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Recent Tasting Notes
Wet leaves: dried apricots and smoke.
Aroma: something soapy reminds me of a swimming pool. Hay, dried fruits. Delicate.
Liquor: smooth, a bit too weak despite the 45sec infusion (leaves are thighly compressed)
Aroma: dry fruits, leather, hay.
Liquor still on the delicate side.
This tea opens up very slowly.
This time it gets interesting. Liquor has a nice presence, good balance of savory/sweet. The body is medium thin and gives me a peculiar feeling. Slightly drying, delicate aftertaste.
Aroma is muted and malty. Leans towards fruits rather than flowers.
Liquor is medium dry, enjoyable astringency and light bitterness.
Aftertaste lingers in the throat.
Body feeling: it’s telling my brain to stop working.
Still black tea maltiness. I need to increase steepings times or leaves ratio. Some numbing in the side of the tongue. Aftertaste: bittersweet hay.
After this the tea gets stronger, drier, spicier. Vanilla. Very mineral and drying astringency.
It’s really interesting how the session evolves, however I’m not so excited by this experience.
After 8-9 infusions the tea is still strong. There’s not much sweetness but a very strong astringency. Aroma: earthy/mushrooms.
On the website it says “experimental”, but to my beginner tastebuds feels actually very familiar and not so exciting. The way this tea is advertised gave me more expectations.
Aroma is strong and fresh: fermented yellow fruits/steamed vegetables/flowers/forest floor followed by mushrooms. Very vegetal and slightly bitter Huigan that glues to the roof of the mouth.
The texture feels similar to melted ice. Maybe this will change with more resting.
Qi is medium strong and slows me down. Enjoyable.
It gets more cooling as the session goes on. Freshly cut grass. Honey and cooked apples towards the 8th steep.
Very sweet overall, with an easily controllable astringency and a slight bitterness on the tip of the tongue. Reminds me a bit of Bosch 2021, but less intense and dynamic.
This is going to be an inherently flawed review due to the course of time over which it took place, but I’m posting it anyway for my own benefit, though it’s unlikely that I’ll be buying any more of this tea in particular. I started my first “real” 9-5 internship this summer (remote internships last summer cannot fully replicate the intensity of this) and it’s been far busier than I anticipated. Adult working life is no joke. I don’t have time to steep multiple infusions when I wake up and before work, and when I get back from work, I’m too tired or can’t have any more caffeine since it’d impact my already shoddy sleep quality. Weekends aren’t even particularly carefree, because there’s always things that seem to come up, and it’s hard to pass up rare moments to spend quality time with friends that just don’t happen over the course of the semesters, plus meal prep, etc. etc. I can’t pick random moments during the day to steep and write out notes because the lunch break timing is not really flexible. During the school year, I can pick my own times to take breaks, and everyone is too busy to hang out with anyway, so I can be a grouchy hermit and make tea while frantically completing readings (or pushing the readings until day before test or never).
Anyway, naive complaints about adjusting to adulting aside, onto the notes.
Both 6.5g, 100 mL gaiwan, 212f, 5s initial rinse
The first was with Whole Foods 365 spring water, the second with Whole Foods 365 distilled water, mixed with the Simple Syrup recipe from Arby from Empirical Tea. I tried my best, but consumer grade milligram scales are imperfect (I used grains setting and converted, since mine only does .001g sensitivity, so for one gallon, it was .225g baking soda instead of .221g, .1419g Epsom salt instead of .1415g, .046g gypsum salt instead of .0457g, and .100g instead of .0996g. I added 5 drops of silica, but TDS didn’t change (overall, landed at 83-85 ppm).
