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Recent Tasting Notes
wet leaves: rich toasty green like hojicha, plus a complex background of hay, violet. Liquor is smooth, coated mouth with green tea toasted feeling. lingering gritty aftertaste, simple and pleasant.
after: cooked candied roots, sugarcane sweetness. Liquor stays thin compared to more expensive stuff. also aftertaste fades quickly to a memory of burned stevia.
Heartbeat accelerates , brain activity slows down and freezes while somehow keeping the anxiety high.
Thanks for including this sample in the package Martin! I really enjoyed it and am glad to have tried a black tea from William.
Somehow, it lands somewhere between an aged white and a more typical sun-dried black, which is most probably due to the short oxidation in large measure. It is a woody and sweet tea with hints of sawdust and smoke in the aroma. In the mouth, some additional notes of peach, malt, licorice and autumn leaf pile come forward. I also found the effect on the mind to be quite defocusing – a fairly common aspect of Jingmai teas actually.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Licorice, Malt, Peach, Peat, Sawdust, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
Backlog from March 2021. Sample from Martin of 2018 harvest. Thankee :)
More aromatic than flavorful; bright and oily; deeper, unique flavors brought out by higher temperatures. Too much of that weird, primal, ephedra-like energy I get from high quality Jingmai teas.
Flavors: Allspice, Apricot, Berries, Cinnamon, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Flowers, Forest Floor, Honey, Rainforest, Savory, Straw, Wood
Rich and juicy, thick with a layered, honeyed mineral upfront sweetness. Balanced astringency and minimal bitterness. It reminds me a lot of oatmeal: notes of honey, apple, cinnamon, osmanthus, citrus and tobacco tones, peaches and apricots, oats, dry grass. Floral, fruity and deep, not as sweet as some Yiwu teas. Lordy that is good! If only it weren’t so high in caffeine. Great Jingmai tea. Powerful, clean, tasty for only 20c/g.
Thank you, Martin :)
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Cinnamon, Citrusy, Dry Grass, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Mineral, Oats, Osmanthus, Peach, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco
Five grams from Martin in the pot, a few completely empty resteeps and even more grandpa-ish refills. This tea is really smooth and gives the impression of being full-bodied but it manages to water down quickly beyond the sip. The flavor and the body d i s a p p e a r
Tastewise, for some reason it reminds me of game meat spiced with herbs like wintergreen. It’s not gamey but it has a rich, meaty quality to the taste (at least what’s there at the beginning of the sip), so maybe like venison? Other mild associations include sauerbraten, gravy, dense whole rye bread. Strange brew! If only it weren’t so thin and watery!
Flavors: Camphor, Dark Chocolate, Herbs, Meat, Mineral, Petrichor, Rye, Smooth, Tangy, Vanilla, Walnut
This is the first tea I’ve tried from William ‘Famer-Leaf’ of Youtube fame. So I have some high hopes!
The leaves come apart easily when I prod it with my pick from the edge. It’s simple to grab about 4 grams of whole leaves. I’m just sampling this right now, so I’m using a 75ml porcelain Gaiwan and boiling spring water.
Initially, it tastes very ‘green’. Kind of like a bitter sencha whack (which makes me a bit worried, I’m not expecting sencha flavours). It’s a rounded flavour note. Bitter without being astringent at the start.
It definitely makes you sweat and it has a bit of body to it. Not ‘thick’ or particularly ‘oily’. The soup is pale yellow with a slight green hint. Mouthfeel is pleasantly soft.
By the third steep I’m tasting the dry subtle tartness of asian Pomelo fruit and maybe grapefruit-seed oil. Bitterness is getting stronger and slight astringency. So I take a swig of fresh water.
The lid smells like citrus rind.
Boom. With the fresh water comes sweetness. Sweet like sugarcane syrup all the way down my throat moving to a more buttery/golden syrup. It has a nice ‘lasting’ flavour on the tongue.
Later steeps and I’m in pomelo territory again but milder and a little sweeter, a bit more floral (orange blossoms). It has that bitter edge I like in a nice marmalade. It’s definitely in the pomelo territory, less the orange.
Nice. I’m going to have to give this more of a shot and play around with brewing parameters. So I won’t mark it as ‘recommended’ for now (which is a bit pointless, I think his stock is all sold out). I’ll put another note up once I’ve given it a few more tries. But this is a very solid first impression.
I’m a bit stuck though, the leaf smell is like a citrus hinted green tea. Which I didn’t expect at all from a young sheng (then again, I don’t drink that much young sheng).
Energy is strong though and I probably shouldn’t have tried this at 11pm.
I’ll mark this as 80 for now and I’ll revisit it over the weekend.
