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SOTD- sheng of the day

Inspired by shah8. 2014 XZH Hongyin Iron Cake.

First few steeps were shorter. Emphasized the floral, ethereal character. Then with longer steeps the liquor turned quite dark. A very high quality tea. A comparison with 2004 YQH Dingji came to mind in that the XZH is a much better tea in terms of its refinement. Like a BMW compared to an Acura. My sense, though I'm a novice compared to shah8 on this stuff, is that the quality of leaf, location, etc. was very particular and high level on the XZH. Whereas with the YQH being a blend with less known about the particulars of the origin, it's just not as high quality in material selection.

The two areas where the XZH was lacking was a) didn't last more than ten steeps b) the depth of the energy wasn't an immersive oneness, but still, was a nice present emptiness energy. The Dingji didn't necessarily have more energy, and I don't find it to be the most energetic of YQH, but I'm guessing the overall age of the trees was older.

Overall the XZH was a very refined tea and well in the direction that teas are ideally realizing.
Just realized I had mislabeled a sample. I was actually drinking the Hongyin A, not the Hongyin Iron in the above post.
Going in reverse order.

The second tea of this day was the 2006 XZH Youle. It was really great with a lovely camphory wood sharpness along with a dried apple-chickenstock umami base taste. Lots of good feeling, complex aftertastes, great qi. top shelf stuff as usual.

The first tea today was the 2007 Bada that I got from Paul Murray of W2T probably in 2012 or 2013. I realize now, what with the red soup color, that this has been warehoused. Essentially tastes like good warehoused tea that's fully dried out (dark herbal with some root herbal sweetness, first brew had some of that raspberry toned plumminess--rasberrimy? that Bada has), and now is missing the bad astringency it used to have. Viscosity is pretty thick and there is a touch of texture there. Not much aftertaste, a little mouthcoat. Some qi. I got bored pretty quick so I stopped around ten to twelve brews and dumped it for the good stuff. Started with this because I had a hankering for darker menghai tea.

Yesterday was '08 XZH Blessings. As much as '07 Jinggu Nu'ercha, '08 Blessings Iron, '08 Blessing cakes, '09 Xicongtianxiang are all obviously related, they are all somewhat different. '08 Blessings has much less tobacco-floralness than either the cake version or the '09, for example. Anyways, it was a pretty delicate and thin tea in terms of aroma and taste, and focused mainly on a honey and fruity character with a bit of woody-florals popping up here and there. Extremely durable for all of the lack of substance in the cup, though. Moderate viscosity, evanescent aftertastes that are subtle. I mainly drunk this for the great qi, and a bit on mouthfeel and taste.

I finished off the 2018 W2T Censers sample I got, in order to measure against Zero Sum. The tea has gotten a bit darker in taste with that heicha nuttiness, covering the honey and slight melon-like fruitiness. Not as much hay or floralness as it was in youth. Zero Sum is much more fruity, and probably more floral in taste and aroma. The viscosity and mouthfeel are more or less as usual, but Zero Sum is also thicker with stronger beeswax texture, though this may be an age thing. Not much aftertaste, so Zero Sum easily beats Censors there, but qi is roughly as strong as Zero Sum.

On thing I am noticing is that the 2016 Censers probably isn't precisely the same material, because it's much more aggressive in terms of astringency and general difficulty of drinking than the other Guizhou related white teas.

Tuesday, I had the 2004 YQH Dinjipin. This behaves very similarly to something like that '05 Changtai Yiwu Zhengpin 100g tea. Kind of dark, gentle, herbal and root herbal, plummy sweet--much as many other aged yiwu one might find. The differences are subtle, with a feeling of more dimensionality and nuance across the different aspects of tea qualities. The mouthfeel was the least subtle--it was thick with a good texture. Good qi. In general, I think Yang's blending philosophy, and worse, his storage did this tea no favors--creating a more generic experience. Its been more and more my impression that gushu style tea really doesn't suffer high humidity storage with that much grace. At least any grace suitable for my appetites. Even so, this '04 YQH is still a very enjoyable tea.

I also had the '20 W2T Camphornaut dragonball. Potent taste and aroma of camphor, choco tones. More cohesive than Planetary Shark Feed in taste, and more durable. Not much wodui noted. Planetary Shark Feed seems to have more aftertaste and more qi. I enjoyed this, particularly early, but it' still a pretty disposable shu.
Just had the 2004 Dingji too. I like your description and am in accord. I think the leaf has suffered a bit with humidity visually. That said, a gushu experience it is. I would rate this above the 2004 Zhencang Chawang. Had the 2007 Xishishenpin yesterday and I would rate that similarly to the Zhencang Chawang, thus too expensive for what it is. Although it was distinguished from the latter by a nice touch of bitterness.

I had the 2006 Chawangshu the other day and while I have a cake would not buy it again in terms of relative value. Its being lighter in profile doesn't catch my attention as much.

Had 2014 XZH Hongyin. Reflecting Tony's interest in finely made cars - to use a metaphor - it is a professional and luxury level tea. Perhaps what I noticed this time, given I have been working to develop discernment around gushu vibes, is that while it is very well made, the trees I'm guessing are not as old as the best older YQH. So it's a trade-off depending on one's preference for quality vs gushu character. If course, the best is to have the option of both.

In that vein, the 2017 XZH Lanyin was a noticeable step down from the 2014 Hongyin in energy. A clean, well-made tea, and certainly a high quality recent production, but not great depths.
By and large, I don't really think the YQH were excessively priced most of the we've had them available. More broadly, anything that matches them costs more than what they were before the recent price increases.

2007 Xishishenpin strikes me as a Hekai tea so I find it odd to compare it with Zhencang Chawang.

Keep in mind that Yiwu area teas didn't really get going until the mid-Qing or so era. Particularly with Mansa teas, the oldest these trees are going to be would be about 250 years or so. Next, Yang was going by the seat of his pants at that time, and he certainly wasn't going to have a super high level of expertise about any of this. We can presume that much of his tea was gushu but that would be only a presumption, not fact--Yang only bought teas brought to him in '04, more or less, not visited and processed teas at the grove. We're trusting that there wasn't many taidi/shengtai plantations there, and even then, there's that obviously plantation '05 GFZ and GFZ huangpian that was available, and which might have been a bulking agent for some of his gushu productions. Moreover, when we are talking about Bohetang or forest Manzhuang, Tongqinghe/Baichatang, we're not talking about age more than tall trees in pristine environment. So a 2014 XZH Hongyin is operating by a somewhat different metric. Almost be better to compare with '14 Hongyin Iron or Grade A.

Again, going by most recent first.

2005 Dayi Mengsong Peacock. Great tea, this session unusually flavorful. This tea is very similar to the '05 Wujin or the '99 BGT black stamp, except that it doesn't have much smoke/incensy wood, even to the levels of previous sessions, and it doesn't have the strong level of aftertaste that the BGT does. There isn't a great deal of difference otherwise in terms of overall quality.

