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Recent Tasting Notes
2005 LBZ mao cha (loose leaf) via Liquid Proust
Was surprised (and annoyed) this took from late November to early/mid January to rehumidify from 34 RH to 60 RH, but 4 days later from rearranging my teas (and opening the pack a few times to check RH), it was down to 52 RH already.
Will try to move towards more streamlined reviews that are rewritten from my session notes, something more to the style of Shah’s reviews/notes, which I really like. However, it’ll probably be some time before mine reach that level. As I’ve been looking back on my own notes + reviews when re-evaluating teas, more details can be helpful, but also difficult to sort through. I haven’t had enough time as I’d like to go into more detail with many teas I own, so this ideally help me too in the long run.
5g, Poland Spring bottled water, 90mL gaiwan, 212f.
Dry leaf is a dark sweet smell, slight mushroom. 18s rinse.
Wet leaf is dark, some sour, some dried berries and slight smoke
Sat for an hour after rinse as I had something in between. I did 12 steepings of various times, mostly from 8s to 12s, and the last two for longer of several minutes untimed. Thermos’d remainder; it died a little earlier than I expected. Thermos wasn’t particularly strong, but was pleasant. Slight bitterness and some of the nice aftertaste remained.
What stood out was the exceptional returning sweetness and aftertaste for this tea, present in many of the steeps. Steeps had a nice depth, with bright taste and something crisp and minty about some of them. Strong aroma lasting in mouth and throat, with some sort of darker florals, some of which had an almost perfumed likeness in the mouth that was excellently balanced with the overall edges. Some medicinal aspects, and a slight peppery likeness. Later steeps were darker fruits before trailing off. This tea was slightly warming and focusing, unlike the Wistaria and YQH teas I tried which were more defocusing in their effect (e.g. staring at the same spot for several minutes without realising). I expected somewhat stronger effects from this, but I was also somewhat distracted during the session today.
I remember reading someone’s review about a particular LBZ being mouth numbing. Some steeps of this seemed to lack a particular taste, and I wonder if the reviewer used “numbing” to describe the sensation I noted from this tea’s strong aftertaste desensitizing taste buds to subsequent cups if there wasn’t some time in between. At any rate, I guess it’s also pertinent that I was overeager initially and burnt my tongue drinking the first cup, so my experience could be related to that.
At roughly $1.92/g, pretty average market pricing for LBZ, discounted even, considering it’s from 2005. Very enjoyable, but certainly not an everyday affair for me given pricing.
Thought this would be interesting to try, though I don’t have experience with alcohol so if there’s related notes I will probably be unable to perceive and describe adequately. Wish I’d picked up the Laoshan Rye and Brownie Batter experimental barrel teas LP did some time back; this was the only one I was able to buy in time.
4.5g, 90 mL gaiwan, Brita filtered tap, boiling.
dry leaf is alcohol and raisins.
wet leaf has light hint of shou puer smell, but mainly remains alcohol and raisins. let it sit a bit before brewing to open up more.
7s: light taste of raisins (maybe some grape too?) and cherries (agree with TeaDB here, but raisins is dominant for me) linger on tongue. Shou taste is hinted at in the background, but doesn’t stand out
let it sit for a bit again since some chunks remained compact.
10s: much darker in color, though similar in taste. Abiding raisin note. When cooling, tinge of Bulang bitterness pokes through, though fades quickly.
did 2 more steeps before thermosing since it wasn’t changing much. I forgot the leftover of HCH’s LME old tree shou from the day before in the thermos as well since I was traveling. For some reason the combination makes a raisiny drink with a milk chocolate aftertaste. I’m not sure if that’s just the LCT or not though, since I’ve heard that LCT thermos’d can have a milk chocolate-like taste.
TL;DR: If you’ve ever thought “Boy, I sure wish there was a tea that tastes like chocolate raisins!”, I’ve got just the thing for you.
I’ve been trying to limit my caffeine intake due to a persistent bout of insomnia, but it’s Christmas Eve and I decided to celebrate with this special tea. I steeped 3.5 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug using 195F water for 3.5, 5, and 7 minutes.
