SOTD- sheng of the day

Discussion in 'The Cafe'' started by ouch, Sep 25, 2008.

    By sheer quality, the best cakes are probably Taiji, Diangu, other lbz, Youle--beyond that, it's based on what you want out of your tea.
  1. I had bought a pair of 72 Hours, a kilo of Old Whitey, Orange (shu), sample of Cream (shu), and a cake of We Go High from White2tea.

    Today was 72 Hours. This is pretty legit, and largely straightened out from what it was like when new. Clearly something with some sort of Bingdao as a base (pretty similar to B_D_, only with more stuff added). Starts out a bit more interesting than this sort of Bingdao mode usually is, with a lot of the broader Shuangjiang Mengku characters showing, like Tyler. After a few brews, a bitterness (of the sort that adds weight to the taste, not quite what you'd call sharp) shows up. After *that*, then the tea settles down and becomes that sort of subtle Bingdao game with lots of little notes, a thicker milk/milkshake like texture, strong qi, and some of that flash-to-fruit neat trick. Oddly, the taste features an alkaline taste often, much like the Naka-esque Mengsong that's part of the Tuhao As **** or the 2012 Naka from Teaurchin. Not really some I'd expect from Mengku. The aroma wasn't that remarkable, generally. The aftertastes were pretty subtle most of the time. Early on was a sort of weird, moving mouthcoat that tended to settle into a yun at the top of the throat. Later ones were fruit or floral flashes, and some tiny mouth aroma things. This was a lot of fun to drink. I think it's better than the CYH Bingdaos, and better than B_D_ (certainly somewhat louder tasting!). This is a pretty decent value and I wonder a bit more about the thousand(s) dollar Bingdao cakes. I thought before I sampled this tea that this would be mostly a fair value buy, and that the YQH Longya Fengjian would be better, but I sort of think now that this was something of at least slightly a deal. Be advised that there are only three cakes left on white2tea, though, so if you like northern tea you might want to think about it. There aren't many alternatives. There's the CYH Bingdao at about $400, the Vesper Chen Thousand Year Charm tea '11 from banatea that costs $650. Or you could get one of the XZH northern teas that are a bit close. That's it, though.

    I am quite satisfied with old whitey. Stiffer price, but it's a very rich tea in long brews (with a punch), compared to fujian shoumei. The fujian makes for a stronger tasting tea in shorter brews, and the one I've been using, a 2013/4 shoumei is sweeter, because of extra age. Old Whitey is thicker soup, thinner taste with strong citrus accents in shorter brews. Uber thick soup, strong white tea date taste with a slight, but productive bitterness when in thermos w/boiling h2o for a couple of hours. That EoT wild tree white is still the best, I think, but twice the price of old whitey, which is not cheap.

    Cream is a somewhat lightly fermented 7572ish menghai shu. Has good taste and good aroma, but some hollowness and active mouthfeel characteristic of lighter fermented shus. It's not really ready for drinking on account that it's not mellow. It's not quite as lightly fermented as the XZH Xishangjiaxi or the Dayi Danqing or the Taipei, being mostly around the dragon pillar shu's fermentation level. My '09 is finally getting there about now, so it'd be a while before it's really ready. Would prefer that this shu be more than 200g, given need for storage.

    We go High is tomorrow.
  2. We Go High feels tricky for me to describe. It's very obviously a blend of tea leaves, and there's a bit of disjointedness. Seems to be mostly Menghai area. Tends to be consistently sweet. Early in the session, the tea is sort of generic Menghai taste, and after a few brews the tea deepens into choco tones, tasting a bit like that 2011 Theaosophie LBZ, but without barnyard. After a stretch it lightens up to the classic long Menghai sweet brews. The flavor is pretty solid, if inactive, a very long way, though. I kept drinking because it did have sweet flavors (and qi was still going). There was generally a subtle and refined floral aroma through the first, oh, seven or eight brews, not too strong. Floral character was in the taste, too. The mouthfeel involved a moderately good thickness that isn't as impressive as Untitled02 or TheTheoryofTreachery, and the texture didn't have much surface tension, so it felt like a soft, thick water. One thing this tea does very well is a consistent ability to deliver huigans via a variety of effects in the mouth and throat, and does so pretty late into the session. Pungent huigans tended to have flavor as well as make a strong feeling in throat. Qi was relatively sneaky for me, rather than the soul consuming affair it was for Oolongowl. During the first half of the session, I tended to feel that this was a moderate to good qi, but the back half late at night had a somewhat strong feel. It certainly isn't as strong as 72 Hours, but at the very least I suspect it's of better quality than Untitled02. The durability is very good, about ten active session, and I think somewhere over 15 with real flavor and qi. I had to stop out of it being 1 AM. I was still thinking about 72 Hours some, and that sort of overshadowed this session, and I sort of feel I need a second try with this (same with 72 Hours).

    Speaking of that, while this tea had a stretch of drying astringency (never found it very bitter), late infusions were very smooth. In contrast, 72 Hours did have a very light choke-throat issue through the session.

    I definitely wonder what was in the blend. Does have a darker LBZish taste and behavior. OTOH, not much barnyard or menghai florals. It tended to be sweet in a way that diverges a bit from how menghai tea does sweetness. So I wondered if there is any northern tea, but I didn't find the sort of tobacco or other hints of such leaves. Ehhh. I know I do like this more than U02, Tuhao or Bosch, and I like this more than Last Thoughts, really (generally because I like lbz more than yiwu). I do think this tea does need aging.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  3. I unexpectedly got MLK's day off, presumably because other places were slow. So I did a ball of w2t's Smooch. Gut-bomb lincang that's green and astringent. It's sort of nice enough plantation, but ditch the first couple of brews, and it gets weak pretty quickly.

