Xiaguan Tea Factory (Dragon Tea House)Edit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This session was an experiment to see if I could taste a difference in tea brewed in a yixing teapot vs a fine silver teapot. I went with a ratio of 1g/20mL as I needed the tea to not be overpowering, particularly in the earl-middle steeps, if I was going to pick up nuiances in taste. Grrrr! Just realized at the 3 steeping that my kettle was set to 195 degrees not 208. Increasing temp at steep 4.
Fine Silver 11g in 220mL
1/5s: Pot: 104oF Brew: 138oF at first slip. Super clean. Only the tiniest hint of astringency. No bitterness.
2/5s: Pot: 103.7oF Brew: 144oF. Pleasant astringency. Not quite metalic, there is a sort of sharp note in there. Bit of bitterness at back of the throat.
3/7s: Pot: 101.8oF Brew: 138oF. Not sure if it’s the taste of silver or the truth of this tea, but there is this sharp sort of tinny background note. It’s not huge, but there if you’re really looking for details in taste. Huigan is now present and in a big way with the light astringency that I so love in this tea that melts into sweetness. Plenty of body in this cup. Tiny bit of a bitter note as the huigan settles and fades.
4/9s: Pot: 102oF Brew: 150.4oF. Punchy. Good astringency and sweetness in the mouth and at the back of the throat. Has nice bite/body. The sharp note in the earlier steeps is completely gone. Damn good tea! No bitterness at all. Amazing, amazing huigan. Love how the astringency melts this way. Nice crisp, dry sort of finish that has long lingering sweetness thanks to that.
5/9s: Pot: 125 (100)oF Brew: 143oF. Tiny touch of bitterness at the tip of the tongue. Fades quickly. That buttery effect is showing up in this steep. Sweet astringency is still spectactular. Huigan is fucking spectacular in this cup.
Yixing 10g in 200mL
1/5s: Pot:145.5 oF Brew: 145.7oF at first sip. Ok that was kind of surprising! Notably smoother and a bit buttery. More huigan, neither bitterness nor astringency present.
2/5s: Pot: 155.1oF Brew: 145.4oF Pleasant astringency. No sharp note. Again, huigan present here. Buttery feel less, but still present.
3/7s: Pot: 142oF Brew: 133.3oF Buttery, sweet. Astringency still very soft as is the huigan. No bitterness.
4/9s: Pot: 158.1oF Brew: 139.4oF. The butter effect just turned up nicely. Much more body now. Great huigan. Still no sign of bitterness. The astringency is still very light leading so a soft (not crisp/dry) finish. The sweetness doesn’t linger as long on the tongue or at the back of the throat. Getting a bit of a vegetal note. This tea is usually just honey with a touch of grass. Interestingly, the tinny note I kept mentioning in the silver teapot is showing up a tiny bit here now, lol. Truth of the tea.
5/9s: Pot: 158.7oF Brew: 145.9oF. Finally getting that nice sweet astringency. Huiguan is stronger now, but still comparatively soft. Very clean. Lovely, lovely steeping.
So, the first thing of note to me is how much heat Yixing leaks to the outside vs silver. In that last steep on the silver I think I got a less reflective spot, but it outside temp of the pot is still lower. I expected that silver would conduct heat much better and thus leak more heat to the outside. Again this could be a matter of the surface being a bit reflective.
The other big point of note is how differently the pots perform in those early steeps. The first steep in the Yixing pot was miles apart from the silver. Shockingly so. Very happy I went this tea. Hopefully I can sleep after drinking about 2L of tea, LOL!
This is a young sheng puerh, but it is hands down my favorite puerh thus far. The first couple of steeping (after rinsing the leaves) are very fast at under 10 seconds. Then I extend it from there. The astringency to this tea has this amazing sweet note in the background that I absolutely love. As with any sheng puerh if you oversteep it will be pretty harsh (bitter), but get it right and you can get a solid 10 steeps out of these leave. I have a dedicated YiXing teapot for sheng puerh teas (220cc I think).
I bought this tuo to compare it with the 2009 boxed version as I was dealing with the doubt of buying more boxed tuos or a tong of non boxed (and finally I bought a tong of Te Ji).
I don’t know if this tuo has been stored in a closed tong, but if it has been it will benefit of a few years of ‘outbox’ storage.
I’ve used 3.6gr of leaves as I know that xiaguan tuos use to be really strong in flavour. The tuo smells smoky. It’s really really high pressed, I had some trouble to break a part of it.
I have used boiling water:
7sec: the flavour it’s soft, with a hint of sweetness and spices. No bitterness or smoke flavour.
10sec: it’s a little bit astringent, the flavour it’s more spicy, sweet aftertaste.
10sec: sweet flavour, spicy (pepper) and astringent aftertaste.
