255 Tasting Notes

drank 1999 Cangmi by Yang Qing Hao
255 tasting notes

Finishing random sample bags.

2 rinses for tight compression. Somewhat choppy material, at least for the sample. 7.2g/90/212

1. Yang storage, bitter herbal, honey. Some floral (overstepped chrysanthemum tisane?) aspect to aftertaste in throat
2. Similar but more pronounced bitter. Some warming and downing feeling in face
3. Woody bitter. Warming in face

Did fourth and fifth long distracted steeps, but not too interesting otherwise.


This is one I’ll remember for being my first YQH tea but ultimately it wasn’t very memorable.


The great majority of the YQHs are not especially memorable, but all the ones I’ve tried and own are Yang-stored. I wonder if ones stored by others are faring better?

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7.1g/100 mL duanni/212. Brita filtered tap.

in all fairness, my sample may just be dried out, but it tasted like wood chips and yee on’s basement. very little of the other notes hinted at in the description. I’ll reassess later when I remember, but atm would take any of the TWL old liu baos over this.

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drank 2003 Zi Pin 紫聘 by Wistaria
255 tasting notes

6.2g/90 mL ZZZ teapot/212f.

Bought this as a sample from LP a few years ago and finally brought it back after visiting home for the weekend as a consolation prize after I was unable to locate my Naked Yiwu cake in the mess of boxes. Was more than a little upset to open it and see that the sample was comprised of a small bing hole segment and leaf bits (very choppy after brewing), so I’m not sure if this was from a cake or the tuocha.

Having this after trying the 2015 Lishan Gongcha was a mistake, but my friend was very gracious about it. LSGC didn’t shine as much as it could’ve (my fault), but frankly this tasted downright terrible (not my fault) compared to LSGC. If this was my intro to puer, I would probably not try it again, or at the very least, avoid it for a good while. Friend mentioned a jujube-like (sans the sweetness) note, but for me the storage note, smoke, and a strong sour taste were dominant. What Mattcha describes as “pond water” doesn’t seem too far off. Wisps of sweetness and floral in one of the later steeps, but I didn’t push too much towards the end. Texture was good throughout. Stilling feeling, and strong heating towards face, and also slightly in arms and chest. Guess the nice thing here is the feeling, even though it looks like from my previous note from my cake that the taste here could be far better.

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drank 2015 Lishan Gongcha by Biyun Hao
255 tasting notes

5.6g/90mL/212f in a gaiwan, Brita filtered tap.

Drank this with a lunch guest back to back with Zipin. A mistake, though my friend was a very good sport about it lol. Have had bad reflux symptoms more and more lately, so have had to stick to lighter meals and avoid tea for the most part.

Anyway, the tea was nice, but punchier than expected. I had a poor frame of reference for this going in I think, since most things I choose to drink in the limited time I have for longer sessions are things with some age (mostly >15 yrs+), so I didn’t expect this to taste quite so young. Lingering floral, apricot, and licorice notes, and a trailing string of bitterness throughout from brewing with too heavy of a hand, most likely. Stopped at around 5 steeps, but could’ve continued a bit longer. Wisp of smoke on the wet leaf at some point. Dried leaves after steeping were still very floral.

Some quieting and a burst of warmth that gave way to cooling. Friend didn’t think of it as warming at all though, so maybe just something for me.

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5.7g, 140mL tokoname teapot, poland spring water.

160f, 30s: toasty, sweet pea, corn
176s, 15s, then 30s: honey, light floral, sharper green tea taste
185f, 1 min: stewed taste

Who drinks green tea 2 years after harvest and expects anything from it? Oops. I opened this to try with a friend at the time two summers ago, and forgot about it until I was looking through old boxes last night. I can see wisps of what this might have been at the time, but it’s definitely not living up to what I paid for it at the time any more and justifiably so, lol. I didn’t have the self control to not participate in tea buy korea this year, but this might be the first in several years since I’ve been drinking tea that I will not buy any greens given multiple bags of pricey green teas from years past haunting me…


Thanks for reminding me to drink the Korean green tea I bought last year!

