38 Tasting Notes
I am revisiting this one from about a year ago. When I first tried this tea last year it was mostly bitter and not very interesting to me. I pulled this one out as I am off the Shou Train at the moment and am limited in my Sheng collection (though I am waiting on some W2T fare). I brewed up about 7 grams in 100ml Gaiwan. Two quick rinses and let it rest for about 10-15 min. I steeped in about 205F water for about 10 seconds increasing steep time and temp a bit as it thinned out. First couple of steeps were not that dynamic but had a nice floral and sweet aroma on the out breath that lingered. After the usual astringency in the 3rd and 4th steeps that was not at all unpleasant to me the tea started to show itself. Not a very oily or viscous mouthfeel but not water thin either. The material is not the highest quality out there I am sure but this turned out to be a nice session. Some nice sweet and tart flavors presented themselves into the later steeps as well as the lingering sweet/floral in the nose. Notes of tobacco, hay, flowers, and slight syrup made it pretty damn enjoyable. This is a decent average daily drinker. For the price and the taste I would recommend for sure. It’s not some ancient Gushu fertilized with White Tiger blood and Buddha’s piss that will open your third eye revealing the true nature of The Camellia Gods. But its not bad at all.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Sweet, Tart, Tobacco
I brewed this one up with 6g in a 100ml Gaiwan at a bout 200f. I gave two rinses….one at about 100f then another at 140f then let it sit for a bit. I have just started trying this rinse method and have gotten better results than my usual rinses with brew temp water. First off I would like to say that I have not been having a very successful exploration of shengs, this being my first year drinking them. My biggest problem has been the astringency of the younger shengs and the price of the older ones. I have found a few that I like but none that have blown me away…yet. That being said I went into this cake without much confidence as I noticed some reviews from people saying that this one was too bitter for them. I have learned during the sheng voyage of the last year that reviews should be taken with a grain of salt as not everyone is brewing the tea optimally and or have a different palate. A bitter review can mean over brewing sometimes. I feel this was the case with this tea. I REALLY enjoyed this session. The smell of the wet leaf is nostalgic and sweet. The kind of smell that takes you back to somewhere but not quite sure where. The tea has a wonderful viscous mouthfeel with a great returning sweetness. I can say that there are definitely bitter notes in this tea. But this was the first tea that gave me that AHA moment in reference to not understanding when others say a tea has a pleasant bitterness and not astringent. That was this tea. This type of bitterness is not unpleasant and actually makes the sweet notes even better. The leaves were very big as well as the stems so I am feeling this was from an older tree. I ran out of water before really reaching the end of the leaves. I was water logged after 1 liter of tea consumption so I bowed out gracefully with one last steep of about 2 min and it was still delicious. This is a great sheng to me and I imagine it will get even better but hopefully it doesn’t lose some of the character that makes it enjoyable to drink now. So the lesson learned was don’t go by reviews only when searching for a tea. Brew it up your way and see how your taste buds receive it. I think this is a great tea and would recommend it but as I said, try it for yourself and see if it fits your palate.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Sweet
I brewed up about 5grams in a 100ml gaiwan at about 190f. I gave one rinse and actually tasted it and it was of course watery but left some fruitiness lingering. My first few steeps were a bit light for my taste so I ended up adding about another gram or so to the gaiwan. If you like tropical fruits and a creamy coconut taste then you will love this one. This was very lightly oxidized and tasted more like a green tea that an Oolong to me. The Oolong flavor itself was not my favorite as like I said it was more like a green but the crown jewel of this tea is its aftertaste. It is so sweet and tropical that I was wondering if it was a flavored tea. But the consensus is that it is not and that alone makes this one a tea to try. To be able to grow and process a tea without flavoring and get those kinds of notes is insane. Its a great tea and would be even better in the spring and summer as it is really refreshing. If you are a fan of green tea or lightly oxidized oolongs I would say give this one a go and you won’t be disappointed. I am not really a fan of green teas anymore as I have been tainted by the dark side (roasted Oolongs, blacks, and Pu’erh) but I did enjoy this tea. Quite creamy with a remarkable amount of tropical fruit flavor. Like a hot Pina Colada! Bear in mind these are notes that linger in the nose and mouth not actual sugary fruit flavors of a tea with chunks of fruit.
