19 Tasting Notes

7 g
5-6 oz water
2 rinses, 10 sec with a rest of 2 min in between

dry leaf: compact, dark, dry, brittle, faint sweet musky scent like dry leaves

1st steep: 10-15 sec, rich dark brown with reddish tones, no bitterness noted
2nd steep: 12-15 sec, same color, light forest floor taste
3rd steep: 15 sec, lighter, more red color
4th steep: 20 sec, same as before. just kinda eh for me.

Boiling 7 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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2nd time with this one!

This is keeping me company as I listen to a bunch of music today for my upcoming wedding. Did you know how many songs out there that are played at weddings? Days of music. Ugh.


10 sec rinse of about 6 g leaf with boiling water. Left it for about 10-15 minutes to take the dog out.

First steep, 5-7 sec. Light earthy taste with a mellow sweetness and creaminess. (Pretty good paired with all these love songs.)

Second steep, 10 sec. Much heavier on the cream. (With lots of violins.)

Third steep, 15 sec. Not very strong flavor at all. (Getting tired of listening to all this music…)

Fourth steep, I’m starting to lose track. My head’s full of music!

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While I have enjoyed some puer’s lately, its been a while since I’ve written a review of a new one. Today is so cold outside, I wanted something thick and warm to heat me back up. What better than trying a new a shou I’ve been resting?

6 g leaf
5-6 oz water
2 rinses at 10 sec each

The piece I received is a dark walnut brown, the leaves compact but fairly easy to split a piece off of. I only created a small amount of dust, happily. The dry leaf is brittle and smells sweet, dark, a rich earthy aroma that calls to mind a bed of dry forest leaves and mushrooms.

After two short rinses, the compact chunk has fallen apart into thin, rectangular leaves — not quite fully open yet. The liquid itself is a rich color reminiscent of coffee, although far more pleasant in my opinion. It smells similar to the dry leaf, whereas the wet leaf calls to mind the same scents but heavier on the mushroom side and more wet.

1st cup, 10 sec: Mmm exactly the heaviness and warmth I needed. Throughout the sip, it is smooth and rich, the heaviness starting in the middle and bearing in on the end of the sip. I don’t taste any bitterness, not even a trace; instead its sweeter, the aromas brought to life as taste, although more on a woodsy side than a dirt/leaf side.

Flavors: Heavy, Mushrooms, Smooth, Sweet, Wood

6 g

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7 g leaf
200 F water
small gaiwan, 6-8 oz

I did not rinse the leaves, since they were fairly loose. I think I should have, though. The first steep is weak in color and taste; the color is a light yellowy brown after a 15-20 sec steep. The dry leaves smelled sweet but musty, a bit like tobacco. The liquid smelled less musty, but something reminiscent of tobacco and dust still held. Perhaps a second steeping will bring out a stronger flavor.

Second steep about the same length. Color is a bit darker, more like honey now. The initial sweetness is gone, replaced by a touch of astringency on the end of the sip. No particular flavors stand out to me, although I am holding out for future steeps.

200 °F / 93 °C 7 g

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drank 2016 Hot Brandy by white2tea
19 tasting notes

Only did 3 steeps this second time around and wasn’t very impressed. I think I didn’t get it quite right this time, though; I tried to use the same parameters as the first session I had a few months ago. Probably need more leaf (only used about 5 g), although I only have 5 g left of it now. Next time I guess I will compensate by cutting back on water or trying to Western style with longer steeps.

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After some difficulty in stabbing, prying, and dissecting off enough leaf to get to about 7-8 g, I was finally ready to dig into my first tuo-cha and second White2Tea pu’erh. It was cat-approved by our newest one (she has good taste) before I dropped it into my gaiwan. I personally didn’t smell much, except a light pleasant slightly dusty odor I’ve begun to associate with pu’erh tea.

4-5 oz. 200-205 F. Did a short rinse. First steep ~10 sec. I wasn’t expecting the flavor that came from the dark, earthy liquid. The first sip struck me as a cup of chocolate. But not quite chocolate—cocoa. It was rich and thick, with more earthiness to it than creaminess.

Second steep went longer than intended, but no bitterness popped out! It’s still thick, with the cocoa there but tipping towards the creamy side now and mellowed out.

Flavors: Cocoa

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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A 25 g sample I ordered. Came in 2 big chunks, with a few smaller ones and then a few loose leaves and some dust. For my first tasting of it, I decided to go with 6 g of leaf to 4 oz of boiling water. The dry leaves smelled a bit mossy to me, like a forest, with a hint of must. The first steep of 10 sec (no rinse this time) is a rich dark color. There’s a pleasant earthy taste to the brew and its satisfyingly thick on the tongue. No trace of bitterness. A flavor that reminds me of dry autumn leaves. A hint of cinnamon (although that could be due to the previous tea brewed in this vessel, which is a pain to wash so I frequently rinse with hot water).