    The serious session was with The Treachery of Storytelling, the expensive Menghai blend offered by white2tea. I felt like I needed to compare this with We Go High. The notable advantage of this tea in general is the thickness and texture of the tea, being something around Into The Mystic's class of being thick and kind of pudding, pillow-y-like. This also had strong qi but that qi was mostly around during the first five to eight brews, and I didn't feel all that much of it in the back half.

    The aroma was generally a sort of Menghai barnyard while it was present, which was only really for the first four or five brews. Not too remarkable. The taste was relatively multifaceted in comparison to Into the Mystic or especially Untitled02. There tended to be a changing series of dark flavors like coffee, barnyard, wood, etc, and under it, some sort of fruitiness. Not as floral as lbzs can be, or say, Bosch. There is some bitterness, but there is a good deal of drying astringency that underlines the necessity of aging. Most of the aftertastes stays in the mouth with a fruit or tangy sugarcane sensibility. There were some real punches down the throat and a couple of pungent huigans coming up, though. The durability is okay, the flavor isn't as durable as We Go High, but the great mouthfeel does last pretty long.

    This is fairly expensive for what it is. It is definitely better than than Untitled02, in terms of better quality qi, more complex taste, better finish, better aftertastes. Right now, though 72 Hours is the better tea, though I can see this tea improving in the very short term. We Go High is significantly closer to the quality of this tea than the difference in price would suggest. It has a stronger (and better) flavor, better aftertaste game, better aroma, the difference in qi isn't that huge, and the quality is at least as good. The durability is better, too. It just loses in terms of a more...hmm...coherent taste, bigger viscosity and better texture (but it has significantly less astringency and late infusions are very smooth). I really need to retry We Go High because this tea strikes me as weird and a potentially more adventuresome blend than the idea of a generally Menghai blend might suggest. It doesn't have barnyard taste, has obvious components that doesn't mesh as well as a distinct regional blend would normally do, and is sweeter than Menghai tea really tends to be in late infusions.
  4. Retried a couple of things.

    72 Hours. Wasn't as good as my first try, and of course, I was expecting the angles it was going to come at me with, so no surprises. Has a consistent alkaline rice-floral character (like certain Mengsong and Mansa teas) in the taste and a bit in the aroma. Very little of the broader Shuangjiang Mengku character in this session. The base flavor, at least through six brews is that vegetal-chocolate sense that you find in the YS '16 bingdao, or, say, the Eot Wuliangs. This fades away after six and the base taste is sort generic-sheng-mineralness, so the rice florals really dominate the character of later brews. There were many subtle flavor notes, especially in the earlier part of the session. The aroma was pretty nice, which featured honey, a bit of perfume, and most consistently, dry florals a bit like good Jingmais, etc. Worthwhile aromas went to about the sixth brew. The viscosity was good, with a soft, milky/milkshake/light velvet texture. Tends to be pretty astringent. Late infusions are smooth so body was very nice to drink even without much flavor. Aftertaste and feeling was pretty decent. A few nice cooling feels, a decently consistent feeling down throat. Bitterness tended to generate fruity and floral feeling through the mouth to the top of the throat, especially around the third to fifth infusions. Qi was not as strong as the first time, but still very nice and contemplative.

    Good tea, but it didn't quite feel like it was as underpriced as after I tried it a week ago. A bit more narrow and tidy than true superpremium. Which is pretty understandable since it's priced in the premium range, for new tea. I'm still happy I bought it.

    Old Whitey is quite good. My first try was a western brew. Subsequent brews with 2014 and 2013 shoumei proved to be inferior--not as thick, deep in flavor, or with layered taste/aftertaste. This try was gongfu, and largely, I get the same satisfaction, though I think the tea does better when brewed with a firm hand or western. This tea is very oxidized for white tea. That means there is relatively few hay or fruit notes, and that the taste is heavy. It is *very* Oriental Beautyish. While it's bad as an OB, it is quite a bit better than many black teas, and it's not the sort of predominantly flat and dull note of unintentional black tea. While one is supposed to get honey in a year to three years, this is already here, I guess. Hojo Teas has also been making white tea cakes out of puerh, and they have some lighter oxidized cake if you want something a little more delicate and refreshing.
  5. Two teas today...

    I got in a 250g cake of the 2008 XZH Puzhen. I was very upset to not be able to buy a second cake of the 2007 Puzhen, which had a 1000 cake run, actually. The rest of the cakes got bought up in one gulp before I had a chance to realize that I needed to buy another from Houde. So I did thinks like buy four gift set tins, with a Xicontianxiang sheng and a shu, adding up to 400g of that tea. However, despite Houde calling both as being from Dashisi, the Puzhen is Yangta, and probably very Xigui in nature. Different, but still good. Anyways, when I had a chance to buy the 2008, I jumped at it.

