Liquid Proust TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
From beerandbeancurd – I hope that mountain living is treating you well.
Good balance of sweet and barely sour, never syrupy. Smooth fruity whiskey-reminiscent aftertaste early on. Big round taste — bready, dried leaves, vanilla and redfruits, liquid brown sugar. Hints to a bitter herb; beerandbeancurd’s “hyssop” fits well, maybe even mugwort. That herbal bitterness combines with a metallic tongue tingle. Some gentle camphor comes around, which I’m always a fan of.
Mellow and easy-going aged sheng huangpian that’s great for longer infusions. Never overwhelming, always good-tempered and a nice Friday wind-down. Glad I got to try!
Flavors: Bread, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Cocoa, Dry Leaves, Fruity, Herbs, Metallic, Red Fruits, Round, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla, Whiskey, Wood
Really tasty, I would describe the mouthfeel as juicy? There’s a pleasant background astringency with a very forward medium roast oolong flavor profile. Hard to pick out single notes but if you have sampled Oolongs this will feel right at home. Bursting with good flavor, strong leaf to water ratio without adding bitterness thanks to the coin leaf format. Would buy again!
Ahhh Yiwu, my good friend. This stuff is quite nice! Last of 3 samples from LP. On the fence about caking it. Definitely can see this tea becoming great with a bit more age.
Not sure what the smell of the wet leaves are but it’s familiar. Maybe some tea tree oil with a back end of peppermint? Or maybe Aloe? Strange. None of that note comes through in the liquor. Anyways, the longevity is nice at 10+ infusions. Can do this one at boiling for sure and still no astringency or bitterness. Nice, sweet aftertaste that lingers for 1-2 minutes. Smooth, easy mouthfeel. One of the easiest drinking shengs I’ve had.
Dry leaf: peppermint, tea tree oil?
Wet leaf: same
Flavor: Smooth, vanilla, sweet.
Flavors: Peppermint, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla
Fairly well balanced sheng from LP. Don’t see any cakes of this on the site, but probably wouldn’t get any anyways. Definitely not bad, but there are better shengs for sure.
Has some moderate astringency that is a welcome addition to my palate. Mild bitterness in the first infusions. Longevity was 10+ infusions. Liquor is light orange. Predominant mouthfeel is a drying astringency. Flavors evolve quite a bit over the infusions as expected. No sweetness. Aftertaste is herbal and lasts under a minute.
Dry leaf: Perfume, floral, green apple
Wet leaf: Same
Flavor: Floral, astringent, bitter, herbal, smoke.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Green Apple, Herbal, Smoke
WOW!!! First time tasting a truly aged sheng, and my first traditional HK stored puerh as well. I’m amazed and feel very fortunate that I can take this journey back to 1985. Thank you for the opportunity, LP!
After this experience, I can now say that I resonate with the experiences of other tea heads that I have read about. This is certainly not a tea for everyone, but call me Ronald McDonald because I’m loving it! Only thing is, I’m not sure what camphor smells like. Maybe it’s there? There is a touch of something vaguely familiar to me. Maybe that’s the camphor? Anyways, the complexity is crazy and drives your imagination wild.
There is nary a speck of bitterness or astringency to this beauty. The smoothness of this tea at least matches if not surpasses the shous I’ve tried. But do not be deceived: the experience of this tea is incredibly different from that of a shou. Longevity is, as expected, phenomenal at 20+ infusions. Cha qi is calming and sedating. Mouthfeel is creamy and full as if a balloon is being inflated in my mouth. The aftertaste lasts at least 5 minutes and is full of flavor. Towards the back of my throat, the feeling is reminiscent of a used Swiffer duster tickling my throat (in a good way :)). On the sides and front of my tongue, especially in the later infusions, a subtle, tingly sweetness lingers.
I can’t wait to try the other samples in my order from LP, and to try more aged sheng in the future! LP – you will definitely be getting my repeat business. If money were not an issue, I’d buy every gram of aged sheng I could :).
Dry Leaf: Musty basement, wet cardboard, old dusty library books
Wet Leaf: Same
Flavors: Musty old basement, wet cardboard, wet dark wood, old dusty library books, abandoned attic, used Swiffer duster, inflated balloon, sweet, thick, heavy, cream.
Flavors: Cardboard, Cream, Dark Wood, Dust, Heavy, Musty, Sweet, Thick, Wet Wood
Cheap gorgeous lapsang. Andrew had a feeling the basic people would like this one, and I did it mug fu style with 30-50 second rinses. I varied it depending on aroma. The dryleaf smell is a weird combo of pine needle, smoke, and caramel. It’s like a bougie log cabin in Oregon or Washington state. That’s what it makes me think of. The flavor definitely has lapsang smoke, yet like Andrew described, is laced with a caramelized sugar taste. Sometimes, I thought I was drinking sap filled caramel coffee. Also heavy in a maple direction too, and the later steeps had more of the lapsang notes I’m used to, but sweeter. Soooo much sweeter. I contemplated getting more of it because $8 for 50 grams is cheap. But again, I have too many black teas.
