Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Hoshino Yame Matcha: Revist

 The spring of 2022 the wife and I decided to get into some regular matcha drinking again.  It feels about right to explore this type of tea in the Spring anyways. My go to matcha for years was Hoshino Yame matcha (Korean: Palhyo Yame).   In Korea, it is historically popular do to the geographical closeness of Yame to South Korea.  Also, Korea’s Japanese matcha consumption is outside of the influence of the different Japanese tea ceremony schools that seem to always prefer matcha from Uji but at a much higher price.  Yame’s matcha offers a great quality to price proposition.

With that being said I have not tired any Hoshino Yame matcha in many years.  Even tracking it down in Canada has proven a bit difficult.  It was a refreshing surprise to find Vancouver tea shop Cultivate Tea selling it from their online store.  I picked up a 20g can of each of the Hoshino Yame matcha they offer.  My end goal will be to find a daily matcha that I will order bulk.  Basically, this is a lesson to see if my matcha tastes have inflated or deflated throughout the years.  In Korea when I was drinking matcha daily it was usually the Pal yoh Hana Pink Label or to a lesser extent the slightly more expensive Blue label below that fulfilled our daily matcha enjoyment.  With daily matcha consumption, it also significantly reduces the amount of puerh I consume and coffee and puerh she consumes… so we will see how this goes.   Wouldn’t that be something if Mattcha’s blog truly becomes a blog about matcha…. Hahahaha… Okay here is my tasting notes…

Hoshino Seihou matcha (Gold Label) – the vibrant green smell of the powder odour is of mainly sweet roasted nuts with a balance of background umami and subtle floral sweetness.  The mouthfeeling after swallowing is what really makes this one great with a movement from the back of the mouth to the tip of the tongue.  The Qi is also really nice for a matcha giving you a much deeper and special relaxing high compared to much more expensive grades of MK.

Hoshino Ike No Shiro (Korean: Ji Beck/ Green Label) matcha -  I was excited about this one because I had sampled it many years ago and it is one of my favorites for the price.  The vibrant deeper green powder has a deeper sweeter odour to it- almost floral fresh vibrantly sweet with a deep umami nutty richness rounding out the lower register.  The taste has a sweet onset with a nutty unami depth.  The mouthfeel is a smooth chalky fluffiness.  Nice relaxing focus.

Hoshino Yame No Tsuyu (Korean: Pal Yoh Roh/ Blue Label) matcha- I had also sampled this one frequently years ago .  The odour of the opened can has an almost smokey green subtle rich vegetal sweetness.  The mouthfeel is a sticky dense pasty froth which evolves into a sandier feeling with a throat stimulating effect.  The taste comes bitter first with a cereal grains type sweetness that fades into a vegetal sweetness in the mouth.  There is almost a nutty sweetness left in the mouth.


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

2023 Tea Encounter Naka: Tasty Energy Surge

This 2023 Tea Encounter Naka goes for $97.00 for 200g cake or $0.49/g.  This was the last of the 2023 Tea Encounter samples that I received for review on this blog…. And it is a damn tasty one… and its energetics are nice as well …

Dry leaves smell of spicy layered pungent notes.

First infusion has very spicy notes which layer with warm and cool type pungency.  Peppery with a lemon drop candy or cough lozenge taste.  Flavourful with an almost numbing mouthfeel.  Chest and Heart beats.

Second infusion has a creamy spicy peppery onset with slight mouthfeel of numbness.  Heat beats into throat.  Energy surge.  Some bitterness is felt in the stomach- a bitter raw and have to eat something.

Third infusion has a watery almost floral modest  bitterness.  Numb and sticky mouthfeeling.  Strong chesty energy with energetic mind feeling.  Almost lime creamy almost candy not that sweetness. Strong energy. The bitterness and astringency is slightly hard on the stomach.

Fourth infusion has a spicy onset with bready sl sweet slightly bitter notes.  Strong energy in the head also a bit spacy in the head now too.

The fifth infusion is a bit soapy floral woody pucker. More astringency here.  Soapy floral watery bitter astringency which is a bit drying in the mouth now.  Still some energy push- not as much.