As I noted before, I’ve been sort of overwhelmed so both reviews took place over several days. I will note dates in each portion.
dry leaf dried fruit smell
wet leaf: strong dried fruit w/ light hint of smoke
5s: lightly bland upfront, then full on fruity sweetness that fills the mouth and lingers slightly before dissipating. A touch of smoke that fades. A burp that’s maybe qi, maybe something else. Not really sure. I always remember reading from Max Falkowitz’s pieces before about the best teas making you burp as a manifestation of qi, and I’ve only had that happen out of the teas I’ve tried before with this and YQH Jinhao Chawang (lost the tasting notes I did before unfortunately, but will review the next time I steep the sample). Even with Jinhao Chawang, there was burps interspersed throughout, but no other manifestations of what other people seem to experience with qi, which feels a bit lame, but I guess it is what it is.
7s: stronger taste upfront. Aftertaste reminds me of those dried round haw flakes that I had a lot as a kid + classic dried fruit profile with a hit of sugar. Can feel a bit of heat in my back, but it’s also summer and 80F in my dorm room not sure if that’s the tea. A burp.
12s: An initial hint of bitter that turns into sweetness from before. Still heavy on the sugar aftertaste (yes, like straight sugar). Dried fruit profile beyond initial touch of bitterness. slightly drying in mouth and on tongue.
6.29: whoops. Let it sit a few days. 13s: a light smoke, with restrained sweetness lurking. I also had a sweet porridge beforehand, so can’t pick up as much. But there’s a bit of drying on cheeks, even as sweetness surrounds. Still strong raw sugar note. A burp.
20s: strong. wow. A hit of lurking bitterness surfaces. More of the dried fruit mixed in.
Drying continues. slight florals as well, then sugar. A burp. Some sweating on the way to work, but also very hot out, so who knows.
6.30: Aided in a mix of Poland spring bottled water since I ran out of the WF spring water.
16s: A light smoky bitter at the edges of dried fruits. A burp.
23s: something almost cherry-like amidst everything else. A burp. Initially a strong touch of bitter, but the sweetness and rest come through after.
20s: lightening in taste. something like dried fruit/cherries w/o the edge from before. A burp. Some drying and sugar aftertaste.
7.3: Not sure how relevant this review is anymore, but will continue.
25s: soft in a medicinal sort of way upfront that transitions onto a strong note with something sharp & sugar cubes in aftertaste. drying on tongue.
28s: Not too strong of flavor upfront, but aftertaste of sugar cubes as usual. something lightly of smokey dried berries in the taste initially.
30s: Almost immediately sweet upfront with a touch of smoke. Something in aftertaste is getting softer, almost cotton-candy like in a way. A touch of bitterness.
33s: starting to fade out. Nothing too notable w/r/t changes. A burp.
355. Much lightened. Still a light sugar in aftertaste, refreshing.
45s: tossing into thermos since nothing particular to note anymore. Maybe a sour sort of fruit peel edge, with some sugar in ending, but that’s it. A burp.
thermos overnight: warm & buttery initially, with undertones of an edge. classic thermos puer grainy profile, but that may have been influenced by my thermos.
with Arby’s Simple Syrup water:
My original intention was to do a direct comparison, but I didn’t realize how busy I’d be overall, and didn’t complete either review as I would’ve liked.
dry leaf still very fruity in the aged dried sheng sort of way.
wet leaf smells fairly smoky initially, then dried berries smell. Tight compression on the piece of sample, so maybe will take longer to show
7s: Notably better texture, but not sure if that’s from the added silica. Similarly bland start as before, then something w/touch of fruit & apple peel turning into sugar-cubes aftertaste. May be too early to say, but not drying like steeps of this tea later last time. A burp.
10s: light smoky smell in gaiwan + lid. Sort of bland upfront, then sugary aftertaste that isn’t necessary
stronger than before, but seems to fill mouth more, in addition to not having drying feel of before. Also something of steamed vegetables in aftertaste. 2 burps.
15s: A light smoky vegetal. Similar sugar to aftertaste, but not as crisp. A more rounded sort of taste. something lightly herbal that escapes quickly. Dried berries.
several hours later: 20s: something sort of sharp upfront that quickly turns into sugary aftertaste. 2 burps.
