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An evening tea choice fell on this sample from tperez and I used all of it, because why the hell not. As others have mentioned the tea does indeed remind one of roses. In fact, I think I like this rose aroma more than most of actual roses, whose scent I tend to find overwhelming. Another very distinctive characteristic is a string minerality and a vegetal nature that comes to the fore towards the end of the session in particular.
In the dry leaves, I can also smell charcoal, blood orange, and stonefruits apart from the florals. The mix of floral and ash reminds me a bit of light to medium roasted TGY. When wet, I get further notes of mushrooms, popcorn, rock salt and various vegetal ones. The taste starts off floral and mineral with a mild banana sweetness and a sour finish followed by a very mineral (almost salty) and buttery aftertaste. Later on, flavours of honey and grass emerge and the aftertaste turns more perfumy. Throughout the session, the mouthfeel is quite thick, but not particularly interesting.
Overall, a nice Dan Cong, but not one I am dying to have in my stash.
Flavors: banana, Blood orange, Butter, Char, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Mushrooms, Perfume, Popcorn, Rose, Salt, Salty, Stonefruits, Thick, Vegetal
This was my next-to-last August sipdown. It was also a tea I expected to like a little more than I did. Understand that I’m not saying that I found it to be subpar in any way; I’m just such a huge fan of Feng Qing black teas that I expected this one to leave a greater impression. As it turned out, I found this to be a very good tea, but I also found it to be a little underpowered compared to some of the other Feng Qing offerings I have tried over the past couple of years.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry buds emitted aromas of chocolate, malt, cream, cedar, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted almond, raisin, and banana that were underscored by subtle smoke and eucalyptus scents. The first infusion introduced aromas of vanilla, butter, and baked bread. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cream, raisin, and chocolate that were chased by roasted almond, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, honey, and cedar hints. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of honey, camphor, maple syrup, marshmallow, roasted pecan, praline, earth, black pepper, and lemon zest as well as subtle scents of tomato. Much stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of roasted almond, vanilla, butter, honey, brown sugar, and baked bread appeared in the mouth. I also picked up new impressions of maple syrup, praline, roasted pecan, pear, plum, banana, tomato, minerals, lemon zest, orange zest, earth, and marshmallow. There were even some subtle hints of cinnamon, black pepper, eucalyptus, smoke, and camphor that could be detected. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, earth, baked bread, chocolate, lemon zest, orange zest, and roasted almond that were balanced by a melange of roasted pecan, marshmallow, vanilla, brown sugar, tomato, honey, butter, camphor, and eucalyptus hints.
This was a nice tea, one that struck me as being reserved and refined but also perhaps a bit stuffy. It had a ton to offer, but rather than laying everything out in a straightforward fashion, it made me work to get definite impressions out of it. It would definitely not be the sort of tea I would choose to consume on a regular basis, though I would most certainly be willing to try some of the productions from the more recent harvests because I’m still not certain I was able to get the best feel for what this tea had to offer.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Maple Syrup, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pear, Pecan, Plums, Raisins, Smoke, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal
This review is for the spring 2018 harvest. I bought this tea as a possible alternative to Yunnan Sourcing’s premium Tie Guan Yin. (I also bought their fancy TGY, which is a noticeable step down in quality.) I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
Dry, the tea smells like lilacs, orchids, cookies, and grass. The first steep has notes of grass, orchids, lilacs, other flowers, cream, cookies, and coriander. The taste is pleasant, but is grassier than regular TGY. The next three steeps have citrus and herbaceous notes, though again, the grass predominates. The profile is similar throughout the next few steeps until it fades into grass and veggies around the ninth infusion.
If I use a lot of leaf, this tea comes close to the premium Tie Guan Yin, but ultimately, it’s not as interesting or satisfying. I guess you really do get what you pay for, at least in this instance.
