526 Tasting Notes

80

This was an interesting session. I opened the package to reveal long slender leaves. They carried a smooth sweet grape and raisin scent. This fruity mixture was on top of an underlining oak aroma. I placed a very generous amount in my warmed gaiwan and gave it a shake. The scent deepened and expanded to other areas. I took in some char, mineral, sweet fruits, and some elderberry. The scent was strong and airy. I washed the long leaves once and prepared for brewing. The steeped black beauties give off a wet ash and grape juice scent at first. Then, this scent progresses to a lake water like scent. It’s a little strange and off putting. The taste is smooth with some sharp char. The brew gives a nice mouth feeling with some lubricating. The initial sip begins with a light grape flavor with an almost Darjeeling muscatel aftertaste. The brew progresses to give off some smoke and a slight bitter. I also noted that each sip gives a nice tang left in the mouth. The tang is unlike citrus; its a pleasant sour note. This was a decent session. The leaves kept brewing for quite some time, and each steep was a nice bronze coloured liquor.

https://instagram.com/p/9GqkorTGbH/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Char, Grapes, Mineral, Muscatel, Oak, Pleasantly Sour, Raisins

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

This was a unique aged shou experience. I unwrapped the nest and give it a whiff. I could take in some moist earth and must. I was also getting a lot of dirt tones. Also, this aged chunk kinda resembled dirt, ahah. I warmed this in my gaiwan and got relatively the same tones, but they were more intense. I washed this twice, for the heavy compression caused for some difficult brewing. The thick and dark liquor poured from my gaiwan, and it carried some more must and dust tones. The taste was smooth and lightly fermented. There was a distinct drying sensation that followed every sip. The liquor carries a brief oak wood and finishes with a dust taste. The smooth and delicious part is a slight petrichor that follows the brewing. The leaves are fairly large, and it consists of several stems. The steeped leaves give off an enticing tree root, deep earth, and light mineral tones. This brew is an easy drinker, and you could keep refilling the gaiwan all night with this one. The tones are pleasant and intriguing. I did not note any qi from this one. I liked it, but I don’t think I’d be spending any money on it. I have had better examples of aged shou, and this is definitely a bargain aged shu.

https://instagram.com/p/8e18K2zGRP/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Mineral, Musty, Oak, Petrichor, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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93

This is the 2015 Summer Tea.

This tea is beautiful! I love Oriental Beauty simply because of its wild assortment of leaves. They look like the autumn leaves around my house, and I just adore that. I opened the package and took a sniff of this fall foliage. These leaves carry a dry hay scent with a very slight sweet grass tone. I placed what I had in my warmed gaiwan and let it sit for a bit. The scent deepened to more intense hay aroma with some brief honeysuckle in the background. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The initial sip is of the “wow” nature. The taste begins with nectar, hay, and a smooth grape that lingers. Then, it evolves into a crisp apricot tone. Last, it finishes with an intensely sweet honey aftertaste that fills the mouth. This honey tone is as identical to actual honey that I’ve ever tasted. The honey flavor even has the mild tang all too familiar with wild raw honey. The brew progresses to become alike liquid nectar, except minus the floral tone. This brew is sweet, syrupy, and a light bronze color. The brew lasts for about six steeps, and it grows mildly astringent while it leans more towards grass and hay tones. This was a very enjoyable brew, and it was a brief reminder why I love Oriental Beauty so much. I’m so happy to have been able to experience this!

https://instagram.com/p/9dpNnqzGTu/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

https://instagram.com/p/9drHkATGXs/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Apricot, Dry Grass, Grapes, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle, Nectar, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Rasseru

Ah nice. I love ob, especially when there is a sweetness to balance the south aroma. I will have to try it

Rasseru

South?damn spellchecker spicy. I meant spicy

Haveteawilltravel

hahah i was wondering what you meant by that ;)

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75

This was a fairly moderate Shou. This ripe is a perfect median for me on all grounds of the spectrum. The dry leaf is a good mix of some large and small leaf. The tea gives off a very slight fermented and earth scent, with a little dry dust in there. I placed a decent amount in my warmed gaiwan and shook it up. The warmed aroma was of earth and hot wet soil. I did get a strange earthworm tone (not bad, just peculiar). I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The brew is a dark crimson and pretty clear. The taste is clean and smooth. I didn’t experience any complex tones. The drink was consistently basic. This is a nice daily drinker at best. I don’t believe the Shou has developed any in the best decade; although, it may have calmed down from its younger self. I noted the classic earth, smooth, slightly sweet tones congruent with most Shou. The flavor did not develop. The liquor did last for some time; I was able to pull about ten or so steeping sessions. This was a complete neutral for me. It was a no feeling session.

https://instagram.com/p/9ehHH9TGac/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Drying, Earth, Smooth, Wet Earth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
boychik

i remember this one as really tasty and indestructible. any chance the sample wasnt great?

