38 Tasting Notes
What? I never did a 2015 review. Bad, bad on me. I had so much fun sharing the previous incarnation of this with everyone I know… and my green tea loving sister loved it… it was the only sheng she actually liked… and I tried a lot of fancy teas on her, including a few high end w2t club ones. I am pretty sure my family is biased Kunlu, it’s also dad’s favorite shou.
Kunlu gushu tastes like the wild. Instantly transporting to a forest in the middle of nowhere.
So the kunlu sheng is much less pineappley than the younger trees… but has this really great wild after taste lovers of the 2015 version will instantly recognize. The wildness that evolves and changes as the tea matures.
I will update this after I try the cake version, as well as do a side by side comparison with the 2015 (please remind me, I have one more maocha sample session left and half a cake coming) but wanted to share some initial impressions with people before these went on sale. Because they went fast last year.
So if you tried a sample last year and loved it, the good news is… you are getting a tea with very much the same character as last year. The second time I tried it I was able to confirm this.
What is different?
The aroma. Goodness! This year has aroma in spades. Like I had a small sample of this with some jian shui cups come in the mail last month… and as soon as I stepped out of my car, about 10 foot for the door step, I was all kunlu? o.O? At around 3 feet, everything still sealed was Kunlu! o.O it is delightfully pungent. I’m not sure if this is because it is maocha rather than a cake, or this year is just super pungent.
Also, beneath its still upfront wildness, there is a bit more of a fruity note than I detected last year. Almost a pear.
Also… longetivity… this baby goes on forever and ever until you are done with foresty tastes and decide to grandpa it. I don’t think I’ve ever found Kunlu’s end by gongfu alone…
I need to session more with this to find subtle differences… and how diff notes aged out… but more or less, if last year’s was your jam, chances are you will love this one too. It is a worthy sequel.
The ever kind and benevolent Glen sent me a sample of this with my Kunlu order to haunt my dreams!
It’s amazing. I raved to a tea friend about it after the first steep… then the second…
“omg… you NEED the 2008 jingmai. Am just super hyper and happy I can taste things again. And I brewed up the sample Glen sent with jar… and holy shit
its aged and floral and fruity and minty
and yes… its all fig and honey in a snow storm”
In later steeps I notice the apricot and some kind of stone fruit element more. It kind of reminds me of an oolong in some ways how it brews up, but still has the feel of sheng.
And then I went on chat and pretty much tried to convince everyone I knew to buy up what is on stock so I won’t be tempted to ask what a dragon’s egg tong looks like… I mean they are still in Yunnan… so the danger is real!
I followed up by telling another person on IG " omg yes. I think the biggest shocker though is the 2008 jingmai sample! It is just blowing me away with fig honey and apricot goodness. While still having some of the more abrasive qualities I love in sheng! Like the super cooling aftertaste. If this is how maocha ages… I need to get a hold of more of it o.o only ever had aged cakes before this."
At which point I think Glen saw how much I was raving about this and made a review thread for it.
This shit is good… don’t buy it before I get paid! I mean buy it all up! I’m so confused right now. But this tea is really really good. Like maybe rivaling my love for slumbering dragon good… it doesn’t have the stamina of dragon… but damn those first handful of steeps are magic.
Edit: Note to self, brew strong. When I did this tea again in a bigger vessel, I wasn’t able to cram in quite as much tea per ml… and it wasn’t the omg punch I absolutely loved the first time. It’s great strong… but… you just have to remember to handle it like a dancong rather than a normal sheng.
Flavors: Fig, Honey, Mint, Stonefruit
Yummy yummy! It’s light sweet snow covered coconuts! I know milk/cream notes can be a bit tricky to get right, but this is fresh and tastes like coconut. It’s creamy and delicious. Even better as a latte! I’m finding a touch of almond milk really makes QTT flavors spot on! It’s lightly sugary and lightly creamy. I love how Lauren uses a light hand with the flavors, she has really been bringing me around to flavored tea!
Unlike most of QTT blends… this one isn’t EXACTLY like the name. But it is very very yummy… especially as a latte. The maple and pumpkin dominate the blend, and the base tea shines through. Nom nom nom. There is something a bit bready as well, but it isn’t clearly pancakes.
This is a low calorie version of a Starbucks Pumpkin Latte to me :P but with a good base tea.
The other reviewer summed this one up well. It’s delicious, but a little light for me. It’s super sweet, with clear notes of peaches and vanilla. There is a wonderful tingly cooling mouth feel after too.
There isn’t the normal bitterness most teas have or florals most yiwus have. I could see this being a great entry puerh for people coming from green and white teas.
People who like Xikong or Yiwu Beauty from last year would like this. It’s a sweeter cleaner, but less complex version of that. I think it would have a very broad appeal.
The cup smells like caramelized peaches after. Delicious!
Flavors: Honey, Peach, Vanilla
OMG OMG OMG… a white I actually enjoy! Hence the boost in rating, on my oolong scale this is a low B…
Yummy delicious peaches. Subtle flavors coming together. It’s a very tropical lift on a rainy day. A touch of honey only makes that pop more! Mmm. It tastes like tropical flowers and fruits on a sunny day. The quality is great, there is a long and lingering pleasant after taste I’m not used to getting from western steeped teas.
The smell alone is divine…
Sadly… this tea is intended as a gift for my sister… I just was performing quality control tastings :P
But now I’m thinking about getting my own. It is definitely on the list of Black Friday scoping out needs. But she loves white tea and white wines, so will prob be even more of a nut about it than me!
Flavors: Honeysuckle, Peach
I really wanted to love this one, it just sounded so good… and am wondering if maybe my sample just wasn’t enough for my mug… but even brewing it for a while I wasn’t getting a lot of taste… that hasn’t been an issue with anything else I’ve tried from QTT, so I’m hoping this was a fluke, so am refraining from rating this one.
I’d like to start off by saying THANK GOODNESS these teas aren’t over flavored. This is actually one of a few teas I’d consider to be not quite flavored enough… but I think a lot of that is because I don’t like rooibos :P as much as I am trying. It tastes like the sexy twin of chamomile… which is basically saying rooibos = rose scented poo, so I like blends that are strong enough to null it out.
The flavoring on this though is amazing! It’s a buttery vanilla + strawberry. So yes yes yes! It was a little herby straight, but a touch of almond milk smoothed it out so the strawberry could shine! I like the strawberry in this, it’s very fresh tasting, but still a little jammy. It reminds me of some flavor of childhood I can’t quite pin down. Maybe strawberry shortcake?
Love the flavoring. Total A
What is holding this one back is my dislike for the rooibos base. But I knew that going in to it. It’s enjoyable, I’m just not a rooibos person. But I will learn, and I think Quarter to Tea has some good examples to help show me the way to the Rooibos Fan Club. I would def buy more of this (because I’m learning to not caffeine at night and this is one of the better tasting subs so far) and look forward to trying more from Quarter to Tea.
Flavors: Butter, Hay, Strawberry, Vanilla
Alone this is like watered hot chocolate… still good, but not quite full enough. With Laoshan black (and a touch of vanilla) this is skyrocketed to amazing! I imagine this will be great mixed with other black teas too! Especially the chocolately and malty ones.