As Derk mentioned, the aroma of the dry leaves is very like that of a Darjeeling, with notes of honey, grain, citrus, muscatel, and flowers. The first steep has notes of passion fruit (which I probably couldn’t have named without Derk’s review), citrus, muscatel, raisins, honey, orange blossom and other flowers, malt, chilli leaf, tannins, and wood. The tea’s woody, slightly spicy, and floral profile persists into the second steep, though the passion fruit isn’t as noticeable and there are more raisin/muscatel notes. The third steep has notes of malt, tannins, raisins, earth, and wood.
This is my first Japanese black tea, and although I’d read that they can be abrasive, this was nothing of the sort. Thanks to Derk for sending me a sample of this tea. I’ll be exploring more Japanese Wakocha in the future.
Flavors: Chili, Citrus, Earth, Floral, Grain, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Passion Fruit, Raisins, Spices, Tannic, Wood
Come to find I have never written a note for this one! It’s older now. Hmm, maybe the problem is roasted oolong, but that is a me problem, not the problem of this tea. But it’s a good roast… It certainly has a roasted oolong flavor, lacking in the apple department, but this is older now and I’m sure Andrew isn’t using funky fake preservatives in his teas, so the apple would be faded by now. The ingredients mention wild cherry bark which is intriguing, and should match really well with what I imagine it tastes like with roasted oolong. I’d love to see other teas with wild cherry bark… It’s a decent tea! But since it’s roasted oolong, it was never going to be one I was thrilled to steep up.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons // 28 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 & 3 – don’t remember the parameters
Lightest Roast Hojicha
purchased from Liquid Proust
5g, 230 mL kyusu, Brita filtered tap
Never tried hojicha before, but this piqued my curiosity. I had no idea how to brew this, so I googled, and then messed it all up anyway, so here’s what I did do.
1st steep: 158f, 1 min. 30s
2nd steep: 196f, 30s
3rd steep: 212f, 45s
4th steep: 212f, did not time
Dry leaf smells very nutty, slightly sweet and grassy
Wet leaf has no distinctive smell whatsoever. The kyusu has been sitting in my drawer so I’m not sure if that’s it. Boy, the lightest roast was no joke. I expected a brown
colored liquid and it’s a clear yellow like chrysanthemum tea
1st steep: tiny hint of bitterness, slight nuttiness and sweetness. Tastes like green tea, but slight grassy/minty and nutty aftertaste. Not nutty in a chestnut way, but like walnuts or something. It’s very familiar but it’s also very late here (needed a late night caffeine pick me up) and I can’t think straight. Slightly dried tongue after.
2nd steep: stronger bitter taste upfront, but stronger slightly sweet, quite nutty aftertaste.
3rd steep: just a light bitter taste, almost like smoke but not quite.
4th: really bitter burnt bad matcha like taste from my early forays into matcha
Overall: a green tea masquerading as hojicha is my impression. I have no idea what hojicha’s like but it seemed from online sources that it’s darker and closer to coffee in ways. I didn’t enjoy this one too much and would not repurchase
2019 Peach Village Maocha
Liquid Proust Teas
5.1g, 90 mL gaiwan, 200f-205f Poland Spring bottled water
Leaves in prewarmed gaiwan have a sweet fruity smell, almost in a gummy candy sort of way
Wet leaves have a slightly smoky note, but still sweet, somewhat like a lighter oolong initial wet leaf smell. Very nice. Also a slight sharp candied cherry cough drop or acidic tomato-y like note some young shengs I’ve tried have.
6s: soft. Okay wow, it does literally taste like peaches, or the dried apricots snack pack things. Aftertaste isn’t strong, but it’s a really pleasant continuation of the taste. What have I been
missing out on all this time by hitting all my young shengs w boiling water?
8s: slight vegetal almost bitter note that fades immediately. Upfront taste is in the vein of the wild/yesheng young teas that I’ve had a few of recently, but the lingering aftertaste is
completely dried apricots that lingers and shifts to a nondescript almost minty, but not quite, sweetness. This makes me wish I could handle drinking young sheng more.
10s: slight bitterness amidst the soft honeyed floral taste. Had dinner in between the last steep and this one and so aftertaste is really muted which is kind of a shame.
