22 Tasting Notes
2 quick rinses.
1st steep – Autumn Leaves,. Nori, soy sauce, salt. Iodine, and minerals. Smell of wet leaves. Soft, and medium thick in the mouth.
2nd – Very standard. Smooth. Not overly woody. Lots of autumn leaf notes. Dry leaf pile. Earthy. Lots of mineral character coming through. Enjoyable. Even if you’re not a fan of pile flavors in the tea, this is still pretty subdued. Super approachable.
3rd – Seems to be really rounded on this steep, not flat , just cohesive? it is one experience. Round and broth like, with a mineral , and kind of salt characteristic, soy sauce, and fishy like pile flavors have taken a far back seat.
4th – Very soft still, medium body. Still pretty light in the flavor department. Some roasty note. Maillard reaction characteristic. Still very round. super smooth.
5th – More of the same. still has depth with the flavors. dried leaves, earth, a roast character. However, there is a brightness, this accentuates the brine/ saltiness you get on the finish of the tea. mineral aftertaste. Some cedar/ humidor notes too.
6th – more wood character up front. still that Spanish cedar/ humidor flavor…like wood with an accent of pepper. Some brightness came through, lime, and tobacco. leaf, and light wood flavors continue. something about this is almost cigar like. the combination of the wood,and maybe the brightness is making an ash like flavor, very light, but reminder of a Connecticut cigar, in a humidor.
7th – Finally starting to lighten up in the color realm, never brewed super dark or inky. Much like the flavors…pretty nimble, and brown. Down the middle. Lightened up in flavor as well, some slight black pepper notes. Some fruit element, almost peach on aftertaste. Followed by some sweetness. A little juicy.
8th – Brews even lighter now. Some melon sweetness, comes through. Honey dew. Some milky-ness. Melons, milk, black pepper, leaf type earthiness. Very light in the flavors, predominantly dried leaf flavors, and some sweetness.
9th – Brews even lighter, at a 1 min steep time at this point. Definitely coming to the end of the tea. However, I still feel like it is a decent brewer, and have nothing to complain about at this point. Yeh, nothing too much here. Some malt maybe, body lightened up as well. A flash of watermelon/ apple jolly rancher type sweetness? calling it a day with this one.
All in all, a lot of bang for your buck. I bought two cakes of this as a daily drinker, due to price point, and as of right now, really into shou as my go to, as some shengs on the regular can be a little rough on you. This isn’t a knock your socks off, or a one of a kind experience , however, it is a great enjoyable tea. Easy going, and approachable. Perfect for a daily drinker. Drinks above its price point. If it was more complex, it’d score higher, but makes up for it in the value department.
Watch my session with this tea! https://www.twitch.tv/videos/459333627
Flavors: Apple Candy, Autumn Leaf Pile, Black Pepper, Broth, Cedar, Green Melons, Grilled Food, Honeydew, Iodine, Lime, Malt, Milk, Mineral, Salt
Dry Leaf aroma – Copenhagen, Nicotine, Menthol, and Pepper
Aroma – Celery seed/Old Bay/Green
1st steep – Hits you right up front with the bitterness. Green. Green banana peel. Tongue drying. Coats tongue and mouth. Body of the tea is heavy, and thick… The bitterness continues, even between steeps.
2nd – Bitterness advancing still… green watermelon skin, and rhine. Still thick, and mouth coating. Vibrant, and unrefined. Green, yellow, bitterness. Raw Acorns. Brews a hazy gold/yellow. pepperoncini bite, and bitterness.
3rd – Energy from the tea making itself present. Oregano, woody, thyme. Herbal flavors. Bitter herb. Acorns still. Some bay leaf. A big tea. Still very thick.
4th – Flash of old bay, and bitterness clings to your mouth. I feel like the first sip is still hanging around as far as bitterness goes. This thing is not giving up. Its very focused, straight assault of bitterness. Raw acorns. Drying, and relentless in its mission. The air seems to move the bitterness around your mouth, as you breathe. The body is still heavy, and bracing. The tea is demanding your attention. It is not a casual drinker.