Flavors: Citrus, Cookie, Coriander, Cream, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Orchids, Vegetal
Was lucky to encounter this in the wild in Brooklyn at a tea shop with zero preconceived notions. I’m sort of out of the honeymoon phase with this tea at this point and feel interested to see how it will develop. But it’s very easy to fall head over heels for this unusual bundle of sensory wealth for a time. If you look up reviews from previous years, you’ll see that it is pointless to try and describe all the things it manages to be.
song pairing: Remember – Kevin Oh
Edit1: Brewing it grandpa in a LVZHU travel buddy clone worked out all right. The bottle got very hot so it needed a long thick sock. I’m still not really sold emotionally on the hot water in plastic idea but it tasted fine.
Edit 2: Mixing it cold w/ coconut water at a 1:1 ratio was delicious.
Had this one a week ago…yes i know, bad Sil. And to be honest, it was sort of “meh” Maybe i didn’t do it justice by doing a gonfu sessions with it, but i did a quasi western brew re-steeps with this one and nothing really ever knocked my socks off. It was tasty and a fun thing to try but there are a ton of other teas from YS that i’d rather have.
This tea reminds me of W2T’s Arbor Red, but it’s not as dynamic and complex I think, but with a stronger huigan. In any case, it’s one of the better black teas I have tried for sure. At less than half the price of Arbor Red, it is probably a better value too.
Dry leaves smell sweet and earthy with notes of tomato vine and wooden furniture. Once wet, the aroma changes to a mix of honey and malt. The taste has a strong woody character complemented by decent minerality in later infusions. It is a very clean tasting tea, but that also means lack of complexity. There is a lot of sweetness, a light bitterness and some citrusy quality here and there. One point where the tea really shines is the aftertaste, which is pungent and very long lasting with a strong huigan. It is also somewhat more fruity overall. The body is medium to full, with a creamy, bubbly, and silky mouthfeel. Another thing worth noting is that this tea, more than any black tea I can remember, made me sweat a bit.
Thanks tperez for the sample!
Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Sweet, Wood
I find this tea to be fairly underwhelming, and I can’t quite find that much to write home about, even though nothing is off per se. It has aromas of cannabis and custard, complemented by vegetable compost and mushrooms later throughout the session. At the beginning, the taste is hay-like with a tart finish. The astringency is strong, but not overpowering. Later I notice further notes of dry grass, medium roast coffee, and mushrooms.
I’d say the body is fairly light and the liquor has a distinctively oily mouthfeel. There is also a kind of warming sensation spreading through my body after drinking the tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Cannabis, Coffee, Compost, Custard, Dry Grass, Drying, Hay, Mushrooms, Sour, Tart, Vegetables
I have sample from Donatzsky. And this one I have not tried yet. Thank you!
I woke up today with feel like a puerh. It does not happen much often recently. So, I checked my cupboard (virtual as well real one) and decided for this one. 4 grams / 85 ml gaiwan, boiling water in thermos. Home alone. Tea was rather loose thank some kind of chunk.
1st steep was 15 seconds long. I notice it was really bitter in aroma with notes of stonefruits. In taste it is much better though, stonefruits dominate with sweet hay, bit of astringency.
2nd steep, 30 seconds.
It is very similar to first one. Cold it is completely weird. Very dry.
3rd, 45 s.
Vegetal notes, but astringency gone. Good, bit too drying for me.
4th, one minute.
Bit of white grapes, dry, but good.
