Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Marco’s Blind Tasting “Eta”

This one just looks like an aged iron cake or brick as indicated by the dimples from such a press…

Dry iron pressed/ hydraulic pressed leaves smell like more humid and aged storage odours of rotting woods and slight chocolate.  You can see the dimples from the iron mold also the very dark aged and humid stored colour of the leaves.  Immediately looks like it could be Hong Kong traditional stored Shu.

First infusion has a watery, woody, aged library taste to it with some returning aged sweet hay tastes.  This first infusion is understandably watery and light as the tight press will take a few infusions to release a bit.

The second has an aged woody taste with a bit of chocolate then a woody sweet hay finish.  The leaves have a real aged taste to them.  Over the taste is aged puerh sweetness.  The mouthfeeling is still watery and faint suggestion of gripping sand… faint.  There is a lingering coco sweetness with aged tastes minutes later.

The third infusion (pictured) has a rich sweet woody hay like onset.  The mouthfeel starts to develop a bit of an oily stone texture to it which matches nicely the rich tastes.  This infusion is really smooth and rich and aged tasting.  There is a nice camphor wood taste along creamier rich tastes in the breath and aftertaste.  The Qi is nicely warming and reassuring on this rainy cooler Summer day.

This could be a very nice aged Traditional Hong Kong storage iron bing alternatively it could also be aged shu iron bing either way it had a lot of fermentation with a lot of age.  The wet leaves look like shu puerh to me.  Conventional wisdom wants me to think it is this 2001 Iron Zhongcha as it even matches the description of “rich concentrated dark brew with nice camphor and aged taste”.  But this one is shu and seems more fermented and/or humid stored than that one in the pictures.  I’m leaning more toward to an aged iron pressed shu puerh possibly Traditional HK storage…  I think it is possibly a Kunming 7581 brickfrom the 90s possibly older.  It has that vibe all over it… think I nailed this one…

The fourth infusion has a woody hay sweetness with a rich, almost coco, taste over a slippery tongue coating and nice camphor cooling woody with rich coco in the aftertaste.  This is a nice aged tasting puerh with a deeply penetrating warming energy.  The Qi is soothing but doesn’t make me tired.  I start to feel faint soft fluffy bodying feelings.

The fifth infusion has a woody hay tasting with more mineral and less woody and coco tastes as the sessions progress.  There is a mineral and slight coco taste to it some camphor aged tastes.  There is a very soothing very aged taste to this puerh.  Nice aged warming feeling in the body which gives me a nice glow and wakes me up gently early in the morning.

The sixth infusion has a more mineral earth and woody taste with less hay sweetness and more mineral now.  The mouthfeeling is slippery and just faintly gripping which is enough to give the camphor taste something to root on to in the aged mineral woody aged aftertaste.  I am really basking in the warming soothing Qi of this puerh.

The seventh infusion has a woody deep mineral taste to it with a water type of sweetness.  This puerh has lost a lot of rich tastes and is now a mineral aged tasting puerh.  It has just suggestions of a more gripping mouthfeeling espically as the small particles of leaf are consumed in the liquor.  There is a cooling camphor aftertaste with a bit of sweetness to it but more mineral tastes.  Warming and unraveling Qi that is waking me up slowly.

The eighth infusion has a smooth aged woody mineral taste to it with some camphor cooling in the throat and aged mineral finish.  Nice warm undulating waves hit me from the Qi of this puerh.  The mouthfeel is smooth with a bit of substance in the throat.  Nice relaxing awakening feeling.

The ninth infusion is a cooled cup and it delivers a really delicious rich almost nutty sweet coco taste.  It tastes refreshing warming in the same an iced coffee would feel.  Less cooling camphor, woody, and mineral here in the cup that was left to cool to room temp.

Getting back to the leaves after an hour break has the tenth infusion giving off a rich coco mineral taste.  The camphor and woodiness is almost gone/ quite faint now.  There is now a nutty sweetness to it.  The aged taste is really rich and satisfying.  The Qi is warming especially on the face now and has a slow deep soft but still quite energizing feeling.

The 11th is a rich nutty almost woody mineral taste.  The mouthfeel is slippery and full and has a bit of throat stimulation.  No more camphor left.  It’s a simple and rich broth.

The 12th has a rich almost nutty almost mineral taste that comes off nutty sweet in the finish.  Lots of warming energy that especially afflicts the head but also penetrates deeply.  It pushes me into a sweat.

The 13th is mainly a mineral and woody tasting onset with some dryness aspiring in the mouth and throat.  There is a subtle almost nutty sweetness in the finish.  Warm warm energy.

The 14th is much the same without the dryness in the mouth and throat.  There is an almost date sweetness with mineral taste that starts to develop with aged woody tastes.  This is a nice aged taste and warming Qi here.

15th is luke warm cup and tastes of nutty sweetness more rich with a mineral aftertaste and some tight throat.  Still undulating and warming comforts offered by this one.

