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Sample 1 comments — 19 Comments

  1. Sample 1
    Tasting is done at home with filtered water and a 100ml gaiwan. The leaves looked greener than sample A and are quite broken up, probably thanks to delivery. After a 30 second wash, I begin:
    Inf. 1 (30s) The tea brews up a light amber, greenish liquor. It tastes quite bitter with slight fruitiness at the end. It looks and feels much younger than Sample A.
    Inf. 2 (15s) The tea is still very bitter, however it is getting smoother and sweetness. The color of the brew is the same.
    Inf. 3 (30s) More of the same. Tea is getting bitterer and becoming difficult to drink. Fruitiness is more evident now.
    Inf. 4 (10s) Shorter infusion brings out the fruity side more and decrease the bitterness, other than that the tea didn’t change much in its taste or feel. There is some qi going on, but it’s definitely not as strong as Sample A. The brew is harsher and younger and is starting to give me a bit of a stomach ache.
    Inf. 5 (15s) Brew is getting a little lighter, but it still tastes and feels pretty much the same, with a slight decrease in bitterness and an increase in fruitiness, and is still quite difficult to drink.
    Inf. 6 (30s), Inf. 7 (35s), Inf. 8 (45s) – Not much of a change here. This tea sure does last a while and I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it before it dies out. The color is getting lighter and the brew is getting smoother, bitterness remains and never really goes away.  Other than that, I don’t really detect any other qualities here.
    Inf. 9 (60s), Inf. 10 (75s), Inf. 11 (90s), Inf. 12 (105s)– The tea continues its pass to becoming sweeter and fruitier while bitterness is starting to come down. I’m pretty sure I can go on for a quite a few infusions more, but I don’t think my stomach will be much too pleased with such an idea. I’m pretty sure that something descent is going to come out of this tea eventually. Its bitterness, sweetness and long life sure do impress, however it’s a bit too difficult to handle at the moment. Maybe if the leaves weren’t as broken up as they are now, the tea would be a bit more forgiving. I should give it another try later on and see if I get different results.

  2. I used a gongfu cha method of brewing with a Zi Sha teapot. 2 quick rinses of 10s before the 1st infusion.

    Started with a 10 second infusion, with subsequent lengthening of infusion time of about 10s with each brew.

    The tea easily lasted 10 brews. The brew has a lighter yellow colour compared to sample A. It is likely to be a young sheng.

    There is a moderate degree of astringency. I has a “beany”, heavy taste which tends to coat the tongue. There does not appear to be much changes throughout the 10 brews that I tried.

    Thanks again for the sample 

  3. Actual tasting notes

    Sample “1”

    Dark, small, some buds, rather pretty leaf, there are few stems. The smell is a little hard to describe, it’s sweet but it’s also a touch acidic. I can feel something from this first sniff, it’s not bad, decent (Dry leaf).

    Bitter, some harshness, some smoke but the ending is very typically sweet. It’s a nice progression (Rinse).

    The liquor shows a yellow colour with reasonable clarity. Taste is bitter. Quite powerful, very reasonable and long aftertaste. Refreshing and showing strength (Inf. 1).

    A touch cloudy, perhaps I disturbed the leaf. Some sweetness but also now a touch harsh; I don’t feel the tea is exploding with harshness, but it’s there (Inf. 2).

    Clarity has returned. Some sweetness upfront, some energy upfront too, dissipating (Inf. 3).

    Some smoke. A developing energy (Inf. 4).

    Much less harshness which probably peaked in the last infusion. Very strong energy (Inf. 5).

    Harshness gone, even stronger energy. Very nice (Inf. 6).

    Again rather good, showing a weaker facet now, but ending nicely, the layers stick together (Inf. 7).

    Looks good, in terms of processing at least. Clearly not green tea and clearly not pre-fermented, so it’s a Pu-erh. The leaf veins are the same colour as the leaf. (Wet leaf, conclusion).

    Thoughts

    Reading over my notes, I have to be honest. I found this tea to be quite decent, I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but it’s a lot better than “A”. It had bitterness, acidity and even a touch of harshness; but these facets did seem to be balanced rather well and the energy was strong. In addition there were no weird flavours, the tea was quite clean. On the minus side I thought this tea did lack some complexity, but perhaps this will develop from the powerful concoction of elements in the future as the oxidation slowly takes place. It seemed raw, there wasn’t a lot of “tea” taste in the tea, but perhaps that’s not a downside.

