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Recent Tasting Notes
I went into this tea session with a completely blank slate of expectations, and was pleasantly surprised by just how soft and smooth the liquor of this tea was! It did get thicker and more rich as the session progressed, but for much of the steeps this sheng maintained a delicate floral sweetness. At times it reminded me loosely of elderflower or lilac simple syrup, but lacking any semblance of being close to cloying! Quite lovely all the way until it brewed out many, many steeps into the session!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CfJxOOju35d/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7ZuQsCNlRU
This is such an incredibly thick and syrupy black tea with really pungent and almost fermented tasting notes of waxy red fruits, with a slightly bitter undertone that has both woodier elements and notes of dark chocolate. It’s the sort of dark chocolate that gets so bitter that it kind of starts to be sweet again, with almost wine-like bright berry notes after the initial taste. It’s honestly very interesting, and between the stand out mouthfeel and really saturated flavours I’m having a great time steeping this one out over the afternoon!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ce9LI7oujrL/
Song Pairing: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ce9LI7oujrL/
This was the second tea I steeped for us over our dinner party. If the Nadeshiko was the overall crowd favourite, I think this would have handily been the runner up. It’s an incredibly unique tea and from that first steep it just felt like perfect late summer evening backyard tea. Thick early smokiness but with such a clean finish and an almost sweet green floral character to the body. Kind of like lilacs. It reminded me of something I used to do as a small child at the end of the evening when camping. We would pour water over the fire to douse it, and I was dance through the smoke filled steam that would fill the air for the next few minutes. It was the freshest, cleanest smelling smoke you can imagine.
This is from my recent Spring Pu’erh haul! It’s the first tea sample from this order that I’ve steeped up because I simply couldn’t resist the description of heavy honey sweetness appealed to me so greatly! It’s actually a pretty great description for this tea though! The texture of the steeps is so soft and gentle, but the taste really does have a kind of sticky honey sweetness that lingers after each swallow! More of a deep, golden honey with some subtler floral undertones. Excited to see how this sheng progresses with some time!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CerPbvcu89K/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S_8C8mYEkQ
Enjoyed a late morning session of this very peculiar heicha. The dry leaf aroma was both really appealing and really off putting to me for different reasons; the distinct almost sweet hickory smoke aromas made my mouth water while the very sharp green notes of oceanic seaweed made me grimace. I very much felt pulled in two different directions. Thankfully, once steeped, there’s a bit more harmony to this tea session than that dry leaf would have led me to expect! I stacked my infusions about three at a time in this pitcher, and what I found was that the distinct and delicious smokiness was very much as I had smelled, while it was met with more of a grassy green undertone and some more unique notes of slightly under ripe banana or plantain. It’s a bit of a flavour trip, and one that by the end of the session I wasn’t sure I was ready to be done with!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cegl3rxumqS/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-rhzpiWiAg
(Continuing my chenpi streak…)
Compared with yesterday’s session of Dripd O’Bitters, the thick and oily liquor of this tea is a lot more sweet and aromatic but it still has much of the same dark earthy body and slightly bitter medicinal orange rind notes that are both so soothing and coating on the throat! This one is definitely easy to slurp back, and brews on and on throughout the day!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CePBgEZOFvX/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GKoQmYRQvI
This is W2T’s fifth anniversary cake. Back in 2017 I was just dipping my toes into the world of pu’erh tea so this was something I absolutely passed over, as it was very intimidating to me at the time. It’s hard to imagine exactly what kind of impression this pu’erh would have had on me back then, but experiencing it now there’s something just absolutely brilliant about it! It makes me excited for five years from now – not just to see what this tea will be like, but to also see how much will have changed in my own tea journey!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cdl0nToubzH/
Flavors: Camphor, Red Fruits, Smoke, Stonefruit, Tobacco, Vegetal
Grabbed this very old sample from the final “Here’s Hoping Teabox” which occured right around the time I joined Steepster (thanks to all participants that added tea and tea-sipper for organizing!) Finally drinking this for my “one gong fu session a month” goal.
