61 Tasting Notes


100C, 5g/100mL.
Again, received from fidgetiest, I’m uploading a few tasting notes tonight.
The rinsed leaves smell like smoke and green hay to me. On first steep, I just wrote “whoa” and then skipped to the next page apparently. This is thick and rich, not quite like anything I’ve had before but this is my first aged sheng. I wrote down that this smells like wet wood and citrus rinds. Steep 2, this is definitely bitter, but no astringency until like 5 minutes later when my mouth suddenly dried up.
Steep 3: formaldehyde, cinnamon and ginger, the latter two are definitely more pleasant than the first which just reminds me of anatomy lab.
Thankfully by steep 4, I’m getting sweetness, astringency, but no sour acid refluxiness like other shengs give me which is a plus. I also felt like I was floating, feeling light.
By steep 6, most of the taste was in the nose, ether retronasal or aroma though nothing was left in the cup afterwards which I found very odd.
Started to become just sweet+bitter melon by steep 8 but I kept going through and past 13 when I also noted some sort of waffle-cone-y notes, as well as sugarcane and rum.
A really interesting session overall.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter Melon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Hay, Rum, Smoke, Sugarcane


It’s really fun reading your thoughts on teas I sent you!


fidgetiest, you enabler…..


I’m enjoying them! Just letting a couple of them rest for another week or two. I probably should have waited on this guy too but i was just too impatient


Hahaha enabling is the best! If you ever develop a taste for younger sheng I’d be happy to send over a bunch of little gifties!


(you = brutusk. I mean, I’d be thrilled to send gifties to you=mrmopar too but I get the sense you know more, have tasted more, own more, understand more, &c, than me :)

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drank 1995 OG by Liquid Proust Teas
61 tasting notes

Received from fidgetiest, thank you :). 100C, gongfu, 5g/100mL but I will be leafing harder because this can definitely take it.
In dry aroma I am hit with some roasty honey, and the dry rinse reveals raw honey and honeysuckle floral notes. In the actual steeps, I taste richness, sourness, and roastiness, but the honey in the aroma is nowhere to be found in the drink. This reminds me of a dried fruit an aunt of mine offered me once in Mexico but I cannot remember what it was. Or maybe it just invokes a memory of her, I’m not sure. LP and I had a discussion about the memory-evoking quality of tea following my noticing two of his oolongs brought me back to childhood memories of my Mexican relatives. Or maybe I’m just feeling sentimental for once.
Steep 2: the leaf opens, I’m getting some tannic spicy notes in my throat like cayenne, and some aged sourness.
By steep 4 this is a weird tea, keeps bringing me back somehow, this time visiting an agave farm with my grandma.
Steep 5: tobacco leaf sort of aroma
This tea keeps on changing with every steep, give it a whirl. Maybe you’ll remember something precious.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Honey, Honeysuckle, Musty, Pepper, Pleasantly Sour, Tobacco

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100C, 5g/100mL, gongfu.
I apparently deleted my note before uploading it to steepster, so here goes, from memory:
First of all, thanks to fidgetiest for the tea! It was very much appreciated
The smell of the dry leaves is just…roasted which was concerning as someone who doesn’t like 1 note roasted teas (like hojicha). However, upon placing the leaves into a pre-rinsed hot gaiwan, there were some nice aromas that started to wake up like cherries. I chose to not rinse the tea per Scott’s recommendation, and I’m glad I didn’t!
1- (10s): Now the wet leaves smell like pomegranite, the roastedness has taken a backseat, I’m glad this has more to it than just roast. In aroma, this reminds of a dancong. Upon tasting, I’m hit with a really thick, rich broth. It reminds me of the richness in hong/black tea but without having any malt or chocolate characteristics. Goes down super smooth. I wish that the fruitiness had made it to the actual liquor but it makes for a nice incense-like aroma in the air.
5-7 (20-30s): This tastes really mineral and nourishing, but not quite as thick as before. Still, goes down super smooth for how rich this is.
8: Well….something went down last night and I left the leaves in the gaiwan for like 20 minutes after pouring boiling water on them. I decided to take a sip and…not bitter or astringent at all. Still rich and dare I say a creamy texture. I decided to leave the leaves overnight and come back to them in the AM
9-12: I’m surprised I’m able to keep steeping this after the 20 minute long steep yesterday. Two things—1)these leaves have a lot to give, though I’m having a hard time picking out individual tastes beyond mineral and a rich texture. 2) I feel safe calling these leaves bomb proof—steep them aggressively if that’s your style, I think you’ll get a lot more out of these doing that!
All in all, bombproof tea, with qualities of a lot of other teas: creaminess like a taiwanese oolong, aroma like a dancong, minerality like a wuyi oolong, richness like a black tea. An interesting hybrid but unfortunately only excels in minerality which is not one of my favorite flavors but I can still appreciate it.

