September 2016 White2Tea Club feat. 2016 Old Whitey and Hoplite Oolong

Gosh, I am coming up on being with the White2Tea club for 2 years. Yup, keep taking my money! This month, and I am super excited, is 2016 Old Whitey and Hoplite oolong. Both teas will be sold at White2tea. As of this time, just the 2016 Old Whitey is listed, Hoplite is a preview.

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click to enlarge

click to enlarge (hooty batman, bad white balance)


White2Tea Club 2016 Old Whitey

2016 Old Whitey is a puer varietal material processed like a sun dried Fujian shoumei and pressed into 100 gram cakes. I have been digging white teas and aged whites, and it sounds like this white has been designed to hopefully age.

The wrapper is hilarious! I’ve shown this tea to non-tea drinkers and they love it. I think the funny part is apparently this white tea processing is pretty experimental.
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“Oolong Owl – Writing Owl Fluff since 2013”.september-2016-white2tea-club-oolong-owl-8september-2016-white2tea-club-oolong-owl-10 september-2016-white2tea-club-oolong-owl-9What could possibly go wrong? I guess my butt feathers could fall out. However most likely scenario is White2Tea taking all my money for snake oil cakes.

Dry Leaf and Steeping Method: The scent is pretty standard “white tea” scent of fruity but also a bit of an amber incense essence to it.

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In a gaiwan it looks like I dumped a bunch of stomped fall leaves in my cup!

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I went with 1 gram to 15ml, steeping with boiling water. I’ve been rolling with that for all my whites and it has been working. I want to leaf more, but leaf expansion gets really dicey.

First, Second, and Third Infusion: 2016 Old Whitey steeps up a creamy linen shade. Right after the rinse the leaf smelled a touch smokey, but was not present after the next infusion.

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Old Whitey sips in clean and sweet. It is delicate of a sip, sips in creamy tasting but finished on a sweet note at the end. The sweet note has a slight date and mineral vibe to it. The body is thick like cream leaving an oily lip. The flavor lingers in the mouth for awhile, which is really nice.

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Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: I’m getting a bit of dryness,  likely due to me being crazy and boiling this. I think 200f would of been a good compromise on temperature. The colour is getting a darker gold. The flavor is amber, linen, mineral, sweet rock sugar aftertaste. It is super clean tasting and pretty sweet.

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Eighth and Ninth Infusion: Old Whitey has a slight medicinal date taste, but also dry. The flavor is fading fast so I’m ramping up infusions. I am still getting a creamy lip feel which I am enjoying a lot. The colour has also gotten darker!

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Tenth Infusion: I did a 15 minute steeping. The flavor is a little hard to describe. It’s got pretty throat drying, and a slight medicinal taste to it. It lost some sweetness, but overall little flavor left.

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Actually pretty good longevity for a young white. I get killer long infusions with aged white, this one could be crazy in 5 years. 2016 Old Whitey already has that sweet date profile so there is lots of age potential. This could be a thick date bomb with time, fingers crossed. Personally I want to steep it some more and play with steepings, but I want to save it for aging. I want time to go ahead like 3, 5-8 years and try it… time go forward and I stay the same age (or get younger) of course. I bought a second cake of 2016 Old Whitey already to play with the aging process.


White2Tea Club Hoplite Oolong

Hoplite is one of the new White2Tea oolongs, a Wuyi Yancha. This one promises a light roast.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method: The oolong has a woodsy, roasty and rich scent coming from long fat twists of leaf.

I went crazy and went with 8grams in a 90ml gaiwan, flash steeping with boiling water. It said in the handout I was supposed to get 8 grams, but I actually got 10 grams.

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First, Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: Hoplite tastes of bread, honey, with a light roasted flavor. The body is oily and reminds me of coconut. It reminds me of honey bread with a sharp baked brown top with coconut on top.  The aftertaste is light at this point with a sweet fruity roast fragrance. Each steep gets a thicker, brighter flavor, building a bit of dryness.

I needed to clean my pitcher so my camera didn’t pick it up well, but Hoplite in person has a bright, glowing, and rich orange colour to it.

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Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusion: This is actually losing flavor fast despite the high leaf. I did about a 1 minute steep here. The flavor is coconut, fruity, honey with a touch of woodsy roast. The roast is pretty light adding depth. The texture is very oily, though the body is a little light. The aftertaste lingers with sweet bright honey fruit.

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Eighth and Ninth Infusion: 10 and 15 minute steeps here. Hoplite has a sweet and mineral flavor, like drinking a strong flavored honey. I got a delayed reaction of peachy floral burps and I feel super awake and snuggly. My rabbit Benson did not appreciate my enthusiastic tea drunk bunny cuddle man handle time.

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Hoplite is a low roast oolong, great for someone who likes that bready sweet honey flavor. I quite like the flavors but was hoping for more body… I should of used all 10 grams. Live fast, leaf hard! I am curious to see more of the new oolongs in the coming months. Overall, another great White2Tea club!

2015 Green Miracle Shou Puer from Yunnan Sourcing

Today’s review is Yunnan Sourcing’s 2015 Green Miracle Wild Arbor shou puer. This puer is pressed spring 2014 50-70 year old wild arbor tree material. Since this puer came out, I’ve been told by friends that this shou is really good. I got tea buddies who have finished a whole cake or two of Green Miracle. A tea friend sent me a sample and I thought it was good enough for me to buy cake  with my next Yunnan Sourcing order. Once this puer hit my radar, I’ve noticed the price has gone up twice. It is still very affordable for a 250 gram cake.

