• Gongfucha,  Puerhtea,  Raw,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview,  XiZiHao

    2014 Da Hong Xi Ying

    Xizihao is a brand that I am quite obsessed with lately, and I am trying more and more of their teas from different years. This tea, the 2014 Da Hong Xi Yin or for short the 2014 DHXY is made from very high-end regions from the Mengla area. This tea was first produced to create a collection of supreme teas in memory of the ancient seal collections, by what I mean is the 1950s classic Pu Erh pieces ever made. Such as the 1950 Red Mark, Blue Mark, Yellow Mark, Green Mark and etc. Tony Chen decided to recreate these teas but using the best material he could obtain as well as making sure that the wrapping also is using exceptionally crafted paper.

    A small sample of this cake. Long, bright leaves.

    There were seven cakes that are part of this collection, which are the

    2014 Da Hong Xi Yin                       2014 大红囍印

    2014 Hong Yin Tie Bing                  2014 红印鐡餅

    2014 Da Hong Xi Ying (Jia Ji)         2014 大红囍印 (甲级)

    2014 Da Hong Xi Ying (Yi Ji)          2014 大红囍印 (乙级)

    2014 Da Xi Lan Yin                        2014 大囍蓝印

    2014 Da Xi Lu Yin                         2014 大囍绿印

    2014 Da Xi Huang Yin ( Shu)       2014 大囍黄印 (熟)

    5g in my gaiwan

    This time I tried the 2014 DHXY in a 50 ml gaiwan, brewed with Whistler Spring Water with 5 g of leaf. I figured that this specific 1g to 10 ml is a great ratio to begin with, being not overpowering but will make sure that the tea shows it’s true colors and will affect my body sensation.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2014 Spring Tea.
    • From Government Protected Land within Walong 瓦龙, Bohetang 薄荷糖 , and Wangong 弯弓 Yunnan, China. Three area premium blend.
    • Hand picked and hand processed
    • Almost 4 CAD per gram
    • 200 – 600 year old tea trees

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (50 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 2 sec to 10 min depending on which infusion)

    Dry leaves: Looks

    Glossy leaves, golden buds and longish stems. Leaves are loosely compressed. Stone pressed.

    Dry leaves: smell

    Deep honey covered with storage notes of slightly old books added with this clean aroma of dried bed sheets. Clean clothes, fresh smell. A tiny bit smoky as well.

    Wet leaves : Smell

    Nothing harsh, very easy sweet smelling leaves with various ripened fruity aromas. No smokiness what-so-ever. Mango and passion fruit aromas from the wet leaves.

    1st brew. Amazing color from the beginning.

    1st to 3rd infusion: Lighter body, but very intense floral aromas as we expected, with notes of wild flowers and a bit of khaki peel. The throat feeling is super good, or what we call in Chinese 喉韵。However, the aftertaste starts to build after the second infusion. Not right from the beginning.

    3rd infusion. Thicker and better.

    4th to 6th infusion: Sweeter, a little bit of astringency which enhances the tea’s character. The aftertaste is really present throughout these two infusions. A little bit of a wild herbal taste coming out, but not overpowering.

    5th brew. Very nice touch of acidity that is very enjoyable.

    8th to 12th brews: Amazing brews, so buttery, so sweet.. It almost didn’t seem like a tea. It has such amazing, sweet florals combined with this mango, passion fruit taste which is slightly astringent, but quickly transforms into a deep honey pineapple sweetness that stays in the mouth for quite some time. I can tell that very premium material was selected for this tea. It’s just so easy and pleasant to drink.

    7th brew.
    Leaves expanding.
    13th infusion. Getting lighter, but still very sweet.
    The brewed leaves of this Da Hong Xi Ying.
    Such beautiful leaves, I love this tea!!

    13th to 18th brews: More buttery, still very fragrant and the tea was still strong and potent. When cooled, I get some faint mangostine and grape notes that remind of fruit juice mixes. Around the 18th brew, it has come to a conclusion that the tea was done and we couldn’t push the tea anymore.