Haveteawilltravel

It was very hardy, and it lasted for quite some time. Although, the taste was fairly normal. This wasn’t anything spectacular, but it wasn’t terrible either…

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95

Yes, first to review!
This was an interesting session. I’ve had a few offerings of this type of tea, and I had no idea that Sun Moon Lake was the actual name of it. I assumed this name was a brand or something. Anyways, I was very excited to give this a shot. The leaves are massive! These long black tendrils are highly aromatic. I opened the pouch, and I was greeted with an intense sweet brown sugar scent, warmed bread, and mild spices lingering in the background. This was going to be a treat! I placed a bunch in my warmed gaiwan, and I prepared for a heavy brewing session. The warmed leaves gave off a pronounced tone of sweet potatoes and ripe plums. I washed these black beauties once and got ready to do some steeping. The steeped leaves have the most unique scent. This aroma begins as a light red wine with smooth notes. Then, there is warm baked bread in the background. Furthermore, the unique scent is that of camphor. This peculiar cooling scent follows throughout the entire session. It is prominent in the aroma and fills my tea room. The drink begins with a slight peanut flavor and wooden tone. The camphor scent appears in the flavor, and it makes itself known. The unique tone fills the mouth and follows down the hatch with a brisk cooling sensation. I also noted a mild chocolate note that filled the tongue, and this taste ends with spices. This brew is intensely stimulating and carries a thick mouth-feel. The spices in the liquor narrow to cloves or allspice. The flavor lasts long after sipping, and in further steeping a burnt sugar aftertaste follow. This smooth and flavorful session lasted quite some time. This was a wonderful brew, and it was such a special experience. The other Sun Moon Lake’s that I’ve had are quite different. This tea certainty makes an impression.

https://instagram.com/p/86STb6TGba/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Bread, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Camphor, Chocolate, Eucalyptus, Spices

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85

This was something I’ve been waiting to try. I let this settle for some time before breaking into it. The leaves are very dark from their time in slumber and carry an aged scent with some lingering bitter. I placed a generous amount in my warmed jianshui and gave it a shake. The scent was explosive! This aroma began as pertichor with some moss and parchment in the background. The scent deepened further into some raisin and date smells, and it further finishes with a wet tobacco tone. This was one of the most advancing aromas I’ve ever experienced. I washed the leaves once and then prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves keep a strong pipe tobacco and resin scent with them throughout steeping; however, I do note a steamed seaweed tone as well later on. The taste is slightly fruity with a drying sensation to start. The taste is a well mix of dried apricots and dates. The flavor kept this consistent drying tone for at least seven steeps. The qi began hitting me hard very early in the session. I did not like this qi. The feeling began in the stomach and quickly expanded to the eyes, temples, and top head. This made me very weak, blurred, and it upset my stomach quite a bit. This was a very powerful qi, and it did not falter even after a long pause. I think for next time I will be eating beforehand. The taste became phenomenal after the eighth steeping. This is a very fluffy brew. The flavors completely curbed and became sugary sweet. This liquor does actually taste like marshmallows; it’s amazing! The sweet syrupy drink kept flowing consistently for countless steeping. I’m glad I pushed through the dry and mixed fruit stage to get to this treat. I sipped on this tea for numerous hours before putting it to rest. The liquor actually grows opaque and tips off its color, but it still keeps that fluffy sweetness. This truly is the taste of the tops of clouds, and I really enjoyed this brew.

https://instagram.com/p/9WwGGazGYa/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Apricot, Dates, Drying, Marshmallow, Petrichor, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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88

I love being the first to review tea!