10s: strong peach/dried apricots taste upfront. Slight bitterness. Aftertaste has a slight vegetal/boiled mint and mango hint
10s: soft pleasant taste that sits slightly in throat. Slight bitterness. Peach taste is somewhat lighter but still present. Aftertaste is more on the side of a sweet slight mint
10s: soft and simple, but comforting. similar aftertaste to before
10s: again, fuller taste and strong peach/dried apricot in a really long lasting aftertaste that moves to a general sweet taste
12s: very sweet; some of the very slight bitter vegetal tinge, then the same peachy, dried apricot, almost cobbler-sweet like aftertaste
12s: pretty soft on this one. Aftertaste is lighter, and more like a gummy candy taste
12s: soft and sweet
10s (accidentally did 212f): similar, but had a bag of Funyuns just before so not really catching the aftertaste
15s: similar. Regretting the Funyuns
20s: took a break and came back. Same soft peachy sugared taste and aftertaste.
20s: slight astringency and brisk, like a green tea. Slight drying, but otherwise similar.
25s: leaves have an apple scent. Taste is slightly in that vein as well (both apple and slight astringent note seem apple-peel related), though perhaps just due to lightening at this point.
30s: similarly lightened. Will probably cap this one soon
1 min: slightly bitter, with a sour sweet fruity taste.
2 min: just a really light fruity taste, slight bitterness and drying.
Will thermos remainder
Overall: some burps. A happy feeling, not sure if it’s qi or just from being surprised at how spot on the taste is to dried apricots. Doesn’t have a wild amount of variation in tasting notes, but in what it does hit, it performs excellently. Thermos was more of the same and quite enjoyable. Young sheng generally makes me uncomfortable, so the remainder will be for the once
in a blue moon young sheng days.
I’LL POST FULL TASTING NOTES WHEN I DIGITIZE THEM.
TLDR: My heart broke when I couldn’t buy a full sized cake. If you can get your hands on this shou, do it!
2006 Classic 66 Dayi from Liquid Proust
It’s a delightful Shou Pu’er from Yunnan.
8.17g per 150ml gaiwan, 195°F
Rinsed for 10 seconds and then I did a 10 second infusion with +5s on each consecutive infusion.
I’m currently on infusion 6 and I’ve been drinking it all day. I’ve felt energized, yet calm the entire time. I’m assuming it has a nice theanine to caffeine ratio given how it is affecting me.
Overall, it is woody, sweet, and smooth. In the beginning it had notes of licorice and dried herbs. Over the infusions that was replaced with a savory nature with strong wicker notes and a hint of grains. It had a light nutty (almond?) taste on the 3rd infusion. But as time has gone on, the tea has tasted brighter with a pleasant crispness. The astringency has been building, but it adds a nice mouthfeel.
I ate a few meals today with the tea.
I had a bacon, havarti, and salami sandwich on brioche with the second infusion. It brought out a mellow sweetness in the tea, which I enjoyed.
With the 5th infusion I ate a salad (walnut, apple, cranberry, blue cheese, chicken, with a sweet and creamy dressing). I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but it was fantastic. The contrasting tones highlighted the sweetness of the fruit/cheese with the savory qualities of the tea. The smooth woody notes added a lovely touch that tied everything together.
I want to experiment more with food pairings that are more targeted towards the tea’s profile.
Either way, I’ll probably continue drinking this one for a while. I might save the leaves in the fridge to see how they do in later infusions. I bet I could get 8-10 decent infusions from these leaves (and I didn’t even use a tea knife to loosen the leaves) even though I broke some of them whilst removing them from the main cake.
Flavors: Almond, Grain, Hay, Herbs, Licorice, Nutty, Savory, Wood
2003 Cang’er Xiaguan -Liquid Proust
Sheng Puerh cake sample
195°F 10s rinse
Infusion 1: 10s
Added 5 seconds to each infusion (2-8)
Infusion 9- 60s, 10 – 65s
It was a very compact cake with greenish gold leaves and buds mixed with dark brown leaves with gold flecks.
The cake smelled of sweet honey, light caramel, with notes of menthol and indistinct dried herbs.
It took several steepings to loosen the cake, but it smelled sweet with a light herbal/menthol scent. It had light notes of undergrowth and almost a caramelized baked goods smell.
In the first infusion it was sweet and light. It reminded me of delicate flowers and honey. It had a bit of honeysuckle without the fruity notes, and strongly like honeybush. The aftertaste coated my mouth sweetly and was reminiscent of honey. It was complex and interesting.
The following infusions smelled sweet, much like cane sugar. It had a light herbality to it with delicate menthol notes.
