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Recent Tasting Notes
I still have a couple of samples from derk to go through, this being one ticked off the list today. It’s a nice semi-aged tea that’s different from the ones I own in a similar age category. Instead of being herbaceuos or fruity, it is more on the nutty and bitter side.
In the aroma, I could smell some wet storage notes, but this didn’t translate into the taste. Instead, the profile was sweet, vegetal, bitter, and nutty (walnut skin, chestnut). The aftertaste was nicely warming with a touch of a camphor note to it.
I also quite liked the mouthfeel, something I often find to be a weak point of these kind of teas. It was soft and active with good viscosity, but felt light in the mouth at the same time. I also got a hint of a sedating sort of cha qi.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Chestnut, Nuts, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal, Vinegar, Walnut
Also drank this during my virtual tea session tonight. I noted ‘dark sweet raisins, with a bit mineral notes at the back of the mouth/throat. Astringent, but not bitter.’ I only got 5 steeps in before pausing for the evening. I was getting the tea sweats/energy that comes with semi-aged teas. I need to take a breather for the night, allow the leaf to dry out, and start earlier in the afternoon. Strong tea drunkenness, though.
I thought this tea was a shou puer. I’m glad it isn’t as I now have a new type of tea to explore. Sure heichas and shous are siblings. Some would suggest that all shous are heichas but not all heichas are shous.
This tea is wonderful. I’m going to politely disagree with those that suggest grass as in mowed grass. Mowed grass scent and taste is more of a green tea and this is not a green tea. Now… I’m going to tell you that it does have a grassy scent and taste. When you were a kid, did you ever walk along, come across grass that had grown a really tall stalk with seeds, ripped that stalk from the rest of the grass plant and then sucked/chewed on the end of the grass stem? That’s how the first couple of infusions of this tea are. It so reminds me of a meadow after a quick rain, or the bank of a pond or lake. I’ve had this tea several times since I bought a basket of it. The other times, I’ve gotten more of an earthy flavor from this tea. Hopefully that means I’m getting better at tasting different nuances and will be able to write better reviews.
The taste hits you right square in the middle of the tongue. No preamble, no aftertaste. The taste is just there and then it’s like, where’d it go? Ok maybe it lingers a little while.
Subsequent brewings bring out a little more woodiness in a good way.
Flavors: Earth, Hay, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal, Wood
Boychik kindly sent me a sample of this tea together with a bunch of teas I bought from her, and I drank it today as I was craving some aged sheng. I definitely enjoyed it and found it to be quite easy to drink with no noticeable off notes. It ranks above average as far as the semi-aged sheng I’ve tried thus far goes.
The taste is very smooth and somewhat herbaceous (pine) and fruity, with a strong menthol/camphor note and a sour finish. Aftertaste is cooling with a lasting sweetness and notes of wood and papaya. I found body decently thick and the texture quite bubbly, especially in the first few steeps.
One downside of this tea is that it doesn’t really last beyond 9 or 10 infusions, but frankly for a 14 year old tea at this price, one probably shouldn’t expect much more.
Flavors: Camphor, Fruity, Herbaceous, Menthol, Pine, Smooth, Sour, Sweet, Tropical, Wood
I really liked the other Verdant roasted oolong in the tea box, so I had to give this one a try as well. Unfortunately, this one’s not for me. The roasted flavor is much stronger, leaving a bitter, ashy aftertaste in my mouth. The resteep was a bit lighter in flavor and I enjoyed it more, but still not something I’d want to drink again.
Flavors: Ash, Bitter, Char, Roasted, Smoke
Another go at this oldie, this time as a digestive following a dinner of homemade Thai red curry. The alkaline flavor and ashy taste of this aged da hong pao were definitely muted after eating such a flavorful dish. I enjoyed the profile of the tea better following my meal versus having it on an empty stomach/clean palate. I still can’t seem to pull more than 4-5 (if I include the rinse) worthwhile infusions; like an oolong that’s given up a bit of its youthful essence with each trial by fire, I also don’t exactly possess the vigor that I once did. Can’t fault the tea for that. There is still a mellow strength to this tea.
Book pairing: Simply Thai Cooking by Wandee Young and Byron Ayanoglu
These recipes are excellent for restaurant-style Thai without being drowned in sugar, salt and oil.
First session with this tea. I bought it a few years ago and it has sat in a sealed jar since then.
Rich and tangy dry leaf scent with impressions of oak, smoke, berries, spices, currants, dark chocolate, pine. It reminds me of both a mulled wine and a smoky scotch. The reroast is the dominant vibe once brewed, integrating well with a berry and spice tone. Taste of ash, especially in the back of the mouth. Alkaline, some umami. I noted an early aroma of caramel and hazelnut with fleeting wet wood ash.
There’s a milky feel in the mouth after the swallow that slowly morphs into a throaty astringency and a drying, unripe peach skin aftertaste that lasts the entire session. I also notice tobacco and wood cask tones. Feel good, calm, with a light camphor effect deep in my chest. The tea quickly grows into a dry woodiness. I was able to pull only 6 infusions from the leaf (really only 4 that were worth it).
Other reviewers find this to be a favorable tea. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. There’s a dominant ash taste and an alkaline bitterness to it that are a bit grating. Maybe the reroast is too much for me despite it not being a sharp, fresh flavor. Otherwise, the tea has a balanced, mellowed profile. It is tonal rather than possessing specific tastes.
What an interesting tea! It’s a roasted oolong (which I’ve had before) but one with a very strong floral note that clashes with the earthier aspects in an interesting way. It’s sort of like you’re consuming the whole flower, including the dirty roots! (Which isn’t a very appetizing mental image, come to think of it…) I’m also finding it a bit drying at the end of the sip, not smooth and creamy like the oolongs I love. Personally, this isn’t really to my taste and I wouldn’t drink it again, but I’m glad I had the chance to try it!
Flavors: Astringent, Drying, Earth, Floral, Mineral
So excited that this TTB includes some straight black teas! I love experimenting with different flavored blends, but sometimes you just want plain, delicious TEA. This one is lovely…super dark, twisty little leaves that smell strongly of cocoa. It brews up deep brown and chocolatey and resteeps beautifully. A very comforting tea for a cold January day.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate
In early 2020 this tea is lovely. Earthy, but with a mineral kick, it is quite mellow, and pleasant. No off odors or flavors, it just tastes good, and has a pleasant feel to it. The epitome of an “everyday” tea in the good sense that it is pleasant, enjoyable, easy, and does not require much of you other than enjoyment. Wish I had more.
One of the first YS sheng productions I tried was the 2011 Autumn Mang Fei. It didn’t leave a particularly strong impression, but I was at a very different stage of my tea journey. Today I had the second from the Mang Fei series – 2018 spring vintage. It is a nice tea with a pronounced character, but its profile doesn’t quite appeal to me personally as much as some other YS teas to be honest.
The aroma is an interesting mix of fish, dry earth, bitter melon, Mediterranean shrubs, and clay bricks. I found the taste to be very mineral, more so than any other raw pu’er I can remember. It is quite bitter and astringent with a lot of umami notes. There are flavours of vegetable broth, oregano, okra, cumin, banana skin, and a light honey towards the end of the session. The aftertaste is probably the highlight. It is long and spicy with a strong fructose sweetness and notes of cape gooseberry and curry leaf. The mouthfeel is also fairly interesting in that it is very warming and creamy.
Flavors: Astringent, banana, Berry, Bitter, Clay, Earth, Fishy, Herbs, Mineral, Plants, Spices, Spicy, Sweet, Umami, Vegetable Broth, Vegetables, Wood