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Recent Tasting Notes
This was my first decent sheng pu-erh.
Compression is extremely tight and it took me a while to figure out how to break this apart without destroying too much leaf. The leaves really expand a lot after the first three steeps.
After various tastings and working my way through the tuo I realised the more compressed leaf (bottom of the tuo) tastes much more astringent than the slightly looser leaves at the top of the cake.
I put 5g into a 100ml gaiwan and rinsed for 20 seconds with boiling water. The scent off the leaves is vegetal and rich with bitter melon moving toward geraniums, orchids and artichokes – no sweetness detectable at first; but the geranium/orchid floral quality comes out.
I had to do flash steeps – starting at less than 5 seconds for the first three steeps. This will make many infusions. You don’t want to over-steep this.
Initial steeps are overtly astringent abd strongly vegetal in flavour with no sweet aftertaste, but eventually a mild floral honey-sweet taste does present itself (about 4 or 5 steeps in) – for me in the back of the throat.
As mentioned, I find that the flavour and astringency can vary depending on how broken up the cake is. Whether it is a looser or more compressed portion (more compressed being mostly just bitter). It certainly keeps you guessing as one brew can vary quite a lot from another.
I’ve been taken off guard by some looser leaf portions and had a floral-honey scent develop with a lovely clean sweetness. I would guess this is would be how this tea would age; so the potential is good.
A good daily drinker, but potentially a real ‘slap in the face’ tea; not for those who only like deep sweet red tea – but a fine example of middle-young puerh.
Flavors: Artichoke, Celery, Geranium, Orchid, Vegetal
So… I bought this cake a few years ago despite not-great reviews. I did try a sample. It was NOT a blind buy. It was a time when I learned about Guangdong dry storage and what an amazing transformation it gives factory teas.
4.5g/60ml yixing 212F/100C
It is not heavily compressed. I was afraid I’d need to chisel it but leaves were falling off easily with my regular pu knife.
It does smell smoky but it doesn’t translate into brew. It is not heavy tobacco (I’m not a fan of strong tobacco or smoke)
Instead it’s somewhere in the background. Just a hint, reminder “I was smoky before ;D”
Spice tingling, minty cool, rather soft and powdery with cherry plummy hints. Empty cup smelled of herbs and incense.
My only wish I picked more of it cuz the price was right. It is not a complex tea but very comforting and satisfying.
I thought this was merely ok. (Sample from YS, 11yrs Kunming storage).
It tasted of faded smoke and a tiny bit of camphor. The wet leaves smell much more interesting than it tastes – more rounded. Compared to other aged sheng I’ve had, it doesn’t have so much going for it. Takes slightly longer steeps than others to get the flavour.
Flavors: Camphor, Smoke
This is one solid cake at this point. Real depth from the harder pressing and the disappearing smoke.The brew is dark yellow and the smell is really aligned with the taste which makes it really enjoyable. Either this tea has one heck of a lasting taste to it or whatever I ate is reemerging from earlier.
Quite glad that I have a full cake after having this session. It might be the ugliest and one of the tightest things that I own, but it surely has character.
An inexpensive ripe puer classic from Xiaguan. I bought this tea long time ago but completely forgot that I had it. After rediscovering it, I have had couple of sessions with it and found it pretty nice ripe puer. First steepings were still pretty light, but after the start the tea expressed very nice smooth ripe puer aromas, which is exactly what you could expect from good ripe puer. Under the earthy and woody taste the tea had nice underlying sweetness with maybe hints of vanilla and cherry. The soup was nice and smooth and sometimes the mouthfeel was even somewhat buttery.
In the end this tuo was very enjoyable for its price. Really good contender for a daily drinker tea and I think I’ll buy more of this in the future, but maybe production from different year for comparative reasons.
Flavors: Earth, Wood
Can’t get enough of this stuff. Itl change your mornings. Xiao? Mm change your evenings. A powerful workhorse of raw puerh goodness. Its got the qi ya need. And that smoky green Xiaguan punch in the toung. Their super affordable at the moment too. DTH is selling sleeves for 25 bucks including shipping
Xiaguan teas can be very heavy, so I decided to go for a series of short steeps with this tea. One issue: it was hard to break up. I wound up with three pieces totalling about 2.4 grams for my 2-ounce gaiwan.
