2015 Gao Jia Shan "Ben Se Ju" Tian Jian Tea of Hunan

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Caramel, Coconut, Coffee, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood, Cocoa, Earth, Smoke, Tea, Chocolate, Fruity, Round, Spices, Thick, Sour, Bell Pepper, Mineral, Umami, Camphor, Char, Honey, Perfume, Pine, Pleasantly Sour, Sugar
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Edit tea info Last updated by Yunnan Sourcing
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205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 oz / 127 ml

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From Yunnan Sourcing

This is from the Gao Jia Mountain area of Hunan. This is wild tea picked in April then processed over a period of two months undergoing multiple low temperature roastings. The result is a Tian Jian tea that resembles a Wu Yi oolong in many respects. The taste is incredibly thick and complex. There is no smokiness or peaty tastes like many other Tian Jian.

The leaves are full and range from medium to large (compared to other Tian Jian). It’s not a graded tea, it’s a very natural oolong style picking where the maturity of the leaves and buds are individually decided upon by the picker (yes… hand-picked).

You can purchase this tea in a 1 kilogram basket or in lesser quantities. Ideally if you plan to age this tea (and I do recommend aging some if you have th resources) it would be good to age in the basket.

Vintage: Spring 2015 harvest
Area: Gao Jia Mountain in Hunan Province


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18 Tasting Notes

2238 tasting notes


From Dark Matter 2016. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but it wasn’t what I got! For some reason, I had it pegged as either a pu’erh or oolong, but it actually reminds me most of Laoshan black. It brews up surprisingly light – a sort of golden amber – but it has flavour in spades. Straight off, it’s dark chocolate and cocoa; not bitter, but slightly drying. The mid-sip adds a flavour I can only describe as charcoal, but it’s not smoky or particularly earthy. The end of the sip lifts a little in terms of sweetness, with a lightly malty, baked bread kind of vibe. Only slightly, though.

It’s another I’d be happy to drink all day, and I can tell it’s going to be a great resteeper!

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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144 tasting notes

I am so enamored with the aroma on this. When I first opened it I was met with prominent notes of dark chocolate and hints of charcoal, but now it’s dark chocolate with black cherry!

True to its description, it looks and tastes like a complex wuyi, only that its storage and aging methods are much more straight forward. There is good body and mouthfeel here. It has a crisp and refreshing texture that is thirst quenching. Lots of dark fruity notes (plums, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries) dominate this one with cherrywood, dark chocolate, and high-end coffee grounds in the background.

It’s a no-brainer to brew, as well. Steeps are pretty consistent and peter out at 9 or 10 (maybe more) if the initial infusions are flash steeps and the last go over 2 mins. I just ordered 100 grams more, but now regret I didn’t the 250g bag. Unfortunately, I don’t have budget for an entire basket. :(


I might bite in to this one after that sample you gave me. I swear it smelled like Zheng Xiang with the chocolate but more ‘oolong’ mineral and just a hint of that ‘this is heicha’ wood. But the tea itself was a lot more complex than that. specially when the darker notes leaves and you are almost drinking a raw puer out of the blue. lol


It’s a very interesting one. The most recent session revealed many unexpected flavors—I could even pickup that sheng pu gasoline. I’m leaving the bag open now to observe how it changes. Try a few more sessions, and if you’re still interested, we could split a larger order.


I think this stuff is great. Every time ended up with a different experience .

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101 tasting notes

I’ve managed to come out of this with almost no notes. I can tell you what this tea is not: It is not bitter or astringent or smokey. It doesn’t brew up very dark. It doesn’t get super earthy or really anything for that matter.

It is however very pleasant to sip one while reading. It’s subtle and I can’t decide if it’s the sort of subtle that I shouldn’t bother with or the sort that I should keep around for peaceful mornings.

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1113 tasting notes

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107 tasting notes

Shortest review ever: yancha cocoa puffs. mmmmmmmm

Liquid Proust

I decided to make one shorter than yours!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


I loved this one as well, short steeps worked best. I found the cha qi very energizing and lively! I will definitely be purchasing some, though probably not a whole basket.


Rich: I bought another 50g. I haven’t even tried the other Tian Jians from the dark matter buy yet!


Yeah, I think this one is unique. I believe the other ones are more damp and possibly smoky.

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485 tasting notes

From Dark Matter 2016. These heichas are very interesting. They seem to change flavors almost every steep. I used 5.1g in a 100mL gaiwan with boiled water – steeps of 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60s, 90s.

The dry leaves had a kind of coconut sweetness aroma. The wet leaf smelled like a caramel or coconut latte to me, which was surprising.

First steep had an odd flavor, almost tasted chemically at first, but I also detected notes of coconut and vegetal notes, as well as a creamy texture and a light coffee-like bitterness. Next steep mostly vegetal and coconut flavors. Started to get some woody notes in the next steep. Steep number four was pretty different, some floral and caramel notes in there – decently sweet. Woodiness stayed throughout the rest of the session as well as some floral flavors. As with the other heicha I tasted from Dark Matter, it got a little odd tasting in the last couple steeps, tasted like oversteeped flowers or something. Glad that Dark Matter included these heichas, as I might not have ever tried this type of tea otherwise. Thanks LiquidProust!

Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, Coffee, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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57 tasting notes

Had nice session of this over the weekend and shared it with my wife.

The problem is that she gets done with tea much sooner than I do, but I can’t drink a whole session’s worth of 300mL steepings. I think next time I’ll go with a smaller brewing vessel and do two steeps at a time for the cha hai.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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11 tasting notes

This one took me a minute to wrap my head around . . . as a relatively new tea drinker, there were no obvious flavors that I could put a finger on. However, the complexity of the flavor is what made it enjoyable and intriguing. I found shorter steeps to be better . . . There is a hint of smokiness, it is very warming and almost feels filling due to the rich flavors. Brewed gong fu cha style, I don’t think I steeped it more than 20 seconds at any point. It evolves a lot over multiple infusions. There is quite a bit of savory-sweetness lurking in this tea!

Flavors: Round, Smoke, Spices, Thick

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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400 tasting notes

Dark Matter 2016

I started on this tea last night, but after the third cup, I wasn’t feeling it. I’ve been drinking it on and off today, but for whatever reason, it’s nothing that I’ll write home about. It IS good, but nothing that I’ve wanted to drink. The mouthfeel is pretty sour; with a touch of something else that I can’t think of….That’s all I’ve got.

Flavors: Sour

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55 tasting notes

I was not expecting this tea (from the Dark Matter group buy) to be so light in color when steeped. I thought about letting it steep longer (a minute isn’t very long, after all) since it’s a lightish amber-yellow but then I tasted it and realized it had plenty of flavor already.

On my second sip, it started to remind me of Laoshan black tea, which I think is because of the cocoa notes. I can detect a somewhat oolong-ish fragrance as well, but I don’t think I would have identified it as that if the website hadn’t mentioned it. It’s not bitter, and has just a bit of astringency. It’s a different flavor combination than any I’ve tried before, I think. It’s quite interesting and good, though I haven’t made up my mind as to whether it’s a favorite or not yet.

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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