Aroma and taste had a bulk nannuo-carrot with fruity tones (not very plummy, at least not until later) and a small fringe of green wood and incense. The taste was unusually intense, and it has a moderately strong but pleasant core bitterness. The viscosity was moderate with a nice plump/slight pudding texture to it. The aftertaste were pretty subtle and low key, some mouthcoats were nice, there was some light yiwu huigan to mushroom/almond sweetness, and a bit of woodsy mouth aroma from the bitterness. The qi was really enjoyable. The 2003 7532 from Malaysia sold by TeasWeLike has an overall more elegant taste and aroma, but it's all smaller, and the qi isn't nearly as good, and I think it's a key reason I don't quite find myself that interested in drinking it. Very durable, but does require flash infusions on account of bitterness, and a firmer hand later.

The first tea today was the 2020 W2T Saturday Mass. My feelings are more or less the same. The chenpi starts off very strong early, and then becomes more balanced with shu flavors for a while, before shu flavors retreat, leaving behind a citrus dominance. The shu does seem to be a menghai something something tea that reminds me a bit of Modern Witch. Good viscosity, and has a good almond yiwu huigan. Moderately strong qi. I found this to be a good morning tea.

The second tea yesterday was some Rougui yancha, 7g in 100ml and brewed pretty hard. Nothing special about it, but not bad, and I really need to drink this sort of thing up. Yancha such that I'm excited about it costs way more than I can afford.

The first tea yesterday was the 2000s private produced liubao from Malaysia collection. Smaller leaf, like about first to third grade leaf or so. More choco, less betel nut sort of liubao, and somewhat like a very rich shu. Not too much aftertaste and a bit of qi. Wasted a bunch of brews, as I stopped when it still had plenty left.

The tea Friday was the 2009 XZH Blessings shu. A lot less nannuo carrot than it usually is, and more aged sheng ginseng-y tcm and a bit more like how the '08 XZH Xishangjiaxi is. Lots of nuances in taste and aroma, for a shu. Again, one of the less sweet shu I have. Moderate viscosity, decent texture. Not a lot of aftertaste, moderate level of qi.
I had a couple of teas over the last few days. On Saturday I had a session with the 98 Menghai Tea Factory 8582 that houde was selling recently. It’s pretty good. This appears to have had some humid storage early but has been dry stored at houde for at least a decade. It’s still pretty young tasting and potent. One of the better examples of an aged 8582 that I’ve had. Of course no where close to the 80’s 8582s that I’ve been lucky enough to have sessions with. The next tea is one that I’ve had I. My collection for some time now. The 2011 EoT GFZ. This has always been kind of a weird tea that has great sessions in it and some pretty underwhelming sessions from time to time. This time it was the latter. Strong Qi but not a very interesting taste and little mouth/throatfeel. Doesn’t behave like a typical GFZ but is normally a enjoyable tea. The final tea was the Astro Red from W2T. I really like this and would love to get a cake at some point. Not sure if I really want to spend this much on a black tea though. Relatively strong bitterness that leads to some really unique throat and mouth feelings. Very strong energy this session.
Friday, I did Prosbloom dragon ball shu from w2t. It's merely a nice grease-cleaner shu (about grade three, moderate to heavy fermentation), as could be expected from the price. It is slightly bitter, though. Aroma and taste has choco, a kind of maple syrup-graham cracker tone, early, before degenerating to a typical fermentation taste with a bit of papery wood. Viscosity is somewhat thin. Maybe a touch of qi, no aftertaste.

I did the 2007 XZH 8582 Saturday. I was surprised at how much it reminded me of the Dayi 801 8582 that I've drunk up--it's not that different from a regular, very dry stored 8582. What's different is pretty positive. It is much bigger in taste and mouthfeel (much less astringent, too), and is substantially fruitier, particularly later on. Mild to moderate qi, and capable of a rather dynamic mouthcoat. I wasn't completely in love with it because it's tart and the flavor is a bit boring, honey, high barnyard-yeasty, before it gets to a nice rasberry-toned plumminess. This is supposed to be a Bulang-Yiwu blend. I think with another ten years, this should quite easily be nicer than any Dayi 8582 of anything like the same age. It might have a somewhat less detailed taste, but still bigger and fuller.

Second tea of the day was the '06 Taipei Memorial shu. It had one of its bad days and it was really thin and boring. I corrected it for it some by brewing very hard and got some nice brews later on, especially the next day--I didn't brew too many times on Saturday.

The tea today was the '09 XZH Yinfeng Pekoe. This tea is actually smaller than the '07 8582, interestingly to me. However, taste is more appealing to me, and it had stronger qi. I got some nice wine-ish yuns. The top taste was relatively choco for a Jinggu. I was very conservative about brew times, and avoided the issues that a tempermental buddy tea can have. This tea went a very long way, did more than sixteen before moving on to more Taipei Memorial and 8582. It was a rather good tea day.

I should at some point get some new teas to review, specifically teas from Teaside. Wanted to see how Thai and Myanmar teas are. Samples are expensive from there, though.
So far pleased with my purchase from w2t, i broke up waffles and have had it a few days, the asst balls are ok, I got one that was a little fishy, lol.. So I poked around and looked for some stuff I had for years, since 2009 to be exact. from seven cups.
It is called Huang zhi xiang (yellow sprig) dan cong wulong tea, I thought for sure it would be a total waste, but it brewed up a nice cup of tea, of gardenias and some what is like a tangerine. With my meds taste buds are off, but in any case it was pleasant.
Still have a lot to work thru from w2t order and I ordered some more with the free shipping they just had.
I didnt realize how much tea I ordered, in the pictures some of the stuff looked small but when it arrived it was a pretty good sized cake. I will be trying stuff out for a while...I also bought a tea kettle with an infuser , link is in the cafe gear thread. Works well, I can brew a pot at a time or just hot water to try diff teas during the day.
Got my Teaside order really fast, so got started this weekend instead of next weekend.

Friday's shu was the '19 W2T ZTMDKZ. I wanted to evaluate this tea again with W2T Saturday Mass in mind. I concluded that it is a bit better than Saturday Mass for several reasons: 1) The aroma is much more balanced, the bamboo essence from the roasting really help give the aroma a richer and more balanced feel. The chenpi also seems to be a bit older and more medicinal. 2) I think because the leave is of a more refined grade, this shu has a stronger core taste with more choco notes than Saturday Mass, which has shu material that feels a bit more transparent, in a way that reminds more of the YS Lao Man'E shu. 3) The aftertaste game is more sophisticated and varied--it has the nice almond yiwu huigan, but is also more capable of mouthcoat and a yun or two. There are disadvantages though. Saturday Mass is thicker in viscosity, and it has a stronger yiwu huigan to almond sweetness. Both teas have great qi. I thorougly enjoy and recommend both of them, but probably should prioritize ZTMDKZ.

