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Recent Tasting Notes
Another shai hong cake. This is an interesting one. It brews a really dark red. It is thick-textured, aromawise it isn’t really strong and at first glance it might even seem a bit empty because it has no high aromatic notes, but then there is a depth to it that is just really nice. It has a smooth, deep and round dried fruits aspect that comforts and satisfies.
It is a drinkable Shou Pu erh tea. The tea cake is 100 grams. Nice mellow taste with earthy and soily notes with hints of Chinese herbs with all steeps. Hints of licorice from 3rd steep till 7th steep, honeysuckle on 1st steep and woody on 2nd till 7th steep, camphor wood on 2nd steep. Smooth and thick texture.
Flavors: Camphor, Earthy, Herbs, Honeysuckle, Licorice, Medicinal, Smooth, Soil, Thick, Wood
An odd tea. The wet leaves smelled so sour and chemical I worried something was wrong with it, but the brewed tea is perfectly nice. I leafed it pretty hard so maybe that’s exaggerating the strange aspects. The liquid is sticky and both very sweet and very sour, like cotton candy dipped in balsamic vinegar, with a refreshing floral aftertaste. I wouldn’t drink it every day but it’s a fun change of pace.
Flavors: Candy, Cucumber, Floral, Vinegar
I’m honestly shocked how good this sencha is, given that Japanese tea is not at all Moychay’s specialty. Nice thick texture, and the flavor is intense but not at all bitter; kind of one-note sweet grass, but I don’t mind that. It can stand up to boiling water, too, and the price (as with most things at Moychay) is very reasonable.
Flavors: Apple, Grass, Sweet, Warm Grass
A few months ago, a friend had been gifted two teas from Moychay, and unfortunately, was allergic to ginseng. They asked if I wanted to take the tea off their hands—I, of course said that I would. I’ll admit that I’ve not had ginseng often. Maybe twice in my life. I’m indifferent to the flavor, but I don’t go out of my way to grab it.I was expecting a lot of ginseng to be found in this tea, but it’s not as heavy as I expected. The flavor is subtle at the back of the mouth/lingering on, but what really drives the tea is the shou. It’s heavy and thick mouthfeel is something else. The body of the liquor is almost the color of mud. No light shall penetrate it. I brewed it grandpa style and it was way different than when gongfu’d; it’ll knock you down. I’ve not experienced tea drunkenness with any shou in my life until now. It’s a power punch of energy (grandpa styled). When I drank it gongfu’d, I never got this much energy before. Maybe I just need to get more food in me or maybe letting it sit in the thermos for longer extracts that caffeine more….Either way, this was a fun tea.
Nicely satisfied my craving for shu today, but nothing particularly unique about this tea. Very woody (physically, too, loosely compressed with lots of stems), with a little bit of a sweet aftertaste. The price is certainly right, though.
Flavors: Caramel, Mushrooms, Wet Wood
1st impressions: As I’ve come to expect fom Moychay shu, there area a high number of stems mixed in with relatively cheap material. Smell – Nuo Mi Xiang (sticky rice herb); Taste – Bakery, nutty, woody, not sweet. They claim it doesn’t have Nuo Mi Xiang added to it, but there are obvious notes of it and a fair number of leaves that are not camellia sinensis.
Drink down: Decent texture, think enough to notice. Not terribly sweet, which is a nice change for shu. I am not opposed to sticky rice herb in shu. I don’t always want that profile, but it is enjoyable occasionally. I find it works better to go lighter on the leaf and I wish I had done that now. It is a bit overpowering.
Final thoughts: Dark, thick, rich. Cheap at ~$18 for 357mg (2021). If you dig the sticky rice herb thing and don’t mind the less complex shu it is paired with, this is a great buy. As for me, I don’t like the profile enough to merit keeping a cake around, but am happy with the chunk I’ll keep in storage.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Graham Cracker, Nutmeg, Nutty, Rice
Final Anhua heicha sample from Moychay. I’ve not had all of them, but all the ones that interested me. This looks like an inoculated heicha rather than natural jin hua formation.