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My cake of 2015 Green Miracle has been aired out well as it arrived when I was in temporary housing limbo. My Green Miracle sat in an open box for 2 months. Once my things were moved to Seattle, I crocked it and then stuffed it in my shou pumidor for a month. My Seattle storage is running pretty humid. This shou has also been available for over a year now. I am pointing out my storage and time as after I drank this tea I checked out the reviews on Steepster and fellow bloggers and was thoroughly confused on the tasting notes. All the reviews of Yunnan Sourcing 2015 Green Miracle is literally all over the place with ranging from funky ferments, astringent, stinky, and thick sweet syrup.

And what is up with this weird looking antler leaf goat?

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

Green Miracle Shou Puer smells earthy and slightly funky.

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There is a pretty tight compression on this cake. So tight that I stabbed myself quite badly as the pick slipped and jammed into my thumb. Thought I hit bone and needed stitches, but the bleeding stopped, the Tea Owls air lifted some super glue – good to go!

I steeped Green Miracle shou puer with boiling water, about 1 gram to 12ml vessel (going a little heavy handed with leaf). I did two rinses.

Tasting of Yunnan Sourcing’s 2015 Green Miracle Shou Puer

The wet leaf smells like a melted chocolate bar in a dank wet basement.

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First and Second Infusion: 2015 Green Miracle Shou Puer sips in on the light and sweet side. It has an dirt earth floor background, a mineral wet stones finish and some refreshing of an aftertaste. My mouth feels cool after each sip, which is quite nice.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: Each steeping gets darker and darker.

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The sip is earthy, but not very heavy or thick despite the black colour. The taste is lightly of dirt basement, but it clean sweeps to bright and clean mineral at the end of sip.There is also a bitter sweet chocolate note in the background. The mineral flavor is the strongest note. The body is oily feeling and creamy.

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Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: And the tea is starting to die and I’m battling with steep times, going 5-10 minutes by the end. The flavor is getting more clean, losing that dirt quality and more just bright mineral rocks and bitter sweet. It has a sort of green quality to it, like a few fresh blades of grass thrown in. It has this vibe of trying to be camphor, but doesn’t get there. The aftertaste is still pretty refreshing and crisp as I breath in.

This should puer gave me a surge of energy, directly channeling “drink me while cleaning the house” magic to it. I oddly remembered on a series by Ilona Andrews, “Clean Sweep”, which is about a magical innkeeper who houses other dimension/intergalatic people in her inn… without anyone human knowing in her small Texas town. It is quite a cute book series. I am entertaining my inlaws as I write this, and I got tea drunk enough to magically over pack a dishwasher, while dreaming of having magical brooms and beating up demons at my local Costco.

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Tenth and Eleventh Infusion: Milking all that I can here out of Green Miracle. There is a Big flavor shift here as all the earth left and I got caramel and mineral flavor. It is on the sweet side making for a great finish. I did a 20 min steep as the final and it was super sugary caramel sweet!

TLDR: Green Miracle tastes like sitting on a cold mountain while sucking a tasty dirty rock clean, then drizzling caramel sauce on it.

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Comments

Yunnan Sourcing’s 2015 Green Miracle Wild Arbor shou puer is an inexpensive priced shou with great clean notes and a more lighter taste. From the sounds of the other notes, time did do this tea wonders as I missed the funk and tart notes that people got a year ago. I believe this shou puer has a lighter fermentation, so it has room to grow, thus why it seems reviews on this tea are all over the place.

Green Miracle has a great transitions between infusions for gongfu, making for a fun session. It might not be funky shou enough for some, or heavy enough for types who want shou that will coat their insides like pepto, but maybe time will tell. It is a good all around shou, with a friendly price of $24 250 grams (at this time).

 

Sunday Tea Hoots 26 – I Felt My Kidneys

I felt my kidneys yesterday.

Yesterday was a full on tea day and binge. The day started with me going to Floating Leaves Tea for a Bulang mountain puer tasting class. So far I have only wrote about the High Mountain tasting event, but I have also attended a Nannuo puer and Phoenix Dancong tasting class, all very educational with great tea! Here was the tasting pile for Bulang!

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Going in I expected some really bitter puer typical of Bulang, however we also had some Bulang area puer that had so much energy or feels of being jolted awake. The Bulang on the menu was a maocha picked by Floating Leaves Tea and friends on one of their tea tours. It was light tasting but it was most impressive that it was handpicked!

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Also up for tasting was 2010 Yunnan Sourcing Bu Lang Jie Liang (which was insanely super bitter), a 2009 Houde Bulang, Bana Tea Company Sheng and Shou Bulang. I got super excited as we followed those teas with a BanZhang, which drinking that felt like my body was so keened up to buzz around and fly.

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However….

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THE PINK GAIWAN. Whatever was in this pink gaiwan just wrecked me. It was something acquired by the Floating Leaves Tea shop owner. Apparently it had banzhang material and wet storage.

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I got tunnel vision, my head felt like it was getting attacked by one of those wire head massagers, my mayo brain was doing back flips within my skull, and crawly. Going to the bathroom after drinking this was a strange experience of walking into everything. This tea was amazing though, I recall loving the wet storage taste and needing a cake of it.

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That concluded the tea tasting class of Bulang puer. But wait, there’s more! I had another tea gathering to sit through! A couple out of town tea buddies came and we had more tea. I also got to admire this pretty silver tea pot!