I did not made another steeps, as I had to go. But I guess they would be very similar.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Drying, Hay, Stonefruits, Vegetal, White Grapes
This was another of my sipdowns from earlier in the month. I had been meaning to get around to drinking this tea for a couple of months, but I first got on a big black tea kick and then moved on to Wuyi oolongs before finally breaking this tea out to change things up and prevent myself from falling into a rut. It had been way too long since I had reviewed a Dancong oolong anyway. Unfortunately, this tea reminded me that Xing Ren Xiang is not always one of my favorite types of Dancong oolong. I sometimes find them to be a little too gritty and/or soapy in the mouth, and I also sometimes find them to be a little boring. Both criticisms applied to this tea, but honestly, it was not bad overall.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of roasted almond, cream, custard, and orchid as well as some indistinct citrus and pineapple aromas. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of orange blossom, geranium, vanilla, nutmeg, and grass as well as stronger and clearer pineapple scents. The first infusion introduced aromas of tangerine, peach, and steamed milk. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted almond, cream, orchid, steamed milk, grass, tangerine, and orange blossom that were chased by hints of peach, geranium, butter, wood, and nutmeg. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of wood, rose, pear, plum, sugarcane, butter, and honey. Slightly stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of geranium, wood, and butter appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging notes of custard and vanilla and hints of pineapple. I also picked up on notes of cucumber, rose, plum, roasted chestnut, roasted hazelnut, pear, sugarcane, and honey. The previously noted peach hints gradually grew a little stronger on each finish, and I also thought I caught some hints of violet here and there. As the tea settled, the liquor turned grittier and more astringent, offering notes of minerals, wood, roasted almond, steamed milk, grass, and butter that were backed by hints of pear, plum, sugarcane, vanilla, and roasted chestnut.
This tea offered some interesting aromas and flavors, but it also flattened out relatively quickly and turned a bit grittier and more astringent than I had hoped it would. At its peak, it was a nice Dancong oolong, but I quickly grew restless with it and found myself ready to move on to something else. Overall, it was a pretty decent tea, but it struck me as being flawed. I have had better and more memorable teas of this type.
Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Butter, Chestnut, Citrus, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Geranium, Grass, Hazelnut, Honey, Milk, Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Rose, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet, Wood
I had an interesting side by side comparison today, involving this tea and the 2014 vintage thereof. There is a striking difference between these two teas, despite the mere 4 years of (mostly Kunming) aging difference between them.
The 2018 tea is one of the most bitter teas I know. All the other flavours are hidden behind the bitterness and it takes a very lond time until it transforms into sweetness. It has some sugar, fruit, and tart notes here and there, but it’s not an even battle. The aromas in this tea are reminiscent of wood, fresh hay and/or grass compost, with some smokiness appearing in the middle of the session.
The 2014 version, on the other hand, has lost much of the bitterness. It is a smoky, farm-like, and savoury tea with a very tart finish and notes of camphor and apple skins. Its mouthfeel is thicker than in the younger tea. The liquor is more slick and active in the mouth. As for the smell, it is quite pungent and smoky with notes of barn and brewed coffee.
As I started getting my notes together to write this review, it struck me that I could not even remotely recall when I finished what I had of this tea. It had to have been sometime in late July or around the start of the month. Though I can’t quite place my sipdown of this tea, I do recall being extremely impressed by it as well as a little shocked that I had not seen this tea receive more hype online. Everyone knows that I tend to be a huge Feng Qing tea fanboy, but honestly, this struck me as being one of the very best Feng Qing black teas I have ever tried.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry buds emitted aromas of sweet potato, baked bread, malt, cream, cinnamon, cocoa, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, marshmallow, banana, and pine. The first infusion brought out aromas of eucalyptus, black pepper, orange zest, and camphor. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of sweet potato, malt, cream, baked bread, sugarcane, eucalyptus, roasted almond, black pepper, and orange zest that were chased by hints of butter, cocoa, cinnamon, banana, pine, red apple, anise, and menthol. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of clove, anise, cedar, red apple, and lemon zest. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of butter, red apple, cinnamon, and pine appeared in the mouth alongside hints of marshmallow and roasted peanut and impressions of camphor. New notes of minerals, clove, honey, caramel, lemon zest, cedar, peach, apricot, plum, and roasted walnut were also detectable, and I even was able to pick up some hints of red grape here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, baked bread, malt, cream, orange zest, lemon zest, sugarcane, and roasted almond that were balanced by belatedly emerging earthy notes and hints of black pepper, eucalyptus, camphor, cocoa, roasted peanut, menthol, and red grape.