    Overall, quite decent, showing promise for the future, and really only the future will tell how good this tea is.

  4. In summary:
    (5g, 100mL gaiwan)
    I found this tea to be pretty unremarkable for the first several infusions. It reminded me of something menghai-area and very young (~2 years?). Somewhere in the 6-7-8 infusions the tea developed a distinct metallic aroma and taste that I found noticeably unpleasant. About this time it also became very mouth-drying, almost to the point of needing a supplemental glass of water to finish the 10 infusions. There were also some odd tastes present, one of which reminded me of something buttery (the taste, not the mouth-feel). Overall I didn’t care for this tea much at all – it began as a run-of-the-mill young sheng until it developed the overpowering metallic taste and left me with a dry mouth…

    Complete tasting notes can be found here

    tb.

  5. Sample 1: Tasting done in Gaiwan using San Francisco Tap water boiled with seasoned Bamboo charcoal to sweeten the water. Brewed side by side with Sample A so sometimes notes refer to other tea in comparison.

    Appearance: Emerald to black-green in color, more tippy than A, smaller, wire-y twisted leaves, fruity, juicy sweet aroma of apricots. I prefer the dry look and smell of this tea to A.

    5-6 grams used.

    Rinse: didnt let it sit too long in the rinse, poured the water off right away. the wash came out darkly colored- this tea will steep quickly, I think. Smells like overripe apricots.

    1st steeping: Let’s start with 10 seconds.

    Notes: Juicy, hits the sides of my tongue right away, dry, spinach notes, followed by apricot in the middle of my tongue, astringent, the back of my bottom teeth are dry to the touch of my tongue.

    2nd steeping: 15 seconds.

    Notes: Ah! What’s up here? this tastes like chrmicals and pesticides. This is sour and overwhelming. Did I use too much leaf? not nice.

    3rd steeping: Ok, lets downshift here a bit. So if we have this much leaf, let’s make it brief. 5 seconds.

    Notes: I dont want this in my mouth. This is bitter and sour. This is worse than a grapefruit. This might be good for aging, but I dont like this right now. I need a moment.

    4th steeping: 5 seconds. Ok, I will return to this and give it one more chance. This tea travelled all this way (Thank you Marshall) and someone’s skilled hands took the time to craft this with some kind of purpose (what, I’m not sure; this reminds me that yes: I am still a student.)

    Notes: High perfumy notes, of oversteeped jasmine. Must. Stop. Now.

    sc

  6. It is most interesting reading the notes for sample 1. I think it tells me that it is not an easy tea to brew given the wide variety of opinions on this one.

  7. Method: as for the other sample.

    Dry leaf: a good grade with plenty of white tips, a sheen over all. An aroma! What a pleasant surprise, after the recent TeaCuppa event. Sweet and dark… getting towards that famed tobacco shop of my youth.

    12s, 10s, 12s, 12s:
    Bam, this is pu’er. Straight and obvious, direct to the point. The soup is cloudy yellow – some from tip-fur, but also with some dirty sediment. The beidixiang is obviously cigarettes (Benson & Hedges?), then the precise aroma of male urine [underlined in my diary], before a long, sour lengxiang.

    Strong ku throughout. A good texture on the lips, from the tips. A touch of that smokiness remains in the flavour, particularly in the aftertaste. No chaqi. Very light on surrounding flavours. That ku is butch and full throughout.

    Increasing the water content from ~10cl to ~15cl has reduced the smokiness. A generic straw nose. This is a two-tone tea: ku, and the sweet, matted smoke which has been around since the dry leaves. It’s not complex – sending the aroma into the nose during the aftertaste gives the feeling that there is some possibility of aging potential in the underlying flavours, though they are muted. It would be worthwhile to revisit this in a few years.

    It’s a powerful tea, and my body will have no more of it. Traditional Chinese medicine has shengpu as being cooling, and my body is now chilled such that I need an extra layer of clothing.

    Wet leaves:
    Mostly small, some whole, but overall quite broken. Very healthy leaves: strong, supple, green. They are all quite dirty, as can be seen from the photograph [omitted here] – many black specks and even some tar-like residue can be sene on most leaves, explaining the colour of the soup.