Flavors: Broth, Cherry, Creamy, Mineral, Petrichor, Roasted

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Gongfu, >5g/100mL, 100C

Upon opening the bag, you’re hit with this really powerful roasty honey aroma, this tea smells amazing. The wet leaf smells just as good! I gave this one rinse before diving in.
1-3 (20s): This tastes like it wants to be astringent but if anything it leaves the mouth with a silky sort of feeling. The texture is thick and full too.
4-7 (30s): A savory taste of stonefruits up front and in my nose. However, the aftertaste has an interesting quality I noticed in the aroma of the wet leaves: a sort of wintergreen feeling, super super refreshing. This is really interesting. Though the liquor is bitter first and sweet second, it coats my tongue with a strong fresh tingliness, like a slick honey infused with wintergreen. This is very much about the mouthfeel and aroma..
8: out of curiosity I steeped for <20seconds, and was greeted with that sort of tangy honey sweetness taste—super cool! But less aroma and thick tongue sensation this way, giving way instead to honey in both taste and finish. I think you can vary steepings to get very different experiences out of this tea. I wish I had more tea but its still going nicely at 8 steeps so I can’t be too upset. I haven’t had a chance to compare this to other vendors’ dancongs yet, but boulder’s is really expensive.

Update: I’ve blown through over 1.5L of tea from these 5 grams. I’m just having fun switching the steeping times and min-maxing the sweet honey vs. mouthfeel/aftertaste now

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Honey, Menthol, Roasted, Spearmint, Stonefruit

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Gongfu, 5g/100ml at 80-90C. 2017 harvest
I previously tried this a bunch of times between 90C and 100C and i have to say…this just cannot take it. On the very first steep it tastes like stewed leaves and is astringent. At 100C there is an AMAZING aroma from the wet leaves though—like a rich browned butter: nutty and savory.
I now repeat this at a lower temperature, and wow it is a huge improvement. I can actually taste the flloral oolong notes, and get a sweet buttery taste, sweet and fresh with some savoriness. The lasting texture is oily and pleasant. However, the dry leaves dont smell quite as amazing as at 100C :(
Once the leaves have unfurled, there is more of floral taste with some ongoing buttery taste and aroma.
Unfortunately shortly after, the butteriness starts to fade. Now I’m noticing a really fresh menthol/mint/wintergreen in my throat, which is really refreshing!
Overall this was a pleasant tea but a little bit finicky. This is my first jin xuan and even as a newbie have had both much creamier (in texture AND taste) and butterier lightly roasted oolongs not of jin xuan variety. This is good and I recommend it, but probably not something I’d order again because its best qualities are just beat out by others in my small stash.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Nutty, Spearmint, Sweet

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Gongfu, 100C 5g 100ml
The wet leaves look darker than a young sheng, clearly this has been aged. Smell faintly like dry fruit. Only one rinse.
Steep 1-4, 20-30s: immediately i am hit with a thick, silkt texture, with dried fruit taste, like dried pear—it is light and not too acidic. The chunk of leaves are still opening up, and seem to be mostly leaves with only a few stems. The liquor is a rich color between honey and molasses. By steep two this is becoming a little bit more acidic like a darker dried fruit(dates). The retronasal taste (finish) i notice an almost eucalyptus-like freshness.
5- 7, strong musty sort of spicy taste— is this what camphor is and what shou pu aspires to? I’m starting to get some astringency.
8- , astringency lightening, everything giving way to some sweetness/hui gan, and this induces lots of salivation. Liquor lightening, i wish i had leafed harder. Fading back to a silkier mouthfeel on the way down again.
One of my first aged shengs, and i liked it.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Eucalyptus, Pear