Now for the Thai stuff. Overall, my impression is that all of the Thai teas I've tried so far, and now expect to get from them is that they are a kind of LiuBao that has not been oxidized and pile fermented. Thai teas shouldn't be approached like they are puerh--mainly in the sense that Thai teas do not have the richness in the taste of proper puerh (why everyone bothers doing all that extra work oxidizing and fermenting liubao--so as to give it a pseudo-richness). Said taste is also really not dynamic and gradually becomes a thin flavor around a thick bitter late in sessions. You get the same basic thing, more or less through a session, unlike a good puerh. That said, Thai teas are capable of good aftertaste games, good cooling feel, and so far, typically have plenty of good quality qi. They certainly have a place in a collection, especially if you like liubao.

The first tea of Saturday was Teaside 2018 Mae Hong Son. I was intrigued by the Bingdao comparison and didn't mind not letting it rest, have a bit more for one more session later. I like it, very chamomile. Intensely sweet early, and has a well rounded aftertaste game.

The aroma tends to be hay and applesauce (or that sort of floral apple nature that you get from some chamomile tisanes), with some high barnyard and mineral nuances. The aroma tended to decline in the apple sweetness, leaving more floral, hay nature later in the session. The early taste has an intense chamomile sweetness with celery-like herbals around it. The taste is relatively thin, like northern vegetal puerhs that had lost their vegetal notes with age. Bitterness tends to grow in the late session. Mouthfeel is pretty inconstant and does seem to reflect water temperature. It's never very thick and oftentimes the texture is watery, but there are moments when it has a nice velvet texture. Some astringency. Strong, sweet, and lasting mouthcoat aftertaste early, as well as a tendency for some floral mouth aroma. Can have elaborate cooling feel in mouth. Late session tends to have more of a slight caramel yiwu huigan. Rarely, a bit of yun. Moderate to strong qi of good quality.

While I'm not crazy about this tea, particuarly at the price, I like it and I think it'd be pretty complementary to a collection that already has plenty of good actual puerh or as a superior liubao-sheng in general.

The second tea of Saturday was the 2014 Teaside 2014 Myanmar-Menghai Ripe. I like this tea as well, and I think it is rather similar to W2T Camphornaut--less dense taste but with quite a bit more qi.

Aroma is mainly camphor and choco with dark herbals and nuttiness for nuance. The taste is camphor, fermentation depth-herbal, nuttiness. Not too thick or rich in taste, and certainly not as rich as Camphornaut. Not that different from a liubao, just doesn't have that psuedo-fruity betel taste. Good viscosity. Has a sweet finish many cups. Good qi, and I was quite relaxed.

The first tea today was the 2006 MingDeeHongTaiChang normal stored from Teaside.

Aroma tends to have a sweet dried fruit nature with wood and herbal aspects. Taste tends to be dried fruit, tangerine segments (as reported in one of the reviews on teaside's site), a sort of milky herbal nature, a bit of camphor, and a betel nut depth much like a liubao. Taste gradually becomes more dominated by bitter aspect as taste thins late in the session. Mouthfeel doesn't tend to be thick, can have a bit of a milky texture. There is some astringency. Decent cooling in mouth. Aftertaste is mainly a decent mouthcoat. Good quality qi.

Did a shu again after this, the 2006 Thai-Menghai Ripe.

Camphor and wood mostly in the aroma, with some nuttiness and a propensity for caramel when the soup cools a bit. A touch of wodui early. The taste is more dominated by a nuttiness with subtle caramel sweetness within, along with a fringe of wood and camphor. A sweet finish sometimes. Can have a bit of sour plumminess at the end of cups. Good viscosity, not much of a distinct texture. Good quality qi.

Overall, I did not press these teas all that hard in terms of durability because they're boring and more difficult to drink because of bitterness after some time.

One note, I got fascinated looking at the picks of the '90s Hongtaichang shu cake at TeasWeLike. It's dramatically different from the old shu cakes at Teaside. The TeasWeLike HTC looks a bit more like humid stored sheng or pressed liubao--certainly very tightly pressed compared to the shus at Teaside.
A couple of quick notes...

MingDee lasted pretty well. Not super long, but unlike the Mae Hong Son, isn't gradually dominated by bitter. Good qi to the end. Candidate for spreading a session out over several days, stopping a bit after boredom.

2019 EoT Yao Zhu Di was thermosed. It seems darker tasting than it used to be, but still more green than I'd prefer to drink, sort of how the W2T 2016 Brother, Sister used to be.

Did the 1996 HongtaiChang shu today. Soup is very clear and lighter colored than shu usually is. Aroma is pretty sweet with a notable Riccola-like sweet herbal blend, also has wood and cola. Taste is herbal, fermentation taste, a bit of sulfur, and there is a pleasantly tasty dark choco bitterness at the core. Viscosity is moderate, with a touch of aged tea texture. Not too much aftertaste. The qi is relatively disappointing, mild to moderate, and I didn't notice much of distinction. The tea wasn't very dynamic so it was mostly the same experience brew to brew with slight differences, maybe a bit woodier here and nuttier there. I didn't push the tea too hard, and put in the fridge.

I also did a thermos of the '96 shu. The qi is still mild-moderate, but the taste is more solid, and maybe more of a substantive texture in the mouth. There is more real tea taste in this than normal shu, and it can be pretty choco. It was very enjoyable in terms of main taste for a wodui production. One thing I gather from this thermos is that this tea can easily be underbrewed (heh, not trying to avoid bitterness), and one needs to overleaf and use hit retainer pots to get the most solid experience.

That's it for shu from Tea-Side, still a few more sheng to go. Overall, I'd say that the Thai shus have a bigger tastestage than the puerh shu, but is more coarse. Hongtaichang shu seems to follow mostly a 7581 sort of model. Aaaanyways. So far, I'd say that the newer shu is more potent than the older shu, and the prices are mostly stiff/fair-with the best values being those shu at $60-$70, because they seem to be big in aroma and taste and have an abnormal amount of qi.
Okay, going to go backwards again, did a lot of tea...

The second tea of today was the 2013 Love Forever, probably bamboo tong version. I didn't come into this session with high expections, so they were met. It was not a bad tea with a decent plus in having a nice creamy mouthfeel, has a bit of qi, and it has that banzhang anti-ADD effect that I definitely enjoy. On the minus side, it doesn't have the oomph to age into anything like an impressive tea. Oolong Owl's review of the tea is pretty accurate in my book.

Aroma changes through the session. It starts out as woody-camphor, then moves towards a kind of sour plummy, and ends up a sort of grain syrup sort of aroma. Wood is present throughout at least a little. The taste starts off as wood, but quickly turns to a sour and tart plummy with a bit of wood for a couple of brews, then becomes woody-camphor a bit (with bitterness and a slight choco depth), before ending up with mostly a sweet grain syrup taste the rest of the way. The mouthfeel is pretty decent--good viscosity with a creamy texture most of the way through. It's a bit astringent, more than merely drying. Aftertastes are a bit of yiwu huigan to fruit, especially early, and a lingering light fruit mouthcoat. The qi is mild to moderate of okay quality.

At about $110 or so dollars for a cake, I'd say it's an okay value, but I'd only really have it on hand as medicine.

The first tea of today was the Teaside 2014 Fox. This was a bit more of what I expected from a marginal tea seller--tasty enough, but not particularly notable. In the context of the other teas, it's a bit dissapointing.