80ml (shiboridashi) | 4.15g | 205F | Rinse/10s/15s/20s/25s/30s/35s/40s/45s/50s
I gave the tea a pretty long rinse while I was getting all the gong fu stuff ready. The leaf had a very sharp and somewhat bitter wet hay aroma afterwards, which presented in the rinse liquid. My first infusion is more mellow, though (which I prefer) so maybe a long rinse is to my benefit. There is a bit of that grassy/hay quality in the aroma, but it is very floral, and lacking the sharpness. It tastes like a pollen-heavy floral nectar, chased by a little grassy/hay note, and just a hint of bitter melon. The second infusion smells delightfully floral with a bit of a fruity undertone, and a new gold raisin flavor is presenting in the flavor, with an apricot/nectarine sort of stonefruit aftertaste. A green tea sort of beany/smoky note lingers on my tongue, as well. Went through nine infusions before the liter of water I’d heated was out so I wrapped up there, but I think it could’ve given even more.
Flavors: Apricot, Beany, Bitter Melon, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Hot Hay, Pollen, Raisins, Smoke, Stonefruit, Vegetal
Enjoying a tea session of this tea at the park this afternoon! There’s something about this heicha that really brings Glossette’s Chocolate Covered Peanuts to mind for me. It’s just sort of the exact right combination of raw peanut flavour with that borderline waxy milk chocolate note, though this tea also has a hint of tobacco or peat-y smokiness as well any made just a smidge of sweet grass. I never liked Glossette’s as a kid, but despite that there’s still something pleasant and kind of nostalgic about experiencing those flavours in this tea!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdTv8RyOdgd/
I’ve been on a strong white tea kick this week, so I’m continuing down that path with a tea session of 2018 Arbor White. In general I much prefer the black tea version of this material, but today the sweet and syrupy liquor and brighter and more fruity nectarine/apricot and honey leaning tasting notes were more in line with my cravings. Along with that sort of “fruit nectar” like quality, this is also a white tea with that trademark straw/hay flavour as well – almost in equal parts to the sweet fruitiness, at least with today’s session. It’s really nice, but truthfully probably my least favourite of all the white tea sessions I’ve steeped up this week…
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdOdHujO77M/
4g, 175mL(?) KamJove. Yeah it’s low ratio. Can’t handle too much young sheng, but still can’t help but indulge once in a while. Quick boiling rinse, w Brita tap. Sometimes boiling, sometimes not. Not focused today. Maocha is from Paul’s mystery box. This still tastes mostly young. Standard basic young sheng notes: dried apricot and peachiness, some mintiness. Some dried apple like notes. Not particularly bitter, quite sweet. Decent mouthfeel. Some warming initially, but very cold after.
Would like to do a normal ratio session run, but it might be a while before I get around to it since it’s not entirely in the sort of comfortable to drink age yet.
Started my morning with a tea session of Natty Red – complete with bonus tea seed pressed into this chunk of the hong cha cake! Smooth and medium bodied with an abundance of sweet jammy red fruit notes, and a malty woody overtone! A bit of a shorter session but still a lovely way to kick off the week!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdEGxAvOo65/
Grandpa style… ish!I’m keeping my steeping pretty relaxed since I didn’t really want to sit down for a full session so much as I just wanted a sheng to sip casually while catching up on some comics and shows. The dry leaf aroma of this pu’erh cake is pretty fresh and sweet and that sweetness is definitely carrying through to the taste as I sip. I’m finding the liquor to be quite thick and syrupy, while the taste is pretty floral with just a bit of a fruity finish and a greener undertone. It kind of makes me think of elderflower syrup, like one might use to make a sweet floral cocktail! I’m really into the taste and it definitely gets bonus points for having an incredibly smooth mouthfeel as well with hardly a hint of astringency! I guess in summary, the name of this pu’erh might be a chaotic mouthful but the taste is certainly not…
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cc-9DYiueFp/
It’s been a long day, but finishing it off with Judy at golden hour certainly is a nice way to cap it off! This is such a beautifully sweet yet gentle tea! Focusing on just enjoying the taste in the moment, though I definitely want to write better tasting notes that do it justice at a later date.
My friend Justin Other on IG actually wrote a song all about this tea and how much he loves it (you can find it in Spotify) and, as I was drinking this cup, all I could think was “Ok, Justin… I see you and I get it!”