As the infusions continued, the tea got sharper. It started in the back end and eventually was throughout the tasting. The second infusion was a lot like honeybush, but by the third it was much more like rooibos.
In the third infusion it started to have an herbal tanginess to it that I couldn’t place. By the fourth and fifth I realized it was like lemon balm without the fruity and lemon notes. If you’ve never had a pure dried herb lemon balm infusion that might sound a little strange.
I started eating an Asian sesame salad with cabbage with wontons with the fifth infusion:
The salad brought out the savory nature of the tea. The herbal notes stood out more. As a contrasting pairing it was very pleasant.
Infusion 6 was herbal, mild, pleasant and the aftertaste of the salad softened the bite of the tea.
As the infusions went on (6-9), the taste of honeybush became stronger and the tea developed a sharp bite. It maintained a nice sweetness. Though it became less complex, it was still interesting and enjoyable.
I left the leaves in my gaiwan overnight and when I went for infusion 10, it didn’t really taste like anything. It was still sweet, but it was mild and indistinct.
I enjoyed this tea and I look forward to trying it again after a few decades in controlled storage.
Flavors: Caramel, Flowers, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeysuckle, Menthol, Pastries, Rooibos, Sugarcane, Tangy
Can’t find the description anymore, but got this a little while back from LP. an average green tea. smelled really nice in the bag but taste is not notable. it’s not bad, but I’ve just gotten too used to SweetestDew-level green teas and my bar for greens is probably unfairly high. I will say that this tea steeped for an impressive number of steeps, given I was doing basically kill steep times since I was pretty bored with it.
edit 2: Thermos’d as well today, but it was lightly nutty and smoky with a hint of sweetness. Really easy drinking, enjoyed it a lot. I’m not sure what to think. I did switch to a Zojirushi thermos instead of my old Polar bottle one (back when they made them, but mine doesn’t really retain heat at all I’ve realized) so better retained heat could’ve helped?
edit: have been thermosing this one and need to add that it sort of tastes like furniture… this was a lot better steeped out. make of that note what you will. probably wouldn’t repurchase lol
2017 樟香春韵 is the Chinese name for this one, or 2017 Camphor scent/flavor Spring Yun (Yun as a concept sort of eludes me, so I won’t try to translate it)
Bought from LP. Broke it up and stored in mylar a couple days ago to force myself to bring shou into the daily rotation, as a way of being nicer to my stomach and wallet. Started charting my tea consumption lately along w/ costs, and it’s a little scary how fast cost adds up (without this, cost is easier to ignore post-checkout).
20s rinse with boiling, 8g, mug after rinse. Apparently it’s a common thing in Asia to do longer rinses (20s-30s, twice) with shou, especially trad stored (though this isn’t), and I guess this did make a difference. Upfront is a woody medicinal and bitter taste, which I guess is camphor or whatever, but I really still have no idea what camphor is. Later steeps sweeten out a bit, and there’s a nice clean finish.
It could also be the 3-4 years it has had to air out a bit, but it definitely tastes less like dirt than some other shou. I didn’t take notes, and I was thinking earlier in the day something like “boy this is not too memorable, not sure I could distinguish this from a sea of shou” but then again, at 19c/g, it’s a little unreasonable to demand stand out and memorability. it’s alright, quite drinkable, which I can’t really say of every shou I’ve tried. Once my ‘03 phoenix tuo from Yee-on has rested a bit, we’ll see how that compares, since at 16c/g for that, it’s similar in price. Wish I’d grabbed an ‘06 phoenix tuo which was half the price/g, since I can’t imagine the ‘03 phoenix can be twice as good considering they’re both ripes with the same recipe. anyway, lack of foresight… awaiting Yee on black friday sale, and we’ll see what happens then.
I bought a sample from when LP put up some during his birthday sale but couldn’t find the listing so used the original listing in the description.
2019 Bubble gum
5.7g, 100mL gaiwan, Poland spring bottled water, 212f
First time trying a yesheng. Dry leaf has nothing particular in the smell, just the classic dried fruitiness of shengs.
Wet leaf has a light fruity smokiness
5s: a light floral, somewhat pea like. A mellow honeyed sweetness.
10s: tiny hint of bitterness and astringency creeps in, but otherwise similar to before. Somewhat lighter. The aftertaste is subtle and doesn’t bowl you over, but I do understand why LP called it “bubble gum” now. Fruity high notes in a bubble gum sort of way.