    In Conclusion

    I like this tea, quite a lot. It has a very distinctive Yiwu vibe, as well as the leaf brews out so tenderly and not harshly. This tea is for sure a Gu Shu or 古树茶 that comes from very tall tea trees. There is barely any astringency, nor a strong bitterness. Very delicious tea. However, I would’ve liked it if the tea is a bit stronger, and can give a little more. I understand that the goal of it was supposed to resemble the tenderness of a Yiwu and more of a milder tea, but I would’ve liked it a bit stronger and a bit more potent. I would rate this tea at a 9 out of 10, just because of that part. Great tea, what so ever!

    .

  • Puerhtea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    2007 Five Cake Two Fish Sheng from Vesper Chan BTH

    2007 Five Cake Two Fish

        The Best Tea House, is renowned for its founder Vesper Chan and the 88 green 7542 cake, and has a branch in Vancouver that I often visited and drank tea there. Their teas have always been high quality, especially there Pu Erhs that range from the 1950 to 2018. This time, I am reviewing one of there very popular cakes that was produced in 2007, which is a Menghai blend of several different mountains in that area.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Dayezhong Assamica Varietal
    • 2007 Spring Tea.
    • From Lincang, Yunnan
    • Blended
    • Arbor blend

    Temperature of Water ( 95-100 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 7.5 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every  infusions increasing the time by 2 to 5 seconds)

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 15 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Very sweet sticky honey, with clean paper. A little trace of smoke.

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Intense sweet sweet honey, layered with chinese tropical fruits and a little hint of herbs, but not super herbal. Some aged-fruity transitional period notes. Guava, papaya, mango… etc. Wild creamy honey smell.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Strong bitterness and astringency, definitely not a easy tea to drink. But with further aging, I suspect this tea to become quite thick and sweet, full of strength and vitality.

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Very strong sugarcane sweetness, just so numbingly sweet. The bitterness becomes so sweet, like candy. Also, the huigan lasts surprisingly a very long time.

    Price: 350 Canadian dollars/370 grams

    Rating 8.3 out of 10.

    Nice, clean crisp leaves with still fluffy hair.

    Actual Review

    The tea itself was stored in Vancouver, with moderately dry storage of around 60% relative humidity, so the tea itself has a different profile it was to be stored somewhere more humid. It also did have quite a bit of punch in the mouth, very active, and strong. I also may have used a little more leaf for the water ratio than normal, which probably made it seem more bitter. I would say that the material itself is definitely not super old gushu, but probably tea trees from arbor gardens of probably 70-100 years old. I have noticed with mostly all of Vesper Chan’s teas, the teas all have this “house taste” of intense honey and really sweet, intense huigan after you have one or two cups. This house taste was also prominent in this cake, but probably more astringent and powerful than the others.

    First infusion of the 2007 Five Cakes Two Fish. Light but nice color.
    2nd infusion. Deeper.


    Infusion 1 to 5

    Light, airy but with very creamy notes of figs, vanilla and apple blended with cinnamon and traditional “forest” taste. Very unique blending, but very well done. Classic aged Lincang taste in my mouth. The tea spreads evenly around the mouth, and the astringency isn’t super strong yet. Clean, very fine soup with a very nice lingering fragrance in the dry cup. A little drying on the throat, but other than that very pleasant overall around my body. All of the infusions from 1 to 5 had almost no difference, so every brew was consistent. There is also a hint of smoke that reminds me of factory cakes, but the smokiness is quite enjoyable.

    7th infusion. Medium mouthfeel, very sweet.

    Infusions 6-8

    Much stronger, heavier body and quite sweet. The material really started to warm me up, and it was full of fragrance that I really like. Very sweet, sticky, and has a minerally body that evaporates quickly within your mouth.

    Coats evenly along the mouth, evaporates quickly.

    Infusions 9-11

    Lighter in mouthfeel, but still has a great fragrance and a milky soup aroma. Very clean, ripe fruit aroma but with a creamy consistency. This sweet rice pudding note also is coming off of these infusions, which is a very natural, light aroma that is almost like Rice Krispy’s. Great aftertaste, very long lasting huigan. The skill of blending that Vesper Chan has is quite something.

    12th brew. Silky and sweet.
    Leaves almost exploding from the gaiwan.

