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SOTD- sheng of the day

Last tea from EoT, the Yibang Small Trees...

This one is pretty simple, it's like the old trees in that it's a bit deeper than the usual Yibang, with sugar/caramel/breakfast cereal (like Cheerios) aroma and taste. It's not very dynamic, but it is durable. The tea is as bitter as the old tree and maybe a touch more so. It doesn't really have much aftertaste, but does have a little cooling. The viscosity is medium and does have some drying astringency. The tea is a touch hard to drink early on, but later long infusions are enjoyable. No/little qi.

Definitely not something I'd buy, but it's reasonably tasty. These last two teas have also got me on just how bitter Yibang can be, as opposed to Youle or Manzhuan.
 
Last night I compared the two Mengsong teas from the August White2Tea monthly club. The age of the trees was not specified, but one would be considered qiaomu and the other gushu.

The young tree tea was processed a bit heavier, I really enjoyed the flavour of this one a lot actually. The description says it might be a bit harsh, but I didn't think so. Got some caffeine, but no qi or other body sensations that I noticed. Still, I would enjoy something like this as a daily drinker for when you want sheng, but are short on time or still need to get stuff done that day.

I didn't brew the qiaomu to exhaustion, as it didn't seem like it was going to change anymore, and I was excited to get to the older tree tea,

Well one sip of the older tree tea and my state of mind immediately changed. Noticable qi. The aroma on this was was definitely better than the aroma on the qiaomu. I don't really drink sheng for the aroma, but it was an interesting difference between the two. According to Paul, this tea should be smoother than the other in both early and later steeps. I actually managed to get much more bitterness and astringency out of the second tea. Lingering aftertate, long lasting drying sensation on the sides of the mouth. While I noticed caffeine in the first tea, and qi in the second, it might be worth mentioning that I started drinking this at 8:00pm, and happily stayed up till 4am doing nothing in particular. So perhaps the second tea was heavier on caffeine than I noticed as well. I drink sheng every night and am not usually affected by caffeine, maybe two teas was excessive though.
 
2015 Last Thoughts

Last Thoughts has a lot going on. Flavour wise it was quite subtle and light, but paying attention to the tea was very rewarding. I could still feel the tea on my tongue a couple of hours after drinking it. The qi made me almost euphoric for a short while, which is not something I usually experience when drinking tea. Very interesting.

I only have a 25g sample of the 2015, as the cakes sold out before I tried my sample after resting it a while.
I do have a 2014 cake - bought it blind without sampling, as it was the last one Paul was selling. This is the least year 2Dog will be pressing Last Thoughts for whatever reason. So if you do want a 2016 cake. I'd get to it sooner rather than later.

I'll have to get around to putting in a W2T sample soon. Have orders from some vendors I haven't tried before en route - Tea Urchin and Bitterleaf Teas.
 
sample package came in, so did two teas today...

The first tea was a retaste of the Essence of Tea Wuliang B. This try went a little better, but my opinion hasn't really changed. What it does well is mouthfeel. It also has some qi, of mediocre or lower quality. Aroma is decent. The taste has a consistent degree of sourness in the earlier brews. Top taste tends to be vegetal-chocolate sensibility. Does generate some fruity aftertastes in mouth, and earlier brews definitely has some interest complexity. Somewhat cooling. This blands out rather quickly, and one should lengthen brewtimes with a heavy hand, which does produce at least a couple of nice cups. In general, I feel that this tea is from semi-domesticated trees, and has some awkward edges to it. It's not bad, but it's something you add a cake of to a large order, and you just sort of have fun with it over the years with offbeat puerh sessions.

The second tea was the white2tea Untitled02. In short, my estimation is that this is somewhat wild tree Lao Man'E from an unusually high elevation. It has real similarities to the TeaUrchin '14 Lao Man'e. I easily spot the main weakness, in that compared to that tea, the top taste is not as rich. Early brews was a very generic northern bulang taste, similar to Theasophie '14 Bulang. It's a little less thick than the TU (or the YQH Tiancang), but it does have a very nice texture that feels light, fluffy, and pillowy. The big advantage compared to both the TU and YQH is that it has a lot of qi for a Lao Man'e (in the modern era, of course), and more of a deeply penetrating aftertaste. That qi isn't super high quality--in general this tea does have some of that wild tea medicinalness, and the bitterness is odd, on top of the usual persistent Lao Man'e bitterness. The earliest brews had some interesting things going on with that bitterness, such as a sort of liquorice style conversion to sweetness. The mouth also felt like there was a lot of active ingredients in those early brews as well. The aftertaste isn't hugely exciting, but there was more of it and deeper in the throat than Lao Man'e (LME usually is more complex than LBZ, but more dark and much less sweetness in top taste, and not nearly as good aftertastes) usually tends to do. The finished leaves are big, tough, and very pretty.