2 days later… (story time: skip past parentheses if no interest. campus security likes to do this thing every once in a while where they trigger the fire alarms in every building and go through people’s rooms for contraband. I usually stuff my kettle in a drawer, but just so happened to have to run to host a TA session beforehand and had my kettle taken. long story short, I had to borrow a friend’s kettle two days later once the caffeine withdrawal effects started getting really bad to finish up this session. Not sure if that’s affected anything here, since I’ve long since had a bad habit of taking multiple days to finish up notes when busy, but thought I’d make a note here. My new kettle won’t be around for a few days, so I’ll have to stick with cold brews in the meantime.)
14s: a sort of almost soapy floral in that green oolong sort of way. A wisp of bitter that disappears quickly.
18s: soapy green oolong all the way.
30s: similar to before. Maybe it’s bc I’ve been drinking too much aged puer lately, but this tastes to me more like a soapy floral tea that you might get with some dimsum rather than a young sheng. Light sweet aftertaste, with a hint of mint, reinforcing my green oolong associations. So far, 2nd steeping was nice, but these ones were underwhelming. This tea feels too delicate, when I suppose my tastes have shifted towards stronger aged woody, medicinal profiles.
1 min: kinda flat. Nothing exciting.
5 min: astringent, a little sharp. Like if you slightly oversteeped jasmine tea w boiling water
Calling it quits here. Will toss the rest into cold brew, since if a 5 min brew couldn’t coax anything, I wouldn’t bet much on subsequent steepings.
This was the first yesheng I’ve tried, so if this is representative of good yesheng, I will probably avoid yesheng in the future.
edit: stomach pains. Continued the session right after eating lunch, but this is another reason why I’ve had to limit young sheng consumption lol. my stomach is pretty weak and can’t seem to handle younger stuff lately, even when this brewed seemed pretty delicate to me.
2006 Dayi Classic 66 (sample purchased from Liquid Proust Teas)
5.2g, 100mL gaiwan, 212f, Brita filtered tap
1x 5s rinse
dry leaf has clean woody smell
wet leaf is the dark spices & shou kind of smell
5s: tastes like it smells. Classic Shou profile & taste
10s: stronger woody taste. Just the barest touch of sweetness. Less of the light peppery shou note than previous cup
18s: basically the same as before.
20s: stale bread and woodiness. I don’t dislike, but it’s not like I’d be fighting to have this
in my collection or whatever either… Also a bit of shou peppery note, and just the barest hint of sweetness
30s: Lightening in depth, but noticeably sweeter, perhaps because other notes are gone.
40s: same sort of muted sweetness.
1 min: sweeter again, sort of in a papery sticky rice sort of way. Improved thickened mouthfeel.
2 min: Same bready Shou taste, almost a hint of sour too.
2 min. 30s: A sweet medicinal that leaves throat a bit dry.
3 min: similar to before, but less medicinal so sweet is more forward
4 min: very light medicinal sort of taste, again leaving mouth a bit dry. Slight hint of some dried fruit that I can’t place in aftertaste, maybe dried persimmon?
overall: some burps, but nothing else too noticeable in terms of body effect. If slight warming, hard to tell if it’s due to the tea or just how warm it is inside rn since the dorm traps a fair amount of heat. Tried this since LP mentioned it was a shou w/ lighter fermentation. It still has that distinctive shou backbone, but it’s definitely lightened in comparison to most shou I’ve tried before. Was this alright? Yes. Would I repurchase? No. I still don’t love shou in general, and a cake of this being 660g just sounds painful. That being said, I’m starting to appreciate shou more on its own merits as it’s meant to be. Shou is a different game/ballpark than Sheng, and trying to evaluate them on the same playing field like I had generally in the past is just invalidating, so I will admit my own mistake in that aspect.
1.7g, ~14 oz filtered Brita water in a Zojirushi thermos, boiling, grandpa steeps.
Plummy aged notes from the get go, with hints of caramel. A lingering dried sweet plum in the front of the mouth. Some notes of a slightly sour and smoky plum and a general sweet woody medicinal as infusions progress. Ends on a light honeyed sweetness.
