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Recent Tasting Notes
So sorry I’ve been extremely bad at reviewing teas lately, so in this tasting I’ll try writing my review as I go, so that I don’t have to dread having to spend time writing a review of the tea I’m drinking afterwards. Hopefully this technique will help me share more of my tea thoughts with you all.
This tea starts off very very comforting, with the light yet warming tastes of apricot, and fig mixed with a sort of herbalist spicy note in the back ground
By the second steep the texture starts to become more oily, and the warm tastes of the first steep move to the background, and it’s more of lighter, I guess I brewed this one too fast. Whoops.
ehh I forgot the steep i’m on, but I’m around 3 or 4, but I finally pinned down that delicious warm spicy-ish note that I was tasting! It tastes a tiny bit like sandal wood. I’m not talking about the crappy sandalwood candles but truly like ground up sandalwood, not burned but the unburned wood. It’s very specific, haha, but along with this the tea has a sort of light fruit quality, it’s a great tea to just sit down and relax with on a Saturday morning. Don’t take my word for it, as we all feel different things when drinking tea, and you might not have smelled sandalwood before, so that note might not be apparent at all to you.
I’ve now totally lost track of which steep i’m on, but it’s a later steep so around 6-8, but I’ve noticed a very floral quality in the smell of the liquor. It’s almost like rose water, but this doesn’t show up in the taste. Towards the later steepings the tea gets pretty boring, the flavor isn’t gone, but theres not much there. I threw in the towel at around steep 8.
Tried this again today. First steep was only 10 seconds, second was 15, third was 20. It was overwhelmingly smokey and ashy. I couldn’t stomach it. Now I feel kind of nauseated.
I can see that someone who likes smoke would probably like this. But, personally, I LOATHE the smell of smoke/tobacco.
Flavors: Ash, Smoke, Tobacco
This guy arrived courtesy of Mrmopar. The dried leaves were mostly broken up with some tea dust. The tea soup, while started out a cloudy orange due to tea dust, was quite clear with an attractive golden hue after the 4th steep. This made it initially challenging to assess the tea’s qualities, as it made steeps 1 to 4 quite intense.
I’m in the market for intense teas and this was powerful and bitter, in a rough-and-tumble but refreshing sort of way. The huigan is good here and lasts for quite some time. Body is light to medium. After steep 4, I found the rest of the tea quite balanced—comforting sweet wood notes with hints of honey accompanied by that bitter Bulang base.
This one goes for many steeps. I found steeps 5 through 7 the most enjoyable. This one is like a complex IPA with Bulang steroids. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the tea is how clear-headed and awake I was for many hours after the session was over. I’m forced to drink teas with heavy somatic affects, such as Mangfei or Yong De’s Da Xue Shan, less often than I would like, but this one isn’t the case. It could easily be incorporated into my weekday morning routine. I did, however, find this one quite citric, perhaps a little too much for my tastes.
this one really does taste like hay, which surprised me because the smell was rich and sugary. i get mostly dryness from this and not much else. i know right away this wont be a favorite, or even a daily drinker, its just to plain. it doesnt even taste like the tobacco i smoked earlier; i thought it would be a nice follow up, but no. i think ill be tossing the rest of this even though i hate to waste tea. that is all, g’day.
-nycomai should note, i drank this western style tho.
My favorite time of year is Autumn, I love the cooler weather and the feeling in the air,I like the longer nights and shorter days going into winter(my second fav season). I love autumn rain and the aroma in the atmosphere afterwards, and even tho I can only see limited colors I love the colors of Autumn, they are easiest on my eyes. I enjoy this time of year for making thick soups to keep warm and pulling out the throw blankets for the doggy and me to cuddle up and read a book, Autumn is Perfect reading season to me, its also perfect for watching scary movies during the Halloween season my fav holiday.