I think this is pretty good. If this actually is lao man'e, then it's among the best I've had. Arguably equal to the YQH Tiancang, which is richer tasting, but not as good qi. I think...picking a similarly priced tea, that were I to decide between Untitled02 and 72 Hours, I'd pick the 72 Hours because it's a more refined experience. This would be a hard choice, though, with Untitled02 having more of a dramatic aging possibility. I suppose the tea is worth the money. You don't have a choice about getting very high quality Menghai tea. It's either this or YQH, putting aside pu-erh.sk naka/bulang mannuo/mengsong/hekei in the roughly Tuhao as **** quality range.

I hear the Treachery of Storytelling is good, though.
 
The first tea today was the 2006 Yangqinghao WushangMiaopin. I had more or less a great time with it. The primary weakness of this tea is that the fun is over over at around the ninth or tenth brew. It does keep on brewing relatively thick low register tea, but nothing interesting as long as you want to, though. The best part of the tea is how good a job it does in generating aftertastes in the throat, with many fruity yuns and a few pungent huigans. After getting rid of the YQH storage character, the aroma was fairly dynamic until the tea started giving out at around the sixth or seventh brew. It started from deeper wood and storage notes, rises to chocolate notes, to honey tones, to more of a high outright fruit note. They'd be wood, soil, fruit secondary notes. The soup taste generally followed the aroma. Earlier brews had a consistent, but unobjectionable sour plumminess. The wood note, by the way, is kind of aromatic and sweet in a very slightly fruit way, like cherry wood. The tastes aren't dramatic and there is generally only a bit of sweet honey or fruit flavor. Later infusion definitely had a spice character, like nutmeg, and like nutmeg, this tea had a pronounced tendency to numb the tongue. The viscosity is good, but no really remarkable texture for aged gushu tea. It goes down the throat okay, not too consistent, but not absent. Aftertastes are as described before, but later brews also tended to leave a nice light mouthcoat, even when there wasn't much in the top taste. The qi was very good early on, often lasting well past the last sip from the cup. It does die out quickly at around the same time the taste became featureless. If durability wasn't a question, this would be way up there among the best YQH teas. When the party was going, I was thinking it was better than my Zhencang, and worth more than the original price difference with the Chawangshu, but both teas are good much longer than this Wushang Miaopin.

I had a second tea that was the crumbs of the puerh-sk 2015 Gushu Rareness. The quick evaluation is that this is a tea much like Untitled02, in that it's wild tea that must have seeded itself some time ago, and not truly ancient arbor. It has an unusual aroma, sort of a aromatic-green stem-floral that is closer to Jingmai or the Essence of Tea 2009 Wild Wuliang than quite Yiwu. The taste doesn't have any bitterness, but is lightly sour in the way wild tea is, and slightly tart. It has mostly Yiwu character with a lighter honey emphasis. Tended to have more eggy umami than usual. It's very round and soft. Also light and narrow tasting. Viscosity is good but not remarkable. The aftertaste usually is quite vaporous, and feels like it's gassing off the surfaces in the back of the mouth. It's sort of pleasant, and there are some interesting notes. The qi is medium level for the first three or four or so brews and declines. Not too too high quality qi, though. I don't really feel like I can recommend this tea (especially at the price), but I think that people who like wild teas and who like the more honey Yiwu will probably like this tea a lot. There isn't really the sort of guts here that makes me think that aging will make anything interesting.
 
Ordered a cake of 2008 LBZ from Tao Tealeaf in Canada.
This arrived in a matter of days. Of course I fully expected this to not be real LBZ, but seeing it where I came home from work, I had to try it right away. I also fully expect shipping sickness, brewing leaves right off the truck.