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This sitting – Yunnan Sourcing “Green Duck Shit” Dancong, Crimson Lotus Tea’s Old Warrior, Crimson Lotus Tea 2014 Jiangcheng, and then Phoenix Tea Kenya Oolong. The Kenyan Oolong was strange as it smelled and tasted like a black, looked a little green and light brewed as an oolong. It was dubbed #blacklong and #blackblackdragon.

Bitterleaf’s Mad King made an appearance and this is when my body started screaming. I’ve never turned down a cup until this. I had a couple steeps then was getting way too jittery and tea drunk at this point – 3 banzhangs in one day was just asking for it. You know it is bad when after you drink White2Tea 1998 Numbers puer and it makes you chill out enough to mostly function. At this point my sides were hurting, this is what they are talking about when you have too much tea and you know you are drinking too much tea. I probably would of been fine if I had these two tea sessions day or so apart. My kidneys were protesting and I needed off the puer and some food.

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Shiuwen had the best idea and we finished with a 3 Roast Dong Ding Oolong. That Dong Ding was excellent, brought us down enough to buy a bunch of oolong and stumble into the streets. We somehow made it to Northern Thai food for dinner and Full Tilt Ice Cream for dessert. I’ve reviewed a few tea flavors of Full Tilt Ice Cream, but in person it was really cool as we got to taste all the flavors. I ended up with a big scoop of “Blue Moon” which tasted like childhood (Fruit Loops) but as an ice cream. The ice cream pleased the kidneys.

I actually slept after all this tea, though it was of dreams of people’s faces melting and dinosaurs at Costco. I spent the tea hangover at a Farmers Market tasting handfuls of salmon (literally, Ballard Farmer’s market sellers dump a handful of smoked salmon in your hands as a sample) and getting arnica lotion rubbed on me. The rest of my Sunday hooting will be snuggling with vat of Muzha Tieguanyin and cookies.

No regrets and I have a week to recover to be in good working order for the Northwest Tea Festival.

 

2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng from Denong Tea – Tea Review

I encountered Denong Tea at the 2016 World Tea Expo and greatly enjoyed their teas. Some of them I have had, as Bana Tea Company carries a couple of them. While at the World Tea Expo, I lost my mind over their 2015 Enchanting Beauty Sheng and stockpiled. After the Expo, Denong Tea was awesome to send me some samples of their other shengs and one of them was this 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng. I figure I review this Nannuo first so I got more Enchanting Beauty for myself, HAHAHAHA!

Denong Tea’s 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is sold in 100 gram bricks. Their wrapper art is very pretty, here is a picture I stole from their website of the brick of 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng.

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And here is my sample. They use pretty nice sample bags!

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

My 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng was a broken up already for me due to sample. The scent is vegetal and a little like menthol cigarettes.

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I used 1 gram of leaf to 15ml of steeping vessel. I had 8 grams so I decided to use the whole thing in a larger gaiwan. In retrospect, I should of used my tiny 60ml gaiwan.

Tasting of Denong Tea’s 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng Puer

The Nannuo puer steeps up an interesting champange colour. The wet hot leaf smells slightly of floral and vegetal.

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First Infusion: This first round is very light but I’m getting an oily body with a clean soft sip and a slight floral finish. This tea is sold in a brick and the pieces are pretty compact. That said, I am considering this a second rinse.

Second and Third Infusion: 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng sips in light, but more developed in flavor and ramping at the end. Most of the flavor comes in at the end as a buttery artichoke heart and sticky rice. The body is oily but also sticky feeling in the finish. The aftertaste is killer with a long buttery floral which lingers in my mouth.2012-nannuo-denong-tea-oolong-owl-5

Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusion: 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is still ramping up in flavor. This steeping goes to the max at end of sip. The sip in is buttery artichoke, the finish is camphor tabacco and bitter. The aftertaste is STRONG camphor and a peachy floral that never ends. Each steeping develops more bitter and gives a dry teeth feel, contrasting the oily texture. The tea is hitting me already as I’m getting feels of a giant attack crab is pinching my skull and making my eyes pop out. WHOO HOOOOOOT!

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Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Infusion: I got too tea drunk from dodging enemy crabs that I oversteeped the 8th infusion, making my cup a strong dandelion yellow.

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The flavor is back to artichokes but that more strong wild flavor of nibbling the outer leaves. The vegetal flavor also reminds me of those sticky rice things wrapped in leaves – as I taste that outer rice plus steamed leaf flavor. The end of sip is camphor and pretty bitter with funny teeth feels of dry and sticky. I like artichokes but they are a pain to eat. I rather drink this tea!  The aftertaste is vegetal, bitter steamed leaf and floral. Denong had tasting notes on the sample which I felt was accurate as I do taste some jasmine here. However the jasmine note more so reminds me of a jasmine green I oversteeped to death with that bitter cooked floral taste, but with more depth that a puer tends to feature.

After this infusion the flavor got light.. but the other steepings in this black I can still taste that 8th crazy strong bitter  steep.

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Eleventh and Twlefth Infusion: The bitter lessened, maybe it’s under steeped from whatever I did on steep 8 and my mouth finally reset. The flavor is slightly sweet, rich savory vegetal, mineral, and camphor. There is a slight incense essence to it to. The body isn’t as thick but I still get a lip balm feel. It is pretty dry and I’m aware of my teeth. The after taste is very long. I’ve made this session last long simply by sipping and walking away to do other things (making bread in my case), but still tasting the tea.

