13 Tasting Notes

78

This is a tea I kind of forgot I have, which is surprising because my collection is not that big. I just don’t drink a lot of white tea. I bought it either year of or year after and it’s picked up some odor from my tea drawer. Zip-locks permeate odors, folks. The first couple steeps where storage flavor is present aren’t that interesting otherwise, anyway, mostly just sweet.

As I said, I don’t drink much white tea so I don’t have many reference points to draw on. Reminded me a lot of the Taiwanese mountain oolongs I used to drink. Notes of pine, slight citrus zest, general floral notes (maybe orchid, gardenia, jasmine, maybe violet) and nice sweetness. In the later steeps it’s stronger on the tree-vegetal/pine notes. Pleasantly dry, with a mouthfeel that moves from round to softly dry. I was able to push the temp on this pretty hard in the later steeps, going from 185-205’F which brought out more pine and green wood notes.

I remember this tea being more astringent and vegetal, and less sweet when I first tried it, so I think aging has helped it a bit.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Pine

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 g 45 OZ / 1330 ML

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71

Overall not bad, but too smokey for my taste. The smokiness overpowered everything else for me. I am a pu noob, but I was surprised by how green this tasted for its age. YS says dry-wet guangdong, so I guess that would explain it. Flavor was again smoke, musty/mushroomy wood, damp hay/barnyard, something savory/meaty, and some citrus or spicy fruit – maybe grapefruit. Mid steeps leaned towards darker fruits. Pleasant round mouthfeel. Slight tartness as it cooled. Satisfying returning sweetness. Not much here that I haven’t found elsewhere, but I will revisit it.

Flavors: Decayed wood, Floral, Grapefruit, Hay, Smoke, Stonefruits

Preparation
3 tsp 2 OZ / 45 ML

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81

First time being the first reviewer on a tea, I think. Certainly one this old.

I take this with me to work and brew it grandpa style mostly, first steep is typical shou, second and third have a wonderful cola taste that I love. Like cola flavored candy – think Bottle Caps. Some warm spices, particularly cinnamon. Slightly slick/creamy mouthfeel. Really pleasant. I will have to gong fu this to see what else it’s got.

This was a blind buy for me before I was sure I liked shou. Didn’t like it much at first, stashed it away for a year and a half or so. Definitely a deal when I bought it, I’ll have to blind buy more.

Flavors: Cherry, Cinnamon, Root Beer, Spices

Preparation
3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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80

Had an old sample of this that I revisited. The sample is probably a little stale, I keep my puerh in ziplocks and I’m sure the humidity isn’t optimal.

Overall really enjoyed this tea, lots of heavy, sweet chocolate and cigar/leather, and some cherry/root beer/dr pepper. Wonderfully deep, lasting aroma that sits in your chest. Slightly brisk, mouthfeel wasn’t overly slick. Not a whole lot of development, but I might blame that on sample quality.

Tried this against the 2013 and found pretty similar results, but slightly prefer the 2013 which had more sweetness and cherry stuff going on. Again, sample quality might be a factor.

Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Leather, Root Beer, Tobacco

Preparation
3 g 2 OZ / 45 ML

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Had a sample of this in my stash for 1.5 – 2 years in pretty lazy storage so very young. Gaiwan, 1g:15ml. Did 8 solid steeps, then one where I forgot about it for 15min or so.

Big aroma throughout: citrus zest – grapefruit?, dampened dried wild grasses & flowers, slightly woody like hardwood in the later steeps. Reminded me of late summer nights when the damp night air rehydrates the dried grasses and flowers and it’s got that heady floral quality.

Flavor was pretty solidly young sheng: crisp greens, artichoke, toasted grasses, and some fruitiness. Not a total gut bomb, definitely still bitter and astringent but manageable. Good sweet aftertaste. I could drink this, but I wouldn’t pick it often.

The last “wildcard” 15min steep was a real winner, big stonefruit/apricot aroma and flavor, hardly bitter. Was very light though, not sure the tea had much more to give.

I’m not really familiar enough with (young) sheng to really confidently evaluate it or how it might age, just trying to write more tea notes.

Flavors: Artichoke, Citrus Zest, Hay, Lettuce, Stonefruits, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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90

Bright, sweet, fruity. Love this one. Way more than the Dian Hong you might expect. This is the daily tea that I actively avoid drinking because I would demolish my stash so quickly. You can come back to this tea multiple times and find something new each time.

Flavors: Berry, Malt, Toasted

Preparation
3 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

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Take it from me: Guy Who Has Not Has Much Raw Pu-Erh™, this is a pretty good cake. By now it’s lost nearly all of its astringency and has a fruity, bright character. A good amount of depth and complexity.

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80

Hits all the right notes for a daily driver black tea (for me.) Malty, light scent of fresh tobacco, a rich, floral (in that way autumn leaves are floral, y’know?), and bright background. Complex on its own but plays a wonderful second fiddle to a pastry or snack. Wonderfully toasty at heavier ratios, though that dies off in the later steeps. Quite sweet with brown/raw sugar flavor, not the sweetest I’ve had but significant. Toes the line of too sweet for me (I prefer roastier/toastier -sweet to sugar-sweet).

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Malt, Toasty, Tobacco

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85

Update:
This turned into my daily driver and I fell into an easy rhythm with it brewing it western style. 5.5g:300ml, 10-15s rinse, 2:00, 2:20, 2:50. It doesn’t get bitter or astringent, but steeping too long can make it too thick and undefined. You get really clear, sweet sugary notes with the first steep that evolve into more defined floral, malty, and fruity notes in the later steeps.
I’ve gone through it in a handful of months so I can’t say it’s really aged. It is a little more aggressive these days, but I think that’s due a higher ratio of broken leaves and dust as I reach the bottom of my bag.
Cold brews into a great, but a bit light, iced tea.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Malt, Plums, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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Bio

I enjoy Dian Hong mostly, but have been venturing further into puerh, and yanxi and dancong. I tend to focus on daily drinkers and teas that do well grandpa/western.

90 – 100: I think about this tea regularly
80 – 89: I want to drink this every day
70 – 79: I want to drink this most days
60 – 69: I want to drink this occasionally
<59: something has gone terribly wrong.

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