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Recent Tasting Notes
1st impressions: As I’ve come to expect fom Moychay shu, there area a high number of stems mixed in with relatively cheap material. Smell – Nuo Mi Xiang (sticky rice herb); Taste – Bakery, nutty, woody, not sweet. They claim it doesn’t have Nuo Mi Xiang added to it, but there are obvious notes of it and a fair number of leaves that are not camellia sinensis.
Drink down: Decent texture, think enough to notice. Not terribly sweet, which is a nice change for shu. I am not opposed to sticky rice herb in shu. I don’t always want that profile, but it is enjoyable occasionally. I find it works better to go lighter on the leaf and I wish I had done that now. It is a bit overpowering.
Final thoughts: Dark, thick, rich. Cheap at ~$18 for 357mg (2021). If you dig the sticky rice herb thing and don’t mind the less complex shu it is paired with, this is a great buy. As for me, I don’t like the profile enough to merit keeping a cake around, but am happy with the chunk I’ll keep in storage.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Graham Cracker, Nutmeg, Nutty, Rice
Final Anhua heicha sample from Moychay. I’ve not had all of them, but all the ones that interested me. This looks like an inoculated heicha rather than natural jin hua formation.
1st impressions: The tea smells of tart berries with a woody background. The raspberry ketone note takes the lead on flavor. There is a synthetic like character to it (but this compound does occur naturally). The is also some apple skin like things happening in the background. There is also an off putting green bitterness in the background.
Drink down: The more I drink this the more I think of the skin of red delicious apples. That pithy, dry herbal, fruitiness. Brews up pretty dark. Nothing of note for the texture. A little mouth drying. No real body feeling. Not very energizing.
Pretty meh. Apple peels. The more you brew it, the more that sums the tea up.
Flavors: Apple Skins
2018 material/2020 pressing of supposedly Menghai material. (I say supposedly because, well… I wasn’t there)
1st impressions: Wet leaves at start smell of bakery notes and a bit of fruitiness. A fair bit of cedar woodiness (pencil shavings). After a rinse, the first brew is still kinda cloudy, but looks like it’ll clear up. Bright and sweet on the tip of the tongue with some good bitterness coming in on the back of the tongue. The cherry wood and background bitterness are the primary notes of the first run.
Drink down: The bitterness turned into a nice dark chocolate note. Overall the flavor it good for a dark choc/cherry wood type shu, but I wish it was filled out a bit more. Some nice spice notes are present in the middle steeps. The leaves are pretty chopped/broken up. There is some blending going on with different levels of fermentation and leaf size.
Final thoughts: At $22 for 357mg, this would make an excellent daily drinker. I may buy a cake to break up and mix with some chenpi I’m aging. The texture is decently oily. It brews out for an average number of times for shu (longer than most Moychay teas I’ve had). It is missing some of the creaminess or fully woodiness that I’d like, but its ok. Sweet up front with some bitterness.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cedar, Cherry Wood, Dark Chocolate, Earth
Grabbed a sample without looking at its description. No idea what I’m getting into here.
1st impression: Aroma is on the earthy/bakery side of ripe. Some vanilla and roots. Something sharp in the background. It brews really light to start. First thing I get is an earth medicinal root character. Think unsweetened root beer, but with forest floor. Kinda weak on the brew. going to have to push it more.
Drinking thoughts: Pushing it gives it a hint of bitterness and leather. No big changes. Very little in the way of flavor on this one. The texture is at least ok. I bit oily. There are FuZhuan levels of stems in this cake. No discernable body effects.
Negatives: Bland, weird sharp metallic note in the background, very meh. Positives: Inoffensive, oily/lubricating texture.
I’ve had this sample in my pumidor for 2 weeks, which has been enough to shrug off the jet lag for other samples. Going to stash this one away for a few more weeks and see if anything change.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth
1st impressions: Still pretty cloudy after 2 rinses. Smells like shu, vanilla, earth, wood, slight fruit. Taste: first thing I noticed was bitterness. Was not expecting that. Some vanilla and wood, but mainly the bitterness. Really unusual for shu in my experience. At least not with out it being advertised as a major selling point. I dig it.