Thirteenth and Fourteenth Infusion: 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is still going. I did long steeps here around 10 and 15 minutes. I was planning to have another tea after this but it isn’t happening. The Nannuo sips in butter, camphor and mineral, finishing off bitter, with a long lasting flavor. The texture is super dry, it has gone down to my throat and making me feel crunchy, causing me to sip more.

Fifteenth and Sixtheenth Infusion: I did a pair of power steeps, about 30 to 45 minutes. I was surprised I got a 16th infusion. The flavor is buttery artichoke and mineral sweet with a strong dry finish. After the 16th infusion, despite smelling close to dead, but I think I could likely steep it one more time. However, I’m feeling pretty chill right now and will snuggle with enemy crab and do some knitting.

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Comments

As of right now Denong Tea’s 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is one of the nicest young nannuos I’ve had. Last month I tried a 2016 nannuo and revisted a different 2012 nannuo I own and this Nannuo from Denong Tea one blows them both out of the water and through a mountain.

The 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng‘s body is great, the notes are complex and the aftertaste is super long. I had one shot with this tea as I only have a single serving, so I dunno if I butchered it on steep 8 as it got pretty bitter. I enjoyed the camphor notes and the feels of this tea, I wished I did two small sessions instead of one big solo one.

Oooofph. I just looked at the price – $62 for a 100 gram brick. I honestly didn’t know how much this tea was until after I drank it. Denong Tea’s 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is really good tea and you certainly get your money’s worth with the longevity this tea has. If you love sticky rice nannuo, camphor, or an awesome quality sheng, this is it.  2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is certainly on my wish list doom cart or google alert me on future Denong Tea sales.

(tea provided for review)

2016 Jingmai Love from Crimson Lotus Tea – Tea Review

I always associate Crimson Lotus Tea for having excellent Jingmai sheng puer. Awesomely, Glen & Lamu, owners at Crimson Lotus Tea, gifted me a cake of the new Spring 2016 Jingmai LOVE sheng puer.

Spring 2016 Jingmai LOVE is an affordable 200 gram hand blended puer cake. Stats on this puer is it is from Simao Prefecture, 1300m elevation, and wood fired.

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I love the design of Jingmai Love wrapper and greatly appreciate the back that clearly states the tea and seller. It saves the front for artwork, and I don’t have to tape more information to the wrapper or open to see the ticket.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

The puer cake has quite a bit of silver leaf in it than I’m used to seeing. The tea has a light sweet floral scent to it. Breaking off a serving was fairly easy to do.

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I went with 1 gram to 15ml leaf to vessel ratio. I used 200F/93C water temperature, starting after I did a quick rinse.

By the way, this Xi Shi tea pet pot and jianshui cup is also from Crimson Lotus Tea, which I bought awhile back. I use the cup for sheng, and as far as I know the teeny tea pot pet has never left my tea table. As of right now, the cups are sold out, but there are a number of different tea pot pets still left.

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Tasting of Crimson Lotus Tea’s Spring 2016 Jingmai LOVE Sheng Puer

First, Second, and Third Infusion: Jingmai Love steeps up a pale yellow. The hot leaf smells like steamed sweet sticky rice.

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2016 Jingmai Loves tastes on the stronger side and is nicely full flavored. Right away I feel a change of pace as most of the other 2016 shengs I’ve been having are quite light. Jingmai Love sips in sweet, vegetal, with a hint of floral aftertaste. As I steep and drink, the flavor blooms more into honeysuckle with a thick creamy body. Some sips tastes almost under ripe apricots, others remind me of wheat barley. It has a nice refreshing quality to it as I get a cooling feel in my throat after each sip. I get a slight aftertaste that liners of that under ripe apricot. Phew, a lot going on!

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Fourth and Fifth Infusion: As I drink this puer I notice it gives me a tingling feeling in my throat, which when I breath it produces that cool feel. The flavor is dancing right before bitterness, but I mostly just taste under ripe apricots and honeysuckle. I get a slight dryness starting in my mouth, but still pleasant. This tea is like drinking in a spring breeze. Jingmai love brings me back a month to sitting on my deck, feeling the breeze, eating apricots, before I can them all into jam. I’m feeling pretty cool and chill.

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Sixth and Seventh Infusion: I take a sip and get tingle overload! SO MUCH TINGLE. It is like this tea is full of fine carbonated bubbles as it just dances like crazy in my throat. It is a really strange experience to describe as it really isn’t carbonated and no bubble pop, but gives off that sensation.

Dammit, did I have to say bubble pop?!?!?! This blasted kpop song is now in my head, which is also popping, summery, sweet like this tea – conflicting with my current mood of cloudy September Seattle and chill zen tea drunk.

Eighth and Ninth Infusion: The bubbling is slowing down. The flavor is switching to bitterness as I’ve essentially overcooked the leaf at this point. It has a tart flavor with a bit of steamed green bitter going. I got an aftertaste of tart apricot. The texture has some slickness left but I also got some dried ass teeth.

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Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: Long infusions here, about 5 to 20 minutes. It sips in creamy soft, then ramps up to really bitter and tart, but still got some bubble in. The bitterness is bordering a little too much for me, but I am still enjoying it. I’m too busy rocking out to bubbly kpop right now to notice.

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Bonus: I did have some Jingmai Love maocha I got as a sample when I bought that tea cup and tea pet. I did it straight up cold brew and it was very good! I don’t think the cake wouldn’t do as well cold brewed since it is compressed unless you steep it a few times or steam to loosen the tea. The cold brew Jingmai Love was excellent, refreshing, and honey tasting.

