4 Tasting Notes
2003-2005 Hong TaiChang Ripe tea
The Initial smell of this tea was a bit off-putting as it smelt moldy. I decided to do two quick washes. The first steep that I drunk was earthy and very smooth. The tea seemed really thin to me, but it was also sweet. There were bits of mushroom tastes and perhaps a delicious wood flavor. I also believe there was a blonde hair in the piece of the tea. Oh well. The main thing that I really noticed about this tea, was that the lump of tea was really compressed through the first 5 steeps as none of the tea broke apart! I have not had a tea so far that did this. After the seventh steep the tea finally started breaking apart, but only a few little bits. I believe that I finally stopped drinking this after about the 12th steep or so, as I really lost track of how many times I poured water in the Gaiwan.
After all was said and done, I inspected the leaves and discovered that there was still some actual dry spots in the actual tea lump! This too was a first and it was really amazing. A good tea that would make a good daily drinker.
Flavors: Earth, Mushrooms, Wood
A delicious tea! The dry leaves smelled like a typical black tea. Right off the bat from the first steep this was a sweet tea with tastes of honey and simply put it was sweet and delicious. The tea was very smooth and had a thick and great mouth feel to it. The second steep I wasn’t paying close attention to what I was doing and left the leaves perhaps a bit too long in the Gaiwan. As such the steep was a bit astringent but was still very forgiving. I drank this steep, but was thinking that I had ruined a session. Alas I had a bit of good luck with it, as the next steep was right back where it should have been. I got a total of 7 steeps plus a quick wash out of this tea, and that was the only bad part. If the tea had held out, I would probably still be drinking it now!
After heating the Gaiwan and adding the tea, and letting it warm up as the water was re-heating, I noticed the smell of sticky rice, perhaps fresh popcorn.
The wash was a reddish amber color, clear and mostly clean (no little bits of tea).
After the wash the Pu-erh smelled a bit like wet earth.
1st Steep was about 10 seconds or so. With a dark red, or brown color. It reminded me of dark honey.
It had a really mushroomy taste.
The second steep the tea was pretty well broken up. This steep the color was really dark almost purple. I was reminded of dark amber ale.
It was during this steep that I noticed the taste of the sticky rice herb took front stage! The Pu-erh taste was still there, albeit very muted in the background.
The tea tasted like a nice creamy mushroom soup. I was thinking the whole time of rice and mushrooms.
The 3rd steep I was thinking that there was a hint of tortilla chips. Weird I know.
The 4th through 8th steeps were mostly the same as the 2nd and 3rd. That’s to say the Pu-erh taste was mostly muted in the background.
This Pu-erh is not bad at all. It’s a bit of a change and to me seems more like a novelty item than a serious Pu head’s tea.
As this is my first time actually writing about tasting tea, I can’t say a whole lot. I am far too much of a tea novice to describe this as some of you could. I can say that this Pu-erh is very delicious. This tea came as a sample in my first YS order. I initially had way too much tea in the travel Gaiwan. I did a flash wash and flash steeped the first 7 or 8 brews. It has a wonderful earthiness to it, which I guess one could say about many Pu-erh’s.
My other experiences with Pu-erh have been with older ones, and as such I believe this tee needs a few more years before it will be ready to (at least for me) to drink. Of course it could have to do with the first steep being really strong, and I may have kind of ruined my ability to thoroughly enjoy the tea. All-in-All it was a good tea, and it was a nice surprise to my order.
Flavors: Earth, Heavy