14 Tasting Notes


Fascinating tea. Not like anything else I’ve tasted recently. Agree that it’s got a bit of a soapy taste, with a thin body.

That said, there is no noticeable astringency or bitterness at all. Even if you really beat this tea up it responds only by becoming more weird, but not more astringent.

Not my style, but I’ll definitely use the rest of my sample as an example to my friends of how “different” semi-aged raw can be.

The tea itself is impeccable. The first rinse was so clean I drank it.

Flavors: Soap

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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This full-bodied, sweet and smoky semi-aged raw still smells rather young for its age, but the dry storage has mellowed out most of the bitter notes (leaving only a mild astringency), to create an easy to drink tea with a medium cha qi.

After a couple of rinses this tea is clean, amber-brown. Got this one in the Yunnan Sourcing “dry-aged” sampler pack, late 2017.

Flavors: Drying, Honey, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Got this tea as part of the “Guangdong-aged pu’er sampler” from Yunnan Sourcing in late 2017. 6g went into my favorite 90ml clay pot.

Delicious wet-aged sheng smells, a lot of smells of dried fruits and hints of a wet forest.

A quick rinse at 98C came out a delightly light orange, but right away the first 5s steeping gave a more rich, amber color. The smell became more intoxicating and perfume-y after the first steeping. Typical of pre-2006 Changtai productions, this manages to taste both dry and wet aged simultaneously.

Surprisingly, this tea passed the (literal) “mom” test with flying colors.

Stands up reasonably well to abusive brewing, with no bitterness that I could detect, just a “thinning” and less complexity of flavors. Short brews tend to be perfume-y, with dominates notes of dried fruit and some earthy tones while the longer brews seem to be dominated by dry woodiness alone.

The tea’s qi felt quite strong, mellowing but invigorating; although I also did not eat lunch.

I used mostly fannings at the bottom of my sample bag for this review, but the tea went for more than ten steepings with increasing long boiling steeps of up to minutes each in thick clay.

Flavors: Stonefruit, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Agree with Gillaume about basically everything. Wonderful fruity plum scents shift to more flowery, bright smells as you brew.

I would buy this as a gift tea for a tea lover any day. The hand-rolled spirals provide an entrancing brewing aesthetic and the tea has an overall smooth set of flavors.

The only downside of this tea is that it’s only moderately forgiving for a white tea, but it more than makes up for the occasional bitter notes (only when oversteeped, I think) by being very long lasting for a white. (10-12 gong fu steepings, or more than a liter total for 6g of leaf)

Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Plum, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Dry Smell: Musty, earthy.
5s rinse, boiling water: Smells strongly of tobacco, spices.
Takes a couple steepings to fully open up. Some pretty strong wet-stored tastes in this one.
Creamy over the tongue, but harsh in the back. Not like astringency, more like a good butter rum, somehow spicy in mouthfeel.

If brewed less long (5s, boiling), it becomes easy to drink, but still has all the musty, wet stored notes. Good example of this storage type.

Flavors: Musty, Smoke, Tobacco

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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Echo everything AllanKK said.

If you steep it out super long, there’s some fun sourness, but you got to fight through some intense butterbess.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Sour

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tl;dr: Unoffensive, easy to drink, brews out quite a bit and forgivingly. Mostly a cardboard/pencil shavings taste in a soy-sauce colored liquid, mellows out into something sweeter. Not my favorite flavor profile to start, but if you’re into it this would make an excellent cake at the price, and the ending was worth it. 3.9/5.

6g leaf, 75ml porcelain gaiwan
98C, 10s rinse: Gentle smell of caramelized sweetness over earth.
98C, 5s: flat, watery, unremarkable.
98C, 20s: Can’t really get much smell off of it. Pensil shavings, cardboard/carton-y, flat mouth feel. Very unoffensive. Immediate qi (or maybe I just haven’t eaten yet xD). Basically soy sauce colored.
98C, 45s: gentle ripe notes finally appearing. mouth feel less flat, leaves totally opened up. Super easy to drink at this point, basically chug-able.
98C, 60s: mouthfeel really rounding out. some faintest fruity smells, currant?
98C, 90s: these leaves become more fun to smell the longer they’re brewed. cardboardy tastes are gone, simply a clean, unoffensive shou taste.
98C, 90s: sweeter smell, creamier texture/flavor.
98C, inf s: sweet….cardboard….? those are real flavor words….
98C, inf s: really loving these last few steepings. it’s still super dark, if no longer soy sauce level.
98C, inf s: third dead man steep, flavor starting to thin but I’m still enjoying it.
98C, inf s: probably done.