Comments

Crimson Lotus Tea’s Spring 2016 Jingmai LOVE is a great young sheng with a lot going on. It’s got some sweetness and honey, but a bit of sour rocking. The texture is the gem here with switching from cool to bubbly. This is a fun sheng to play with and have an energetic session with friends. I’d say this is a party tea or solo like me you get to a chill warm up before you dance around like an idiot around your tea table.

Jingmai love is priced very well, at $45 for a 200 gram cake. If you love sweeter jingmai teas you’ll likely need to check this tea out before Oolong Owl drinks it all.

I was also given a jianshui rabbit necklace with my tea. The Tea Owls quite like it as they think it wards off evil bunnies. They fear my rabbit as one of them got chewed by my holland lop.

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(tea provided as a gift)

Sunday Tea Hoots 25 – Puer Storage Drama

For the last Sunday Tea Hoot I mentioned briefly at the end that I got a new Pumidor. For the new puer people, a “pumidor” is a vessel that stores puer in a controlled environment. Fridges do well as pumidors as they are well insulated, thus make pretty stable environments.

Anyways, I am here to tell you all my tale of my puer storage drama. I have never talked about how I store my puer since it has always been in a state of learning, then limbo, or “something better was coming.”

In my early days of puer (which you all can see digging in the 2012 archives) my storage was pretty bad. I used two small cardboard boxes which I stuffed into a dresser drawer. At least the cardboard boxes were unscented, I have a good nose for those kind of things. My dresser was free of perfumes and I used the other drawers to hold my hand knitted scarves and hide Christmas gifts. As my dresser was starting to fill up and it got very scented of tea. I was able to smell my tea from my bed! Thankfully back then I didn’t buy too many puer cakes, I still held onto my rule of buying samples of everything before committing to large orders.

Immediately after Cwyn posted her crock storage, I researched my options for crocks and found none. I even had issues buying canning jars, it seemed SoCal people didn’t ferment or can things. That said, I went to Target and World Market Cost Plus and bought a bunch of giant jars and owl cookie jars. I found ceramic kitchen compost bins were also a perfect sice. I bought a bunch of tobacco buttons and stole my husband’s hygrometer from his charcuterie box to get more serious storage. Interestingly my house generally rocked around 55% humidity since we never turned on the heat, so despite my crap storage I was lucky.

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I used crock storage for awhile and it did quite well for me. I highly recommend it if you don’t have much puer. I had a plan for better tea storage though, especially since I was running out of room to store all these bloody crocks. My idea of taking my husband’s unused charcuterie box and turning it into storage, but I needed to do a few adjustments such as make it more insulated. That never happened because at that point I found out I was moving.

For about 3 months my puer was in ziplock bags in a suitcase. My puer cakes were either coming with me in a suitcase or sitting in a warehouse somewhere in unknown conditions. My crocks were in storage, and I couldn’t get anything better as I was in temporary housing with little space. This is where I think my storage was having issues. I noticed some of my teas not tasting quite right, a little too flat.

Once I got my house and my things out of storage, my teas went back into crocks. I had another amazing idea – a tea closet. I have a Harry Potter style closet in my house that I can stuff that ol’ charcuterie box in, along with my other teas. I discovered the charcuterie box would not fit in the closet. After that, I figured I’d just build something in the closet to store my puer. Then I had problems with the actual closet as it smelled. I used baking soda, vinegar, alcohol, vacuumed and steam cleaned the carpet multiple times and got no results – eventually the closet got musty and strange. My puer stash was growing and I ran out of crock space at this point. I didn’t want to buy yet another giant glass crock from Target as all these crocks were taking up too much space.

I then had amazing luck – I found a bar fridge on the side of the road. It was encased in ice, it must of malfunctioned and the previous owners dumped it. It took 2 days to thaw on my lawn, and once it thawed the fridge contained someone’s injection arthritis medication. I then left the fridge outside for the sun to UV the smell out. Unfortunately I now live in the Pacific Northwest, which is damp and weird. A zillion critters moved into my fridge and I learned earwigs LOVE the cracks in the fridge. I had spent an afternoon bleaching a fridge door in a bathtub while freaking out at the bugs crawling out of it.

Of course, after all that effort that mini fridge stinks like chemicals and plastic. I can’t risk taking the fridge outside again as another bug cleaning will cause me to have a meltdown, so I have it resting with baking soda and charcoal in an effort to remove the smell. This fridge is now airing out, hopefully it will lose all the strange smells eventually.

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I then discovered the readings on my hygrometer felt off. I was watching my crocks swing 15 to 20% in a day, which shouldn’t be happening or I’m doing something very wrong in my crocks. After testing my hygrometer I discovered it was busted. Check your hygrometers often!

Again, I had another streak of luck – my husband’s work has an internal “craigslist” and someone was trying to get rid of a broken wine fridge. I had to borrow a car to get the wine fridge home as the thing is over 100lbs. I got it home and desperately hoped, prayed to the GONS that the wine fridge wasn’t stanky. Turned out the fridge was very clean.. and interestingly was two separate chambers as it was intended to hold wine at different temperatures. One side of the fridge smelled a little tannic but it was so slight I didn’t care.

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In goes the puer! At first I was planning to just put sheng in it, bigger cakes on one side, however it worked out all my cakes fit snuggly in this single fridge. My puer stash isn’t too big, but again, I seem to sample more than I cake, and I have never tonged anything. The puer scent overtook the tannic scent, so that became a non-issue. I got a new hygrometer from Amazon – a wonderful Ambient Weather wireless system with 3 remote sensors (shout out to Grill for the help). It took about a week to get the humidity up to what I was aiming for, the photo below was taken just after I loaded the fridge, I have been rocking a 64-67% humidity.