    So, how was it? At first I was somewhat dissapointed, because the aroma was pretty mute early on, and while it did strengthen for a while after the fourth brew, it was never a beautiful one like the 2007. The taste had that off tobacco taste and heavy tartness that not-good Jinggus ages into, like the 2005 HaiLangHao Dabaicha, or some Wuliangs and Ailaos. As can be guessed by the heavier humidity of storage (but this was clean and there are no basementy smells/tastes, and nothing like Wistaria or Yang's storage), the aftertaste has aged more and is mellower, and doesn't hit the throat very hard. However, it's sweet, subtle, and subversive in spreading through the mouth, more of a mobile Yiwu-huigan. Created a bit of sweet depth in the early brews. Consistently integrates flavor and aftertastes such as it seamlessly moves from finish to aftertaste. On occasion it does go down the throat nice and pull up a nice huigan from there. There isn't much more returning flavor than sugary sweetness, unlike the '07, which has some nice almost fruity floralness out of the throat. The viscosity is very good to great, about the same as the '07. However, astringency is higher than the '07, but the texture of that viscosity is also clearly better. This has a really rather excellent mouthfeel, and I can imagine there's a bit more coming in the future. The qi is about as strong as the '07 and is of very high quality, in that sort of body focused, empty zen way that teas like those from the Bingdao area does. After the fourth or fifth brew, the tocacco starts dying out, and an underly sweet taste more like the '07 shows up, and the aroma also becomes more like the '07. However, both are very muted and not nearly as lovable. Still, it's sweet, has a really great mouthfeel, does great qi, and that sweetness is added by a more multidimensional sweetness from the aftertaste. So I kept drinking. The durability of worthwhile brews is definitely better than the '07, which has a tendency to quit around brew fifteen or so, and even when it has a better session for durability, is not as actively enjoyable that late. I probably did about 18 brews. It was getting tired by then though, but could have done more. Will need to resession this. Could be a while, though.

    The second tea is a tester 4g brew of the 2016 Theasophie Yidu, propurtedly like Mansong. This is so I know what to expect when I do the rest of the sample, 8g for a regular brew. I liked it okay. Thing is, it's a lot like one of the drier floral focused taiwanese gaoshans, like those made with fo-shou varietal oolong tea. It has a broad, green, sheng, base, and it generally has two types of florals, both delicate. One is the dry floral orchid character, and the other is a sort of purple, spice, floral a little like what you get from dinjin nuer. Afterwards I did spot some bruised leaves. Not too many, though. The viscosity isn't that thick, maybe around standard decent Dayi, but it is notably smooth in mouthfeel. Buddy teas and lobular teas do tend to make for a thicker soup at the high end, though. There is little bitterness, and when hot, almost unnoticeable. Astringency only shows up consistently in late brews, though the throat got hit once or twice earlier. This tea does do a lot of transformation in the mouth, very quicksilvery, the threads of changing flavor in the broad green. This tends to leave a bit of a mouthcoat, and promotes some pungent huigans among other aftertaste without a real bitterness, natch. Early astrigency, when it shows up, is productive for those mouthcoats. Deep in the session, heads towards the standard really nice sweet honey taste we find out of many lobular teas, and teas like EoT's 2011 Mannuo. The Mannuo is similar to this tea, though obviously more Menghai. When fresh, it was a bit fruitier and mushroomier, and the floral aroma and taste was stronger, if more forest than orchid. Yidu is more multifaceted, due to the way tastes changes in the mouth, and more delicate. The qi is strong, but it seems to really be there only in the earlier part of the session (and may have been boosted by the XZH). The back end didn't produce much qi, when the XZH really smacked me around when I restarted that tea.

    I liked and enjoyed this tea, but I would have some doubts about how well this would age. On the W2T Sister to Brother spectrum, the frying seems closer to Brother, with a bit of that dark note in the taste and light jerkiness. I guess I would know better if I had this in nine months or so. I'd say it's about twice to 2.5 as good as the Mannuo, but the earlier XZH is the much better tea and it was cheaper for me to buy that tea. It's certainly not on the level of the XZH small leaf tea I have, Dinjin Nuer and Jingmai. Comparing to my memories of the YS Xikongs, from 2010, 12, and Jiabu 12 was sort of interesting. They had a more aggressive taste and floral aroma when young. The Teaurchin '12 was a more...broadleaf style tea with lots of finer notes in a darker soup.
  6. another two teas.

    The first tea is supposed to be the 2009 XZH Sandy Lane, which is supposed to be border yiwu/phongsali. I convinced myself, though that this was a mistake and it was actually a very nice Dayi tea from the late '90s and early aughts. Got talked into believing that it's actually the XZH tea it's supposed to be, after looking at the leaves again. They are smaller, and more broken, which is why it sort of looked factory tea-ish. The tea itself had a sort of dank minerally hollowness that is similar to the sort of note you get when a tea has been stored in humidity for a while. Anyways, aroma is very plum, usually. The taste generally has three layers. An aromatic wood layer, a gently plummy layer, and a sweet layer at the bottom/finish. So the taste is comparable to some notable premium Dayi teas from before 2004, and I had thought that it was like what people described the famous Big Green Trees. I didn't think it tasted or behave quite that much like a true Yiwu does. Yiwu generally does not age with a lot of aromatic wood, normally--that's more Pasha or some Mengsongs (so I thought, hmmm, Pasha blended with northern bulang and cheap Yiwu?). This also was a fairly astringent tea, at least as much as the Puzhen, and more astringent than Yiwus normally are. It forced me to brew with gentle hand early on. The viscosity was good, though, but nothing more to the texture besides a sense of plumpness. The aftertaste is generally a bit of mouthcoat arising from the astringency. Qi was decent, around moderate. As a factory tea, this would be a great one, better than my 2001 Simplified Yun 7542. As a gushu, this is a good, but not that great tea. Given the small size of the leaves, the aromatic nature of the taste, I would venture that yeah, this is phongsali and not yiwu border. Just a guess. It's not really worth getting as anything other than a curiosity or getting a bargain and using for daily drinking, if you don't mind the astringency.

