96 Tasting Notes
2007 YQH Xishi Shenpin
7.0g, 100 mL gaiwan, boiling, complex syrup water
Dry leaf has a dark mushroomy smell
Wet leaf has taken on a minty herbal hint as well
7s: soft and minty, with a brothy aspect. Slight sweet aftertaste.
9s: wet leaf has a slight incense like aspect. Muted bitter taste. Slight warming, relaxing
15s: still a muted woody base. Similar slight warming and relaxing. Slight sweet, crisp aftertaste
23s: slight medicinal bitter with a mushroom hint. Sweet aftertaste, slight numbing in mouth, slight warming mostly in back and back of neck. Slightly drowsy
32s: medicinal bitterness. Slight sweet aftertaste. Relaxation and warming
20s: soft and rounded woody taste, with a slight sour medicinal note. Slight sweet aftertaste.
30s: comforting medicinal profile. Slight sweet aftertaste but fades almost immediately
45s: a sour, slightly bitter medicinal
30s: a bittersweet mushroom
1 min: slight bitter, herbal, medicinal
2 min: much stronger bitter than before. A coating bitterness lingers in aftertaste. Slight warming.
2 min.: bitter mostly receded. A sort of hollowed mushroomy taste. Slight warming.
3 min: slightly bittersweet.
5 min: not too much taste
20 min.: a tart, almost bitter and bright fruity. Will thermos the remainder.
Overall: burping throughout. This particular qi made me feel too tired to complete work but also too caffeinated to fall asleep. Thus, this was probably the wrong tea to have when I was supposed to be diligently preparing for exams, leading to overall none too pleasant connotations when I struggled on my primary midterm this morning. Shh, let me scapegoat this tea in peace. Was interesting to try, but didn’t quite command the current $/g ($2/g) for me. The cake price is especially hard to argue for when you can get similarly interesting offerings from Yang for half the price or lower (though apparently YQH has had erratic price shifts somewhat recently). I’m not sure if I would’ve caked prior to price increase, but I certainly would not with the current pricing.
2006 YQH Tianpin
7.1g, 100 mL gaiwan, 212f, complex syrup water
Dry leaf has a dark aged herbal mushroomy smell
Wet leaf smells of slight mint and dark fruity notes
8s: tart, fruity aspect, and a slight brothy aspect with slight medicinal bitterness. Heating and relaxing. Sweet light fruity juicy (almost pineapple like) aftertaste.
10s: more medicinal bitter with sweet aftertaste. Slight cooling in mouth.
12s: a spiced medicinal. Slight drying. Sweet aftertaste that moves slightly to throat.
18s: lighter than before, with a slight mint edged sweet aftertaste
45s: darker and stronger. Astringent. But overall nice. Seems like this might need to be pushed on steep timing either from the tea or the water (TDS was 75 when measured)
1 min.: general herbal medicinal profile. Complex syrup water probably at play, but light sweet aftertaste is lasting and pleasant.
1 min.: general aged mushroomy herbal taste
2 min.: stronger bitterness, slight astringency and itchy throat
3 min.: something like a stray cherry skin note amidst water. Not much taste otherwise.
5 min.: soft woody base. Will thermos remainder
Overall: seemed to be lacking in much qi for me. Not the most exciting tea to begin with, and a rather poor value proposition when $/g ($1.60 at time of writing) is taken into consideration.
2006 Wistaria Taihe Maocha
Purchased from LiquidProustTeas
6.0g, 100 mL gaiwan, boiling, mix of Brita/Poland Spring
The leaves are super long lol
these 6g of dry leaves were stored with my other samples so seems to have taken on the same fruity smell
17s rinse, cloudy
Wet leaf smells dark, smoky with a sweet tinge, and brothy (someone mentioned umami broth and I know exactly what they mean). Someone also mentioned burnt tires/rubber and I get that slightly as well. not sure what’s up with Wistaria storage on these, since I can’t imagine these being inherently present…
5s: dark, and slightly medicinal fruity, with good texture. Crisp, with a slightly charred edge, but leaves a pleasant cooling savory sweetness on tongue and around mouth.
Warming in upper back
10s: gaiwan lid definitely smells like leather and burnt rubber. But the leaves smell of dried fruits and the brothy umami. Good texture, but lacking in much taste except medicinal overall and slight bitterness in the ending. Only a fleeting aftertaste of savory fruitiness.
17s: a sweeter medicinal, something almost citrus like. Drying that turns into a sweet aftertaste.
20s: dark, bitter medicinal. Also very drying with light sugar and burnt rubber like aftertaste. Definitely one of the odder teas I’ve tried
15s: Just a light bitter-tinged medicinal water. Drying.
30s: medicinal citrus tinged slight bitterness. Drying still, with the weird rubber umami like slight aftertaste.
45s: slightly bitter. Astringent
1 min: similar, though with a fruity edge.
