971 Tasting Notes

84

Another one of the samples I received from derk :)

Initially, the dry leaves have a light fruity aroma. When wet, the smell actually reminds me of some Yunnan black teas – there is definitely a strong malt note there, as well as some cocoa/chocolate. However, it is more complex with extra layers of rose and roasted like aromas.

The taste is quite herbaceous and somewhat earthy, but the finish is more on the fruity & tangy side. I also still get the malt and rose notes. The aftertaste, apart from being slightly drying and fruity, also displays noticable medicinal, spicy and nutty aspects. Overall, it is a very complex and tannic tea that I have no chance of getting to know by one session alone. I will definitely try to get more though.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Chocolate, Cocoa, Fruity, Herbaceous, Malt, Medicinal, Nutty, Roasted, Rose, Tangy, Tannic

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 7 OZ / 220 ML

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69

Thanks Derk for the sample! As has been pointed out numerous times, this is a very unique tea. The bouquet is mostly floral while the taste is vegetal and slightly sour. The main notes I get are rose and dill, and they are surprisingly pronounced, especially the latter.

One thing that this tea has going for it is the pretty looks. I am glad to have tried it, but this is not a tea I need to have in my cupboard.

Flavors: Dill, Floral, Rose, Sour, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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93
drank MMU03 by Material Matcha Uji
971 tasting notes

I made this as koicha today and it confirmed for me that this is my fovourite blend of the three main ones offered by MMU. It is incredibly rich with a strong and long lasting umami taste. I would say that it is slightly less smooth as MMU02, but the difference is not big.

Flavors: Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
4 g 1 OZ / 30 ML

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81

These are also really convenient for a cold brew. Cheap, chopped up leaves so that the extraction time is shorter and there’s no need to pry a cake and/or weight anything. I made use of that on Saturday and on Sunday I had a liter of pu-erh to fuel me throughout the day as I was wandering around Toronto. To be honest, 10g/1l makes a fairly strong tea even when brewed just overnight like I did. Depending on the intended use and steeping time, one might want to adjust the ratio.

Preparation
10 g 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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78

The leaves of this tea are quite dark for a white tea (it is supposed to be 10+ years old after all) and don’t smell very strong when dry. After the rinse, I get mostly fruity and medicinal aromas, with a strong blackberry and black currant quality. Despite the fact that I store it with sheng, the bouquet acually reminds me more of shou.

The taste has similar qualities, it is strong and well-rounded. I like the interplay of sweet & savoury, fruity & earthy flavours. I would characterize it as both robust and refreshing, which is a little unusual and very welcome. The aftertaste also displays some nutty notes, which, together with the sweetness and earthiness, remind me of ripe pu-erh again.

Mouthfeel also plays an important part in making the tea quite refreshing. It is crisp, cooling, numbing and slightly buttery.

Surprisingly, I didn’t find this Shou Mei to perform too well by simmering. Standard infusions (with near boiling water) seemed more balanced to me.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Black Currant, Blackberry, Compost, Earth, Fruity, Medicinal, Tangy

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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86

[2016 harvest, third pluck]

This is a sample from the TTB, thanks Skysamurai for including it. I have never considered ordering Korean teas, since they are so expensive. Therefore, I am very happy I could have tried this one.

It is labelled as a red tea (which is why I categorized it as a black tea), although the 2018 harvest seems to be marketed as a yellow tea on the website. I am not sure if the processing changed, but this one is definitely more similar to hongcha than huangcha, as far as I can tell. It brews dark orange liquor and the leaves are almost fully oxidized, there is just a touch of green hue left to them.

The smell is very interesting. It’s a mix of marine, floral and woody (kind of like barrel aged) aromas – quite a unique combination to be honest. Taste is very nice – mineral, sweet and delicate. I get notes of dried fruit, almond, wet rocks and seaweed. The bitterness is somewhat reminiscent of Wuyi oolongs, but here it’s much more in the background, hidden beneath the strong sweetness. In the aftertaste, I get a very prominent chocolate/cocoa bean note followed by slight maltiness. It’s interesting that these typical hong cha notes only emerge now. The body is good too, albeit not too memorable.

Overall, this is a very nice and unique tea, still retaining some complexity and pungency even 2 years after harvest and despite non-ideal storing conditions.

Flavors: Almond, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Malt, Mineral, Oak, Seaweed, Sweet, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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72

The first thing I can smell from the dry leaves is somewhat ‘sour’ aroma of matcha and lime leaves. After the rinse it is still a little green, but much less so. The dominant smells are those of nuts (walnuts in particular) and burnt sugar with some cream and grape vine in the background. In the empty cup I mostly smell caramel.