    The second tea was 4g of the Theasophie 2016 Chenyun. This is like the Yidu in that it seems to be fried a bit on the heavy side. I did not find any definitely diddled leaves, though. It has a big green sheng background, and the soup texture is thin-moderate and very, very soft. Like ice cream or warm butter, which melts into the throat. It is not as dynamic as the Yidu in the mouth, instead preferring a gentle, sweet Yiwu nature with a somewhat fleshy floral cast to things, and same in aroma. Like the Yidu, little bitterness and only occasional astringency. Early brews have long, floral huigans, some that transit to a cooling sensation at the top of the throat. Aftertastes sort of decline after five brews. This was also true of qi, which was good early, and tended to fade as the session goes on. This tea wasn't as enjoyable to me as the first tea today was, and I certainly would prefer the 2016 Last Thoughts over this as well. Overall, I find that these Theasophie teas aren't to my taste, being a bit too green, with the nice stuff a little too delicate, tidy, and narrow. At the very least, needs some age. I think I'd like them to be a bit more interesting for longer than they have been so far with two teas tried.

    I told my tummy to buck up and tried the Theasophie Muyun 2013 shu. It's pretty good. Deep choco/coffee nature with a degree of fruit tones in taste/aroma. Good thickness. Dunno about qi after early teas. It's better than white2tea Cream, and it should be, having had three more years to calm down and being more than a third again as expensive. It's not as good as the good Denong shu, though.

    I think people trying to sell expensive new teas are going to have a hard time. If the likes of Chenyun is $450, well, uh, there are a *lot* of vastly better Yiwu out there for less, should you be interested in dealing with the Taiwanese wrt language and money transfers. Unless you're a hobbyist with money who wants to watch a tea grow and age, it's hard to justify tea from white2tea, theasophie, etc when this option is available.
  7. A couple of times during the week, I got off work early and had more 4g Theasophie sessions.

    The first was the Shanpin. Not as green as the Chenyun, or as feminine. Has some Yiwu leatheriness. Tends towards a touch of sourness More thickness than Chenyun or Yidu, but not all that thick. Decent set of aftertastes for a fresh Yiwu. Don't really quite remember the aroma except that it was a touch wierd in a perhaps mineral way? The qi is good, but it does tires out after awhile like the earlier teas. This is somewhat comparable in quality to '16 Last Thoughts, but I like Last Thoughts a bit more.

    The second was the Yanyun (aka Huangshan). This tea is not my style, but I found it very good, and were it not as expensive as it is, I'd have thought about buying. In short, this is fancy mineral water that you drink hot. It has very little Yiwu character, and is comparable to's Gushu Rareness '15 and '04 and '05 Wistaria Taihe (the easy comparison allowed me to believe that this was Yiwu instead of some northern tea). I did not find an exquisite aroma as described. It's pretty wispy and minerally. The taste is a slight Yiwu sweetness and lots of minerals that have lots of subtle shadings and sweetnesses. It's a very light, minimalist, and sophisticated tea. Or fancy mineral water. There are some aftertastes, but it's best qualities are the thickness and soft, salt-water like texture, and its high quality qi. The tea is very durable, and late infusions do have a typical late honey taste you'd get from high quality Yiwu/Menghai/Jinggu/Mengku teas. The mouthfeel was still going by the time I gave up on it. Unlike the other Theasophie teas, the qi lasted a very long way, and also stays a while after sips or cups. I am not sure this will age well in the sense that it improves in taste or aroma or mouthfeel, given the example of how the Taihe is nowaways. The '09 XZH Sandy Lane tea that claims it's from the border also has a lot of empty minerality, and probably not as great as it was when new. There aren't a lot of teas like this Yanyun, though. I have one more try to be sure, but it seems obvious that I should firmly recommend this if you've got the money and the interest in newer tea.


    Two teas today.

    I did a retest of the We Go High. Yeah, it's pretty good, and at some point, I'll consider buying one or two more, since I do like this more than Into the Mystic, The Treachery of Storytelling, Untitled02, never mind Bosch or Tuhao. I'm a little suspicious because it is priced less than Into the Mystic, among other teas. However, it does tick off all of the things on my checklist to one degree or another. I like the taste, aroma, blah, blah blah. So what can I do, when the main weakness is that, unlike Theasophie teas, this is much more unorganized and chaotic in taste. I think this is a blend of Menghai area tea and Bingdao shengtai/"Bingdao". The aroma tends to be distinctly sweet and floral. It consistently leaves a strong and interesting aroma in the pitcher. While it does have a bell pepper element, and some choco-vegetalness, I do not find this tea to be very vegetal, unlike, say Heart of the City, which is all kinds of stuff on a greener base. I also do not find it very bitter. It is bitter early, and that bitterness does have a lot of weight to it. But it fades quickly into the session for me. The dominant taste past the early stage is wild honey/honey/menghai mushroom. This usually have lots of floral notes above the base taste. The mouthfeel is very good. It is not as thick as Into the Mystic, TToS, or U02. However, it's pretty thick and very "smooth", and gives the feeling of runny honey. I wouldn't quite say it is oily, though. At certain points in the session, there is some drying astringency. It does, though, have a very consistent huigan in the mouth and sometimes punguent ones deeper in the throat. This is one of the key ways it outclasses all of the more expensive w2t teas. TToS is not as consistent about aftertaste, for example, and the other two are relatively weak in terms of aftertaste at their price point. Tuhao is almost as consistent, but I like the quality of the We Go High aftertaste better. The qi is very good. It is, again, not as strong as other excellent new teas, but it's of very high quality, and it lasts past the sip and cup. The durability is quite good. Aftertastes lasts very deep into the session, well past ten brews, and this probably was brewed about fifteen to maybe seventeen times. Thoroughly recommended.