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I am really happy with this wine fridge and it is just what a puer drinker needs – 357g puer cakes fit perfectly and the shelves pull out for easy use. Reading online, this fridge in particular, a double chamber Vinotemp, is a lemon, many people have problems with it, and would cost $750 to fix the compressor. I do like the wine fridge design more than a bar fridge due to the more open design and shelving. My only complaint is those wiggly racks aren’t wired enough to keep my 100g cakes from falling through. Either way, there are broken fridges out there, and people have to pay to dispose of them – so keep your eyes peeled since you don’t need the fridge to be in working order.

So that was the drama of my puer storage and where I am at now. I will write more in detail later on regarding my current storage as I am sure some of you have questions.

Have a hooty Sunday!

(amazon affiliate link, the tea owls are hungry)

2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou Puer from LongRun Tea – Tea Review

Today’s tea is the 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou Puer. I snagged this cake at the World Tea Expo 2016 but it is available on Amazon! This puer is Lingcang material.

I had asked LongRun what was their oldest shou was and they directed me to this 357 gram cake. 2005 is actually the date they rewrapped this tea. They bought a factory and these cakes were part of that acquisition, so likely they are older. I went blind on this one as I got a deal and was hoping for some good old shou.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

The 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou is a really compressed cake, it looks like a solid mass. The scent is wonderful like a well cared for library book.

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To my surprise, the cake breaks pretty well. The leaf gives way to the puer pick, letting me break off sheets like no big deal.

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I did nothing new for steeping this shou, boiling water, 1 gram to 15ml, and 2 rinses.

Tasting of 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou Puer

Wow, a beautiful colour! The 2005 Ruyi shou comes out a ruddy mahogany that is nice and clear.

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First and Second Infusion: The 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou sips in woodsy and bright. It is thick on the lips. The flavor is quite sharp of wood without being intense. Lots of oomph. It is a little on the stale side, like old drift wood. Sipping I can tell this has been dry stored, there is no humid or wet taste. The tea is not bitter or dry. There is no funk or fish taste.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: Smooooth. Lightly creamy and finishes bright, woodsy, and quite sweet. A very mellow taste and is easy to drink. The flavor is clean, crystal sweet like pure sugar cane. After each sip my lips feel like they are oily and melting. The aftertaste is a bit of library book and driftwood. It is like comfort food in a gaiwan.

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Sixth and Seventh Infusion: The wood is deepening in flavor, it’s barky and a little coarse, poking you to wake up after drinking rounds of smooth as baby butt shou. The aftertaste has cleaned up without a library book taste. This tea is mellow and smooth, I feel like I should be knitting all the Christmas gifts right now, snuggling up by the fireplace with my bunny… who will eat the ball of yarn when I’m not looking. That bugger rabbit, he chews yarn with this blank glazed look like he is possessed. It is in his blood to destroy everything.

Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: Wowza that is sweet! It is very strong, sweet mineral, sugary, bright, and super clean tasting. The 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou isn’t woodsy now. Not dry at all, still thick lip. So sweet, it is like I’m drinking dessert.

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Thirteenth and Fourteenth Infusion: Long steeps here, a 10 and 30 minute run. Sips in like straight up only mineral sweet. really strong mineral sweet. The tea keeps going despite barely giving off colour. It is like clear looking down the filled gaiwan. The thick texture is gone. This tea is driving me crazy. I really wanted to switch to something else but it kept going and going. Longer and longer steeps, but just as sweet and delicious.

Fifteenth Infusion: Three hour steeping here. I left my gaiwan steeping for 3 hours. When I came back, it was room temperature. The tea still had flavor! It was actually a shift as it tasted like dates, but still sweet and mineral. Very good! Not a lick of dryness.

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Comments

If you want a clean tasting and never quitting sugary sweet shou, this is your tea. You don’t need sweet tea, just chill the final steeps of 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou Puer and you are set. This shou is likely bombproof as it never got dry, funky, or overly strong. If you are looking to get some decent tea on Amazon, 2005 Ruyi LongRun and others are there!

This one is quite nice, easy to drink, super chill on the stomach. A good drinker for someone with a sensitive tea stomach and doesn’t want a weird wet dank basement taste. I love the sweet and oomph bright power of the notes, without being funk. It does seem pricey, but it is a full 357 gram cake with age on it.

(amazon affiliate links)

Cooking With Oolong Owl – Sous Vide Lapsang Souchong Salmon Recipe

I made this salmon recipe at my recent mega summer tea and BBQ party. It was so delicious and I was so impressed with myself, I kept asking people if they tried the fish. YUMMM!

I love cooking sous vide – it is the best kitchen appliance and I use mine a couple times a week. I personally own an Anova Culinary Sous Vide, however there are other options such as Sansaire Sous Vide, Nomiku, and Joule. I prefer sous vide cooking with dry lean meats, such as chicken and pork chops, as it makes it tender and juicy. However, sous vide does do magic to fish.

Anyways, I realized after I made my fish that as per my usual cooking, I combined 3 different recipes to get this fish to have the results I wanted. Does that mean it is my recipe? The original inspiration was from Kitchen Nani (BC style is really good!). Recipe after me trying to get all food bloggery and talking about how I made it.

I start with a whole filet of salmon. I think this was a wild sockeye, I dunno, it was on sale at Costco.