Last year my autumn wasn’t so great and I lost the one I love the most and was left sad and alone during the autumn season that We loved the most together :(
But I’m still here and I’ve carried, I made it a year and on to a New autumn, it will be hard but I must move on and embrace the things that I still have to love.
I still love Autumn and I still love Tea, I still love Dark Tea which has always been Perfect Autumn Tea to me, Dark Teas(Puerh,Hei Cha,LiuAn,LiuBao,etc) to me just Taste like Autumn feels and they are a perfect reflection of this time of year for some reason.
Today was the first day that felt like Autumn to me, I walked outside and it was just 60 degrees which isn’t cold or hot, down here it was Perfect this morning.
So anyways the first Perfect morning and I chose this Palace Mo Hei from Teanami, It was a Sample sent to me earlier this year and I’m glad I saved it for today. I’m not sure if it a “Puerh” maybe a “Hei Cha” I don’t really care its a type I like, Dark Tea and it’s not bad at all, a great choice for this morning.
The tea brews up nice and thick and only at the first did it have a slightly “fermented/fishy” aroma to me, No fishy taste or anything but a rather mellow smooth almost sweet taste. Very thick and velvety smooth, with all the “Autumny” notes that I enjoy in the Dark Teas.
Rich notes of Earthy;wet forest floor, leaves and stones and a slight sweetness, after a few steeps there is a slight nutty type fruity note…Very pleasant to me.
The aroma is really nice too, at first it was a slight bit “fishy” aroma to me on the rinse, but after that rinsed away the aroma is very earthy and sweet to me and even after several steeps i keep catching a whiff of it and sticking my nose it the cup to savor it, it just smell good.
I enjoyed this one very much this morning, the price is steep tho, Down from 165$ to 125$ now, still a bit pricey for me for this tea, It is a decent enjoyable tea tho, I found nothing bad about it at all.
Dry – Rich bittersweet note, dried apricot, faint toasty/smoke note and a maybe warm sugar.
Wet – Thick/rich apricot, musky (like musky melon), floral bitterness, ‘green’ wood note/herbaceous.
Liquor – dull gold/light amber (initially cloudy but cleans up)
The tea starts smooth and quickly develops a rich and medium thick body with bitter floral and bittersweet apricot notes and hints of a musky fruit (pleasant like melon), as it goes down it gave me a metallic/mineral hint that I didn’t really enjoy in the first steep, but following steeps become more of a olive/oily note and a bit mineral (not metallic) and at that point it is actually pleasant. The Huigan is lasting and gets sweeter.
By the 4-7th steep the taste is very similar on the front but when it is transitioning (going down) it has a pine note that is very pleasant and refreshing, but resembles most silver needle puerh and still hold some of that floral and apricot note and some thickness.
Final steeps loose the smoothness with astringency becoming noticeable, but not unpleasant. The thickness goes away completely and it’s replaced by the pine note and is very refreshing in the throat.