    I had the Theasophie Guoyun afterwards. Again, like Shanpin and Yanyun, not green. Aroma is interesting early on with herbs, conifer, and cheese? character. This cheese is basically a variant of barnyard, but different enough to be like the stronger smelling cheeses. The aroma is reflected in the taste. This tea is the lowest register of the premium Theasophie Mengla selection. Viscosity is decent, nothing remarkable about texture. Aftertastes are about what you'd expect for a decent new tea. Qi is also good. I'd say the durability isn't that great in the sense that detailed taste is lost a little too quickly and it gets a little too uninteresting. Maybe.

    A quick rundown of how Theasophie ranks:

    Yanyun, Yidu (it's chasing special name, not highly expressive, and has that annoying green, but it does do some uniquely interesting things), Shanpin (by a hair), Guoyun, Chenyun. Only genuinely recommendable tea is the Yanyun. All of the teas in this set are distinctly different from one another, so that's good, for something that's all from a relatively small area. I'm not someone who prefers Yiwu, and I certainly would prefer that they have age to them, as opposed to new. Also, none of these teas are very big in the mouth. Very narrow teas with subtleties that requires attention. I'd say that either Guoyun or Shanpin will be the best ager, in terms of improving character.

    A note bene. What with the Taiwanese storage XZH etc on offer here, I think I need to make a cautionary announcement in the sense that some/all of these teas have had a lot of humidity hit them, and that humidity tended to mute higher notes. So teas that tended to be mostly higher notes, like many northern teas, tend to be far more muted than teas with a strong base of lower flavors. YQH Xishishenpin and XZH '08 LBZ tended to be much less affected than the higher and sweeter '06 XZH Yang (which looking back, is much like the '08 Puzhen I just got in terms of how muted the flavor and aroma is, compared to what it should be). Now, storage in a drier climate might revive some of the aroma and taste, I dunno. Anyways, peeps, if you're big on the taste, you might want to focus on teas that have stronger lower registers when ordering gushu teas long stored in Taiwan.
  8. A couple of disappointing LBZs...

    I had gotten a new sample of the '08 XZH LBZ (when I got the '08 Puzhen), I suspect from a different storage in Taiwan. This didn't have the kind of cedar-wood floral taste or lots of particularly complex notes in the midst of that. It basically was plummy, with a tendency for light perfumy woods. Okay viscosity, but not much texture. Tends to have strong astringency, and also strong bitterness early on. Not that much in the way of exciting aftertaste beyond a bit of mouthtaste resulting from astringency. Bitterness also produced some florals. The qi is moderate, and is notably warming. I entertained the thought that this might be the '06 LBZ fall or '09 LBZ spring, but Emmett's webpage on the XZHs clearly show the wrapper for the '08, and that's from the same source. So I'm just leaving it as a relatively different '08 lbz experience.

    The second tea was the Theasophie '16 LBZ. It's green tea, so it's sort of an autofail. It's a good thing there weren't really cakes available. The material is pretty good. Once you get past the most longjing early brews, it's pretty okay. The aroma is decent and about what LBZ tends to do. The tea taste tends to convert to fruit tones in the mouth, and that's fun. Viscosity is good, and it's very smooth. However, there's a sort of sticky feeling it leaves behind, and my tongue gets stuck to the roof of my mouth. Sort of gluey. The qi is not strong, and there's definitely a bit of caffeine action going on. This is probably fine as a drink now tea, either using cooler water early on or simply ditching the first two or three brew to wash out most of the green.
  9. Have had a lot of teas to sample lately, but haven't been taking notes.

    Got samples of the second set of 2016 White2Tea cakes (are these mainly Autumn teas? They seem to be priced that way, except We Go High.) On the whole, they're too young for me to keep drinking just now, so threw them in the try later pile. Did try We Go High after Shah's enthusiasm for it, and I'd agree that it's pretty good. Qi wasn't as strong as Treachery of Storytelling, but I did get much stronger huigans, if that means anything.

    The 2016 W2T sheng I'm most likely to buy some cakes of at this stage goes to Untitled 02. That being said, I've only tried them all once so far, so this is likely to change.

    Really enjoyed 2016 Nightlife, which is another white tea made from puerh material. If you liked Old Whitey, this is probably worth getting a sample of with your next order.

    Most notably, my order from Emmett arrived quicker than expected. Got the white label taiji to complement the yang. Couldn't wait, so sessioned it as soon as I got home. Very similar to black label, yet different. Really really enjoyable and I'm glad I bought it, even though it did cost a warlords' ransom. The qi from the taiji set hits me so hard, they're unlike any other teas for me. I'll be floating for hours after drinking them. Shipping from the US was expensive, so I added a cake of 07 Diangu, which I've never tried. Hope it's at least somewhat decent.

    I have to say I prefer the taiji set to any of the YQH I have. Totally different regions, but from a subjective point of view I'm much more likely to seek out more XZH than pay the premiums for Yang's teas. Wish I could get samples of the 888 and Bohetang to see if I like them any better.

    Other than that, I've been sampling Taiwan stored factory samples, organised by Toby, a fellow Australian pu head.

    A lot of new ways for us westerners to get our hands on sheng right now. Exciting times, though I've almost blown my annual tea budget and it's only January.
  10. Australian pu heads, sweet!

