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Spring 2019 Wu Yi Shan Da Hong Pao
TL;DR: No, I didn’t buy this myself. And I’m glad I didn’t regift it, because this is a rather poor example of “quality” oolong.
212 f, Whole Foods distilled water roughly mixed (+-.005g for each ingredient) (consumer grade mg scales are finnicky) to Arby’s (Empirical tea) Simple Syrup water recipe.
Whole 8g packet
1x 5s rinse
dry leaf: smoke, and roasty, with caramel & dark chocolate notes, slight spices
wet leaf: sweet tinged smoke
5s: Bitter woody and slight medicinal. Something cinnamon-like, and edges/aftertaste is sweet then a slightly mint-edged vegetal. Brown sugar smell in empty cup.
5s: similar to before, with crisp edges & lightened bitterness.
7s: smoky, but lightened. Crushed mint & sugar finish per usual. A burp here and a couple later but I forget which steepings exactly. I won’t pretend to understand all the abstractions & nuances of cha qi, but this seems definitely impacted by the water, as this water was also bringing this reaction from a Chinese mini white tea shou mei cake/gifted by mom’s relative (not reviewed here as I’m too lazy to figure out the rest of the chinese on the label). Slight hint of dried fruit somewhere.
10s: similar, nothing exciting. Quite disappointing for the price tag. Far better teas out there for far cheaper.
18s: Nothing wrong w/ tea, but it has lightened significantly.
23s: Going to stop writing here. Poor longevity/performance downwards given how it’s dropped off thus far.
Based on the other two reviews here, there must’ve been a huge drop in quality vs. previous batches, or I just got horribly unlucky with a crappy pack. This is not a straight-up bad tea, but I refuse to believe that anyone sane is willing to shell out $28 for 8g of this more than once. It’s not that this tastes disgusting or whatever, but this is absolutely one of the worst performing oolongs I’ve ever steeped in terms of longevity, especially for something obviously not just lightly roasted, and has already been sitting for two years. Taste-wise, this is palatable, but not exceptional in a single way, be it mouthfeel, aroma, taste, aftertaste, or any other metric. The only reason I will probably remember this tea by is for how lame it was for the price. The numerical rating reflects my annoyance that I wasted my time mixing water for this tea and brewing this tea in particular, and since Steepster skews every rating to a high average anyway.
Shi feng xi hu Long jing
Though I normally prefer gongfu brewing for new teas, I cannot seem to gongfu brew a green tea properly, with most brews turning out too bitter or too weak, so I went grandpa for this. It’s also probably that I just don’t enjoy green teas that much and finished drinking it alongside dinner.
Water at 183-185f, Poland spring bottled water, 4g grandpa style in a ~500 mL glass. Poured water in and waited until the leaves sank to drink.
Dry leaves smell a bit nutty
Apparently it’s a thing that you should never drink “old” long jing, arbitrarily beyond one year. I get that it, like any other green tea, loses freshness particularly quick compared to other teas. But whatever, I drank this. I’ve never had any long jing before and this is probably the most expensive tea I’ve ever had (granted tea drunk’s pricing is ridiculous to say the least, $69 for 4g of 2019 longjing vs $17 for 4g 2018 LJ lol) and likely will have unless I decide on a far more lucrative career than what I plan for currently.
Brew smells like a toasty matcha. Very nutty.
Brews a light yellow, which from what I understand is a characteristic of any true long jing
Taste is lightly bitter upfront and then ends with a nice sweet aftertaste, and subsequent infusions were pretty bland. Overall not too impressed given the price. At this price, I would instead recommend a nice sheng, which if you’re judging just on aftertaste, shengs have some incredible ones.
I will give this a 70. It’s not that it’s a bad tea, even at 3 years old for a green (though that is likely why I didn’t feel a ton of depth). My issue is with inflated pricing (which is just basic economics and the nature of an incredibly sought after product), and what I feel are better options for what you’re paying.
Flavors: Bitter, Green, Nutty, Sweet
Savory, umami, slightly vegetal, earthy and woodsy notes in the background with dried fruit sweetness and dark chocolate-like bitterness in the finish.
Subdued complexity in the taste evocative of many non-distinct flavors that linger in the palate.
