• Puerhtea,  Raw,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo

    2018 Fall Da Xue Shan Raw PuErh from Zuo Wang Teas

    I usually stick to my spring teas, as they are known to be the best and most complex. This tea was my first fall picked tea, and came from 大雪山 Da Xue Shan which means Big Snow Mountain in Mandarin. Da Xue Shan is located inside Mengku, which is inside the Lincang area. This mountain is renowned for its complexity and mild taste. My previous experiences with this area has been very good, and I seem to really enjoy the soft yet powerful effects of the tea. I have tried other Da Xue Shan teas from other companies but not the fall pickings, and I really didn’t know what to expect. Let’s first start off with the basics and the brief outline of this tea.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Da Ye Zhong Assamica Varietal
    • 2018 Autumn Tea
    • From Da Xue Shan, Mengku, Lincang,  Yunnan China
    • 2000 m plus above sea level.

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 5 to 15  seconds depending on infusion)

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Slightly nutty, basic Sheng Aroma. Very clean khaki smell.

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Sticky sugar, a little bit of mango, rare fruitiness (classic lincang character)

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Medium thickness, coats your mouth. But not thick .

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling huigan with a zesty finish

    Price: 18 dollars/30 grams

    Rating 7.8 out of 10.

    Fall Da Xue Shan Gushu material from trees that range from 400 to 500 years old.

       

    Looking very fresh and vibrant. Very big fat buds.

    This Gu-Shu was interesting.. The first infusion had traces of  rich beans, peas, and some sort of vegital character, accompinied with this brightness! The tea intially was light, and developed over many infusions. Mature spirited Puerh speaks for itself.

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    Sticky deep dark green leaves. Leaves smell heavenly!

        The age of the tree really hits me on this one, as the bitterness is very classic, and fast. The bitterness hits, and is gone. After the bitterness leaves, your mouth gets very sweet and huigan arises. Bitter-sweet, charming tea.

    Sweet and slightly bitter, but fast huigan.

        The second infusion was still quite soft, and the bean taste became more like raw sugar. Intense sweetness and the taste of the tea was like an empty sprite glass that became dry.. That very dry sweet fragrance. Classic lincang taste and character, with a medium to medium thick body. The dry mango is mostly replaced by the raw sugar coating which brings a cooling feeling towards your body.

    Third steep: Light yellow

        The third to around fifth infusions had very similar characteristics. Bitter sweet lincang soup with a stronger bitterness and cooling effect. The throat felt smooth and cooling; almost minty.

    Sixth steep: Brighter yellow, some classic forest and mossy tasting. Metalic as well.

        The sixth to eighth infusions tasted again, similar, but with lesser bitterness. Not much chi.

    Ninth steeping, lesser viscosity but the taste remains the same.

        The ninth to eleventh steep; the soup turns to a very clear, almost transparent color. The water tastes sweet, mild and very comfortable in the body. Correct processing, but maybe a little bit too much killing green, as the leaves appear red in some areas.

    tenth steep, leaves have opened up! Beautifully large.

       

    Thirteen steep. Pale, interesting color.

    The twelfth and thirteenth infusions had no tea taste, but a really nice velvety mouthfeel and slight sweetness at the end.

        Thus concluding this tasting, I got a picture of what autumn tea is like. Autumn tea, if it is from quality material, the spring and autumn pressings will both result in strong tea, but the matter of complexity will be different and the approach from the start to the finish of the tea will be different. The complexity is something that can only found in spring tea. It’s the nutrients that gets stored over the winter that accumulates and creates the wonderful spring complexity. Autumn Puerh can be equally delicious but may lack in complexity and the different sides to the tea.

  • Aged Tea,  Gongfucha,  Liu Bao,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo

    1950s Liu Bao from Mr. Chum in Singapore

    Liu Bao is something I haven’t talked a lot about it on my instagram neither on my blog, and so this will be the first post about it. This Liu Bao was delicious, mysterious and very warming. Perfect for on a cold, winter evening!