I was surprised, but I have to say that I’d give the edge to the Wistaria 1990 Wuyi Shuixian here. As I’ve mentioned before, I thought that was a pretty mediocre tea prior to these recent retained heat thermos steeps, and it’s obvious from my prior notes on this that I really really liked this tea. This time, this one was incredibly plummy, and quality-wise, is still pretty great, but taste wise, I preferred the stronger caramel and darker taste of the Wistaria.
2g in a small mug, grandpa steeped over the course of a day, mix of Poland spring and Brita filtered tap water at boiling
First aged oolong I’ve tried. infusions turn from woody, medicinal, and lightly bitter to stronger woody bitter and then to a strong plum (and that I’ve never noticed from any ripe puer before, so to have it confirmed as a note in an oolong was exciting even though I know this can be a distinct note in aged oolongs) before fading. Slight warming feeling, some burping. Smells sweet overall, with the occasional sweet (but not very long lasting) aftertaste. Wish I’d bought more; will have to savor the remaining 12g.
Got a big chunk in an LP Hookup when ordering some of the bourbon barrel shu.
1st thoughts: Not puer. It feels like a heavily browned roasted yellow tea that has that gaba sourness. Not really sure what the processing here is, but it is very far from what you find in yunnan. I get peanuts, roasted corn, cheap cocoa powder, hong cha. Some bitterness and astringency right from the start and the slightly sour aftertaste people talk about with gaba teas.
Drinking it down: The leaves are fully brown a la black tea, but not quite as dark. The liquid itself is the color of a middle aged (5-7 year) old sheng. On the golden side of orange. The peanut note is really the primary flavor going on here with that slight acrid bitter/astringent coming second. I’ve got the burps by the 4th cup. 5th steep I’ve got some tomato umami coming in. Some huigan kicking up on the 6th. As it steeps out it becomes more and more like a black tea.
I’m not usually sensitive to “qi”. It may just be that I’m on day 2 of a fast, but this thing hit me pretty hard around the 4th/5th cup. Warmth in my stomach, slightly floaty sensation, a strong desire to nap.
This tea is not puer. It is interesting. I’m not big into the sour notes in my tea. I’ve certainly had nothing like this before. Don’t anticipate having anything like this in the future either.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Malt, Peanut, Rhubarb, Roasted
So unusual. I don’t have a good basis of comparison for this type of oolong. For all I know, this could be a common profile.
Strong scent of a charring onion over a flame, burnt rice. I initially recoiled at the smell of the wet leaf but sipping it was fine, the sweetness took over. I get a charcoal mustiness throughout. Transitioning to a deep dark chocolatiness in later steepings. I like it.
Wallowing in my emotions today. Better to have this than actual bourbon. Threw into a mug to refill. Sidenote. It feels kinda weird for me to use the phrase grandpa style when both my grandfathers were dead before I was born. So I’ll just say “threw into a mug to refill.”
Anyway I like this a lot. It works. Tastes like I imagined it.
Some body-tingling energy for just a couple of minutes that prompted relaxation. Nice evening tea.
I took a photo for the cover image, hope it’s okay! Tried my best with the color grading.
Listening to So Real by Jeff Buckley.
One of many samples that was kindly shared with me by Togo this past week!
I actually got very close to ordering this for myself last year when LP first listed it because I was very curious about what this might taste like, and I think insect poop tea is one of those “bucket list” type of teas that everyone should try at least once. However, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it and because of that I couldn’t commit to ordering a bigger amount of it blindly. So, suffice to say I was stoked by the inclusion of this sample!
I steeped it up over my lunch break on one of the days I was in office this week. I had a few coworkers who tried it with me, and I really appreciated having someone else sharing in the experience with me – it was the sort of moral support I needed to drink poop tea. As i was steeping, I definitely had the realization that even five years ago this would have seemed revolting to me, as well as how lucky I am to be working with the type of people who are equally as curious and enthusiastic about tasting insect poop tea as I was. I think, even within my office at a tea company, were I to explain what this tea is to any of the coworkers outside the tea department, no one would get it.
All that said… I actually really enjoyed this.
I honestly have no clue if the age of this type of tea affects the taste in any sort of significant way – if anyone knows one way or the other, I would love to hear! I also expected the little CTC looking pellets to sort of “dissolve” (rather, suspend) similar to matcha but they really didn’t lose their shape at all.