Aroma doesn't last that long, and it's generally woodsap, a touch of wood, caramel with an emphasis on the milk. Can have barnyard and herbals. The taste early was more woody, woodsap, herbal bitterness with a touch of caramel, but most of the session is dominated by a milky caramel taste (it's not that strong tasting so it isn't foody). Late brews have more of an herb and mineral emphasis. The mouthfeel wasn't that great as this doesn't have great viscosity and it gets worse as the soup cools. The astringency is also notable. Aftertastes tends to be a yiwu huigan of caramel and a fruity mouthcoat. Some slight mouth aroma generated by the bitterness. Mild to moderate qi, a bit weaker than the quality I've gotten used to from Teaside.

The teas on Saturday was great, and I sort of want to buy these teas.

The first tea of Saturday was the 2018 Pu Muen Jungle Raw. This performance quickly reminded me of that 2016 Eot Wuliang H I was sad to miss out on. It's a more richer tea than Thai teas typically have been. Also, at $110/400g, it's reasonably decisively a value proposition.

Aroma goes a long way, and is more dynamic than Thai teas usually are. Fruit herbal early, then choco/barnyard/herbal, then herbal/fruity barnyard, then herbal/honey a long stretch before a late session aroma of yeasty herbals. Taste is more static with choco, herbal being the main players with fruit, bitterness, barnyard showing up here and there (early brews are tangy), and late taste is more mineral and higher herbal with slight milk and fruit tones. Viscosity is decent with a rather sticky mouthfeel. Viscosity does feel weaker as soup cools, though. This tea has a lot of interesting cooling feeling in mouth. Aftertastes are nicely aggressive with a fruity mouthcoat being consistent, some floral mouth aroma, yuns early in the session. Good quality moderate qi. This tea's taste mostly thins as the session goes. I could have brewed more than the twelve or so brews that I did, but I was drinking the infusions quickly at the end and wanted to move onto the next tea.

I don't see much of a quality deficit compared to the Mae Hong Son despite the difference in price per gram.

The second tea I really enjoyed, the 2006 HongTaiChang 0803. It's pretty close to the XZH '06 Youle in structure--white/yellow fruit with a woody edge. Much like the 2007 XZH Jipin in having a very refined woody edge.

White/yellow/sort of tropical fruitiness, wood, and a sort of cologny floral aroma through most of this session with varying nuances. Early brews has some herbals honey, minerals and yeastiness. The taste is generally soft, with strong internal consistency, much as how Dave Collan would prefer things, for example, so, pure in feeling. The taste tends to involve wood, woodsap, honey, fruits, minerals, and some bitterness here and there. Late brews has a more generic, darker taste. The mouthfeel is mostly about enough viscosity, especially when warm, texture is soft. This is one Thai tea that actually has some feeling in mouth and throat. However, the aftertaste are generally not that strong, unless one reaches the bitterness, in which case one gets a bit of sweet mouthcoat, and I've gotten a yun to go. Moderate qi of very good or great quality. I took this tea a reasonably long way, but I didn't push it that long--one thing I've noticed is that Thai teas may be harder on the tummy than regular puerh.

This is was a very soft and elegant tea with a deeply refined aroma that was really enjoyable for me to smell, and the qi was really good. Thoroughly recommended as equivalent puerh costs a lot more than $170 if you're not getting it through FB auctions.
Merry Christmas in this annus horribilis.

Going to go backwards...

The second tea of today was the 2001 Jinyehao (Green Sun) that was from Houde. This is sold out now, and it's a pity that it is. The storage is materially better than what Yang of YQH has, resulting in a tea of higher refinement and brightness of flavor. It's a bit less woody than with Yang's storage, but it's also less flat. The number of interesting brews, though, is less than would ideally be the case, at least without aggressive brewing--active phase was about four brews before I started drinking the cups rapidly. This gave me the sense that this is a pretty delicate tea (it's fall material, too), in terms of storage and finicky brewing--as you need to lengthen brewing times quicker and with more care since it has bitterness. I spent a bit of time thinking about the '04 YQH Dingjipin as that I felt there were some slight similarities, and moreover, it's easy to conceive of the benefits of more aggressively gushu tea after a couple of decades--it's bigger and richer, with largely similar profile. I would definitely like to try one that had Houde level dry storage.

Aroma is mostly wood and dark herbal. Sometimes the wood is very lovely refined. Some brews have a pronounced plummy aspect and there are others with more generic mushroom, honey, and barnyard nuances. The taste has a dark herbal base like many Yiwus on the western side of things like Gaoshan and some Classical Yiwu. The taste is easily, if pleasantly bitter (with a bit of tartness) through about the first four brews and when brewed firmly after that. Secondary notes are plumminess and cola notes. There are some random sweet grains and mineral notes here and there, and overall, a honey sweetness underlies the main tastes. The mouthfeel is pretty good early, with moderate to good viscosity, a stiff velvet texture, and the astringency often being aged-slick or absent. A defined mouthfeel with plenty of viscosity fades relatively quickly, though. A light mouthcoat is the most common aftertaste, but a cup or two was capable of a decent yun in the throat as well as feeling there. The qi is moderate to strong and of quite good quality, but only in the earlier brews--I feel as if it fades in later cups. Will see tomorrow, maybe if it perks back up. Durability is decent, I guess--main issue is that the active phase is over very fast, and one needs to brew harder at a faster pace in order to get slow drinking cups. I brewed about twelve, thirteen times before stopping.

The first tea of the day was the 2018 XZH Chocobrick sheng. This was said to be of Menghai material. Eh, whatever--very much a tweaked, drink now sort of tea with broad vaguely bulang but sweet and empty taste. Aroma has some of that bulang ammonia/urine aspect with fruit, honey, high barnyard. The taste is menghai honey, fruit, aromatic soil, urine, with a fringe of wood. Decent viscosity with a velvet feeling. Doesn't generate much in the way of aftertaste and a bit of qi. As these things go, forgettable tea and I stopped at about ten brews before dumping.

The big tea yesterday was the Teaside 1990-91 no wrapper tea. This was pretty good, a couple of things: Behaves like a fruity liu bao, and I also thought it might prove to be a good idea of what gushu procession would eventually lead to.

The main aroma is dried fruit like prunes and apricot. Here and there, there can be wood, nutty, mineral, sulfur aspects in the aroma through the session. The taste is pretty gushu tea transparent in the sense of no dense core like heavily rolled tea (or buddy tea), so this broad ruby sense of dried fruit with some bitterness and tartness, some choco, and wood most of the time. The taste is capable of sweet banana note, tcm, mineral, and nuttiness. Viscosity is generally good with an oily mouthfeel and not much astringency. Can generate some feeling, cooling in mouth and throat. Can have a sweet finish, but usually has more of a winey finish/mouthcoat and a fruity mouthcoat in general. It has strong qi of good quality. As with most liu baos, I tend to get bored with them after a while, and rarely push them that hard, but I still probably did around fifteen brews before wasting the rest.