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An important step is to brine your fish. If you don’t brine your fish it will fall apart, turn white, has gross white globs everywhere. I’ve made un-brine salmon before and it is totally ugly. Brining your fish keeps that vibrant salmon pink colour! I did a dry brine I found at ChefSteps, which I find is super easy to do, and faster than making a wet brine and soak.

Completely and generously coat your salmon in kosher salt and sugar. Let the fish sit for up to 20 minutes. Use this time to prep the sous vide and spices, or drink some young sheng to get more hungry.

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One the brine is done, give the filet a rinse and pat dry.

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Put together your spices and tea – coriander, mustard seed, dill, and pepper here.

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I used Lapsang Souchong black tea, the smoked style. This tea is somewhat easy to find. I personally dislike smokey Lapsang Souchong as it tastes like a tire on fire, but it has many applications for cooking as it add a wonderful smokey flavor. If you want to get all fancy and you know your teas – I think a smokey heicha would work as a substitute. A strong green I think would work too as the water temperature doesn’t go high to make it bitter.

Put your fish in your sous vide bag of choice (I use foodsaver) and all the spices on it. Add glugs of olive oil to coat the fish.

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Sous vide your fish. Use the water displacement method/Archimedes principle instead of vacuum sealing your fish, as fish is delicate and you don’t want to smash it. I’d consult the ChefSteps temperature guide on what doneness you like according to your fish thickness. For a more visual guide, Serious Eats has a great sous vide salmon guide too.

I personally love 122f/50c for a medium flake texture and this is makes most guests happy. The lower temperature salmon is deliciously tender like sashimi, but also freaks out people who are do not like raw fish (despite it not being raw, it is just sous vided amazingly). That said, my fish about about 1″ thick so mine went in at 122f/50c for 40 minutes.

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Once your salmon is done, be sure to serve ASAP! If you have a torch (or a fancy Searzall like I do), feel free to give the top a quick browning. You can also do a quick sear on the skin. Do a quick sampling, but I find it needs a bit more salt on top before serving.

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The salmon comes out super tender, juicy, flaky, and buttery thanks to sous vide. The coriander add spice and pops in your mouth while the Lapsang Souchong black tea adds some smokey rich depth. TASTY!

Don’t have a fancy pants sous vide? Maybe you can foil and poach it in the oven, the results won’t be as buttery and flaky, but the flavor should be there. If you attempt, tell us in the comments!

Oolong Owl’s Sous Vide Lapsang Souchong Salmon Recipe

  • 1 whole salmon filet (feel free to cut into servings)
  • kosher salt
  • sugar
  • 1/8 cup or 8 grams of Lapsang Souchong Black tea (the smokey kind)
  • 1 teaspoon of whole coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill (or couple sprigs of fresh)
  • 10 twists of fresh pepper
  • Olive oil to cover
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Brine the salmon. Sprinkle to cover the entire fish in generous amounts of salt and sugar. Set aside for 10-20 minutes.
  2. While you wait, prep the tea and spices – Lapsang Souchong, coriander, mustard seed, dill, and black pepper. Heat your sous vide to 122F/50C (or to the doneness you prefer).
  3. Rinse off the salt and sugar off the salmon and pat dry.
  4. Rub spices onto the fish, insert into a sous vide safe bag. Add a few glugs of olive oil to coat the fish. Do not vacuum seal.
  5. Once sous vide is up to temperature, add the salmon using the water displacement method. Sous vide for about 40 minutes (depending on fish thickness)
  6. Remove salmon from sous vide and bag. Optional – torch the top to get a bit of texture, or sear the skin to crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chill.

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2016 Secret Garden Sheng Puer from Bitterleaf Teas

Bitterleaf Teas! This new puer seller has been high requested and lucky me Bitterleaf Teas contacted me and sent me goodies for me to hoot through. First up, Spring 2016 Secret Garden Sheng Puer, which is old tree jungle yiwu material. Jungle teas are so in. This tea is so jungle that apparently the teas are surrounded with banana trees. Maybe Jungle Owls? Secret Garden reminded me of this weird Garden tea I reviewed years ago. My tastes have certainly changed, but 10/10 would do it again due to weird factor.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

The scent of the puer is quite nice – it smells like golden raisins and sugar.

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I went with a pretty classic 1 gram to 15ml, 200f water temperature ratio, gongfu style in a gaiwan. I’ve had some bad luck with boiling the 2016 shengs so I’m starting with 200f just to be safe.

Tasting of Bitterleaf Teas’ 2016 Secret Garden Sheng Puer

The hot leaf smells like buttery steamed rice and floral. The tea steeps up a beautiful watered down peach.

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First and Second Infusion: Secret Garden Sheng Puer Sips in soft and buttery, with a background of steaming hot grass. The sheng sweetens at the end of sip to something like fresh corn and white peaches. The texture is melted butter oily and feels great to drink. The tea was really light. Sigh, another time I predicted wrong water temperature, or my tastes are just impatient.

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Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth: I switched to boiling water temperature and it is much better. Secret Garden is subtle and secretive, is sweet, thick, and vegetal. Not a lick of smoke or bitterness, but I am getting a hint of dryness after each sip, enough for my mouth to feel squeaky clean. The puer has a soft fragrance after each sip of light sweet floral. The best part about this sheng is the lingering floral fragrance. Bitterleaf mentions there was banana trees present, I don’t get banana but I get that mellow smooth vibe like banana.