This was a complex and challenging tea that was simultaneously lively and delightfully playful, but that being said, now that I think about it, I suppose I can see why this tea was not more heralded by the community. There was a whole lot going on with it, and it was the sort of tea you really had to work with to fully coax out its charms. Personally, I didn’t mind the extra effort and attention it required, but I can see why some people may not have enjoyed it as much as I did. For me, this tea was well worth the effort as its complexity, depth, and captivating quirks reminded me of why I fell in love with Feng Qing black teas in the first place.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apricot, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Cinnamon, Clove, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Menthol, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut
Here is another July sipdown, this one coming from the first half of the month. I thought this was the last of the 2017 Wuyi black teas I needed to finish, but today I discovered that I have one left that I totally forgot about buying. Anyway, this was a great Wuyi black tea, and that is really saying something considering that I do not generally go for Jin Jun Mei. I found this tea to be very unique and engaging with pleasant body and texture and tons of complexity.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry buds emitted aromas of honey, cinnamon, pine, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of malt, grass, roasted almond, straw, green olive, and banana. The first infusion brought out aromas of black pepper and green bell pepper. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of cream, oats, butter, straw, grass, malt, sugarcane, and roasted almond that were underscored by hints of honey, green bell pepper, banana, and green olive. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cream, butter, oats, clove, rose, eucalyptus, petrichor, caramel, and baked bread. Stronger notes of green olive, green bell pepper, and pine appeared in the mouth alongside slightly amplified impressions of banana and honey. Black pepper notes also appeared and so did mineral, moss, watermelon rind, clove, ginger, sweet potato, eucalyptus, caramel, baked bread, petrichor, pear, and orange zest notes. I also picked up some hints of rose and cinnamon. As the tea faded, the liquor offered notes of minerals, moss, pine, grass, malt, cream, oats, sugarcane, caramel, and green bell pepper that were balanced by hints of baked bread, butter, petrichor, roasted almond, ginger, sweet potato, watermelon rind, and black pepper.
This was an incredibly interesting twist on a Wuyi Jin Jun Mei. To this point in my tea drinking life, I do not recall ever trying another Wuyi black tea quite like this one. I was especially impressed by its complexity, and I should also note that the tea liquor was superbly balanced in the mouth. I will definitely be seeking out a few more teas like this one in the not too distant future.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Malt, Melon, Mineral, Moss, Oats, Olives, Orange Zest, Pear, petrichor, Pine, Rose, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes
I really like this one, it is very nice to me, It’s kinda complex, very thick dark tea with No astringent or bitter at all, extremely mellow. Its Earthy and kinda spicy(slight peppery spice) and slightly sweet(brown sugar/molasses) at the same time, slight woody kinda sandalwood notes, it was a fruity note going to like raisin or dried fig, almost savory at times even with a camphor type note over all of that. This is a Puerh that i would Highly recommend, its nice enough for beginners also. So Extremely thick and black this one is yet so extremely smooth and mellow.
I didn’t find the anise in this one like others did :(
So good! I don’t review very many teas because the flavors are so subjective. But, this is one of my favorites at this price point. I recommend this tea to be drank from a snifter or nosing glass. It’s aged well, not too wet or dry. It’s crisp and clean, but with the richness of an aged pu’erh. Complex, but not muddy. It’s a thinker…which allows the pallet to explore and study in a dark-wooded, leather furnished, old library.
Flavors: Brandy, Burnt Sugar, Leather, Oak wood, Scotch, Tobacco
Oolong group buy: I got a little bit of roast off this tea, plus the usual sour nuts (it’s light). Mineral with some malt and honey. This was an okay tea. I reached for it more that some of the others that I’m torturing myself with. (why I don’t discard them…..)
Flavors: Malt, Mineral, Roasted, Sour