485 Tasting Notes

I didn’t really take good notes of this one, but I do remember it being pretty heavy on the florals, with some crisp green vegetal notes as well. Quite perfumey, as fall teas sometimes can be. I enjoyed all my sessions with it, but didn’t find it all that remarkable.

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I am normally pretty into Man Zhuan teas, so I was excited to try this one from TU when I got it. The dry leaf smells like a flowering meadow. After a rinse, it still had some floral and hay notes, but was more reminiscent of stewed greens. This one varied pretty considerably between different steeps and sessions.

In the first couple steeps, it was generally a bit sharp or sour on the tip of my tongue – I think that’s some of the last vestiges of some youthful astringency holding on. The finish was sweet with a woody-hay finish. Thick in the mouth, with the sweetness being somewhat reminiscent of vanilla or cream. One one occasion, I noted a distinct ripe peach aftertaste, but I couldn’t replicate it – must have managed to accidentally steep it for the perfect amount of time for that to come out or something. A tasty tea for sure, and I think it will probably age quite well.

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For the past few years, I have maintained the opinion that Huang Pian is only suitable for shou – I am just generally not a huge fan of how it tastes as sheng. I tried the 2016 version of this tea a while back and was not particularly impressed. Perhaps my mind is more open now than it was then, or 2017 is a better version of the tea. Whichever it may be, I liked it a lot more than I remember liking the 2016.

After a rinse, the tea smelled beany, or like sweet peas, with a touch of acidity and maybe some other green vegetal notes. Normally, huang pian sheng turns me off with a bit of a strange acidic note that I can best describe as tasting a little bit “raw” or sour in some way. I didn’t really get too much of that here. The taste was beany and crisply vegetal, with light barnyard and floral hints here and there. Rather sweet. Overall the flavor and body were relatively light though. On some steeps, I did note a bit of sourness in the corners of my mouth, but it was not unpleasant at all.

This certainly is the most I’ve enjoyed an HP sheng that I can remember, so it makes me want to go back and try the other couple that I have kept around. I really wish I was more into these Alter Ego bricks, because the cat-centric artwork is fantastic. That said, I still think HP should all be turned into shou ;)

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Yet another delightful oolong from Old Ways. Floral fragrances are not something I associate with Da Hong Pao, so I was looking forward to getting into this one. The aroma of the leaves when dry was sweet and nutty, sort of like praline, and a touch floral. Wet, the leaves had a heady roasted aroma – higher than most dhp which have a lower, darker aroma in my experience. Might have been floral, but I’m not entirely sure I would have made such a characterization if I wasn’t looking for that sort of aroma due to the name.

The flavor was wonderful. I could taste the roastiness of the tea, but it was not at all sour. Very smooth, with a slick, mouth-coating feel to it. The finish was light and pretty floral early on, but after a few steeps turned more into a sweet nuttiness, and sometimes even chocolatiness. This is probably about as floral as a DHP can taste, but it wasn’t a wild departure from most. That said, it was just a darn good Da Hong Pao.

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An old packet of tea that I found from some long ago Aliexpress tea order. I don’t drink a lot of hong, and this is the first time in years that I’ve had one of this style. It reminded me of some of the “Golden Monkey” black teas that I tried when I was first getting into tea. More fruity than malty, but has both going on. I didn’t really take detailed notes on this, but I enjoyed it well enough.

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drank Pa Sha 2015 Spring by Tea Urchin
485 tasting notes

Dry leaves smell mostly of greens, some brown sugar sweetness, and floral notes. After a rinse, I got a lot of green veggie notes, reminding me most of asparagus, and sticky tree sap. The first couple steeps were rather light, with some citrusy notes along with crisp green vegetal notes of spinach or snap peas, along with a buttery thickness. As the session went, the greens got a little bit more bitter/astringent, but that was not a prominent feature of this tea. The huigan was mildly sweet, but was more refreshingly crisp to me – kind of like a dry wine. An interesting and complex tea, and one that I’m fairly certain I didn’t fully get a feel for from just the sample.

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A random Hai Lang Hao sample purchased from YS some time ago. The leaves are nice – pretty full and burly. At this point a bit of a dull brownish-green. The dry leaf has a creamy and sweet aroma with a bit of hay. After a rinse, the leaves revealed a much more pungent aroma, reminding me of tobacco, scorched grass, hay, and a bit of minerality. I think this tea had a touch of smoke to it at pressing, which has mostly aged out of it.

The flavor profile is a bit challenging in the early steeps, to my palate anyways. I get a burly tobacco with wisps of smokiness, again mostly aged out. There is still some astringency to it, and an oversteep will yield some unpleasantly sour bitterness. There is a slightly sweet huigan, but it doesn’t linger for a particularly long time in the mouth. As the tea cools, it gets sweeter, showing a bit of a corn-like sweetness.

The tobacco subsides and the smoke vanishes after a few steeps, with the flavor becoming more of the aforementioned corn sweetness. I noticed a rush of buzzy qi around steeps 5-7 that kind of came out of nowhere. This tea has a somewhat thick body to it.

I think this one is in a bit of an awkward stage, inbetween a young tea and a middle-aged one. A few more years and those vestiges of youth will probably give way to a more rounded and aged profile, probably leaning a bit more woody than tobacco.

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Finished sipping down a small sample of this tea the other day. It’s a good aged tea with an appreciable amount of dankness to it. Woody and camphorous for the most part. Easy to drink. At the price BTT sells most of their older sheng, it would make a good ‘daily drinker’ sort of old tea, whether it’s actually from the 1990s or not. Good storage and a good tea.

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drank Bao Tang 2017 Spring by Tea Urchin
485 tasting notes

A random sample in my last TU order! This Bao Tang reminds me pretty strongly of Yiwu in character, with a relatively soft and sweet flavor. There’s scarcely any youthful astringency to this tea. The sweetness is mostly vegetal and floral, not really leaning towards the cakey/vanilla sweetness that can be present in some Yiwu. The texture is where this tea really shone for me. It’s oily and thick both in the mouth and down the throat. True to TU’s description, there is a bit of a cooling sensation in the finish of this tea.

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drank Da Hong Pao (2015) by Old Ways Tea
485 tasting notes

This is a solid DHP. It has rested long enough that the roast is neither sour nor overpowering. Aroma is roasty and sweet. The flavor is mostly nutty and sweet. There is a slight sharpness in the front of the sip, sort of a walnut astringency. The finish is moderately complex, with almond, dark chocolate, walnut, or toffee notes competing for primacy depending on the steep, though most fade to a dry cocoa which lingers in my mouth for a couple minutes after the steep. I also detect slight spice notes, perhaps clove or nutmeg. This DHP is a solid offering which has me looking forward to trying Old Ways’ more aged DHPs.

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A bit about myself: 22 years old, college grad (Double major in Anthropology and History). I plan to make a career of archaeology and hopefully travel (much of) the world in my days.

I enjoy many things aside from tea, including gaming, mixing cocktails, reading, watching anime, and painting miniatures.

My favorite type of tea is sheng puerh. Particularly younger stuff, if only because I haven’t gotten the chance to taste much of anything aged. I also really like oolong (Taiwanese, Wuyi, Dancong, etc.) and Japanese Green Teas. I do also enjoy most other kinds of tea, but they aren’t what I normally buy. I’m not a huge fan of shou puerh, black tea, or flavored blends, with few exceptions.

I really like interacting with the tea community, so if you ever want to talk or swap teas or anything, feel free to shoot me a message or something. Follow me and I’ll follow you back. Probably ;)

You might also see me on reddit as /u/Matuhg



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