During the week, I did the 2017 and 2019 HaiLangHai Laobanzhang shu. To come to the point quickly, they were fun, but are obscene value for the money. I feel that W2T Nameless is pretty competitive with them, and I'd have a hard time trading something like Saturday Mass for such tea as well. HLH LBZ are a bit more like W2T's The Great Divide than YS Lao Man'e, HLH Lao Man'e, or Modern Witch. Anyways, the 2017 is more special than the 2019, but the 2019 is more balanced.

Both teas feature a super strong and deep Bulang core taste with some choco aspect to them. They also have a sweet sense to them, like sweet butter or caramel. The 2017 has a bit more of aromatic soil fringe, while the 2019 got something like fruity in later brews. The 2017 didn't have much of an interesting aroma, while the 2019 has a nice rum and bulang thing going. Where the 2017 really shines is in the mouthfeel--it's relatively thick with a very substantial texture to the point that it felt chewy, so I was thinking: Bulang Brownie! The 2019 has a good mouthfeel in comparison, but quite a bit more normal "good", and it gets a bit astringent late. Neither tea offers much in terms of aftertaste beyond what a sweet sense offers. Both tends to deliver moderate levels of good quality qi, and the 2019 is a bit better at that. The 2017 feels like it's the more durable tea, did about 12 brews with relative ease, while the '19 was huffing around brew ten or so.
Drank some of my better cakes over the holidays. The 06 black wrapper was excellent on Christmas Day. I had a fantastic session with the 06 shenpin the day before. The Qi of that tea is the star attribute and the flavor was more apparent then it can be at times. Had some 07 XZH huangshanlin tonight. Taiwan storage has made this tea pretty smooth and it has a pretty thick soup. Nice potency in the throat and decent huigan. What I love about this tea is the quality of the Qi. Very warming and increases focus. Glad I picked up a second cake a few months back.
The first tea Saturday was the 2001 Large "Zhong" Yellow in Purple from Houde. The first thing to note was the soup was deep orange with red tones, and the behavior of the tea reveals that this tea has had some very early and very quick warehousing. Pretty much almost all the warehouse tastes like black-eyed-peas is gone, leaving a telltale minerality. The second thing, and especially noted in a thermos during last week, is that the tea is dirty and has some herbicide/myco issues that bites the back of the mouth in that way, thus had to be washed. I was also pulling textile fabric and long hair from the sample. It *really* has to be washed. The overall session was pretty acceptable--kinda hollow in the nature of warehoused tea, good viscosity, relatively strong qi compared to expectations. I would say that it's worth the money at Houde, but I certainly understand why there is still plenty left.

The aroma is mostly herbal, plumminess, and wood, with a sweetness that underlies them. It get hollow and very light pretty quickly. Taste is mostly hollow, with taste that is usually around the themes of herbals, plumminess, wood, a bit of honeyed sweetness, and soil/mineral--roughly about what you'd expect from yiwu around that time that wasn't premium like Jinyehao or Changtai Song Character. The mouthfeel is pretty decent, as it's decently thick with low astringency, but nothing too distinct in texture. Not too much aftertaste, a bit of light yiwu huigan to sugars and a light mouthcoat. The qi is moderate to strong in the early going, can feel pretty good, but I seem to feel as if it fades a bit in the late session more than it should. I didn't brew all that many times, something like twelve to fifteen brews, and drunk most brews fast on account of lack of complexity.

The second tea of Saturday was impressive. It was the 2006 Taipei Memorial 100g xiaobing sheng (a mini of the top cake of this line) orginally sold at Houde, I believe. Anyways, the performance of this tea is similar to the 07 XZH LongFeng and ChenShenHao LBZs. I've had a sample of this tea before from the same cake, but I don't think I understood the tea as well as I did yesterday. One thing it does solidify in my mind is that CSH LBZ are not meaningfully LBZ in the way that reveals LBZ glory. That deep tart tobacco note is a property of tea from BZ up to Nannuo mountain, and the Taipei doesn't have Banzhang, but I presume that Gelanghe is doing the main premium content work in the blend.

The aroma moves from nannuo-carrot to plummy with wood, tobacco along for the ride. The wood can be a bit forest floral, and almond sweetness showed up here and there. The taste has that dark, deep, and tart tobacco found in things like the '10 CSH LBZ. Early brews are a touch sour while late brews are sweet. There can be refined wood notes on the fringe and plummyness in the depths with the tobacco. There is moderate to a bit good viscosity with a propensity for pleasantly crisp drying astringency, and the texture encourages me to think of it as round. It's capable of a slight yiwu huigan, and earlier brews with higher astringency generates a good mouthcoat and yun. Pretty decent qi

Again, it's like certain premium teas in that it has a powerful and deep concentrated taste with good viscosity and qi. Now, in comparison with the XZH Longfeng, it's a bit better on viscosity, but much weaker on aftertastes, and it's generally a bit smaller than the CSH LBZ in terms of viscosity, qi. It's a bit more complex tasting than both on account of blending. Of course, one *should* be able to get these teas for much less, tho' the only easy place to get this stuff is the regular size cake from Cloud (who only has two, anyways) at about $350-$400/400g.

The first tea today was the 2006 XZH BanPo LaoZhai. This was a very enjoyable and mellow tea, tho' of interest to me is that the difference in quality between this and the XZH Youle is more than the difference between the Youle and the Taiji LBZs. Anyways, not hard to see how this one got sold out fairly quickly at Houde.

Aroma is mostly mushroom and honey early, then it tends to have herbals and tobacco midsession, and moves towards milky basis with herbal/tobacco/plummy nuance late. The taste broadly reflects this aroma, but tends to have wood, choco, deep/tart tobacco emphasis in the middle part of the session. Found a pleasant lingering bitterness here and there. The viscosity tends to be moderate with a oddly evanescent texture (tea that just sort of drinks itself), or perhaps I should say silky. It has a bit of drying astringency. It generates some feeling in the throat as well as a delicate yun early on. Also early in the session are delicate and lingering pungent huigan and mouthcoats. Late brews have a bit of mouthcoat, and some occassion yiwu huigan. Active phase is over relatively quickly but it does continue to deliver quickly drunk pleasant tasting brews for many brews. I've put this in the fridge for the week.

Last tea of the weekend was the 2014 W2T 54-46 That's My Number, which is a Bangwei. I wanted to see how this was doing as it rounds the first curve of the puerh aging cycle. My broad opinion is that the material isn't too special and offers little advantage to the 2010 EoT Bangwei. It offers a thicker soup, more concentrated taste, and more qi, while not being tart. The EoT has much nicer aroma and taste. In a certain sense 54-46 is like a not-especially-floral broadleaf Jingmai or maybe a cross between a Nahan and a Jingmai.

