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SOTD- sheng of the day

Got a new shipment in...

First up is this tea: http://teapals.com/collections/liubao/products/lss-si-rui-liubao-no-16

I thought it was pretty good, but it wasn't quite liubao-y. Background on the Si Rui stuff (produced 2001?) is that it's a distinct blend of Guangxi leaves with stuff from Vietnam, etc, due to Malaysian import restrictions on stuff from China. I think it had the obvious result in that the taste wasn't as thick as it should be with the characteristic liubao nuttiness and sort of fruitiness. Neither was the aroma. The tea did have a material warehouse character in the top taste, making for an awkward start. The soup wasn't that thick, and there is an odd, but light, bitterness and astringent feeling. Mostly smooth. As said, the taste wasn't that strong, a little more warehouse, spice-floral than usual. Has some tradition betel nut flavor, but not any wood or aged almond sweetness. Consistent transforms in mouth with a pleasant fruit finish through the session, though. Consistently cools the mouth as well. I think I felt a pretty good quality qi from this stuff, but I've had some cheap Dayi in the morning before the mail came in. So I'd need another try for verification. I'm not certain of the value proposition for this tea. At current currency rates, 150 ringgits is a shade under $40 for 200g. It's a touch on the expensive side, to me, and I'd want to explore more. Liubao definitely can get expensive--about $680/1kg of 2004 premium loose for example at a specialist Liubao shop. Still... that 2003 tuo that's almost all gone is much better, though much more bitter/astringent than this tea. However, that tea would cost more/g than this would. I would think that is is more of a complementary purchase along with a stash of more conventional liubao.
 
The next tea up is the 2014 Tedezhang 1000 year gushu.

Basic character is somewhat similar to the 2009 Essence of Tea's Wuliang Wild. Not quite sure they're that much the same. The dry leaf has a strong aroma of that sort of grapish honey. This is in the taste of the soup as well. Tedezhang's version is much more dominated by sweet flavors (notes of caramelized baked beans, for example) that are kind of simple, when the EoT Wuliang Wild has some potpourri floralness to it. Has a notable, and traditional to real yesheng, soft sour. There is no feeling of malt or othewise hongcha, but there isn't really any bitterness or astringency unless you seriously seriously overbrew, and even then, only a little. This doesn't seem to have as much qi as the Wuliang Wild, but it's less of a weird feeling. Just a subtle feeling of calm, some body warming in the beginning of the session. This has a slightly more than thin viscosity with a distinct oily texture to it. That texture assists in what is an aggressive aftertaste (in the earlier part of the session) that borders on medicial, with a taste sort of like how Ben-Gay smells. Very pungent aromatic oils that also leaves a sense of cooling. Subsequently, there is a long lasting aftertaste that's the same as the top taste. This does occasionally slow down my drinking. Doesn't really do any feeling in the throat or elsewhere gastronomically. Extremely durable, and easily makes twenty brews. I was sort of getting bored with the tea partway through, due to it's lack of real dynamicism, but it's pleasant enough to keep me brewing more cups. The finished leaves are quite leathery and pretty, much like the XZH Diangu stuff, and neater than Wuliang Wild and other such teas I've seen. This is more than a dollar a gram sort of material, though. At more than twice as expensive as the Wuliang Wild, this unusual tea would be a tough sell in my book. I like it, but that kind of money is better spent on premium Yiwus and the like.
 
Today it was the Bosch, found at White2tea.

I'm always thinking of macabre paintings and asking why that wrapper doesn't match the mood...

Overall, this tea had what I'd feel to be a Nannuo aesthetic, even though my ability to judge where things are from are pretty nil. Just what my feeling of "Nannuo" is. Sort of has this Menghai character with some tobacco florals, but also with some brown sugar character and fruits verging on apricot. The warning that this tea isn't really for novices rings true for me. The sort of character that you'd hope to find in a tea that's $238/400g is really only fairly subtly present, and it took me time to think this really is pretty good. In the beginning, I found that the top taste was rather delicate and generally sweet, with only a bit of tobacco florals to balance it out. It was complex in taste and it does linger. The aroma was also sweet/complex in initial brews, but dies down pretty quick after about four brews. This tea had a thick soup viscosity almost all the way through a long session. I didn't get much bitterness, and a little drying astringency. The most present fault was a degree of tart-bitter on occasion. Most of the action was in the mouth, but there wasn't a consistent effort in the throat. Occasionally, I'll get a huigan than, or some feeling down the throat. The qi was quite good and lasted throughout the session. Not super strong, but very present and made for relaxation, similar to yesterday's 1000 year gushu.