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Seventh and Eighth Infusion: The floral is reaching maxim. These steepings are more floral perfumey than before with a buttery mashed pea finish. There is a slight bitterness end of sip and the dryness is getting strong coating my cheeks. The body has thinned out but I like the floral here.

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Ninth and Tenth: Boom, super bitter! The bitter ants crashed the picnic. the floral fragrance is strong if you cna get past the bitterness. I think what got really bitter here was the leaf finally got overcooked. I think most would abandon it at 9 due to the bitter level. The aftertaste is quite nice as it is a lingering sweet cute floral.

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Eleventh Infusion: 10 minute steeping here. There’s just a touch of sweet floral left and a crushing bitterness.

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Comments

Bitterleaf tea’s 2016 Secret Garden is quite pleasant and easy to drink, plus the floral fragrance is really nice. It is a light, subtle, sweet, and floral sheng that has some mellow rounds and perfumey points. If you love a more subtle tea with long floral fragrance, you’ll enjoy Spring 2016 Secret Garden Sheng Puer. I found it a bit more vegetal and mellow than other yiwus I’ve had – the magical secret garden influence! It does get violently bitter at the end, so some might not ride this tea as long as it can go. Secret Garden would be interesting to try with some age on it!

I’ll more Bitterleaf Teas in my stash, so I’ll have more to compare to. Stay tuned!

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(tea provided for review)

2016 Untitled 02 Sheng Puer from White2Tea

Here it is, the 2016 Untitled 02 Sheng Puer from White2Tea! This raw puer is the 3rd most expensive out of the 2016 line and one of the new teas. There is little information on this tea other than, “A blend of raw Puer material with low underlying bitterness. The soup is thick and heavy with strong sweetness and body feel.” which sounds good. The wrapper looks pretty awesome too!

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There is a lot of try this year so I bought samples of all the new White2Tea shengs. Owl in a Sombrero is helping me out today.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Instructions

2016 Untitled 02 is very fragrant, like fresh floral leaf. The sample piece I have really really compact (and not a beenghole), I needed to get my puer pick out to break it apart.

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I steeped 2016 Untitled 02 at 1 gram 15ml ratio with 200F water temperature. I had 2016 Untitled 02 previously with boiling water and it didn’t have the longevity nor did I get blasted out of my mind.

Tasting of White2Tea’s 2016 Untitled 02 Sheng Puer

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First, Second, and Third Infusion: 2016 Untitled 02 sips in light, yet thick. The notes are vegetal, bit of sweet floral with a touch of bitterness in the back of the throat. Overall mostly savory, with the light bitterness catching on the throat making you pause each sip. It is like drinking melted butter on some lightly wilted green salad topped with edible flowers.

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Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: The bitterness is tight here, it’s a potent grassy with a punch strong fragrance. The dryness is fairly high as I am actively aware of all the gaps in between my teeth. Flavor is strong vegetal but the fragrance is strong floral squeaky spinach and bit of mineral.

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Seventh and Eighth Infusion: Very dry, I can feel the enamel on my teeth. Interest sweet mineral and wet stones taste. The body is slick on the lips, fragrance is still vegetal. My stomach is starting to ache and head squishing. Unsure if my head being squished in a vice or I’m being run through a clothes dryer.

Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Infusion: 2016 Untitled 02 is bright and mineral sweet. These infusions have a lot of oomph, and no vegetal notes left. The fragrance is long lingering peach breath of death. Admittedly, I’m not completely in love with this tea other than the fragrance, and apparently the tea knows this and is punishing me. LOVE ME DAMMIT! Confirmed, my head feels like it is the dryer, getting tumble dried and bouncing all over the place. A “WOB WOB WOB” feel. 2016 Untitled 02? I’ll title it. “Owl in a dryer”. WOB WOB HOOT! Back to earth, that head in the dryer feel is likely the tea ramping my blood pressure to 11.

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Twelfth and Thirteenth Infusion: I switched to boil here and did long steeps. 2016 Untitled 02 was getting too light and I am too out of it to figure out how to use my kettle. This tea did not like boil, it is bitter in a bad way, but with some interesting mineral notes. 2016 Untitled 02 tastes like concentrated spinach stuck in my dried out molars.

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Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Infusion: 2016 Untitled 02 has a really nasty funny frowny face bitter finish, but starts out mineral sweet and butter. It is so bitter with a dry burn of a sip. My brain has melted so I do not care anymore. This is pretty close to dead but I’m milking this tea as long as possible as I paid $24 for my 25 gram sample. I think I can get one more steeping if I let it go for an hour in a steel flask but I lost motor skills to coordinate doing so. My body lost control due to violent sheng hangry. I abandoned the tea to raid the fridge.

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Comments

I put White2Tea’s 2016 Untitled 02 sheng puer as a fussy steeper and creeper tea drunk. The fragrance in this tea is rocking awesome! I boiled it a previous session and it came out pretty bitter and finished fast without the owl in the dryer feels – if you can drag the session long it’ll slam you. The notes are fairly savory in the beginning but sweetens nicely at the end. Final steeps are pretty bitter but at that point your face has melted off and you don’t care anymore.

At this time (and at release) 2016 Untitled 02 is $179 for a 200 gram cake. I milked everything this leaf had, so I felt I got my money’s worth, especially for a young sheng.  I’ve debating for awhile what else to say as usually at this point I make recommendations. I tend to drink cheaper offerings, favoring the $50-$100 price range and I want to explore the more expensive young shengs more. Owl in the Dryer is totally a high roller tea for someone who want blood pressure ramping tea drunk with lots of fragrance.

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