16th is more of a nutty camphor taste with some mineral tastes interspersed throughout.  There is some throat tugging but a nice sweet mild finish.  My face flushes- I am warm on this rainy overcast summer day.

17th is a 30 second steeping… it pours out really dark brown.  It has more roasty nutty rich woody profile and even some faint camphor.  The taste is really nice… I will come back to this pot tomorrow…

The next day I end up just grandpa steeping it out and it really delivers.  A thick oily nutty profile with a nutty sweetness to it.

Guess: An aged shu puerh, very humid, likely Hong Kong Traditionally stored, likely 90s but possibly even older.  Maybe a 90s Kunming 7581 Brick?


Friday, August 7, 2020

Marco’s Blind Tasting “Epsilon”

Ok…. I was waiting for it… the blind Menghai Tea Factory sample…

Dry decently factory looking compressed leaves smell of a very sweet honey fruity nectar odour.

First infusion tastes of a woody almost grain sweetness with a pungent everygreen menthol finish.  There is almost a metallic taste to it.  The mouthfeeling is full and cottony in the mouth.

The second infusion has a woody grain onset with a soft coming and going of sweet candy.  There is a fairly strong deep pungent and an overall resin wood like taste to it.  The mouthfeeling is strong and pulling and thick.  There is deep almost bitter coffee and taffee taste to it kind of smokey incense faintly on the back end of this puerh.  This puerh tastes like Menghai factory to me.  The leaves are quite tippy and small.  The Qi has a slow alerting building within it.

The third infusion has an incense caramel onset with a strong sour as well as a woody resin taste to it.  It has a bit of a sour edge to it.  It finishes with a deep pungent camphor woody and incense taste to it.  The mouthfeel is stronger and gripping.  Strong Menghai Factory taste and feel to this puerh, its dry stored and likely around 8 years old.  Building alerting energy.  I break into a terrible allergic reaction of sneezing and itching with this puerh that I have only gotten a handful of times from certain puerh (see here, here,here)… For the sake of the review I take some herbal allergy pills and trudge on… but I really love the very nice Dayi profile here…  I really over leafed this powerful factory feeling puerh…

The fourth infusion has a strong syrupy sweet smoky sour fruitiness to it.  Thick fruity resin woody taste is upfront with a long camphor finish.  I really like the comforting and familiar taste of Menghai Factory although I am down on myself that I just can’t rattle off the production like I used to be able to do. 

The fifth infusion has a thick smoky syrupy fruitiness to it, slightly sour, with a long camphor finish.  The taste and feel is unmistakenly Menghai Factory and really satisfies me with a nice alerting factory Qi sensation.  This is an above average Dayi production very nice.

The sixth infusion has a strong syrupy malty fruitiness over a smoky woody nuance with a long camphor aftertaste.  The Qi is warming and alerting and makes me sweat.  This is classic strong Menghai factory that is on the edge of being ready to consume as it still has an underlying bitterness and sourness to it.  It has a really condensed taste to it but still hasn’t developed any plum taste to it.  I think I have a bit too many leaves in my pot but I trudge on…

The seventh infusion has a strong syrupy malty fruitiness over a smoky woody nuance with a long camphor aftertaste in the mouth.  This puerh is very stable across the infusions.  Warming alerting Qi.  Stonger full cotton mouthfeeling.  Making me itch a bit.

The eighth infusion has a smoother fruitier vibe to it with some of the brute strength finally lifting a bit.  Fruity, woody, cooing throatfeeling, camphor finish some creamy sweetness developing.  Good full cottony thicker mouthfeeling.  This is a good concentrated Dayi production.

The ninth infusion has a smoky fruity onset with a more smoky woody finish in the mouth.  There is more of a gripping mouthfeeling and throatfeeling with less menthol cooling in the throat.  Nice alerting energy.

The tenth infusion has a malty almost caramel fruity sweetness with pronounced smoke.  There is less camphor coolness in the throat and aftertaste now and more dry wood taste.  This puerh is beating a bit on the guts which is an indicator that it’s still too young to drink to enjoy but you can see the potential in the production as being a better one from the post 2006 era.

The 11th has a fruity thick syrupy sweetness there are fruity tastes lingering in the aftertaste along with woody taste.

The 12th has a fruity thick syrupy sweet punch with lingering fruitiness and longer creamy sweet fruity aftertaste.  The mouthfeeling is sticky and chalky.  The aftertaste is sweet and creamy and satisfying.

The 13th has a fruity full creamy chalky sweetness with some wood underlying.  There is a chalky mouthfeeling and not that much cooling in the throat or stimulation of the throat.

The 14th has a woodier smokier and less fruity or chalky sweetness to it.  It’s a bit bitterer too.  Still some strength in the leaf with some alerting Qi.  More of a tight sandy mouthfeeling.

I put this in a mug and grandpa steep it out.

Overall, this is a really condensed, full feeling Menghai Factory production that is still on the edge of being drinkable semiaged.   Not used to drinking Dayi at this point of aging because it’s pretty hard on the system still.  This one is a pretty nice Dayi production overall.

