77 Tasting Notes
This afternoon I’m using the Spring 2017 release of this tea. It is a midly roasted version that looks like a slightly duller version of the bright green competition grade tie guan yins. The dry leaves smell like tea. Imagine that. :-) By that, I mean the dry leaves just smell pure. I don’t pick up on anything other that pure tea smell except just the slightest roasted note. I decided to prepare this Anxi style in a small red 70 ml Jianshui clay pot placed on a tea boat bowl. The dry leaves were placed in the pot and just off boiling water was poured over and around the pot. The leaves now gave off a slightly more vegetal scent. After a fast rinse, the first three steeps were kept under 10 seconds, shaking the pot to unfurl the leaves between each steep. We have gardenias around our property, and unfortunately they are no longer blooming to do a direct one on one comparison, but I happened to smell a gardenia blossom just a week ago, and this tie guan yin scent is very close to gardenia. Gardenia can be one of those heady sweet scents that are hard to take for a long period of time, but the tie guan yin gardenia is more delicate. It does not offend in any way. The first few infusions were buttery, green, sweet. This is really delicious. Liquor is pale yellow. Infusions are now incredibly sweet. It’s as if sugar has been secretly added to the cup. Pushing the tea toward the front of my mouth, I detected what tasted like a lightly toasted marshmallow. It was fleeting, but it was there. With this tea session, I’m paying more attention to the timing, and I’m pouring around the edges and not directly into the center of the leaves. I like the results, because I got zero bitterness and zero vegetal taste in this session. I would recommend this tie guan yin, and here is a link to the instructions I used for brewing this Anxi style. Check out his other articles, as well:
Flavors: Butter, Gardenias, Green, Marshmallow, Roasted, Sugar, Sweet
The dry leaves of this tea smell great like a box of Raisinetes on a wooden shelf of an old country store. I did two short rinses in a small clay pot. The rinse water had a pale rose color. That should have been the clue I needed to know to steep longer, but I only did about a 10 second steep, and the first infusion was a bit too weak. Wet leaves still had a touch of chocolate, but the earthy, composted leaf smell was the dominate aroma. It was hard to detect the raisin, sweet dried fruit aroma in the wet leaves. Second infusion, I went for 30 seconds. I think I could have gone longer with no bad consequences. Liquor became much darker, but still on the reddish-brown side and not that crimson black that some shous produce. If I could only use one word to describe this, I would say SMOOTH. This is a very smooth shou pu-erh. Zero bitterness. In the tasting notes, there is a sweetness to it. Earthy, mushroom, hint of cocoa, but I don’t taste any of the raisin that was so dominate in the dry leaves. Smooth and wet mouthfeel, lingering coating. I think I’m getting just a smidgen of sourness, but surely that can’t be right. This is well fermented tea. Maybe it is an unusual astringent quality. It only comes late after the finish and is present only near the front of my mouth.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Chocolate, Earth, Mushrooms, Raisins, Sweet
This tea is stout. I did a rinse, then a steep of 20 seconds. Bam! Flavor was off the charts, intensely bitter but not astringent. First few infusions remained rather intensely bitter. I kept dropping my time back until I was at 10 seconds. The liquor then took on a sweetness, but still has plenty of bitterness and a bit of sourness. It produced a creamy mouth feel. I’d like to taste this one in 10 years. I admittedly have a hard time describing young shengs. I saw one of the flavor notes someone posted was warm grass. That’s a good description of what I experienced with this tea. It’s the Fourth of July, and I feel like there are fireworks going off in my mouth with this one.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Wet Wood
This morning, I thought I’d try something different This tea is all buds that are green with a purple unfurled leaf bud. The dry smell is that of dried rose buds. The warm, wet buds release a very powerful rose scent that carries over to the tea liquor. Camellia sinensis is the tea plant we all know and love, but camellia japonica can also be used to make tea. We have several camellia japonica shrubs on our property, and I attempted to make a tea from the purple spring leaves this year. It produced a similar product to this, though not as rose-heavy, and the camellia japonica has a distinct spice note similar to cinnamon.
This sweet ya bao is heady with aroma. It’s almost too much for me in the way that some powerful scents can cause one to have a headache, but this is a unique experience that I think is worth trying, and would be especially fun to serve during a social tasting event. Yunnan Sourcing describes a watermelon note, and it is definitely present. Rose and watermelon. I think I just drank my grandmother’s perfume.