Flavors: Coconut, Grass, Mango, Pineapple, Tropical
So I picked up some teas from Whispering Pines for the first time. I got them today and I started with this one. I am a fan of Black Tea and use it to give me a break from my ripe pu’erhs. I brewed up about 5 grams gongfu style in a 100ml gaiwan. I feel it was a bit light so maybe a bit more leaf would be better. The wet leaf smells sweet and woody with a bit of some kind of fruit. I could tell this was a blend as it tasted like two other teas I have combined (a Jingmai Wild Arbor Black and nice malty Yunnan Black). This was quite enjoyable and had a lingering sweet aftertaste that was really nice. There were notes of baked bread and brown sugar along with a little wood. I also got into some floral notes in the middle steeps. It gave surprisingly well considering leaf size and it being a black. I think I will try this one again Western style as I often like my blacks brewed that way. Not sure what to think about this vendor yet and I have about 3 Oolongs I also bought from them to try. All in all I would say if you like black tea give this one a try. Pretty tasty.
Flavors: Bread, Brown Sugar, Malt, Stonefruit, Wood
I brewed up about 7g in a 100ml Gaiwan at about 210f. I gave the customary two rinses. There was no real funk that I noticed. The wet leaf gave a nice woody, earthy and slight spicy smoke aroma. The first steep was light and I pushed it a bit on the next few. It has a really nice earthy flavor with hints of wood. There was not a lot of sweetness but it was not completely void of some. What I really liked is that there was a lot of different nuances going on. This tea has some complexity to it which was a nice surprise. The flavor on the front would bring some nice aged taste as well though this one is only about 4 years old. Then after the swallow, the out breath brought forth a few other flavors of spice, dirt, and bark as well as some others. It definitely wasn’t one single note in flavor. It seemed to have some different things going on in each steep so it didn’t bore me at all. I think some more age will make this one even better. I found it similar to the Xiguan 2007 XIAO FA in the green box. A great everyday sipper. This was my second time trying this one and it definitely benefitted from some airing out. This tea is pretty damn good and already has some nice aged flavor coming through. So far I enjoy Nan Jian ripes and haven’t had one that I didn’t care for yet.
Flavors: Earth, Spices, Wood
I brewed this one up in the traditional two rinse format with about 6-7g of leaf in a 100ml gaiwan. I steeped this at about 205f. This is a pretty good tea. The wet leaf had a nice peachy and hay quality with a bit of slight tobacco. I did detect a slight smokiness but I wouldn’t say this is a smokey tea by any means. It had a nice aged taste but to me still seemed young. Mainly in the mouthfeel. It had some action going on. I felt a tingling numbness quality, but really hard to describe. Let’s just call it action. The liquor was a nice orange color showing a bit of its age. There were flavors of hay, tobacco and a bit of a peach fruitiness tucked away in there as well. Much like the smell. It had a nice qi as well. Calming but aware. I feel like this tea could still use some more age as there was some astringency that was ever present. Like I said it seemed a bit younger than it is but not in a bad way. It was definitely active in the mouth though I may use a bit more leaf next time as it was ever so light. I am sure if I mess with the brewing parameters a bit I will get more out of this tea but this was my first go at it. A decent price for a nice sheng with a bit of age on it already. Can’t beat that. I would recommend for sure. Play with the parameters and I’ll bet this one will shine even more.