    What did you think of the Mansa Wild? I really liked it, I feel like I could drink liters and liters of it every day. Nice date sweetness and pronounced clean apricot. A bit more bitter than 'proper' Yiwu I'd say. Not sure if it's because it hasn't rested enough from travel as I dug into it as soon as it arrived.
  11. I've had one session with the Mansa Wild so far, and I liked enough that I will buy at least one cake. It also happens to be the cheapest out of the 4 samples, hooray for value sheng in the current market.
    The Red Mark is Toby's favourite from Box 04, but I'm yet to try it.

    As a side note, if the Mansa really IS from wild growth, I would expect it to be a little bitter.
    I was lucky to try a real wild old tree Yiwu that was gifted to a friend. It was sold as maocha as not enough to make cakes. Truly bitter, with unusual, harsh flavour. Everyone else present HATED it and gave up after 2-3 cups. It's not what people think tea should be like. I found it fascinating, as underneath the overt unpleasant taste, there was the unmistakable trademark Yiwu character.

    On Wednesday I tried the 07 XZH Diangu. Wow, really surprised me on how dynamic (and tasty) it was. And smooooth. I didn't really know what to expect from this one. Quite different to the FengQing 'old tree' cake I had purchased from a local teahouse, though that one is much younger (the owner travels to Yunnan every year and presses his own cakes). The young FengQing I have is decent enough, but the XZH is vastly superior. And given the difference in price paid, I should hope so.

    The flaw of the 07 Diangu was that the substantial flavour dropped off somewhere around 6-8 brews. It was still perfectly drinkable for a long time after this, but lacked the impact of the initial brews. Could be down to it being an Autumn tea. Could be shipping sickness as it had only arrived the day before via the USA. Would be interesting to compare it to the 09 Spring version reviewed on TeaDB.
  12. I had enjoyed a session of Sister Nannuo from w2t last Thursday. A solid tea

    Saturday, I redid the '08 XZH Puzhen. I got a somewhat better session, especially in that the off-tobacco taste was less, and the acidic bitterness was in the second and third brew and went away afterwards. I consider this an excellent tea a slight notch below the good '07 XZH northern teas I have, due to the more muted flavor and aroma. The big advantage of the tea is the viscosity and texture making for a very nice feel in the mouth, and a strong qi that is relatively physical and uplifting. The aftertastes were pretty good, too.

    Mail came in and I got my cake of '14 XZH Hongyin and a few samples. Among those samples was an '09 XZH black (the not buddy black)tea, and I decided to have that right away, as there was a good helping. Has a relatively unique taste and aroma--somewhat like longan, honey, wood. Got some qi. Okay viscosity, but the taste is dead. It was a good reminder that I shouldn't wait too long to drink that 100g w2t black tea reasonably soon. This does feel like a tea that will be an interesting aged tea in ten or twenty years. Of course, not as good as proper puerh.

    Today, I drank another one of my samples, the '08 XZH Blessings. This is indeed like the '09 Xicongtianxiang 100g cakes that I have, but was surprisingly inferior in terms of richness of taste, viscosity, aroma, and qi. Aroma and taste are a bit muted as expected, but it's kind of thin. The viscosity is also just good. This doesn't have much aftertaste, though, just a bit of lingering mouthcoat, some cooling feeling... Qi is about moderate. The appeal of the tea is that it has a sort of incense wood top taste with a bit of sweet depth underneath it. Much like the incense/conifer/etc Bingdao Mode. It's not really a very dynamic tea, but it's very durable. This isn't a top rank tea, but there is definitely a certain kind of modest appeal to this. Not too many teas have a taste like this, and it's not...intrusive, maybe good for quiet moments.
  13. I agree! I liked the price/quality of the bing dao as well, so I might pick up a cake of that too.

    Interesting, thanks for the info. I am fairly new to puerh, but in the last year I've grown to appreciate the bitterness more and more.
  14. I've been getting home from work early, so I've been working on my samples...

    First, I had the 2006 XZH Guangbien Bulang. This was a disappointment. The primary advantage of this tea is that it has a full and broad honey taste, especially a bit later in the session. Earlier brews had some sourness, some hints of other flavors, an occasional bit of wood. The aroma was there, sort of, but nothing showy. The aftertastes were pretty limited. It wasn't an especially thick tea, and the qi is merely mild-moderate. It is not as astringent as the 2007 Jingmeitaing Guangbien, but is very similar in a better way. I think a lot of the issue is that the area is similar to sweet Hekai. Tea from here can be pretty boring, if very pleasant. Say, a B, B- sort of tea.

    Yesterday, I had the 2009 XZH Guafengzhai. This was originally bought off of Taobao in Guangdong. The aroma of this tea is strikingly floral in a way that isn't usually typical of the teas that have been homestored in taiwan. I found it to be very nice and sophisticated, and lasted for about seven brews. And yes, as with the folks on TeaDB (I watched after having had most of the session), I noticed that the wet leaves are aromatic in a very interesting, wild way. I wouldn't say herbal, more like vegetal-musky. The taste is pretty constant, after starting off with a kind of corn tassel note for the first couple of brews. I don't find it overtly fruity. I find it a kind of deep vegetalness/herbalness that I've found in the XZH Youle (apparently just with my storage), the 2004 GFZ, an element of the YQH Dingji. This doesn't have any Yiwu plums or Yiwu honey. The viscosity is moderate, but the soup is very smooth, so it makes for a rather tender mouthfeel. The aftertaste isn't very impressive, mostly being a bit of mouthcoat. The qi is moderate to strong and of good quality, and it punches down the throat nicely. The endurance is actually very good, if a touch on the boring side, but you'll get flavor a long way. By the standards of superpremium, this is a solid B+ sort of tea--somewhat in the way when I've talked about the '09 Pasha being tidier in its goodness than earlier XZH. It's not better than the '07 XZH Yiwu Chahuang, or some other teas, as a puerh, broadly assessed. However, it is very purely itself, like the Tianshan Yizhen.