5th – The bitterness has not let up in the slightest. Constant lingering bitterness. A visceral experience. Flattening out as far as nuance flavors are going away, NOT the bitterness, or it is just palate wrecking. Either way, its narrowing in its spectrum of flavors. The tea is getting to my head.
All in all. What a trip. I got owned by this tea. This is not for the faint. I mean that with great regard for the tea, I feel like this is a young buck, and may have a lot o offer in the future. This is a potent, rich, energizing tea. As of right now, no way a casual drinker. I’ve enjoyed it, I think mostly as a new experience in tea. If this was how all the teas were it would be exhausting, and cloying. Like eating too much fudge, over- indulging in something too sweet or too savory you need a break. With this it never does it is relentless. I’m throwing in the towel…
Join me for this tea session https://www.twitch.tv/videos/457066315
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Bitter Melon, Celery, Dill, Drying, Grass, Green, Green Pepper, Herbaceous, Thyme
2 quick rinses…
Dry aroma. – very latex and rubber forward. Reminds me of going to get new shoes, the way new shoes smell.
1st steep – much like the aroma, rubber latex forward, tea still opening up…smooth.
2nd – yep. Its taste reminds me of payless shoes, or how the ball pit at McDonald’s use to smell…very rubber forward , mineral and iodine notes.
3rd – brews a clear, coffee, and ruby brown. Very pretty. I smell more of a malt base coming through. Taste is still heavy on the new Nike air forces. New shoes. No wood for me yet. I mean it may be there but the rubber latex is pretty upfront. For how dark, it is the tea is very much a medium, in the mouthfeel department. Nothing out of the ordinary for the style. As it cools there is some sweetness poking through. Almost prune.
4th – it gave up a little bit of color here. Ruby brown and clear. Almost no rubber plastic, new shoes aroma. Very traditional aroma. Sweetness has shown up to the party. A brown sugar /vanilla. cream. Very nice. Splenda. With a cooling on the exhale, as well as a little new shoes flavor. Haha. This is actually kinda fun.
5th – less sweetness, I guess in the brown sugar realm, more of a just splenda flavor. It’s like a hollow sweetness. Some rubber, new shoes, but it has taken a back seat at least. Some energy from the tea showing up, still subdued. Calming. Splenda is kind taking over where new shoes was leaving off. Very sweet. Rounding out as it cools.
6th – 8th lightening up. Splenda, sugar cane sweetness. Turbinado sugar. Very enjoyable. Like sweetened black tea, some back bone to it, not quite malt but it’s there. Continues with the sweetness. With what I can only say what is like a macadamia nut cookie like taste, nutty, vanilla, and a browning note. I love that flavor. Drinking like desert. Pleasant surprise. Some chocolate note, and honeydew melon.
Idk it has the burnt edge flavor of like a corner brownie, or a nice browned cookie bottom. That mallard reaction thing. Very good. All in all a good session. Surprising as it progressed. Idk if I’d buy it though, just unfortunate that the rubber latex sticks around like it does, as upfront as it is. Solid tea nonetheless.
I guess I’m not reviewing teas though. Only the experience I’m having with them really…
come watch my session with this tea! https://www.twitch.tv/videos/456931325
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Iodine, Malt, Medicinal, Melon, Mineral, Roasted nuts, Vanilla, White Chocolate
Dry leaf- pungent floral notes, deep green.
1st steep- brews a peach/golden color, clear. Aroma is round and floral, but not as pungent as the dry leaf. Some butter notes. Plays on fruity, and bitter notes. Peach and lychee. With a very light taste of copper, I guess minerally would be the way to describe it. Herbs. Green. Some Vanilla notes too. I feel like this one may become sweet. It’s very rich. Very warming.
2nd -Yo! And that is a raw straight to the face! Big floral, green notes. Almost spicy, black pepper notes. Still rich and bold, but all the while, not over bearing, or bitter or astringent. Clover honey. One of those where the aroma really translates to the cup. Robusto. Dry Oregano. Starting to coat the tongue.
3rd – not as nuanced this go around, a tad fruitier, and bitter, balanced. Floral, orchid. Bitterness is coming though more as it cools. Still full bodied. Thick tea.