        I do not know much about the history of this tea other than it’s from the 50s and was kept in Singapore by Mr. Chum, a very well known collector of aged teas. His friend who visited Canada last year happened to also come to Calgary, and he was very generous enough to brings these testers of three aged teas from Singapore. I want to say a big thank you to Mr. Chum and his friend for providing and helping me try this! 谢谢您们!

        I just finished 6 exams and now have two more to go, and so please understand if this post is only a very basic one, and here I am writing about my experience with my tea and not really on the historical and more knowledge based material.

    So these are the parameters that I used for brewing this tea-

    Temperature ( 98 to boiling degree Celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml F1 Yixing)

    Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every  infusions increasing the time by 5 to 10 seconds

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Garlic with oranges, almost metallic and herbal .

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Camphor with wood, slight spiciness and 陈味 ChenWei, an aged smell.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Soft and smooth, but with enough mouthfeel. Feeling of going down the throat getting accentuated.

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Very warming, lots of chi around the chest and face.

    Rating 8 out of 10.

    Leaves looked whole, and very clean as you can see.

        My initial reaction to the tea was like, “omg, how can it still be so strong?” Even though it has been aging for nearly 70 years old, the tea still has some bitterness and a very powerful richness that can be felt after swallowing. The tea seems to rest on the stomach, and slowly releases energy up. Makes me burp often.

    Oily, thick, medicinal and very clean tasting. Layers of age.

        The first three infusions were thick and juicy, and every sip tasted slightly different. Brought my focus somewhere else. This tea made me really slow down and I really just started to be in the moment.

    Wet leaves inside my F1 Hongni pot. Garlicy, rich, brothy earth tones with slight fruitiness of apple sauce.

        It has a lot of chenwei or old fregrance in the tea, which leads me to becoming very relaxed and in the middle of everything. It is such a mysterious smell, as it isn’t very obvious on what it is. It’s just a smell of age and stories, that just makes you think.

    Glorious, stunning color.

        After the eighth infusion, really beautiful orange peel aroma coming off the wet leaves and the empty cup smelt like brown sugar. This is a complex and has become a super personal tea to me– as the tea is so pure and the storage was done amazingly. No funny smells. Clean and strong aged taste.

    After the fifth steep, the tea has finally opened up. Mild salivation, and mostly amazing chi.

        To me, this tea is all about the body and after-feeling. The real activity of the tea is after you take a sip, and notice how it blends within you and how it makes you feel. The taste of course is purely delightful but the real beauty of aged teas is the yun or rhyme that invokes a certain feeling within you.  

    This is what many Liu Bao/aged tea connoisseurs are looking for. This beautiful, white cloud that covers the tea.

        The reason why I am giving this tea an 8 out of 10 is simply because of the price point, and I won’t mention the price. It’s because I feel that if I do, I feel like people will become very confused and maybe too scared to try it. But it is VERY expensive, and to my knowledge and based on how much I can really appreciate these flavors; not something I would pay this much. But if your interested in this tea, and won’t have a problem with the price; it’s surely a different story. But, love the chi and the intense relaxation moments this tea gave me. Thank you again to Mr Chum and his friend for bringing these to Canada and letting me try it!

  • Dancong Oolong,  Gongfucha,  Mei Leaf,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Duck Sh*t Oolong– Yashi Dancong from Mei Leaf


    On Dec. 29th, I was asked to go to a friend’s and make some tea for them as we haven’t gotten together in a while and we were on a two weeks break. I asked my friends what tea they would like to try, and they replied with “something sweet and fun.” So I thought, why not Duck Shit from Mei Leaf— as I thought it would be the perfect tea for the occasion. Even just the name; is intriguing.

    The name, 鸭屎香, which translates to Duck Shit Aroma, creates many people to have misunderstandings that this tea will actually resemble “duck shit.” But in many cases; it’s the complete opposite. Baked notes, fresh, out-of-the oven type of smells are very common characteristics of this cultivar, and as well as floral notes, lilacs, orchid, and other sweet smelling things. It’s supposed to be delightful, and make your senses dance. The farmer who named this cultivar Duck Shit is incredibly clever, as he/she didn’t want others in the village to know how wonderfully delicious this tea can actually be.