The sixth has a woody faint floral with cool faint woody breath.  Sandy a bit dry mouth coating. Energy is waning a bit now.

The seventh infusion is a long overnight thermos steeping.  It gives off a smooth creamy green forest sweetness that builds in the mouth with sugar edges in the mouth and an equally strong almost kumquat citrus subtle sourness and astringency.  The taste is nicely condensed here with lots of salivating mouthfeel. Very tasty to me!  There is a long sweet and sour taste with the end result of lots of salivation. 

Overall So tasty with that stronger energy in the head and energy surge.


Sunday, September 24, 2023

2023 Tea Encounter Wangong:Dazzling Sweetness!


I didn’t get a chance to try the now sold out 2022 Tea Encounter Wangong Xiaoshu so I was happy That I received a free 2023 to review.  This 2023 Tea Encounter Wangong goes for $75.00 for 200g cake or $0.38/g.

Dry leaves are a creamy forest slight faint barnyard.

First infusion is left to cool but gives off a dazzling sweet candy taste that shocks me with its sugary icing sugar taste.  There is some woody and Forest family under and close later.  Nice soft sandy tongue tip.  Peaceful qi feeling with subtle heady stuffiness.

Second infusion has a sweet almost candy onset with a corn and grains finish.  The watery mouthfeel has a fine sandy tip. The sweeter candy taste is quit strong when the liquid is cooled down with a woody edge.  Relaxing energy with some spacy feeling.

Third infusion has a woody ashy creamy sweet almost potato sweetness that hints at candy.  There is a fine sandy mouthfeel that peeks at the tongue tip.  Calm spacy feeling is mild to moderate.

Fourth infusion has a woody slight bitter with some candy pushing out.  Fine sandy mouthfeel and spacy qi that gives me a happy easy to laugh feeling.  

Fifth has a woody bland taste with a faint hiding woody almost melon sweetness on the faint cool breath.  You can feels some mild chest opening and mind calmness and spacing out.  

Sixth is overnight thermos. It comes out a bit mushroom, bitter, woody, floral, not that sweet but some melon taste in there.  Some moderate astringency and pucker.  Faint cooling with woody bitter melon finish.  Some chest sensations.

This one has a different feel than most other Wangong puerh I have tried before.  It‘s Qi definitely does not go as deep.  No too much Wanggong character Qi in these smaller leaves but rather hints of it.  If pushed harder a rainforest character comes out. The dazzling candy explosion the first few infusions is a really rare treat which I thoroughly enjoyed!


2023 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai: Heavy Qi

 This 2023 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai ( $65.00 for 250g cake or $0.26/g) a frequent Xiaoshu production from Tea Encounter and is always a treat.

Dry leaves have a familiar odour …

First infusion has a clear watery almost peachy almost sweet potato taste.  There is a forestry woody feel to it with cooling breath.  Lubricating mouthfeeling and some nice throat opening feeling.  Feel it in the back of my skull and nape of my neck.  Time slows a bit.

Second infusion has a woody soupy sweet potato taste.  With a slow emerging cooling on the breath a candy like creamy sweetness with a chalky mouthfeel and good throat stimulation and opening.  I break into a sweat.  Heaviness at the back of the skull with a bit of time and senses slowing down.

Third infusion has a warm chest opening with heavy skull qi.  Slows the mind down.  The taste is a sweet woody melon and sweet potato.  The chalky full mouthfeel is really nice. Spacy and slow.

The fourth infusion has a woody bland potato taste with a soupy almost salty edge.  Chalky full mouthfeeling with some open throat stimulating.   Qi is strong with a spacy slow push and heavy head sensation. 

 Interesting to contrast with the body feeling of the 2023 TE Douyishu which has equally strong head qi.  The DouyiShu gives the feeling of a floating light head and an ascending energizing feeling while this Guafengzhai gives the feeling of a heavy head and a descending slowing feeling.  

The fifth infusion is left to cool and gives off a woody sweet melon taste with an open throat and cooling sweet melon candy breath.  Nice chalky full mouth feeling.  Mind slowing Qi.