Taste wise, I found this deeply earthy and smooth with pleasant camphorous cinnamon notes! Not really a “thick” liqour but somewhat coating, with a surprisingly clean finish to it. Also just a smidge sweet. I definitely definitely feel like this is one of those things that everyone should try at least once!
Classical version of a dry stored tea. There is smoke in the cup and a bunch of the youthful notes still alive and well in this one. The later steeps mix the smoke and wood along with the sharper green notes still left. If any of you can separate the leaves in these Dayi cakes my hat is off to you. I just can’t seem to do it without breaking a bunch.
Still a good one to experience a storage that doesn’t take as many youthfulness of the tea away.
Hope you all have been well. Has been a crazy year and a half for me. I am finally able to unplug from work for a week and not have both jobs going. A bunch of people seem to be mia on here and I hope they are all well as anyone reading this is I hope to be as well.
Flavors: Bitter, Hay, Herbaceous, Smoke, Wood
I got this a long time ago from Jake B! Thank you! This isn’t really labeled other than ‘chocolate oolong’ but I’m pretty sure it’s from Liquid Proust because I recognize his style of packaging teas. And there are only 13 search results here for ‘chocolate oolong’. It looks like the photo too – a mess of chocolate colored everything. I wish there was an ingredient list with this, but it looks like dark big leafed oolong with rooibos, assorted chocolate ingredients including flat little squares. I wouldn’t say the flavor is drenched in chocolate – it’s almost like a berry flavor to me. Probably the oolong coming through mixed with the rooibos tastes like berry to me? With an acceptable hint of roast from the oolong. It is sweet though. On the second steep, much more of the roast comes through. With hints of rustic cocoa here and there. I notice a few bits of apple in the steeped leaves now. Third steep, not noticeably stronger flavor other than more flavor from the oolong. It seems like a distant memory now that I was tasting berry in that first cup. I definitely think using two teaspoons was the right idea. And it looks from other tasting notes this might be SIX years old now. I wouldn’t think this tea was chocolate focused during any of the steeps, but I do love Liquid Proust’s experiments. :D
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for full mug // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 14 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 6 minute steep
Flavors: Berry, Cocoa, Roasted
2008 Xiaguan Tian Shun
(fyi: typo listed by LP Tian Shan, but wrapper pinyin is Tian Shun)
-ordered as part of LP Spring Sampler
6.2g, 100mL gaiwan, Brita filtered tap (more on this later…), 212f
dry leaves just have something of a dried fruit smell
1x 5s rinse
wet leaves smell smoky w some dried fruit
3s: faded smoke and more fruity. light mushroom and slight vegetal initially that turns into a strong fruity note. Light aftertaste on tongue and in mouth.
5s: pretty standard cooling sheng taste, light hint of smoke and lightly sweet on aftertaste
10s: sharper bitter and medicinal note that turns into a refreshingly sweet aftertaste. Also a hint of something lightly vegetal in aftertaste
15s: similar to before, but less sharp upfront.
20s: lightening in taste
put into thermos (had to run off to other stuff, not necessarily bc this was a bad tea) and brewed overnight: a nicely shifting mix of strong florals, some smoky, light astringency/bitterness, and something in the background adding a soft, honey like sweetness. Overall very pleasant, and very different from the standard sweet, grainy taste of most thermos’d aged shengs.
LP is out of stock on the cake for this now, but I don’t know if I would’ve bought a full cake if it was still available, and this is even considering the very reasonable price point of this when it was listed. I’ve tried too many samples at this point, and they’re all starting to blend together in my memory (tbf, exploration of aged factory shengs a la 7542s and the like largely seems to target the same profile, taste-wise), so much so that I’m not sure what I’m really looking for anymore.