Definitely recommend it to my basic tea lovers and nerds.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Coffee, Malt, Maple, Maple Syrup, Pine, Smoke, Toffee
This one sold out really fast on Andrew’s birthday. I decided to snag some with Smoke and Mirrors. I’ve only had a slopfu session with it in this backlog, and it’s what I hoped it would be, which is a fruit forward green oolong. Very, very heavy on pineapple notes and nectarine notes, with some sourness like apricot. I can see some people describing peach, but it’s more on the sweet side of yellow and orange fruit in general. Rinse, 25, 35, OH CRAP, 55, 45, 1 min 30, 3 minutes, western for a unknown amount of time. It’s good. I don’t regret the splurge.
Really strong contender here, especially given the cost. (<25-cents per g!)
Hard to quantify. There are some roasty notes, but it still tastes really bright to my palate. Only on my first few infusions but it is smooth and flavorful. Perhaps single-noted but there is some nuance there. I should really buy more… Great TGY!
Flavors: Bright, Nutty, Roasty, Smooth
This appears to be no longer available on the website. Whoa. I started with a steep at 10 seconds. Caramel and better notes. Highly reminds me of ghee. Which is generally the butter they use for dipping crab and lobster in. Though not always. Ghee is clarified butter and technically even if you are allergic to dairy you can eat it. Steeping at 175 in a gaiwan. Porcelain and white. Now at … um… 30 seconds? I’m getting some apple, still ghee, and some buttered veggies. The wet leaf is very unique smelling. Kind of buttery but also like kids apple juice. Ooo and look at those leaves. Not fully unfurled yet but gives you a good sense of the expert processing. Lots of brown leaves but also some olive greens. The longer you steep (like with most tea) these all become a bit more intense but I honestly prefer the first quick steep. The second steep I am finding more of those fruity notes along with the ghee and… candied leaves? Hahaha good grief. I really can’t think of a better way to describe it. And buttered popcorn.
Ashman is a bigger fan of darjeeling than I am and drank an astonishing amount of this tea this morning. I told him that I made separate teas for us today, and that the big pot was a type he has loved in the past.
When he took his first sip, he closed his eyes and said, “It is especially good today.”
I did have one small cup of it at the beginning of breakfast and I had to agree. It was especially fruity, but by the end of my cup, I was tasting the sharpness that some people love but that puts me off a bit. This profile is much better with food according to my tastes, especially food that needs a tea that can “cut through.”
Darjeeling lovers would really love this tea, as Ashman did.
August Sipdown Prompt – National Secondhand Wardrobe Day
I got the bonus points but I admit I had to go change clothes because I nearly forgot today’s prompt. Dress was a much too large purchase from the Salvation Army store to which I added bodice tucks to attempt to make it fit better. It didn’t work and I use it as a comfy house dress that I don’t care about which is why it never gets a stain. I also removed a pocket from Ashman’s worn out khaki pants and added it on the right side. The pocket is huge. I could smuggle puppies in it. Or movie theater snacks.
The tea was also a dilemma. I have lots of tea given by other people. Most of my tea is probably gifts from other people. But is that really secondhand? Then I remembered that I few teas left from WhiteAntlers Swedish Death Purge, and I believe those fully qualify.
Today I took special care to explore the aroma of the leaves. The most prominent note was whole black Tellicherry peppercorn. I decided to make the tea at a slightly cooler temperature this time, going with 175°F.
This was very good with my breakfast, although most people would probably consider it an afternoon tea. I drank it sans additions. A mild black peppercorn taste was noticeable but joined by fleeting florality on the swallow. The characteristic raw “green” edge of darjeeling was also noted. Next pot will be a sipdown!
July Sipdown Prompt – your most unusual tea
I almost chose to break up one of the Verdant Tea incense sticks that are supposed to be safe to steep as tea, but decided I wasn’t quite brave enough and also didn’t want to waste my most expensive incense.
So I chose this one instead! It is unusual for a few reasons. First, it is a Japanese black tea, which is not super common. I had one from Postcard Teas in London but that is it. Second, it really does look and taste a lot like Darjeeling. The pouch I received (from White Antlers – many thanks, my friend!) is labeled Japanese Darjeeling, although it technically is not a Darjeeling, rather like dark tea is not shu puerh..
I had put off trying this because my first experiences with Darjeeling were not good. I was not preparing them properly and they were not the best quality. I found a few that I liked – a Margaret’s Hope second flush comes to mind.
Then I tried Sakura Premium from Lupicia, which is Darjeeling with salted cherry leaf, and while the salted cherry leaf put me off sometimes there were other times I would really crave it.
This tastes a lot like the Lupicia tea but without the salted cherry leaf, so I think I would prefer this one. It is actually really enjoyable, and I am eager to share it with Ashman and get his opinion. He is more open to Darjeeling than I am!
And that’s the July prompts all finished.
Many thanks, White Antlers! We miss you!
From beerandbeancurd, thank you!