    Infusions 12-15

    Getting lighter, but the bitterness is still very much a part of this tea. Notes of mandarins, berries and nuts can be found in these infusions. At this point, I felt very drunk and had the energy to run around, dance and be crazy! Man, this tea is powerful! Somewhat grassy, but was practically done by the 15th brew.

    Oily, with a nice kick of bitter!!

    Concluding thoughts.

    I think this tea is a great tea for further aging, and will definitely be different if aged somewhere more humid or hot. The astringency and bitterness was a little too much for me, and it probably will be for others. However, great mouthfeel, fragrance and texture. Such a lovely blend. Very well done.

    The Chaqi was very good, and made me quite active. I love how Pu Erh tea is not only fun while drinking, but also amazing after the session concludes. This tea does deserve a high ranking, but not super high as I did find a few points that I disliked. I think an 8.3 is a reasonable score this time ~.

  • Oolong,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Tieguanyin

    Superior Iron Goddess from Mei Leaf

    If you find a good TGY, it’s a keeper. Good Tie Guan Yins  are very hard to come across. This is because with TGY, and basically any Chinese oolongs in general; there are so many steps to perfect the tea. Even if 9 out of the 10 steps involved are superbly done, if the last step is lacking or not good, the tea can easily become bad and not delicious anymore. Also, there is so much demand for TGY in the market, and so finding a top grade TGY is very difficult. In China, the word Tie Guan Yin is so famous, and is very classic. Even if the person doesn’t drink tea, they would at least recognize the name of this tea, “Iron Kwan Yin.”

        Last week, I decided to try another Mei Leaf tea, and I didn’t expect this TGY to blow my mind to this extent. I really really enjoyed this one. This is some information given by Don about this tea.

    “This is a very famous Chinese tea and it is in huge demand which inevitably means that it is produced in large quantities with big differences in quality and styles. Our Qing Xiang Tie Guan Yin is true Anxi Iron Goddess made in the modern Light Qing Xiang style.”

    “Traditional Tie Guan Yin (Chuan Tong) is oxidised more and at room temperature, whereas the more modern light Tie Guan Yin (Qing Xiang) borrows the more Taiwanese approach of cold room withering and lower oxidation. This is why modern Tie Guan Yin tends to have a more flowery and rich aroma compared with the thicker texture traditional tea.” Mr. Don Mei

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2017 Autumn Zheng Wei Tie Guan Yin
    • Guan Yin Cultivar
    • Up to third or fourth leaf picking
    • 600 m
    • From Chang Keng Village, Anxi, Fujian China

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (120 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by  15 to 20 sec depending after infusion 3)

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings:  12 infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Fresh, spring, lily orchid, grassy, layers of cream and florals.

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Honeydew melon sweetness, grassy, but not really eggy. Very clean, fresh yet creamy smelling.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: medium to medium thick

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling sensation towards the back of the mouth, watering huigan.

    Price: 6.67 dollars/8 grams

    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    Hot gaiwan with TGY leaves

    The moment I placed this tea inside the hot gaiwan, I knew I was in for a treat. The tea, smelt so divine. So much going on– that my explanation won’t be able to tell you how much it can offer you. Not only was it grassy, but incredibly floral, creamy, and somewhat nutty. There was a thickness in the smell as well. Not just sweet, but dense and rich.

    1st Infusion: Lovely color.

    The first infusion was grassy, but yet also floral. The florals were like gardenia, and flowers that smell quite green yet sweet. Some jasmine, lilies, and very green florals. After you swallow, the creaminess will spread in your mouth, and the tea coats the mouth evenly.

    Second infusion.. getting more and more delicious!

    Second and third infusions: Grassy, and creamy like butternut squash wrapped in unsweetened  honeydew sauce. Clear, crisp and clean.

    Fourth and fifth brew: Sweeter, nuttier and creamier. More and more of creaminess coming out through each infusion. Very minimal astringency, no bitterness. Some green apple notes detectable.

    Sixth to eighth brew : Nothing much has changed in taste wise, but in fact getting better. Sweeter, rounder, and has shifted from being veggie like to honey like.

