Yiwu Wild Puerh Cake 2010 from Qing Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Qing Tea

Product Description:

Yiwu moutain is the biggest mountain among the famous 6 mountains in Yunnan. The region grows a great amount of old tea trees.This puerh cake uses spring tea leaves from Yiwu and is shaped in traditional way. The soup is already friendly and rich of sensation.

Taster’s Review:

I am still a little afraid of Pu-erh… I think more than anything, it’s that very pungent earthy aroma that puts me off on the stuff.  However, I was very pleasantly surprised when I opened the sample pouch that I received of this Pu-erh and noted very little (almost NO) earthy scent.

This translates into the flavor as well, with very little earthiness detected in the taste.  There is some earthiness in the flavor, it just doesn’t dominate the cup.

What I am finding most intriguing about this tea is an almost wild note in the background.  I don’t know if one can actually taste the “wild” in a wild-grown Pu-erh, but, this flavor is a bit different from any other Pu-erh that I’ve tried.

There is a lightness to this particular Pu-erh, and this allows the flavor to come off as a bit more crisp and bright.  I taste notes of spice in this tea, as well as a hint of sweetness.  It has an almost rustic tone to it.  The finish is dry.  A very pleasant Pu-erh!

Hattialli Golden Lion 1st Flush Assam from Lochan Tea Limited

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Lochan Tea Limited

Product Description:

This particular tea is not currently available on the Lochan Tea Limited website, so I was unable to get a product description.  Watch for the 2011 first flush!

Taster’s Review:

This is a delicious Assam.  Very flavorful!

The sip starts out with a sweetness that is caramel-y.  In fact, that was my first reaction to my first sip:  “Sweet!”  There are hints of fruit – plum?  These flavors make for an interesting introduction to this full-bodied, robust tea.

About mid-sip, a hint of savory bitterness comes along – just at the right time, to cut through the sweetness and make the taste even more interesting.  The sip ends with a strong astringency – almost a pucker-y astringency!  This is a hefty black tea with the strength to get you going in the morning.

The malty note to this Assam is also there – I would categorize it at a medium amount of malt.  Not as much malt as some Assam teas I’ve tried, but then, a little more than some others.  The malt together with the biscuit-y quality of this tea gives this a well-rounded taste.

This is my first sampling of a tea from Lochan Tea Limited, and I’ve quite enjoyed it.  The leaves are of good quality and the proof is in the flavor.  Even though this particular flush is no longer available from Lochan, I recommend watching their website for the 2011 flush … it will be well worth the effort.  This is a good Assam!

Frosty Spring Yunnan Roast Green from Life In Teacup

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Life In Teacup

Company Description:

Production Year:  2010

Production Season:  Pre-Spring, January 1, 2010

Production Region:  Yunan Province, Xi Shuang Ban Na

Style:  Hong Qing (roasted)

Taster’s Review:

This is an amazing cup of tea!

Prior to and during infusion, the tea smells very strongly of vegetables.  The brewed liquor is a softer smell, but still smells like vegetables mingling with a light, roasted nut aroma.  It’s very intriguing.

The flavor is intense!  It has a lovely roasted flavor that resembles buttery chestnuts and roasted vegetables.  In the finish, there is a tart/tangy note that seems to waft over the palate.  There is more astringency than I am typically accustomed to with a green tea, but, it isn’t hindering me from enjoying the tea.

There is also a beautiful sweetness to this cup… a light, flowery sweetness.  It’s really quite enchanting!

I brewed this tea in my gaiwan and I would suggest brewing it no other way!  I obtained a vibrant, delicious and fragrant cup of tea with a short brew time of 1 minute.  The leaves expand quite a bit so I don’t recommend brewing this using an infuser – there just won’t be enough room for the leaves to completely unfurl, and you’ll risk losing some delightfully impressive flavor.

The leaves submit several infusions.  After brewing in my gaiwan, I combine 2 infusions in my teacup, and I managed 3 very flavorful cups (that’s a total of 6 infusions) of this lovely tea!  At just $4.50 per ounce, that makes this tea an INCREDIBLE value!  I love it when tea is not only tasty but affordable!

2010 Tokujo Shin-cha from Maeda-en

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Maeda-en

Company Description:

This is the creme de la creme of our Shin-cha selections. Our best baby leaves are harvested in the under the bright spring-time sun, then deep steamed to create this rich and hearty brew.

For each Hatsumono, or New Crop that one eats/drinks, it is said that one’s lifespan is extended for another 75 days. Shin-cha is also the harbinger of spring, and is a tea merchant’s treasured tradition.

Taster’s Review:

I pre-ordered this in early spring, 2010 (or perhaps even late winter!) and when I received it, I tucked it away in my tea drawer and kept it there.  As I write this, it is the first time I tried this delightful tea.

It came in such a pretty package!  The box was beautiful, and the tin was even prettier.  I just… didn’t want to open it!  How silly of me to postpone trying this tea!  Just like in people – the true beauty is within!

The tea leaves are cut very small and are vivid green.  When I poured hot water (165° F) over them the top of the water in my brewing device had a tiny bit of froth at the top that reminded me of Matcha!

The flavor is sublime!  It has a creaminess to it that is a little buttery, but not as buttery as some green teas I’ve tried.  It’s almost like butter and cream.  The vegetative quality is a little grassy and a little bit like vegetables, and when combined with the creamy taste it is quite a luscious experience.

And like the description suggests, this is really quite hearty for a green tea.  It has a sort of thickness to it that I would liken to Matcha, but without the “chalkiness” of Matcha.  The mouthfeel is velvet-y smooth and there is a very light astringency in the finish that is a nice contrast to the creamy-soft mouthfeel.

From what I can see of the Maeda-en website, the spring 2010 harvest of this outstanding tea has sold out.  So, I recommend that you keep your eyes peeled for the 2011 harvest, and pre-order it when the opportunity presents itself.  You won’t be disappointed!

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