On water: I have finally noticed that my water here at college is affecting my notes to a large degree, at least with respect to mouthfeel. I’ve ignored it for a while, since there was one time I brewed something that it did turn noticeably thick, so I thought it was just the teas themselves. I realized going back and reviewing my note on that tea specifically that I was using Poland Spring bottled water at that time. All this is to say that I suppose any of my school year notes shouldn’t always be taken face-value for description on mouthfeel and body, because I’ve definitely complained about thinness in many of the teas I’ve tried over the course of the school year, and that’s likely due in large part to the local water, which is not as hard as my water at home to begin with, and which I filter again with the Brita. Unfortunately, most of the teas I’ve reviewed are teas I’ve ordered samplers of, and not all of which I necessarily would willingly repurchase, from a standpoint of price vs. subjective determination of value (especially given how much I’ve overstepped whatever semblance of a budget I had painstakingly crafted…), so I don’t plan on going back and rewriting reviews. Come summer (and more spare time), I hope to mess around with different waters and note any observations and deviations then. Thanks for reading!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Dried Fruit, Floral, Medicinal, Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal
2005 Spring of Menghai Dayi (HK Dry)
ordered as part of LP spring sampler
6.5g, 100mL gaiwan, Brita water, 212f
1x 5s rinse that smells slightly mushroomy (but have picked this note a lot in cha hai, so maybe just that lol)
dry leaves smell of smoke and dried fruit
wet leaves are smoky! a bit of sharpness, some dried fruit, and something oddly reminiscent of gasoline. Thought I also caught something like meat, but I had a bacon egg bagel for breakfast at this same desk earlier, so it could just be that.
consistency is thin throughout.
4s: sharp and slight medicinal that turns into a brief celery tinged sweetness on tongue before fading. light smoky aftertaste that lingers.
7s: less sharp. bit of mint, cooling, and medicinal on aftertaste.
8s: similar. itchy feeling in throat, but slightly fruity sense upon exhaling in throat/back nasal area. a bit hard to describe.
11s: not as harsh upfront, but lingering sweetness on aftertaste remains.
23s: lighter on taste. slight mushroom notes on initial that fade into fruit almost immediately.
25s: slight sharp + smoke that turns into similar aftertaste as before. slight aroma in throat.
1 min: similar to before
thermos: bit bitter, but not undrinkable. Nothing special to note. Unlikely to spring for a cake.
Flavors: Bitter, Celery, Fruity, Mint, Mushrooms, Smoke, Sweet
So I simmered some seeds for maybe 30 minutes in a small saucepan full of water. Boiled down halfway and left to sit for an hour, this is a lot darker than the earlier steeps in my teapot (I think it’ll take me into the night to steep out the teapot). This is absolutely the essence of tea. Chinese white and black teas at least.
I bet this would be lovely in a medicinal elixir or as an iced tea concentrate. I’m going to take what I have and make a simple syrup, though. I’ll figure out what to do with it later. Baked goods, whiskey cocktail, idk. Oh boy, now I’m thinking about baklava. Or glazed shortbreads. Maybe added to plain chamomile tea. I wonder if the hummingbirds would love it? Ha!
I have an unlabeled packet of tea seeds from Liquid Proust. This came as part of an LP group buy in 2018. Is that your photo, Roswell Strange? And do the 3 dishes of tea seeds correspond to A/B/C? The ones I have look exactly like the third dish, so I’m dropping a note here.
These little clove-looking seeds are from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. Some have fuzzy little buttons in the center so I was thinking maybe they’re flower buds and not seeds? What am I doing…
My first attempt is brewing several teaspoons in one of my clay teapots, long and hot because they are as hard as cloves. When I opened the bag, there was a high aroma of spicy, woody geranium and tea rose. When I cup them in my palm they smell yeasty, twiggy and tangy-musty. I did rinse them briefly and let them steam for a while. They ended up smelling like the tea-in-hand aroma though more like a yeast roll and peppery-airy, aged wood and forest floor. I feel like I can smell a living tea tree typing that up :)
I’m just sitting here doing my taxes and brewing these however long. The aroma is sweet honeysuckle, woody and spicy. Roswell Strange said “Tea Seeds – A” tastes similar to an aged white — while not the same seed, dang right do these have that similarity. But it’s different somehow. Light, sweet, floral, refreshing, soothing in a gentle viscous body that swallows a touch dry. The essence of tea. The aftertaste is like yeasty baked goods. The first thought that popped into my head will probably not be understood by many people reading: Auntie Anne’s pretzels. The bottom of the cup smells like warm, golden spun sugar. I’ll see what later steeps turn into, if they turn more concentrated in flavor.
I have a pot simmering on the stove right now with the rest of the sample. Going to taste it as it reduces.
Flavors: Drying, Floral, Forest Floor, Geranium, Honeysuckle, Musty, Pastries, Pepper, Rose, Spicy, Spring Water, Sugar, Summer, Sweet, Tangy, Tea, Wood, Yeast