Flavors: Cardboard, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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tl;dr: excellent tea that’s already aging well. sweet scents give way to delicious “dirt, but in a good way”, with subtle undercurrants of sweet, creaminess throughout. Don’t oversteep this one, the fun is in the subtle-teas!

Dry leaf smell: lots of fun. I swear I spent 10min trying to place the smell with my partner and got nowhere. but very pleasant.

5g, 75ml porcelain gaiwan.

98C, 5s rinse: clear orange color. delightful creamy, sweet, milky smell. I’m excited!

98C, 15s: Nice amber color. More ripe smells and sweetness is gone. Quite a bit of stemmy material floating at top. No exciting flavors, but will probably take many steepings to open up since I didn’t really break up the clumps. Some mild creaminess. Light but full mouthfeel.

98C, flash: Chasing the sweeter aromas, found them again. Good ripe flavors of lush earth nicely compliment an increasing creaminess in a smooth, light but full mouthfeel. Really enjoying this. I hypothesize that this one shouldn’t be oversteeped less it lose all the subtleties. Not as full in mouth as last steeping though, so I’ll probably increase time a little.

98C, 5s: Rich red brown color. Mildest of fishy tastes.

98C, flash: cooling, camphor-y smells starting to dominate. leaves have totally opened up, and liquid is turning black basically on contact with the leaf. mild fishiness remains, but dominated now by good lush earth taste.

98C, 3s: Plummy smells begin. Very strong cha qi hits me like a truck in the head. Mellow/happy qi for me.

98C, flash: camphor smell slowly being overpowered by dry dirt smell. maybe I hallucinated plum. color becoming more light brown. Flavor nice an even, everything I like in a ripe all in one. Mild dry dirt, fishiness is long gone. Reminds me of later steepings of their 9012 cake after it aged 20 or so years. I see this tea aging very well.

98C, 10s: settled into dry dirt smell. dry dirt taste with the occasional hint of sweetness to keep things interesting.

98C, 3min: dead man’s steep. mmm. delicious. really brings out the sweetness and creaminess hiding under the nice dirt tastes. bottom of the steep has a little fishiness returning.

98C, inf: ultra dead man’s steep. it’s not dead yet. fishiness is gone again. I’m not sure whether it correlates with longer steeps or not now xD

Man, what a great experience, especially at the price point, 4.5/5. Extra 0.5 for price.

Flavors: Creamy, Dirt, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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5g, 7ml gaiwan. 98C, 15s rinse.

98C, 10s: Liquid got pretty dark right away. Mildly cooling smell. Standard ripe smells, but maybe some floweriness. Great, chunky mouthfeel. Leaves are still clumped.

98C, 15s: Leaves totally opened up. Still cooling, honey/flowery smell. Some “sour” bitterness, like coffee. Pretty darn dark.

98C, 20s: nice dancing lid during the brew. middle of the road ripe taste in every category.

98C, 25s: definitely some rotten fish. nothing else to be said. most of the other tastes have already deteriorated.

98C, 35s: definitely, definitely rotten fish. I own enough tea that it’s not really worth finishing this one.

Some energizing qi was definitely there. I guess there’s still some caffeine in this one!

If you’re looking for a middle of the road tea, maybe. But my girlfriend later commented that the tea smelled of rotten fish a whole steeping before I tasted it. If those notes are still around after seven years of aging, I have some trouble recommending this tea. Maybe other years productions were cleaner?

Flavors: Fishy

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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Material seems to be pretty middle-of-the-road quality. Lots of yellow stem.
Dry smell: mulchy, kinda fish food-y, a lot of fun!
6g, 75ml porcelain gaiwan
98C, 5s rinse
Wet smell: not really getting anything, to be honest.
98C, 5s: watery, I’ll brew it longer
98C, 15s: much more rich color. okay, maybe a mild smell of chocolate chip. maybe. mostly lack of pungency. definitely some camphor notes in the smell, like cooling in the nose after you sniff. tastes a little sour (in the beer sense) to me. not impressed with the strength of the flavor. I’ll infuse for even longer I guess. really watery mouth feel, some fullness but mostly side-of-mouth and after swallowing.
98C, 30s: same everything. I guess i’ll brew it till the dogs come home.
98C, 90s: seemed to really like being brewed forever. 60s into the brew the first sign of oxygenation of the leaves (CO2 bubbles escaping the gaiwan lid). took until 90s for the water to begin receding. Still no real standout scents for me.

Not sure what to say about this tea. It just didn’t do it for me. After reading previous reviews I have to think that maybe I just broke off a stemmy bit of the cake and didn’t get a chance to really enjoy the scents of it? But the dry leaves smelled really interesting…

Oh well, you can’t like them all.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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