23s: Quick hit of astringency and bitterness. Dried berries + something medicinal that lingers slightly. Sugary aftertaste present, but lighter. Some hint of sour, along w/ slight cool feeling in throat. Sugary aftertaste turns into something akin to mint maybe grassy. A burp.
28s: sharp + strong! turns into familiar sugar aftertaste. Something mint somewhere. Slightly drying on tongue, but that recedes fairly quick. 2 burps.
25s: smoky dried fruit. A hint of mint somewhere. Similar aftertaste to before, but mint on aftertaste. 2 burps.
30s: something like a honey-coated bitter, with edges of mint & crushed sugar, that goes from taste to lingering after. A burp.
33s: light bitter that recedes quickly. Ending edges are crisp sugar of before. 2 burps.
36g: young Sheng & warm w/ hints or spice taste that goes to sweet aftertaste
7/12: not that I should’ve been as surprised as I was, but the leaves had mold this morning when I remembered to get back to this. I would’ve liked to finish up the second review, but unfortunately will be unable to as I don’t think I’d purchase more of this. I will have to do more steepings with the Simple Syrup water recipe, but I have mixed thoughts on it. It definitely affected this tea, but in a way that sort of declawed the cat, so to speak. My parents don’t like me having too much young sheng (or any sheng, really) since they’re into all the TCM stuff, but imo, some of this tea’s charm lies in showcasing its edges juxtaposed to the crushed sugar cubes in the aftertaste. Simple Syrup brought out some different facets, but I don’t know if I’d necessarily prefer it against the original steeping.
First Impressions: Nutty, vegetal, savory, promising. Peculiar aroma with nuances of something new to me.
After the first sip
At first penetrating foresty aromas. Leather, wood, barnyard, undergrowth, and cooling/medicinal feeling.
The liquor is thick and coating, mineral. Not very aggressive, feels smooth and complex, leaving an interesting aftertaste in the throath difficult to define. Lingering cacao notes. The aftertaste changes and evolves in the next 10 minutes, inducing saliva.
This is a strong and serious drink. I think of a cold and confident middle age man. I think of a deodorant.
As the session goes on it gets more drying, herbal and bitter. The aftertaste doesn’t leaves me alone.
At first the tea was polite, but now is showing his true nature of asshole.
After 6/7 steeps I decide to take a break, as my mouth is dry and the tea is strong.
The qi is slowing me down a lot, giving some numbness but I wouldn’t say relaxing.
After the break is hay/herbal/minty/cooling (I’m not a big fan of mint/camphor/excessive cooling). Lost the bite, still has a good presence in the mouth.
Another that I had over my vacation on a virtual tea hangout. I’ve not tried the first Bosch before, from years back, but I know it’s very well loved so I simply had to try this one. I didn’t take notes since I was focused on conversation, but I really enjoyed it. I didn’t feel like there was much going on in terms of flavour – the steeps were rather soft in taste but with a more “grizzly” and hearty texture. As I sipped over the course of the six or seven steeps before the leaf was spent, I noticed that I started to feel very calm and relaxed.
It was a really interesting session for me as someone who doesn’t tend to focus much on the “body feeling” of tea – I put a lot of weight on taste and then just a little on texture. That makes sense, I guess, because professionally taste is just a huge part of my job. I just really appreciated how this one really made me stop and take notice of some of the things that I don’t typically fixate on in my session.
The 7g mini cake is very dry looking and unusually powdery, I think there’s something wrong here.
After a rinse it crumbles and opens quickly revealing loads of tea particles, powder and tiny fragments of leaves. The first step is cloudy, fruity, with dominating astringency and bitterness. Peach aroma. I immediately get a stimulating and unnerving feeling, plus some mental slowness.
the second flash steep is dark orange, cloudy and overwhelmingly bitter. Undrinkable. I remove some leaves from the gaiwan, and I throw the second steep down the sink.