1st impressions: The tea smells of tart berries with a woody background. The raspberry ketone note takes the lead on flavor. There is a synthetic like character to it (but this compound does occur naturally). The is also some apple skin like things happening in the background. There is also an off putting green bitterness in the background.
Drink down: The more I drink this the more I think of the skin of red delicious apples. That pithy, dry herbal, fruitiness. Brews up pretty dark. Nothing of note for the texture. A little mouth drying. No real body feeling. Not very energizing.
Pretty meh. Apple peels. The more you brew it, the more that sums the tea up.
Flavors: Apple Skins
2018 material/2020 pressing of supposedly Menghai material. (I say supposedly because, well… I wasn’t there)
1st impressions: Wet leaves at start smell of bakery notes and a bit of fruitiness. A fair bit of cedar woodiness (pencil shavings). After a rinse, the first brew is still kinda cloudy, but looks like it’ll clear up. Bright and sweet on the tip of the tongue with some good bitterness coming in on the back of the tongue. The cherry wood and background bitterness are the primary notes of the first run.
Drink down: The bitterness turned into a nice dark chocolate note. Overall the flavor it good for a dark choc/cherry wood type shu, but I wish it was filled out a bit more. Some nice spice notes are present in the middle steeps. The leaves are pretty chopped/broken up. There is some blending going on with different levels of fermentation and leaf size.
Final thoughts: At $22 for 357mg, this would make an excellent daily drinker. I may buy a cake to break up and mix with some chenpi I’m aging. The texture is decently oily. It brews out for an average number of times for shu (longer than most Moychay teas I’ve had). It is missing some of the creaminess or fully woodiness that I’d like, but its ok. Sweet up front with some bitterness.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cedar, Cherry Wood, Dark Chocolate, Earth
Grabbed a sample without looking at its description. No idea what I’m getting into here.
1st impression: Aroma is on the earthy/bakery side of ripe. Some vanilla and roots. Something sharp in the background. It brews really light to start. First thing I get is an earth medicinal root character. Think unsweetened root beer, but with forest floor. Kinda weak on the brew. going to have to push it more.
Drinking thoughts: Pushing it gives it a hint of bitterness and leather. No big changes. Very little in the way of flavor on this one. The texture is at least ok. I bit oily. There are FuZhuan levels of stems in this cake. No discernable body effects.
Negatives: Bland, weird sharp metallic note in the background, very meh. Positives: Inoffensive, oily/lubricating texture.
I’ve had this sample in my pumidor for 2 weeks, which has been enough to shrug off the jet lag for other samples. Going to stash this one away for a few more weeks and see if anything change.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth
1st impressions: Still pretty cloudy after 2 rinses. Smells like shu, vanilla, earth, wood, slight fruit. Taste: first thing I noticed was bitterness. Was not expecting that. Some vanilla and wood, but mainly the bitterness. Really unusual for shu in my experience. At least not with out it being advertised as a major selling point. I dig it.
Thoughts while drinking: Definitely a blend of both lighter and darker fermentation and from tippy buds to broad leaf and stems. Thin texture for shu, but that has been my experience with all bitter shus. The cloudiness clears out a bit after the third steep, but it also starts to lose power. It keeps that woody aroma with the infamous pencil shavings (virginia cedar) aroma developing as it brews out. The bitterness settles down a bit by the 4/5th steep (I stacked them) but remains the main appeal for me.
Overall, a nice cheap option for bitter shus. Not pure Lao Man E bitter bitter, but that same kind of bitter. The cedar notes really take over in the later half and the vanilla never really comes through in the taste. I dig this one. I hope the bitterness doesn’t fade too much with age as I’ll be buying a cake of this to throw in in storage.
Flavors: Bitter, Cedar, Earth, Mineral, Wet Wood
1st impressions: Not dark, but not green. Middle fermentation. The wet leaves smell autumnal, but with caramel, honey, minty, citrus, berries. Really mild flavor. Kinda thin texture, not a lot of jin hua, some cooling sensations rising in my throat. The Sprite like lemon/lime flavor is interesting.
Drinking it down:
The notes on their webpage mentions “oak moss” and that is a kinda esoteric note to bring up. I have dabbled in perfumery and can pick that out in here, but I just thought it was an odd thing to mention.
