521 Tasting Notes
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.
Flavors: Apricot, Dates, Drying, Marshmallow, Petrichor, Sweet
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.
Flavors: Ash, Cacao, Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Decayed Wood, Drying, Earth
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 :)
Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Drying, Honey, Oak, Pear, Pleasantly Sour, Sugar, Sweet, Tobacco, White Grapes
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.
Flavors: Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Heavy, Red Wine, Smooth
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.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Smoke
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!
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.
Yeah they were free, so thought to give them a shot. I’ve had much better experiences with shou minis then with sheng minis…
I let this set for quite awhile to decompress from its journey, and tonight it is ready to be drunk! I opened my jar, and I was greeted with a wonderful aroma. The dry leaf give off a sweet fermentation scent mixed with red clay. Also, there is a sweet undertone present. This is a very strong aroma. I placed a good amount in my warmed gaiwan and gave it a shake. The dampened leaves gave off the same intense sweet fermentation scent, and it mixed with a desert rain aroma. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The scent deepens into a wet wood and lake scent. The aroma reminded me of a walk through the forest after a storm. The brew gives an amazing mouth-feel. The liquor is thick and crimson red. The initial sip fills the palate with dry earth tones and sweet dark flavor. This brew is deep, hearty, and full of flavor. I can note a Merlot taste and feeling. There is a slight fermentation flavor present in the brew. Also, a drying sensation coats the back of the tongue throughout the session. This drink is filled with savory tones. The brew is one that you can drink all night (almost did) and keep re-packing the gaiwan. I was able to pull about 8 or so steeping sessions from my gaiwan. The drink continued a dark crimson. The best part of this is the qi. It’s not overwhelmingly powerful, but it makes its prescience known. It begins at the top of the head, and then it appears at heart center. It’s a slight warming sensation. Then, it grows into a resonating warmth that expands from the chest. This sensation follows throughout and long after the tea session. It continues to radiate from the chest and relaxes and soothes the body. I really enjoyed this brew. This is a well balanced and savory tea.
Flavors: Clay, Drying, Earth, Red Wine, Smooth, Wet Moss, Wet Wood
I am a big fan of Yancha, and this one made its way over to me. This DHP has long twisted blackened leaves and gives off a charred wood aroma with some mineral dust. I brew heavy when I brew Yancha, so I stuffed a very generous amount into my warmed gaiwan. The leaves grew damp and emitted a smokey sweet fruit scent. I could take in some ash and a deep cherry note. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves grew into a heavily sweet aroma, but it still carried a deep wood and char tone. This is some strong Yancha. The brew was smooth and silky with quite a kick. The liquor carries a full mouth-feel and lasting flavor. I could take in a slight burnt sugar taste, stone fruit, and mild wood. The brew finished with a crisp mineral and dark fruit aftertaste. The thing Yancha is best known for, in my opinion, is the aftertaste. It should be a lasting and sweet tone unlike any other. This one has a crisp pear and apricot tone. This flavor stays in the back of the throat and follows the drinker throughout the session. The flavors carry on as smooth char and soothes out after the third steeping. These tastes become less sharp and more rounded. The intense flavors are replaced by a soft smoked fruit and mineral. This was a good Yancha, and it’s a great example of a Da Hong Pao. I really enjoyed my session.
Flavors: Apricot, Ash, Burnt Sugar, Char, Mineral, Pear, Stonefruit, Sweet
I had this from awhile ago and some cinnamon sounded pretty good. I opened it up and took in a pleasant warm and spicy wood aroma. I had good hopes for this session. I placed a good amount in my warmed gaiwan and gave it a shake. The spiced wood aroma deepened to roasted spices. This scent was close to a chai aroma. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The flavor was heavily tannic and unpleasantly bitter. I’m unsure if I did something wrong. I tried to do flash steeping and the result was the same. The taste was like sucking on a cinnamon stick. I was reminded of when I was younger, and I did the “cinnamon challenge”. However, the session improved in later steeping. The tones softened to a burnt sugar taste and light roast aroma. This took quite a bit of steeping. This rock oolong carried no sweet aftertaste and was very rough. This might not be the tea for me.
