2012 Giant Steps Old Arbor Puer Blend

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Pu'erh Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by d11t
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 6 oz / 164 ml

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From white2tea

The 2012 White 2 Tea / Taochaju Giant Steps blend was pressed in 2012 with a blend of pure old arbor material from three regions; Mensong, Nannuo, and Laoman’e. The material used ranges from 2008-2012, with both Spring and Fall material being used. It has an intense and durable huigan [sweet aftertaste], with light/medium kuwei [bitterness] and some astringency. This cake is suitable for immediate consumption or storage. The blend was made as a collaboration between White 2 Tea and Taochaju.

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5 Tasting Notes

10 tasting notes

The cake smells fresh and strong. Smells like flowers, candy also comes to mind. The tea has a long lasting sweetness after the bitterness leaves the mouth – maybe that is where the candy steps in. I put my steep times at the bottom of the rating, but i took some breaks in between some of the steeps. During the breaks there was a really sweet feeling in my mouth, one time for over 20 minutes. This pu has a thick texture, I almost can’t believe the price. I only ordered one cake, but i am going back to get more!

Using 150 ml gaiwan and 10 grams of tea

Steep times were: 5s, 10s, 15s, 30s, 30s, 30s, 40s, 40s, 1 minute

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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14 tasting notes

This tea has been in my cup ever since my package came in :)

Possibly my favorite raw tea from ’12!!

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I ordered the whole cake of this after reading Hobbes blog. {The Half Dipper }

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10 tasting notes

Reminds me of some of my fav Douji blends, but a lot less expensive. It was smooth for a new raw tea but i think some of the tea in the blend has been aged. A little strong in the beginning but overall really sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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1758 tasting notes

Thank you Sarsonator for this sample. This tea was good. There was s slight bitterness in the early steeps and a slight sweetness. It was smooth throughout most of the steeps. I noticed a small, very small amount of sourness in the early steeps but then I was drinking it without sugar. Normally, a small amount of sugar will override such flavors. I did not notice a strong Qi in this one but it had a mild effect on me. There were a variety of flavor notes to this tea but I was not paying attention to the specifics.

I steeped this six times in a 150ml Gaiwan with 5.7g leaf and 200 degree water. I steeped it for 15 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, and 2 min. There were more steeps to this tea but I am watching my caffeine tonight.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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278 tasting notes

This is not going to be my best review ever b/c I am not quite awake yet.

Method: The usual. 10 and 15 sec steeps

Aroma: Gooooooooood

Flavor: I’m feeling very relaxed. The tea tastes nice. It’s scratching the itch at the back of my throat fo sho. Either pu’erh is kind of magic, or people are putting magic things into pu’erh. I think it’s the former. I’m spacy again. Ground Control to Major Sars.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

This one is on my list to drink today, but it is too early yet….zzzz


O really? Just for this sheng or for all shengs?


All sheng…need a good meal in me first. For all the tea I drink in a day, I am still a coffee and milk gal in the morning. Need the milk in my tummy!


That’s interesting to me. I have heard people say that sheng is a bit much for them on an empty stomach. I wonder what they are experiencing though. Does it really give an upset stomach?

I have a stomach of steel, so I sheng all day and all night. I’m just curious about the effects on other people.


Yes, some people have ruined their stomachs on sheng and other too-green tea (meaning not roasted), but it is the young sheng that is the issue, not aged sheng. The tea blogger Hster is somebody whose stomach is now wrecked even though she adores sheng and continues to collect. If you read her blog, even a thimbleful of sheng will give her pain. She apparently can still drink some heavily roasted oolong. More recently, her blog posts are about the tea room her husband is building for her. I do hope she gets her stomach health back, she seems to have quite a decent stash.

I don’t have stomach issues but I do take various medications so I’m just trying to take a cautious approach. Prevention. Keep in mind I am also probably a quarter century older. Young sheng can upset the stomach qi, so I balance a session by taking shou afterward, and the following day or two after a young sheng I focus on enjoying my roasted tea collection, blacks, and oolongs. One symptom for me is cold feet following a tea, then I know not enough roasting or age is present in the tea. A bit of shou and the warmth flows back into my body. But I don’t get the problem from a single cup of sheng, I steep them out, 10+ cups, that is a lot.


Is Major Sars back yet?


I am back!

That’s really crazy, Cwyn. So I wonder what causes that, really? I will have to try to learn more. I mean, I won’t slow down on the sheng, but I do think it’s good to know the possible unpleasant effects.

That way I can go: “oooh, consequences.” And then do it anyway. And I’m not poking fun. It’s just my personality type. I’m often amazed I’ve made it as far as I have.

But in seriousness, you are taking the smart route with the moderation. So you do a young sheng, then follow with a shou, then hit your roasted teas? Dammit, I wish I could like shous more! I will practice with drinking a sheng, then a shou. It’s just so hard because once I had a few good shengs, it was all over for me. I do enjoy some other teas, but actually I wake up some days thinking about sheng.

Oh, and what do you consider to be “young”? Less than 5 years? 10 years?


Depends on storage, a very dry storage will not age the tea much even if years have passed. At this point I really prefer more aged tea, 10 years and beyond. Doesn’t mean I don’t drink young tea at all, to the contrary. Most of my tasting is on young tea and samples, but for drinking I buy aged. Reading tea blogs, most bloggers will talk about puerh headache or sour stomach once in awhile. Here is an article about the too-green trend with tea in general. http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/2013/02/asyou-may-know-i-started-this-blog-as.html


Thanks so much, Cwyn! I appreciate all the info you share! I am drinking a 2011 right now :)


Oh and you know what does upset my stomach every time… coffee. I have never had an adverse reaction to tea, but coffee makes me queasy. Weird maybe?


I’d have the same reaction but for the copious amounts of milk ;)


I think that anyone who is having pain that seems to come from Sheng should check the other parts of their diet for Fodmaps, they cause stomach pain and it can be extreme.


A good point! My main struggle with diet and beverages has to do with an overly yang system. But green sheng can be tough on everyone. For me, greens are for tasting cup sizes, and more aged or roasted I can drink up at will, confident that I am doing something good for my body :)

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