Actually I don’t feel like keep drinking this, now is basically a brownish tea paste. Taste and aroma are harsh and confused. Disgusting.
I’d like to try the real thing one day.
Enjoying some of the best plums I’ve had in a looonnggg while with this evening session of tea!! I find this black tea already has some lovely smooth medium bodied notes of stonefruit so this tea and fruit pairing is a pretty natural compliment! Stacking my infusions tonight, and I’m getting some lovely amber honey, malt, and dark cocoa notes as well with hints of something woodier in the undertone and finish. Pretty relaxing, casual session – AKA nice way to end the weekend and the vacation I’ve been on.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ckt_SPTk5A&ab_channel=LUMP
Had this on my last day of cat sitting yesterday – the apartment I was going to had this glorious glass tile window up the stairwell that captivated me every day I was there so I decided to pick a tea on my last day visiting that I thought would fit with the ambiance of the window, and personally I think I nailed it!
It’s very soft and sweet with a gentle floral note that reminds me of elderflower or peony. Also not sure if it was intentional or not but there’s something about this tea that just reminds me of cool, clean and crisp sweet smell before a thunderstorm. Pretty fitting for a tea named Umbrella, no!? Having this tea session here, with the light reflecting through the window, reminds me of being underwater and that combined with the notes of sweet rain and Spring florals is just ultra relaxing!
Wow!! I was excited to try this tea — and it proved to be excellent!! The first several steepings which I steeped for 5 seconds + 5 every steep opened like a white tea in some ways— the taste of honey and vanilla was very strong and the aroma was wonderful very sweet—reminded me of a a berry hookah—the tea liquor was varying hues of gold from a bold gold to darker hue as I steeped on— the later steepings became to taste more of that Black tea floral/sweetness—more of a dry feeling on the tongue—overall a tea that I could steep and steep and steep and enjoy each time I sip!! Highly recommend !!
PS- my scrolls for the brew time and temp are wonky so I will say here I had my water at boiling which at my elevation here in Colorado is at 205 degrees F! And so far I’ve steeped the tea in 5s + 5s more per steep 10 times; it’s on its way out but I’m thinking I can get a few more solid steeps out of it!! I do not feel yea drunk at all or jittery which happens to me with some teas— I just feel awake and clear!
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vanilla
The hot leaves smell like sweet apricot/mango/tropical. Intense. As they cool I get more mushrooms.
Full, sweet and unripe. Very fruity. Intense. Wet leaves give me almost an alcoholic feeling.
Wet leaves: more hay and mushrooms. Good astringency and increased spiciness. Delicate huigan. White grapes. My head starts to slow down.
For now this reminds me of “boundless 2020 by EOT”.
Something tells me this tea needs to rest and mature a bit.
Sweet mushrooms aroma, then parfume/apricot as the leaves cool down.
Liquor is very sweet, slightly Cooling. A lot of unripe grapes. A sort of parfumey quality.
Not so intense. Delicate but persistent huigan. Mind numbness.
Aroma: strong apricot/perfume. Mushroomness is gone.
Liquor evolved showing different qualities: thicker body and very intense. More astringent and spicy. Drying. Strong fruity huigan in the throat and back of the month.
Aroma: peach, fermentation, flowers.
Swallowing the liquor gives me an interesting feedback.
Sweetness astringency and bitterness are all well integrated. It’s a bit drying and feels rough in the throat.
Spicy mushrooms are back. It’s interesting how the aroma keeps changing.
I feel nervous and stoned at the same time.
Melted ice fruity sweet pepper spicyness. Still going strong.
Now I’m picking up more honey.
Starting to lose intensity and introducing a more sharp astringency.
I feel a strong tension in my chest.
1 minute infusion.
A new sourness appears. Everything feels sharper.
I may have to stop as my anxiety is getting worse.
Much stronger honey. Milder and honeyed liquor.
Mild sweet honey.
