107 Tasting Notes
This is the most beautiful maocha I’ve ever seen. I was compelled to take photos before actually steeping it, which can be found here:
Wet leaf aroma is fruity sweetness and autumn leaf pile.
One rinse. Flash steeps to start, then I push to 5 seconds, 10 and then even longer (confession: I rarely if ever count. I wing it. I’m a steep winger. Is that bad?)
Also started with 200f water and stayed there, because I’ve had an aversion to boiling water and young sheng ever since I read Cwyn’s blog post about it.
Live blogging commencing now…
1 2 3 4 starting to feel it now 5 aaaand I’m sweating 6 the leaves are really expanding now – so lovely 7 honestly, next time I’m having one of those days in the dead of January where I just cannot get warm, I am going to drink this tea 8 wait, is it 8 or 9? Oh my. I am suddenly and completely tea-stoned as crap and I have just spilled about half of cup 9 or 10 all over myself (another reason why boiling water is BAD). One more cup and I’m going to walk away and take a shower because I am sweating like teenage boy after a cross country meet. See, this is why Bosch isn’t for beginners. Experienced pu’er drinkers do not spill Bosch in their shoes. 10 cups and I find myself whinging aloud “how much more tea is in this tea?!” as the leaves are still not done. But stick a fork in me, I am.
General thoughts: I love this sheng. Very slight/light smoke. The flavor overall is light and not overly sweet but by no means simple and if I were more experienced or just better at articulating things I could explain, but alas, I am neither. Most surprising/puzzling thing about this is that there was no bitterness… I kept waiting for the bitter come out of hiding and smack me in the face and it never did. Considering how sensitive to bitter I am, I am absolutely ok with that. This is as close to drinking green tea while not actually drinking green tea that I’ve ever come. Wait, what?
I need a shower.
Smoky sweet and fruity to start. Wet leaf aroma is intense and lovely. Very slight bitterness in early steeps that gets more intense with later steeps. Camphor, spice, and mouth numbness. 4 or 5 steeps in and I have spontaneously begun to sing. The cha qi just about starting to take effect when my wife slides a plate of poached salmon and broccoli sauteed in garlic and olive oil under my nose, and I realize that I am starving.
After dinner I resume my drinking. While I am not normally one for food/tea pairings, I have to say that the chilled honeydew melon I am currently enjoying is a lovely counterpoint to the smokey spice of this hot tea. It’s nearly 8:30pm and I’ll probably regret continuing too much more as I can feel the caffeine and think about running a few laps around the neighborhood. But then I remember that I do not run unless I’m being chased by a bear or a serial killer.
In sum, seeing as I’m still a pu noob this tea is probably the most “aged” sheng I’ve ever had. It’s a bit too much on the smoke/bitter end of the spectrum for me, but I am glad I got to try it.
Apropos of nothing, do professional tea drinkers have to stop and load the dishwasher after their wife makes dinner? #firstworldteaproblems
Presently enjoying some Naka Bamboo pu’er from JK Teashop in my new porcelain gaiwan, also from JK Teashop. This is the most delicate (cheap?) piece of teaware I’ve ever owned. I already regret the day my tea drunk ass fumbles it onto my tile kitchen floor, smashing it to bits. Anyway… the dry leaf aroma is incredible. Early steeps are a tad bitter; there’s also this interesting and new flavor for me which I assume is bamboo. Lots more smoke than I like in a pu, but considering the preparation method one cannot be surprised by that. Happy to have tried it. Thanks to cookies for recommending it.
Edit: (an hour later?) Wanted to add that at first there wasn’t much in the way of qi, then I got up to make my wife a cup of tea, and stood in the kitchen for what seemed like a long time with no idea why I was there. So this is definitely weird. Also, I lost count how many steeps I’ve had, but I’ve decided to put this aside and maybe come back to it tomorrow. It’s more powerful than I’d originally thought. Also, my dog loves it.
The first time I had this tea, I drank it gongfu style side by side with Qilan Fire. I have since had the opportunity to brew both of these teas using my preferred oolong method, which is in my yixing pot. My pot is quite large, nearly 300ml, so I brew for a longer time using only 3g of leaf. So I let this one steep for 3 minutes, and I have to say that I am completely in love with this tea. I was quite fond of it before, but now we’re talking about a serious, deep and abiding forever kind of love. A love I haven’t experienced since my first Tie Guan Yin. That’s really all I have to say. Other than a big thank you to Paul and to the wonderful tea master/alchemist who created these magical leaves.
Today I’m drinking the 3 Dahongpao teas from the Aug/Sept White2Tea club. I’m putting this here because I don’t want to do them separately. I will review the Qilan teas separately though.
Fresh DHP (4g)
Really interesting aroma. Tangy? Intensifies w/ wet leaf. Smells like candy actually.