Some way in the session, I sort of compared this to the '09 XZH Pasha and the TU '13/'14 LBZ. Menghai teas with a broad flavored soup and fairly thick. I sort of got into the mentality that this was one of those..."nice" teas that didn't quite have guts. Bosch had more qi than the afore-mentioned teas, but the soup texture wasn't as stiff as either, and of course, both had stronger flavor than the Bosch. Bosch does outperform the LBZ in terms of being more interesting wrt complex taste. The Pasha is harder to drink because of greater bitterness, etc. However, it's fairly obvious how it will age. Bosch was something where I'm not quite sure what it would be like in seven years. And then there was all that money! I was like...well, I can easily find alternatives, like the 2012 Nannuo 100g bricks offered at Bana Tea Company for $61! A couple would only be $3 more, and I know that has qi, as well as stronger aromatic and taste character on account of it being more chopped. The remaining Sanhetang at Houde, etc, etc, etc. I understood it to be just the price of maocha and labor, and can easily see something reasonably similar at puer.sk for 2015 cakes is more expensive, but I was still like...you evidently can still buy some mid decade YQH at his e-teashop for under $200!

Anways, I just kept on drinking, again, much like with the Tedezhang yesterday, the length of the session and the enjoyment late was pretty convincing. This tea does very well past the eighth to tenth brew, and remains thick, sweet, qi, and a bit of complexity. When you're enjoying tea past the fifteenth brew, that suggests a substance to it that will not be eroded away. So I was pretty grudgingly accepting that this is pretty legit, even though it's not as obvious as 54-46 that's my number (which I got a bit more of). I assume that this is sort of a complement to the Tuhao as **** cake (did not get nor anticipate a sample of), which would have more fireworks. Again, not nonpareil and a bit further from it than 54-46, but it's honestly not chopped liver or a completely tame gushu. Definitely will have to pay more attention with my second half of my sample.
 
White2tea's 72Hours this time.

When I initially read the description, I had become curious as to what sort of blend that could have existed five years ago to be proven today. Some ways into the session, I became convinced that this is an attempt at stimulating a Bingdao, and my impression became constrained about that concept.

The first three or so brews had a somewhat generic young sheng taste and aroma. The tastes do linger, with cooling. Bitterness shows up and goes away, depending on cup. Citric bitter-tart is a more persistent issue. This tea generally also has drying astringency through the session. Anyways, some feel deep into the throat even in the beginning. The soup started out thick with some degree of stiffness (which declines even as the thickness continues on in perpetuity) and oiliness.

When the tea starts coming into its own, around the fourth brew or so, I get flavors that are dominated by various sorts of sugar, like brown sugar, caramel. I also got a kind of zucchini character. As the session gets more deep, orchid, conifers, spices also show up, like what you'd find from the Mengdai Bingdao sold at TU. The taste is long, with occasional turns to sweetness. The aroma also got more distinct along these lines, but sort of fades out by the eighth or so brew. This never was a high performer, soup aroma-wise. Don't let that fool you. Sniff the cups, gaiwan lids and the like. Smells definitely stick there, at least through about eight brews. What is high performance can be found in throat performance. A number of flavors were found there, with plenty of feeling there as well. This doesn't really last past ten brews or so, though.

In general, the qi is pretty strong and relaxing (occasionally some warming feeling), but it's not as consistent as the Bosch, and it sort of fades by the tenth brew. This tea does tire quicker than a real Bingdao would in terms of taste, qi, and aftertaste. The thickness of soup viscosity is remarkably durable, lasting well past twenty brews.

As far as aging? Can't say for sure (but more than Bosch)...Most high quality Northern tea develop honey flavors, and this is the sort of tea, I would prefer to evaluate at three years old and not fresh and new. What I think will happen is that it will develop more orchid and conifer character as well as honey and almonds character. More or less like the Mengdai Bingdao with more sweet flavors developing rather than being dominated by orchid, spice, conifers. This isn't really all that much like the Yunnan Sourcing Nanpozhai or Mushucha--those have more of a singular theme in a narrow taste-stage, never mind qi/aftertastes. Some of the taste/feeling in the throat was much like the Wisteria '04 and '05 Taihe even though top taste is radically different sour hay.

What about value? This is almost a dollar a gram. It'd be more than the Mengdai was, but the taste verges more satisfying to people with sweet-tooths, and there are plenty of those folks around. It also does a better job in the throat than the Mengdai, and the throat work is of the stuff it usually takes a lot of money to buy. Bingdao isn't really my thing so I'd never really be the greatest audience for its best attributes, so I'm not lusting after this. For those that do lust after teas like this, I'm inclined to think that it's a bad idea to buy just one cake. It's a blend, and it sounds like it's a complex blend. Such that there might be differences from session to session, never mind that you really need to wait some years for this tea to come to its own. I know that with putatively just two areas in it, the XZH Xishangmeishao tends to have very different sessions when it comes to taste. If you buy just one cake and are nibbling at it like once a year, it'd be a shame if you got a whack session. Much like the EoT Yunyun (and unlike the Bosch or 1000y gushu), this is more of a buy-a-kilo sort of tea. Which would be very expensive, around $900. The pain's gone when this tea's ready to drink, though, at least at the green end of the puerh life-cycle.
 
