61 Tasting Notes
(Gongfu, 6g per 100mL, 100C).
I picked up the beeng from a local tea shop that carries puerh supplied through Bana Tea Company. I was intrigued by the dry leaf’s sweet and spicy scent—my nose almost tickles from the peppery smell!
The rinse’s nose is wet hay which conceals the up front flavor upon taking a sip: very herbaceous like both basil and mint with maybe a hint of anise, that delicious combination I’m sure we’ve all tasted in a delicious bowl of pho. The lasting taste is floral with less savory notes, and some minerality.
1-2: 10s Now we begin. Nose is extremely sweet, like a honey dipped apple. There’s some woody bitterness going down, but its pleasant. The finish is only ever so slightly sweet. This has some nice layers to it
3: 20s bitter bitter bitter bitter bitter bitter—tastes like an IPA almost! But I don’t totally hate it unlike IPAs…I might kick the time back down on this one.
4: 10s. That’s better. Sweet going down, but lasting dryness in the front of my mouth and sweetness in the back of my mouth. IPA is a great way to describe this, this is almost hoppy. I’m now realizing this review is in complete and total contrast to ramblingbutterflythoughts’. I’m way less experienced in puerh so I might be in the wrong here, or maybe something has happened to the tea cake I have that makes it taste pleasantly bitter. Or maybe our perceptions are just very different!
5: 15s, this is still bitter but with a sweetness throughout. I’ve referred to this before as “grape skin” but I’m sure there’s a better term for it.
6: 20s The aroma is now like reeds and honeysuckle together, it reminds me of walking by a river. The bitterness has waned, its now letting the sweetness through! There is some earthiness present in the finish.
7: 25s. I’m noticing my cheeks are a little numb. I was struggling to write this grant I’m working on but now I’m typing away…none of it is any good of course, but the qi seems to have loosened me up just enough :). The reedy taste is now replaced with the taste of chewing on sugarcane, bringing me back to spending time with my grandmother in Mexico
8-10: I took a break for some lobster mac and bacon-onion halibut…the latter sort of fell flat so I’m glad to return to my pu after taking a couple hours of a break. It is mostly sweet and clean tasting now, reminds me of a very strong, mineral white tea. The longer I keep drinking, the drier my mouth gets. This is still a young sheng, after all
????: Honestly I lost track. I’m super full and the tea is getting sweeter and lighter. A great tea and I eventually wound down the session once I got to the minutes-long power steeps without much change in color of the liquor. I look forward to breaking into this cake over the years and seeing what happens with the early hoppiness.
Flavors: Anise, Bitter, Green Wood, Hay, Herbs, Hops, Mint, Pepper, Sweet
Gongfu, 5g 90C
Received in a sampler (5 for 5). I don’t like black teas but I went for it anyways. What else am I going to do with it? I needed to inaugurate my new tea table.
This is really freaking good. The dry leaves smell strongly like chocolate with a little bit of earth, really really appetizing. The leaves after a leaf were less appealing, with the earthiness coming out. I expected early steeps to taste roasty, but they only are for a second. This second-long taste is almost like a Dan Cong oolong: that tartness and roastiness comes through. This very quickly gives way to a smooth, malty, nutty, and chocolatey finish. The aroma is roasted but this isn’t incredibly roasty tasting.
Middle steeps start to become like an oily dark chocolate and less up front sweet—but more lasting sweetness
The late steeps: this tea did not last quite as long as I wanted it to, and has transitioned to a sweet milk chocolate now: with a roasty nose continuing! A great way to end the session. Reminds me of a milky sweet hot chocolate.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cream, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Roasted Nuts
(Gongfu) Certainly not my first jasmine pearl, but this wakes up a lot faster than the others I’ve had. The scent of the dry pearls is extremely sweet like sugar, and really enticing. The first few steeps are strongly floral without tasting like bad perfume like cheap jasmine pearls. The middle steeps were…oddly banana tasting, I can’t say I have experienced that before in a jasmine pearl and gave the experience more depth than other pearls I’ve gongfu’d. This tea only gets knocked down because there was more astringency than I like in my jasmine teas which I prefer to not have a bite to them.
