98 Tasting Notes
Dry leaves smell of plums and prune, a bit sweet and tart. Wet, the leaves also pick up a vegetal note.
15 second rinse with a long rest due to work distractions.
1/20s: Very gentle bit of sweetness. Bit of a fruity note.
2/15s: Bit more vetetal. Was aiming for 10s. Still has a round sweet finish. Starts slightly bitter, then melts into a bit of sweetness.
3/15s: Full body, crisp finish. Turns a little bitter if the tea cools too much. Finish is still nice.
4/15s: I think I have a bit too much leaf in the pot this time. Still a slight bitterness going on. On the plus side, the cha qi is growing quite nicely.
5/15s: Keep missing my 10s steep time _. Getting a lot of bitterness I didn’t get with my first session. Not overpowering, but very upfront.
6/5s: Almost are rinse. Reduced the bitterness. I hate when I get too much leaf in the pot, but it seems that my scale is always a little off when measuring less than 10g. Have to start going by volume measurements I guess.
7/10s: Here we go! Nice sweetness, bittner note gone. Lovely mouthfeel. Crisp finish.
8/10s: Same as previous
Had do leave for a short trip to a hotel and took my teapot and kettle with me. I got 4 or 5 more steeps and was impressed at how far the cha qi carries in this tea. Not sure I’ll buy a whole cake, but I have enough for at least 2 more sessions so I’m looking forward to sitting with this on again.
Dry leaves smell of pipe tobacco and prunes, very pleasant. Wet leaves smell very vegetal with a hint of the dry leaf aroma. Rinsed for 15s, then 10 minute rest.
1-3/10s: Bitter and vegetal for all three. It’s not the case for all teas, but I think 6g of leaf maybe too much for this little pot. I’ve removed about half of the leaves as I think 3-4g would be better.
4/10s: Waaahhh! That makes a world of difference! The tea is now sweetly astringent. Still has the vegetal quality about it, but it’s quite good.
5/10s: Surprisingly buttery smooth and sweet.
Got off to a rough start with this one, so no cha qi. I’ll give it a shot again tomorrow.
Dry leaves smell of stonefruit, prunes and tobacco. Makes you want to sit around with your nose in the bag for a while. Wet leaves smell of tabacco with a hint of prunes or dates.
One 10s rinse for this one.
Steep – Time – Note
1st – 10s – Interesting mouth feel. Sort of tingling on the tongue. Very light, almost white tea like with peach and floral notes. Wow, that mouth feels stays with you for a little while.
2nd – 10s – Had to pause for sleep… I know.. such wasted time that could have been dedicated to more tea. Anyway…. The mouth feel of this tea, wow. I’ve seen people describe a mouthfeel/cha qi as numbing to tingling. Not sure about cha qi yet. Taste is a little more grassy, but the sort of floral not is still there and there’s a bit of sweetness.
3rd – 10s – The huigan, sweetness at the back of the throat, is amazing! There’s a fruity again, but I can’t quite put my finger on what sort. Feel like a use plum or stone fruit too much. My cup just emptied itself without warning or provocation. So, time for another steep.
4th – 20s – Really lovely sweetness at the back of the throat. Still have that interesting tingling/numbing mouth feel going on. Initial aftertaste has a starfruit like tartness. Grassy with a sort of green apple note. Sweet, dry finish. There is a bit of cha qi going on as well, but very gentle and energizing.
5th – 30s – Love the sweetness at the back of the throat. Melon! Sort of honeydew with a tiny bit wheat grass, that’s the fruity note I was trying to pin down earlier. Tingling, numbing mouth feel continues. Based on how quickly my cup keeps emptying I believe there may be a secret hole in it that perhaps opens to another universe… one in which some being is stealing my tea. >:( LOL! _
6th – 60s – Fruity notes are gone and a bit grassy. Mouth feel remains.