    Today, I had the 2012 XZH Fenghua Reproduction. This was one of two XZH top Yiwus for 2012. This one is Wangongzhai state forest (w/suggestion of bohetang?), and the other is based on GFZ. I enjoyed this tea a great deal, as I found it extremely sophisticated. Aromawise, it took a couple of brews to wash away storage. However after that, for the next five brews, the aroma shifted through a number of delightful notes like moss/fir, fleshy florals, plumminess, honey, etc. It eventually dies down as the session goes on. The taste is hard to describe, beyond that the base taste is similar to the '09 GFZ, but more lightly so. Generally, it is a relatively light taste with a great deal of flavor notes showing up here and there and it shimmers. It does have a consistent bitter heaviness that I consider pleasant. Much of the time, there is an evaporative quality to the taste sensation. It has been suggested that this is the "mint" note that Bohetang is famous for. Perhaps. I did find it to be similar to an evaporative feeling from the '15 gushu rareness, that made me think it was medicinal and wild tree, but it doesn't feel medicinal here. In terms of viscosity, I was a bit surprised, since it was thinner than I was expecting it to be. The XZH description emphasized the thickness, and the 2013 XZH Chawangbing is very thick for a Yiwu, and I was expecting it to be like that. It was roughly a bit better than the '09 GFZ. The texture isn't as good. The aftertastes are better than the '09, though, by a little bit. A stronger, longer lasting, and more complex mouthcoat, with an occasional pungent feeling in the throat. The qi is strong and is of excellent quality. Not sure how durable it is, I will need to brew this some more later on to see how the qi is. Overall, this tea isn't hugely durable, and is less durable than the '09 GFZ. I maybe did twelve to fourteen, and it was pretty tired then, tho it could have still kept on, had I not wanted to stop. This one is entirely deserving of a full blown tea ceromony without the distractions of internet or whatever. Compared against the puerh checklist, I'd say this is an A- tea, along with the '08 Puzhen, with the main demerits being that it could have more aftertastes and maybe a touch better mouthfeel. It's enough itself, despite being a bit of a wide ranging blend, to enjoy it as its own nature, though.
  15. Work was so slow, I didn't have to come in. So an unexpected long weekend...

    So I pull out that brand new 2014 XZH Hongyin and gave it a spin.

    Or it gave me a spin.

    The most immediate and noticeable thing about it is that it has extreme qi that is enough to stagger even 225lb me. There is two parts to it. One is a really strong head focused qi that also numbs the cheeks, very much like how the 2014 YQH Teji does it, but stronger. The other is a more body qi that's closer to how the 2012 XZH Yiwu that I just had.

    I was fairly confused by the taste and mouthfeel of the tea, because it felt very much like a lobular tea, and I was wondering just how much elite Yibang or Gedeng is in the blend. The dry leaves also looked fairly dark and small. However, at the end of the session, found many larger leaves. I had information coming into this session that this was a blend of walangzhai, bohetang (general area, of course), and some other wangonzhai. However, unlike the 2012 tea (which should be "Like a/the King" and not the "Fenghua", sorry), there was no low register base like vegetal-choco or brown sugar-ish or anything like that. Hence, thinking Yibangs and Mansong and whatnot. This also didn't have the sort of evaporative cooling feel like the 2012 Yiwu, or the YQH 888, or the '15 Gushu Rareness, so I was just sort of wondering where was the wangonzhai. I decided that they just didn't have the expected lower registers, and the Walong did most of the work of base honey flavor.

    My computer crashed and took my detailed notes with it, so I can't get too deep into what happened aroma-flavor-wise, but let me say that it was complex, and highly dynamic. It was markedly unlike the 2012 Yiwu in that it wasn't very subtle. I didn't have to go and seek aromas or flavors, it was usually bold. There was a lot of sweet flavors, but it usually wasn't fruity upfront. There was also a lot of sophisticated notes, including what I think is the classic bone floral aroma. Some moss/fir, some dry florals, and minerals situated in what was usually a very sweet honey and light caramel base flavor. Late infusions were a very pleasant simple sweetness.

    The viscosity was pretty good, generally closer to oil in texture, like buddy or lobular teas. Firm astringency though, so it wasn't totally smooth and tender like the '09 XZH GFZ. It felt good enough in the mouth. One definitely does feel this tea go down the throat and hit the tummy.

    The aftertastes were mostly floral mouth aromas that expresses itself after the soup is in the mouth for a sec, and hitting the top of the throat. There were a few, albeit, shallow pungent huigans in the throat. This also does tend to coat the mouth and grip the tongue. Much of what was fruity tended to rise in these aftertastes.

    I took this session for about twenty brews. It had something like 12-15 brews with some level of activity, so somewhat unusually durable for a Mengla tea.

    Spent leave had a number of leaves that were somewhat dark, a few had bruising or red fringes, though it sort of looks accidental. I even found a leaf or two with Cwyn's hated char marks!

    I found this tea worth the money I paid for it (a whole month's worth of work)
  16. Two half-grammage sessions today, both sort of boring...