Second steep ~15 sec. Weaker flavors than the first brew, although the color is darker and more rich. Third steep ~20 sec. Brew darkens to an almost-coffee level, although there are still tones of red. I get a bit more of the cinnamon/spices than the previous cup. It is still smooth, without bitterness.

Edit: I did steep this twice more, at 25 and 30 sec respectively. However, the tea seemed to be losing its flavor and I couldn’t distinguish anything in particular. Perhaps it needed to steep longer than what I was giving it, or I steeped it too long initially. Or I used the wrong tea leaf to water ratio. Any thoughts on this?

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Spices, Thick

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank 2015 Little Walk by white2tea
19 tasting notes

Expanding my knowledge of pu-erh today with a sample of this! Using about 6 g of the dry leaf; it came as pieces broken from a cake, the leaves tightly compacted and smelling sweet. I decided to go with 200 F water and a first rinse of 10 sec. First steep of ~10 sec results in a pale amber liquid. First sips remind me of hay, with a light sweetness to finish. There’s a note I haven’t tasted before, an almost minty coolness. Probably that menthol I’ve seen mentioned in someone’s previous tasting note. I catch some apricot too, in there.

Second steep 15 sec. Shade of the liquid is darker, now, and the chunk is beginning to loosen up. Some of the free leaves are opened already, and prove to be small. The first sips are creamy, a bit grassy, and the apricot note has disappeared. It leaves a pleasant tingle on my tongue

Third steep 20 sec. Liquid is now a richer amber color with a trace of the smell of hay. The flavors are light still, no hints of bitterness. A note of hay, mixed with some cream.

Fourth steep 30 sec. Hoping to get some more flavor, but doesn’t seem to have changed much from the last steep. A tinge of astringency has appeared, though.

Flavors: Astringent, Cream, Grass, Hay, Smooth, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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drank 2016 Hot Brandy by white2tea
19 tasting notes

First tea I’m trying from White2Tea! This I got as a sample and admittedly I would likely never have picked it for myself. At least not right away while I’m still a pu’er novice. Anyways. A small chunk of a cake. Variety of leaves pressed into it and something that looks like a flower petal, since it’s rounder and orange rather than skinny and black or longer and silvery. It does smell nice though.

Break off a chunk of 4.5 g and decide to follow someone else’s brewing times and temp. I fit about 4-5 oz of water in my little gaiwan, give it a 10 sec rinse at 200 F and then do my first steep at ~5 sec. First impression is positive. I smell and taste the apricot notes quite clearly. The liquid is honey-colored, sweet, and malty. The tastes seem heavier at the end of a sip, too.

Second steep ~7 sec. More maltiness, faint hint of apricot.

Third steep ~10 sec. Smooth, light flavor. Sweet. Seems to have lost any tangible flavor besides the malt.

Late edit: I did steep this 2-3 times more, but no flavors really stood out. Much like the third steep, even though I began adding more seconds on to the steep time. Eventually leaves had been sitting out (covered in gaiwan) for 24 hours and I decided to toss them.

Flavors: Apricot, Malt, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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The last of the two touchas I got a while back for myself as a sample. They were tightly compacted, so breaking them each into two pieces gave me some trouble. This final session I’m using ~4 g of it. The touchas are small rectangles, the leaves very dark and small. It doesn’t smell like much dry, either, though I get a faint hint of must? book-ish smell? dry wood?

Gave it a rinse of ~10 sec to open it up a bit.
First steep at ~40 sec. The brew is dark, one of the darkest I’ve ever had (which isn’t saying much) but it reminds me of a strong pot of coffee in color. The smell is comforting, a hint of vanilla to it. The leaves have broken up a bit now, thanks in part to the rinse. There’s some dust settled to the bottom of this cup as well. To me, the flavors are hard to distinguish in this first steep. It’s more about the mouthfeel, smooth and silky.

Second steep at 60 sec. The smell of the wet leaves reminds me of a forest after it’s rained. There’s something sweet and earthy about it. The taste is just the same, sweet, mossy, a surprisingly strong note of vanilla this time. I’m beginning to regret not getting more of this when I had the chance. All the teas I’ve had from Xingyang workshop have been great so far; I need to get more to try from them…

Third steep at ~90 sec. Vanilla note is now just a hint, but the flavors are still warm and comforting. Not sure if I’ll get many more steeps out of these leaves, unfortunately.

Flavors: Moss, Vanilla, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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Started drinking tea in high school, but nothing more than Lipton until 2 years ago. Since discovering loose-leaf teas, I’ve been growing a collection of teas. Just trying to find teas I enjoy!

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