91 Tasting Notes
2007 Boyou “Man Lu Da Shan” Meng Song Mountain – Yunnan Sourcing
Price: £33.64 ($48) 400g cake = £0.08 ($0.11) / g
Take 2 – been airing out. The first time I tried it, straight out of the zip bag it was really bad (50/100)
Summary: Although a 2007 year tea it is still very youthful. However, it provides a good mix of bitter lemon with a pleasant body of dull Menghai-style sweetness. Mouth feel is mouth puckering bitterness and astringent. A tea for refreshing the mind. When Scott describes it as “a tea for aging“ it means it is very bitter.
3g 75ml gaiwan
Wet: Concentrated herbal, hot strawberry jam, lemon, very sweet, berry fruits.
Rinse: Very, very light peach. Probably not opened due to the mega high compression.
10s – It is impossible to drink this tea whilst it is compressed. Stab with fork (traditional Chinese method). Pale yellow. Thin and slightly astringent, but delivers a refreshing tang of lemony hay. 70/100
15s – More fork bashing (traditional Chinese method). Light/mes yellow. Starts thin with lemony hay, then thickens and has a deep light honey base. Dominant sweet notes take over the bright bitter and medium astringent beginning. 72/100
1. 20s – More fork bashing (traditional Chinese method). Med yellow. Strong bitterness around the back of the mouth and throat, astringent on the front of the tongue. A warming in the stomach. There is a Menghai-style dull sweetness, which provides much of the body. A honey sweet finish, similar to 2011 Menghai Mensong has appeared amidst astringency. 75/100
25s – Med yellow. Refreshingly bitter with honey-sweet finish. Astringency remains. 72/100
2002 White Whale – White2Tea
100g brick (~98g)
Summary: A very good tea showing mature ages flavours of vibrant softened fruit with well integrated log burning smoke, Unfortunately that is only the first proper brew and even that has some bad funk like bright furniture polish. Subsequent brews are unfortunately spoiled buy this funk. Ignoring the funk, this show similarities to the 2000 Green Peacock. A 357g cake would be £82 ($117.17) vs 2000 Green Peacock £98 ($140.04). I know which one I’d choose.
Through the wrapper: Slightly beefy and a bit salty.
Dry: Dark brown, very flat shape. Aroma is dry smoky cheese. Med high compression.
Wet: Med smoke, light furniture polish. Some initial funk like “what was that?”. Furniture polish freshly sprayed.
Rinse: Light golden.
Chunk is compressed: https://www.instagram.com/p/BBvJdscoDsjBezIfV97SFYUfbM8KqS_OG4OUUM0
Chunk is loose:
10s – Light golden. Chunk may need breaking up. I’m thinking 2000 Green Peacock from Essence of Tea in flavour… Mild at the moment as the chunk needs separating, but I’m getting a mature deep fruity wood g soft, well integrated smoke. 75/100
15s – Bash with fork (traditional Chinese method). Medium orange/golden. Light/medium thickness, mature aged taste which is deep fruit into softened smoke. There is a little funk. It gives a dried fruit, slightly spicy, medium tangy finish.
This reminds me of the 2000 Green Peacock. Interesting as this is much cheaper…
Price per gram:
2002 White Whale: £0.24($0.34)/g 357g would be: £82 ($117.17)
2000 Green Peacock: £0.27($0.39)/g 357g: £98 ($140.04)
So we see this is not that much cheaper than the 2000 Green Peacock. Interesting.
20s – Med golden. Leaves a pleasant soft log burning smoke in the mouth just like the 2000 Green Peacock. There is an off-putting bright furniture note which I found in the Late 1990s “Jin Gua Gong Cha” by Chawangshop. TeaDB reviewed that tea with the comment: “Not much flavour. Kinda bland, mediocre.” I disagree. See: http://teadb.org/mature-puerh-november-2014-report/ 74/100
25s – Med orange/golden. The funk is really spoiling a good tea here. A little astringent this time. Otherwise a very good aged tea with a vibrant fruit, integrated softened log burning smoke. 70/100
30s – Thinning. Old books, astringency. 65/100
40s – Thin, log burning smoke, fruit has lost its vibrancy. 64/100
1990s “Jin Gua Gong Cha” Chawangshop
Summary: Airing out this tea for a week has massively improved it. It gives a good aged taste which hints at 2000 Green Peacock by Essence of Tea. However, the furniture polish note is still too bright to fully enjoy this tea.
5g 100 ml gaiwan. The sample has been open and airing out for approximately one week.