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To calibrate how I feel about 72Hours, I tried my new sample of 54-46 That's My Number.

72Hours is clearly the technical better tea, but I enjoyed the 54-46 quite a bit. It's gotten more denser and purer (with new floral touches) in the one year since production. So it's more coherent, a little more boring, and more consistently delivers sweet flavors than 72Hours. While 72Hours is thicker, 54-46 is more consistently smoother and stronger texture in its thickness, kind of oil-velvet. 72Hours has better qi, and both taper off at about the same rate. 54-46 has significantly better aromatic performance, though. Not much action in the throat, though there is aftertaste action in the mouth.

This session further illustrated to me that 72Hours is basically 20 meters behind the puerh start line. It's something of a waste to drink this new, in my mind, though others may disagree. And yes, much like with the EoT Yunyun and its smoke, etc, if you're going to have to wait before the first real test, you should pay yourself for that patience, and have lots of tea when it reaches the start line or whatever maturity level you want.

I also had a 2003 Liu An, not sure from where or who made it. It was okay. It had a thin taste that was a kind of a blend of chicory and cola, with some warehouse/liu an funk. There was also a sweetness that was unusual to me. The Ying Kee that was my singular previous experience was herbal, hay, slightly woody, so this liu an was different compared to my expectations. There was qi, and the soup was sort of thick, much like watery syrup.
 
2014 Tedezhang Guafengzhai. Could be this year's, but performs like year old tea.

Has a fairly typical Yiwu honey and floral taste and aroma. I thought I got a bit of how SampleTea's PuDi performs. It's not bitter and not particularly astringent. Decent thickness of soup. Around the first five brews, does a decent job of feeling going down the throat, and even does what my 2004 YQH does: a late, gentle rising floral huigan. This does have a tendency to be tart, and the tart and Yiwu fruitiness brought to mind JakubT's fear of dry stored red fruits.

This tea isn't durable, at least for the important parts. A decently solid flavor continues on( I did about eleven), but the apogee, around the third and fourth infusions, was markedly short. It was pretty high though, in the style of the EoT '14 GFZ offering, even if not quite as good. Thus, this tea mostly fits into a sort of gushu tier. Better than run-of-the-mill stuff, but not really all that promised land. I'm thinking of my previous experience of the TU 2012 GFZ, although that was more meaty, darker and herbly tasting, as well as durable, but wasn't as nice as this is, at its best.

tomorrow will be Last Thoughts 2015. And that will be all the new teas when that review is done, for now.
 
Last Thoughts '15 pretty much writes itself. It's basically of the same quality and behaves roughly the same.

The leaves are a bit bigger and darker than last year. The taste has little muscatel or fleshy florals like magnolia I found in last year's tea. Sweet flavors tend to be more like different sorts of brown or caramelized sugar. The core taste is darker and bassier Yiwu than last year. The aroma might be a bit stronger and more complex, but that just maybe because I enjoyed sniffing the first five to eight brews. It's pretty much the same otherwise, same qi, same aftertastes, ends active phase at around 8 brews and lasts around another eight to ten more.

Yeah, had I the money and the interest, this, like last year, meets the quality I'd be interested in buying. Of course, if I had bought last year, then I probably wouldn't buy this year.
 
Last Thoughts '15 pretty much writes itself. It's basically of the same quality and behaves roughly the same.

The leaves are a bit bigger and darker than last year. The taste has little muscatel or fleshy florals like magnolia I found in last year's tea. Sweet flavors tend to be more like different sorts of brown or caramelized sugar. The core taste is darker and bassier Yiwu than last year. The aroma might be a bit stronger and more complex, but that just maybe because I enjoyed sniffing the first five to eight brews. It's pretty much the same otherwise, same qi, same aftertastes, ends active phase at around 8 brews and lasts around another eight to ten more.

Yeah, had I the money and the interest, this, like last year, meets the quality I'd be interested in buying. Of course, if I had bought last year, then I probably wouldn't buy this year.
It would be really awesome if you snapped a picture of what it looks like... Your descriptions are good but pictures would be great
 
I don't have cameras or videocameras.

I got a surprise package of teas yesterday.

An unknown cake is dark and inside the cake has leaves with a little frost on it, so at least firmly warehoused. Not a super strong taste (certainly has warehouse taste early, though) or aroma. Thick soup. Bitter for something so humid. Basically behaves like a Lao Man'E. Does seem to have qi, maybe. Some sips definitely has some of that floral Menghai mouth aroma, and this floral-wood aftertaste is pleasant. Doesn't seem to do anything in throat, and not particularly lasting. The bitterness is lasting though. I felt sorry for the tea because humidity didn't really make it stop being bitter, and lost some aroma at the very least, not to mention warehouse taste. All in all, I didn't think this was a bad tea, and with about six months of storage here, could be pretty decent.

