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Recent Tasting Notes
I bought four ounces of this with a recent order. It is expensive at something like 63 cents a gram. It was a good tea, very good. It was not quite as spectacular as the other two teas I have reviewed from the Jin Yu Xuan tea factory and Purepuer. This one was fairly sweet in the start with little fermentation taste evident. It was smooth. There was some wet storage taste for about the first two steeps. It did develop a fruity note in later steeps. Not really sure what fruit I would call it. This tea is said to be ancient tree but doesn’t specify the age of the trees like the other two teas from the same factory. While it may have been because my ratio of tea to water was a little weaker, it did not have the staying power of the other two teas. Both the other teas easily went eighteen steeps. This one I stopped at twelve but it would have gone fourteen at least.
I brewed this tea twelve times in a 180ml teapot with 9.7g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
Flavors: Fruity, Sweet
Drinking this one again. I guess the question now is how is it doing in my storage. I don’t feel the teat has degraded in what is fairly low humidity. I don’t know exactly what it is but it cannot be higher than 50% or so if that much. It seems to me that shou is not as susceptible to low humidity as sheng. This one tastes really good with a bittersweet note at the start and a fair amount of fermentation flavor. Neither of these notes lasted too long and were replaced by a sweet note. Sort of a dry fruit note. I am noticing a little bit of astringency, just a very small amount. This is good tea and for the price I paid it had better be.
I brewed this twelve times in a 160ml solid silver teapot with 14.6g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. I could have gotten a few more steeps out of these leaves.
I am trying to decide if I still like this as much as the first time I drank it. It was sweet with little fermentation flavor. I don’t seem to be getting the dates flavor this time, at least not as strong. Usually my ripe tea does pretty well in my storage but it may be that the winter has effected this storage and it needs the summer humidity to perk it up a bit. It is still really good, I just don’t find myself liking it as much. I really need a pumidor for shou puerh but have no place to put one.
I steeped this ten times in a 160ml solid silver teapot with 14.5g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 minute.
Drinking this again to see if I still like it as much as the first time I drank it. It is certainly one of the best ripes I have drank. There was a sweet note from the start with little or no bitterness. There was a certain amount of fermentation flavor but it was not too strong and didn’t last all that long, maybe four or five steeps. I am not sure if I would say this had chocolate notes but it certainly is possible. I would describe the sweet note as a dates note or something similar. This is probably the most expensive tea in my collection. Unfortunately he does not sell samples of this. As I understand it he has only a few bricks left. The question I ask is this really ancient tree. The claim of 500 to 800 year trees is not as obnoxious as those claims of some sellers. This probably means the bulk of the tea comes from 500 year old trees. But as I trust the seller and he was not selling this for a suspiciously low price I tend to believe him. This was priced where you would expect such old tree tea to be priced. I tend to believe Larry at Purepuer. The tea went 16 steeps and would have gone a couple more had I the patience for the long steeps. It is said that only ancient tree material will go for so many steeps but I don’t know if this is true. I’m sure I could have gotten twenty steeps out of this tea. It was a little weaker in the sixteenth steep but it was still noticeable as tea.
I steeped this 16 times in a 160ml solid silver teapot with 14.4g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, 3 min, 3.5 min, and 4 minutes. I still think this is among the very best ripes I have ever drank and I have had a lot of different ripe tea. This one was clearly fermented properly. It was not in my understanding a huge production batch like some. This makes sense as they have only so many leaves from 500 year old trees. I don’t know how large was the production batch but I would suspect not more than 50 bricks or so.
I am drinking this tea for the third time to see if it is just as good as the first time. This time I brewed it in a silver teapot and the pot seemed to bring out more flavors than I experienced before. First there was a very slight bittersweet note at first. I didn’t get that the first time I drank this. Second the silver seemed to make the brew more flavorful in general. This also effected the fermentation flavor of the tea. I noticed a little this time. I really hadn’t noticed it before. The sweet notes to this tea were also stronger this time. Even in the sixteenth steep there was a fruitiness to this tea. I was certainly hoping that this tasted as good to me as the first time I drank it because of the steep price tag of this tea. At $550 it is my most expensive tea although probably not if you measure the price per gram. This tea still tastes phenomenal to me. I am planning on breaking up some of this tea and storing it in a Yixing container that I bought a while ago but never used. Again about this tea is the question is the claim of these being ancient tree leaves true? I tend to trust Larry as he has always sold me exceptional tea. And this did not have a suspiciously low price for gushu. It is stated that this tea comes from 500 to 800 year old tea trees, presumably a lot more 500 year old tree than 800. Five hundred year old trees are not exactly unheard of in China unlike a recent claim on a thread of 1600 years. This one I can say tastes phenomenal. Unfortunately, he does not sell samples of this tea.