Flavors: banana, Floral, Green, Jasmine
(Gongfu, 4.5g/100ml, 95-100C)Nice dry leaf appearance: consistent and large, smells VERY grape-y, with just a hint of roastedness. It is the other way around after rinsing the leaves. This is my first Dan Cong oolong, so I’m excited!
Early steeps: Ripe fruit up front with a hint of creaminess. This quickly gives way to a pleasant clean roastiness.
By 3rd steep, some pine notes emerge in the finish. I’m noticing an almost oily thickness coating the roof of my mouth too.
Steep 5: sweetness is coming out, but some astringency: like grapes with plenty of skin.
Steep 8+: it isn’t roastedness: its tartness now!
All in all, a good tea for those who like tart, fruity flavors. I can’t compare this to other Dan Cong oolongs but I’m excited to keep exploring!
Flavors: Grapes, Roasted, Tart
My first ever houjicha, received in a sampler set from Yunomi. Unfortunately this was my least favorite tea in the sampler. This tea has a smoky nose, and is both savory and roasted when drinking, but I don’t feel like it goes anywhere after that. Unlike other teas commonly described as smoky or roasted (e.g. Lapsang suchong), this is not what I would describe as leather—this is definitely more of a true burning wood flavor to me.
I do not want to provide a numerical value or provide a recommendation either way, because this is my first houjicha, maybe I am just not into them in general.
(gongfu). Dry, this tea has a beautiful mixed white and black appearance depending on if you’re looking at a bud or a leaf. ~80C steeping.
In early steeps, this tea is extremely thick, hydrating and refreshing, not astringent whatsoever. This was a very vibrant sweet sugarcane taste (turns out that’s what’s advertised). In later steeps, an aroma of freshly steamed green vegetables emerged, with some savoriness and astringency. This is a great-tasting sweet white tea, I highly recommend this to anyone who likes milder white teas with body
Flavors: Sugarcane, Vegetal
My first ripe puerh so I don’t want to assign a numerical value. Unsure of my numerical rating for this until I try more puerhs. 100C brewing, 2 washes.
Steep1-2 :flash steep(1), 10s(2), cool appearance as the black comes off the leaves like syrup. Nose of dead, wet wood and earth. Goes down smooth, and though tasting burnt/bitter, is quite “wet” and not drying at all. An almost soda-like finish: root beer, maybe coke? There is some early funkiness to this.
3-5 : 15s, 30s, 45s. Sweetness has been cranked up, earth subsides but re-emerges by #5. Root beer/cola predominate. Liquor continues to lighten with each steep.
6-10: 1.5m, 2m, 3.5 m, 3.5m, 5m, 10m and then it falls flat. Had a good run while it lasted! Maybe this is just my first puerh, but it has left me feeling sort of loose in a good way :)
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Decayed Wood, Root Beer, Sarsaparilla, Wet Earth
(Gongfu style, 2017 Winter Harvest, temp 95-100C) I have held off on reviewing this one until I had the perfect words to describe it, but I don’t think they are ever going to come. Beautifully milky to start, but not buttery like a jin xuan/milk oolong. Fragrant from start to finish. I wanted to avoid reviewing this for a while too because there’s more for me if you don’t order it…
Steep 1: osmanthus nose maybe slightly nutty, fragrant milky taste and texture. Opposite of mouth drying (wetness?), this is beautiful.
2: delicate milk taste and “wetness” continuing.
3-5: sweetness starts to emerge even more, the leaves are fully unfurled.
6-9: just…perfume. Delicious and you taste it mostly in your nose and sweet in the back of your throat afterwards
10: time to switch minutes-long power steeping. The last one I admittedly forgot about, and came back 5 minutes later and surprised to find a brew that tasted of my mom’s lemongrass tea. A great way to wrap up the session.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Jasmine, Lemongrass, Osmanthus
A coworker brought this in to work but teavana is now closed so I just had to gaiwan it:
(Gongfu style): 90C, 10 second rinse, 10s, 10s, 15s, 25s, 30s. All steeps had varying levels of melon. The rinse and the first steep taste of honeysuckle/sugarcane, its pleasant. Second steep is more of an orchid and ever so slightly milky taste. Then on it is orchid. Tastes good though! Not quite as drying as western style.
(Western style): 3 minutes, 85C. Easily re-steepable, has a pleasant melon flavor and mouth-drying quality to it
Flavors: Honeysuckle, Melon, Sugarcane