This was fairly pleasant, but it does resemble most silver needle puerh I’ve had before, I will say that it is very aromatic when dry which is very pleasant to open and smell and the initial notes are thicker than most silver needle puerh. This was a nice free sample from Teanami. I have to check out their other samples and I’ll probably revisit this one later after I air it a bit more.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Pine, Smooth
Thank you Teanami for the free sample. This was overall a good ripe. There was a certain amount of fermentation flavor. But that flavor was not horribly unpleasant and certainly not fishy. There was little bitterness to this tea. I really didn’t even notice any initially. There was a nice sweet note to this tea. Kind of fruity in nature towards the end of twelve steeps. Not entirely sure about any specific fruit to identify it with. This one didn’t seem particularly chocolaty in nature. It was overall a good tea though. This is one I would certainly consider buying if the price is not too high.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10g 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. I could have steeped it a few more times but was at my caffeine limit.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
Decided to try this sample today, Thank You Teanami for this sample. Overall this was pretty good tea. It was good in a strong, kick your ass sort of way. It was strong and bitter in the early infusions. The bitterness was noticeable and potent for the first six steeps. This is not to say there were no sweet notes but they took a while to develop. As I have heard bitterness is good for aging this one might be one to buy and store for ten years but alas my Pumidor is full and I would have to dry store it.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.5g 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, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
Today I am taking a look at Teanami’s Bu Lang (2011 Raw) a Sheng Puerh made from ancient trees. And when I first saw they were made from ‘ancient trees’ I cringed, that is such a hot topic on the interwebs lately and has become a really unpleasant bit of marketing, but they say their trees are at least 100 years old and that is so much more believable. I’ve known a lot of trees in the 200-500 range when I lived in the mountains, and I am pretty sure the massive spruce in the yard is almost 100 since it is as old as the house…but I am getting off on a tree tangent. Anyway, Bulang, I have so far only had Shou from this mountain, honestly staying away from the Sheng because it has a reputation to be rather bitter, but it eases off the bitter as it gets some age to it, and with my Sheng drinking being limited (thanks ya jerk of a stomach) I go for the sweet or camphorous stuff. But I do love a tea adventure, so here we go! So, this tea does not smell like something that will be bitter, it smells like fresh white grapes, cut sunwarmed hay, a tiny touch of leather, honey, dried apricots, and a tiny almost undetectable (took me a few sniffs) camphor note. I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet this tea smells!
Cranking the kettle to 200°F and giving the tea a rinse, the aroma of the leaves is a bit on the pungent side with wet hay, lemon rind, apricots, and a touch of spinach. The aroma of the first steeping is pleasantly light and sweet, with an undertone of lemon and hops and a tiny hint of camphor.
At the beginning of the tea session, well, you could fool me that this tea is bitter. Granted I do brew it at less than boiling which makes me different from the real pu-heads, but I like it that way. I would describe it as tangy rather than bitter, like lemon rind but not as sour, with accompaniments of spinach and cooling light camphor. It has a thickness and a touch of a dry mouth, and the aftertaste reminds me of the taste of leather. Around steep three it starts to get a bit of that bitterness, though lucky for me it is the bitterness of kale rather than of hops, like some bitter shengs can get, and I really dislike hops.
Ah, this sheng is doing that fun thing where it flip flops from bitter to sweet in a drool induced instant. Like going from kale leaves covered in lemon to dried apricots and hay with a leather finish. Sadly around steep four I am getting that obnoxious dull ache in my guts which makes me so happy for my tiny baby gaiwan. A little farther into the steeping session brings out a tobacco note, which blends well with the aftertaste of leather.
Whelp, this is a tea that definitely outlasted me, nine steeps in and the leaves have only barely unfurled. It is starting to ramp up the bitter notes. The bitterness is pleasant, really wakes up the palate and causes a great salivary sweetness. Sadly this is definitely one of those Shengs that kills my stomach, which angers me because I really wanted to see how far I could stretch this tea out. I am curious if it would be milder on my stomach with more age, perhaps I will come back to it in a decade!
I had a nice little vacation, and by nice I mean I melted in the heat and played Ark while chugging copious amounts of tea, so nothing really new and exciting. Life in Ark has been extra exciting, my tribemate (aka my mom) and I have been securing our beloved swamp base for the new update which brings in the dreaded leeches and swamp fever, yuck! Lots of bridges and boardwalks had to be installed, and X-plants properly irrigated, it has been very grindy. To keep myself occupied in all this preparation I also tamed a level 116 white rex (the rarest of colors) and a new direbear, because I still have to be the Beastmaster!