Wonderful zijuan sheng pu’er with all those right red-wine-barrel-storage notes right off the bat to complement the personality of purple leaf.
Notes be damned. I would need another session or two to bury my nose deep in that pot and adequately wrap my tongue around these tastes.
Incredible energy — after peeling myself off the floor (seems to be a common theme) from the first 2 pots, I repotted all my outdoor and indoor root-bound plants. That’s where it’s at with me and tea. Does it make me feel good? Oh baby you, you got what I need.
Song pairing as I steep out the last bits of flavor:
I’m an outlier here, but I don’t think this is a very good tea. It reminds me a lot of Mandala’s milk oolong, which whipped me through the same excited-then-disappointed loop: both are quite vegetal, grassy, threatening astringency. The condensed milk and bakery notes are apparent on the nose, but the base doesn’t gather, doesn’t intensify, doesn’t help sustain those flavors through the sip. There’s no center.
I’ll take this to work. When all I can really manage to appreciate is the “oolong note” or “sheng note” of an otherwise meh tea, I do delight in those broad strokes.
This all said, this tea has made me feel VERY grateful that many of my first touches with “archetype teas” were from amazing vendors that really chose stand-out examples. How sad would it be to think I didn’t like milk oolong after a miss like this? Very! I’m specifically thinking of What-Cha’s milk oolong after this session… sofa king good. Aged oolong from Global Tea Hut is another that comes to mind.
Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Grass, Milk, Sweet, Vegetal
Insanely fruity for flash steeps gong fu. I’ve been letting it sit no more than 10 seconds in the first few rounds and letting it sing. 4th round, I just let it sit for about am minute.
I’m not sure how to describe this one other than fruity, tannic, and a little bit of mineral and malt. Like everyone else, this definitely leans more in black categories of notes, but it’s also got the florals of the Dancong. The texture and the brewed leaves kinda look like a Laoshan Black, and even some Himalayan Oolongs. Reminds me of hibiscus a little bit-not the tea version-the other flower that is named that. I do get pineapple and banana for sure, but I kept on getting a red fruit in the taste too. It’s like the sweetness in a strawberry or raspberry right before they go tart. Better yet, cherry in smell and taste. Now that I looked at the note on the page, I can’t not think of it. It tastes like yellow cherries and red cherries.
I would have gotten a decent sample of this when I was first getting into teas, yet I’m really happy that I only had a single sample. It’s got the butteriness that I associate yellow teas with, and it’s fruity like some blacks and oolongs. The tannin is actually welcomed, thought it can be a little bit too much tannin for me sometimes. Longer steeps brought out more cherry and more malt and tannin. Shorter steeps was definitelty the way to go for me. This is a nice break from the usual black and oolong I drink.
Flavors: Banana, Butter, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Pineapple, Tannic, Tannin, Tropical Fruit
Edited to add:
After trying this western instead of gongfu, I can say this is most likely an aged Taiwanese red tea. Really nice chocolate and cherry-scented tobacco aroma with that wintergreen character present in Ruby 18s. Much more interesting gongfu!
What a ride! Is it an aged raw tea? Is it an old oxidized white? Is it a sun-dried red? Is it a GABA oolong or simply an oolong? The only thing I can feel confident declaring is that I have no idea how this tea was processed! Is it a forgotten relic, stashed away in some dark corner for years? Is it an experiment gone wrong, or rather oh-so-right? Like the Indonesian Yellow that Liquid Proust sells, this tea defies all preconceived notions of any specific processing. Most of the material is one leaf picking like Baozhong oolong and it’s well oxidized.
Taste- and aromawise, it starts out with humid aged nutty and forest floor notes, then moves to barnyard and mushroom, then to something almost malty, then to something lighter and fruitier like pear, then to pure watermelon-cucumber and yellow cherry with light grape skin tannins.
Several characteristics are apparent throughout all steeps: a welcome sweetness, a refreshing wintergreen-type quality, seamless transitions, an inability to be oversteeped and a complete lack of bitterness no matter what temperature water is used.
So much complexity wrapped up in ridiculous longevity. Did I mention watermelon?!!
Thank you for sharing, beerandbeancurd, you lovely creature.
Flavors: Barnyard, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cucumber, Cumin, Forest Floor, Grape Skin, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Musty, Nutty, Pear, Pine, Salt, Smoke, Smooth, Spring Water, Tobacco, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Watermelon, Wintergreen
Tobacco off the dry chunk; creaminess on the nose and the sip right from the get-go (I did a 30 second first steep in lieu of a rinse). Even by long-steep number three, the broth is still on the red side — no deep-dark shou blackness here. Creamy wet wood and leather; no bitter paper edge, which I’m always on the lookout for in these wet-piled babies.
Camphor and just a whiff of basement developed on the wet leaf that wasn’t coming through in the broth, so I lowered my water ratio and let steeps go longer. Showed up a little in the sip.
This is nice. Comforting. Might recommend it to folks ready to stick a toe in the shou-pond. Toes in shous, yuk yuk yuk.
Flavors: Camphor, Creamy, Leather, Tobacco, Wet Wood