Guess: A dry stored 8ish year old Menghai Factory aka Dayi production.  If it isn’t Dayi then something very much of this style.  Leaves look bigger than 7542 and not really as factory as I thought.  Maybe 8582?


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Marco’s Blind Tasting “Zeta”

So far the blind samples that Marco has sent me seem to be very very different from each other.  The “Delta” was quite elegant with a nice energy to it, the “Gamma” was very delicious, powerful, out of body experience, and the “Alpha” seem to be a very dry/sealed stored factory production.  This blind sample labeled “Zeta” would turn out to be an interesting comparison to “Gamma”…

The stone compressed younger/ drier looking dry leaves smell of strong smoke after snipping the sealed package…

First infusion has a very sweet almost vegetal and mineral but fruity smoky onset and steeps out surprisingly darker than I thought.  It has a flat creamy sweet finish, almost floral.  This first steeping reminds me of Bulang area.  It has some nice complexity right of the bat and is nuanced and sweet.  There is a lingering sweet creamy aftertaste.  It has a lubricating oily feel to it.  I can feel the Qi in the head even in this first cup.  Could be a younger semiaged very dry Malaysian stored Bulang?

The second infusion has a sweet root beer, creamy sweet milky and very milk chocolate taste.  The mouthfeeling is very oily and lubricating and paired with the creamy velvety sweetness of milky sweet chocolate and root beer taste it results in a smooth, oily, rich, decadent feeling.  There is a spicy warm pungency in the throat and a sweet plumb and kind of floral aftertaste.  There is a certain elegance and smoothness to this initial taste.  The smoke is more of a faint backdrop in this second infusion.  This Bulang is very smooth and has an obvious layered complexity to it.

The third infusion has a sweet root beer/ sarsaparilla onset taste with some smoke.  It tastes more herbaceous and less milky chocolate.  The taste is more roots and sweet, not TCM medicine, something more complex and light and sweet but yet still mild-moderate smoke.  This is more of an herbaceous Bulang at its core but has some nice smoke-milky-chocolate Bulang taste too.  There is an oily feeling in the mouth and throat with root beer finish.  Mouthfeeling is sticky/oily and throatfeeling is opening mid-deep.  The Qi is a calming but smooth type of alertness- a focusing alertness.

The fourth infusion has a forest, milky, less root beer, more creamy sweet subtle smokiness.  There is a rich velvety feel and taste to this Bulang which I find really interesting and unique.  Although it is mild-moderate smokiness the rich smooth oily and creamy tastes are very elegant.  The pungency is a warmer spicy pungency, dried orange peel, and there is even a warmth building in the body.  It kind of tastes like Christmas cake or spiced bread- the taste is spicy and herbaceous layered on oily sweetness.  The effect is very enjoyable.

The fifth infusion I drink the cooled cup and it gives off a smooth creamy root beer oily smooth taste with a touch of smoke.  The smoke is really background and not char but an elegant smoke that layers with the creamy root beer sweetness- liked a nice smoked creamy root beer… that sounds delicious doesn’t it?  Because it is…  This is really tasty with a nice focusing energy to it. 

The sixth infusion has a forest creamy milky taste with a smooth finish of creamy sweet root beer.  There is not really much bitter in this Bulang- a feature that adds to its smoothness.  The mouthfeel is becoming less oily and more soft/sticky.  The throat still opens deeply with a warm spicy pungency. The Qi has a strong deep focusing energy to it and I yawn and stretch my body while my mind feels relaxed and a bit sharp.

The seventh infusion has a creamy less thick root beer taste.  The depth of the root taste is somewhat complex but the interplay between, milk, creamy, chocolate, spices, herbs, ect is gone now.  It’s now mainly a one dimensional taste.  The mouthfeeling and throatfeeling are much less oily and more soft/sticky.  Qi is really relaxing now.

The eighth infusion has a forest, almost creamy, not really root beer not that smoky taste.  I would say it’s more kind of forest and faintly bitter.  The mouthfeeling is a more soft tight feeling.  The throat is less opening.  The Qi is more a relaxed focusing now.

The ninth infusion is a root tasting kind of forest even slightly fruity tasting with a faint bitter almost but not really coco taste underneath.  There is more of a flat aftertaste of coco.  The mouthfeeling becomes a bit sandy.  There is a bit of complexity here but on a more shallow level as this puerh is thinning out here.

The tenth infusion comes out more watered down root beer faint chocolate.  It still really tastes good but is fading considerably.  The mouthfeeling is a sandy/chalky/soft sensation.  This mouthfeeling and taste is quite enjoyable even here. 

11th has a more almost dirt coco taste to it.  There is just a faint background smoke in there with a kind of mild root beer aftertaste over a sticky tongue.

12th I add 15 seconds to strengthen it up a bit… and it comes out a bit stronger but a nice chocolate flat milky creamy onset with more of a root beer finish.  I really like this Bulang. It has a really smooth taste, mouthfeeling, and Qi for a Bulang… a strong velvety Bulang.  Humm… not sure if it is even Bulang but that’s kind of how I decided to evaluate it.