The brew is much milder than I thought it would be. I’m kind of surprised at how much I like this tea. It’s really quite mellow. No astringency, lovely light sweet aftertaste. Not having had many (any?) DHP’s, I have no point of reference for this tea. Is there a light smokiness I’m detecting in later steeps? (I’m on #3 right now). Another reviewer said burnt sugar. Yes. I was thinking caramel, but not as sweet. So burnt sugar fits the bill. I’m not really overtaken by the roast on this one. I’ve had other wuyi oolongs that were much more in your face with the roast. Not so this one. Steep five is weak; tea is losing its oomph. Let six sit a bit longer and the tea liquor is dark but the flavor has definitely faded. Becoming more mineral/meh.
8 years aged DHP (~3g)
Oolong owl said the dry leaf aroma is “car tire.” Which is hilarious and spot on. Not pleasant at all. Wet leaf aroma is much nicer though. I don’t know, I’m not getting as much flavor out of this. Weird. Maybe it’s because I just ate? I probably should have waited a bit. I’ve had two steeps. I think I’ll put it aside for a bit and come back. Ok, I did come back about an hour later. Still not feeling it tbh. I mean, it’s ok, but just that. It’s the like the fresh with the flavor and intensity turned down from 9 to like, 4.
5 years aged DHP brick (~4g)
The brick itself has no discernible aroma, but the wet leaf smells fantastic. The burnt sugar aroma is very strong, very much like the fresh DHP actually but a bit more intense. The flavor is just so good, deep, rich, and roasty but sweet. My mouth is coated with a sweet mineral aftertaste. Mmmmm sweet rocks. I would buy this if I could; it is my favorite of the three. I will say the flavor drops off a bit for me after the first several steeps though.
One thing I have learned over the course of my tea journey, and specifically with these oolongs (including the Clover Patch, which I reviewed separately a few weeks ago) is that I am not one for subtlety when it comes to flavors. Most days I like a tea to announce its arrival with four-part harmonies and a horn section. I don’t know if my palate will become more “refined” in time, or if this is just the way I am. Anyway, I continue to completely enjoy the w2t club. Initially I thought it would just be something I’d do for a few months, now it’s already incorporated into 2016’s tea budget (which I’d already spent by July 2015, but whatever…)
Tea leaves: https://instagram.com/p/70W9e7GgMZ/?taken-by=curlygc
Clockwise from right: fresh (more defined, long, slender, beautiful. 8 Years aged: similar to fresh but more chopped up. Brick: chopped like shou. Chopped Shuey? (I’ll see myself out)
My wife is away on a business trip. It’s a Friday night, so while the cat is away, the mouse is going to play. And by play I mean sit on the sofa and drink tea all night. I am not on call, I did not bring work home, I have nowhere to go, no one to see, and I do not have to get up early tomorrow. It’s Introvert Tea Drinker’s Dream Friday.
I’m digging into a bag of “mystery ripe” from the White2Tea sale. Heaven and earth, it’s good. I will never know what this is and when it’s gone I will never have it again. I Accept this as I hover above my meditation cushion/sofa, full lotus, aglow with pu’eressence. I just made that word up. It’s like being scrumtrulescent with Pu. And I am. Ohmmmmmmmm
So, when I was misbehaving yesterday in the asian grocery, I made some purchases that totaled under $10, and I have to admit, I am happy. Like their genmaicha, Yamamotoyama’s hojicha is actually quite good. Yes, really. The “aroma” of the dry leaf had me wondering if maybe they threw some charred sticks and bark into the bag, but the brew is robust, smoky, and flavorful and smells fantastic.
Also I got this cute little kitty teacup for $1.99:
Who doesn’t love an asian grocery?
I picked up a big ole bag of this tea at my local asian grocery. It might be cheap as chips, but sometimes that’s not a bad thing. It’s toasty and warm, not bitter, and very much hitting the spot right now. Not much to say other than that. Well, actually it does make me wonder how much better a “high quality” genmaicha might be. Perhaps I’ll keep that in mind the next time I order from Yunomi.
I did something unspeakable to this tea, and for that I apologize in advance to the Pu-gods, Shen Nong, Lu Yu, and the honorable Tea Farmer who grew these leaves. When I drank it last, which according to my tasting note was approximately a month ago, I wasn’t feeling it. So apparently I drained the leaves, put the tea in a plastic bag, and put it in my fridge. And forgot about it. For a month. In my cheese drawer. FACEPALM
The good news is that it was not destroyed. I’m on my fifth steep and it’s pretty wonderful actually. There’s still that tang, but the predominant sourness has mellowed into deeply flavorful shou, earthy, primeval, and satisfying. Now I’m feeling it.