Sixth infusion has a woody sweet taste and full chalky mouthfeel and nice throat stimulation.  Cool throat and faint candy over woody dense taste.  There is a bit of bitterness and astringency but mild… some mild pucker.  Mind slowing Qi really halts my day.

Seventh has a woodsy sweet potato bland taste with not much sweetness left but more bitterness and astringency.  More pucker cool but not much sweet aftertaste.

Eighth infusion is put into a long thermos steeping overnight and is a bittersweet oily melon and potato.  Oily thick mouthfeel that coats the mouth with a long cool oily melon finish.  Thick oily melon potato soup.  Nice mellow qi.


I am drinking 2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai to compare and contrast.  In my mind they are quite similar.  It’s lost it’s green and tastes I like a somewhat woody potato melon with a creamy cool finish in the mouth. Nice mild chalky mouthfeel. Happy qi with some chest beats.  Qi is less heavy.


Saturday, September 23, 2023

2023 Tea Encounter Tongqinghe: 3 Strongs!

 I tired the 2021 Tea Encounter Tongqinghe and really liked it for its price.  Unfortunately, I devoured the whole sample up back then.  What I can remember was that is was much more complex in taste and feel to this 2023.  This 2023 Tea Encounter Tongqinghe goes for $58.00 for 200g cake or $0.29/g.  This 2023 has a strong intense flavour of bitter-grassy-floral which is very engaging- strong flavours…. I enjoy it’s intensity, still a good one for its price, even thought it seems not as complex and engaging as the 2021.  This 2023 has a bit more chopped leaf and less elegant material as the 2021…

Dry leaves have a creamy sweetness in green forest odour.

First infusion is a creamy limes woody green grass taste with a mild cooling lime and creamy woody finish.  Nice bubble in solar plexus area.

Second infusion has a green green taste like sencha green tea with a grassy taste and some bitterness.  There is that Thrills gum taste too.  Has a mainly floral finish and quality to it.  Strong abdominal warming bubbles.  Strong floral finish.  Strong chest beats.

Third infusion has a bitter grassy floral onset with and flat almost fine sandy mouthfeeling.  Strong energetic feeling in chest and mind.  Energizing.  Floral taste is dominant on breath and in aftertaste.  Strong invigorating qi.

Fourth infusion has a bitter- grassy- floral strong onset- strong flavours.  The floral is particularly interesting in this dense mix of tastes. Strong mouthfeeling of fine full stand.  And strong energetic qi- three strong!

Fifth infusion is a bit more woody than floral- bitter. A bit less intense but same flavour trio full on.  Strong intense energy.  There is no harshness what so ever despite its strength and bitterness.  Nice fine sandy full mouth- and throat feeling.

The sixth infusion I do a long overnight thermos steeping.  It has a bitter, floral quality that pops a sweet melon and candy like sweetness with a full fine sand mouth coating and lingering candy sweetness in the breath  ofand down the throat.  This puerh is strong and intense and this long infusion on an empty stomach I’m started to feel it beat up the guts a touch.  Its elegance is the the strong floral taste and long lingering candy sweetness.  Strong energy feeling It kept me up way past my bedtime!


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

2023 Tea Encounter Douyishu: Ascension


This was the non Gushu tea that I was most excited about from the 2023 free sample package from Tea Encounter.  This 2023 Tea Encounter Douyishu goes for $110.00 for 200g or $0.55/g.  It was also the first non-Gushu from these offerings that I had sampled.  To me it offers both a Gushu-like experience and a BoHeTang-like experience.  Great value and interesting experience.  I’m not sure I have ever really tried a puerh like this before.

Dry leaves smell of a forestry almost gamey pungent.

First infusion has a creamy watery icing sugar taste with faint soft fluffy mouthfeel.

Second infusion has a watery creamy sugar taste with some forestry taste in there for depth.  A relaxing and mild spacy floating head sensation takes hold.  Long faint sugar taste with pure cooling mouth.  Soft fluffy mouthfeel. 

Third infusion has a watery woody almost almond taste with a faint lingering cooling.  Mild spacy qi feeling with some head floating extending bodyfeeling.  Some chest beats as well as strong ascending feeling.