Thoughts while drinking: Definitely a blend of both lighter and darker fermentation and from tippy buds to broad leaf and stems. Thin texture for shu, but that has been my experience with all bitter shus. The cloudiness clears out a bit after the third steep, but it also starts to lose power. It keeps that woody aroma with the infamous pencil shavings (virginia cedar) aroma developing as it brews out. The bitterness settles down a bit by the 4/5th steep (I stacked them) but remains the main appeal for me.
Overall, a nice cheap option for bitter shus. Not pure Lao Man E bitter bitter, but that same kind of bitter. The cedar notes really take over in the later half and the vanilla never really comes through in the taste. I dig this one. I hope the bitterness doesn’t fade too much with age as I’ll be buying a cake of this to throw in in storage.
Flavors: Bitter, Cedar, Earth, Mineral, Wet Wood
1st impressions: Not dark, but not green. Middle fermentation. The wet leaves smell autumnal, but with caramel, honey, minty, citrus, berries. Really mild flavor. Kinda thin texture, not a lot of jin hua, some cooling sensations rising in my throat. The Sprite like lemon/lime flavor is interesting.
Drinking it down:
The notes on their webpage mentions “oak moss” and that is a kinda esoteric note to bring up. I have dabbled in perfumery and can pick that out in here, but I just thought it was an odd thing to mention.
The cooling citrus thing is really different from the usual warm dark profile I expect with fu bricks. The texture did thicken up. The berry note seems to be headed to a cherry wood flavor. Really a solid summertime tea. Fruity, sweet, and light.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Mint, Wood
Unusual. These are really big, burly leaves with some really light colored/green leaves mixed in. Herbal, seaweed, roast, cherry, dark. The seaweed hits first followed by an herbal, woody, autumnal dark flavor. The aftertaste is that cherry candy aftertaste.
Not sure how I feel on this one. I think the seaweed/green flavor will fade as will the gnarly roast. The cherry hints at some future sweetness. Right now it is not a profile I enjoy. It is interesting and complex, but not for me.
Also, some sooty(?) dirty stuff floating around that doesn’t seem to full wash out.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cherry, Herbaceous, Roasted, Seaweed
Another Greener Fu brick from Moychay. Some mold, but not as much as many of their other Fu’s.
1st impression: It is very much a green Hunan heicha. Fruity, a bit herbal, decent texture. This is the first time I’ve really understood the “apple skin” note others have referenced. Where most of these bring a raspberry note, it really does come across more like apple in this one.
Drinking it down: More honey, herbal, and woody notes come out with further steeps. The apple skin note did eventually move toward raspberry ketone. Really easy drinking. No astringency of bitterness. Slightly mouth drying and lively texture.
I’ll be really interested to try Moychay’s puers. So far all of their heicha leans on the woody/fruity notes with a distinct bent toward a sore note. This doesn’t have that sour character, but otherwise feels very Moychay. I dig this one. I may pick up a larger amount of this to see how it ages.
Flavors: Apple Skins, Cherry, Fruity, Herbs, Honey, Raspberry, Wood
First impression: Oh boy. What have I gotten myself into. The aroma coming off every part, the leaves, the liquid, the cup, smell strongly of wet, fungal, dank, basements. The first sips: Wow I didn’t know something could taste exactly like a moldy basement. Exactly.
Toward the end of the session: lots of camphor/cooling sensations at the back of my throat. That pervasive mustiness sticks around the whole time. Not really my kind of thing. I also found some mineral sweetness, dried herbs, wet wood, and forest floor flavors, but that basement profile stays in command. The texture is kinda thin, which I’m finding is the case with many of the Moychay samples I bought. No astringency or bitterness.
Flavors: Camphor, Forest Floor, Herbaceous, Musty, Wet Wood
First impression: Dry leaves smell rich with cocoa and roast. Wet leaf aroma, sour citrus cocoa, herbal, rubber, grains. Taste: Punchy, Aggressive, Light bitterness, a little sourness. That cocoa & rubber really carry over to the taste.
Further thoughts: I’m not familiar with young liuan. I thought it would have to have some power if it was to age for 20+years. Turns out that that is the case. The dark notes are delightful and will likely become the predominate flavor. I can only assume the sourness and rubber tastes will settle down at some point.