    Ninth to Eleventh: Finally, the banana comes. When I breathe out, the notes of honeydew and banana are present. Very fragrant.

    Twelveth: The tea has almost no taste left, but the water tastes soft and still creamy. Nice thickness.

    Well processed, very lasting.

    Overall

    I am very pleased with this quality of TGY, and how durable it was. Many TGY will die off after the second or even the first infusion, and turn into this broccoli and eggy kind of tea. I don’t like the taste of that. It’s too simple, and not elegant. However, Mei Leaf’s Superior Iron Goddess had it all. The floral, the cream, and the nice texture. In addition to that, the returning sweetness was incredible as well. I don’t have enough experience to talk about Yin Yun, but I felt a slight stiffness near the sides of my mouth which may be the same Yin Yun that many connoisseurs are talking about. This is a very good Qin Xiang or unroasted TGY. Good job, and thank you Don for sourcing this. It’s truly a nice tea, and is well rounded, and a satisfying TGY.  

  • Ecocha,  Jinxuan,  Oolong,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    2017 Premier Crop Organic Jin Xuan Oolong

    This is my third tea from Eco-Cha that I am very honored to review here on Tea Reviews with Shinzo. Andy expressed about how surprised he was about this tea, especially for it’s unique mouthfeel and character.  Let’s dive straight in and analyze this tea!

    Olive green, and is very vibrant. Smells super green.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Jin Xuan Oolong Varietal
    • 2017 Winter Tea
    • From Songbolin, Taiwan
    • Premier batch
    • 400 m above sea level.

    Temperature ( 90 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (150 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 6 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, and every  infusions increasing the time by 20 seconds after the second brew)

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 5 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Veggies, green pepper. Floral spiciness, with a splash of fresh milk

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Fresh artichoke, somewhat savory

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Super sweet and delicate, if you push the tea enough, it will become very thick and creamy.

    Price: 29 dollars/75 grams

    Rating 6.8 out of 10.


    1st brew: Very light, but full of aroma and robust flavor.

    1st infusion; Light, but clean. Extremely easy to drink, and tastes full. The aroma is most present in this infusion. Notes of green beans, fresh avocado and some pistachios. Very soothing. Light, creamy and very soft.

    2nd brew: Less vibrant, more grassy and punchy.

    2nd infusion: Wow. The mouthfeel changed completely. While the fragrance seemed to buzz off a bit, the mouthfeel is super thick and rich. The savory character is also very nice, creating more of a brothy feeling than a tea feeling. A little sea foody, but not sticky or anything. It’s just got some strength and richness.


    3rd brew: Color changed, and so did the taste.

    3rd infusion: This infusion was also very unique, as the bitterness started to welcome me and reminded me of how much strength these leaves have. Notes of very green veggies, like spinach or kale were also prevalent.  The bitterness adds more complexity and enjoyment to the experience. I very much enjoy the freshness but also how much strength and power this tea reveals in every infusion.


    4th infusion: Similar in the sense that the tea has a lot of strength, but the fragrance is really starting to fall off the cliff. But, in return, the sweetness has become even better and is really nice.

    4th brew: Thick, and is very soothing.

    5th infusion: The tea becomes fairly basic, and the freshness of the tea starts to become dull. Notes of stewed vegetables, broccoli and the taste becomes slightly sour. It’s not that it’s become bad or anything, but just not my style.


    In conclusion.

    Beautiful!

    It’s a very interesting tea, because of its nature of being so green and fresh yet having so much to give. It reminds me more of a Japanese sencha than of a Taiwanese oolong. I feel this tea works great especially in the mornings, as it’s slightly milder than a green tea but still greatly resembles one. Nothing crazy, but a nice tea to begin the day with. I would suggest people to experiment, and see what you like the best. If you want to extract more of the aroma, perhaps decrease the temperature and brew for slightly longer. On the other hand, if you want more of the mouthfeel, you can brew it with hotter water and fairly quick steepings. You cannot really over-brew it, which is really nice for people that wishes to brew more care-free.