Aroma is mostly vegetal-nutty with underlying honey sweetness, and late brews are more straight nutty with honey underneath. Early taste is vegetal-nutty before transitioning to a more deep nutty-chicory and floral-tobacco note along with bitterness. Tobacco is the main taste late, and there is some fruit sense in aroma and taste as well. It has good viscosity with a bit unusually low astringency, tho' astringency does rise a bit in late session. Aftertastes are pretty subtle and occasional, a bit of mouth aroma in the throat, a bit of mouthcoat and a couple of yiwu huigan to fruit. I think this tends to follow however much astringency and bitterness there is. Qi is moderate to strong before fading to a more moderate sense. I didn't push this tea too hard, as I got bored, putting this in the fridge too.
Alright, a lot of tea samples drunk so a long review incoming, and working from latest to first.

The second tea today was the 1988 HongTaiChang. This was mostly pretty good. Primary issue is that it is subtle (i.e., it's really better if you have a lot of it, and plenty of unhurried sessions, rather than one try that you implicitly seek that whizbang THISISIT), and it was pretty humid stored or warehoused at one point, since the last (I was brewing very long at this poing to maintain strong taste) brew unleashed an intolerable fishiness. Understanding that most aged teas aren't worth the money, I still wouldn't pay much for a quantity of this tea--it's too much like liubao and doesn't really offer that much more than the liubao I already posess.

The taste and aroma is a bit dynamic of thai puerh, in a slowly changing nuance sort of way. The aroma was originally wood and caramel, then eased into choco and caramel, then becomes more barnyardy, plummy, herbal, before ending up in a more consistent herbal, betal nut, and slight wood aroma. The taste starts out bitter dark choco with nutty and wood tones, then gradually increases in plumminess, and a degree of unusual and faint floralness, before moving towards a more liubao sense of diminished choco, herbals, nuttiness, and wood. The taste can be a bit tart that bites at tongueroots. Also bitterness that can linger after the swallow. From the start, and with firm brews later, the taste is very thick and dense. The mouthfeel generally has decent viscosity before thickening up, with stiff, velvet texture early and generic late. Astringency is generally low, but can make an appearance here and there. This tends to have a combination mouthcoat-cooling. Qi is moderate to strong and can linger for a long time after the cup is done. Seems to be pretty durable, despite the attack of the fishy (and the necessity for caution about overbrewing at some point). I did drink a great many of the brews very quickly, not a huge amount of details to slow me down.

The first tea of the day was the second Tianmenshan of the weekend, the 2019 Yiwu Tea Mountain Tianmenshan maocha. It was the experience this tea gave to a friend that incentivized me to spend a bunch of money buying samples. How was it? It's clearly processed to be engaging and friendly, and basically has no core--say, the opposite of the EoT 2020 TMS. It's not likely to age into anything compelling but for now, it does have a lot of sweet fruity and honey flavors and it offers a good hit of that positive tilt qi.

Aroma is usually tropical fruit and honey, with occasional banyard, spice intrusions. The taste is more or less the same as aroma, with woodsap/wood, spice fringe. Not much bitterness or anything like that. Late infusions has more grains or herbals along with the tropical fruit honey ethos. Moderate to good viscosity with a bit of an albumin texture, and some drying astringency( particularly late/firm brews). Not too bad in terms of aftertastes early, one cup does a nice concerted yiwu huigan, mouthcoat, yun along with some cooling and feeling at top of throat. Most of the aftertaste of significance comes early, and it's usually a bit of yiwu huigan that might last long enough to be a bit of mouthcoat. Qi was pretty decent--moderate and of the sort easily recognizable as Tianmenshan positive tilt. I did about thirteen or fourteen brews before the taste was too thin for me to continue (as well as being late, some of these brews happening after a long rest).

The second tea of yesterday was a 2001 Xiaguan 8653, and it seems likely it's the 2001 Iron Zhongcha found at TeasWeLike. Broadly, I sort of liked it, but I found it too "small" for me to really enjoy it--relatively concentrated and narrow attack. Other legit Xiaguans have been a bit thicker and deeper in taste, like this 2004 Iron that Paul Murray sent me a chunk of long ago, or the 2005 CangEr tuo. To be fair though, the 2001 has some fairly appealing notes and does better in terms of aftertaste and qi than either.

Aroma has mushroom, wood/camphor and malt earlier in the session, and gets a little deeper with a subtly fruity barnyard depth in later brews. Taste generally has mushroom, wood, malt. Can be a bit mineral. Generally some tartness that bites at tongueroots. Later brews can have some barnyard, and intriguingly a certain strawberry-ish fruitiness (especially as the soup cools). Viscosity only hangs around decent, sometime okay, sometimes on the thin side of things. Consistent light drying astringency. Some electric feeling in the mouth very early, as well as consistent good cooling most of the session that can include some feeling in the throat. Most aftertaste is a lingering sort of mouthcoat. A bit of mouth aroma in at least one cup. Can have yiwu huigan to fruitiness. The qi is pretty good early but it fades as the session moves on, makes me wonder if it's converted caffeine qi. This lasted longer than I really wanted to drink it as the main taste of mushroom and malt wasn't my thing, so not sure how durable it is.

The first tea of yesterday was a disappointing session with the XZH 2019 Heart Sutra, which is a very expensive at about $600/400g tea from Tianmenshan. It's hollow and weak, tho' if you brew it firmly, you can get a lot of what you're supposed to get out of a Tianmenshan.

Earliest brews have a fruit and honey aroma, before moving to a deeper wild honey aroma, which eventually rises to something like a dark honey aroma. The taste more or less reflects the aroma, honey and fruity early, moves to wild honey and herbal/wood taste, then up to dark honey. A couple of later firm brews got a bitter tcm core. It quickly becomes difficult to get a strong taste, though. Viscosity is generally good with an oily texture early. This tea did not have much aftertaste, only a little mouthcoat, and a bit of floral mouth aroma when brewing is pushed. Qi is decent but not remarkable, and not strongly showing the old TMS positive tilt. And as you can see already, durability is not good, maybe about ten worthwhile brews.

I also did a 4g session of the YQH '05 Old Tree. To put it quickly, it's nothing all that special--it seems to be fall tea from the southern side of GFZ. Doesn't have remarkable taste or anything, but does have a nice qi.

aroma is plummy-almost nannuo carroty, humidity, and a touch of slightly fishy umami. The taste reflects the aroma, but more woody, and grows more woody in proportion as the session moves on. Mouthfeel is with moderate viscosity and a lightly oily texture. A bit of astringency. Aftertaste is mostly a subtle yiwu huigan, but there was at least one nice floral mouth aroma. Later brews often has a sweet sense to things. Qi is light to moderate of good quality.

Feels like this makes a good and disposable easy drinker with good qi.

The first tea of the holiday break was the 2016 XZH XiGe shu. The vendor desciption is pretty accurate about the chocolate milk thing. This is a good, but not particularly exciting shu that also tires kind of quickly.

Aroma is bark, cola, herbal. A bit of the way in, a cologne sort of note, like W2T Nameless, appears in the aroma, makes for some nice sniffing. Taste is bark, herbal, choco, milk, and is pretty consistently so. The mouthfeel is decent for a premium shu--good thickness with a creamy feel. There is a bit of yiwu huigan to almond sweetness. Some qi. Like I said, it tires out pretty quickly, by about brew eight or so. It's about $100 for 400g, which is largely in line with the quality.