7th – 60s – Not much huigan left, just the semi-sweet grassiness with the dry finish. Amazed how the tingling/numbing mouth feel remains even as taste fades. I do feel like pushing the steep time by much more would bring out some bitterness at this point as I am detecting a slightly bitter note when it first hits the tongue. The cha qi should have quit at this point, but it’s too legit and thus has not quit. :P
8th – 90s – Interestingly, kicking up the steep time has renewed the melon flavor and huigan. I’ll push it to two minutes on the next one just out of curiosity. Really feeling the cha qi now which might not be so great since it’s well after midnight now, but I always say that I can sleep through anything. That said, I think this cup just made buying a cake of this tea worthwhile to me… depending on the cost. (Runs over to YS to check price.) $45!? I’ll take two! :) I forgot that the leaves came just outside of MaHei village. That makes sense given some of the flavors in my cup.
9th – 120s – Same as the previous with a more intense mouth feel. I was hoping to finish this session tonight, but looks like I can extend it into the morning a bit.
Next time I try this tea I want to see how hard I can push it. Maybe 20s on the 3rd steep then 30s on the 4th and 5th just to see if it becomes overly astringent. This session leads me to believe that this is unlikely.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Honeydew, Melon
Honestly rather surprised that I’m the first reviewing this one.
The smell of these wet leaves are amazing! Fruity gummies, cherries and plums. The dry leaves smells subtly of plum preserve/jam.
2 Rinses at 10s each.
Steep – Time – Notes
1st – 10s – The aroma of the wet leaves is indeed imparted to the tea. Not much of the flavor in this steep though. I just finished the last cup of my previous tea session early this morning so that may be influencing this tasting, but I’m noticing a bit of a heady cha qi going on. We’ll see how it develops going forward. Despite not carrying much of the fruit flavors I smell it does have wonderful sweetness that blossoms at the back of the throat before gently fading away.
2nd – 10s – Heeyyyyy! There’s that lovely plum/cherry note I smelled in the leaves! _
Sweet, pleasant astringency. Nice dry finish. I thought there was no bitterness, but there is a slight bitter note in the aftertaste that quickly melts into that fruity sweetness. I think you have to really be looking for it to even notice it. I’d take it as a good indication that this tea shouldn’t be pushed too hard in the early steeps. Very good tea.
3rd – 15s – Light, airy, cha qi going on right now. :) The fruit notes are a little more subtle here and the tea tastes more grassy, sort of typical of shengs. The sweetness in the aftertaste has increased a bit. A little more bitterness in this one. Loving the relaxed cha qi. Feeling energized, relaxed and focused all at once.
4th – 15s – Slight bitterness in the mouth followed by surprising sweetness in the aftertaste. That’s a first. The fruity notes are still subdued as the grassy notes have taken center stage.
5th – 30s – Bitter note has disappeared, sweet finish is still present and some of the fruity notes are making another appearance. Nice cup… finished it too fast to say much more about it… my bad. LOL!
6th – 40s – Still fruity, but very weak. Need to up my steep time.
7th – ??s- Set my timer for 90s and then got pulled into a conversation. So… 2 minutes, 3, 5? I dunno. Long enough to bring out some bitter notes. :( I may brew one or two more pots tomorrow with these leaves. I screwed this one up, but those first few steeps were just lovely.
I need to establish my own tea rating scale so that these scores are actually more meaningful. Particularly when it comes to future purchases. Of course given how much tea I just bought from Yunnan Sourcing that may be a long, long, long way off. YQH’s Chawangshu is pricey, but that tea definitely defines the upper end of my quality scale right now. I’ll have to get in on Emmett’s next monthly buy.
Flavors: Candy, Cherry, Plum
The wet leaves smell of moss and forest floor. Dry I can’t smell much of anything. This tea cake is very, very tightly packed. I did two 10 sec rinses. Not sure what the recommended steep times are for this tea so I treated it like a shou puerh.