10s – Not unpleasant like the last time I tried this tea. Still smoky. Has a nice aged taste. Still on the bright furniture polish, but only slightly.
15s – Med orange/golden. Open aged flavours. Some kipper smoke. This is much improved after airing out. It leaves a pine smoky taste.
20s – It has flavours in common with 2000 Green Peacock by Essence of Tea: log burning smoke, bright pine smoke – all softened of course. However, currently it is not as good as that tea. It leaves a bright furniture note in the mouth, and it’s currently not too pleasant. In time I’m hoping this will be less bright and more round.
2015 Autumn Guafengzhai Maocha – Essence of Tea
Price: £0.32 ($0.46) / g .
16g free sample received with my order.
6g in Gaiwan
Summary: Aesthetically, the best looking set of leaves I have come across so far. Flavour-wise, it initially provides a fresh, lively juicy mixture of flavours. I feel it does lack thickness.
Dry: Bright, concentrated herbal, darker base – White2Tea New Amerykah 2 comes to mind. Loose leaves, grey and brown, long and spindly.
Wet: Bright and lively, sweet, but with a pungent note.
10s – Light yellow. Fresh, lively, juicy, but has a deep base to it. Sweetness lingers. This has some complexity.
15s – Light yellow. Med bitterness, light herbal. Quite nice. The sweetness lingers, but not heavily, which is a positive for me.
20s – Light yellow. Not so full in the mouth. Very clear liquor. Only very light smoke. No astringency.
25s – It is resisting the high mountain Oolong sweetness, but it’s coming.
30s – Honey sweetness. Still resisting high mountain Oolong sweetness.
10s – There is some juicy currents.
15s – Good body, becoming very sweet.
2015 Chawangpu Mensong Old Tree raw – Chawangshop
Price: £10.51 ($15) / 200 cake = £0.05 (0.07) / g
I got this as a 16g free sample with my order.
Summary: A good tea that shows a restrained bitterness for a young tea and a good honey sweetness.
8g in gaiwan.
Dry: Concentrated bright herbal. Good base. Not off the scale brightness. Promising. Honey. Med high compression. Brown, grew, silver leaves.
Wet: Slightly subdued bright concentrated herbal, light smoke, rounded fruit. Hot strawberry jam. Some complexity.
Rinse: Unusual – very light peach.
10s – Light peach. Subtle,sweet fruit. Very mellow for a 2015 tea. Finish lingers with a soft bright but soft fruit. Body is good.
15s – Light yellow. Similar to the other Chawangpu teas: bright fruit dominates, but the brightness is rounded with this one and not in your face. It leaves a fresh green fruit in the mouth. Little bitterness; no astringency.
20s – Light/med yellow. The aroma of the liquid is very sweet medium bitterness turning sweet. The high sweet notes are there. This does not taste like 2011 Menghai Mensong, the only Mensong I have had. Although it does share a deep woody sweetness in the throat. A further tasting has shown definite honey, the main appeal of the 2011 Menghai Mensong for myself.
25s – Light/med yellow. The bitterness with bright round sweetness gives a nice tangy finish. This is quite good.
35s – Light/med yellow. More in the bright, bitter notes. Sweet finish. Good mouth action.
50s – Light/med yellow. It is going to high mountain oolong, but is currently treacle/honey.
40s – Light/med yellow. Becoming astringent. High mountain oolong, but still ok.
1 min – Pale yellow. Sweet. Astringent.
2014 Laos Ban Komaen (Black) Gu Shu Raw – Chawangshop
Price: £33.68 ($48.00) 200g cake = £0.17 ($0.24) /g.
8g in gaiwan.
Summary: A pleasant tea which exhibits a fresh delivery of medium bitter lemon notes and a lingering honey sweet finish. Endurance lacks, but what shines here is the good form, good slightly oily body, and slight complexity in the early steeps.
Dry: Med bright, concentrated herbal.
Wet: Straw, med bright concentrated herbal.
