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Recent Tasting Notes
I managed to determine this was a sheng through some online sleuthing. I can’t remember where or when I bought it. The cake has an interesting arboreal smell and pried apart easily.
I rinsed with boiling water and let the leaves sit for 15 minutes, then steeped in the gaiwan at 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60
The tea has a sort of peachy-gold color and smelled and tasted like that sort of fudgy, white chocolate, butter flavor that I often get from shengs.
The color darkened slightly after the first steep, but the flavor was consistent through all 10 steeps.
I loved the way the leaves looked after steeping — big, green, expansive. They expanded like oolong leaves.
I’m not sure why I seem to get the same flavors from sheng over and over again. I was kind of looking forward to something new and different? But it’s tasty, even though it isn’t delivering something new and different.
Flavors: Butter, Chocolate, White Chocolate
Nearly 10 years after the release of this five mini-brick series, I finally try them all. This on has a warm honey and spice aroma. Breaking off a chunk, I’m surprised by the size of some of the leaves on the outside of the brick. The first couple of steeps have some intense broken leaf bitterness, which seems unavoidable with this level of compression. Middle steeps open up much more sweetness and a quite respectable huigan. More spicy leather and tobacco through and above average endurance in terms of sweetness and body in later steeps. Decent for the series and I’m excited to see how this ages.
Flavors: Honey, Leather, Spices, Tobacco
Floral, plantation nose. Lightly sweet, moderately astringent early steeps. Punchy broken leaf bitterness and cloud in the middle. Some tameness and a bit of orange from age and a bit of caramel flavor. There’s a hint of a decent qi and a distant bit of huigan, making this above average for the series. Clean, mostly boring plantation tea I hope ages into something passable.
Flavors: Caramel, Flowers
Douji is also known as the Yiwu Zhengshan Tea Company. This is a small 75g brick with tight compression. Very limited aroma coming from the dry leaf. Ten second rinse followed by a 5 second rinse and while it sat idle the leaves began to loosen a bit. After sitting for about 90 minutes, I went back to the yixing to prepare my tea and was happy to be hit with a very sweet and fruity aroma as soon as I removed the lid. In addition, there seemed to be a very subtle hint of a tobacco scent in the background. The tea soup has a very rich dark gold color. The sip is rather creamy with the complementary themes of fruity sweetness and nutty essence. The body is solid and produces a pleasant mouth-watering effect followed by a cooling, throaty aftertaste . What dominates my my thoughts of this tea session is the persistent sweetness that penetrates the mouth which I find to be characteristic of tea made with solid Yiwu raw material. This is a very smooth tea with plenty to enjoy.
I am fond of both Douji and Chen Sheng Hao products (IMO both offer high-quality factory productions). While they used to be more widely available through our normal channels (e.g., Puerh Shop and Yunnan Sourcing), now both companies rely upon more limited distribution in the marketplace. I mention this here because I see that Puerh Shop still has four different 2008-2009 Douji products in stock. If you have any interest, take a look at these for you will have great difficulty finding Douji once they are gone.
The Douji DaDou produced in 2009 is a blend of very fine Menghai and Lincang leaf. The characteristics of the two areas blend wonderfully to produce a fantastic cup! The cake is composed of beautiful whole leaves throughout (i.e., not just on top) which are quite large. The tea liquor is a nice orange-yellow color – even after two rinses it was a tiny bit cloudy during the first 2-3 infusions. The scent is pleasant – fresh, fruity, sweet. The sip is quite smooth and mellow with a definite sweetness and there is a little boldness and strength (a thickness?) to balance the sip. Nice chaqi settles in after 10-12 swallows. Definitely a bit of appealing complexity in this one — a good quality offering and I am a fan for sure!
The Douji brand is considered a premium puerh – particularly their single-mountain cakes. Unfortunately these cakes have become extremely pricey in recent years. I have learned from a few individuals more knowledgeable about puerh than I that the best value in Douji products may now be their blends which also use high quality tea leaves. Of course these too have risen dramatically in price recently. However, if you keep searching you just might stumble upon a cake here or there in a tea seller’s inventory with a little age on it and an “older” price which makes it a bargain compared to the more recent Doujis. I’ve stumbled upon a few lately and I am very happy to have added them to my puerh collection.
All of my ratings are 88, luck be with you.
The dry leaves smell like white sugar. Very young, with scents of vegetal grass still present – probably due to being pressed only a month ago, and picked but a few months ago. That young smell can be put-offish, but in this case it is quite endearing.
The price of this tea is totally crazy by now, as the cakes of this tea are probably in the several hundred dollar range. (357g puer cakes) I just used up my last of this small sample and I have to say it is good tea. But, with a qualifier, that it is far too pricey. There are other outlets with better Ban Zhang tea, but for the main stream, Douji is great. Better than Chen Sheng Hao.
I can not make up my mind about Douji. Their teas are better than Menghai or Zhongcha or the other factories, but their prices are so high. Then, if you dip into their less expensive teas (see above) the quality is just ok.
This is good enough to drink, and it is a decent daily tea. Just as a point of reference for frequent steepster users, this tea is about 5 times better than anything offered by most American tea retailers, but if you compare it to all the other puer tea out there, it is just a hair above average.
I’ve drank this tea a fair amount lately and I have to stop and ask myself why. I think because this tea is kind of a throw away. It’s not bad, it’s not great and it was cheap. The maocha was obviously heavily cleaned and maybe processed a little stiffly. There’s an odd papery sensation to the whole tea and I think for now, I’ll stop drinking it and see what becomes of it in 10 years.