The tea is still strong, but his character changed completely from the beginning. Mushroom-honey soup.
Many Shu I tried felt too “hollow” but this one has a real soul. It’s rich and bitter in a good way. A round, friendly bitterness (at least for me). I want to say dark chocolate but I hate when people say that. Digestive. Strong presence, long lasting aftertaste. Very good durability. Not super complex.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Cacao, Earth, Hazelnut, Walnut, Wood
My reviews on this site are generally supposed to be mindful reflections of my tea sessions, or what I remember of them weeks later. I would not consider myself particularly discerning of tasting notes and the like. When I feel like it, I’ll try to jot down the specifics. Other times, I’ll simply write hay and call it a day.
Edit: Oh, well, actually, darn, I do have something else to say: I enjoyed the Simpsons reference on the wrapper.
June w2t club. Did you know I haven’t tried grandpa style brewing until now? Was excited to try something from my first tea subscription and was caught without my teaware. Well I enjoyed it. Real barny. Bit smoky too. Ya know, I have a very specific scene in mind with this tea. Hot summer evening, barnyard, animals laying about, active campfire nearby. Rainstorm plows through suddenly, animals get wet, fire extinguished, and it’s coooool. Anyhow, we’ll see how it’s like next time with gong fu brewing, especially once it settles some more.
Don’t remember the parameters I used, probably 8g to 100 mL, but I didn’t take specific notes because I only went through a few infusions and was not impressed (disclaimer: I don’t drink a ton of shou and personally lean towards lighter profiles). Classic shou profile, the only thing I remember is a distinctly herbal note at some point. Would not repurchase.
At first an intense aroma from the wet leaves: leather, wood, vanilla, dried fruits.
Then something more like clay… soil… fermentation… I don’t know.
The liquor is very tasty from the first steep. I immediately get a wobbling qi rising in my head from the back of my neck. My heart beats faster. My brain is slowly freezing. I sit still observing, and I stop taking notes.
Few hours later:
The tea is good. It gave me some kind of focused/stoned feeling, without making me nervous like other stuff does. This was a quite meditative tea session, strong teas like this demands attention. Flavours and aromas were good but not so defined or remarkable (I had just one session). The liquor was nicely thick with a medium-long aftertaste. There was some sharp bitterness but not overwhelming.
I stopped after 11 infusions, with a 3 minutes steeping. Taste was flatter and I was full. Did I miss something?
How cute is that wrapper, and when paired with a name like Little Walk?
My cousin got married this past weekend, so a lot of the family was in town. My oldest younger sister and I were pretty much glued to each other for her few days out here. I spent the first five years of her life growing up with her; the bond is undeniably there but due to various reasons, we hadn’t really talked to each other in our adult lives until the wedding.
Way to make my heart swell, white2tea. This makes me feel so happy to have experienced those formative years with my sister and to have reconnected with her so many years later.
The tea — the artwork pairs so well with what this tea is — simple and pure. At first the taste is very sweet yellow beany and feels very cool in the mouth. Strong, sweet milky-vegetal aftertaste. Some flowery bitterness moves in and also some green woody-mineral astringency, enough to let you know what sheng pu’er is about. There’s a kind of bright apricot tone that uplifts the sweet beaniness. About 4 infusions in, I got bored but kept pressing to see how it would go. Turns out his tea does have some longevity.
If Little Walk were still available, it would be my #1 recommendation for those new to sheng pu’er. It hits on everything I’d expect to find in sheng without either getting smacked in the face or left searching for something — cleanliness, sweetness, bitterness, astringency, structured mouthfeel, cooling huigan, an aftertaste strong enough to easily notice.
Thank you White Antlers, and a special thank you to mrmopar, too, since I know well the unique handwriting on the label ;)
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Beany, Bitter, Caramel, Citrus, Flowers, Green Wood, Lemon, Milk, Mineral, Mushrooms, Pine, Stewed Fruits, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vegetal