13th I add 20 seconds… and it starts a bit watery smoke initially with a flat forest taste almost creamy milk taste with barely detectable root beer finish.  The mouthfeeling is slight sticky and tight.

14th I add 30 seconds to the flash steep and get nice foresty tastes, slight creamy.  In a stick sticky dry mouthfeeling and slight throat stimulation.  This Bulang has very good stamina for a Bulang and because it doesn’t have too much bitter or smoke or astringency you can really push out the flavours at the end here.  I also really like the deep mood influencing feeling of wellbeing that this Bulang induces.  It’s a deeper reaching Qi experience rather than a typical intense Bulang experience.  This is also very nice.  Just like the “Gamma” I wonder if it could be Ban Zhang or even other area..???

15th is a 40 second steeping beyond flash and it gives off a bit of dirt coco faint smoke taste and slight bitter foresty kind of taste.  The bitterness is stronger with this 40 second steeping and give more of a griping mouth and throat feeling with faint coolness but not much returning taste.

16th I go back to 20 second steeps…there is a smooth fruitiness left in the cup with a faint pungent that pushes out a creamy sweetness.  This is still very flavourful despite its simplicity here.  The complexity at the end of the session here is the diversity between steepings.

17th infusion I steep it 30 seconds…and it is a bit pondy/woody bitter almost fruity and creamy sweet.  Not complex at this point but still quite enjoyable. 

18th is 40 seconds longer than flash and gives off a mildly smoky creamy sweet simple taste with a slight almost fruity edge. It has a bit of a creamy sweet but kind of woody bland finish.

The stamina is at least partially due to the long big but tight rolled leaf that is apparent in viewing the wet leaf…

Overall, this is a very decedent, refined, smooth, and somewhat elegant Bulang in taste, feel, and Qi.  There is just a subtle reminder of Bulang toughness in its background smoke, its strong deep plunging Qi, and when pushed too hard some standard Bulang bitterness that is still accessible.  It has excellent stamina for a Bulang and feels comfortable in the body and mind.  This makes me think that this is not even a Bulang but I have no other region that comes to mind.  This is kind of a mix of the bitter and creamy sweet Bulang profile, the herbaceous woody medicinal Bulang profile, and the fruity, floral, less bitter Bulang.  I would say that the first infusions are more herbaceous and the later are more bitter creamy sweet with a bit of the fruity less bitter tossed into the first half of the session!  In this way this Bulang is quite balanced and complex instead of the profile of most Bulang which is often very strong and polar.  The Qi really left me in a great spot.  This is a great classy Bulang, if a Bulang at all.  To many things point this to being something not Bulang, but what?  Ban Zhang- don't think so.  I don't know.

Guess: This is a semi aged 10-14 years very dry Malaysian or possibly dry Taiwanese storage Bulang?

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Marco’s Blind Tasting “Alpha”

A day or so after experiencing the elegance of Marco’s blind sample “Delta” then pretty much having an out of body experience later in the day with “Gamma”, I hope to tread a bit more cautiously going forward.  No more crazy two blind samples in a day type of thing.  With the weather still quite a bit warm here this summer I look for something a bit younger or dry stored and settle on the look of this sample with the symbol “Alpha” on it.  I snip open the sealed package and smell…  

The dry leaves have a meaty musk meat like odour that immediately remind me of Laos puerh.

First infusion has a peachy and very musk gamey almost salty watery meat kind of onset that tastes similar to the dry leaf odour.  Very faint pungent finish with a chalky/talc mouthfeeling and tongue coating.  It has a blank chalky finish.

The second infusion has an almost sweet almond watery clear with gamey musk onset.  There is a lubricating mouthfeeling.  The Qi is starting to swell in my chest a bit.  There is almost a creamy almond but mainly watery sweet finish.  A bland chalky talc develops in the mouth minutes later.

The third infusion has a woody sweet almond onset with a faint less obvious gamey taste.  There is a soft cloud like round sweetness to this one that is interesting.  Almost peach fruity but not really.  The finish is sweet creamy almost faint marshmallow.  The tongue coating is more sticky faint sand.  I can feel my heart racing mildly here.  This has an East Yiwu close to or even over the boarder vibe to it.  In some ways it reminds me of the Essence of Tea Tian Men Shan but not at all as substantial.

The fourth infusion has a pondy, almost blank bland woody, almost mushroom onset with almond sweetness.  There is some faint fruitiness that tries to establish itself.  The mouthfeeling is a soft almost sandy stickiness.  The throatfeeling is faint and somewhat deep.  The Qi is very calming on the mind and almost hypnotic.  The aftertaste is a walnut taste not really fruity but with a very faint not really there candy on the breath.  I can feel a mild slow heart sensation in the body.  The Qi is starting to build in the mind.