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Gongfu, 5g, 100C.
I’m finally getting around to writing notes on some samples I’ve got rather than just focusing on writing a grant. I just took a nap right before bed and decided to start some shou so….good decisions all around.
2 rinses, and time to taste:
Steeps 1-3, flash steeps <10s: sip is like warm soil in a nourishing way. There’s a rich bitterness to it, the texture and taste of which remind me of sipping a suspension of powdered cacao. The second steep reveals some cinnamon or nutmeg notes. The sense of dryness is definitely also reminding me of powdered spices and unsweetened chocolate. Third steep, I was wondering when (IF) this would ever become sweet. Its starting to taste and have a stickier thicker texture like chocolate syrup, but only very lightly sweetened.
Steep 4- 6, 20-30s. The liquor is already starting to get lighter, I can actually see through to the bottom of my cup. If I didn’t mention it before, early steeps of this were d a r k.
Steep 7- 9 , 1+min, The chocolate tastes have transitioned into a syrup or oily textured freshly rotting wood. There is a small bit of lasting chocolate fragrance, but not as much as I would have liked. The tea is definitely fading out by Steep 9, I think this might be the end of it.
In summary, soil→cacao→chocolate→woodiness. I would have expected that the wood would be towards the beginning. Overall, this is a fine tea but i didn’t think it was anything special. I’ll come back to this when I have a chance to leaf it harder. (I didn’t want to stay up TOO late tonight…). I also didnt find much body sensation or qi as I would like. A safe shou as there is no fish at all, but too simple for me.

Flavors: Cacao, Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Decayed Wood, Dirt, Nutmeg, Oak

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I did not like this gong fu at all, it did not change over time to my taste buds at least. Grandpa style is better so I’m reviewing that.
leaf :???? its grandpa style, idgaf; temp 100C
The texture of this is like a light roast coffee with cream, but aroma is extremely roasty. Reminds me of hojicha both in taste and aroma, maybe a tiny bit chocolatier. I do not taste any fruitiness that others have tasted in this. Unfortunately I don’t like hojicha whatsoever so this is definitely a pass for me.

Flavors: Coffee, Creamy, Roasted

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Gongfu style, 5g/100ml.

First ~3 steeps (1 rinse): 90C. I had previously tried this at boiling, immediately after bringing it home, and it had a lot of qualities of young sheng I don’t like: bitter, hops, and hay-like. despite that this is now 14 years old. Checking the website, Bana Tea company recommends 85C, with a REALLY low leaf:water ratio. I didn’t want to kick the leaf:water down that far, so I tried 90C—it is much better now. The dry leaves smell like less acidic dried cranberries—maybe like dried goji berries? Definitely a dried red sweet berry or fruit. The liquor tastes like dried sweet fruits, with a strong sweet aftertaste exactly like dried dates. By steep 3, some of those young sheng notes started to emerge. This was dry stored which might explain that.
Steep 4-9: I got brave and went back to boiling. Again I was faced with these IPA/young sheng bitter notes, but still had that hui gan, which eventually gave way to a floral almost like you’d get from an anxi oolong. I will say that this is a very energetic tea, I am super pumped right now.
Steeps 10: of course I lose track. Oh well. Bitterness has given way to just that sweetness, without losing its strength provided I go to 30s-1min steepings. Astringent in the middle of the finish but the lingering sweet fruit notes remain though now its more of dried apricot rather than date—just a little bit of a tang.

I don’t know if you should brew this at 90C or 100C, probably depends how big of a baby you are about bitter tastes like IPA beers or young sheng (I am a huge baby about it). This maintains a lot of its energetic youth in my opinion.
Update now in the summer months and after its been brought home and resting. This has definitely smoothed out now that its been rehydrated. Still clear dry storage, but toned down on the bitter notes. Much improved!

Flavors: Dates, Dried Fruit, Floral, Hay, Raisins

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Gongfu, 5g/100ml 100C
Going with this at boiling even though it is definitely a greener ooolong. Dry leaf is intact, gently twisted, not tightly twisted like a wuyi oolong. Smells floral with a little bit of butteriness.
Starting with flash steeps, no rinse: sweet and floral like an anxi or jin xuan oolong. Some light astringency on the finish, not too bad though. There is sort of an herb stem taste too. I should probably kick the temp down…this is definitely a greener oolong
Through steep 4 : I kicked the temperature down, but even then i can’t avoid astringency and stewed leaves. I think i did irreparable damage at 100C. I’ll re-review when i have a chance to repeat this at 90C.
Steep 5-9: Nevermind, there you are! 90C, I have to keep clearing my throat because I swear I have a corn kernel stuck back there. This is really buttery and really full of corn. The aroma is flowery, like I’m eating buttered corn standing near a flower field. The astringency has given way, this is a good tea if you like modern baozhongs that tend toward the green but keep in mind it is temperature sensitive.

Flavors: Butter, Corn Husk, Floral, Popcorn

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MD-PhD Student, new to gongfu brewing and serious tea tasting but excited to learn. My favorite kinds of tea are oolongs and both Chinese & Japanese greens.
Follow at https://www.instagram.com/brutusklopez/

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