Flavors: Bitter, Burnt Sugar, Cinnamon, Dry Grass, Roasted, Spices, Tannic
Interesting… Quite frankly, Rou Gui is pretty much the only rock oolong I’ve never been a fan of. I haven’t tried this one and don’t think I will anytime soon after reading this, lol. But have you had other TTL Wuyi? They are quite good, especially their Bei Dou.
I love being the first to review!
This is the Autumn 2015 version. I want to start with saying I am highly picky of blends and flavored tea (whole traditionalist thinking). However, this brew definitely made the cut. I woke up especially early, and my house does not heat well. So, it was freezing in here. I had no where to be for some time, and I was in dire need of some warming up, so this came to mind. I wanted hot coco, but I wanted tea. I picked this out and tore open the package. I was smashed in the face with the scent of the best Recees Pieces in the world! I couldn’t help but think of Trick or Treating. I was pretty excited to try this out. I warmed up my gaiwan and placed a generous amount in. The warmed leaves made for a sharp and deep dark cacao scent. This scent was thick, syrupy, and slight malted. I washed the leaves (and nibs) once to prepare for brewing. The steeped leaves lightened to a warm milk chocolate and nougat. This was a smooth and creamy sensation. I could still take in a light malty note, and I also noted a cherry cordial in the background. The flavor is sensational! This is perfect for cold October mornings. The sip begins with a creamy chocolate and nut flavor, and then it moves more into the wooded and malt tones. There is a sweet almost huigan aftertaste. This brew tastes just like a more higher quality chocolate bar. The liquor even smells like butterfingers and hot coco. As the steeping continues, the brew becomes slightly bitter and a pleasant sour tone appears. Also, a fermented flavor comes to be in the late steep sessions. I noted some nice focused head qi in the last steepings. This feeling was nice, considering I don’t usually get much from Shou. The best part is that a nice chocolate tone follows you throughout the entire session. The brew becomes lighter and tapers off quickly. The color of the liquor seemed to just drop to a pale watered orange at about the sixth or seventh steep. I believe I can avoid this next time by adding more leaves. The nibs are heavier than the leaves, so it tips the scales a bit in brewing. This was a wonderful session, and I will be definitely be sharing this to my winter lovers.
Flavors: Cacao, Chocolate, Cocoa, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Nutty, Smooth
Hoping to. i REALLY don’t need more tea for a while yet but a friend is going to see about adding an ounce to her order heh
I have the cardamom version of this tea, but….this new version is slowly but surely making its way to Canada!! Hopefully it’ll be here on Monday so I can nom the hell out of it :-)
I’m so glad that I am the first to review. I had a large opening in my schedule for this morning/afternoon, so I knew exactly how to spend it. I’ve been letting these orbs settle for some time, and today was the day to brew one up. The orb is quite a beauty. The ball caries some weight and is an entanglement of long luscious Sheng. It carries a sweet and semi floral tone. I placed this big guy into my warmed yixing and let it sit for some time. The scent is amazing! My pot gives off a deep and thick aroma of sweet jungle, nectar, and a slight tang. I washed this orb twice to get it to open up. The steeped leaves smell even better! My tea room was filled with a sweet succulent aroma. The leaves also carry a very slight smoke tone. The taste is perfect. I brewed it heavy with using the whole orb, for I wanted some deep and lasting flavors. The liquor starts with pure sugarcane and light nectar. This flavor then deepens with some kuwei and a dripping huigan. The brew gives a full mouth-feeling and a bitterness present in the center of the tongue. The flavor is of sweet lilies, light wood (oak), nectar, and some winter honey. The best part of this brew was its qi. It hit me hard by only the second steeping. I’m talking hair prickling, spine shaking, heart warming qi. It was fantastic for a Saturday morning! The brew grew more and more diverse as the steeping continued. The sips would begin with a sweetness and then change to a drying sensation with kuwei. The leaves continued to be fairly aromatic and roughened to a seaweed aroma. The session lasted for quite some time, and I lost track of how many times I steeped the leaves. The qi followed throughout the session and continued long afterwards. This was a very nice session, and I’m glad that I have more.
Flavors: Bitter, Drying, Flowers, Nectar, Pleasantly Sour, Smooth, Sugarcane, Sweet, Warm Grass, Winter Honey