I’m having a really hard time placing this puerh.  In some ways it tastes like an old dry seal stored puerh and in other ways it tastes rather new.  In many ways it is like the 2001 Naked Yiwu.  Even the location has evaded me.  This is a tough one.

The fifth infusion has a woody and mushroom and almond onset over a pondy base taste.  There is a creamy incense building almost caramel sweetness that comes out of these tastes.  The mouthfeeling is becoming drier pucker stickiness.  There is a long solid incense base taste.  There is a long candy like sweetness developing on the breath.  The Qi is a bit hypnotic and a bit relaxing.  There is a lot of nuanced complexity that just can’t quite punch through such as orange peel, herbal tastes, and floral tastes.  My scalp feels a bit tingling.  This is a really interesting infusion.  The thought of this being a seal stored Youle crosses my mind- again this puerh is really hard for me to place.  My mind is starting to really unravel.  It has a nice deep warming Qi sensation to it which suggests age.

The sixth infusion has a pondy woody incense onset with some sweet almond and almost suppressed floral.  The mouthfeeling is becoming really engaging and has a sticky drying cotton mouth effect.  It feels almost like there is something caught in the mid-throat.  There is some faint long candy in the aftertaste as well as walnut taste and almost peach orange taste.  The mouthfeel is really intense here.  The Qi is warming and pushes me into a sweat.  I feel quite stoned from the Qi.  There is a deep strength to this puerh in its Qi, mouthfeeling, and even taste, in a subtle way.  This is a really interesting puerh to me.

The seventh infusion has an incense woody onset with some walnut taste in there as well.  There is almost fruity taste that tries to emerge.  There is also a bitterer base emerging as well as there as well.  The mouthfeel is a sticky punckery pretty engaging thing now.  The Qi is warming in the body and hypnotic in the mind.

The eighth has a fruity floral onset over wood and incense notes.  There is a bland chalky base taste then a faint coolness and a strong true apricot fruit finish almost like apricot jam.  This infusion has turned a corner and is very apricot tasting.  Very delicious.  A sticky almost puckering Qi is there. 

The ninth infusion has an almost nutty not really toffee sweet onset the woody and incense taste is less now and a fruitier and sweeter suggestion is left to enjoy.  There is a pondy aftertaste.  There is a bit of a mineral taste here and a floral and apricot fruit.  Over a slightly puckering sticky engaging coating in the mouth while the throat seems pretty absent throughout this session is carries a touch of very very faint coolness.

The tenth infusion is a pondy, kind of fruity, slightly woody incense taste initially that has an almost chalky bland midtaste before returning mild chalky apricot aftertaste.  The aftertaste is not super long not overly complex throughout any of the infusions but sometimes carries a very very faint candy suggestion like this infusion does.  The Qi is strongly warming in the body and feel like aged Qi energy.

The eleventh infusion has a fruity incense taste with a bland chalky finish with some faint florals and barely candy appearing over the bland aftertaste finish.  Mouthfeeling is thicker chalky pucker.  Warming euphoric Qi.

The 12th infusion has a mild fruity onset with a bland almost woody creamy pondy taste.  There is a slightly sticky mouthfeeling and a faint fruity almost candy finish.  This puerh is dropping off fast.  The Qi is mild.

The 13th infusion I steep for 30 seconds over flash… it yields a woody bland onset with a bit of creamy fruity finish with some throat coolness.

I put this in a mug to grandpa steep out. It tastes of generic smoky incense and some woody bitterness.

The wet leaves are different colours of aged olive green and coppery colours some of them are chopped leaf grade indicative of a factory production.

Overall, this puerh is really difficult for me to place.  More difficult than the others so far.    The first few infusions and the dry leaf almost remind me of Laos puerh or something East Yiwu close to the boarder with a meaty and gamey taste.  Then the next group of infusions develop a pondy woody taste to it with some fruity and creamy sweetness.  The mouthfeel builds and becomes thicker almost pucker.  The Qi is warm and indicates something more aged as does the incense base taste that develops.  These infusions remind me of a dry seal stored older more old school puerh.  In the later infusions a strong apricot sweetness is highlighted. 
This puerh changes a lot throughout the session which makes it kind of interesting.  It is definitely dry stored, likely Taiwanese dry storage, and possibly even sealed storage.  It also has a factory feel to it like a Xiaguan, maybe especially in the later infusions.  It’s more of a generic factory taste in the last half.  Not sure how this puerh would be priced which depends on how old it is really.  I think this might be an option for offering something older but more affordable at Teas We Like.  Its profile is something that I don’t think I would be too interested in buying, either way.  But if the price was low it would be a bargain.

Guess: An aged possibly seal storage very dry Taiwanese stored factory production?  This one is the hardest of the blind samples for me to place…


Monday, August 3, 2020

Marco’s Blind Tasting “Gamma”

After sampling Marco’s blind tasting “Delta” it was still mid-morning.  I had started very early in the morning an hour before work and was definitely hoping for a powerful energy boost.  I ended up receiving a very elegant and somewhat energizing experience in the blind “Delta”.  With seeing some unexpected gaps in my work schedule and still looking for more power I grab the sealed bag marked with the symbol “Gamma”… and it ended up really kicking the shit out of me….