The mouthfeel is not great unfortunately. I tried to do both smaller (~4g per 100ml) and bigger (~7.5g per 100ml) leaf to water ratios to test it out and in both cases it was fairly thin. I would characterize it as bubbly and astringent, obviously the infusions with a lot of leaf were much more pronounced on both accounts. After swallowing, I get a strong cooling sensation in the throat as well

Taste-wise I like it, but I wouldn’t say it’s spectacular in any regard. It has a caramel sweetness, ash/fire bitterness, and finishes on a slightly sour note. The astringency takes the center stage most of the time though. The aftertaste is neither strong nor long. It starts off a bit sour and bitter and then turns into and a mix of sweet notes with dry grass.

I found the tea to last really long overall. The 7.5g sample yielded about 1.5 litres in the end, and that’s with me trying to push several infusions beyond what I would normally do, in order to see how the tea reacts. The price is not too high, so if you don’t mind an astringent tea, it might be a good choice.

Flavors: Ash, Astringent, Bitter, Burnt Sugar, Campfire, Caramel, Cream, Grapes, Lime, Sour

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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92
drank MMU02 by Material Matcha Uji
971 tasting notes

Like I said that MMU01 is not suitable for Koicha, this one is actually the opposite, I think it shines even better as Koicha. The flavours are enhanced and sharper, so it’s realy powerful, but at the same time still very balanced and super smooth. The taste is a mix of fruity, umami, sweet, tangy, and grassy with just a hint of bitterness. There are a lot of layers to be uncovered there.

Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Freshly Cut Grass, Fruity, Green Apple, Tangy, Umami, Zucchini

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 g 1 OZ / 30 ML

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85
drank MMU01 by Material Matcha Uji
971 tasting notes

The taste of this matcha is just not really for me I guess. The bitterness is really strong to the point it resembles sourness, something like you can achieve with 95% or darker chocolate. The mouthfeel is also not nearly as smooth as with MMU02 and MMU03.

Despite all that, it’s enjoyable overall, just not on par with the other two. The nice long grassy and sweet aftertaste helps too of course.

Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Sweet

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88

This tea has one of the strongest dry leaf aromas I have encountered in a sheng – mostly smells of honey and cookies. After the rinse, the aromas change dramatically to smoky & earthy ones, and strangely enough the wet leaves don’t actually have such a pungent smell anymore. They give off aromas like egg shells, bbq sauce and celery root.

The taste is very strong and bitter right up front in the first few infusions (make sure you keep your initial steeps short). The quinine like bitterness quickly transforms into sweetness though. Other than that, it is a mineral tea with some notes of moss, dry grass and cranberry. The aftertaste starts off sweet but becomes slightly salty afterwards. In late infusions (above 10) I also get the standard tobacco and mushroom flavours, the former actually really strong in the aftertaste.

The liquor has medium thickness and is mouth-watering, oily and a touch powdery. It is also quite warming in the throat. The most memorable aspect of the tea is definitely the cha qi though. It hits really hard, this is not a tea to drink while working. I had to lie down after 3 infusions already.

The leaves are young (small) and still very green, attesting to the dry storage of the tea. It still has quite a way to go in terms of aging. I wish the mouthfeel was thicker overall. Because of the pungent taste, steeping more aggressively doesn’t seem to be a viable option to improve that. But ok, I can accept that this tea is not about the mouthfeel, rather the ‘mindfeel’ and, to a lesser extent, the strong taste. The longetivity is quite good too. Right now I am on steep 14 or so (each one of which was 90-100ml and the first few I should have done shorter tbh), and it seems like it will last for a few more at least.

Flavors: Bitter, Celery, Cranberry, Dry Grass, Grass, Grilled Food, Mineral, Moss, Mushrooms, Salt, Smoke, Tobacco

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

The Ba Ma Gong Chun from HLH has a kick as well.

Togo

Thanks, I will check it out :)

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Bio

Hi, I am a researcher in math, physics and computer science. Apart from teas and mathematics, I enjoy sports and traveling, as well as music of all kinds. Connect at https://rateyourmusic.com/~Togo

I had been drinking Japanese green tea for a while before discovering the world of tea in 2017. I rarely drink blends and generally avoid artificially scented teas. Other than that I try to keep it varied.

My rating description:
100 _ Unforgettable tea, an experience that changes your life.
90 – 100 _ Excellent tea.
80 – 90 _ Very enjoyable, I will buy again.
70 – 80 _ I enjoyed it, but I most likely won’t be buying it again.
60 – 70 _ Decent.
50 – 60 _ Average, forgettable.
40 – 50 _ I didn’t really like the tea, but it is drinkable.
0 – 40 _ I would prefer to avoid the tea.

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