The cake is dry stored and clean. No off aroma or funky humidity to air out. It's too dry actually, am hoping some time in the pumidor will breathe life into the cake. Flavour is flat, almost undetectable. Just a light taste of generic hay which is shared with many an underwhelming factory cake, with no complexity. This I put down to shipping sickness, many teas taste like nothing when they first arrive. It's quite harsh on the stomach. Kept drinking, no LBZ character detectable, no mushroom or earth notes. Eventually got a slight buzz, and the stamina actually seems okay. Nothing much going on though, rather boring.

Half an hour later, in what was some bizzare kind of delayed reaction, the qi hit me in the head and stayed there all night. I was effectively lost in space for hours.

A very odd session, I will reevaluate again in a month when hopefully some flavour is restored to the leaves. This MIGHT actually be real LBZ, and I say this only due to the strength of the qi. It's certainly not gushu. I'd say plantation with some qiaomu thrown in, and suspect the harshness on the stomach could be due to pesticides, though I didn't have any unpleasantness in the mouth/throat. Overall, I'd say there are better cakes to be had for the price, but I will give this another chance and see how it goes.
 
2 cheap, mellow value cakes:

2007 Repave.

A very mellow tea. Cherry, reminiscent of bourbon, flavor and first few steeps leave a tartness on the cheeks. Pretty happy qi that isn't disruptive. Vanilla, all in all this tea reminds me of dessert. The texture is viscous too. There is no bitter, no smoke and its very pleasant, if not a little inoffensive to some drinkers. A great daily drinker and worthy of a tong, something that you could sip on september-april a couple times a month for years on end.

2006 Wild Peacock

This one, as noted on the website, is machine pressed (some) and that is mine which is unfortunate, and when they mean machine pressed they mean it. A 4 gram piece of this can with stand about 1 to 2 minutes worth of water contact, with long breaks of steaming with gaiwan lid on in between steeps, before breaking up. Makes for uneven brewing and uneven sessions. Its not super interesting if it doesnt break up sooner than later. If its sooner it has a slightly medicinal taste, a bit sour (this wouldve needed to be soaked to have not been dry stored :tongue_sm) and a comforting, wrap a blanket around your tongue texture. I like it. Green apple, a little woody, not overly complex.
 
2015 Tuhao as %[email protected]$

Obviously fruity. Session to session I can't pin down the fruit family. Is it tropical, citric and/or stonefruits? if I really wanted to be specific the stonefruits are in the smell, especially on top of the lid. The texture/acid is reminiscent of a highly sweet, lowly acidic clementine and the aftertaste and that sortve prickliness a tea can leave after the swallow is similar to tropical fruits, a similar after texture as a Dehong might impart. But I don't drink 150 dollar tea so I can taste only fruit. More than that this tea is impressively sweet and all of these high notes are grounded to a substantially smooth, and at this point, light wood/loose fresh tobacco taste. Obviously this will age well. The texture is gloopy. The qi is rising, and will cause significant warming around the second steep with a lazy, in over your head feeling.

How has this done over a year in dry storage (average 75 humidity/temp)? Pretty well. No smoke, although only a little before. It is less obviously shengy and has lost Denny's freshly mowed lawn taste/texture. It is quite a nice drink now for its fruitiness and overall complete package.

Any downsides? For all its fruit its fairly one noted in the mouth. It doesn't have crazy mouth activity but rather some throat pooling. i think mouth activity is yiwu tea, throat=menghai, bulang. Its not impossible to sum this up well over the internet, which might be a downside. While not overly complex, it just does itself so well that I personally do not mind.
 