  • Puerhtea,  Raw,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Yiwu

    2018 Yiwu Wild Sprit– Yiwu Mountain Tea

    Yiwu has always remained as one of my personal favourite areas, as the taste is so classic, unique and very elegant. The classic, most important Pu Erhs in history were mostly from Yiwu, such as Song Ping and the lineage of SP cakes from 1910 onwards. I have a personal love relationship with Yiwu, and it was actually my first aged raw Pu Erh to try at The Best Tea House in Vancouver. It was a 2005 Old Tree Yiwu cake. Full of exotic honey, fruits and very soft to the tongue; while spreading quickly around your entire mouth. While I have tried some Yiwus that taste very harsh, the common terminologies associated with are “soft, sweet and very elegant like the queen of Pu Erhs”

    Phillip Lee, is a tea merchant that sells mainly Yiwu Pu Erh and Pu Erh from regions surrounding Yiwu. His family produces tea within Gaoshan, but also produces private productions from other areas. Today, I have decided to taste one of his teas, and do a proper review on it.

        The 2018 Yiwu Wild Spirit is a Sheng Pu Erh from an unmanaged, “secret” garden that was left to grow in the wild for a long time. They found it while searching for any “lost” gardens. Sounds intriguing, right?!


    Stunning leaves, silvery goodness

    7g, close up

    Let’s get straight into the review, shall we.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2018 Yiwu Sheng ( Uncooked)  Pu Erh Tea
    • Da Ye Zhong Assamica Cultivar
    • 30 year to 100 year old tea trees.
    • From Yiwu area, Mengla, Yunnan, China.

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 7 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 5 to 3 min depending on infusion) * This tea is very durable, and can handle being pushed. Doesn’t really get bitter.

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Wild honey, plum

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Wild paprika, veggies, and some cream

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: medium to medium thick

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Calming, not much Qi. Easy to drink/great morning tea.

    Price: 34 dollars/100 grams

    Rating 7.7 out of 10.

    First Infusion: Was very silky, and light.

    First Infusion : Clean, pure very crisp aroma without any astringency nor bitterness. Very light, soft, and floral. But not really honey. More like a fresh sweet sencha, and that crisp quality was there in the brew.

    Deeper, slightly richer, but is super fresh and awakening.

    Second and third infusion: Stronger, but not bitter. A tiny bit of astringency, but again. Sweet, lingering floral character. Easy drinking.

    Fourth and fifth brew: Taste is quite simple, not super complex. Wild veggies, honey, and very crisp. The satisfying mouthfeel makes me want to have more. The aftertaste is subtle, but still noticeable. Notes of jasmine and lychee sort of light floral, and sweet aftertaste.


    Sixth brew. Getting more and more similar, characteristics of Yiwu shining bright!

    Sixth to ninth brew : Very consistent. Solid, and taste like what a good, well made Young Pu Erh should taste like. The aroma, taste, texture and aftertaste is all present. The crispness and the fresh, wild character stands out as being the most prevalent character of this tea.

    Slightly fruitier, plummy and soft.

    Tenth to Thirteenth brew: From the tenth to twelfth brew, I brewed it for 20, 30, and 40 seconds. Very light, soft, and like spring water. Makes the water taste cleaner and with a little something. For the thirteenth brew, I brewed it for 2 mins and the result was quite different. Slightly bitter, stronger, and more fruity. Tropical!

    Spent leaves, very nice Mo Li Si color.

    In Conclusion: This tea will be a great morning tea, and is nothing crazy– but is very much enjoyable, refreshing and is a good quality Pu Erh. The outstanding part of it is the crisp and very fresh zesty character of it. Thank you to Phillip for sourcing this tea. It is for sure a well made and forgiving tea even if you potentially over-brew it.

  • 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!

  • Ecocha,  Gongfucha,  Jinxuan,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview,  Tieguanyin

    Tie Guan Yin Oolong- Eco Cha

    Tie Guan Yin Oolong from Eco-Cha Teas

    Basic Info about this special Tea
    From Pinglin and Muzha, Taiwan
    Half Tieguanyin/half Jinxuan varietals. 
    45 dollars/150g
    500m/300m altitude. 
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Jingdezhen Gaiwan 90ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 6 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, after the third infusion increasing by 10 seconds every infusion)
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (6)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves (charcoal, ripe plum)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( coffee, cream, chocolate)
    Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
    Texture Profile ( medium)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste (huigan after first infusion, cherry aftertaste)
    Attitude Rank: 7 out of 10.