Rinse: Light yellow
5s – Light yellow. Juicy raisin sweetness with brighter sweetness returning after the swallow. Good body. 82/100
10s – Light yellow. There is a fresh fruitiness that is in most young shengs. However, this one is a little restrained and carries a little astringency – very pleasant though. Has a decent thickness to the flavour. 83/100
15s – Light yellow/orange. Well rounded flavour. Bitterness is not as sharp as a Naka, and it is met with a honey-like sweetness. I detect a light oiliness in here which is a plus. 84/100
20s – Light yellow/orange. The sip has a concentrated bitter lemon and sweet note, reminding me of honey and lemon flavoured drink for cold and flu. Flavours are a bit cloudy. For example the base becomes a bit clay like and astringent, spoiling that pleasant sweetness. 80/100
25s – Light/med yellow/orange. Flavour is thin, mainly a deep straw note. The bitterness has faded and the sweetness is cloudy. 76/100
30s – Light/med yellow/orange. Getting astringent; losing flavour. 75/100
35s – Light yellow/orange. Flat. Still a little bitterness with a quick sweetness, but the juicyness and vibrancy have gone. 72/100
Flavors: Honey, Lemon
2000 Green Peacock – Essence of Tea
Price: £0.34 ($0.50) / g £98 ($144) / 357g cake
Summary: A very good aged tea which comprises a tart fruit note with softened smoke. It has a lot in common with the 2000 Kai Green Stamp and has greater longevity. However, it is let down by overpowering smoke and astringency that come after a few brews. It also has less depth of flavour.
8 grams in gaiwan.
Dry: Smoky cheese (Bavarian cheese) just like 2000 Green Stamp. Dark brown with light brown leaves. This is not as compressed as 2000 Green Stamp and not as dark.
Wet: Med wood smoke, some electric smoke, straw.
Rinse: Very clear light gold.
10s – Light/med gold. An aged fruity woody note with a gentle tangy edge. Smoke is barely noticeable. The sweet wood note stays long into the finish and long afterwards. It is currently very lightly flavoured. 84/100
15s – Light/med gold. Light soil in the background. The fruit note is mild and sweet, then it turns slightly sour and becomes very light furniture polish. There is a slight dryness to the fruit as if it has been cask aged. Mild aged flavours: very light furniture polish and old wood. Smoke is minimal. 85/100
20s – Light brown. Slightly later arrival for the brown-ness than the 2000 Kai Green Stamp, but here we are. Medium dark smoky base, but soft. The fruit note stretches out across the whole flavour profile, instead of being a small part of it like in the 2000 Kai Green Stamp. Nice tang in the fruit, slightly astringent finish. Yet, very smooth. 87/100
25s – Med orange/brown. A lot of smoke. So far the smoke was minimal and well integrated. This is not so well integrated. Medium astringency and strong dark Xiaguan-like smoke. However, the fruit it strong enough to be tasted, but its being overpowered by the smoke. There are some aged flavours: light furniture polish, but these are difficult to taste because of the smoke. 80/100
30s – Med orange/brown. Astringency is a minor problem here. The fruit note goes long into the finish. It is a smaller part of the flavour profile now and has a tart bitterness which causes the mouth to salivate, and then it becomes sweet. 82/100
35s – Med orange/brown. The fruit note is losing vibrancy. It showed a grey/clay side here. The smoke has lessened, but was thick in parts. Slightly astringency. Thinner. 80/100
45s – Med orange/brown. Smoke first, then fruit. Mild astringency. Fruit has slight furniture polish. Leaving the mouth quite dry. This is lasting longer that the 2000 Kai Green Stamp, which makes it better value for the number of brews alone.
1 min 15 – Med orange/brown. Some stewed black tea, light furniture polish for the fruit. Background smoke bites into the finish. Slight astringency.
1 min 30 – Med orange/brown. Smoke, light furniture polish. Slightly harsh, but drinkable. 78/100
2000 Kai Yuan Green Stamp – Essence of Tea
Price: £0.52 ($0.77) / g ~£140 ($206) / 357g cake
8 grams in gaiwan.
Summary. An excellent tea which comprises a tart fruity note blended into softened smoke. The tea shows a mature flavour profile with a clean taste, possibly due to good storage. It is thick and oily in early brews with a thoroughly enjoyable mix of aged fruit and well integrated softened smoke. It lacks longevity and power.
Dry:Very dark brown and flatly compressed. Very mild smoky cheese.
Wet: Complex. Medium cloudy smoke; log burning smoke; beefy, deeper base. Bright, light furniture polish, old building – no bird cage. Warm soil. Soft pastry.
Rinse: Very clear light gold.