Dry leaves have a loose compression and smell of faint woody barely sweet smell. Smells pretty dry stored to me…

The first infusion is flat dry wood with a quiet perfume lingering and a mineral stone mid taste with faint candy finish.  The mouthfeeling is watery.  The taste has a unique sweetness and a bubble gum like finish.

The second pours a very reddish-brown colour… the onset is of thick oily very aging woody berries- strawberry, even orange tastes that lead into a deep camphor and caramel finish mixed with a layered faint candy finish.  The mouthfeeling is slippery and lubricating in the mouth.  There is a perfume quality to the taste.  The taste is very rich and deep with a lot of layers and nuance.  The taste is really viscus and oily and very dense and full.  The Qi is very strong and I feel a strong onset of euphoria and strong body feeling and floating face and lightness.  Chest opening and heart beats head tingling.  The Qi is very strong and the taste is very rich, deep and complex.  This is very expensive puerh I think.  I suspect quality Menghai region material here folks.

The third infusion is a thick oily dark rich berry coco coffee onset.  A thick rich lubricating mouthfeeling with a camphor taste.  There is a lingering coco chocolate and sweet candy breath.  The flavor presentation is very strong and dark and rich.  A thick comforting Qi layers with Qi complexity and euphoria and pulsing bodyfeelings.  The Qi is very strong in the body and in the mind.  I wanted power… now I cower in the corner from it… hahaha…

The fourth infusion has a very thick oily woody and top note of sweet blackberry layered in with rich coco flavours woody flavours rich comforting flavours.  There is a deep camphor resonance in the deep throat and lingers strong on the breath.  There is some creamy chocolate, slight caramel, and even long candy breath finish.  The mouthfeeling is very oily and lubricating and saliva producing.  The Qi is very strong and pushes me into an almost out of body feeling.  With a tingling down the spine, face, chest opening, leg numbing. Very nice, very engaging.  I think this is more moderate humid Taiwanese storage on this puerh.  There is a lingering perfume to this puerh.

The 5th has a rich cherry fruit, mahogany wood, and deep rich coco chocolate onset.  With a perfume floral depth in a rich deep base of coco.  The flavours come on very rich and thick and oily.  The mouthfeel is oily and lubricating and simulates the throat to salivate.  There is a creamy moca late type of sweet aftertaste.  The mouthfeel is oily and slippery and very full as is the throatfeeling.  The Qi is really big and pushes me into a sweat.  My face, limbs, spine feel the qi pulsing through.  I feel a surge of energy but feel outside myself.  Qi feels more like Bulang to me it has that milky coco bitterness to it.  I think this is Bulang puerh.  It’s not factory bulang and is like a gourmet, top shelf, Bulang.  Higher quality material and maybe more powerful than 2005 Nanqiao Double Lion and would probably sell for more.  I thought maybe even Lao Ban Zhang but this one doesn’t have the elegance of Lao Ban Zhang its more Bulang through and through but very high quality.

The 6th infusion has a cherry and woody onset with a coco chocolate finish.  There are perfume like florals that appear before the returning sweetness of milky sweet chocolate.  Big Sweat, intense Qi.  Mocha late coco bitter finish.  Big Bulang mind shattering out of body Qi experience.  The heart races- bodyfeels with concurrent deep relaxing.  The Qi is fuckin me up good.

The 7th infusion has a bitter coco flat creamy typical bulang taste.  The Qi pushes out a big crazy sweat.  There is a mild fruitiness in the cooled off cup even a bready yeasty note.  But the taste has dropped off as most Bulang do here and we got a milky flat coco chocolate taste over a slippery not as oily mouthfeeling.

The 8th has a mellow fruity woody cherry like initial taste in a slight bitter coco finish.  The Qi pushes me into a sweat.  Feel a strong intense push on the mind.  The flavor has flattened out considerably.  The mouthfeeling is more sticky/slight sandy/slight dry now with faint cooling menthol throat.  Mild milky coco finish.

The 9th has a flat coco and faded fruity coco bitterness.  The taste has flattened out, something that is characteristic of all Bulang really.  I feel out of my body and like I’ve been hit by a truck.  The Qi is making me feel post workout here.  I feel a bit heavy and tired now.

The 10th has a bitter coco and black current taste which flattens out into a milky creamy sweet bitterness in the aftertaste.  The density and complexity of this puerh has flattened out into a mainly bitter coco creamy sweetness with a flat sticky mouthfeeling.

The 11th has a flat fruity bitter coco taste that holds into the aftertaste without much fuss.  There is some camphor left in there and a mildly stimulating but overly relaxing qi.

The 12th has a flat almost fruity flat milk bitter coco with a thinning slight sandy mouthfeeling.  It has an evergreen forest kind of base to it.  Warming but relaxing post workout Qi here that follows from the more intense start of the session.