     

    Dry leaves before expanding. Both Tie Guan Yin and Jin Xuan cultivars!

     

    Tea made from two cultivars intrigue me as it makes me wonder how the characteristics of the two cultivars affect each other and affect the final result. This tea, made from Tieguanyin and Jinxuan cultivars, should match very interestingly. I was excited to see how the milky aspect of the Jinxuan cultivar might affect the TGY. The results are expressed below.

    1st infusion, starting light! But nice fragrance!

    Initially strong, the tea when warm smelled like wild bushes, wood, and some dry mango. The TGY cultivar probably supported the flavors and fragrance of the tea, while the Jinxuan made sure that it’s smooth and well structured. The tea has a good amount of roasting on it, and because of the style of processing being the Muzha style, the tea has a lot of depth, strength as well as richness in the mouth. The fragrance is good, starting with a nutty, roasty fragrance and slowly changing into a dry to juicy mango. Robust, and reminds me of a Shui Xian Rock Oolong from the Wuyi Mountains. Although it doesn’t have the same rock yun or Yan Yun that I associate with Rock Teas, the characteristics of this tea is very similar; without the sweet savory turn I find in a lot of Yanchas. Boiled potato is another one, after the heavy, roasted note comes that warming, potato skin aroma that I get in a lot of Jin Xuan Oolongs.

    Getting darker! 2nd infusion

    The third brew

    The second infusion was much more thicker, rounder, and sweeter. The best infusion, as it had everything from raisins to coffee to grains, to sweet huigan that lasted ten minutes or so. Good minerality, a little drying and nice strength. Gongdaobei smells sweet, like honey and chocolate. The lid of the gaiwan had that sourness that many Muzha TGY have, with intense veggie notes.

    Third and fourth infusions in, the fragrance and aroma started to fade away, but maintains a very nice mouthfeel and huigan still persists. Nice caramel, honey, and a grainy sweetness that remains in your mouth. Very nice color as well.

    The 4th brew. Super creamy, almost zero astringency.

    Fifth and sixth infusions were definitely lighter, and by the sixth, I knew that the tea was done. There is just no flavor and thickness in the tea. Perhaps doing this tea western style might impact how the taste comes out differently. It might work better for this tea.

    Intriguing colored leaves! Half and half;)

    I think that this Tieguanyin Oolong made by Eco-Cha offers the sweetness, bite, and aftertaste that people look for in a nice dark roasted oolong. However, I expected the tea to last a little longer, and gave off a little bit more in infusions two, three, and four. It’s a good everyday type of tea, and can be enjoyed inside a larger cup or mug without worrying too much on how the taste changes on each infusion. Solid oolong for a good price!

  • Black Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Wild Tree Black Tea

    Basic info about this special tea:

    Wild Tree Black Tea
    From Wuyishan, Fujian
    2018 Spring Tea
    First Flush
    Temperature ( 90 degrees Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and increasing by 5 seconds after the third infusion)

    Big leaves, and dark!

    Main Info
    The number of Total Steepings: 8 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Sweet, well rounded. Plumy and long lasting
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Mandarin peels. Almost like dried dates boiled and add some Chen Pi or orange peel.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: Medium to thick, lasting on the tongue.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: This tea has constant changes. Every infusion has different levels of depth which I enjoyed very much. There was some astringency, but not a lot. Bitterness was gone in a couple seconds.
    Price: 22.34 CAD for 80g.
    Rating 8.5 out of 10.
    This black tea was a real showcase of great quality. From the start, the fragrance of fruit, especially dark fruit and a little bit of nutty, chocolaty aspect of the tea were alive. When I smelt the gaiwan, it fled my nose and literally the smell went down my whole face and upper body. Honey, some clove, almost like a Taiwanese Red Ruby but with more fruit and starchiness. There is a certain potatoey feel to it that just reminds me of a Xiao Zhong.

    Bright caramel orange liquor!