2 min.: odd rubbery taste still
3 min: similar, though more medicinal
5 min: wet leaves and gaiwan lid smell like furniture. A mushroom-like note
10 min: medicinal bitter w/ citrus -like tang. sweet edge, much less drying than before
thermos’d the rest.
Would’ve expected a qi heavy hitter for this one based on reviews, but this was pretty light on qi (some burps and slight warming) for me. Not sure what’s up.
Thanks to Obritten for the sample!
2015 Biyunhao 500 Year Yibi Gushu
7.7g, 212f, 80mL shuiping, Poland Spring water
Dry leaves smell of fruit and has a fair amount of stems mixed in.
20s rinse: accidentally let it go for too long since dry leaves were too long to fit neatly into pot
Wet leaf smells sweet, vegetal, and herbal
12s: light LME-like crushed pill bitterness (inherent or from my shaky brewing…who knows?) initially that resolves into a sweetness with a minty edge that settles in the upper throat. Slight candied floral undertones.
12s: lighter bitterness, more fruity and rounded, with crisp sugared edges. Warming in lower back, slight frissons. Starting to sweat a little. Pleasant crisp sweet exhale, although slightly astringent.
12s: still the crushed pill bitterness initially, though far less than before. Slight sweetness on exhale, but like before, still astringent. Continued warming, though lighter.
20s: strong and crisp sugar, less bitterness and astringency. Probably burned off most of the florals, but they’re more noticeable here than before. Exhale is sort of medicinal, with an herbal edge. Calming. Aftertaste has not been too present for this tea, but once the drying feeling fades, there’s a feeling of sweetness.
26s: kind of like crisp water. Not sure how many more steeps this will last.
30s: same sort of slightly bitter water
5 min.: very bitter. Borderline LME lol. Will thermos the rest
overall: seems to have faded rather quickly? can’t remember much else about it other than what my notes on it mentioned above
2004 CNNP (?) 8582
7.4g, 100mL gaiwan, Brita filtered tap, boiling
This came as a free sample with my order from Yee-on. Like everyone else, I also received a sample with a fair amount of white frost lol. I would’ve waited for it to rest, and rehydrated
or whatever, but I didn’t want any chance of having anything spread to my other samples so I let it sit a few days with the bag open to air out and brewed today, so we’ll see if
that’s affected anything.
Dry leaf smelled strongly of basement storage when I got it but the dryness/low RH here seems to have taken it out. Not much dry leaf aroma left
2x 15s rinse, with 1 min. wait in btwn
Wet leaf has a woody camphorous (maybe?) aroma. Slight spice and pepper in a cooling way
10s: lightly woody and grainy (in a way reminiscent of glutinous rice) with slight sweet undertones. Something about it feels sticky, though texture is not thickened too much
(though given my water source, good texture is rather rare and most teas turn out pretty thin)
12s: similar but sweeter. Very easy drinking
20s: smelled the wet leaves. Yee-on notes dates in the aroma and I’m inclined to agree, though again this is something I wouldn’t have necessarily picked up on myself.
It’s somewhat subtle, mixed in with the woodier base, but definitely present. Taste is basically same as before, sort of muted, but comforting.
2x 30s, 35s, 45s, 1 min., 1 min. 30s, 2 min., 3 min., 4 min., 5
min., 10 min.: woody medicinal and dates. Dates is no longer subtle like before. I’d probably have eventually picked up on it, or so I tell myself. Still the grainy glutinous rice taste
as well. Very comforting. HK storage seems to have tamped it into something that’s not changing much from steep to steep (woodiness fades into background more and more as
date-tinged sweetness comes forth), but is very easy drinking. Moved to thermos after lightening.
Overall: Some burps, but not sure on other qi. Maybe slight calming? Probably not something that will knock your socks off with excitement, but comforting in that old friend, hug in
a mug sort of way. I enjoyed this sample, but am unlikely to purchase a cake. It’s not super expensive necessarily (but also just above what I’d consider daily drinker level cheap,
especially as I’ve started to leaf heavier), and someone has to pay the HK rent prices, alas, but there’s shou below this price point that brings me a similar level of joy or utility or whatever
Free coin that came with a recent order. Not sure what year actually, since the sticker on the coin ripped when I was opening it so I couldn’t read the year on the label. initially tossed the coin into a mug and was intending to grandpa. It was bitter and astringent to the point of being undrinkable, which is sort of my fault given the high ratio (6.7g coin into mug when I usually add like 3g of leaves) and adding boiling water. I shifted it to a thermos and added water to dilute it, so it became drinkable. At any rate, wasn’t really a fan. Tastes more like a black tea (hong cha/红茶), with the malty, floral, honeyed notes in that style. Dry sugared finish. Still astringent, though not as bitter as before. Pretty sure I’ve tried Turtle Dove in the past, and it wasn’t memorable, but this time I actively disliked it.
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.
Purchased from LiquidProustTeas.
3.1g in a mug, 212f, grandpa steeps. Similar to most aged oolongs, longevity is not fantastic vs. aged sheng and so it doesn’t steep out for too long, but what it does offer is positively lovely. In a perfect world, I could afford to drink this for a lifetime (and Wistaria would stock it for a lifetime lol).