Steep – Time – Notes
1st – 10s – Very pleasantly surprised! The very first thing noted is a butter smooth sweetness. Sort of a jujube taste. (I had to go look up what else this was called as I’d only heard it called jujube the many times I’ve had it in Korea. It’s also known as a Chinese/Korean/Indian date). Very soft finish. No bitterness or astringency to speak of. Packs a sneaky, but fairly gentle bit of cha qi. Mind you, I"m drinking this tea 300mL at a time (I don’t mind not sharing :P )… er maybe not so gentle, LOL! Wow, OK… I’m awake now. If I wasn’t before… I’m definitely awake now! XD Awake and looking accusingly at my cup as if it emptied itself.
2nd – 10s – Much darker brew. A bit more moss in the flavor, but the sweetness and jujube notes is still there. Near the end of that cup I’m pretty sure I started to vibrate a bit. Going to go meditate now. No chance of dozing off, Ha!
3rd – 20s – A little more wet autumn leaves over the moss. Makes me think of shou puer now. I think this tea may know a bit of kung fu. Rather impressive kick. I’ll have to see if I get this effect again. Wondering if I just didn’t have enough to eat today. Still, damn good tea! Glad I tried it.
4th – 20s – Brew even darker, but taste is more mellow, round and sweet.
5th – 30s – Light and sweet. The bold body experienced in the previous steepings is now obviously thinning out. I have a few shou puerhs that I like well enough, but this is easily as good if not better than the best of those. (I do tend to prefer sheng puerhs). Next steeping should be 45s – 60s.
6th – 90s – The jujube flavor has pretty much vanished. There’s a bit of a toffee note showing up. The color is still fairly rich, but the flavor seems about done. I could probably extend the steep to 300s, but I’ll end it here. Very happy tea tasting this one.
Flavors: Dates, Toffee
The dry leaves have a very pleasant sweet, sort of grassy aroma. Wet, they smell of sweet currants or raisins.
Steep – Time – Notes
1st – 10s – Should have gone 15s on this one or added more leaves to the pot but past experience has made me reticent to do that sometimes because the tea ends up too astringent for too many steeps and I get a bad first impression of the tea. This cup is pretty light in both taste and body. Sweet grassy notes in taste.
2nd – 15s – A bit more bite (astringency) which I like when it has the sort of sweet finish that this cup has. It has a more full, round mouthfeel with more body. These are the characteristics I’m usually looking for in a sheng pu’erh, especially a MaHei sheng.
3rd – 15s – Sweet, grassy, with a dry finish and a lasting sweet aftertaste.
4th – 60s+ – Accidental oversteep as I had to step away. Luckily the astringency isn’t overpowering, it just shows up earlier as a slightly bitter note one would find with black tea. However, the sweetness is still there in the aftertaste and I’m noting it at the back of the throat more as well.
5th – 45s – Rather weak. No bite. Should have steeped longer after the previous oversteep.
6th – 60s – Sweet dry finish is back. It’s more of a subtle sweetness. A good everyday sort of sheng pu’erh. Not picking up any fruity notes, but noticing more sweetness at the back of the throat.
7th – 180s – I wasn’t sure on the previous two steeps, but the first few sips have a faint green medicinal note. I wouldn’t call it camphorous, but whatever it is it’s gone after a couple of sips and yields into full body sweetness again. If I’m careful not to draw comparisons, this is actually a pretty good tea.
8th – 180s – Same a previous though the sweetness is lessened and the finish is a bit drier.
9th – 300s – Still some color and soft, semi-bland sweetness. I think the leaves are done here.
Have to try this one again as I generally like MaHei sheng pu’erhs… this of course before YQH came along and ruined everything with truly amazing taste, qi and leaf performance.
Spent the day drinking this one. Not sure I used enough leaf this time as the cha qi was notably less. The taste however was superb as always. Noticed very strong sweetness at the back of the throat on the 3rd – 5th steeps. So good!