Flavors: Bitter Melon, Citrus Fruits, Citrus Zest, Fennel Seed, Grapefruit, Maple Syrup, Sugarcane
Nannuo sheng sold by Farmerleaf is not the most exciting tea, it is just very good. The clear highlight is its mouthfeel that’s among the most oily and smooth ones I’ve tried. Such a full bodied tea with no abrasiveness is a clear mark of quality material and processing.
The flavour profile is mostly sweet and floral with quite a lot of higher notes. Notes of cream, dry grass, thistles, pollen and alpine meadows appear throughout. Additionally, I picked up some fleeting aromas of orange zest, nuts and cooked leaf vegetables. There is a cooling aftertaste and a warming body sensation as well, neither of which makes the tea stand out in particular.
This is one of the best teas I can imagine as a young sheng introduction to newer tea drinkers.
Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Dry Grass, Floral, Flowers, Nutty, Orange Zest, Sweet, Thick, Vegetables
This is a nice sheng whose character is somewhat rustic, sweet and floral. In some sense it reminds me of a mixture of a more old school Yi Wu (especially in the aftertaste) and a Menghai area (Meng Song?) tea. At the same time, I also notice some similarity with Yunnanese green teas.
It has a thick buttery mouthfeel and a cha qi that is both energizing and very warming. It’s a good winter tea for such a young one and albeit sold out now, the price was very good too.
The aroma is predominately flowery and spicy with notes of bacon, thyme, and peppers. The taste is crisp, floral, and a little toasty with a bitter and nutty finish. Permeating the whole experience is a lasting molasses sweetness. In the aftertaste, it is complemented by a floral, mineral and tart flavours with notes of jasmine and rice water.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Flowers, Mineral, Molasses, Nutty, Pepper, Spicy, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Thyme
This tea displays a lot of gushu qualities – strong minerality, long-lasting, expansive aftertaste as well as a thick buttery mouthfeel – but it is generally very muted in flavour. As such, it is not one that would impress on the first date.
Aromas are classic and slightly skewed towards the greener side, they are mostly sweet and floral with hints of nuts, gasoline, and evergreen vegetation. The empty cup aroma is especially pungent, which manifests itself later on in the aftertaste dominating over the taste.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Mineral, Pear, Sweet, Thick
This tea from “greater Jingmai area” is light bodied with a very up-front floral but not perfumy character. I am not a big fan overall, but I do like its creeping, grounding cha qi that induces a great mind-clarity.
In the aroma, there are notes of light smoke, citrus zest, beef and focaccia. Taste is sweet and flowery with a milk note initially. Soon enough, a nice bitterness appears that has a tart and nutty backbone. The finish is buttery and the aftertaste vegetal, cooling and sweet with notes of olives and peach. Later on in the session there is also a hint of an interesting black pepper like taste and a more woody character overall. All in all, there is complexity, but I didn’t find the profile to be particularly enjoyable. The tea also doesn’t really last beyond 200 ml/g worth of infusions.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Black Pepper, Butter, Citrus Zest, Floral, Flowers, Meat, Milk, Nutty, Olives, Smoke, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal, Wood
This Ai Lao sheng sold by Farmerleaf is decent, albeit not spectacular. It has a green, burly leaves, a fairly well-balanced character, and a smooth mouthfeel.
The aroma is herbaceous and sweet with cooling forest notes, wet earth, walnut, hot hay, bone broth, celery and seaweed scents. Taste, on the other hand, is buttery, nutty, bitter and fragrant, followed by a very floral aftertaste. The aftertaste is kind of funny in a way. It feels like it should be sweet with its high floral fragrance and a sort of honey like character, but in fact it is more bitter than sweet.
Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Butter, Celery, Floral, Forest Floor, Honey, Nutty, Seaweed, Smooth, Walnut, Wet Earth
First sheng from Farmerleaf.
Of all the Jingmai sheng I’ve tried in the past few weeks, this is the most subtle. The dry leaf aroma is bright and fruity-floral-honey, much stronger than the liquor fragrance which is something close to osmanthus but savory-musky. The profile is light-bodied (becoming medium with longer, later steeps) and oily, very clean, highly mineral with a very active salty mouthfeel. At first it is soothing then plenty of young woody astringency and soft, cactus-like bitterness emerge. Fresh, golden straw glinting in the sun with mild orchid florals — this isn’t giving me a headache like other perfumed Jingmai. Quiet honey-orchid-brown sugar aftertaste. It takes a few steeps, but a stevia returning sweetness presents at my sinuses before emerging from deeper in my throat as brown sugar. Mildly menthol cooling in the chest.