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6.3/90/212 zzz teapot.

dry: bread, raisins, roast

1st (prob 30s or so… much too long for this tea): bitter, stewed leaf

2nd (5s): mineral in upper throat, bland otherwise

3, 4, 5 (all ~10s): stewed bitter taste

cold: something plastic-like, not particularly pleasant. bitterness, and then some chocolate hovering in background.

bought this a few years ago and didn’t get around to trying until today. I need to branch out with my drinking more since lately indecision paralysis of sorts has been hitting with too many teas to try on my backlog. overall quite disappointing. Have heard this one is better at higher ratio. Will also need to be more mindful of steep times, since even though it’s not as green as some of the OWT ones, still not roasted enough to handle overly long steeps.

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5/90/212. late night spin with the zhaozhuang zhuni teapot from TWL since it came in last weekend but I didn’t have a chance to use it then. smelled great, basically some candy, maybe peachy in a way. Taste is the candied peach and bitter edged minty note. Aftertaste/mouth coat is very fleeting. lasted maybe 2 flash steeps and another 2 brief steeps max before turning into stew water. Enough to scratch an itch, but not interesting so at .13c/g, it’s fine.

This is one of those things I’m very glad I didn’t buy large amounts of several years down the line (though I paid more than my fair share of tuition because I’m stupid). Looking at old notes, I have no idea why I was thermosing everything 2 years ago, no wonder my stomach rotted for a good year or so before I was able to come back…

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wet: berries, smoke, sweet

2 flash rinses, since the small chunks were very compressed.

1st: barnyard and musk in aroma. minty bitter taste upfront, but something floral about it. Quite smoky and strong, and a BBQ note, as well as a sour note. Calming, but not overwhelming… yet.

2nd: BBQ, sour in taste, floral aftertaste

3rd: similar

4th: smoky, woody, meaty

mugged after since I was distracted. Overall not super comfortable to drink yet, imo. energy is activating rather than downing, and some age will help smoothen out the edges. bought a sample from Hou De since I wasn’t sure I wanted to cake blind at $550 a pop (450g). The 2001 8653 at TWL is $385 for a 357g cake, and the 2001 iron Zhongcha (not official XG, 310g) is $290. I’ve heard good things about the iron zhongcha, and at ~30% premium for this cake compared to that I couldn’t really spring.

edit to add pic of wet leaf (not sure why it looks so green in the uploaded pic. IRL is a little more orange-ish red on the edges of some leaves, and then more of a camo brown green, indicative of some aging and heat, but still having a ways to go): https://imgur.com/a/jc1i1eC

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suspect that my sample is dried out a bit, as this session fell a little short of expectations taste-wise, but feeling seemed present and more or less intact? Overall dominant taste was of oversteeped hongcha. Strangely subtle in terms of slowing. Usually teas that are slowing feel sedative, but this one I didn’t realize time was slipping until I looked at the clock and suddenly it was almost two hours later.

Was very compressed, so after the first rinse I let it steam in the gaiwan and then picked apart the leaves and rinsed again. Wet leaf had notes of incense, smoke, and sour berries.

1st: malt and honey. some feeling in face.
2nd: bitter and smoky. concentrated fruit on tip of tongue. Softly pausing and slowing. cooling in breath, extending to throat.
3rd: taste is similar. numbing on palate like mala peppercorns. deep breathing.
4th: fruit in throat.
5th: floral aspect to taste and something bright on the tongue reminiscent of some cabs I’ve had recently.

Capped the session here. Maybe will steep it out tomorrow, or just thermos the rest depending on how I feel.

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drank 1990s Baolan Liubao by Teas We Like
255 tasting notes

I have had this several times both thermos’d and gongfu. I also mugged it once but the extra heat helps, so I moved it to thermos. It’s simple, but really satisfying and I generally get 3-5 good steeps and then move it to a thermos to drink at work the day after. I can’t recall another tea I’ve ever been drawn to brewing several weekends in a row. It doesn’t command a lot of attention or effort, but is still nice, and I guess that’s what I’ve been after lately. Taste is clean, w/ some woody, medicinal notes, and on one occasion reminding me of mung bean. Warming and calming. If it was cheaper, I’d buy enough to make it last forever…

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Just a chronicle of a stranger’s tea journey. Keeping old notes up to see progression, but no longer really believe in all of them. Trying to learn!!

As of 4/21/21, I will no longer assign numerical ratings to a tea unless it is terrible enough to warrant one. There are a fair amount of solid teas out there, and reading mildly subjective reviews from others > very subjective numerical rating that gets skewed by Steepster’s calculating system anyway.



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