15 Tasting Notes


I wanted to like this tea, because it was a free sample that I received with an order, however, I just couldn’t.

The dry leaves were very chopped and very tightly compressed. They had a typical pondy, off smell that one associates with shu-puerh. The tea soup was a deep ruddy-brown with the aroma of wood, chocolate, raisins, and sewage. Honestly the flavor was not bad: sweet chocolate flavor with notes of wood, wet leaf, and raisins; but right after I swallow heavy notes of pond water show up, making the tea taste incredibly…odd.

The ‘pondy’ taste remained through the 4th infusion. I couldn’t bring myself to drink anymore so I called it quits. I should also note that I don’t like the flavor of chocolate, which was heavy in this tea. On the other hand, the mouthfeel was incredibly smooth and thick. Full-bodied and very rich. There was also a minty-cool quality to the aftertaste. I just couldn’t get over the chocolatey-pondiness of it, but if you’re a fan of that then I guess this would be a good tea for you.

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This is a real pu-erh tea that holds nothing back.

If you are one who likes to walk into a deciduous forest in fall after a light rain and lick every surface clean, then this tea is for you. Robust, bitter, and unrelenting. It may have been because I steeped it in a gaiwan or maybe my greenhorn taste buds are not mature enough for such an aged pu-erh, but my god was this tea bitter. Bitter in the woody, leaf-pile, pine needle, stick, compost heap kind of way. I truly felt like I was walking through a forest after rainfall. It was also very dry in the back of the mouth.

I’ve drank it twice now, both times from a gaiwan. I’ve only steeped it for a total of 5 infusions each time, only because I couldn’t bring myself to drink anymore. However, there was enough strength in the tea for at least twice as many infusions, if not more.

Even though I did not enjoy the tea very much, I could tell that it was something special. Very complex in flavor with great strength, mouth-feel was OK, and it was still very calming and warm; however, definitely not for the faint at heart.

UPDATE: I’ve taken the advice from Nadacha and decreased the amount of leaf I used and steeped it this time in my yixing pot, the results? Simply fantastic.

The harsh bitterness is gone and what is left behind is a soothing, earthy, woody piece of delightful drinking. Impeccably smooth and creamy without a hint of dryness. It has a deep and complex flavor with notes of earth, wood, wet leaf, vanilla and leather. The aftertaste is full and coats the back of the mouth with a vanilla and wood-like bitter-sweetness.

Amazing what 14 years can do for a good tea!

The Essence of Tea

Hi TeaLam,
This tea shouldn’t be bitter. Earthy & woody, yes, but not bitter. I have a suspicion that you may be brewing it much too strong. ~5g for a 120ml Gaiwan should be about right.


Maybe, i’m going to try brewing the last bit of the sample I have in a yixing pot and see if I can’t get a better result.

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drank Da Hong Pao by JAS eTea
15 tasting notes

This is a very robust tea. The aroma of the leaves after the wash could be smelled from a few feet away.

The tea brewed a nice rust-orange color with a heavy roasted aroma. The flavors were rich and deep. Roasted bittersweet rock taste, with a clean finish, and a florally bitter aftertaste. A faint spice flavor showed up around the 5th infusion while staying smooth, full-bodied, and without any dryness. The flavors began to mellow out and harmonize with each other towards the end, with a nice cinnamon taste showing up as the tea cooled down.

A very rich, full-bodied, and robust tea from start to finish.

Steeped in a 180ml gaiwan. 25s,30s,40s,60s,60s,25s,180s

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This is the first real sheng pu-erh tea I’ve had so I can’t say that I have anything to compare it to. However I did find this tea very enjoyable.

The leaves let off a very strong peachy sweet aroma after the first rinse. The tea soup was a nice golden-yellow color. The tea itself was full-bodied, velvety smooth and sweet with notes of peaches and flowers. The finish was clean and there was no astringency at all, even at the 12th infusion. There was a bit of chalkiness, but not in a displeasing way.

The strength was nice throughout the whole sitting with the peachy sweetness coming in still at the end. There isn’t a whole lot of complexity to the tea, but it was still very pleasing and enjoyable. A nice daily tea, and for the price I might actually buy the whole cake.

Steeped in a 180 ml gaiwan for 12 infusions.

200 °F / 93 °C

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This was the first ‘real’ pu-erh tea that I have tried.

After reading all the criticism of shu pu-erh and brick pu-erh, I was surprised at how this tea was pretty good. The bricks have a little bit of a fishy, pondy aroma but given a week or two to air out and the smell virtually goes away.

After the first rinse the leaves, very chopped, give off a very deep, woody and earthy smell, without any of the pondiness. The same goes for the flavor. Like drinking a piece of forest in Fall: woody, bitter, earthy, smoky and a little sweet, with a slightly astringent finish in the throat. The aftertaste is a long lasting woody bitterness.

The tea soup is a very deep, dark, murky orange brown, which clears up to a clear orange-brown after the first two or three infusions.

The tea begins to give off a sweet flavor in the back of the mouth at about the 4th infusion. The tea does not infuse for too many times, at least not when I have tried it. Towards the end, the woody earthiness is very faint, with a sugar-water-like sweetness on top of it.

It is enjoyable and the price is pretty good ($1-$2 for 10-12 little tile-like bricks); however not a tea for those long tea-steeping sessions.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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