I steeped this tea sixteen times in a 160ml pure silver teapot with 12.5g leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, 3 min, 3.5 min, and 4 min. I should also note that I believe the silver teapot brought out a lot of flavors I didn’t taste before. Flavors to weak to notice before were noticeable. And there was a great depth of flavor even in the sixteenth steep.
This was a tea that was as phenomenal tasting as it’s price tag. This tea was sweet from the start with zero bitterness. It had very little in the way of fermentation flavor, I really barely noticed any. That fermentation flavor that it did have was not in any way unpleasant and certainly not fishy. There was a fruity note to this tea early on. I think the word dates would work to describe it but other fruit descriptions might be possible too. This is a very expensive tea when you look at the overall price of $550. When you break it down to the price per gram it comes to 55 cents a gram. I used approximately 10g for this session so the cost of this tea session was $5.50 approximately. When I look at the cost like that it doesn’t seem so bad. This is supposed to be ancient tree tea from tea trees in the range of 500 to 800 years old. As to this I have no way to be certain obviously. It comes down to whether or not I trust the seller. And as Larry has always been truthful in the past and sold me nothing but really good tea I tend to believe him. I suppose it would be possible to find information on the Jin Yu Xuan Tea Factory and confirm but I don’t think that factory has an English language website if they have one at all. I do know they are a fairly small tea factory. Very few companies produce ancient tree shou in the first place. This just may have been the best shou puerh tea I have ever drank. I would recommend people buy a sample of this but he doesn’t sell samples on this one, you have to buy a whole brick or get a couple people to split it with you. I steeped the leaves eighteen times and they were pretty much played out. I will probably go back afterward and boil the leaves for ten minutes to get the last out of them. Again, I think this was probably the best shou I have ever drank. I think it is slightly better than the 2006 Jin Yu Xuan tea cake that I reviewed last week. I have another tea from this tea factory yet to get to, a loose ripe from 1999, also supposed to be ancient tree although on that one they didn’t specify the age of the trees. If anyone has not bought from purepuer I can attest to the fact that they sell good stuff. I have bought maybe seven or eight ripes from them and all were between really good and phenomenal. I have bought a few of their cheaper sheng and they have been good. I have not bought any of their expensive sheng. This is a company I will certainly buy from again but they rarely get new teas in so it may be a while. In particular a tea called the 2010 Tong Qing Hao ripe is really good but somewhat expensive at around $90 if you want to try something from them. On that one I believe they sell sample sizes of around 2 oz. The basic concept behind purepuer is that they only sell tea from the unspoiled places in China where they have clean water, no air pollution, etc. This is probably why they seem to only rarely add to their inventory.
I steeped this tea eighteen times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, 3 min, 3.5 min, 4 min, 4.5 min, and 5 min. The tea was pretty well played out at eighteen steeps but I suppose I might have gotten another two or three steeps out of it. I will probably go back and boil the leaves for a little more tea.
Flavors: Dates, Earth, Sweet
Drinking this again to see if I still like it as much as before. This is a truly phenomenal tea in my opinion. It had no real bitterness. It had a sweet note from the beginning. I was not paying close attention but I thinnk you could say there were some chocolate notes in this. There were no negative notes of any kind. That is somewhat rare for a 10 year old tea. This is a very expensive tea. It is perhaps the most expensive bing in my collection gram for gram. He does sell sample sizes on this and i definitely recommend one. I gave this fourteen steeps in a 100ml teapot with 8g leaf and I am doubtful that I would have gotten any more steeps. But fourteen good steeps is pretty respectable.
I steeped this tea fourteen times in a 100ml teapot with 8g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steepedit for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 mini, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min,and 3 minutes.
This is quite possibly the best ten year old ripe I have ever had. It started with some bittersweet notes and I would venture to say some notes of chocolate. These notes were fleeting and other notes developed. I would say it developed a dates note by the eighth steep or so. It also evolved into the sweetest and smoothest ripe puer I have ever had. As to qi. I am feeling a little, quite relaxing. Usually I get no qi off of ripe tea but I am getting some. Now to the big question about this tea. The description of the tea says it is from 500 to 800 year old teas. This certainly has the staying power of ancient trees. I am on steep 16 and plan to go back for more. The main question is do I trust the seller. I do believe I trust the seller to be telling the truth on this matter. And every tea he has sold me has been good. I definitely recommend some samples from him if you have not ordered. This is also my most expensive cake purchase. This cost $310 for 400g.
I brewed this 16 times in a 110ml Yixing Teapot with 8.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 20 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, 3 min, 3.5 min, and 4 min. The tea wasn’t finished at 16 steeps, will probably go back for more.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dates
Went back for two more steeps. Then boiled the ;eaves for ten minutes to get the last out of them. The result of the boil is interesting. More body than the last steeps had even though I was boiling in more water. Still sweet.