One thing noted during the week was that W2T 2014 54-46 was very durable and rather pleasant in the late brews through the week. Makes me wonder if the tea is mostly just fairly awkward now, in terms of the main session.

2006 XZH Nannuo also brewed pretty well in late brews through the week, too, but fewer since I brewed a longer session on that Sunday.
A couple of teas today, which I didn't push for super long sessions of, and which I'll drink more of over the week.

The first tea was the 2007 XZH Huangshanlin. I wanted to squeeze in a tea I knew and loved to treat myself, and it was a pretty good session.

It typically had honey, fruit and wood/artisinal clay aroma. Not one of it's best sessions for aroma, but good enough. The taste was also revolved around a set of honey, fruity, wood flavors. Cream flavors mid and late session. The mouthfeel was pretty good, with good viscosity and an almost cotton (like Mahei) texture. There was a little bit of old and slick astringency early, but more stronger drying astringency happened later. Aftertaste in earlier brews were very nice, with the usual strong and deep feeling in the throat. Delicate pungent huigan in throat happened with fast yiwu huigans to almond sweetness and a complex and developing mouthcoat. Usually some cooling associated with the mouthcoat. A lingering yun happened at the end of one cup. Qi was strong and good, as usual, maybe not super-strong as it can be. Like I said, I didn't push this much today.

The second tea was the 1999 Changtai Yichanghao Zhuan characters Yuancha, a four gram sample originally from Houde, as previous reviewed here: 1999 Changtai - Yichanghao "Yiwu" - http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2010/07/1999-changtai-yichanghao-yiwu.html . This had some warehousing, but it's a very enjoyable tea, rather similarly to the way that the 1998 BGT Red Stamp or '96 Rose Dayi is enjoyable. Wet, round, lots of wood, sweetness.

Warehouse blackeyed peas note in the aroma, along with aromatic wood, herbals, and maybe a cola sense. Taste is blackeyed peas, wood, a bitterness over a sort of sweet depth that's a little like cola or sweet herbals. This generally wasn't very dynamic at all over the session. Tends to be good viscosity and very round feeling. Little astringency early and gradually rises. Consistent good yiwu huigan to almond sweetness. One brew had a nice wood mouth aroma. Moderate qi.

A ton of people would enjoy this tea. Of course, they'd have to find it first, and be able to afford it!
Man, was this a great tea weekend!

First up, on Friday, was the 2004 6FTM No1 recipe shu--was its usual subtle and dynamic self with plenty of qi and mouthfeel.

The first tea on Saturday was the 2005 Shuangjian Mengku Mother Trees, which is purported to have Bingdao material, and was sold by Houde. To make things short, yeah, it feels like Bingdao, but it is also relatively difficult tea to drink. If you're someone who likes to progress on time, steep by steep, like I do, you shouldn't, and do that increase time only when too weak method.

The broad sweep of northern teas (meaning along the Lancang from about Yangta and Bangwei up to Fengqing) all rotate around a certain set of qualities, so, much of the time, the high end versions of most places have quite a bit in common with each other. Not too unusual--anyone can do comparisons between Chawangshu and Mahei at the high end and get echos of each other. Anyways, I kept in mind the XZH axis of '07 Jinggu Nu'er/'08 Blessings/'09 Xicongtianxiang, '07 Huangshanlin, '07 Xishangmeishao, Diangu, '14 Lanyin as well as the '02 Tai Lian International and the '16 YS Bingdao, among other things when tasting this tea. Overall, the experience is closest to a blend of '02 Tai Lian and '07 Xishangmeishao, with some considerations about Diangu and '14 Lanyin.

Alright, let's begin... The aroma starts off with a sort of mushroom and wood character, before moving a barnyard/fruity and wood, and then oscillating between wood, fruitiness, and herbalness in the later and late brews. It's a nice, high appeal aroma at times, but it's not particularly refined or anything. The taste has an aggressive bitterness and tartness to the experience--something like this in this tea that's found in all of the previously mentioned teas, but it's more strong here. It is also more astringent than any of the teas mentioned before. Anyways, the taste--it's generally has dried fruit rounded by a bit of barnyard (in a way, similar to how Diangus are, also a Thai brand's Bingdao tried way back in 2012 was like this too) along with sweet mushroom (like how Tai Lian and Xishangmeishao are), wood/aromatic wood, and has a sense of sweetness to it. Late brews is generally a vague taste and a sweet sense. The viscosity starts out as moderate, and swells to a more thicker experience in the middle of the session. The texture mostly shows up in the middle as well, kind of an oily softness. High drying astringency much of the time before fading late. The aftertaste game is pretty good. There was a consistent yiwu huigan to sugars with lingering, developing and sweet mouthcoat. Occassional nice wood mouth aroma. Some minty sense in taste and feeling of cool in the mouth and throat. There was a touch of feeling going down throat early in session. The qi was relatively strong and nice early but seems to fade as the session moves along. Durability isn't that great in the sense that the taste of the tea becomes thin and boring relatively quickly by about brew ten. Mouthfeel probably goes on good, as well as whatever qi there was.

Compared to the Tai Lian, this tea is bigger and more purely Bingdao. OTOH, what handful of Bingdao leaves in the Tai Lian is better, and the Tai Lian, despite being no shrinking violet in this department, markedly easier to drink. The XZH axis aren't very fruity, and generally have thinner tastes, but again, easier to drink, more refined aromas, and more qi. There is a lot in common with the more heavily stored Xishanmeishao I tried a little while ago, but Xishangmeishao is unquestionably better in all ways, as well as Diangu or Huangshanlin. I myself wouldn't pay almost $500 for this tea, because one really should be able to find a better performing northern tea at that price.

The first tea today was the 2009 XZH Jin Taiji, which is supposed to be a Hekai. While there are the typical flavors of aged southern Nannuo and Hekai, this tea had a bitterness that is much more reminiscent of small leaf Mengsong or Gedeng/Yibang teas--so I'm wondering if this is from some place that really managed to be hush hush.

I had this tea once before and while I liked it, I sort of thought it was a very delicate and somewhat passive tea that wasn't too durable. I wasn't exactly "meh" on it, but it wasn't something I thought I should focus on when I had the chance to buy something like this at a reasonable price. This session, though, was deeply impressive. Still thin and delicate, but...