I throw the rest into a mug and grandpa it for a while and it gives off deep coco and vibrant berry sweetness but also a bit of smoke that was pretty mild/ non-existent in my flash steepings of the puerh.  The flavor is really yummy in this mug- quite complex, rich and sweet.  Coco bitter sweet berry deliciousness with a touch of incense smoke… brilliant puerh!  When will Teas We Like offer this masterpiece????

Overall, this is a really powerful Bulang puerh!  Its throws everything at you quickly early on with a very thick oily and viscous and rich chocolate feeling with pronounced depth of taste which has a complex offering of berry and cherry sweetness on top of coco and woods.  There is a vibrant perfume floral taste underneath which gives this Bulang some elegance and suggestions of Ban Zhang.  Strong milky bitter coco tastes so typical of Bulang.  The Qi oh… the Qi is strong.  Even stronger than the Nan Qiao productions from Teas We Like.  Big bodyfeelings in this one- the Qi doesn’t really get bigger than this!

Guess: Middle aged mild-moderately humid Taiwanese storage higher quality boutique Bulang production.  This one could easily be priced higher than the 2005 Nan Qiao Double Lion Bulang on Teas We Like.  Overall, it might be stronger in Qi and is a somewhat truer Bulang taste, feel and essence.  It has a gushu feel to it rather than a factory Bulang feel to it.  The Qi I think is even crazier than Double Lion.  I like this puerh a lot but I feel like it must be quite expensive…


Friday, July 31, 2020

Marco’s Blind Tasting “Delta”

This was the very first of Marco’s blind samples that I tired.  It is decently hot here in the summers and I felt like a drier stored, maybe younger Gushu type of tea this morning that would give me a bit of energy and focus.  This one looked like it could be just that…

Dry leaves are moderate compressed leaves smell of a very faint floral and grains and almost licorice type aroma.  After rise the wet leaves smell of mild candy and licorice and hay.  The dry leaf looks dry stored and somewhere between young and semi-aged.

First infusion has a honey sweet onset with a vacuous grains base with a faint slow emerging lingering candy on the breath over a soft mouthfeeling.  The candy breath is very long and smooth and mingles with a slight cooling on the breath.  A sticky honey taste is found on the tongue.

The second infusion has a grains candy sweet onset that slowly stretches into a long and smooth candy finish on the breath.  The long and very smooth sweet aftertaste is very very nice and is the feature of this puerh.  There is some honey taste that returns in the mouth and throat minutes later.  This is obvious single estate, simple and quite elegant.  The mouthfeel is quite soft and the throatfeeling is deep but faint.  This is a nice puerh.  Even 10 minutes later this is a long elegant distinct honey and candy bubble gum.

The third infusion has a more forest woody grains candy onset.  There is a bit of a rubbery blank almost licorice mid taste then a long candy breath taste with minutes long returning honey.  The long pure candy and honey sweetness is what makes this puerh quite elegant and beautiful.  The Qi is very mild and quieting in the body and mild.  There is a mild mind slowness and brow softness to the qi. (third infusion pictured).

The fourth infusion has a honey licorice grains woody onset with a rubbery woody mid-taste which leads into a long pure candy taste on the breath.  The returning honey on the breath comes minutes later then the distinct pure and strong candy is left on the breath riding out for minutes there.  There is almost no astringency (which just very mildly appeared in this fourth infusion) and no bitterness in this single estate puerh.  The mouthfeeling is quite soft and slightly sticky now.  The throatfeel is vacuous but mid-deep.  There is honey on the tongue afterward and candy on the breath.  The Qi is very comfortable in the body and mind.  This has the taste and feeling of Lincang/Mengku puerh to me.  The sweet profile, slight licorice, slight astringency, honey taste.  The strong candy and slight woody finish remind me of something more Yiwu, maybe Autumnal Yiwu or Spring Lincang… probably Lincang spring puerh.

The fifth infusion has a deeper woods, honey, grains and licorice onset.  There is more of a pronounced coolness in the throat a faint astringency.  The sweetness is a layered honey taste on the more substantial tongue coating.  I can feel a bit of tingling on the face and cheeks.  A mild and comforting Qi emanates from this puerh.  This infusion really tastes like Northern puerh.  Deep honeys come out of a strong stickier mouthfeeling and more substantial astringency in the throat.  There is a mild camphor taste in the throat.  This infusion has a bit of power to it has the astringency and tongue presence is felt.  You can feel some of that astringency in an empty stomach.

The sixth infusion has a woody, mushroom, licorice sweetness to it initially in a full feeling sticky and somewhat astringent mouthcoating.  The moderate astringency simulates the upper throat.  There is a long honey taste that lingers in the aftertaste and some candy is found in the breath.  This last few infusions have a bit more power to them which is a shift from the very elegant 1-4th infusions to a more tangible and powerful mid-session.  The Qi is starting to have a mild stoning effect on the mild.