    There are many different flavors or different cultivars/ sub-flavors/cuttings of Dancong. Such as 蜜兰香 Mi Lan Xiang,玉兰香 Yu Lan Xiang,杏仁香 Xing Ren Xiang,八仙 Ba Xian,通天香 Tong Tian Xiang, and many others. All of these names are representations of what the varietal of this type of Dancong is supposed to remind you of. For example, Mi Lan on one side is renowned for it’s very peachy, honey like taste;while the Xin Ren Xiang is supposedly very herbal and bitter, with almondy characteristics. In the future, I would love to make a blog post on the differences between these varietals, to really dive deep into the world of Dancong. My first Dancong I tried was a 东方红 (Oriental Red Dancong), and it blew me away completly. Since then, I have not incountered anything that tasted better than that one. I asked if the tea was expensive, and my friend’s mom said. “It’s Chairman Mao’s signature Oolong.” I was speechless at how vast and rich the flavors were. Now, let’s get right into the tasting of this tea!

    Duck Shit Oolong  


    Leaf
    This is from Mei Leaf’s webpage as I forgot to take pictures of the dry leaf. Upps.
    But, nice glossy leaves. Very whole.


    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Ya Shi Cultivar
    • May 2017.
    • Wudong, Fenghuang, Chaozhou, Guangdong China
    • Up to third or fourth leaves
    • 1200 m elevation

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 20 seconds per infusion, and every  infusions increasing the time by 5 seconds)

    Main Info

    Nice leaves. But quite green. I got very milky, soft peachy notes from the wet leaves.

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Mild, almost like dried cherries .

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Flower Garden with peaches and a little bit of butter mixed with it. Purely unique.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: The texture is sharp but not very astringent. Soft bitterness but a refreshing kind, almost like fresh citrus peel. The mouthfeel is lighter than other Dancongs I’ve tried. But still good enough to appreciate the different faces of this tea. Easy going, very friendly tea.

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Warming, slightly energising. Rising warmth or “chi” towards the heart area. Friend’s loved the warmth of this tea!

    Price:  42.5 Canadian Dollars/ 30 grams

    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    This tea had a lot to say, but first things first. I didn’t take many pictures because I was busy pouring for my guests and was focusing on tasting. I have my tasting notes for every two infusions below.

    I tasted a lot of cream, nuts, apricots and that greenish, viny taste that I associate with a lot of lighter roasted Dancongs. Sophia, was like “Oh, it tastes so comforting.” I knew right off the bat that they all liked this one. It’s just super easy going—- easy to drink. Good for any occasion; even with sweets. I feel like this tea will go really well with sweets, especially, like those very light, cream based cakes. The first two infusions had very mild astringency and bitterness, and leaves your mouth coated with the essence of goodness.

        The third and fourth infusions of this oolong was probably the most delicious brews, as the bitterness was just right and it had a very nice heart warming chi afterwards. Me, Jenny, and Sophia all agreed that our bodies felt warm after drinking the fourth infusion. We were all enjoying the tea, to a point that no one spoke for around 5 min! Perhaps, a little tea drunk?

        After the fifth and sixth infusion, I felt extremely calm, grounding, and warm. Notes of more florals, different type of fruit maybe; almost like mandarins.

    On the eighth infusion, I pushed it hard. Added 5 min, and the tea was almost like stew, offering this herbal, very silky and smooth but nicely creamy tea soup that was a different experience as well.

    Although this tea did not blow me away completely, it still provided us with a great experience of  what quality Dancong is supposed to taste like. I just found it a little light and too green to my liking. But nonetheless, it still deserves to be called as one of my favorite lighter , more aromatic Dancongs I’ve tried. It’s also very balanced and easy to drink.

    I told my friends, “Maybe this was the best sh*t you’ve had so far.”

    LOL;)