The taste and aroma were dynamic and complex, so this may take awhile. The aroma, interesting to me, was very durable, and it basically had a good aroma even relatively deep in the session, if I was willing to brew very hard for it. Okay, what was in it? Early brews had some Menghai mushroom in it, with wood, plumminess, high barnyard, and some perhaps storage mineralness as well. Then there were broad high barnyard (with herbals and wood on the fringe) aroma that feels like there is florals and fruits underneath it. And then brews have aroma essentially deriving from how the brewing is done, resulting in varying proportions of wood, herbals, barnyard, and fruitiness. Generally a broad, layered, and complex aroma. As far as the taste goes, a very pleasant bitter pole was the dominant feature of early to mid sessions. The earliest did not have the bitterness, but had a soft tcm/choco/herbal depth. Once the bitterness hits, there was bitter-tcm, barnyard, choco also sour plumminess that's more evident in cool soup, but this quickly starts rising toward a wood, tcm/dark herbal, and menghai mushroom taste and it hovers around this character depending on the brewing the rest of the session. The viscosity was more moderate and lower astringency early in the session, and become thicker with high astringency by mid-session. Mouthfeel gains a sort of velvet texture as astringency rises before subsiding some in late session. The aftertaste game is great, because it incorporates every kind, integrates them and they continuously develop--so I had a number of cups that took a long time to drink. The first half or so of the session had pungent huigans with feeling going down throat some. The second half of the session had this lovely yiwu huigan to sweet herbals in the front of the mouth, making for plenty of salivation. Throughout the whole session were lingering mouthcoats that kept changing in flavor, and the mouthcoat stayed in the mouth a rather long time. A late brew had a great yun. Qi was strong throughout the session, and lasted past when the cup was done. Of course it was rather good in quality. Durability seems to be really good, I stopped at around twelve-fourteen brews, and it was still rather in the active phase, so long as I brewed relatively hard.

This tea isn't very rich in taste, not like the LBZ Taiji (tho' I'd take this in a heartbeat over the white Taiji) or the '07 XZH Mengsong, but there is a ton of refinement, and isn't as much of a pansy as I thought it was.

The last tea of the weekend was the late '90s MTF Large Zhong 8582 sold at Houde. In short, this is very real stuff, and very enjoyable factory tea up to my standard. It is relatively dry stored, so that means there is that tartness and sourness in the early session. Anyways, I've drunk a number of CNNP 8582s. There are so many with just a tiny set of buttocks and wiggling it for all it's worth, and which reminds me of my annoyance with small tasting factory teas. This 8582, however, filled up both the nostrils and the mouth, and I really appreciated that part.

The aroma was great early to mid session, but it does get low and faint by about the sixth or so brew. It started off with a weird if nice creamed corn umani with the more expected wood and herbal notes. Then the aroma focuses on an aromatic wood, herbals, spices thing that is really easy to smell and enjoy. And then dies down in a puff of incensey wood before continuing along with a low herbal aroma with some aromatic wood in the later brews. The taste had some sourness and tartness early, but is relatively consistently a wood and deep herbal taste. Not too complex, but quite enjoyable. Interestingly, becomes more bitter later with longer brews, might have to finesse that. The viscosity starts off moderate and builds to good. The texture is pretty generic with a nod towards velvet here and there. Drying astringency is moderate. The aftertaste generally features a good yiwu huigan to almond sweetness. Some mouthcoats. There can be the occasional yun and mouth aroma. The qi here is also rather good at moderate strength.

This was a very enjoyable session that makes me wanna buy that tea at Houde's price, the tea does still need further aging to wear down the astringency and bitterness a bit more.


Really glad to have found this thread. I have not seen any puerh discussion since there was a great discussion board on (can't remember the site), run by a guy who went by bearsbearsbears. I have been sidetracked by coffee, but I need to dig into my coolers of humidified puerh discs and start tasting again. Most of my sheng should be mature by now, having passed its 11 year mark and then some.
The shu of Friday was the trusty '07 Dayi An Xiang. I noted a specific red-bean or maybe jujube sort of flavor in the late brews that I thought sort of similar to the late brews of the '04 6FTM shu I had the week before. Wondered if it's a sort of aged shu flavor.

All week had late brews of the '09 XZH Jin Taiji and the late '90s 8582, both performed great quite deep, say in the 20s in terms of number of brews. The 8582 had some retired smoke come out in late brews, not too disturbing...

The sheng of Saturday was the 2009 XZH Guafengzhai. It was great. It's actually a bit small compared to the other great GFZ area teas but is fairly potent. This tea had little of the mushroom that you'd find on the northern side of GFZ like Chawangshu or Baichayuan, etc, so I'm guessing that this is Chaping. Could be Baishahe, but I'm discounting on the idea that Baishahe is the poor man's GFZ that Tony Chen wouldn't want to associate with, but who knows. It's certainly doesn't have the heavy choco of Lengshuihe.

Aroma is usually some sort of wood, plummy, and umami senses with an occasional floral nature underneath it that gives it a certain grace. There's a bit of hay here and there. The taste has a core high barnyardish umami with a central bitter rod that's mostly choco. There is often some plummy around it and wood on the fringe of the taste. There's a little herbalness in early brews, and later brews often has a more plummy-wood taste. The bitterness also tends to have a tartness that's more obvious in cooler soups and not entirely unpleasant. The early brew mouthfeel has a distinctly sticky feel, with good viscosity before weakening into something less defined for a few brews, and bouncing back late as longer brews brings out structural astringency that gives a pudding or velvet feeling to good viscosity. The aftertaste game is quite good. A long way into the session brings a good yun that gives a rising floral aroma out of the throat, maybe a pungent huigan or two here or there. There is a subtle yiwu huigan to almond sweetness that comes quick enough to feel like part of the main flavor at times. The lingering bitterness generates a complex and lingering mouthcoat especially concentrated in the front of the mouth, causing salivation. Occasional floral mouth aroma here and there. Qi is strong and good, lasts past the finishing of the cup, and is present in late brews.

Good stuff.

The teas today were a pair of dragonballs. The first was a 2000 Mansong dragonballs from The Cha Tong. This wasn't very good. It's very drinkable, though. Basically honey, herbals, roasted grains in a smooth aroma and taste. Good viscosity and smoothness. Isn't dynamic or complex, doesn't have much in the way of aftertastes, and only mild qi.

The second dragonball was the 2019 Tianmenshan from YTM. This is a fairly expensive dragonball at a bit more than $2 a gram. It's definitely better than the other Tianmenshans from YTM I've had, not by too much, tho'. Active phase is very short, but it's pretty good while it's going.

Aroma starts off with a very high and soft barnyard along with honey, transitions to fruit and honeysuckle before deepening to a herbal with a strong sense of rubber before fading to a generic sort of honey-herbal low aroma. The taste follows the aroma early, has a choco sense as the tea deepens, and follows the aroma again in the later brews. A slight lingering bitterness. The aroma and taste aren't that complex, but are fairly flat and agreeable in a way better than the earlier Mansong. Viscosity starts off good, with relatively low astringency early, and the astringency gradually increases as the brews are lengthened. The aftertastes are really good while they are going. Excellent yun as with the XZH GFZ, with a active feel and rising floral aroma out of the top of the throat. There is a regular yiwu huigan to fruit and the lingering bitterness continues laying down a mouthcoat of fruit and honey sweetness. The qi is more on the strongish side and is pretty good, but it's not quite the usual positive tilt qi that I get so often with TMS, but I definitely enjoyed it, so maybe if I had another try I'd say different or something. As said before, the fun part is over very quickly, about six or seven brews, given that this is so expensive, and the broader continuing taste and aroma isn't very interesting at all. I'm still putting this in the fridge in the hope that there will be a few more really nice brew after some rest.
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