2020 Essence of Tea Xu Jia Liang Zi
6.8g, 100 mL gaiwan, 212f, Brita filtered tap
dry leaf is dried sweet fruit
8s rinse
Wet leaf is a sweet and smoky honey, in the vein of a green oolong smell

6s: a light honeyed pea-like floral sweetness, with a dried minty edge in slight aftertaste, much like LP’s Bubble gum yesheng I had last week. Aftertaste transitions into a light honeyed taste as it fades

12s: a smoke light edge in the taste, with more prominent crisp crushed mint note that lingers on the tongue. Slight tingling in lower legs and warming in lower back. Leaves tongue sort of dry and teeth feeling oddly dry in that uncomfortable way when you bite into something too hot or too cold.

16s: that same sort of sharp smoky, but not quite bitter taste. Honeyed and rounded, again with the minty edge. Sort of a soapy floral in aftertaste, again reminiscent of LP’s bubble gum sheng.

Not sure if it’s the water, my storage, or brewing temp. or what, but I was expecting more from the reviews on EoT page. I’m not a huge fan so far, especially given sample $/g. Sample cost (96c/g) aside, I guess I haven’t drank as much young sheng as many Westerners into puer, but I’m curious what this will age into. Yeah yeah, me and everyone else. That said, I’m certainly not willing to gamble this kind of money on a cake that I don’t particularly like and would have to probably age 50 years in this climate (knock on wood) to see any changes, and I’m hardly sure we’ll even be around by then. I really need to hop into the heated storage game sooner or later… Anyway, as of current, I’m not sure if I’d agree with refined in the tea’s description, rather than boring. I do consider softer, gentler profiles “refined” in some instances, but this one just strikes me as boring.

30s: Ah, bitterness. Mint edge in aftertaste, which then fades into a lighter floral rounded taste. I would stop here, but I’m determined to get my money’s worth out of this session, whatever that means.

1 min: bitter and astringent. Minty edge in aftertaste. I changed my mind and will just accept this one as tuition and toss into thermos…

Overall: slight warming, some burps throughout. I’ll pass on this one. Even taking cost aside, I couldn’t see myself drinking through even a 200g cake of this (which at 71c/g is quite hard to argue for when you can buy very nice mid-aged boutique productions instead…). Had dinner beforehand as usual, and can’t seem to escape the later stomach pains after drinking young puer, even though it’s not like they feel particularly punchy to me. What happened to being young and invincible??! Doubtful.

Lots of off-topic rambling today. Anyway, in sum, tastes like an upgraded version of LP’s bubble gum yesheng. Wouldn’t buy more of either, though if you’ve tried one or the other, they’re very similar in my mind.

Edit 10/2: this was actually quite interesting from the thermos. There’s a very creamy aspect in the way of milk oolongs almost, but very fruity/floral otherwise. I never know if these unexpected things are normal or if it’s because it’s starting to go bad from being in the thermos for over 24 hours lol. I drank two mugs pretty quickly since I had to run off to something else, and started sweating suddenly on my forehead, so that aspect is retained in thermos. A short headache and then I felt like I was burning up for a few minutes. Probably won’t do that again. Still wouldn’t purchase a cake, but it’s been quite a while since thermos has yielded anything unexpected.

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while this site is mostly inactive, the organization and formatting is convenient to add notes without the hassle of making a blog. Yes, people leave reviews elsewhere, but it’s convenient to have them all in one place when you’re deciding whether to purchase. Tastes are subjective, but hobbies tend to be universally expensive and time consuming; tea is no exception. Learning as it relates to perception is largely individual and thus these reviews represent my own experience, but also are my small contribution to reducing inefficient blind buys (ahem, tuition, as it were) universally.

Mainly applies to puer, but is it maybe unfair to review a tea with one tasting? Sure. But I’m not made of money, so if a first impression is bad, then I have little reason to gamble on more.

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 lot of solid teas out there, so it’s hard to differentiate. I prefer reading mildly subjective reviews from others, over a very subjective numerical rating that gets skewed by Steepster’s calculating system anyway.

Not too into 红茶, too light or burnt-roasted oolongs, or gyokuro. Boiling or bust temp. crew, with few exceptions.

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