Good texture. A little astringency. Brews fast and strong. Cooling sensation in my throat. Pressure felt at my temples. Not great on my empty stomach. Overall I enjoy it. I only bought a 50g sample, but may pick up an additional one and see how it ages in my home storage.
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Peat, Sour
1st impression: Roasted, caramel, grain, dried fruit. Not very sweet for a fu. Balanced woody, grainy profile. Tastes like tea, so some hong cha/black tea notes. Plenty of fungus, dark leaves. look and taste roasted. This also have the beginnings of an aged aroma/taste.
Final impressions: Some mushroom, deep forest, and mineral flavors developed. This has definitely seen some humidity. If not in storage, in processing. It brews up dark, but thin. Bright minerals take over pretty quickly.
The more I drink Moychay teas, the more I’m getting a feel for their preferred profile. Every tea I’ve had from them leans woody, with a slight sourness on the finish. That may be from their storage. They profess to store their tea in around 50%rh and 20-30C with plenty of air flow. Pretty dry for these “born-wet” teas.
Flavors: Forest Floor, Grain, Mineral
First impression: Caramel, Smoke, Raspberry ketone, Cherry Wood, Peppercorn. This isn’t labeled as a fu brick, but it is loaded with jin hua right to the edge of the brick. The aroma is absolutely wonderful. Good roasted depth. Lots of up front sweetness. Very fruity. Slightly cooling in the mouth/throat. The caramelized sweetness is really nice. Cherry wood in the aftertaste.
I dig it. I thought I would as soon as I smelled the wet leaves. A really solid sweet fruity fu brick. For ~$0.06/g it is a good bet .
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Raspberry, Roasted
First impression: Nutty, Cocoa, Berry, Mineral, Basement aroma. This is very much a cooked/ripe liu bao. It brews up dark from the start. Strong minerals, with a cocoa bitterness in the background. Warming. Comfortable.
Getting into it: Wet leaves smell of earth, melon, berries, & cocoa. Bitterness ramps up with additional steeps as the brew gets darker. I’m left with a wet rock taste lingering after the cup is empty. Little astringency. Really not much to note on texture. There is no indication of this tea’s age, but it seems pretty young. Moychay’s storage is also really dry/cool so I can anticipate this tea will largely stay this way.
Not really complex. Strong mineral taste. Easy going. I won’t be buying more of this, as I have a fair bit of tea in the area already, but if you are looking for a tea that really screams “minerals” grabbing a sample wouldn’t be a mistake.
Flavors: Earth, Wet Rocks
Free sample thrown in with my order.
First impression: Tomato, celery, malt. A little fruit with a punch of veggie umami. Not terribly sweet, but some mineral sweetness. A sourness I’ve not experienced in black tea before. I assume from the gaba processing.
2nd take: Wet leaves smell of malt and a sharp floral. Liquid smells of citrus, pine, and malt. And a not unpleasant odor that reminds me of working maintenance in college dorms, but not sure what that is. Texture thickened up a bit. Taste is less vegetal. Lingering sour taste on the sides of my tongue.
If you do not like your black tea sweet, this might be up your alley. If you are sensitive to the gaba effects, this might bee of interest. It is not for me.
I’m pretty skeptical of this due to it’s price. I’m hoping what I got is at least wuyi adjacent. and for this review that is going to be my assumption. This is pretty generic for this kind of tea. Medium/light roast as is relative to my experience with these teas. Good buttery roast aroma. Kinda thin brew. The characteristic mineral sweetness.
Edit: The aroma of the wet leaves: Habanero. This is the only place I’ve ever experienced this smell away from the burning sensation.
Nothing exceptional. Solid daily drinker for when I want to step away from the funky stuff.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Wet Rocks
50g portion purchased 2021.
4.7g in 90ml gaiwan. Boiling water.
Very green Fu Brick, but plenty of fungus in my sample. These Hunan green hei chas frequently have avery fresh wood/raspberry character. This one is no different. Raspberry ketone sweetness, dry wood, autumnal (but dry). No really bitterness. A little drying . Oily texture. Not a lot of base notes. Very inoffensive for a tea covered in mold.
