77 Tasting Notes
Another tea from the puerh samples I received. This tea smelled and tasted like a raw that has matured. There was a small amount of camphor smell in the wet leaves, but the taste had none and there was no bitterness that I could detect. This tea has an earthy sweetness not unlike the taste one would get from a shou puerh in later steepings, but not as concentrated. My understanding is that this was dry stored and is composed of small, tippy high quality material. It is a very balanced tea and easily approachable. This tea in one word is SMOOTH. I could just be tired, but I drank this in the evening and was concerned it might keep me up, but instead it relaxed me. This is one that could easily be a daily drinker. Someone new to puerh would likely enjoy this. To borrow a TeaDB phrase, I think it would pass the mom test.
Flavors: Earth, Smooth, Sweet
This tea was released in 2011 but was made from older mao cha. This tea packs quite a wallop. It’s strong. It’s sour. It’s bitter. It’s astringent. It tastes like a young sheng. Strong scent of camphor and tannic astringency. It has fairly strong qi for me. An unexpected flavor note that I noticed in the first few infusions was clove, and it was very obvious and not subtle. I guess one never really knows how a raw will age, but this one has a lot of strength to be pressed 8 years ago and to be made with older material. I could see this one turning into a hit years from now. Wheweee. This one has me spinning…
Flavors: Astringent, Camphor, Cloves, Pleasantly Sour, Tannic
Through the generosity of a tea friend, I am tasting my way through a number of samples of aged raw puerhs. I had also ordered a few additional raw puerhs to sample. When I first began drinking loose leaf teas, I tried everything (green, black, oolong, ripe, raw, etc), and gravitated toward mildly roasted Wuyi rock oolongs. However, I have always been curious if there are puerhs out there that I would love more if only I found the right ones. I already have a number of cakes in storage that were purchased several years ago with pure chance. With the help of a tea bud, I have already found a couple of puerhs I like in these samples, and I’m working toward sampling my way to my preferred sheng region, cultivar, etc.
I am creating tasting note placeholders here on Steepster as I go through the teas that I intend to come back later and add more detailed tasting notes. I was given enough sample material for at least two sessions (thank you!!) and so that will allow me get to know the outstanding character of each tea and those traits that are more common across raw puerhs.
So far I have tried:
2004 Yang Qing Hao “Te Ji Pin” Raw by Yang Qing Hao
2007 XiaGuan FT Shan 4th golden wrapper by Xiaguan Tea Factory
2008 Menghai “SPRINGTIME WATER” RAW by Menghai Tea
2010 “AUTUMN NAN NUO SHAN” RAW PU-ERH TEA BRICK by Yunnan Sourcing
2012 Baotang Raw by The Essence of Tea
Since this little summary of my experiment is posted under the 2012 Boatang Raw tasting note, here are my initial thoughts on this tea:
Brewed gongfu style in 70 ml clay pot with 5 gr of material. One rinse and very fast initial steeps of only 5 seconds, gradually increasing (very little).
Flavors/Aromas I pickup in this tea are a lot of sweetness. That’s very evident. I also get a little bit of cocoa in the early steeps, but it is nothing like the strong chocolate flavor that comes through with black (red) teas. It’s definitely tannic and possesses some bitterness, and in later steepings still reveals some young sheng characteristics. It’s smooth in the mouth and has very little astringency initially, but the tea does become more astringent after awhile. If I smack my lips, I get something like a blackboard chalk in the aftertaste.
In the 2010 “AUTUMN NAN NUO SHAN” brick, I felt some pretty strong qi or caffeine buzz or something going on very quickly. With this 2012 Boatang, I feel a little something in my body, but it came on slowly and is far more subtle.
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Leather, Sweet, Tannin
About a week ago, I had some Ma Tou Yan Rou Gui Zheng Yan Wu Yi rock oolong tea, Spring 2018, from Yunnan Sourcing. I had ordered some Boutique Rougui (harvest unknown) from wuyiorigin.com. I thought it would be fun to compare the two. I ordered 25 grams of each. Both came in a mylar/foil ziplock bag. Examining the dry leaf, they both appear to be identical. Dry leaf smell was very similar, but a slight nod to Yunnan Sourcing. Their rou giu was slightly more aromatic and fruity.
I attempted to keep this as similar as possible. Identical porcelain gaiwans were used, identical glass cha hai were used, and I used a timer for steeping. I alternated which tea was brewed first to account for the slight variation in cooling time after it was poured into the identical cups.
These are remarkably similar teas. I would not be surprised if they came from the same source. If blind tasted 15 minutes apart, one would be hard pressed to say they were different teas. However, tasting back to back, there is a slight difference. The flavor profile is the same. They both have a significant roasted flavor profile. Mouthfeel is identical. Color of dry leaf, wet leaf, and tea liquor is identical. Aroma is slightly fruitier with the Yunnan Sourcing sample. Sweetness is slightly more with the Yunnan Sourcing. Fruity aftertaste lingers more with Yunnan Sourcing. Otherwise, they are as close to identical as twins.
This wasn’t meant to be a contest, but since both teas are so similar, it comes down to two factors for me. I prefer the delicate sweet, fruity note that the YS adds on top of the classic roasted mineral taste. It adds a little something to the rather flat, consistent roasted flavor of rou gui. Second is cost. YS’s 25 gram bag cost $7. WuyiOrigin’s “Boutique” rou gui costs $24 for 25 grams. That’s a big difference for nearly identical tea. I did not detect anything in the boutique sample that made it stand out and justify the extra cost. This was my first sample from wuyiorigin.com, and I have several more samples of their teas to try. I’m looking forward to seeing how their other teas compare.
Flavors: Mineral, Roasted