I don’t want to fault this tea for anything, but the caffeine content is much too high for me. The energy is soothing at first until the caffeine kicks in and I become scattered and shakey. Otherwise, this is a fantastic, subtle tea. I’d love to experience the development of this tea over the years. I’d highly recommend Spring 2018 Jingmai Gulan to more experienced drinkers.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Floral, Green Wood, Honey, Menthol, Mineral, Orchid, Osmanthus, Salty, Straw, White Grapes
Using slightly under 8g for 120ml gaiwan. Flash rinse followed by 5s steep, +5s each infusion.
Warmed leaf smells like grape and grapefruit. Rinsed leaf smells like flowers and bitterness.
(Starting the session, getting used to the site). Just rinsed, letting the leaves rehydrate before doing the first steep
First steep is really good. Long lasting taste. Hint of bitterness that appears in the end.
I’m surprised that this first steep is so strong, the tea is already awake!
The second steep is fruitier. It reminds me of their flagship tea, the Jingmai Gulan. The sample has been well rested. Very enjoyable.
The leaves themselves are sturdy and good quality. I wish this was a cake instead of a sample.
Nice qi as well.
I have a cake of KingTeaMall’s LME and this one seems nicer. I think it is the “sweet” variety, compared to KTM’s bitter version.
The fifth steep is still going strong. There is a very strong cooling sensation on my tongue. The tea is very drying as well. I feel a little spacey by now.
Really great LME. The aftertaste lingers for so long. Great longevity!
Flavors: Grapefruit, Grapes
Easy-drinking with light, vibrant flavors and aroma. Delicate malt and florals with a fruity tone that leans citrus, like white grapefruit mixed with stonefruit. Tingly, never bitter or astringent. The fruit pops more when brewed around 200F versus boiling. Good for 2, maybe 3 steeps western. The spent leaves show the low oxidation with a palette of muted red, green and brown splotches. The leaf and bud usually destined for puerh production is healthy, thick and fuzzy. Thanks for the generous sample, Martin :)
Flavors: Citrusy, Floral, Grapefruit, Malt, Mineral, Stonefruit
Towards the second half of the session, this tea still gets quite astringent and watery, but the main sequence of infusions is more full bodied than before with a well-rounded profile and definitely less grassy character. I like it, especially given its price and the fact that I am generally not the biggest fan of Jingmai teas.
With my first Farmerleaf order, I got this mini cake for casual drinking. It delivers more or less what one would expect from a Jingmai plantation tea. It is tasty, pungent and not too complex with quite a floral profile. The aroma is green and grassy with notes of dandelion among other flowers. Taste-wise, I found the tea to have a good balance of umami, sweetness and bitterness. At this young age, it is still a bit grassy and a little salty. Mouthfeel is soft and drying, and I get a warming sensation spreading throughout the body after drinking.
Flavors: Bitter, Dandelion, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Salty, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Over the last year or so, the tea has really come into its own. It has a lot of character and pungency in early steeps especially and carries a slick, creamy texture throughout. The mouthfeel is indeed quite engaging, which is underscores by the mildly abrasive finish. To be honest, the astringency is very well in control though. Today, I found the tea to be quite upsetting to my stomach, which is not something I generally experience, so that’s something one may have to take into account when drinking it.
The dry leaf fragrance is meadow-like, while wet leaves smell of freshly cut grass, sea, banana, nuts, green beans, and just a touch of peat. Taste is sweet, floral, and juicy initially. There is a decent umami as well as a thyme-like herbaceous aspect to it. The sweet vegetal notes remind me of green bell peppers and sugar snap pea. Aftertaste is mineral with a good huigan to it.
It’s a nice autumn tea that reminds me a little bit of Mengku tea at times due to its crispness and the high floral notes. It also lasts for a while, today I got 250ml/g without really pushing it.
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp251kcTARY
Flavors: banana, Bitter, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Freshly Cut Grass, Green Beans, Green Bell Peppers, Herbaceous, Honey, Marine, Mineral, Nutty, Peas, Peat, Spicy, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Thick, Thyme, Umami, Vegetal
I rarely get to try a sheng this fresh, but after more than a month long journey from China to Ontario, I felt compelled to give it some time to rest and only broke into the cake I got today. Having been hit by a car while cycling earlier today (I came out lucky with no serious injuries), I won’t remember this day for the tea that’s for sure.
In any case, the tea didn’t leave a very strong impression on me in this first encounter of ours, I will try reserve my judgement though. It may need more time to show its true character. At the moment, it is quite crisp, grassy, sweet, and salty, with notes of seaweed and tropical fruits. The body is medium thick with a powdery and slightly astringent mouthfeel.
Flavors: banana, Grass, Green, Marine, Salty, Seaweed, Sweet, Tropical