Today was Taochaju Mengsong '12. It had a basic Menghai flavor, with a thick soup. Wasn't really notable. Was a "nice" tea, except nice at a lower tier than, say '09 XZH Pasha. More like the '06 2nd Memorial, except that was a little more complex.

I also had Taochaju Yiwu '12. It wasn't a pleasant session. Very acid at start, and took time to become more mellow. Didn't help that I had some tulsi beforehand, which was still on my tastebuds. Fairly thin soup, and didn't hold my interest. I was mildly surprised, since I remember having been favorable to the tea back in 2012.
 
Tea of the last three days:

The overhumid cake that I thought was like Lao Man'E is a 2007 Bada. Has qi, some aftertaste, thick soup, and most of the funk is gone. Not that much different in sensibility from a younger, high quality Liu Bao. Very durable, will brew forever. Main weakness is that the taste is a little quiet. Shame about the humidity. It also makes a very stark contrast with a dry stored Douji Bada from the same year. Douji is simply a bad value proposition.

Yesterday was the taochaju Yiwu. Same reaction as before, so not the tulsi. Not a particularly good tea, say if you have the SampleTea PuDi as your "average quality Yiwu" band, this will fall beneath that, not only in the acidity, but also in the sense that the flavor and soup is thin. This stuff might be in a bad time, since the material is around the time that it's at its worst.

Today was Taochaju Mengsong. Perfectly good tea. Solid in all areas, no qi, and definitely will work as a quality everyday sort of thing.
 
"1997 Wild TeaTree Tea Brick" from Lau Yu Fat tea house in HK: The aroma is big and strong, and it smells like a Hualien '97, very soothing. The taste reminds me of the '97 Hualien too. It is big, bold, smokey, medium-bodied, and quite penetrating. It performs like a good Ban Zhang. It has been aging very well while at the same time it would take another 10, 15 years to enter its peak and could easily last another 30-50 years. The aftertaste is a gentle but lingering sweet. It would be a great drink in 15 years. And I think Hobbes had a review on it 3 years ago?
 
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Need to get back into sheng. Picked up a loose leaf 2006 shou, and I have a cake of something from 2011 that I think is shou. But I felt that sheng was more like drinking dirt over the shou, so maybe it's a palate thing.
 

ouch

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Amazing- this thread is seven years old and has 7,000 posts.

Take that, Tea Chat!
 
Read through the entire thread and realized that I should have gotten into sheng when I first started drinking loose leaf. Sounds like the prices went way up and I don't see a lot of new stock being carried by vendors. I also think sheng went up in price along with loose leaf once the Chinese started earning enough money to buy their own stuff.

Anyway, netsurfr is going to hook me up with a couple of sheng samplers.

In the meantime, I found a bag of raw mini tuochas from a trip to Remedy Teas in Seattle that have been lurking in my tea cabinet since... 2011. Time to start going through those, I guess - that's the SOTD until I get the samplers in.
 
Labor Day, so I treated myself to some nice Yangqinghao Gushu Chawang from 2006. First three brews were acidic, sort of like the 2012 Taochaju Yiwu, but not as bad. Viscosity was generally decent. The taste and aroma was on the lighter and more delicate side, typical of YQH. Durability, as far as I wanted to drink it, was very good. The tea had lots of sweet flavors and sensate sweetness through most of the session, and was active in the mouth out past fifteen brews to twenty. Lots of throat feeling, but early session throat huigan had no flavor/aroma. Qi is still extremely strong. A cup past fifteen was still drunk for mouth coating sweetness and good qi. It was a pretty good session, even if the top taste wasn't as layered as it could be. Last Thoughts, XZH Yiwu Chawang both have stronger taste, the XZH have more thickness and texture, however, the YQH can be more complex in taste, and definitely has stronger qi.
 
Did four more brews of '06 YQH. Still going, with really good qi, so put it back into the fridge to see if more can be wrung out tomorrow.
 
Okay...uh, Houde's put on the 2005 Shuangjiang Mengku Mushucha. There are two pressings, and people seem to prefer the October pressing to the April pressing.

Anyways, this is a fairly famous tea, and people try to sell the fall pressing (which is not necessarily actually autumn material), for over $400 in China. So it's interesting that Houde's selling cakes for $72. However, it's interesting to keep in mind that Houde bought this tea when it was totally fresh in 2005. They would have been $5, $8 a cake in 2005? Be worth it for some of you all who know they like their decade aged Mengku to sample this pretty soon.

A page you'll have to translate from French, but it includes a review of this tea. http://www.puerh.fr/en/article/da_xue_shan_its_terroirs_and_its_teas.htm
 
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