I really liked this, and it was somewhat different than most Shou. The leaves included large thin flaked leaves and some big sticks. These dried leaves carried a slight fermentation and earth scent. I placed a bunch in my warmed gaiwan and shook it up. The scent was really unusual. It was of sharp fruits (bitter tasting) and ash. There was also a strange iron cake sheng aroma in the background. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. I brewed this really heavy, so I knew I was in store for some powerful tones. The liquor was a thick blackened red. The aroma of the leaves became deeper and more prominent. The same bitter sheng scent came off the leaves. However, this sheng tone was not present in the flavor. The taste was really good. The initial sip wasn’t all that complex, but it was otherwise delicious. The taste begins dry and slightly earthy, and it ends with a dry cacao flavor. This cacao flavor becomes more intense and builds up in an almost huigan sense. There is a nice stimulating mouth-feel in the brew. The cacao scent becomes more rich, and its almost like eating a dry hot cocoa packet. The qi was not overly powerful, but it was a nice head buzz with some scalp prickling. This sensation builds a little bit, and it follows throughout the session. I recommend this brew. This is perfect if you like dry, rather than silky, chocolate tones in shou.

I really enjoyed this tea. I’m surprised that I’m the first to review.

https://instagram.com/p/9Rw8umzGbM/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Ash, Cacao, Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Decayed Wood, Drying, Earth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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96

This was fantastic! I’m going to go a little in depth; because, I feel that this tea deserves that.

The dry leaf have an enticing slight aged scent. It’s hard to describe. It’s alike other aged sheng with the common old parchment aroma, except there is a lingering sweetness like stone fruit. It’s unique and doesn’t seem to dissipate even after being left out for a little bit.

I took a bunch of leaves and placed them inside my warmed jianshui. I shook these guys up and let them sit there for a bit to waken up. The scent that arose from my pot was amazing. I took in a deep sweet grapes aroma. These grapes smelled like they were ripe on the vine. This vineyard scent was followed by a walk through a warm oak forest. The light wood tone in the background kept the aromas grounded and stable. They too did not dissipate, and they seemed to fill my room. I sat for some time just enjoying the warmed teapot.

I washed the leaves and prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves deepened tremendously and became quite complex. The scent begins with a rich tobacco tone, alike fresh pipe tobacco, and then continues unto spinach and fermented pear. The scent was very aromatic and filled the air extensively. As the session went on the scent became more rough and sharp. The sweet tobacco was replaced with a spice scent. The spinach and pear became a resinous sap scent. These leaves gave off some enticing aromas.

Now unto the best part, the taste. This was something special, that I’ve only tasted in a few sheng sessions. The sip beings with a pear and apricot flavor. This sweet tone slams into your taste buds and sends a prickling sensation throughout your body. The flavor progresses to a light sweet oak and a tangy creme. The huigan was phenomenal! The huigan was the special part. It completely filled the mouth and slowly moved down the throat. This was unbelievably sweet and succulent like warm sugared honey. The aftertaste is a sweet yet sour cream. This is a pleasant sour tone; it’s very light and keeps the taste buds alert. The brew carries a lubricating mouth-feel and fells good going down. The brew is incredibly smooth and silky. These flavors were deep and lasting; they made quite an impact on your taste buds. However, the huigan fades at about the sixth steeping. The liquor becomes drying and completely changes. The slight wood tone is still prominent except the sweet overripe fruit flavors are replaced with dry fruit, alike white grapes. The taste becomes slightly tannic at about the eleventh steeping and all sweetness has disappeared. The brew continues to be filled with dry, wood, and stonefruit tones for an incredible amount of time. I have no idea how many times I steeped this, but it took me most of the afternoon.

Now let’s talk about some power. The qi in this brew was commendable. The sensation begins at the heart center of the chest at about the second steeping. This feeling grows into a deep warming wave that spreads outwards in the body. The qi takes comfort behind the eyelids and at the top of the head. There it radiates forward and pushes you outward. It was a wonderful feeling, and it put me in an amazing mood. I was very productive afterwards, and the energy lasted well after the session. I was amazed at the endurance of this qi. It’s something to experience.

Now for a little critism. Is this authentic pure LBZ? I would very much doubt it. I could be mistaken, but this is too good of a deal for 10year aged LBZ. However, this is still a killer tea. I do believe it was blended with LBZ material. That goes to show how good just a little bit can be.