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The first tea is the famous 2007 top tea from ChenYuanHao: https://teapals.com/products/2007-chen-yuanhao-yiwu-zi-wang-250g which has been stored since birth in Malaysia. The basic idea is pretty similar to YQH Teji and the darker plummy aged Mahei profile. The aroma was plummy early on in the session but winds down quickly in terms of my interest in smelling. The tea is fairly dynamic so it doesn't really have quite a consistent taste, but it's always a very balanced one. In the first stage, the first four or so is dominated by darker Mahei plumminess, with some sour-acid, some barnyard in one brew, etc. The next stage is a progressive milky sensibility in the taste, also typical of Mahei, so there'd be some Yiwuness, some florals, and a background always threatening to more overtly taste milky. The third stage is a short one with some fruit in the hot first sip that goes on from there, and the tea is beginning to empty out a bit. The fourth stage is a bit of Ceylon spiciness, as the tea wears itself on for the long haul. The taste is relatively narrow and has lower volume compared to the YQH, and Teji in particular (also some real similarity to Zenchunyahao). In general though, the complexity of taste and dynamacism makes me dislike Taiwan storage even more. The dry Malaysian storage, beyond a bit of early sourness, does this tea quite a bit of good in terms of some mellowing without eroding the finer things in life. The viscosity is moderate, but again, this has a pretty stereotypical Mahei mouthfeel, with a certain sort of milky calcium rich softness, if not cottony. Thins out a bit deep in the session, but not too much. Early brews had an energetic mouthfeel and some decent cooling feel in the back of the mouth. Also goes down the throat well, particularly early. The aftertastes were pretty good, predominantly floral in the mouth and a floral yun at the top of the throat. Only a very slight hint of foodie sweet Yiwu mouth huigan, especially compared to the likes of the YQH Zhencang Chawang or Chawangshu. The aftertastes work very well with the themes set by the top taste so as to provide an experience that held my attention. The qi is more of a moderate one, but of nice, easy quality that seeps in.

I think I was supposed to get a sample of this tea earlier because of the labeling of the packet that sample was in, but I had gotten another try of the 2001 CYH, which has a similar top plummy note, but not nearly as good as this is. Of interest is that the 2001 doesn't really taste more aged than this (I probably had it at about twelve or thirteen years old, while this is nine years old).

In general, this is quite a good tea, but is fairly overpriced. I think a lot of the people who don't really like how robust and meaty many super-premium teas will like this tea, but it's like a dollar a gram or more. The best XZH/YQH yiwu teas are easily better, in my opinion, but note that this seems to be a classical Yiwu, rather than the GFZ, WGZ focus of most superpremiums.

The second tea today was the 2007 YangQingHao XiShiShenpin. The sample was predominantly crumbs, however. The basic idea of this tea is Northern Bulang with Qizhong and maybe a dab of southern Bulang in there. Has a sweet nutmeat taste I'm familiar with from the more banzhangy cakes I have, in particular the 2001 7542, the '03 Jingpin, and the Black Wrapper. James of Teadb noted a malt aroma and taste in the earlier brews, and I found this true as well. I do not find this to be a Yiwu tea, so I'm not sure why Yang went "selected from 6 famous mountains". It's not that complex, generally...a basic low mushroomy taste verging on savory, and fairly qizhong-y. There is a sweet nutmeat sweetness that comes out in the finish, usually, and does creep into the top taste as the session goes on. In some cups, I found a Menghai forest floral mouth aroma that was nice. Also showing up is a bit of wine note that one often finds in some bulangs, most prominently in my memory, with the '12 EoT Bulang. Overall, like many lao banzhangs sweet tea, not an overly complex sensibility, at least in the macro sense. Blending did help it be interesting for a time, but durability of interesting brews is not great, and not helped by the fragmented leaf conditions. Aftertastes aren't that prominent here, besides the aforemention forest florals. It does punch hard down the throat, especially early in the session. The tea's strongest quality is the qi. It's at a strong level, and fairly comfortable at that strength as well. I found that the tea's weakest quality, particularly because I'm comparing it to XZH Menghai teas, is the viscosity and particularly the texture. Very late infusions do have good texture, but way too late. Compared to a cheaper XZH, the LongFeng '07 which has a superb and textural mouthfeel, and compared to the fuller, stronger teas like the Black Wrapper and Youle, the advantage in qi is equaled and the good textures allow them to really outpace the YQH. The Tiancang from 2011 also has a nicer, more oily texture. If this sample is representative, I'd say that it's a relatively poor value, except for people who'd like to aquire sweet Menghai area teas. While it lasts, for example, the Wushang Miaopin is a really outstanding tea in comparison.
 