The seventh infusion has an almost soapy, mushroom, woody, less licorice taste.  There is a bit of mineral and stone tastes mid-profile and is a faint long candy finish.  The astringency is less here and the candy aftertaste is more.  There is less honey and more candy in this infusion.

The eighth infusion has a soapy woody mushroom faint licorice initial taste with a long candy breath.  The mouthfeeling is a touch astringent and makes the tongue sticky.  There is a slight bland paper taste with candy in the aftertaste.  The qi has a mild-moderate heaviness to it and feels very mildly stoned in the body.  This is a common Mengku Qi sensation.

The ninth infusion has a flat woody almost mushroom onset with a nice candy finish.  The profile is thinning out here but the astringency is keeping things real and the aftertaste of candy long in the throat. 

The tenth has a mushroom and almond like sweetness to it.  The mouthfeel is a sticky almost drying but more astringent feeling.  There is still long candy in the breath with a faint woody taste and a stoned Qi sensation.  There is a slight heart racing and alerting feeling now too.

The 11th infusion has a blank wood onset with faint suggestions of licorice and chicory.  The candy aftertaste is dropping out leaving mainly woody taste over a slightly drying astringent sticky mouthfeel.

12th infusion is a licorice bland paper and woody onset with some candy and still a bit of camphor appearing in the breath.  Heavy brow Qi feeling.  Despite the initial and mid flavor profile dropping out there is still a long candy finish even minutes later.  Sticky astringent mouthfeeling.

13th has a paper tasting bland onset with a faint candy finish in an active and astringent mouthfeeling.  The 14th is much the same and I put this into a mug infusion… With a bit of astringency this puerh is not a great candidate to pushing hard here at the end so I end my session still on flash steepings then to a mug…

The long grandpa mug is a bit fruity almost but still quite bitter/astringent with a pucker astringent mouthfeeling and a bit of candy at the end…

The stamina of this one is a bit poor but the progression of flavor, mouthfeeling, and Qi over the shorter session is somewhat dynamic and changing.  It is elegant for the first 4 infusions with a beautiful very long and accentuated candy and honey sweetness.  This tea is all about the long elegant aftertastes here which is quite beautiful.  The honey and candy take turns at revealing themselves in the aftertaste for a long time which is the highlight of this puerh and makes it of nice quality.  The mid profile becomes more astringent but also mushroom and woody and licorice typical of the Mengku/Lincang producing areas with a familiar Mengku stoned qi sensation. In the end of session you still get the candy finish on some level and the Qi takes a turn to become more stimulating.  In the end I left quite energized from this session!

Guess: A pretty dry stored high quality Menkgu/lincang single estate like gushu approx. 3-7 years old.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Marco’s Blind Tasting Intro

I think we must both have been feeling a bit bummed out that Taiwan is no longer shipping to Canada.  I know that I have some packages held up there and, likely, so does Marco of Late Steeps and one of the co-curators of Teas We Like.  To fill the void Marco proposed we swap some blind samples in the comments here.  We shot some emails back and forth and agreed to send 7 blind samples to each other.  We decided to both send samples that are easily accessible to us to get this rolling and make it easier on us. 

To ensure that I get my blind samples out in a timely manner I proposed that I simply send the puerh that is in my shelf storage and that I have been regularly drinking over the past few weeks instead of dig through my deeper sealed storage.  For readers who wish to follow along, the samples I sent Marco will give you a good idea of the puerh that I have been consuming most over COVID times.  Often tea blogs do not really represent the tea that the authors are actually consuming for one reason or another.  For me recently, I mainly post reviews of puerh that I were either offered free by vendors or stuff that I am sampling to purchase and, when I do, my actual purchases.  Not all the puerh I regularly drink have been featured in blog posts.  It is interesting to see what other puerh bloggers are actually drinking and I hope that you enjoy Marco’s upcoming posts (if you enjoy seeing what’s in other people’s closets).

Marco decided that he would send me at least a few blind samples of puerh that he is considering proposing to the tasting panel of Teas We Like.  It will give readers a little sneak peek, a hypothetical early look, into what might lie ahead for Teas We Like.  I hope you enjoy it.

After opening the box I received from Marco a few weeks ago I was impressed by his presentation of blind samples.  He opted for a completely sealed yet completely transparent sample bag that would need to be cut open.  This lets you see the leaf and choose accordingly but leaves you completely blind to the odour until you cut the package.  I think this is really interesting because sometimes I like to smell the samples before I dive right in but this essentially builds a bit more excitement for me.  It also makes me think that I get a lot more information from the smell of the dry leaves than the look of them and more than I often write about in my blog reviews. Marco also marked them with the Greek alphabet as per tradition started by Hobbes of the Half-Dipper years ago.

I didn’t start sampling them in order but instead selected based on the looks and hope to post in the order I tried them.  I have tried 4 thus far and they are interesting.  Some are probably meant to be sampled next to each other/ compared to each other so I might post like that too.  Anyways, in the next few weeks you will see some posts on this stuff…