The cooling citrus thing is really different from the usual warm dark profile I expect with fu bricks. The texture did thicken up. The berry note seems to be headed to a cherry wood flavor. Really a solid summertime tea. Fruity, sweet, and light.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Mint, Wood
Unusual. These are really big, burly leaves with some really light colored/green leaves mixed in. Herbal, seaweed, roast, cherry, dark. The seaweed hits first followed by an herbal, woody, autumnal dark flavor. The aftertaste is that cherry candy aftertaste.
Not sure how I feel on this one. I think the seaweed/green flavor will fade as will the gnarly roast. The cherry hints at some future sweetness. Right now it is not a profile I enjoy. It is interesting and complex, but not for me.
Also, some sooty(?) dirty stuff floating around that doesn’t seem to full wash out.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cherry, Herbaceous, Roasted, Seaweed
Another Greener Fu brick from Moychay. Some mold, but not as much as many of their other Fu’s.
1st impression: It is very much a green Hunan heicha. Fruity, a bit herbal, decent texture. This is the first time I’ve really understood the “apple skin” note others have referenced. Where most of these bring a raspberry note, it really does come across more like apple in this one.
Drinking it down: More honey, herbal, and woody notes come out with further steeps. The apple skin note did eventually move toward raspberry ketone. Really easy drinking. No astringency of bitterness. Slightly mouth drying and lively texture.
I’ll be really interested to try Moychay’s puers. So far all of their heicha leans on the woody/fruity notes with a distinct bent toward a sore note. This doesn’t have that sour character, but otherwise feels very Moychay. I dig this one. I may pick up a larger amount of this to see how it ages.
Flavors: Apple Skins, Cherry, Fruity, Herbs, Honey, Raspberry, Wood
First impression: Oh boy. What have I gotten myself into. The aroma coming off every part, the leaves, the liquid, the cup, smell strongly of wet, fungal, dank, basements. The first sips: Wow I didn’t know something could taste exactly like a moldy basement. Exactly.
Toward the end of the session: lots of camphor/cooling sensations at the back of my throat. That pervasive mustiness sticks around the whole time. Not really my kind of thing. I also found some mineral sweetness, dried herbs, wet wood, and forest floor flavors, but that basement profile stays in command. The texture is kinda thin, which I’m finding is the case with many of the Moychay samples I bought. No astringency or bitterness.
Flavors: Camphor, Forest Floor, Herbaceous, Musty, Wet Wood
First impression: Dry leaves smell rich with cocoa and roast. Wet leaf aroma, sour citrus cocoa, herbal, rubber, grains. Taste: Punchy, Aggressive, Light bitterness, a little sourness. That cocoa & rubber really carry over to the taste.
Further thoughts: I’m not familiar with young liuan. I thought it would have to have some power if it was to age for 20+years. Turns out that that is the case. The dark notes are delightful and will likely become the predominate flavor. I can only assume the sourness and rubber tastes will settle down at some point.
Good texture. A little astringency. Brews fast and strong. Cooling sensation in my throat. Pressure felt at my temples. Not great on my empty stomach. Overall I enjoy it. I only bought a 50g sample, but may pick up an additional one and see how it ages in my home storage.
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Peat, Sour
1st impression: Roasted, caramel, grain, dried fruit. Not very sweet for a fu. Balanced woody, grainy profile. Tastes like tea, so some hong cha/black tea notes. Plenty of fungus, dark leaves. look and taste roasted. This also have the beginnings of an aged aroma/taste.
Final impressions: Some mushroom, deep forest, and mineral flavors developed. This has definitely seen some humidity. If not in storage, in processing. It brews up dark, but thin. Bright minerals take over pretty quickly.
The more I drink Moychay teas, the more I’m getting a feel for their preferred profile. Every tea I’ve had from them leans woody, with a slight sourness on the finish. That may be from their storage. They profess to store their tea in around 50%rh and 20-30C with plenty of air flow. Pretty dry for these “born-wet” teas.
Flavors: Forest Floor, Grain, Mineral