I loved this tea, and I will be enjoying for quite some time. I highly recommend trying this out :)

https://instagram.com/p/9RQS35TGYx/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Drying, Honey, Oak, Pear, Pleasantly Sour, Sugar, Sweet, Tobacco, White Grapes

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
DigniTea

Nice comments. Thank you for posting detailed notes. I have wondered about this tea for quite some time.

Haveteawilltravel

It’s a nice experience :)

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88

This was a very interesting brew for me. I unwrap the paper to reveal this little “melon” shou. The compressed dry leaf has a slight fermentation scent. I break it in half (7g of the 14g whole) and pop that into my warmed gaiwan. I gave it a shake and then let the chunk relax for a bit. The scent that emitted from my gaiwan was deep and sweet. It was a dark savory scent with an earthen background. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The leaves took two washing sessions to fully depart from the melon whole, and they gave off a dry cherry dusty scent. The flavor was fairly good, but it was somewhat lacking. The initial sip was filled with deep cherry notes, but it plateaued at only the fourth steeping. I then decided to pop the other half in. This made the liquor amazing. The flavor was deep and powerful. The taste was of cherry cordial and a deep fermentation flavor. The brew was smooth and warming; it made my ears burn red hot. The pour from my gaiwan was incredibly dark and blood red. This session lasted fooorever and continued with a smooth and rich red wine taste. The finish of each sip included a candied huigan that was sweet and tangy. This sensation would slowly drip and follow me throughout the session. The qi was only present with a light head buzz. This session did incur a heavy tea drunk and slight slurred speech. I really enjoyed this melon. I highly recommend just throwing the whole thing in the pot. My melon was short (14g instead of 20g), but it was still perfect. This is an amazing value, and I will definitely be getting more in my next order.

https://instagram.com/p/8grjw8zGW_/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Heavy, Red Wine, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 14 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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45

I should have known better, considering it’s a mini toucha, but it was a free sample with my order. I gave it a chance. I’m not going to go into much detail. I’ll just list a few aspects of the gongfu session. My strainer clogged at the first, third, and fifth steeping. My tea table almost overfilled because how much I dumped. The initial sip is a sharp bite (even with flash steeping) and the after taste is also a sharp taste. I also brewed light for my yixing. The yixing became completely clogged by the “end” of the session.

This would be good if you wanted to western brew puerh on the go. It says it’s meant for portable brewing in the description. Personally, I don’t know of many people that drink puerh western brewed. However, I could be mistaken and many people could enjoy puerh in a big pot. Anyways, this was not a big win for me.

https://instagram.com/p/9LufOfzGb8/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
curlygc

Thanks for this review – I was curious about this tea. It seems to have hit on my own personal trifecta of NOPE (astringent, bitter, and smoke). I’ll pass!

SilasSteep

Almost bought this tea with my most recent order…..I opted for the ripe minis instead…they are pretty delicious…sounds like I made the right choice. Bitter and smoky=no bueno.

Haveteawilltravel

Yeah they were free, so thought to give them a shot. I’ve had much better experiences with shou minis then with sheng minis…

SilasSteep

Yeah me too. Sheng mini bricks are not my friend as well. Mini cakes seem to be ok as the leaves are usually still whole (actually sipping a 2014 white wrapper Ye Sheng mini cake from YS right now and its pretty good)…but those mini bricks are too chopped and bitter for me.

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Bio

Young and experienced Tea consumer. I’m continuously learning and developing knowledge about tea. If I have learned anything at all from the world of tea it is that I do not know anything about the world of tea. I enjoy good tea, and I try to acquire the best of the best. I usually brew gongfu but I’ve been known from time to time to resort back to western brewing.

I have an Instagram (haveteawilltravel), and I am proud of my photographs. I use my pictures in my reviews,and I hope that they aid in portraying the beauty of tea and teaware.

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Tea Rating System:
I rate my teas based on the category they fall into (Puer, Red, Oolong, Darjeeing, Flushes, Yancha… etc.)
This means that I will rate a Oolong based on how it stands up as a quality Oolong. I try not to compare teas, rather I work to evaluate them on their craftsmanship, harvest, processing, and qi.

I am most strict with Shou and Sheng Puerh, only because of the vast expanse of various experiences, such as; region, vintage, production, processing, etc.

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