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First tea today is the 2006 YQH Tianpin. From the wet leaves, it becomes immediately obvious it's all lobular leaf tea. I got some tar-floral, so I think this is a Yibang tea. The aroma comes and goes in this session, tending towards sweetly floral with some fruit undertones. Has some tar-floral when it cools, sometimes. The top taste is relatively empty with a light sweet mushrooms and grains main taste, with tantalizing hints of fruit notes, mostly apple. Not that different from how Qixiang behaves, sometimes, but Qixiang also has more meat in the main taste. The viscosity is usually fairly thick, at least through the first nine or so brews. Sometimes it's a little oily in texture. Throatfeel can be good as it does punch hard down sometimes There is some degree of drying astringency that definitely indicates a degree of overbrewing. The aftertastes are fairly light, floral, and lingering mouthcoat close to the back of the mouth. Not a big player, there. The qi is pretty ok. There was a real amount for me, and it was enjoyably relaxing. Durability is pretty good, but later brews aren't that much worth drinking (when I've had other teas to drink today)

I guess it's pretty easy to make the conclusion that the tea as it is now is very overpriced. It's a pretty similar experience to an '04 Guyunhao Jingmai that I had a sample of, some time ago, except that tea is slightly better on taste and qi, and slightly worse on viscosity. I bet this tea was very nice when young, in that high and fruity sense like the YS rather than the lower wild honey sense like the recent EoT Yibang. The XZH Jingmai was much more full of solid fruity flavor when it was one year old than it is now. Lobular leaf tea really has a tendency to empty out. Of course, the '04 Gedeng I got a sample of from Theasophie is still flavorful if a bit boring. And the XZH is still pretty good on flavor and much better than this.

The second tea was Into the Mystic, from White2tea. Quick and dirty is that there are some strong similarities to 72 Hours, but this is more green (oolong, but not oolong'd) and more of a tendency to fruit. One probably should prefer the 72 Hours until it's sold out. The best thing about it is clearly the viscosity and mouthfeel. Has a fairly gelatin feel, much like vanilla pudding or egg albumin. There is definitely a sensibility fairly close to good green anxi TGY in aroma and taste, but like a puerh in character rather than bad oolong--no booms in aromas and soup behaves like puerh. Anyways, it's really sweet (mushroom, sweet cream) in the beginning with some slight umami. Tea tend to emphasize either that sweetness or a bit more of a vegetal-fruitiness. Viscosity/mouthfeel is a as described before. The aftertaste tends to be from tangyness, spiciness, and bitter-tart (which tends to be the biggest flaw), and those generates a floral yun at the top of the throat, which can sink pleasantly down the throat a bit. Not as well coordinated as 72 Hours or a straightforwardly pleasant bitter. The qi is strong early and gradually fades to medium and low very late. Very durable tea, and more durable than I was really interested in. Later brews in the back end tended to have more distinctly fruity notes, and some baked dessert notes.
 
Last Thoughts '16. I came into this one straight, and was slightly disappointed. There wasn't the sort of magnolia floral character that was in previous years, and the sort of pungent huigans I enjoyed were also gone. The tea was deeper/softer in the cocoa sense (where previous years were more straight grains and leather), and more tidy. There was a touch more notable drying astringency, so I was wondering if something was going on. Somewhat into the session, I was discussing the tea to someone and it was revealed to me that there had been some tweaks made for Last Thoughts. Also, in the longer brews I was getting some of the more positive effects of the tweaks. Thus, my perspective changed a bit.

So anyways, it's not too complicated. The bulk of the taste is the same, but it's a bit more muted and more controlled, and has some deep choco character. The aroma is a bit lower and more dark yiwu and not as Mansa grainy and magnolia. In general, the aroma and taste have been bent towards how ChenYuanHao does their best Yiwus. The viscosity is improved, but the astringency is higher, perhaps making this more of a storage cake. There are some degree of aftertastes, a little mouthcoat, some very light yiwu sweet huigans, but the best huigan is in the more intermediate part of the session with a really nice floral yun that sinks into the throat. I guess the durability is about the same, but where the '14 and '15 generally has an active phase that drops notably into a pleasant drinking phase, the '16 is not as dramatically active in the beginning, and slower to lose its potency, making for a bit more even a session. The qi is maybe 80%-90% of the earlier teas.

I can't really say about whether I have a true preference for '14 or '16 ('15 being slightly inferior to '14). I do wonder if '16 won't eventually outpace the '14. I do like this tea more than I did the CYH '14 Chahuang or '15 Chawang. It's a bit more layered. OTOH, the '07 CYH is much more complex with stronger aftertaste game to it.

