485 Tasting Notes
Another sample from the Puerh TTB. Dry leaf had a sweet floral and honey aroma. After the rinse, it was much more vegetal, a bit sour. The tea had a pretty strong bitterness in the front of the sip – vegetal, almost in a broccoli sort of way (I love broccoli). After this though, there was a long and very sweet huigan. It reminded me of cucumber and honeydew melon.
Definitely seems like one that could age well with all the bitterness and the nice body it has.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Broccoli, Cucumber, Floral, Honeydew, Vegetal
This note is for a sample of 2006 Xiaguan 8653 from King Tea which I pulled out of the Puerh TTB. It doesn’t seem to have been very humidly stored.
I honestly could barely stand to drink a few steeps of this one. After a rinse, the leaves smelled a little bit like smokey dirt and old tires. The taste wasn’t much better than that. Still far too much smoke left in this one for me. A bit of an acrid dirty taste as well. Not my cup of tea at all. Figured it might be alright, being 11 years old now, but that does not appear to be enough time for some Xiaguan stuff. Maybe would be better with very wet storage?
Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Smoke
I wasn’t a big fan of my sample of this one from w2t. Very high compression (likely would’ve been less of an issue if I’d received the outer part of the mushroom – I think I got part of the “stem”) and not particularly great leaf quality.
I found it astringent and tough to brew. This is sold out, but I wouldn’t be picking any up if it was in stock.
Thoroughly decent Houjicha. Roasty and pleasant tasting, even though my sample got pretty crushed up riding around in my sample box(es) for probably over a year now. Been sipping down some stuff that I’ve been sitting on for a long time. Not all of it has been good. This one was!
This review is for a tea I pulled out of the Puerh TTB which was labeled “Qianjiazhai 2015 Gu Hua Maocha” or something like that. I couldn’t really find it searching around the internet, so I’m just mentioning it here. The dry leaves smelled sweet and savory with some buttery and mushroom notes. After a rinse, it was more of the same thing – savory mushrooms, but also a bit of that wet hay thing going on.
The tea started out bittersweet in the front of the sip with a rather quick huigan. As I kept steeping it, the bitterness started to outweigh the sweetness, but it never got unpleasant in that way. The flavor was savory like the aroma. Notes of mushrooms cooked in butter and a very thick texture that matched well with the flavor. Pretty good stuff.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Mushrooms, Thick
Another sample from the 2016 Chawang sample group buy I participated in earlier this year. This one was definitely dominated by bitter/astringent notes in my experience. The two sessions I did with boiled water were not particularly enjoyable. I was getting almost no sweetness cutting through the wall of tannic astringency.
I finally was able to get a better read on the tea when I did a session with 200F water. Still had a pretty sharp astringent edge, but I finally started to get some nice floral sweet huigan coming through. This tea is nice and thick and has some pretty good energy behind it as well.
When I try young teas, most of them fall somewhere into the category of “this is good now, but could improve with age.” This one really isn’t worth drinking now, but when that astringency starts to soften, I think it could become something really nice. Would I pick up a cake depending on that to happen? Most likely not…but I bet it would turn out well.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Vegetal
I have been trying to get to my remaining Chawang samples the past couple weeks, and this was the next in line. I was surprised by how nice this was, especially after the Bada Laoyu was a good deal smokier than I would prefer. The dry leaves had a sweet apricot aroma with a bit of something light and vegetal behind em. After a rinse, the fruity note came out strongly, along with a bit of a sourness and a light floral aspect.
The flavor was really nice as well – apricot and a bit of buttery vegetal flavor. The finish was floral – I couldn’t tell you what flower it really was, but the first thing that came to mind for me was orange blossoms. During a couple early steeps, I picked up a quick licorice note on the very front of the sip. As the session went on, some astringency built up, but not all that much. As I increased steep times, the brightness of the apricot fruitiness faded some, into a deeper/more syrupy flavor and mouthfeel. I didn’t really pick up much energy off this one or anything. Nonetheless, quite tasty, easy to drink, and complex enough to make for an engaging session.
Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Fruity, Licorice, Sweet, Thick
Finally got myself a bit of this tea to try – almost every time I order from YS a sample of it ends up in my cart only to be purged before I hit checkout. Thanks to whoever put some in the TTB! I’ve heard this one is pretty dank, but I didn’t really find it to be so. Dry leaf was a little sour and woody smelling. After a rinse, I got some bigger wood notes, a bit musty, some dry leaves.
The tea started off quite thick and only got thicker as I steeped it. It was smooth and slick; mouth-coating and sweet. I didn’t get any unpleasant off-tastes like I have sometimes experienced with aged sheng. Just sweet woodiness with a little bit of a mossy flavor going on as well. Again, not particularly dank or anything. The texture became almost like melted butter by the middle of the session – very nice. Probably the highlight of this one.
This seems like it was stored very well – it’s aged without being super dank, but certainly could age further – there was still a little bit of a dryness in the corners of my cheeks and mild astringency in long steeps. I remember seeing (or hearing about) this tea being about $79 or something – at that price I think it would be very hard to resist picking up a cake. At the current price of $119, a little bit easier to resist…but I’m still considering it.
Flavors: Moss, Sweet, Thick, Wood
Picked up a brick of this from YS in my recent shou-stocking order. It is a good shou imo – I haven’t ever had any sort of Cha Tou tea before, so I’m not sure what/how much those are contributing to the blend here. The brick breaks apart easily compared to a lot of factory brick’s I’ve attempted to break up.
There is definitely still some fermentation flavor in the early steeps, though it is not fishy. Flavor is sweet and easily drinkable. This shou does have a nice floral note that I don’t find a lot in ripes – some have described it as rose. I can’t really pick apart different floral notes well enough to be able to say that. Longevity isn’t that great, but material seems mostly small with a few lil nuggets in there, so that’s not unexpected. Good tea for a pretty nice price too.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet, Wet Wood, Wood
This is probably my favorite from Chawang’s Puerh line so far. Thick and creamy texture to the liquid. The flavors start off rather soft and sweet in the early steeps, but as the session goes, it picks up some astringency and bitterness – never overwhelming, but certainly noticeable. Fruity flavors and aromas are present in most steeps – sometimes tropical in nature. The tea also showed a good amount of energy, mostly in the early steeps.
This one is quite good – I might actually end up picking up a cake or two of it. Based on how it tastes now combined with the few aged Manzhuans I’ve tasted, I think this would do pretty well with some age.
Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Thick, Tropical