Weighty thick body with soft tannins and sticky mouthfeel that coats the mouth and stays long after the tea is swallowed.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Earth, Umami
Thick and supple with lots of floral notes of jasmine and orchid, simple sugar and sugarcane sweetness in the sides of the tongue that transform into slight bitter and mineral note at the back of the tongue but the sweetness returns soon after the tea is swallowed. long finish.
Intense and focused yet mellow and tender Sheng Pu from Nan Nuo Shan. Definitely recommended.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Jasmine, Sugarcane
Very aromatic with notes of jasmine, orchid and zesty citrus fragrance. Woodsy and very slight medicinal notes in the background. Medium bodied with buttery tannins and pleasant mouthfeel. elegant floral finish.
Flavors: Butter, Citrus Zest, Floral
Nicer than expected. Tea Drunk’s standard teaware was in poor shape, but the staff member was very kind and diligent about replenishing hot water in the kettle and bringing it over, making for a pretty relaxing brewing experience despite having to rinse the filter constantly. The soup was red and the scent was sweet. Was plenty tea drunk by the end.
song pairing: III. Rondo: Allegro | Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622 (Mozart) – Mark van de Wiel, London Chamber Orchestra
Got a 5 g sample of this in my mystery grab bag for the Chinese New Year.
It is incredible. The leaves are a vibrant green with the most delicate furry silver buds. Just on appearance alone I knew this would be a superior tea, doesn’t have the dry dead leaf look of some other Bai Mu Dans. It looks fresh and alive like a white tea should and it smelled floral and fragrant.
I brewed gongfu in a 120 ml gaiwan. The liquor was a beautiful bright yellow and had such an incredibly delicate velvety mouthfeel. It just felt so good so I let it linger there for a while. Very floral opener with an aftertaste of pure cane sugar. I felt like a kid sucking on a lollipop and I didn’t even have to get a shot. This is what I always imagined the Big Rock Candy Mountain would taste like.
All I can say is dreams do come true with places like Tea Drunk around.
I’m new to tea and this tea started the new obsession. I first enjoyed this in NYC when I visited Tea Drunk and did a tasting. It has an earthy, woodsy taste to start with nutmeg and roasted nuts behind it. There’s a very slight sweetness to it that reminds me of vanilla. I got about five steepings out of it. While I brewed this at 195, a little lower would probably be fine as the first steeping tasted a little bitter to me, but the second steeping tasted just as it had when it was served to me. Highly recommended. Tea Drunk’s price point is a bit high ($24/25g) so I may try this type from other vendors and see if it’s just NYC pricing or if that’s to be expected.
Flavors: Nutmeg, Oak, Roast Nuts, Vanilla
Most interesting. Tried the 2015 spring. I must say that after drinking mostly shou and hong cha for last 3 month its great to do a gongfu session with a superb Dan Cong. I mean I did try to make this several ways, grandpa and western style but it doesn’t do this tea service. This tea only can be drunk as a gongfu session, IMHO. Used a lot of leaf to a new celadon pot and went outside to brew and watch the bluebirds vie for nest boxes. The tea is of medium roast and gives a supple soup pumpkin in hue with medium viscosity. The first few steeps offer up the most intense floral honeysuckle and orange blossom flavors and aromas. Middle steeps send the florals into the background and a vegetal sweetness takes center stage akin to butternut squash. Next presence of minerality adding a bit of nuance during the later steeps. Overall not too lengthy, 8 steeps but that is just what it wanted me to have. Again if you have the bucks and really enjoy a bring it home gongfu session with Dan Cong , try any of Tea Drunk’s selection, they’re that good.
Just finishing this summer tea off, found in the back of the cabinet. Hasn’t lost any of its flavors at all, mild buttery spinach flavors, an alluring saltiness with a hint of sweet as it goes down. Zero astringency, sturdy enough for 4 resteeps, makes me long for the warmer weather.
This is the high end Ya Shi from TeaDrunk, nearly broke the bank but it’s well worth the price. Overtly fragrant with lychees, orange blossom honey, and a hint of smokiness. The soup is enrapturing with a mid level butteriness and then flavors of lychee fruit , magnolia and a slight sourness at the finish which is surprisingly inviting given all of the over the top sweet sensations that come before. If you have the cash this tea has the flavor.
Classic rock Shui Jin Gui, heads of aroma and flavors of plum abound, with a light roast. Steeped in Yixing 140ml pot, the flavors abated around the 8th with the rock appearing early. If you dont like Yancha because of the heaviness this tea will be a good alternative as its more light and airy.