The second tea was a relatively fine crumbed sample of the YQH 666 production with the yellow wrapper. Definitely can't expect too much clarity about its nature, but... It essentially seems to be a Menghai tea with a sharp bitterness and a strong cedarwood sensibility. This sort of character is generally found in Naka, Pasha, and some Hekai, I guess. Definitely suspect Naka.

Aroma isn't too much of a factor after three or four brews. It tended to be more generic Menghai with fruit or cedar traits to it. The taste is very consistent, some Menghai mushroom with lots of cedar and a strong bitterness with only a touch of medicinalness. There would generally be a sweet nutmeat mouth huigan, a bit like the Xishishenpin, but maybe lighter. The differences with each brews will be mostly on what other aftertastes it generates, either fruit or floral, while the top taste changes proportions of of the main tastes. The viscosity is medium-good, and it's relatively smooth and almost oily. The qi is moderate. I didn't brew as many as I could have, so I guess the durability is at least okay. I liked this tea, but it is said to cost $500, and I'm like "that's just way too much!". I was a little too bored with this, though I do imagine that with another decade or more, it should be more tasty and complex. I think I like the Tiancang more, and the Xishishenpin is easily better.
 
Steamed and broke up a little 50g tou. It's been lying around here since 09 or 10 and I think came from Stephane Erler. I really wasn't expecting much at all but it's a fairly pleasant brew.
 
The first tea today was a tippy Mengsong from White2tea's tea club, and I'm pretty sure it's from May where it was paired with a black tea with the same leaf. The quick description is that it's naka-like, and it has some marked similarities to Tuhao as ****, as if similar leaves were part of the blend. Of course, this is more narrow in taste than Tuhao, and it's not as fruity. The tippy nature gives it a bit of juicy viscosity, but not super thick or anything like that. Main taste is that Mengsong Menghai taste with Naka rice and floral character. There is typically some depth to this. Some of the brews have a delicate complexity. The aroma is similar for the first few brews. So this tea does have some ability to capture the attention, even though it's narrow, and there can be a lingering not-that-pleasant bitternes. However, the tea doesn't have truly great endurance, around ten brews. Qi is mild to moderate. Composing so late is making me think a bit disjointed, so please forgive me...

On the topic of mengsong, I think that the YQH 666 has a lot of similarities to the '05 Dayi Peacock when I first tried it in 2010. Again, like the comparison to the white2tea '05, the blending of the Dayi helps it to be a bit broader. The '05 white2tea is actually a bit different from the other two in that it's a bit more towards tobacco than woodsy like the YQH or Dayi, or presumably that 2007 Naka blend white2tea also carries. Aaaanyways, the point is that I think the 666, while it will always be a bit narrow, is very likely to age like the Dayi Peacock, and that given another seven years, the bitterness will be lower, tea will be more mellow and sweet. As such, it does represent a pretty safe aging bet. It's not to say that $500 isn't very stiff, but it's certainly more refined than the Peacock, with less astringency, more viscosity, qi, and more complex aftertaste. While not recommending, it's definitely a tea financially comfortable people with underdeveloped collections should consider.

The second tea today was '16 White2tea Heart of the City. This is close to the fruit and musk Bingdao Mode. While there have been some comparisons to Pin, this tea is a lot richer and fuller, and not really big on bitterness or aftertaste. Very much a 1-5 year sort of drink now puerh. I really rather enjoyed it. It has a sophisticated aroma and some of that sophistication in the taste. There isn't really quite a central theme, but a concert of players. The tuba is apricots, though. Trumpet is lincang sheng brassiness-tangy. Clarinet is a soft muskiness, not much animality to it. And flute is florals that tend to be dry, like lavender and something like a nice version of asphalt. Some changes in themes as the cd goes through the playlist, but that's more or less it. The viscosity is good, but not as good as Into the Mystic, and it's more creamy rather than the protein feel of the more expensive tea. The qi is moderate to strong, but dies down after maybe seven or so brews. The aftertastes aren't very prominent, and not a strength of the tea. I wouldn't say that the durability is great. The tanginess, a bit like Into the Mystic, gets harsher than the remaining nice qualities, and I get disinclined to continue. I think that aspect can be controlled with some experimentation. Again, I was rather favorably impressed, and had I lots of money, I would seriously consider buying one or two cakes as drinkers. For storage, 72 Hours is still the best young lincang being sold a Western audience by a stretch. Of course, it's also the most expensive young lincang sold by a stretch as well.
 