Flavors: Floral, Herbs, Melon, Rose
Dry leaves smell nice, rich, mellow. After two rinses, I steeped for 8 secs in a 100 ml gaiwan with 4 gr of leaf. Color is dark amber on first infusion. Wet leaf smell is earthy, mulchy. Taste has a tiny amount of chocolate note but subtle, musty, earthy, and has a nice sweetness. It’s very smooth, no bitterness and no astringency. It’s a very pleasant drinking ripe pu-erh. Long lasting smooth and thick mouth feel and aftertaste. By the third infusion, liquor is now dark with red tone. Leaves have expanded to reveal — no leaves. It’s all small chopped pieces of 1 cm or less.
Flavors: Chocolate, Decayed wood, Earth, Musty, Sweet
I decided to do a couple of green teas back to back, tonight. Teavivre had sent a sample of their Dragon Well Long Jing, so it was prepared after tasting First Flush Mao Feng. I prefer Dragon Well above Mao Feng for a hot green tea, but for a sweetened cold green tea, Mao Feng is my choice. I did a few infusions hot of Dragon Well, then decided since I had already gone rogue by sweetening mao feng, I’d do the same with dragon well. I kept the prep the same. Simple syrup and a squeeze of lemon, and multiple short infusions poured over ice. I kept trying for the flavor notes, and I was dancing around grapefruit, then pear. Obviously, I had added a citrus note with the lemon, and then it hit me. Canned yellow peaches. It tasted just like canned yellow peaches in heavy syrup. I’m not going to fill out the flavor profile, because I don’t want to wrongly influence someone to be expecting peach with a normal preparation of Dragon Well. If you like canned peaches, try this Dragon Well sweetened with lemon.
This sure is a beautiful tea. The silver and dark green leaves and the airy texture look great in a glass jar. Dry leaves smell mostly vegetal with a bit of honey. I did gonfu in an open gaiwan. Short infusions. Liquor was pale, as expected. Light and delicate vegetal and some sweetness. Smooth. After three infusions in my small gaiwan, I poured some simple syrup and a squirt of lemon in a tumbler and brewed up three more quick infusions and poured it over the ice. Delicious. I could drink this green tea every day as a sweetened green tea, but not as much as a hot tea. Just my personal preference. The tea is an excellent green tea. I know, I’m a heathen.
Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Vegetal
Short infusions of 10-15 secs in a clay pot produces a light amber liquor that is sweet, mildly earthy, mildly bitter, and woody with a slowly developing astringency. Long infusions of 30 secs+ produce a liquor that is not intensely flavored, but sharply bitter, rosinous, and drying. This sheng evokes a damp forest atmosphere.
Edit: I revised the rating up. I am getting some nice cha qi from this.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Earth, Forest Floor, Honey, Wood
A few quick comments. There are no green scents left that I can detect in the dry leaves. The wet leaves if breathed deeply yield some subtle char/smoke, but it doesn’t come through in the liquor. There is a good amount of sweetness in the amber liquor, not much bitterness, and a good deal of chalky astringency in the finish.
Flavors: Char, Leather, Sweet, Wood
We live in a cottage in the middle of a pine forest, and the stone on our house has accents that mimic the color of the pine bark, the paint was inspired by lichen and green pine needles. This tea deserves a permanent place in my home for its looks, alone. The needle shaped leaves with their beaver pelt brown color look so similar to the loblolly pine needles on the forest floor surrounding our home.
This is an interesting and complex black tea. There are the typical notes you expect in most black teas like the dark chocolate, the maltiness, honey, and sweet potato, but there is more to this. It is highly perfumed. There are some spice notes that remind me of chai, but not as bright or as strong. It does not have any citrus ginger notes that I can detect, but more of the nutmeg, cardamom spices in chai.
Mouth feel is thick and very creamy. No bitterness or astringent qualities when brewing this with short sessions of 15-30 seconds in a small gaiwan. I don’t really care for cream in my tea, but I decided to try it, since it reminded me of chai. It certainly holds its own with the cream and powers through it. If you are a fan of chai, you may really like this tea with a bit of cream and honey or simple syrup. I prefer it straight up. It’s a keeper.
Flavors: Cardamon, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Nutmeg, Perfume, Sweet Potatoes