Drinking this tea follows directly behind drinking Cha Ceremony’s ShuiXian.
I hesitated posting this review because 1. I’m tea drunk and cant really get my mind to analyze flavors like I want it too, 2. a dog chewed through the paper bag this tea comes in thus compromising the tea.
And yet on my first steep this tea left me too much in thought not to at least start a review.
The first thing that hit me about this tea was the smell. Now usually Shuixian is a bold foward tea, in the world of Yan Chas a good Shuixian’s body can only be rivaled by Tie Luo Han. So when I smelled this tea and noticed its soft complexity I was driven by a wonderuous curisosity to brew it up.
The aroma is defiantly floral. Oolongs as a category are floral, but this floralness is bold yet subtle. Confident yet quiet. Like a beautiful woman on the street who only needs to give you a small smile to solicit your full undivided attention. While that struck me, the lack of roastiness also caught my attention. I assume Shuixians to be very roasty, yet this one the roast also seems softer.
The first steep left me in silent ponder of what I had just tasted. The roast was much lighter than Im use to for Shuixian. But it is very inbalance with the rest of the tea, so it is not a flaw. The floralness is exactly as I smelled, beautifully quiet: like a masterful painting on the wall of a museum. If I wasnt inravelled enough in this tea, the finish was more complex than I think I have ever seen in a yan cha.
The lid of the second steep showed signs of a developing roastiness and body. (Did I accidently drink the rinse?). The flavor had deffiently developed. Here was the Shuixian flavor I knew. Bolder, a sturdier roast, with a mettalic-floralness that comes toward the back. Notes of fine ecspresso also showed themselves, but not too strongly, just enough to be reconize and enjoyed.
The tea is roasting in the front, but leaves a clean finish in the back. It leaves your mouth very refreshed with a bit of a come back sweetness.
Through the many steeps this tea, kept its character. It lasted a long time and showed very small flaws. (A touch of sourness here or there). The texture was good and I didnt detect any bitter or stinky green.
I always can tell if I like a tea by how much I drink it. Some teas even though objectively I know they are good, after a few pours I get stop drinking. This tea I kept brewing and kept focusing on. I paid more attention to this tea than any tea in the last few months.
Objectively: I like it
Subjectively: I like it
Positive points: Many
Flavors: Espresso, Floral, Metallic, Peach, Rosehips, Spices
Wu Dong is the top location of Feng Huang Shan, and it is probably one of the only types of Feng Huang Wulongs I truely Truely enjoy. My major dislike of Feng Huang comes from the personal opinion that they are all perfume aroma and nothing else. The low to mid quality ones tend to be a a little monotones too, one or two major characterstics and that’s it. When you get it from Wu Dong though, it is a different story.
A real Wu Dong wu long has a more controled aroma and boasts more complexity then your average wu dong, especially in the case of Bai Ye. Bai Ye is one of the most straight forward wulongs. It has a very strong peach aroma and is known for being one of the least complex. (For this reason it is usually the least desired and the cheepest).
Bai Ye from Wu Dong still has a very confident and clear peach aroma, but also buttery notes of flowers as well. While still not incredibly complex, the Bai Ye Wu Dong has a nice is just complex enough to be an enjoyable tea and simple enough to be drank causually without having to pay too much attention to enjoy it all. I highly recommending taste Tea Drunks Wu Dong and non Wu Dong Bai Ye side by side to really understand the importance of terroir and what it mean to be a Wu Dong wulong.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Peach
Another outstanding year for this jewel of a tea. Vegetal tones of asparagus and spinach with a hint of sweetness and smooth as silk on the tongue. Really top notch. Pricey but if you need to pamper yourself this is where to do it.
This tea is from 2015, and I have to say it is pretty solid. I am not really a fan of Phoenix Wu Longs. I find no great flaws in them, but they dont get me excited. I find them a little to perfumey and thin. I bought Tea Drunk’s Zhi Lan Xiang cause I knew the cultivar was a little stronger than other Feng Huangs.
This medium roasted tea is quite nice. With a medium body, I describe this tea as having a squash/pumpkin taste. The fact it is a feng huang does add a little bitterness and texture, but this compliments nicely with the simple full flavor.
I would probably rate this tea higher, but since I am not a feng huang fan my bias comes into play.
Flavors: Pumpkin, Roasted