4th – still brewing strong, a hint of smokiness. Ginger notes too. Enjoying the session so far…it is becoming more focused, but still interesting.
5th – bitterness, still there getting lime, and cilantro notes.
I kinda got interrupted, and horribly over steeped the tea at this point. I figured it wasn’t fair from here on out to continue the review, all in all I think this one is a great candidate for aging. Its complex, and strong, and fortified. I might buy a cake to age. This is one of those big teas, in every aspect…
(I was reviewing the 2019 , and it is similar in flavor profile, just everything up a notch, and green fresh tasting. However, I didn’t take down notes so not going to leave a review. There seems to be a smoke element to the 2019 too. So strong, one of the first teas to hit my stomach , and make me a little nauseous. too strong. However, it confirms that this one might be a good ager…)
Flavors: Black Pepper, Butter, Floral, Ginger, Herbs, Lime, Lychee, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Vanilla
Dry leaf aroma- sweet Welch’s grape juice, sweet tobacco hints, dust, floral, almost pollen? Very interesting…
1 steep- thicker body, smooth, round…it has a depth to it. The tea has a good body to it…almost a pulpiness to it…I’m getting citrus floral notes. Bitterness and astringency are way down on the charts.
2nd – not much of a difference from the 1st steep… slightly more prescience of bitterness and astringency, but still very smooth. Some hints of dank, catty notes. Maybe mezcal type notes on the aftertaste.
3rd – again, maybe another level ramp up of bitterness and astringency, but flavor profile is very much the same. Kinda disappointed.
4th – man, tea really seemed to give up…
I mean at this point it is a good straight forward sheng, which seemed to offer complexity at the start a d now is falling off… not doing the next steep.
All in all, I had high hopes.
It just ramped down instead of up…maybe results will vary…
Good approach-ability, and drink-ability… just not for the long haul. I’d definitely drink it, but not going to seek it out.
Flavors: Dust, Fruit Tree Flowers, Muscatel, Orchid, Tobacco
Smell (dry leaf) – old books, antique store.
1 steep- honestly not a lot here, smooth mellow back drop. The tea is probably still opening up. Very smooth nothing off about it. Used approximately (2) – 5 gram pieces.
2nd- brews a beautiful ruby red. Oats, raw oats, dusty, some black tea notes. But very subdued and approachable. Easy drinking. Round.
3-6… much like the 2nd steep. Some malty notes showing up. However it has stayed much the same. The tea plateaus, slowly, more, and more, but becoming more round and just and enjoyable, non-offending drinker.
All in all, solid tea. Nothing I’d go after again just too vanilla, a great first venture into ripes, plenty of steeping, but never developed much. So quantity, over quality.
Flavors: Dust, Earth, Malt, Oats, Paper
Dry leaf – dusty, old barn, dry stall… ( I grew up on a farm, boom exact smell) dirt. Earthy.
Aroma – mellow classic shou, clean.
1 steep- very light, and mellow , hay, and dust accent. I feel like the tea is still opening.
2nd steep- much darker, leaves are opening.
Hay, and dustiness…
Unfortunately, I’m getting a flavor I’m not enjoying, and it’s really only because thats what it is reminding me off.
Raid. Like the bug killer…
Signature smell… that im tasting. Trying to get past it.
Smokey cherry wood and medicinal flavors. Cherry. Almost a cherry cordial.
3rd steep- old dusty barn. Thankfully, I don’t get much raid anymore. Wet, old hay. Smooth, soft mouthfeel.
4th steep- lots of hay. Some malt coming through. Flattening out here…
5th steep- it has mellowed smooth and round.