    The first infusion is sweet, refined and well balanced. Neither here nor there, it displays the outer layers of flavour and is bitter at first, but then the rich sweetness comes into place after that. Medium body, the tea is nourishing to the throat. Honey notes are prominent, accompanied by a malty aftertaste.

    Honey like quality, strength and texture.

    The second and third infusions have more movement, and what I mean by that is like a heavier tingly feeling on the tongue and good minerality. The tea is definitely from older trees because the layers of aromas and textures are really good. Flavours are changing from honey sweetness to a plum jam sort of taste and some oranges. Fruit, but really tropical but more sticky and sweet. There is also that sweet potato note which I often associate with Xiao Zhong unsmoked. I personally like this one more because I felt that this tea had less astringency.

    From the fourth to sixth infusion, the profile is similar. Juicy, but with maybe more dryness.

    Seventh infusion, still kicking!

    Infusion seven and eight did not seem to have as much flavour, but the body is still there. Maybe it’s like when you get down to the core of a watermelon, and there is no more flavour per say but the sourness and refreshing character of a watermelon can be still tasted; likewise, infusion 7 and 8 had more of this in it. I wish it lasted a bit longer, but I cannot complain about this price.

    Finally, this tea would be great for beginners to understand the complexity and sweetness that a black tea can offer. It will open up the beginner’s mind in drinking good tea, and enjoying very infusion with patience. For those tea lovers that want something honey like but without being over-the-top, this is the tea for you. I noticed that it has very good tolerance for long infusions, so brewing this western-style or grandpa style could give you excellent results.

  • Dancong Oolong,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Black Leaf Special via Tea Hong

    Basic info about this special tea:

    The dry leaves are tight, smaller and looks glossy.

    Da Wu Ye Cultivar
    2017 Spring Tea.
    From higher altitude area near Wudong, Fenghuang, Guangdong China
    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 infusion increasing the time by 5 seconds)

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 12 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Mild, very gentle but floral. Almost minty in a way. It has the Qingxiang or Clean Smell.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Classic Dawuye characters like mango, banana, lychee and herbs. But not like medicinal, but rather very fresh herbs from the garden.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: The texture is sharp but not very astringent. Soft bitterness but a refreshing kind, almost like a 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.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling, and not over the top chi. Some energy is felt around the heart, but it cools down my body. Reminds me of a greener TGY
    Price: 23 dollars/ 40 grams
    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    Da Wu Ye leaves in 盖碗

    From the appearance of the dry leaves, it is obvious that it is probably not roasted nor fermented as much as perhaps a Milan or Duck Shit. The smell and taste are definitely heavier than a green TGY, but is not thick like a roasted Dancong. The aroma is very delicate, more savoury than sweet but not in anyway herbal. The tea does give off a lot of fruity aromatics, but rather dry and less sweet. It’s maybe like dried fruits, lychee is the number one thing I smell. Candied, dried, but not fresh.

    1st infusion
    Bubbles indicating a rich brew!

    The first and second infusions are just opening up the tea. Smells quite grassy, as well as tastes fresh and fruity. Like wild mango but without that honeysuckle taste. The end is short, and has a very nice bite to it. The third infusion is sweet, more balanced, and bitter. Throughout all the infusions up to the sixth, the aroma is mostly focused on being light and fragrant. However, after the seventh infusion, the ending became longer, and the tea felt thicker. The leaves were pushing itself to the maximum. The creamy aspect of this tea started to coat my mouth, and a herbal stewed note came off. It was delicious. After the 12th infusion, my mouth was full of gan. The minerality of this tea is very good, and powerful. My gongdaobei started to smell sweet even after the first infusion. The lingering aftertaste lasted uninterruptedly for 15 min.

    The 5th infusion of this tea

    In conclusion, this tea is really good. I am impressed with t

    Dancong Dawuye leaves completed their opening.

    he price, it’s a really good value. The taste is super light but fulfilling, and it can be steeped over and over again. I would’ve liked it to be a little deeper in the body, but this lightness is the character of Da Wu Ye. A great morning tea, I think! Thank you, Tea Hong, for providing me with this awesome sample!