It took several steeps for the chunks to dissolve. These initial steeps were light, with obvious smoky character, which I like. There are wood and straw behind the smoke. Despite the short steeps, I’m getting a nice relaxed feeling from the cha qi, helping me to ease out of my work attitude, and into my relax mode.
Not really a special tea, but a good value for 8 years old, and just what I wanted on a lovely spring day.
I love samples from tea friends!
This is very smooth for a sheng that’s from 2011. I guess the material could be older. I didn’t check. In any event, it’s got low bitterness. It leaves a nice aftertaste and is making me salivate like crazy!
I am really enjoying this one. Since it’s not super old, maybe I could get a cake at a reasonable price. I’ll check around. :)
Been hanging onto this for a year or 2 now, time to give it a little taste.
15s: Colour is peachy; reddish/gold.
Green taste, like grass, and straw. Javan was spot on with the observation of artichoke.
30s: Deeper golden colour. has a slight smokey aroma; like tobacco.
Taste is more astringent; not overwhelmingly so. Leaves a great mouthfeel.
-Mouth cleansed with ice water.
20s: Same deep golden red colour and smokey aroma. taste causes an increase in saliva. Getting the melon flavour Javan spoke of is like pulling teeth, but it’s there. Cantaloupe specifically. Empty cup smells sweet.
30s: Pale golden colour, the red seems to be leaving, as does the smokey aroma; both haven lessened noticeably. Much of the same flavour with an increase in bitterness.
35s: Slightly darker brew, with the same colour scheme; reddish gold. The smokey aroma is back. but the pleasant mouthfeel is gone. I’m left with a dry mouth and a thirst for more of this delicious tea. Just wish it wasn’t making my mouth dry..
- Many leaves in my gaiwan are still pressed together, I’ll agitate them and poke at them a bit with the lid to see if I can expose more leaf/flavour.
-Fresh pot of reboiled water cooled to 195F. Same leaves.
40s: Woah Surprise of the session – Colour has gone almost darker than the initial steep and has toned down the smokey aroma, Which can be good or bad depending on how you like your sheng. The taste is bitter-ish still, but vegetal to boot. I like it. Drank this one down like a blonde on spring break getting free shots.
50s: Getting quite bitter in these longer steeps though the colour is very appealing. Tossed this one out .
35s: Much better. Think this is the sweet spot steep time for me. No discernable change from my previous 35s steep. I’m feeling this tea’s calming effect quite well.
4 more steeps at 35s yielded much of the same, albeit slightly weaker.
40s: trying to get a little more life out of this tea with a slightly longer steep. I’ll do a few more of these 40s steeps and then I think I’m done.
Good tea. Could mature a bit more, I’ll try again early next year. I bought a few of these touchas so I’m glad to be only tasting off of 1 and waiting until it’s just right to tear into the others.
Overall this is a surprisingly enjoyable tea. The 100g tuo is a classic Xiaguan ripe puerh. I’ve had it aging a bit for the past year. Tight compression but careful picking made it fairly easy to break apart. Very dark leaf without any golden teabuds. Dark tea soup with a pleasant aroma – did not detect the typical Xiaguan smoke (a plus for me since I am not fond of the smoke in my puerh). The sip is smooth and woody – a bit leather like. The flavor profile presents a bit of spice in the background. This recipe was originally made for export to France and has maintained its consistency. This is a budget friendly tea (purchased in mid-2013 for $6.50) and offers a favorable quality/price ratio. Definitely a respectable daily drinking shu.
Quite a nice young sheng pu-erh it has a pleasant alfalfa like green taste with a hint of depth and a touch of astringency and a hint of orchid and melon smell/taste on the finish. Very pleasant to my taste for a young sheng. I look forward to watching its development.
Had this one last night. It has gotten a little darker than some of the others I have this age. It starts off with a light golden brew. It has a faint vegetal aroma. It give a good mouth feel with a slight bitter edge in there. A touch of smoke up front that disappears giving an effect you can feel way down. It is not an overpowering brew but a rather nice light one. I brewed this in advance of the arctic front heading our way as I will have this after work tonight to warm up with.