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cclx5SnuqIn/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSnIACaT-RI&ab_channel=ANTI-Records
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Flavors: Floral, Nutty
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Finally trying 2020 Fortune Teller after what I’m pretty sure was over a year of teasers and built up hype on the part of W2T!! My first impression of this sheng puerh is that it’s actually surprisingly pretty crisp, sweet and vegetal with notes of lightly grilled fennel bulb, artichoke, and iceberg lettuce immediately coming to mind. There’s a pleasant gentle bitterness and astringency to the thicker soup, and even with some pretty long steeps – because of that WFH multitasking – it never got gnarly and unpleasant!! This seems stylistically so different from the type of sheng I would reach for often, but I have a few others in my tea stash that remind me of this one. Plus, I do actually reach for them more often than I typically give myself credit for so (based on this session, anyway) I’m actually stoked to add this one to that rotation!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CcQuUnguVh2/
Tried this as part of my White 2 tea order
I wish I loved this tea as much as it deserved to be loved. I’m less a fan of smoke than I thought I was. For someone who does love smoke, this is the flavor. It tasted like a campfire and I am certain it wouldn’t stop giving those notes.
Flavors: Smoke, Vanilla, Wet Wood
My anniversary order from W2T came in yesterday and I couldn’t resist immediately steeping up something new, so this afternoon I’m brewing a tea session with 2022 Peak Vulture! My initial impression is that overall this shou pu’erh has a really round and coating liquor with a baseline earthiness and a little bit of date and red fruit undertones. It definitely still needs more time to rest and settle into itself, and I expected that going into steeping it up fresh from being unpacked. However, I can see this being a really nice and consistent daily drinker given some time!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cb0PAM-OSRl/
Starting my Saturday with a heicha session! I think I prefer this one to the 2021 version, though hard to say without doing a side by side. I feel this is sweeter though; and while it has the gentle grassier and brown rice syrup notes I expected it also has a fruity top note sweetness that reminds me of Pink Lady apples. Just a little bit of acidic snap but mostly an almost effervescent bright sweetness! I’m especially getting that lovely apple flavour in the finish and gentle lingering aftertaste! Mmmm…
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cb2mZ4sOG3r/
Minis/dragonballs are honestly just so convenient. This is a really pleasant and easy brewing white tea but, like its sisters, I’m have a tougher time nailing down what exactly I’m tasting. Lighter body and consistent sweetness for sure, and the earlier steeps had a slightly melon-like note to them that I can best describe as the very initial sticky sweet taste of the juices when you bite into a just barely ripe slice of honeydew. However, in this tea it’s very fleeting. Late steep picks up more body with a little creaminess and then a flavour that’s very challenging to pin point but that coats the back of the throat in a way that reminds me of the feeling of some chrysanthemum teas – NOT the taste, though. This is such an interesting family of white teas; I love and hate how much they break my brain…
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CbnuQjnOt09/
Sipdown. White2Tea – Tea club
Finishing up this green tea from 2021 – I always end up saving these for last. The flavor profile is a no. I brought several to work to use them up due to my tendency of estimating (overleafing!).
Dry leaf smells of little bit floral, very green bean, & vegetal
I think this one has been open to the air too long. I’m getting green bean, spinach-y vegetal. A little bit of lingering sweetness and super minor floral. I feel like I’m trying to make more of it than what it’s giving me. Probably lost to air and oxidation. I don’t mind drinking it.
Flavors: Floral, Green Beans, Spinach, Vegetal
Steeped up the 2015 Anhua Tianjian from @white2tea while reading up on some Red Dragon & Dragon Turtle lore this morning! This was a nice brothy heicha with a thick liquor and very sweet & umami notes of peat moss, smoked meats, leather, and raisin. Pretty clean and quite smooth!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CbA24wEOEKn/
aroma of steamed leaves in warmed teapot were very soothing, blend between young sheng turning corner into a semi-aged sheng. no aroma from brewed tea. liquor was too thin and watery for the price of this tea that’s advertised as “thick”. however it was smooth in the throat with no catch. flavor was green/vegetable not complex and weak/light flavor. No huigan, no kuwei, no calming, chaotic chi. whatever blend was used doesn’t seem cohesive. The energy is just as disjointed and chaotic. It was pushing my stomach into my solar plexus, and causing a discomfort, like when you have that feeling of a pit in your stomach, but it was moving upwards. Not much flavor or sweetness. Not my cup of tea. Objectively, its also not worth the current price of $249/200g. Its not so much of a flawed tea, just didn’t deliver. W2T seems to randomly/arbitrarily increase prices every year but sometimes you have to ask why isn’t the price going down, like on a tea like this? Maybe its at a weird transitional spot, is all I can think of if I wanted to be an optimist