The first tea today was a tippy Mengsong from White2tea's tea club, and I'm pretty sure it's from May where it was paired with a black tea with the same leaf. The quick description is that it's naka-like, and it has some marked similarities to Tuhao as ****, as if similar leaves were part of the blend. Of course, this is more narrow in taste than Tuhao, and it's not as fruity. The tippy nature gives it a bit of juicy viscosity, but not super thick or anything like that. Main taste is that Mengsong Menghai taste with Naka rice and floral character. There is typically some depth to this. Some of the brews have a delicate complexity. The aroma is similar for the first few brews. So this tea does have some ability to capture the attention, even though it's narrow, and there can be a lingering not-that-pleasant bitternes. However, the tea doesn't have truly great endurance, around ten brews. Qi is mild to moderate. Composing so late is making me think a bit disjointed, so please forgive me...

On the topic of mengsong, I think that the YQH 666 has a lot of similarities to the '05 Dayi Peacock when I first tried it in 2010. Again, like the comparison to the white2tea '05, the blending of the Dayi helps it to be a bit broader. The '05 white2tea is actually a bit different from the other two in that it's a bit more towards tobacco than woodsy like the YQH or Dayi, or presumably that 2007 Naka blend white2tea also carries. Aaaanyways, the point is that I think the 666, while it will always be a bit narrow, is very likely to age like the Dayi Peacock, and that given another seven years, the bitterness will be lower, tea will be more mellow and sweet. As such, it does represent a pretty safe aging bet. It's not to say that $500 isn't very stiff, but it's certainly more refined than the Peacock, with less astringency, more viscosity, qi, and more complex aftertaste. While not recommending, it's definitely a tea financially comfortable people with underdeveloped collections should consider.

The second tea today was '16 White2tea Heart of the City. This is close to the fruit and musk Bingdao Mode. While there have been some comparisons to Pin, this tea is a lot richer and fuller, and not really big on bitterness or aftertaste. Very much a 1-5 year sort of drink now puerh. I really rather enjoyed it. It has a sophisticated aroma and some of that sophistication in the taste. There isn't really quite a central theme, but a concert of players. The tuba is apricots, though. Trumpet is lincang sheng brassiness-tangy. Clarinet is a soft muskiness, not much animality to it. And flute is florals that tend to be dry, like lavender and something like a nice version of asphalt. Some changes in themes as the cd goes through the playlist, but that's more or less it. The viscosity is good, but not as good as Into the Mystic, and it's more creamy rather than the protein feel of the more expensive tea. The qi is moderate to strong, but dies down after maybe seven or so brews. The aftertastes aren't very prominent, and not a strength of the tea. I wouldn't say that the durability is great. The tanginess, a bit like Into the Mystic, gets harsher than the remaining nice qualities, and I get disinclined to continue. I think that aspect can be controlled with some experimentation. Again, I was rather favorably impressed, and had I lots of money, I would seriously consider buying one or two cakes as drinkers. For storage, 72 Hours is still the best young lincang being sold a Western audience by a stretch. Of course, it's also the most expensive young lincang sold by a stretch as well.

Good to hear about Heart of the City, a cake I have had my eye on getting. Wasn't sure from him description if it was Lincang or Menghai. I have been wanting more Lincang in my collection so this lines up well.
 
Grinding that tummy down!

The first tea today was a 2006 Mahei that has been sold at a New York place called Tshop, for about $200. For the most part, the general taste behavior is similar to the 2004 YQH Teji (predominately a darker taste with notable leather character, trimmings of aged plums), which tends to support the notion that the Teji has substantial Mahei component. The aroma is a lot better than the Teji, being a sort of caramel-aged tobacco. Dry storage for the winz. The qi is also pretty good, if not as strong as the Teji, but it's a bit more comfortable to me. Soup viscosity isn't very thick to me, tho' others think it's thick, but it has some of that cottony-creamy soft texture that I associate with Mahei. One cup was pretty drying, but that was it. This doesn't seem to have much in the way of aftertaste without a bit of an overbrew. This tea isn't that durable, aroma and qi dies down by seven brews or so, and it's not dynamic, so I got bored enough with it to move on...I wouldn't say that this is enough better than the '06 858 Museum tea, which is also pretty Mahei...It has a fuller taste, better aroma, and much more qi, but the the 858 has better taste with more complexity (some of which was gotten by tweaking and as such, reduced potency), and it's a bit more dynamic--well, more that the long brews are generally tastier and more different than early brews.

