107 Tasting Notes
I’m taking a break from my Rediscovering Sheng Summer Tour to revisit my old friend the Black Dragon. Except this is a new kind of old friend, because this is my first Dancong. Got a sample of this from Oolong Owl. 5 grams into my gaiwan, 190 degrees, 30 second infusions up to a minute. Love it! Fruity and slightly toasty deliciousness with a lingering floral aftertaste. What fruit it is, I have no idea. Not at all Shhhy in flavor nor aroma. I just know I like it. Must try other Dancongs now.
This is one of the two Master Han teas I ordered from Verdant before the move. This one is just ok. It’s really, really light. Less sweet/fruity, more spicy/smoke/tobacco. Not bitter, but just not super flavorful. I definitely prefer the Qianjiazhai, and I will be getting some of the 2015 sheng brick when I place another Verdant order at some point (but probably not the entire 500 gram brick!)
I’m taking a tea break while packing up the eldest and getting ready to send her off to college. So I’m not up for an in depth review and anyway, Haveteawilltravel has already provided an excellent review that is spot on. So, in short: this tea is wonderful. It’s smooth, sweet, smoky, light, with hardly any bitterness. I fell in love with Master Han’s Bamboo-wrapped sheng, and when I couldn’t get any more of that I ordered whatever of M. Han’s sheng was still available from Verdant. This was one of them. I’m officially a Master Han Fan!
I’ve tried a few Laochatous and this one is my favorite so far. Ready to drink, very smooth, sweet, chocolate and fruity at the same time. Brews up deep and dark, coffee-like. Probably a good place to start for a coffee lover looking to get into Pu’er. These nuggets last a long time, and you can’t really over-steep them as far as I can tell; I’ve forgotten I had them in water a few times and the flavor was still lovely with no bitterness. This makes it a good work tea for me because I can focus on other things and still have a seemingly never-ending and delicious cup of tea that lasts the whole day.
This is an interesting tea. I tried it three times before putting up a review. I’ve never had a TGY quite this dark before, so it was definitely an experience! The first time I brewed it gongfu, followed the brewing instructions (194 degree water, 45 second infusions), but the flavor was lacking for me. Increased the time and still, not much. Second time I did western style in my cast iron teapot, and boosted the temp to 200 for 3 minutes. I thought that because the leaves weren’t unfurling much, that the temp was too low. That didn’t improve the flavor much either. So this morning, I tried again, western style, boiling water, 5 minutes. Tasted after five and added another 2-3 minutes, and perfect.
So I learned a few things: You apparently cannot oversteep this tea, and the leaves are not going to open up or unfurl like a traditional oolong because they are roasted all to heaven and back. Also, it’s delicious.
Flavor is lovely, no astringency, lightly smoky – surprising actually, I thought it would be more so b/c the leaves are charred black. Sweet flavors of roasted plum and dried figs. The charcoal finish is there but again, not overbearing. I’m not sure what the piece of bitter melon adds to the flavor party, but I did that because the tasting notes recommend it. I also ordered 100 grams for a chance at getting a whole bitter melon, which Alistair generously sent.
In sum, this is a lovely tea for anyone who loves a dark roasted TGY.
EDIT: Decided to see if the leaves had anything left, so I steeped it again for 10 minutes and had a nice second cuppa.
Got this as a sample in my last Verdant order. I’m hoping my review is on the correct page; the package said Master Han’s 2014 Bamboo Wrapped Sheng Pu’er, I am assuming this is the same tea. Anyway, I decided to try this during my “Rediscovering Sheng Summer Tour” now that my palate seems to have completely changed. I really, really like this sheng. It’s light, sweet, smokey, and not too bitter at all. Right in my wheelhouse. I like this so much I went to the web site to purchase some, and much to my dismay, it’s not there. How dare they send me a free sample of tea and then run out! Damn you Verdant Tea Pushers!
[Recommended? Yes. But don’t hold your breath because IT’S GONE]
Got a sample of this in a tea trade; I didn’t want to commit to a whole box but I’d been wanting to try it for awhile. I’ll be honest, it’s probably because it has the word “chocolate” in the name, which is silly really because there’s nothing chocolate about this tea except for maybe the appearance. The brew is really dark, thick, coffee-like. Early steeps are very strong (even at 5 seconds): musty, earth, sour, decayed wood. The mustiness fades in later steeps. Not much sweetness. I didn’t go more than 5 or 6 steeps into this, I didn’t have it in me. Considering I’ve been drinking a lot of Gyokuro lately, choosing this shou tonight was probably not the best idea I had today.
First time ever trying Gyokuro; was provided this sample in a tea exchange with the wonderful Oolong Owl. 1st steep, room temp water, just enough to cover the leaves, 7 minutes. Subsequent steeps at 160, starting at 15 seconds, and adding about 5 each subsequent steep.
First steep: Oh lord. Sweet mother in heaven, what is this incredibly gorgeous taste? Oh my my my. UMAMI I would like to go swimming in this tea. Is that weird? Intensely sweet and savory. Buttered beans and greens and seaweed and something indescribable. Jade dew, exactly – it’s a viscous bright green soup, mouthfeel addicts would love this tea. I haven’t been this happy drinking tea since…. since the last time I drank tea. Which was this morning. Anyway!… it would appear that I’m going to have to find a dealer and apologize in advance to my wallet.
EDIT: I am freakin’ tea smashed from this stuff. Now, excuse me while I go kiss the sky…
EDIT2: I just ate the steeped leaves with my lunch, chicken and cabbage seasoned with salt, gyokuro, and kelp seasoning. Delicious!
Gongfu, 1 tbsp, 200. 30-45 secs. The last time I reviewed this tea it was a few months ago, and it was one of the first shengs I had ever tried. At the time, all I could taste was seaweed. Fast forward a few months, and dozens of teas later, 2-3 a day, every day, all kinds and my palate has completely changed. It’s crazy. I have no idea how the heck I ever tasted seaweed. This tea is sweet; the first steep very much so, I taste white grapes, citrus. Later steeps get a tad bitter and dry. It’s amazing how much a person’s palate can change in such a short amount of time!
This cake arrived in the mail dry as a bone and hard as rock. I wanted to do some experimenting with storage and aging without ruining a good/expensive cake. This cake was a cheap buy off of Amazon (don’t judge me!) so I went for it. Plus, you know, two day shipping. Anyway, I did have some the very first day it arrived, and it was just “ok.” I put it in a crock inside my makeshift pumidor, and waited a few weeks. Came back to it tonight. The cake is more fragrant, more pliable, and has definitely improved a bit. I know I should have waited longer, but I was in the mood to try it again so I did. 6g, boiling, gongfu, short steeps. 3 rinses. Earth, peat, wood, mushrooms. Not much sweetness. It’s slightly sour (probably fermentation) in early steeps, but mellows out later. I do know that I will continue to re-visit this tea over the course of several months, and it should be interesting.