Unlike the other aged oolongs I’ve had in the past few week, dry leaf isn’t chocolately or as dark, but rather a dried fruity and notably sweeter
Not quite as bitter as the others either, though the woody medicinal is still present. This one had warmer caramel tones, and brighter sugary notes than the others in both aftertaste and taste, and then moves into the plumminess of aged oolongs.
Not much of a warming effect, but a strong uplifting effect, and slight focusing effect. Based on price, 1.81x better than the 1990 Wuyi Shuixian from Wistaria? To me, absolutely.
2013 Xiaguan Love Forever, Paper Tong, TW stored
Liquid Proust Teas
7.3g, 80mL shuiping, 212f Poland spring water
Curious to see what the hype is all about…
Dry leaf smells pretty dried fruity, but has been stored with my other samples, so that could be it too
Wet leaf is a dark smoky herbal medicinal with a touch of fruit, so essentially all the good aged sheng hallmarks. Something about is reminiscent of gasoline but not quite there
8s: bitter citrus tinged medicinal in the vein of the TCM stomach pain medicine my parents would make me drink as a kid. Aftertaste has a slight mint hint on the edges of sweetness.
12s: similar, but with a deeper medicinal bitterness. Leaves mouth and teeth a little dry, with a crisp sugary aftertaste, but is very fleeting.
18s: Bitterness in the TCM medicine aspect is very strong. Not much aftertaste, still drying.
22s: similar vein but a touch of fruitiness to complement what was there. Not much in the way of aftertaste… given that I leafed on heavier side and am left w abt 60-65mL per steep after accounting for leaf displacement, I can’t say I’m super impressed with this so far. I did probably set my expectations too high given how much hype is around LFPT though. As of this steeping, I would not purchase a cake (the lame cheesy wrapper is so tempting though I gotta say… all my other cake wrappers are on the boring side), though I’m curious to see how this will change over time and if the bitterness and drying will fade any. Granted, the maocha is from 2003, so it’s already aged quite a bit. Am feeling some jitters from caffeine, but also some calming effect. Not much in the way of warming or other effects that I might’ve been expecting from the qi, so pretty light in this one
30s: in between steeps I read through Shah8 and Oolong Owl’s notes. I smelled the leaves and I agree that there is a plummy aspect, though light. This aspect is something I’ve smelled before in aged sheng leaves but I’ve never noted it because it’s fairly subtle to me (probably would’ve just noted a slight woody fruity and left it there) and I wouldn’t have been able to distinctly point it out without reading other’s notes on it. It’s one of those things that you can’t unsee I suppose. I guess I am still sort of dense when it comes to this type of thing because the only time I’ve noted plums is when I was bowled over with the association from aged oolongs.
Taste is still medicinal, though less bitter and more of a forward fruity aspect. Something slightly crisp sugar and floral in the brief aftertaste.
40s: lightened, though with crisper aftertaste
1 min. 30s: still steeps a nice color but not much taste to it except a fruity bitterness
4 min.: something about this smell reminds me of tart apple skin. Still a light taste like before. Will do one more steep and thermos remainder
10 min.: quite bitter again. into the thermos this goes
Overall: Good texture overall, though this is something that is usually hard to evaluate for me due to usually using tap and getting thinner brews. I’m glad I never blind bought a cake, since the number of times I’ve felt tempted to is far greater than I care to admit. The bitter medicinal draws up more or less not too pleasant of connotations for me, and it was definitely the most drying tea I’ve had in quite a while, which was none too pleasant. Perhaps I would’ve been more generous if I hadn’t come in with such high expectations but that’s the downside of reading too many favorable reviews beforehand
1990 shuixian wuyi from Wistaria Tea House
called 1990 水仙 武易 or something like that in the Wistaria catalogue last I checked.
Bought this from LiquidProustTeas
3.2g in a mug, grandpa, Poland spring water, boiling.
Rainy day here felt suitable for an aged oolong. Medicinal profile a la one of the TCM stomach medicines I’d have to take when I was a kid, though nothing too bitter, tiny bit of mint edge in very fleeting aftertaste earlier, with woody and dark caramel notes sometimes in both taste and smell. Later steeps get a touch of that date/dried candied plumminess that aged oolongs get. Slightly warming, but nothing to the extent of the 1995 Anxi TGY that Wistaria sells.
Though I’d happily drink teas like this forever, there’s a reason why this is cheaper than the ‘95 Anxi TGY from Wistaria, or the Trust #2 LP used to sell. Less complex, less rounded, less powerful. At 52c/g for an aged oolong w 31 years on it, I can’t really complain (is this 3.8x less enjoyable than the ‘95 Anxi TGY? well, no, not when you put it that way), but I’d say there’s aged sheng in this price level and cheaper that I’d probably take over this. I’ll enjoy the rest of my sample, but I probably won’t purchase more.