Fourth infusion has a woody almost almond shell taste.  There is some icing sugar sweetness that lingers on the breath with a pure cool extension.  Strong Qi feeling in the mind with strong spaciness and chest beats with floating head feeling.

Fifth infusion is woody pure clean taste with long icing sugar taste with faint hand to grasp melon.  Strong chest beats build up in body with spacy feeling and floating body sensations.  Soft fluffy mouthfeeling.  Long fine cooling breath.

Sixth infusion has a woody onset with creamy icing sugar long fine cooling aftertaste.  Qi is quite strong- I like it.  

The seventh I overnight steep the leaves and it has a melon woody sugar taste that pops in the teeth.  This woody sugar long taste is nice BaoHeTang character and it is definitely found throughout this session.  Overall, this had most of the things I would expect in BaoHeTang.  Woody clear profile with long sugar like lingering taste and strong spacy qi with floating bodyfeeling- I like this one!


2023 Tea Encounter Huazhuliangzi: Slow Battery Charge

 This was included in a box of free samples from review from Tea Encounter.  This 2023 Tea Encounter HuaZhuLiangZi Gushu goes for $120.00 for 250g cake or $0.48/g.I don’t have too much experience with HuaZhuLiangZi area but what I have tried I really enjoyed.  I was excited to see Alex’s (Puerh Blog) notes on this on posted on his blog ang look forward to reading his notes on these other Gushus as well.  This was my least favourite of the Tea Encounter 2023 Gushus but I still got much enjoyment out of it.  I especially enjoyed its deep slow build battery charge Qi… haha.

Dry leaves has a sweet floral with stronger forest piercing odour.

First infusion has a sweet subtle candy grassy sweetness with a lubricating oily mouthfeel.

Second infusion is forestry creamy icing sugar sweet with faint cooling pungent breath.  Soft Qi feeling with enhanced senses. Cooled down it has a forestry taste.

Third infusion has a forestry fresh taste with edges of icing sugar sweetness.  There is a faint cooling pungency on the breath.  Soft qi feeling. 

The fourth infusion has a woody Forest taste with a slight chalky sort of sandy mouthfeel.  There is a nice cooling pungency finish.  The forestry almost woody taste stretches from start to finish.

The fifth infusion has a woody forest taste throughout.  The mouthfeel is a substantial chalky feeeling with a faint floaral creamy sweet finish on the cool breath.  Soft qi feeling with effortless calm energy boost.

The sixth in fusion has a woody Forest taste throughout with some fainter sweet floral.  Qi slowly builds and has a deeper energy now like a slow battery charge.

Seventh is put into a long overnight thermos steeping and is a nice deep forestry with a long lingering cool pungent floral.  Some salivating mouthfeel.  Some faint mild chalky pucker on the roof of the mouth.


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

2023 Tea Encounter Yishanmo GuShu: Happy and Light

 This was a part of the free samples that Tiago sent me.  This 2023 Tea Encounter Yi Shan Mo Gushu goes for $83.00 for 200g cake or $0.42/g.  It is an enjoyable YiShanMo area puerh for me.  It was likely the lightest and in some ways has the widest flavour profile of the 2023 Tea Encounter Gushus.  A lot of the flavours are hard to grasp at and during the long Thermos steeping at the end of the session, I was left pulled into the light deep flavours… so fun!

Dry leaves have a woody forestry almost pungent almost gamey root vegetables odour.

First infusion is a watery faint forest woody taste almost floral with a wet mouthfeel.

Second infusion is left to cool and has a woody Forest slight creamy not really floral taste.  Faint creamy finish in a wet slight lubricating mouthfeel.  Peaceful Qi feeling.

Third infusion has a woody Forest bland taste which is thickened by the wet lubricating mouthfeel which you can see in the picture with lasting bubbles.  YiShanMo is all about the lubricating mouthfeel which this one has.  Woody forest tastes almost but not really mushroom with no bitter astringency.  Nice peaceful qi with a bit of body abdominal warming qi.

Fourth infusion has a woody almost melon taste with a lubricating wet mouthfeeling and peaceful Qi.  Very comfortable in the body and mind with some abdominal warming bodyfeeling.  Faint sweet melon finish. No astringency or bitter.