Ok, ok, I need to get this out of my system before I get into the actual review of Teanami’s Zi Cha/ Purple Tea (Raw 2012)…ANTHOCYANIN! I feel better now, I just have the overwhelming urge to shout that whenever I drink a purple tea, it is a fun thing to do and I suggest doing it. The reason why, of course, is because Anthocyanin is the flavonoid that causes it to be purple, it also makes blueberries blue, grapes purple, cabbage purple…it is essentially the thing behind my favorite food color group. This type of tea is thought to be more pest and drought resistance, and I have noticed that all the purples I have tried have a distinct oomph to them. (I tossed in a couple of links talking about purple tea, focusing on Kenya and Yunnan, it is botanical goodness!) The aroma of this tea is pretty potent, a tiny bit of smoke and meatiness, dried tomatoes and tomato leaf (I find this note in a lot of teas from Yunnan and it amuses me greatly) mineral, pungent wet hay, a bit of wet bamboo (the old stalk more so than leaves) and a tiny underlying sweetness of apricot.
The aroma of the steeped buds is a bit more vegetal, with notes of cooked spinach and eggplant (that is a new one) along with dried tomato, gentle smoke, meatiness (like a distant beef jerky) and a touch of sauteed mushroom. The aroma of the liquid is gentle and sweet, notes of bamboo, wet hay, and distant apricots and smoke. Has a summery quality to it.
In the beginning this tea starts light and immensely sweet, strong notes of fruity apricot and peaches with a touch of grape, then it picks up a bit of hay and very very gentle smoke. It has a very light body at first, with a touch of cooling (very welcome on a hot day) and only a slight thickness to it, bordering more on oily. It picks up a gentle bitterness and savory note around steep three, which carries into the middle.
Around the middle of the steeping, the bitterness, instead of being hoppy or vegetal as I usually perceive it, but takes on a nutty note, like the walnut skin. With the underlying smoky, gentle smoky notes, and subtle mineral notes, I found myself enjoying the middle steeps greatly. One thing I noticed towards the end of the middle (around steep 6) when my steeping time was stretching out, was an increase of sweetness and a resinous incense note very similar to myrrh and patchouli in taste, which really enamored me to this tea.
The end of the tea brought an increase in sweetness and a lovely thickness. This tea was overall light on the mouthfeel, so the finish bringing thickness was pleasant. I found this tea to be overall gentle and soothing, only giving me a little bit of the dreaded sheng gut-rot, which was awesome, especially since the taste, while not hugely overwhelming was still quite enjoyable. I have had a few sessions with this tea since I received the sample, each one going about 12 steeps, it had a moderate cooling effect, which was immensely welcome in the summer.
I am having one of those great moments of furniture confusion. See, I am a teaware hoarder, pretty openly and obviously, I love that I hoard these beautiful treasures…what I don’t love is how they are all stuffed inside drawers instead of beautifully displayed. I need a curio cabinet! The bit of conflict is, do I want to troll all the thrift stores in hopes of finding a perfect (and affordable) curio cabinet, or do I want to get a bookshelf and make a door for it myself. Making a door would mean using screen or wood lattice instead of glass (and glass worries be a bit because one of my cats is immensely dumb sometimes) It comes down to cost and size of course, but blast it all I want to be able to open a door and look at my displayed teaware!
Speaking of teaware, I got to break out one of my favorite teapots for today’s tea, Teanami’s Palace Pu Erh (Ripe 2005) lately all my shou drinking has been in my ruyao pieces, to darken the crackles, meaning I neglected my shou yixing I got for my birthday last year. Also known as Gong Ting, this is the highest grade of Shou Puerh, full of lots of buds, this is the loose version (I also have a sample of the 2007 Palace Mo Hei I will be writing about soon) and from the moment I opened the tin I was happy. No strong duiwei! Granted I figured the chances of this being present in a 2005 gong ting shou to be fairly minute, but man, I loathe that smell/taste, it gave me a migraine and killed my enjoyment of shou for years, so anytime I take that first sniff and it smells safe I am immediately happy. (Granted had it smelled funky I would have just aired it out, like I do when I get a funky pu, but I digress.) So the aroma, it is sweet and earthy, like wet wood and wet leather with caramelized brown sugar, molasses, and a a tiny bit of mineral at the finish. It is very rich smelling and delightfully sweet, just the way I like my shou! I found myself lingering with my nose in the pot sniffing the leaves for a while, long after my kettle had roared to life.