After resting for a night:
15sec: softer flavour than in the previous step. Smooth sweetness, soft spices, light astringent aftertaste.
I have brew it today with water under the boiling point and flash steeps (around 5sec) and the spicy flavour it has been really weak. I have step it 3 times, the same leaves amount than the previous session (the detailed previously) and it’s really smooth. I will continue with this tuo this evening after the gym and I will update in comments. I will continue steeping with water under the boiling point.
After some hours resting, I’m going to do 3 more flash steps:
*The first one it has some smoky flavour and astringency but with a light sweet aftertaste.
*The second one it’s sweet. With no smoke and maybe a very light astringency.
*The third one it’s sweet and smooth.
This is a really good everyday tuo if you like something strong and spicy as it’s not expensive. I think that it will be better to age it at least an other 3-5 years.
It’s very different from what I remember about the 2009 boxed tuo. I will review it this Christmas to compare it properly and I will also compare it with the Te Ji when it arrives.
For what I have read, this is the typical Xiaguan taste.
Flavors: Pepper, Smoke, Spicy, Sweet
This is a fairly good tea.
The first time I brew it western style with 90ºC aprox and it was astringent and bitter, but the second time I brew it faster and it was sweet, with fruity tones, I think it was a peach or apricoat flavour.
I recommend to brew it fast.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter Melon, Fruity, Peach, Sweet
Finally bringing this out after some aging.
I got 11 grams to start this off with. I gave a rinse and let it sit about 30 minutes. I knew from the rinse that it had aged a bit.
First brews at 5 seconds each and into the mug.
This has a nice golden color emerging in the brew. This one is till pungent and bitter in the cup. I get smoke , wood and the bitter notes from this one. Still pretty strong and there is the hint of camphor in there. It is a fairly full bodied head on one, just still very young for and XG in the age department.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Smoke, Wood
Thank you Google for eating my notes and all my open tabs!
I got this one out to review as I have wanted to get into it and a couple of friends were interested also.
I pulled it out to chunk off a bit and was surprised that it broke off easily. Most XiaGuan “Iron Cakes” are tough to get into. It broke off easily and I got I got my measure of pretty easy. I guess the pumidor may be working.
I gave a 10 second rinse and let the leaf sit for about 10 minutes to start brewing. It brews a nice deep golden color. It still has some of the smoke and punch of a somewhat younger tea but a deeper color.
It carries a good bit of bitter but in a nice way for me. Some hints of smoke and astringency but not in an overpowering way. It reminds me somewhat of another cake from about 2007 that I enjoyed.
Will it give you that nice Cha Qui?
A bit but not too strong. Huigan a bit. Nice notes of subdued smoke and camphor a little pucker of citrus in there as well.
Nice and aging well I think.
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Smoke
I found this to be a little bitter, compared to 2008 Menghai “SPRINGTIME WATER” RAW. I shouldn’t even be comparing, they are different years, different companies. But I’m drinking Sheng now so I’ll be invevitably comparing them to one another.
There is only one tasting note on this and it says this tea has none of the “smokiness” that Xiaguans have. I have no idea what Xiaguan has in terms of smokiness but this one fainly smelled of … errr… (should I say this?) hot dog. I’ve started to recognize it as meaning something savoury and slighly smokey.
I overleafed so I ended up taking half the leaves out after the rinse and saving them for later tonight. Second steep still slightly bitter. I know my tongue is fine so I’m questioning whether there is still too much leaf. Guess I’ll never know. There’s almost the impression of something metallic present at the sides of my tongue.
Can’t say that I like this one all that much but thankful for the sample! I still have enough for several cups so I will give it a go once I rotate through the rest of my puerhs.
This is a very nice young sheng. It brews a light golden color and has a almost no astringency and none of the “smokiness” Xiaguans are noted for. It has a very floral aroma after the first “wash” that transfers to the cup when drinking. It has a sweetness to it that most younger shengs do not have. It is very soft on the tongue and drinks very smooth and nice. The floral and sweetness are the two most upfront flavors of this tea. Very nice and soft for a young sheng. Not recommended for an upfront punchy tea but for those who want a soft calming one to drink this is one to try. The mouth feel and easy drinking have me rating this pretty good fo a young sheng.
my first “real” Bulang cake to try. Stepping softly on this. This cake is very tightly compressed aka the “Iron Cake” designation. The leaves seem to be chopped a bit some may be a product of the compression. Gave a 5 second rinse to wake the leaf. This one hits pretty good. Astringency and drying but not too much. It gives the pleasant “bitterness” that many desire in a sheng. Citrusy and puckery akin to the squeeze of a raw lemon in your mouth. This is a pretty strong head on whap you sheng. I think the tightness of this cake will cause it to age slower than a traditional beeng. I think this will interesting in another 5 years or so. Prepared in the Gaiwan 13 grams 3 steeps to fill the first cup.