Flavors: Apricot, Camphor, Hay, Peach, Smoke, Tobacco
So I broke out the jack hammer and managed to break off a 6g chunk with only destroying four hammer bits. Man this was compressed. I was a bit worried as it created lots of small particles, which for me, make for an unpleasant bitter sheng experience. This wasn’t the case luckily. So I gave two rinses and began the journey. This is my first taste of the much hyped white whale. The first couple of steeps were super light and it took a bit for the compression to let up on the leaves. This is an interesting tea. I love the wet leaf smell. Piney, hay, wood and a slight musty medicinal quality. It definitely has the aged flavor that I usually don’t have the money to partake in. There was a slight smokiness that I found pleasant on the nose but none really in the mouth. It is a very creamy mouthfeel tea. I do think that I should up the leaf to water to maybe 7 or 8g as I felt it was a little light. It has a nice old antique wood flavor with a lot of piney/menthol notes. I didn’t get a lot of sweetness on this one but like I said I think more leaf may be the answer to more flavor. It had a bit of astringency on the 3rd through 5th steeps though nothing that I would call unpleasant for me but I was trying to push the tea a bit to make up for less leaf. That could have brought out more of the bitterness. It gave many steeps. It gave maybe 10-15. I’m not sure as I usually don’t count. I ran out of water before it died off completely. I tend to like a nice returning sweetness in my sheng that this one didn’t have. But I feel this is a different kind of tea. A more woody/piney one which made it enjoyable in a different way. This one had a very mentholated cooling feel in the mouth which I liked. Overall it was a very enjoyable session but a bit hyped. This is a good tea but not an awe inspiring tea. Nonetheless I would recommend. I wish I would have gotten hold of this one when it was $15 as I feel $34 plus $15 in shipping is a bit overpriced for this tea, at least for me (Though its not too bad considering the age). That being said I am glad I picked a brick up and got to try it. I’ll try more leaf next time and see what I think.
Flavors: Hay, Menthol, Oak, Pine, Smoke, Tart
I brewed up about 7g in a 100ml gaiwan at about 210f/off boil. I gave the customary two rinses. It took about 2 steeps before this one opened up. The wet leaf gave a nice earthy, wet wood, and slight cherry/vanilla sweetness aroma. Mostly earthy and woodsy. I had tried this one about a month or so ago and it was a bit too woodsy and fungal for me. This session however I was a bit more pleased. I think it had a bit of airing out to do. The first few steeps are nice and dark with a good thick liquor. Its not super thick, at least with 7 grams but was nice and creamy and not thin at all. The flavor is of an old book in the back of a damp antique store that sits in the middle of a rainy forest. A nice wet wood mixed with earthy forest floor greatness and some hints of vanilla sweet lingering in the background. I would classify this as one of the more earthy ripes not overflowing with sweetness like some. Very enjoyable though. The qi was calming with a bit of caffeine energy that offsets nicely. I used a bit more mindfulness with this session with eyes closed at times. It definitely makes a difference in really pick out the nuances of the tea. Too often I gulp my way through a session like a fast food junkie in the throws of a stoner munch session. Ill drink while doing work or doing some other mundane task. Slowing it down and sitting in a quiet room with the bubbling kettle in front of the tea tray visiting the aromas, flavors and the mouthfeel, truly one on one, makes for a more honest tea session. I find the antique store/old book qualities of these kinds of ripes nostalgic. They seem to transport me. Terence Mckenna speaks of the mushroom (tho a different kind) and about how it is a doorway to our ancient past. Not sure if that is so but I do get a bit of nostalgia that seems “old” in nature. I digress. This tea gave about 4 or 5 good steeps and then trailed but was still giving at the end. I am not one to push a ripe in the the later steeps so it may go longer. I would recommend this as a good everyday ripe. Earthy, Woodsy, and even a bit sweet hiding in there somewhere. Not bad at all.
Flavors: Cake, Mushrooms, Vanilla, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
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This is my second or third go at this tea. I used 7g in 100ml just off boil. Two short rinses. Man I really dig this one for sure. I am not sure where this comes from or who presses this one. Mine is YS but I have seen this cake with the same label elsewhere. Either way I am buying another. Wet leaf smells of un-iced chocolate cake. Smaller gong ting grade leaves but give pretty well. First few steeps are really nice and no wait for the goods. A very nice lightly fermented ripe taste that has such a great sweetness to the taste and nose. Hints of vanilla, chocolate, slight oak and the nice coffee bitterness (not astringent) that we expect. Its not an older ripe but has no fishiness or pond water qualities. Its ready to drink now. This one warms me and tonight that is exactly what I need. Its my hot cocoa if you will. I don’t know if its an aged and obscure tea snob’s first choice kind of tea but I personally go by the taste not the hype (with that said hyped tea can be good too :). This one does the trick and is cheap. It gave 7 or 8 steeps maybe more ( I don’t count, I just brew by color). I usually don’t try to get every little bit out of my ripe like I do sheng as I find that the fishiness does start to show its face at the end of a ripe session. Overall this tea kicks some ass to me and I would recommend.
Flavors: Cake, Chocolate, Oak, Vanilla