Fifth is a woody Forest pure watery taste. Watery lubricant with peaceful feeling. Warming abdomen.  

Sixth infusion has a woody almost dry grass/ hay straw taste with an almost melon faintly sweet finish.  Peaceful mind.

Longer seventh steeping pull out some cereal grains tastes and other interesting hard to grasp forest tastes.

The eighth infusion I put the wet leaves into a thermos and overnight steep the leaves and it is quite melon creamy sweet with a fresh Forest taste and layered chalky melon vibrant sweetness with pops of creamy sweet melon tastes.  Happy feelings.


2023 Tea Encounter Yaoding Gushu: Pure Tasting Chesty Comforts

This was the second tea I tried from Tiago’s package of free teas for review.  This 2023 TE Yaoding Gushu goes for $127.00 for 200g or $0.64/g.  I actually blind sampled it deliberately not looking at the label.  It turned out to be probably the best freshest Ding Jia Zhai area Yiwu I’ve tried- an area that I’m usually not very satisfied with.  It also was my second favourite of the 2023 Tea Encounter Gushus…

Dry leaves smell quite sweet with a creamy sweet Forest odour.  It reminded me of Yiwu instantly.

First infusion has a watery smooth creamy taste with subtle roasted vegital notes and mild lubricating mouthfeel.  Sublime gentle feeling.  Mainly sweet watery roasty.

Second infusion has a mainly sweet watery creamy taste very clear and pure tasting radiant Heart feeling. Happy Qi.  The cooled down cup is really smooth and pure very subtle grass and roast but mainly just creamy sweet purest taste.  Mansa area? No bitterness or astringency at all. Watery mouthfeel.

Third has a smooth creamy onset with lingering creamy sweet taste not really vegetal but almost roasted taste.  Glowing chest feeling.  Pure clear.

Fourth is cooled down first and is a creamy grassy sweet pure watery subtle vegital. Mild Happy vibes.  Watery mouthfeel no astringency or bitter.

Fifth infusion has a watery subtle roasted vegital taste with a soft sweetness benieth.  Slight edges of bitter astringency but mild.  Now it is mainly roasted vegital tasting like a roasted Korean or Chinese green tea. Warm chesty comforts and mild happy expansive feeling.

Sixth is mainly water subtle vegital sweetness.  Mind happy. Very very faint bitter astringency.

Seventh I put the leaves into an overnight thermos and it delivers a melon creamy sweet forest taste with some arm floating body qi.  Not much bitter astringency but some pucker.  Happy awareness feeling.


Sunday, September 17, 2023

2023 Tea Encounter Pasha Gushu: Complex Mind Qi

 This was in a free package of samples for review from good ol’ Tiago of Tea Encounter.  This 2023 TE Pasha Gushu goes for $115.00 for 200g cake or $0.58/g.

Dry leaves are very green with a piercing cooling pungent odour.

First infusion has a mild bitter pungent vegetal taste.  There is a low lingering cooling with a faint sweetness lingering on the breath.

Second has a smooth watery bitter vegital onset slight forestry bitter taste but faint florals emerging as well.  Chest beats and expansion feeling.  Nice sticky chalky reasonably full mouthfeeling with sensory expansive feeling.  I hear distant things clearly and my mind is active, focused, searching peacefully. Simultaneously relaxing and active qi. Spacey head, tingling elbows. Complex qi.

Third infusion has a complex vegetal Forest taste with bitterness that bites upfront.  There is a long floral taste and bitterness
Cooled infusion has a floral deep bitter cool pungency to it. Strong mind qi.

Fourth infusion has a watery forest vegital taste.  With a longer expanding floral note and bitter taste with sticky chalky mouthfeel.  Chest beats and expanding with mind fixing

6th is left to cool and is a vegital bitter floral onset with a moderate sticky chalky mouthfeel and chest expanding qi.  

7th has a bitter floral vegetal sort of a complex qi feeling with an expanding chest bodyfeeling and mind spacy but fine attention to all sensations.

8th I finished off with a long thermos steeping overnight… the next day it was very floral with sweet cherry underneath mild bitterness not as much as I thought.  Nice forestry cool pungency on the breath.  Nice bitter sweet balance.  Not really astringent.  Nice mind feeling.