    Overall:
    Fresh and powerful, the underlying character is not stellar, but at least does not rule out the potential for aging, once that butch ku has diminished. It is not to my personal taste, being too sticky and smoky. It has something of yesheng leaves about it, in its medicinal character. If sample “A” is “for her”, then sample “1” is “for him”.

  8. Gaiwan

    15 sec rinse, 15, 20, 30, 40

    Much lighter than sample ‘A’, sour fruit aroma indicative of flavor, tammed, however. Finishes dry. plums, apricots, crab apples. turns a corner on the fourth brew, a touch of chocolate. Unimpressive chopped leaves.

  9. Tasted twice. Once in a 100ml gaiwan with 6g of leaf, and once in a 130ml yixing teapot with 7g of leaf. The liquor was more of a typical young sheng color, yellow/brown. The aroma had varying notes of wood, earth, menthol, sweetness, and floral. The taste had varying notes of wood, fruit, floral, and bitterness. The aftertaste was both fruity, floral, and sweet. It lingered for quite awhile. Liquor had a medium thickness. Cha qi was mild. This tea was clearly the younger of the two. It didn’t seem as powerful or as interesting as the other sample.

  10. Well, that didn’t work either. One more time.

    3.5g in 3 oz. gaiwan; leaf mostly in 2 or 3 flat pieces; 15s/1m rinse/rest, twice, at < boil; chunks mostly sep. after rinses; the r.l. aroma is typical “young raw”, w/no smoke; 1st: 15s: water temp. as it cooled; color light; almost no taste; needs longer; 2nd: 25s: water temp. as it cooled; color light; more/better flavor, but w/a touch of bitterness; no smoke; 3rd: 40s: boil; color med-light to med.; bitter – def. too long (and/or too hot); 4th: 30s: water temp. as it cooled; color med-light; no bitterness, but signif. less taste also; still no smoke; 5th: 45s: boil; color med-light; a little more taste than 4th, no bitterness; prob. the best so far, though still not much; 6th: 1m15s: similar, but perhaps a little lesser.

    Based on this first tasting, “1” seemed to be much “touchier” – easier to oversteep – and to have less taste. But see my posting for ‘A’ for a combined comparative tasting, with different results for ‘A’.

  11. The dry leaves are compressed and hard. Not many, if any, whole leaves can be observed. They display a pronounced “new sheng” smell.

    A gaiwan (90 ml) is used. Water is triple-filtered tap freshly heated to a rolling boil. One rinse. Brewing time ranges from 10s to 25s.

    The first brew yields a greenish-yellow, slightly cloudy liquor typical of a newer (under 3 year) Puerh. When nosed, it displays a slightly off-putting smell that reminds one of paint or petrol product. It tastes astringent and bitter. Although it does convert to a sweet after-taste, it really does not show much more than the weediness and green-ness of a new sheng.

    The following brews yield slightly fruitier liquor, always followed by a over-shadowing bitterness. The strange smell dissipates after the 2nd or 3rd brew. Although the tint and color increases, not much in terms of taste and aroma is left by the 5th brew. It is very astringent and bitter.

    The spent leaves are small, quite broken and contain quite a bit of stems. Colored green to dark olive, as new sheng leaves are, they smell quite green and “leafy” as well.

    My guess is that this is a new Puerh (about 2 years) from one of the “lesser” districts’ plantations. I am not quite sure whether the bitterness is indicative of its locale (e.g. Fengshan) or the broken state of the leaves. It does not show a lot of complexity or strength. The main benefit it might receive from ageing is to shed the funny smell imparted to it either by storage or packaging. On a scale of 10, I lean toward rating it a 4>5: it is average and hardly remarkable (5/10), not to mention somewhat handicapped by a hint of funny smell at the present (4/10). Perhaps someone really skilled at ageing can take it to a 4>6.

  12. Sample 1

    For brewing I used a 100ml gaiwan, around 4g of tea and filtered Scottish tap water. One short rinse before drinking. Infusions approx: 5s,5s,10s,10s…..30s.

