13 Tasting Notes

80

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100

20s(rinse)/3s/3s/3s/3s/3s/4s/4s/4s/4s/4s/4s/4s/4s/4s/5s/5s/5s/5s/5s/….

Loose puerh which does not come in a cake and whole leaves are few and far between. It is mostly broken leaves and bits, though larger than dust. The rinsed leaves (not sure a rinse is totally necessary here, but I do it for consistency) are black with small moments of mahogany and smell like fresh soil out of the bag when you’re starting a new garden. A clean, almost dry earthiness, rather than the earthiness of compost of a forest floor which have some elements of decomp.
Rinse broth emerges as a strong red but quickly deepens to a coffee-like rich sable brew, which persists across the next 10-15 infusions before starting to lighten up, and has a little swirl of something that runs across the top like the fat layer in a bowl of good ramen—some of that viscosity and opulence. The flavor is also hearty, like compost and rich dark earth with some clove spice on the back end and it holds onto that intensity of infusions for a ridiculously long time and doesn’t have a hint of astringency regardless of brew times, although it brews almost instantly in a gaiwan or yixing pot. This is my daily drinker since its incredibly affordable for a puerh, it goes for ever with a nice hit of caffeine, and it does not require attentive steeping. I’ve never met someone who doesn’t react well to it after I coax them into a sip and its the tea I use to seduce coffee drinkers onto the dark side (pun intended).

Flavors: Butter, Clove, Compost, Earth, Soil

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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95

30s(rinse)/10s/10s/10s/10s/8s/8s/8s/8s/8s/8s/8s/10s/15s/15s…

Dried leaves are tightly rolled into pea-sized balls, whose aroma is softly perfumed— hints of jasmine, orchid, and honeysuckle— when rinsed. Broth starts as a very pale yellow with red hints but emerges into a stronger honey color with green undertones as the leaves unfurl with continued infusions. As the leaves unfurl, you see some leaves and some tips (leaf/bud combos) of medium size. The green is mossy with occasional spots of a clearer emerald. Flavor is comparably soft but sweet and floral like honeysuckle in the height of summer, with a note of fresh green vegetables (asparagus?) on the back end. There is no astringency. The tea is smooth and easy to enjoy, relaxed without falling into the categories of either bright or warm. Its most comparable to those dazed moments in the sun on an early warm day, under trees and listening to the wind blow. I’m sorry I’m waxing a little overly poetic here but get this tea. Its so incredibly lovely.

Brewed in 80ml porcelain gaiwain.

Flavors: Asparagus, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Orchid

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 80 OZ / 2365 ML

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80

30s(rinse)/10s/8s/6s/8s/8s/8s/8s/10s/12s/10s/8s/8s/8s

Dry leaves look like silver needle (long and with occasional spots of fur), loosely packed into a cake just the way I like. There are still spots of green but its generally the color of shou with some lighter mink-colored furry threads. No smell when dry but rinsed leaves smell of wet wood and slightly of seaweed (not the curated kombu, but the long slightly dried ropey stuff you find on the beaches of the pacific). The first sip goes in another direction entirely— first impression was “cedar sawdust, but in a good way”. Mellow and warm with a citric undertone on the back end.

Broth is an agave-inspired red honey tone with some of that slightly thickened mouthfeel to match.

Brewed in an 80ml porcelain gaiwan.

Flavors: Acidic, Cedar, Citrus, Sawdust, Seaweed

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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75

30s(rinse)/8s/5s/10s/6s/7s/6s/5s/5s/8s/8s/7s/10s/10s/12s/15s

Dry tea is ragged when broken off the cake with lots of partial shredded whole leaves and twigs, appears to be machine processed. Rinsed leaves smells strongly of barnyard/wet wood with a strong vegetal bent. Broth is a strong glowing amber, no red or umber undertones but purely golden. I’m steeping quickly because of the assertive smell of the rinsed leaves and based on the J Tea description but the first sip is fuller and more mellow than anticipated— the first term that comes to mind is warm. The sip starts with the barnyard flavors around the tip of the tongue and then flows into something sweeter, maybe warm straw or even elements of honeysuckle on the sides of the mouth and back of the tongue. I recommend a swirl around the mouth. It hits differently everywhere it touches. There is definitely some hefty caffeine and a fair amount of astringency if this tea is allowed to brew for any period of time although that may be partially due to my high leaf:water ratio.

I don’t have much experience with Shengs, and even less with aging them but I suspect most sheng drinkers would be happy with this as a daily drinker and I imagine it might turn into something quite special if aged.

Brewed in 80ml porcelain gaiwan.

Flavors: Alfalfa, Barnyard, Vegetal, Wet Wood, Whiskey

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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90

10s(rise)/3s/5s/4s/4s/4s/4s/5s/4s/3s/4s/5s/6s/6s/8s/8s…

Tea comes loose and are delicate curled whirls rather than rolled balls. Leaves are somewhat stiff (not so delicate), but small. There are some broken pieces and twigs but also some whole leaves and small two leaf/bud bunches. Dry leaves have a floral scent, perfume with hints of rose and geranium. Once rinsed, the scents deepen into a richer and more complex version of the same perfumed scent. Flavor dives still deeper into the floral notes with soft delicate notes on the front of the tongue and the faint perfumed essence in the back of the throat that you get from breathing in perfume which can turn into tannins and acidity if over-brewed; not totally unpleasant but I prefer the floral notes and softer scented short infusions to the deeper but more abrasive extended infusions.

Brewed in 80ml porcelain gaiwain.

Flavors: Floral, Geranium, Perfume, Rosehips

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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95

10s(rinse)/5s/5s/4s/6s/4s/5s/5s/5s/6s/4s/4s/4s/5s/6s/7s/7s

This is one of my all time favorite teas, but my first time writing up a tasting note with my new steepter account. The cake is whole leaves of a medium size and silvery, loosely packed and easy to break up with a pick. The dry leaves have a soft scent. When rinsed, the scent is slightly astringent and vegetal— an intersection of barnyard, seaweed, and malt but the first sip moves in another direction completely. Still vegetal but warm and buttery without a hint of tannin or astringency, more along the lines of warm uncut grass which resolves into a sweeter, softer cashew flavor. The flavor is reminiscent of traditional white tea, with added depth and complexity on the back end due to the aging process. Broth is a pure honey color—a refined amber that is clarion clear.

Brewed in an 80ml porcelain gaiwan.

Flavors: Cashew, Malt, Smooth, Sweet, Warm Grass

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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65

30s(rinse)/4s/4s/4s/4s/4s/5s/5s/6s/6s/6s/8s

Dry leaves are loose and delicately small. Dry nose is a little … acidic. It smells like its going to need to be brewed swiftly to avoid bitter notes. I feel like you all know what I mean but maybe its just me? Once rinsed, the aroma is a mix between wet old whiskey barrels and straw (but mostly in a good way haha). Once brewed, you can tell that the leaves include bits of twigs and the leaves were fairly broken up. Looks mechanically processed. Upon further steeping, flavor becomes spicy with hints of clove and leather and definitely can be over-brewed. I had a hard time brewing quickly enough and the flavor danced on the edge of bitter but it pairs with a really lovely smooth tea high. Broth is a deep amber with red undertones (syrupy). The acrid tones soften in later infusions and is replaced by a sweet finish that pairs with a lighter honey toned broth losing some of its red tones.

Steeped in 80ml porcelain gaiwan

Flavors: Clove, Decayed Wood, Leather

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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