    Crossed off one tea off of the ole bucket list with the '98 Big Green Tree Red. My reaction is pretty similar to Hobbes. It's a fairly boring tea that has some niceness, and this one was one of those that has had some warehousing but is very dried out now, some whatlike the aged teas White2tea offered, especially the '90s Lanyin. Aroma varies from warehouse to plumminess to root veggies to antique-furniture-orchid to a bit of nice chen xiang. The taste generally follows the aroma, with a heavy sweet vanilla finish and an occasionally active vanilla huigan in the back of the mouth. Broadly speaking, this behaves like aged Nannuo, like the Wistaria Nannuo blended with something like the '03 Bulang Jingpin. Viscosity is good and gets nicely thick and plump in late brews. This does have an issue with a somewhat strong astringency. Late long brews also tended to bring out bitterness. Qi is moderate. Paying anything like suggested retail price for this tea is a terrible idea. As Hobbes went, it's not really any better than other good peer teas, like the '01 7542 I have, and the '98 DXS maocha from Sanhetang is the superior overall tea. In contrast though, with what it *does* do, it has a collection of very pleasant and easy flavors so there isn't much that disturbs the enjoyment of what is a rather loose tea (not so fuzzy and gauzey thin like the HK stored at white2tea, but tired).

    The other tea was the 2016 EoT Manlin, because I was focused on Manzhuan teas after all that mess with the Hongyin yesterday. It's gotten somewhat sweeter with that basic birthday cake taste. The aroma is shengy with an underlying dry floral. Decent viscosity and is smooth, more or less. Qi was very light and focused on the head. Not a lot of aftertaste, though it did have a sort of fruit houyun that Manzhaun teas tend to do in late long brews. It was not a very dynamic tea, so it didn't require that much attention, and was pleasant sipping.
  17. So some stuff to say...

    Last Sunday, I started by trying a 4g session of the '06 xzh white wrapper, and I found the first couple of brews having a dead top taste. And overall, the session had a lot of the dynamics of the '04 Zhaizipo--dead top taste, decent aftertaste, decent qi, etc. I was like, eh, wanna know more. So I took out my own cake of '06 xzh black wrapper and got 4g of that to compare. It was it usual self, being really tasty in a dessert fashion, like a nut ice cream. I also found it to have more of a wood note and an aged fruit note, and was excited about that, as this tea generally isn't inclined to do that. There was a striking difference between how the wet leaves smelled from the taiwan white wrapper and my black wrapper. The white wrapper smelled mineral/slightly fishy *cold*, while the black wrapper was sort of spicy. I did the leftover crumbs of the '08 xzh lbz on tuesday, and sort of felt that the issues were the same as the white wrapper, but the tea had more depth. The Taijis are relatively flat teas, in the sense that you really don't feel as much depth in the taste, and there is more of a focus on an intense top taste. This aspect makes them more vulnerable to whatever the issue is with the Taiwan storage. Whatever is going on, it leaves the tea feeling like if the topsoil is washed away, or if you're listening to a jazz composition and the cymbals are arbitrarily compressed to 128kbs, or if you're using truffle oil instead of real truffles. The storage is apparently affecting the top part of the taste (and the aroma), removing rich, high pitched notes from there, leaving it feeling dulled and deflated. It doesn't hurt teas with a lot of depth and sturdiness as much as the it does the Taiji or the Guangbien bulang. After all that, I've gotten less enthusiastic about the idea of buying aged gushu teas out of Taiwan without having a strong idea of storage. I'm not entirely sure what the issue is. It could be humidity, but it could be some other aspect of storage, and since these xzh teas don't come from one storage place, it's difficult to pin down the issue.

    Today, I had the B_D_ again. I checked for aroma, and it does seem to have more of a yang sort of floral, such as incense right after the pour. Overall, I wasn't particularly impressed, even though I found it enjoyable. It reinforced my impression that bingdao is an incredibly overrated tea, for the most part. I'm told that the real gushu just does what thise tea does with more verve and intensity.
  18. I did the full grammage of the Yidu from Theasophie today. I found it to be a bit different. There was a bit more of barnyard/wild honey depth. There wasn't much of any of the purple character I tasted earlier. Not nearly as green (thank goodness).

    I'd say this is a pretty good tea. Aroma tends to be generic sheng with honey and fruit elements and with a floral edge. Taste tends to be notably sweet, with earlier brews having wild honey and later brews more of a honey-fruit. Florals can be found developing in the mouth. There tends to be a converstion to a sweet aftertaste in the mouth. The bitterness is a bit lighter than is proper for a Yibang sheng, as I understand things. Yibangs are normally fairly bitter, and there is typically a processing technique in terms of overfrying to reduce that, so as to get a more friendly taste. That has consequences later on, though. Viscosity is moderate to good, definitely has some astringency drying the mouth. Otherwise, texture is mostly just a bit of smooth/oil feeling. Aftertastes are mostly just in the mouth, not too strong an effort in the yun or pungent huigan department. A bit of mouthcoat here and there. Qi is moderate, of decent to good quality. I found the tea to be very durable, and the qi also lasted to the end as well.

    I liked it, but I find the taste volume and soundstage to be a bit low and narrow, and it tends to understate the actual quality a bit. Also a pretty expensive tea, at about $1.50/gram. It doesn't excite me or comfort me, so I'm a pleased sort of meh. For me, too many better things to buy with that sort of money, even new things.
  19. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Ambassador

    What a rabbit-hole this is! Looking for aged tea cakes makes shave soap look like a walk in the park ... or, the Six Mountains.

    Raw pu-erh enroute: Yiwu Millenary Old Tree Wild Shen Puer Windy Special Iron Cake 357g.

    Hopefully it's a good place to start. When it gets here from China. :boat: :chinese:

    Yiwu, I believe. Thousand-year-old tree leaves, we'll see. I'll look for the camphor!


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