14 Tasting Notes
Feel like I need to revise my original review after some additional steeps. On a side note, this is going to be my last review on Steepster until I can edit my profile. This is frankly pure unadulterated bullshit that needs to get fixed like yesterday. Trust me I’m a professional.Previously I might have said this tea would be accounting middle-management if it were a job but I see now that this is a harsh if slapstick comparison. I’m save my best writing on this topic for a better platform, but the key to this tea is to go big. Mor leaf. Do this and you’ve got a burly delicious cup that offers dimensions and intrigue a-plenty for something marketed as a daily drinker. Forest floor and wood and PEAT dominate. It’s never smoky or chocolatey but hints at both.
For some the value on this cake might diminish when you think about the additional volume required to draw out the best performance, but frankly I’m thrilled to find such a great tea and don’t mind one bit.
Some folks like to add a song to their rating so here’s one appropriate for my feelings on both this tea and Steepster in general. Adios!
Petey – Apple TV Remote
Flavors: Forest Floor, Peat, Wood
Here’s a fun thing about western style brewing. You take your basket out of the cup and put it in the lid, and the water left in the leaves slowly makes it way out and down into the lid where it stews with the bottom leaves. Come back before you brew your next cup and enjoy the ‘slurp’. The slurp really tells you about the tea, magnified 10×. The slurp on this tea was just heavenly.
Was really looking forward to this one. Think I’ve got it sufficiently hydrated, it’s got a complex rich smell on the cake, but polite. The first sniff of the soup was a delicious aroma of the spice melange and peppercorns. It was so inviting I kept searching for it.
I brewed this short and cool based on derk’s tasting note. I figured it had the power and it sure did. Thanks derk!
Drinking this tea is angelic on the hot – no dominant flavor poked out, it was just superior in it’s stature. I had half of it gone before it cooled enough for me to get this fantastic tingling as I drank it with incredible returning coolness. Flavor has hints of softer things like maybe dandelions and jasmine. Perhaps needs more time to open up and hydrate before I get a more full flavored profile. So clean and inviting that I can’t wait to brew another cup and try and figure it out.
Flavors: Dandelion, Jasmine
I’m always western style brewing unless stated otherwise. I can’t edit my profile to say that, it’s broken or something.
I’m on a quest to try all my W2T shu and maybe find another gem. I’ve tried 3 different ones today; 2020 Bamboo Shu, Old Reliable, and Saturday Mass. So far Bamboo Shu is my favorite but Saturday Mass sure is interesting.
Old Reliable! Already managing expectations pretty well with that name – I wasn’t expecting a circus. The soup smell is funky and I liked it. Didn’t get a powerful funk, just a spunky, oatmeal lumpy affair. Unfortunately it didn’t translate to the taste as well as I would have liked but I’m happy to say that this tea was extra-medium in nearly every way and yet, reliable. Taste was mostly damp forest floor notes with a hint of wood. Not much sweetness from the brew. Mouthfeel wasn’t thin but… plain I guess. Bittered slightly as it cooled.
If this tea was a job it would be middle-management in a conservative accounting firm. Some people might really dig on the earthy woody profile. I need to try more brewing techniques and see if I can draw out something more to my interest. Maybe this one would be a good candidate to mix with other teas and see what magic you can drum up?
Flavors: Forest Floor
Drinking this for the first time and really liking it. The smell of savory baked goods (maybe bagels?) and hot brandy is intoxicating. I’m struggling to pick out flavors but the mouthfeel is so round and inviting. Aftertaste is just as entrancing; intricate, slightly cooling and oily, yet delicate. It went fast up until the last quarter, and then I had to make myself finish it. Didn’t cool particularly well, no overpowering white celery flavor, but kept an alluring black-dominated profile. I think the huge mouthfeel of this tea doesn’t sit too well cold, but IMO the hot is spectacular.
This is such a clean, easy-drinking shu. Absent of any funk, sour notes, flatness – it’s caused me to recognize the flat and sour in other shu I drink every day. It’s almost easier to talk about what it’s not, but the straightforward nature never seems to bore. I definitely get those cocoa notes in the flavor along with a hint of cinnamon on the hot. Earthy notes come forward and start to dominate as it cools, but the mouthfeel makes up for it, becoming a touch oily. Cocoa smell strengthens on the cooldown and I love a tea that finishes strong. My first W2T shu and it’s a daily drinker gem that’s high-class quality.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cocoa, Earth
I’m currently slamming a cup of this western style. This is the best sheng I’ve had to date, which is admittedly a small sample, but I’m not sure what else I could ask for. Bright floral notes I can’t further articulate at the moment followed up by nutmeg minus the bitter. It’s smooth and not quite thick or thin but what I think is excellent mouthfeel. Every sip I take a huge inhale of the bouquet swimming out of this. It’s like yancha disguised as a sheng which I find magical. As it cools the nutmeg starts to coat the tongue in the aftertaste with a gentle astringency and mineral notes evolve. I could drink this every day.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Nutmeg
I’ve waited a while to review this – never felt like I was getting the brew just right based on other’s feedback. Today, think I nailed it, partly because I let a 62% humidipack sit in with this. Should preface by saying I live in the desert, so relative humidity is very low here.
Western style – hot taste and smell of barley and faint raw pistachios. Flavor follows along on the same notes with a thin mouthfeel that becomes more astringent as it cools. Lemon zest notes that others have mentioned come forward as it cools, as does a general vegetal taste and a dry dustiness and hay. About a halfway through the cup I’m a bit bored.