Not sure I’d recommend this tea. It depends. If you’ve never had a Hunan green brick hei cha, I’d say this is a great example for really cheap. If you are an experienced Fu cha drinker, this isn’t terribly special.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cedar, Raspberry, Wood
So my review this morning of the Thai red naturally prompted this one of the Thai green. It is essentially the same slightly scruffy material, now processed as a green, a style
which it wears far less awkwardly than the red.
Warm dry leaf is sweet and grassy like a biluochun or maofeng.
In the review on the red I touched upon the subject of my tap water, which leans towards reasonable for most teas. Except ‘fine’ greens, which it can simply destroy whilst amplifying the fertilizer up to 11. So for an everyday green tea I look for something not too fragile. This Thai securely passes the mark. I didn’t really manage to carry the warm fragrance over into the first few cups, but neither did they carry anything of a bitter edge, so perhaps I could have pushed it some more.
Subsequent steepings, as you have it, take on a bolder green profile, where this particular tea leans towards the earthy rather than the grassy notes of a maofeng. This time I don’t have to be poetic to say that it reminds me of an African green tea. And somehow (and that’s not only confirmation bias) I did expect that from the description.
Once more I can’t really judge the old tree thing, but I can see how this could be made into sheng pu erh as well, so once more I regret not to have a sample of that. I would be interested to compare the bitters: this one has that clarity that is par to the course for a green, and I just wonder whether the sheng has that kind of cigarette-y bend to it that I have come to associate with that style.
Overall, enough to chew on.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet, Warm Grass
In my order from moychay.nl the two largest bags were 50 grams of Thai red and Thai green.
I was stupid enough not to have ordered a sample of the Thai loose sheng variant as well;
and I have yet to sample the Thai green.
The inflated bag size is due to the large and unruly leaf shape, which is essentially as advertised. The hot dry leaf gave off a complex aroma which at that point I could not readily pick apart, but it must have been a mix of the bag note, which is indeed apple-y, and the wet leaf note, which after some effort I pinpointed to be (Dutch) beef stew.
It was evident that my water absorbed some high notes as usual, rendering the apple
note nonexistent in most steepings, which leaves me no other option than to describe
the flavour as if it were a half-and-half mix of black tea and bone broth.
So. It is once again confirmed that tea can come in any flavour save garlic and onion (although this one came close).
And it can get away with it, perhaps due to not actually being greasy. So if I had to sell this tea, I would perhaps have opted to describe the experience as “a very evident terroir vaguely reminescent of African green tea, but ultimately transcending any comparison”.
Meat issues aside I can’t say that there is anything that struck me as confirming the “old trees” label, but then again neither was the price. Not very much in the way of Qi.
Overall judgement: sympathetically different, though slightly too different to really recommend in general. Looking forward to compare it to the green.
Flavors: Apple, Broth
oops… took me so long to get around to reviewing this tea that it’s now sold out, but here goes.
Unsmoked xiao zhong is one of my very favorite kinds of tea, I find it easy to enjoy in all kinds of situations and with all kinds of brewing methods, and this one didn’t disappoint. It was less sweet than I expected, with more of a refreshing pine-needle flavor. Not much texture, but much more subtle and complex flavor than I was expecting for the price.
I really have no idea what the description means by “Xiaozhong technology”. is it a reference to the cultivar? the processing method? we may never know.
Flavors: Maple Syrup, Pine
This is the first time I’ve had either a GABA tea or a tea grown in Russia, so I don’t really have any expectations going in. This is apparently a red tea but it almost seems more like a heavily oxidized oolong to me. The wet leaves are a pretty bronze color with an enticing smell of berries and chocolate.
The tea itself tastes ‘brighter’ than I would have expected, a strong fruity flavor with a smooth texture. There’s an odd tangyness that I haven’t come across in black tea, reminds me of pineapple juice. Overall it’s almost too fruity for me, but a nice change once in a while.
Flavors: Black Currant, Cranberry, Pineapple
This tea brought back a surprisingly strong memory of planting tomato starters in little jars full of potting soil with my dad – the not-unpleasant smell of dirt with a hint of fresh green things. Intensely earthy with a little bit of bittersweetness and a viscous texture, just the thing to round off a heavy meal. I’m not sure I would have liked this when I first started drinking shou, but the taste has grown on me and at this point it’s downright comforting.
Flavors: Black Currant, Forest Floor, Wet Earth