    Smell from wet leaf – strong smoke

    Some very large leaves and good looking leaves in the sample

    Sign of a little bit of ageing, just a few years old perhaps

    Not the strongest tea

    Fairly unobtrusive tea, smokiness present albeit not particularly unpleasant. The tea feels a little harsh around the edges although due to the fact there is not much strength it does make the tea drinkable if not anything to write to Marshaln about. I gave up after around 8/9 infusions as it was getting to the sweet(ish) water stage and I was becoming bored. I felt very little in the way of mouthfeel or energy from the tea.

    It is not something I would buy and to my palatte does not seem to have enough oomph to age well. I will go back and try brewing with more leaf next time to see if there is a great difference – hopefully not just increased bitterness. I suspect I may get a little more from the tea after I’ve read everyone else’s comments.

    Overall I much prefered sample A.

    Cheers for the time, effort and tea Marshal.

    Proinsias

  13. Sample 1 : 15(rinse),5,5,5,7,10,12 and so on.
    The body is full. A hint of bitterness, and an interesting juicy fruity finish that I found rather impressive. The way it is hitting the throat is similar to the mouthfeel sensation, this is full, but lacking a bit of “explosion” I’ll try to explain that later. Very decent huigan… honestly, I think this is a good tea MarshalN. It definitely has some power.
    I would say it would be interesting to see how it is aging, since I have no idea about how it should taste. This taste is not something I am accustomed to, and I guess old cakes from this single area do not exist, or at least, I never tasted anything similar.
    The weakness of this tea according to me is that it is not really full of life. As I have seen your comment on my green label sample, I’ll made a parallel with it and explain myself the best I can. I entirely agree that the taste of the green label tea is thin, but imagine you throw a big stone into a fire for half a day, and then put a very small amount of water on the stone. Then, the vapor will blow. I think My throat is hit exactly the same way: the tea is thin, and hit in a very small area, but then, it is suddenly expanding. Sometimes, the same effect is achieved when the tea is too smoky, but here, there is no smoke at all, this is something different.
    Your tea however, gives really a full mouth sensation, and I would say “logically” hits the throat on a much wider area. However, there is not a very wide expansion, it just goes down, before the huigan is appearing.
    That is why I may be totally wrong about this green label tea, but this is something I might want to bet on, with or without luck… Yours is something more standard, which exhibits the usual qualities.
    One note aside. I remember you told me this tea was bitter. I am probably using less leaves than you are but I do not think it is particularly bitter. If you try my sample 1, you’ll see an example of what I am calling “bitter”.

  14. 1/2 the sample used in a 6oz gaiwan.

    Leaves seemed a bit small, and very broken. Something very toucha like about this one. Bits were very compressed. Not much of a smell when dry.

    Initial wet smell similar to a wet cigarette, and a little sweet, still not much smell.

    2x 30 sec rinses. Should have rinsed longer because of the compression , but I didn’t. 🙁

    1st steep: 30 sec
    smell.. is kinda sweet.. more fruit than floral, light smoke. Cloudy brew the color of apple juice.
    Initial taste was smooth, wet, but nondescript/bland. Initially, nothing, but after a minute or so, delayed sweetness at the front of the tongue.

    2nd steep: 40 secs
    Leaves still havent quite opened. More smokeyness, and an unpleasant flavor that’s hard to describe, and a little sour. Very strong flavor. Might have gone too long?

    3rd steep: 25 secs
    Leaves finally opened. Still smokey, and strong flavor, a bit unpleasant. Tongue fuzzy, starting to sweat a bit, buzzy feeling in the head, stomach kinda churning. Need a break, eat something to calm the stomach.

    4th steep: 30 secs
    Smell is more woody now, and a bit sweeter smelling. Smoke is mostly gone now. Still a bit cloudy.
    Taste is.. more of a feeling on the tongue. Minty? but not exactly. Tongue feels kinda… cold.

    5th steep: 35 secs
    Smell.. is woodsy/wet hay. Soup has cleared.
    Flavor has become more neutral, a bit sweeter.

    6th steep: 45 secs
    Sweeter still, more like… white bud puerh. Still has alot of that interesting sweet finish in the front of the tongue, which I’m more used to tasting farther back.

    7th: 50 secs
    Same, with more of that after something in most of my mouth. I keep licking my lips.

    Not quite sure what I think. Brews 2-4 were a bit unpleasant tasting, and the others were kinda.. non-descript, but the after flavor/lingering sweetness is quite nice. The throatiness is also nice. It’s got a pretty good kick/buzz, and I suspect it would go quite a few more infusions with that sweetness.