10s – Med golden. Sweet sip, a tart fruity note in the body. Very long finish, which is sweet, slightly almond. Minute bitterness. Worn out tea. Smoke is very soft. However, it is currently lightly flavoured. The flavour remains long in the mouth like a grape has decayed into soil: soft, sweet, earthy, but with a gentle bright floral note. This is a special tea. The aged flavours are mature, slightly dry and oily. 88/100
15s – Light brown. Thick in the mouth. The tea leaves an oily residue. There are a variety of aged flavours: furniture polish and old books. The tart, fruity note is there and it blends into soft smoke. 88/100
20s – Light/med brown. Smoke is stronger, but it is very worn down. The fruit note sometimes presents itself as light furniture polish – it becomes that bright; at other times it is darker and fades into the finish. Again, quite oily and the flavours are more pronounced. 89/100
25s – Light/med orange brown. Slight astringency. Log burning smoke has softened. The smoke combines with the fruit note to give a smooth aged taste that lasts long into the finish and remains in the mouth. Here it is not the strong old building, furniture polish, but a heavy and worn down log burning smoke with a mild beefy taste. 88/100
30s – Light/med orange brown. The fruit note, this time is polished wood, appears to buzz in the mouth in the body and finish. The smoke remains steady into and after the finish. 85/100
35s – Light/med brown. The smoky fruit note reminds me of smoked paprika in paella. It’s not as bright, but it has that pungent, woody after-taste. 82/100
45s – Light brown. Thinner. Less smoke. 70/100
1 min 15 – Med orange/brown. Base sheng. Thin. Stewed black tea. Slightly astringent. 50/100
2012 Lantingchun TF “Mang Fei Cha Hun” Early Spring Raw Puerh – Chawangshop
Price: £21.63 ($32.00) / 357g cake.
8g in gaiwan
Summary: Early steeps show interesting, textured and green tasting tea, but later brews reveal a tea that has way too much smoke to compensate for astringency and sourness. It does have good energy and is cheap for a cake though.
Dry: Subdued concentrated herbal. My tea is completely loose leaves. Colour is lighter shades of brown and some silvery. Some dust.
Wet: Straw, dry medium smoke, light concentrated herbal. Some black char on some leaves – that is black specks that can be moved off the leaves. Could this be due to not cleaning the wok from the previous batch?
Rinse: Light/yellow gold.
10s – Light/yellow gold. Quite smoky on the sip and into the finish. Tobacco smoke. Slightly astringent with a good powerful body. It has not strong bright herbal and is instead mild leather and is green. I’m not noticing any obvious fruit to name so I’d say green fruit.
15s – Med yellow/golden. Very smoky with a concentrated fruit that starts bitter and becomes sour. It fills the mouth well, but carries medium astringency. It is quite oily.
5s – Light yellow/gold. Not particularly fresh; it is more stale. The smoke and bitter/sour fruit give it a rough texture. I quite like this.
10s – Light yellow/gold. Astringent, drying, sour fruit, smoke that isn’t integrated well. A vegetable note – asparagus. It’s thick, concentrated and heavy going. It’s different.
15s – Light yellow/golden. Very astringent. Its like drinking a cigarette in water. Not good.
Flavors: Asparagus, Green, Smoke
2006 Bingdao Peacock – Essence of Tea
Price: £0.60 ($0.89) / g
£180 ($267.06) / 400g cake
Note: I got a 16g sample of this with my order.
Summary: Grainy, vibrant orange fruit flavour with a medium, well integrated smoke. It fills the mouth with its immediate expanding thickness. Let down by being astringent from the start and overwhelmingly bitter and harsh after only a few brews. It’s like a xiaguan tuo has been made thicker – a xiaguan tuo on steroids…
Dry: Dark brown, some silver leaves. Bumpy piece. Faint concentrated herbal – different to smoky cheese. Med compression. Smells mildly fresh.
Wet: Med smoke, mellow concentrated herbal, some peach.
Rinse: Light/med orange/golden.
10s – Med orange (not golden) The first sip reminds me of a Xiaguan tuo: grainy fruit with a lot of smoke behind it. Interesting. This is tasty, but then I am a fan of Xiaguan tuos. Bitterness is kept at a reasonable volume. i.e. not too high. Fruit is vibrant and obvious. It has a freshness to it. There is a slight astringency to this, so I’m guessing the material is not the best.
15s – Med orange (not golden) Fruit and smoke are well integrated. The flavour is grainy, bitter fruit riding with smoke in a simple, friendly, stimulating way. Liquor has some thickness to it. It leaves the mouth slightly dry and smoky.
20s – Heavy bitterness and too astringent. However, I like it as I like the bitter fruit in a Xiaguan tuo.
5s – Med orange. Bitterness goes under the tongue and rings. Smoke has partially cleared. There is an orange fruit note in here, which presents itself in a vibrant and juicy manner. Shame it carries heavy bitterness. Mouth is very dry.
10s – Light/med orange. Watery, bitter and some base sheng.
25s – Med orange. Lots of bitterness and astringency. The orange fruit note it still there.
Flavors: Grain, Orange