All in all… an interesting shou for me, as it was absent of the typical. A one trick pony if you will…
Other than the brief raid flavor, it was a pleasant drinking experience. Sending me down memory lane. Nostalgia at its finest. Smell is quite powerful. However, I’m not sure I’d order this one again. It was a good session, but nothing I want to seek out again. I do like the old feeling of the whole process. The unexpected flavors were welcomed.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Dirt, Dust, Hay, Hot hay, Malt, Medicinal, Mineral, Moss, Musty, Paper, Smooth, Wet Earth
Smell – tobacco, menthol, snuff, pepper
1- steep: tea aroma is a muted of the dry leaf. Cooling, refreshing, crisp. Warm mint chocolate ice cream. Cream? Apple , and pear brightness. Smooth and round. Subtlety sweet…medium light in the mouth. Lingers in your mouth for awhile. Drying on the sides of the tongue, like tobacco.
2-5 steep: steps up, a little in the bitterness department. Tastes really pickup where the aromas left off, reinforcing them well. Watercress bitterness. Arugla pepper notes. Coats the tongue. Good body energy coming through. Relaxing, and calming. Not fruity or sweet for me yet. Leaves are taking there time to open. Bitterness , and astringency finally break to a smooth, medium body tea.
Overall, pleasantly surprised by the initial complexity of the tea, considering it being a budget friendly option. A good, down the middle sheng. However, not fruity, atleast not for me. I’ll more than likely pick up a cake my next order, just due to its value. Color me surprised.
Flavors: Anise, Apple, Astringent, Black Pepper, Jasmine, Menthol, Mint, Parsley
5 gram sample mini cake, whole.
Initial steeping very light wet pile aroma. Something I could only label as fish sauce type of aromas …fermenti and briny. Mouthfeel is very thin. I think this has to do with the small cake was added as a whole.
2 – 5 steepings is much darker, a little more bold but not bold. comes in, still with a light mouthfeel but hints of pepper and cedar. It has a very medium light body, more than before. It has this after taste and feel that reminds you of a good, wholesome black tea. It’s overall not very complicated, but easy drinking. Slight medicinal flavor. Finishes with light leather and petrichor. It has a initial snap brightness, very quick, a flash up front. Develops some tobacco, menthol notes on the exhale. Still continuing much of the same lighter flavor profile. A salty tobacco , and cedar flavor, with an Umami finish. Maybe some Chinese five-spice? Idk the things surprising me at the moment are the lightness of the body and the kind of salinity notes that I’m getting, There’s an almost ocean characteristic.
Steepings 6-8 The tea it’s starting to flatten out it’s never really gained any sweetness. imagine it was a bitter tea. Which is kind of showing up I believe as a kind of bitter iodine note. Inky? The liquid is just now ever giving up some lightness in color. It is transitioning to and kind of back drop up generic black tea and malt. Energy however is noticeable, especially for the style of tea. This could go for at least 12 steeps.
Overall I think this is a great introduction into ripe/shou teas or possibly a daily drinker depending on your taste. All in all not a bad tea whatsoever… I was just a little disappointed, as I was kind of expecting a little more complexity. If you’re looking for a good daily drinker or to dip your toe into the water that is ripe/shou puerh tea then this would be a great place to start.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Black Pepper, Bok Choy, Cedar, Dark Wood, Earl Grey, Fishy, Iodine, Leather, Malt, Marine, Medicinal, Menthol, petrichor, Salty, Umami
The cake has beautiful looking leaf. Upon the first steeping there is a pleasant blend of floral and fruity notes, medium thickness in the mouth with notes of caramel and cream. Cane sugar sweetness. Clean. Flatter the second steep. Not as syrupy. Pineapple, and mango. Third steep it continues…background sweetness, with a fruit forward, and floral flavor. Subtle, sweet cream, and vanilla tones. Round and very relaxing. The fourth steeping, the fruitiness has taken a back seat, more bittersweet and astringency has come forward. Lots orchid, almost nectar type flavors.
The tea rounds outs is still very comforting to drink, lots of soul to the tea. Not a ton of energy, but more of a relaxing energy.
This is definitely one I enjoy, it’s one where it is hard to describe the experience. If you get the chance to try it or purchase it, please do. This is one of the best I’ve had from CLT …IMHO. I need to purchase another cake. The humidity here in Florida ages these quite quickly.
Flavors: Butterscotch, Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Custard, Floral, Guava, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mango, Orchid, Pineapple, Sugarcane, Vanilla