The second tea I had was the August teaclub Mengsong gushu. This was really good. Good aroma for five or six brews. A relatively sweet and full (for Mengsong tea at any rate) taste--caramel leaning sweetnes, menghai mushroom, menghai floral, and hint of fruit--mostly along those themes. The soup viscosity was good, and the texture was nicely soft-creamy. Goes down the throat ok. The aftertastes aren't that strong a suit. A little flavor at the top of the throat (on the rare occasion that bitterness presented itself), some menghai floral mouth aroma, like Bosch. The qi was moderate, and stronger than the morning's tea, I think. I haven't really tested the durability because of time, football, and stomach concerns, but did about ten brews. Dynamacism was over little things, but with some nice stuff to look out for, various fragances and subtle tastes. Overall, this was a very elegant and relatively easy to drink Menghai experience--very smooth, low on bitterness, sweet. I enjoyed it, and more so than the Bosch. It's certainly more elegant than the Tuhao as ****, but the Tuhao is bigger and more robust. Aging should make that tea better than this tea over the long run. This tea is likely to not change very much, because there's not much here to convert. It will get simpler, loose greenness, lose consistent aftertastes, and get sweeter (at least, without serious humidity). Shouldn't become too empty, though.
 
Two quick discussions...

1) White2tea Teadontlie: Good viscosity, little/no qi, relatively bitter and astringent. This feels to me like a tea that's from around the Manxiu/Gaoshan area, as it's a relatively empty taste typical of certain very fresh Yiwu, that has a lot of relatively masculine floral character, similar to how Mangfei is floral. I view this as a tea people would buy for storage so that in 7-10 years, there is a more full taste and sweet character. I personally wouldn't be that interested in this tea as it's a little expensive at $70/200g to hoard a good quantity and I'd prefer to hoard awesome tea or very good cheap tea--this is a tweener in my value metric.

2) A tea that I think is originally from Jay In HK, a 2005 CNNP 7542: My personal belief is that this is not a 7542 or 7542 adjacent blend. It tastes and behaves more like a 7582 and sheng 7581. Very heavy on retired smoke and has some TCM, and is a rather strong taste. Has a decent factory tea softness and viscosity. Some acidity as well. There isn't much of interest in this particular tea. It's drinkable, needs another five-ten more years before the boldness of the taste softens. No qi or real aftertastes or complexity, etc, etc.
 
Last white2tea sample that's still available for sale was the Tyler.

Very classic Mengku sensibility, recognizable in many Shuangjiang Mengku Factory tea among other lincang producers. It's very cleaned up and nice with a bit more viscosity. Decent aroma, and a taste on the lighter end of things with Mengku tobacco, a little floral, and some fruit notes, tending between pineapple and yellow stone fruits. Sometimes a non-white sugar sweet finish. Generally pretty decent on the aftertastes, more of one than some of the other more expensive white2tea cakes. Little/no qi felt, nothing inside the throat, and it's a bit hard on the stomach. Care is needed to brew this tea around some harsh character. Not to say it's touchy, but you definitely can overbrew this.

I'd say that people newer to the hobby would appreciate Tyler the most for the price. I would personally prefer Essence of Tea's Wuliang H as the budget northern tea option at about the same price per gram. Almost as refined, more qi, more suprising depths. More fun to drink.
 

TexLaw

Fussy Evil Genius
:happybday: I just wanted to take a moment and point out that yesterday was this thread's EIGHTH birthday! :happybday:

Big thanks to everyone that has kept this unique and interesting thread going all this time!

Cheers!
 
for anyone who still come around these parts: do you meditate while tea drinking? I meditate, but separately. I am wondering if you do both at the same time do you see it as symbiotic? Do you drink tea and focus on that, watching your breath and thoughts secondarily or does one follow the other hand in hand for you?

Thanks for any replies.
 
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