After my initial rinse and flash steep, the aroma of the now soggy leaves is sweet and thick, strong notes of wet wood, wet leather, brown sugar, and cocoa blend together for an aroma that feels heavy and inky, like I am sinking into a forest floor that is also made out of candy. The liquid from this first steep is nicely sweet, notes of cocoa and molasses mix with loam, wet wood, and wet leather.
In my Puerh fashion, instead of covering each steep (we would be here a while if that was the case) I am going to cover beginning, middle, and end. The beginning was great, from the first steep onward I noticed a nice thick mouthfeel that coated the mouth, I felt a great soothing warmth in my body which was enjoyed. The taste starts out sweet like molasses…and I am not even kidding here…tapioca pudding. This was a new note for me in shou, but I am legit ok with it. Towards the end of this ‘section’ notes of slightly bittersweet dark chocolate creep in and linger well into the aftertaste.
The middle brings the richness, with notes of dark chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, and wet wood. It is heavy and dense in mouthfeel and just overall feel, I found myself being very relaxed and wanting to nap. The aftertaste lingered long after the cup was empty, with notes of bittersweet chocolate and a touch of wet wood.
Towards the end of the middle steeps, a touch of wet leather showed up and stuck around til the session was finished, which, if you were curious, was twelve steeps. Technically I could say that it was ten, because the last two were really light, but I wanted to milk this tea for every drop of flavor it had, it was tasty! It has all the things I really like in my shous, notes of earthiness and sweetness, intense richness, and the feeling of being bundled up in a warm robe on a cold day. Also that tapioca note at the beginning was odd, but super delicious! I feel that when my sample runs out there is a fairly high chance I will get more.
I got about 9.5 grams of this out to try tonight. I used the Gaiwan to brew this up. I gave this a quick rinse and allowed it to sit for about 10 minutes.
I did 3 quick brews into a big mug, my favorite way for shou.
The brew is a nice deep amber color. The sips are very clean. I think the fermentation has left this one. It has the bittersweet chocolate and dry cocoa in the mouth. It tends to linger on the middle part of the tongue and whispers of a savory broth with some saltiness in there. Hints of dried dates also come through as the tea cools a bit.
Nice and clean and good value for a tea with this age.
Flavors: Broth, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dates, Salt
This tea is pretty damn good. It was thick with fermentation flavor in the early steeps. There was little bitterness and a nice sweetness to it. Not sure if I would say it had chocolate notes. I did seem to develop a fruity flavor in later steeps. I really enjoyed this tea. Thanks to Teanami for the generous free sample.
I brewed this tea twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9.3g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. 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.
Breaking into a sample of this today.
Leaf seems to be very nice with hints of a drier storage aroma.
I got 9.8 grams out for brewing in the gaiwan. Water was heated to 208f to start with. I heated the gaiwan and tossed the dry leaf in and shook it around. Opening the lid the aroma gives a bit of mineral and damp hay in there. Rinsing the leaf for about 5 seconds the aroma goes to a honey sweet hay type of aroma. Brewing the first cup, it doesn’t come across as a heavy type of brew. Semi-sweet and a bit of oily viscosity.
Second brew after letting the leaf absorb a touch are quite stronger. The tea starts to push the bitterness that Bu Lang is known for. The viscosity comes up as well. It hits the tip and side of the tongue well. Some tobacco is in there as well. Sitting back the tingle lasts a bit.
Successive brewing awakes it well. The wet leaf exudes the aroma so well.
Steeps 3 to 5 The activity moves back more in the mouth and throat. The sweetness after the sips will play in there as well. There is just a hint on my palate of smoke in there. This isn’t as astringent as some of the younger teas I have had but it packs a punch under all that sweet aroma the wet leaf gives off. For fans of Bu Lang and Mang Fei this will be right up your alley.
Flavors: Bitter, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Thick, Tobacco