two opposites: warm notes and sharp, fresh notes. I did not fully experience this combination during the earlier steeps but once I noticed it, the game was on. For me, this is one of the main reasons this tea is really enjoyable to drink. It’s difficult to describe but once you have tasted this tea, you know exactly what I mean.
Did 8 steeps, 15 seconds for the first steep and added 5 seconds to each steep.
The smell of the dry leaves is just jasmine flowers. Nothing more, nothing less.
After the rinse, the smell was quite something! Light jasmine notes, followed by warm honey and even a light grassy finish.
1st steep: While drinking the first cup, I got jasmine flowers in combination with the flavour of vegetal green leaves. Starts with a heavy green taste followed by light jasmine notes.
2nd steep: only light green notes at the start followed by light jasmine flowers. No heavy aftertaste; only a few notes of green leaves.
3rd steep: I immediately got heavy green notes again at the start. This particular flavour stays throughout the whole steep but you also get some light jasmine notes. The jasmine flowers do not stay long so this steep is mainly green flavours. During this steep, the leaves start to become more astringent so I immediately get a dry mouth after finishing my cup.
4th steep: I got a lot less green notes at the start while getting more jasmine flavour. I would describe it as a medium jasmine flavour, a slight jasmine aftertaste and even some slight floral notes throughout this steep. During this steep, I also got a cooling sensation on my tongue.
5th steep: some light green notes with a heavy jasmine flavour followed by a really astringent and green finish.
6th steep: during this steep, I got jasmine flowers from the start and this diminished gradually. Nothing heavy just light and pleasant flavours.
7th steep: from the start, I immediately got a cooling sensation on the tongue. I got light jasmine notes from the start that gradually diminish. The big difference with steep 6 is that I got hit by a really green aftertaste.
8th steep: this is definitely the last steep. Only a light jasmine flavour. Nothing major at the start and only a light jasmine flavour in the middle, which dies out slowly.
I’m not sure if I want to buy this tea again. It’s possible that I overbrewed it but I didn’t really like the tea this time. I’m planning on doing another tasting in a few months.