Flavors: Dust, Hay, Lemon Zest, Nuts, Roasted Barley, Vegetal
Nice to see someone else is using humidifier packets in their tea. It’s not quite desert here but the relative humidity stays around 20-25% in my house. I added Boveda packs to my tea boxes about a year ago and I think it’s helping my tea stay delicious. I put in Boveda Butler hygrometers too so I can easily check if I need new packs or to air out the boxes for a while or anything.
This is the kind of hard-hitting tea knowledge that gets me moist! I’ve been using Boveda packs for cigars and cannabis for a long time now and have humidity levels from 62-72. Going to play around with what works best for what teas but I think I’m going high humid in the puer and lighter in other stuff to start. I think the salt-based chem of these is perfect for tea – I’ve never noticed any taste effect from the packs but I give almost every tea a quick bath before steeping as well. ShuPu gets more bath time.
One more thing – you can revive Boveda packs in a ziplock with a paper towel soaked in distilled water. This trick works indefinitely.
I’m repeating myself here since I just this evening commented on another Steepster’s storage:
I’m too lazy to bother with humidity packs and techno-hygrometers. My smaller crocks are airtight, the large ones meant for kraut are covered with loose-fitting terracotta saucers that I keep damp with distilled water, monitored with a basic hygrometer-thermometer. My storage isn’t intended to age sheng pu’er, but to keep it at adequate moisture levels during our long, dry summers.
Oh man I’m too lazy for all that terra cotta business and my crocks are busy w the sourdoughs but that sounds medium-pimpin
I have the big 65% packs in my pu-erh and pressed white tea boxes but my humidity readings are usually a bit lower than that. I don’t think my Sterilite storage bins with gasket in the lid are completely airtight so that might be why it’s usually closer to 60%. I haven’t noticed that the packs leave any taste on the teas either but I don’t have them in direct contact with the tea leaves. I haven’t had to revive a pack yet but good to know it works.
It’s simple for me since I keep my large crocks stacked at the foot of my bed. Basically when I put clean sheets on the bed, I touch the terracotta. Dry? Pull out the gallon from under the bed and splash.
Guh, sourdough, drool. Haven’t tended to that in a while. Ever ferment teff for injera?
derk – love me some sourdough bread, I’m eating some toast n eggs right now with a fantastic cup of Ancient Green Tuo from Arbor. I nailed this brew and am getting some incredible returning sweetness. Cannot wait (he said mistakenly) for my first order of W2T to get in!!
Have fun exploring white2tea! His teas’ character seem to draw out my inner writer. Looking forward to your experiences :)
Holy crap me also!! I get the feeling like it’s going to be a while, or maybe I convinced myself of that, but in any case I hedged my bets with two sheng cakes from Crimson Lotus’ Seattle inventory to ‘hold me over’. :D
Chris – both of my White2Tea orders took about a month to arrive. Not sure when you ordered or how much Chinese New Year is slowing things down this year but it might not take too long for your teas to arrive. My Yunnan Sourcing orders took much longer, 2-3 months I think…it felt like forever.
Which teas did you get from Crimson Lotus? I haven’t tried any of their stuff yet but I’ve been contemplating an order.
DMS – I ordered right at the end of Jan and figured the New Year was probably going to be a month-long holiday but who knows? I will continue to wait ‘patiently’. ;) Two-three months is pretty bananas.
From CLT I ended up getting 2019 Low Rider and 2019 Radio KXQM. Oolong Owl’s write up of Low Rider being an oolong-lover’s sheng sold me and derk’s review of the 2018 KXQM sounded really intriguing. Honestly, probably could have tried anything in their Seattle stock and loved it. :)
Trying a different style – using a 1/4 tuo, rinse, western steep for 7m boiling water.
Finally found the bitter in this one and I like it! That’s flavor country! Bittersweet chocolate and peat on the hot. Oversteeped? Sure, but still tasty! Wild Tree just wants love.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Wet Moss
The compression on these little young green sheng tuos is all over the map – from iron cake rivets to falling apart in your fingers. The same applies to color and consistency of the tea itself. I’ve been toying with how best to brew this for a week or so and now I go with whatever seems most appropriate for the tuo. For the iron ones, I’ve left them whole, boiling water, short brew time. For the loose ones, I break them in half, reduce temp to 200F (93C) and steep for just a bit longer. I’m going to try to go even lower temp in future sessions to try and drive out the best, given that they’re green. Just be forearmed and know that if you oversteep this, you’re in for a bitter pistol-whipping.
Hot smell is fresh hay and warm crackers. Taste of the soup when hot is just a hint sweet, grass and alcohol; clean and inviting at this point. As it cools the smell transforms into jammy, honey, fruit tree flowers, shedding its lighter character for more depth and astringency. That bright fresh grass flavor is still the mainliner, but now alcohol notes are rushing the main stage with some summer floral character and stonefruit.
This is a real gem if you brew it just right, but mediocre if you don’t and it’s persnickety. it’s a pretty good value IMO, organic and from a shop that supports fair trade practices.
Flavors: Alcohol, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Stonefruit
Tried this one again with a slightly different approach – shorter time brew time, more tea, slightly hotter. Results were disappointing. Brine is the predominant note in this configuration until the cup cooled, giving way to floral and slightly mineral notes. Go long on brew time with this one to draw out it’s best performance.