240 Tasting Notes
I entirely under-appreciated this tea on my first go with it a while back. Every time I revisit one of these teas, I realize how inexperienced I was when I started cracking into samples over a year ago. Today, under wonderful snowed-in conditions, it breathes hearthy mushroom flavors up front, finishes with a long draw of cool mint. With a satisfying texture, bright yellow color, and an absolutely delightful theanine buzz, it’s hard for me to say anything bad about this tea. The only downfall might be that it’s fading a touch earlier than I expected.
A year after, my perception of this tea has shift much, as I have gained considerably experience since the trip I took to Fang last January. I went through a period of brewing this tea badly, under poor conditions and not being deliberate or considerate about the process. Now, at home, with time, this tea again breathes many of the flavors I originally appreciate it for. Currants, gingseng, buckwheat honey, cranberries, and chervil. I also know now that it’s not quite as good as I once thought it to be, but that it’s still a respectable roasted oolong, although perhaps, not at its going price.
Sad to see this tea go, I am grateful to be embraced by its intense warm energy one last time. Soft, soothing, warm and buzzing. This is a fine puerh in my book. Rich, balanced, and with a multicolor display of flavor and nuance. Today, I’m riffing on an intense tropical vanilla scent. It’s juicy, but finishes with a clean, herbal bite that makes it satisfying, quenching, and demanding of another sip. Worthy of the price, I just wish it weren’t so.
Sample provided by Jas eTea. First pours bring strong currents of talc, minerals, and white powders. I know some people get excited about this element, but I don’t particularly enjoy. A few steeps in, this tea lights up with dates, south asian spices, and woodiness, with some distant citrus. The textures starts shallow for me, but deepens and softens with a gentle wheat-like flavor. The wet leaves hold a cellar or forest floor character that doesn’t show up in the aroma or flavor. I give this tea good marks for being low in strong fermentation character and above average in complexity.
I finally broke down and had my last sample of this tea. And more puerh experience under my belt, I’ll say that I think this is a pretty damn good example. At 7 years old, this tea was surprisingly and quickly green-leafed, with a beautiful yellow soup. There’s a great blend of sizable leaves and rather small buds. Strong finishing bitterness followed light and delightful tropical fruit notes and just the right amount of puerh funk. It’s steeping like a champ (maybe somewhere near the 20th). Great stuff.
I love this tea for the big fresh cocoa powder and dark chocolate bark alkalinity that the dry leaf aroma opens with, which then transitions into an herbal, spicy, complex earth tone. First steeps grab onto this and pour on sweetened, aged, cooked, and dried peaches, pears, and golden plums. I wish that it held out a little longer, but compared to many oolongs, it’s very robust. The levels of roast and oxidation on this tea are well balanced to produce a tea that has great fruit character, but adds darker, caramelized and spice-laden complexity for holding the drinker’s attention.
I purchased this from Jas eTea for a comparable price and am very impressed with it. I think the playing up of the cinnamon is reasonable. It comes through nicely in the aroma as a Mexican mole or spiced hot chocolate. This tea also has a big fruit bouquet, with punching white grapefruit, simmered yellow plums, and candied apples. Flavors percolate in goat milk caramel, toast, honey, and a bit of soy. Complex, easy to brew, and very enjoyable. Worth seeking out in my opinion.
I surprise myself, resisting all evolutionary tactics of self-preservation, and drink something that immediately smells like old compost and a grandmother’s boudoir. The aroma is strong and thick with talcum powder, black humus, and musty cellar. I rinse twice.
This tea does reveal an early hint of quality, by showing stunning clarity in the first pour. Nonetheless, the intense milky talc dominates the front edge of this tea. Old, dried maple twigs come to mind. Sweetness moderates the long finish. A tea to be sipped very slowly, as it has strong potency. Later steeps lose the mustiness and pick up sweetened grains.
The qi is a bit unsettling to me. It’s foggy and full of cobwebs, making me feel a bit distant. I’m not sure that well-aged shu is for me, or at least examples aged similarly to this one.
Opening up the last of my sample, I was surprised to be met with a bit of a spicy, woodsy “aged” aroma in the dry leaf, more akin to older sheng than the fresh stuff. Somehow my attitude towards this tea has change. Perhaps I’ve gotten better at brewing it, or my palate is shifting. Regardless, I could smell mint pouring off the freshly wet leaves. The sourness I remarked on before was absent and this tea gave a great array earthy wood, mushroom, tannin, and leaf tones. Sure, there’s some cooked black-tea-esque character too it, but I don’t find it shallow, hollow, or empty.