This was my favourite of the 2023 Tea Encounter Gushus- powerful, flavour, and complex Qi.  It was also the one I was most excited about trying.  It was also the first I tried.


Duanni, 2023 Fresh Sheng, Trad Stored, Lost Posts,Life


Life is so fun right now!  Very busy and dynamic.  Through periods of change tea is so grounding.  Puerh is always changing but imbibed in times of change it can be so centring.  I haven’t sat down at tea table for a slow evaluative sample since 2022.  No space for that … but my tea drinking is evolving.  I do remember what sample it was… 

The last sit down slow evaluative session was with a free sample from Paolo of from a storage option that I really enjoy- thanks again Paolo for the treat.  It was a 2004 jia he tang tong chang hao I think it was mainly billed as being something close to a ChenYuan Hao Yiwu.  I really enjoyed it and think it’s probably 1/2 as good as the ChenYuan Hao - had some good Yiwu characteristics but not as strong.  I lost these tasting notes and a handful of Older Yang Qing Hao sample notes, I think, which included their most expensive offering 18 trees. Won’t probably get another crack at this one.  I remember the as expected being a very ethereal type of experience with some limbs bodyfeeling and being really soft.  I also sampled the 2006 Snow buds which was not that memorable for me.  The 2004 Dingji which blows minds.  I hate loose notes to technology ineptitude but it has happened more than a few times in the blogs long life.  Also lots some Trad storage notes- darn!

Anyways… At work, I have moved again and have not yet set up proper gongfu there.  I’m usually drinking larger pots stretched through the week stationed on the kitchen countertop in the centre of my busy home.  Yeah tea is still pretty central to my life and sometimes in the few minutes here and there at that tea table I see my life in complete clarity circling around my tea table.  Like the planets orbiting the sun.  Or other times I am drinking thermos sessions at work, outside or on the go.  It’s not my preference but I adapt.

This past year I have mainly consumed lots of Trad storage puerh and Semiaged Gushu - the ChenYuan Hao and YangQing Hao.  I should post on those things.

I would like to give Tiago a big warm thank you for pulling me out of my long streak of no posts.  He sent me his whole 2023 Tea Encounter line up!  I just finished tasting all the Gushus. Brewing was unconventional but I enjoyed it.  I used a thermos to flash steep the leaves before pouring them into a large ceramic cup created by a local Daegu ceramic artist that I was gifted around 15 yrs ago. I will post in the next days here about these.

The other thing that got me posting again was a local find of this unused giant Duanni yixing pot pictured above.  Only one of four functioning Yixings that I own now.  Got it for 39$.  Never been used but the clay is really nice the motif of a dragon and Phoenix is outrageous and got my kids very excited.  It must be 600ml if I were to guess with a crushing 20 second plus pour. What a monster!  The size and motif suggest it was probably meant as a wedding gift.  The local Saskatchewan man I purchased it off confirmed it was a wedding gift maybe 20 years ago.  The art I reminds me of something from the 90s/ early 2000s. Rare art style on yixing for sure!

I always heard that Duanni mutes the flavour of puerh.  I was always like why on earth would you want to ever mute puerh?  So I was never too interested in this clay with Hongni always being my go to.

But it’s been fun playing with a new pot- my trend seems to be bigger and bigger anyways.  The idea is for the yellow Duanni clay to take away the harsher elements of the puerh while presumably leaving the better elements more clear to appreciate.  Sounds magical doesn’t it?  People sometimes use Duanni for Traditional Hong Kong Storage puerh and that’s what I’ve been drinking lately.  However, I’m finding it’s better preforming for harsher Sheng puerh or puerh that was once more wet stored than stored in my less that idea Canadian dry storage for decades.  Example that you may have tried is that it really elevates the 2001 Ding Xing to a level of refinement that I have never tried before which it sore of washes out the Sheng puerh like elements and mutes the shu depth of something like the 90s CNNP 8972 Naked Brick.

Anyways, it’s good to know that I’m still alive, loving life, drinking lots of good tea, and most importantly still learning.

Hope you are well.