    It was an interesting tea. Not sure I’d buy this one, but it was an interesting swallow that was worth the stomach churn.

  15. About half the sample in a large (200 ml) gaiwan. 30s rinse, 2 min rest, 20s rinse.

    Wet leaves seem finely chopped with a huge compressed chunk after two rinses. The chunk persists until the 4th or 5th infusion. Smell of cigarette smoke and dry ash. Indicates what’s to come, which is not all that pleasant.

    1st – 20s:

    Wet leaf starts smelling faintly of honey? Smoke still present. Light amber colored liquid. Taste starts off light and almost fruity. Floral, somewhat sweet. Bitterness creeping into the later sips. Already can feel a strong tea-buzz coming on. Upon further reflection, this was the best infusion, and I should have stopped here. However, I plowed onward.

    2nd – 15s:

    Bitterness overcomes everything else. Strong sour medicine taste, very unpleasant. Liquor is cloudy, but still light amber. Some background taste of what might be licorice? Interesting, but not very good.

    3rd – 20s:

    Bitter, bitter, bitter. Floral flavor is trying to sneak through along with a weak sweetness on the tip of the tongue but is crushed utterly by the overwhelming medicine taste. Not quite as unpleasant as the 2nd infusion, but it’s still not very good.

    4th – 30s:

    Some leaves still chunked together. Some manual effort was needed to seperate them. Bitter is turning to simple sourness, and the aftertaste, which approached sweetness, is now fully bitter and coating my mouth. Still very strong flavor and qi.

    5th – 40s:

    I can’t drink any more of this.

    Summary:

    I wouldn’t buy this. I reviewed Sample ‘A’ a little more thoroughly simply because I enjoyed it more. I didn’t have enough words that were polite enough to post here to describe this tea. I’m sure some people would like this, but I do not. When I skimmed some of the prior comments I noticed that there was some variance in brewing methods. I used my default parameters for this tea, perhaps those are not appropriate for this particular sample. Who knows? It’s all gone and I’m not going to miss it.

  16. I brewed 4 grams in 6 ounces of boiling (filtered) water.  Prior to consuming I gave each tea two 10-second washes.  For each infusion, I brewed each sample the same way and served them in 3 ounce cups for myself and my wife.
     
    The first infusion was brewed for 30 seconds.  “1” was lighter than its counterpart, with a strong odor of straw or an unoffensive barnyard scent.  The flavor was much fruitier than “A” in my opinion, but my wife thought it was bitter (I didn’t detect any bitterness, at this time).
     
    The second steep was infused for the same amount of time.  “”1” was cleaner, smoother and had a notably sweeter huigan than the other sample.
     
    The third and fourth infusions were a little longer, about 35 seconds.  “1” has a little bit of mild astringency, but wasn’t notably different from infusion #2.  The color of “1” was progressively getting lighter, however.
     
    By infusion five (40 seconds), “1” had develped a sweeter floral aroma, but was starting to act a bit weak and flat with some more astringency creeping in.
     
    At my final infusion (#6) of 45 seconds, “1” was now too bitter to consume.  Perhaps I oversteeped it? 
     
    I didn’t continue with any further infusions because I was starting to feel a bit woozy. 
     
    I wouldn’t have purchased a cake of either one of these, but “1” was more favorable to me, especially if I could keep out much of the bitterness that was starting to creep in.
     
     

  17. Hmmm… hard compression, is this from a mini-beeng?

    Brewing method: 150ml gaiwan with spring water at shrimp-eye. 10s rinse, pry apart, 5s rinse. 15s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 25s, 25s, 30s

    Impressions: interesting aroma of grassy new sheng and a weird caramelized sugar hint in the wet leaf. Brew is the yellow of mid-day urine. Mostly clear, a little cloudy in the early first two infusions. Some thickness to the texture. Taste is bitter, grassy, some smoke, floral and sweet aftertaste. The sweet aftertaste lingers for quite a while but does not go further than the back of the tongue. It lasted for many infusions becoming much sweeter as it progressed, and could have kept going when I stopped. Caffeine rush, but not much body affect.

    overall: fairly strong tea with some promise for aging. Good texture and aftertaste. No idea what flavors will develop with age.

  18. Pingback: MarshalN’s Curated Samples | A Tea Addict's Journal

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