February 2016 White2tea club – Tea Review

I know, it is mid March, so I got this tea a month ago. Unfortunately, the February club arrived late, despite the club shipping them early to avoid Lunar New Year. Then I went out of town, got sick and now I’m moving. I will not be 2 months late!

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For February 2016 we got a pair of 2005 teas – 2005 Aged White Tea Zhenghe and 2005 Teji Tuo Sheng Pu’er, a total of 125 grams of tea.

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2005 Teji Tuo Sheng – February 2016 White2tea club

I was warned that the 2005 Teji Tuo is super potent. Some people told me they love it, others feared it. The tea in the wrapper smells strooooong musty leaf, oh boy.

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Check out that beenghole!

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I steeped full blast and flash, 1 gram to 15ml ratio with boiling water in a yixing pot.

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First Infusion: I smelled the lid and daaaang the teji tuo smells really punchy strong. However, the steeped tea does not smell that strong, and of incense and grass.

Sip. Yeah that’s strong. Sips in light but underneath is strong fragrance of bitter green pepper, hint of tang, with a blooming floral. Great floral sticky aftertaste. For some reason I feel this tea tastes like a green pepper pizza. So if this is the first infusion and it is this potent, things are going to get weird pretty soon.

Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: This tea shoves a green pepper in your mouth, punches you, and then pinches you in the face. It has a strong, bitter vegetal, roasted green pepper with charred skin taste. I bet this tea used to taste hella smokey 10 years ago. Once you recover from the attack, the 2005 Teji Tuo has a pleasing aftertaste of floral sweet and cheese pizza. I realized the cheese pizza brain queue is from the squeaky cheese texture feel I get in my mouth after each sip.

By the way, steep 3 was the most potent! There was feathers flying, a liver shot, a double leg take down and some ground ‘n pound. The ref wasn’t stopping it, he was too tea drunk to notice and I crawled back up for steep more.

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Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusion: Finally the adrenaline rush is over. The Teji is smoother. It has some medicinal notes, along with the savory green pepper taste with a clean finish. Lots of weird sensations after drinking this tea, the “deep breath” feel like I got gut punched and recovering. I ran off to take a breather and with a cool cup this tea is sweet herby argula.

Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: The best steepings! The pu’er has shifted to sweeter and fresher. The notes are of sweet herby arugula, amber, wet stones mineral, daisy floral and dry puffy cheeks. This tea is now green fields and pretty skies, flowers and spinning tree seeds in the wind. Or maybe it is actually not that good and I’m dreaming from the TKO from steep 3.

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Thirteenth to Fifteenth??? Infusion: I brain farted and lost count. It’s sweet not vegetal anymore, with just thick amber, wet stones, and sweet notes. I got a cheeky dryness, however it is pretty easy to drink. The final steeps slips more to wet stones and sweet before it dies off.

And yeah, I just drank an entire 15 steep(?) session in a single sitting. I am very jittery and crazy. The 2005 Teji tuo is potent and crazy. It is totally not a new pu’er drinker pu as it is much too potent and dry. I’m sure you can do some steeping wizardry with temperatures, but really it is plenty old to steep it with boiling water, but yeah, I can tell if you over steep the 2005 Teji Tuo you are in for a bad, bitter day.

2005 Aged White Tea Zhengehe – February 2016 White2tea Club

The white is loose and has sticks. I’m not gonna pick out sticks as I’m lazy and paid for them. I’m using a gaiwan around 70ml and I can only stuff 3 grams in there without mashing the leaf. I would of liked to added more leaf, but I also didn’t want to smash it.

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Alright, I admit that my aged white tea steeping methods are still a work in progress. I am still hung up going with the method I was introduced to with my first aged white, and steep it low and crank the heat.  Messing around a lot with steeping temperatures appeals to me as I like the technical aspect. Since I wasn’t running with as much leaf as I wanted, I steeped a bit longer, around 30 seconds to start.

First, Second, and Third Infusion: 190F/88C. The tea is a light, sweet pear scent with an equally light clear broth. The flavor is also light of mellow pear skin and a bit of must, with a sweet honey after taste. The texture is heavy, almost soapy. These steepings are light but each one perks up a little.

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Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: 200f/93C. The aged white is thick, slick, stale pear with a brief bit of honey end of sip. It is still on the light and subtle side but good. The flavor reminds me of freeze dried Korean pears snacks I once got at Trader Joes and never seen again. The body is still thick, like cotton fluff. I could sense there was once floral notes here but they are no more thanks to age.

This tea looks really good looking in my new gaiwan <3

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Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: 212F/100C. Bit of a shift in flavor as there is now a little cinnamon, wet stones mineral notes and with stronger pear. Super smooth and light delicate. At this point, this white reminds me of a rou gui oolong in a way but with out any lingering fragrance. What I’ve been noticing for aged whites that I’ve had so far is they have no fragrance.

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Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: I’m fighting steep times to keep this going. The 2005 Aged white is shifting super light and quickly developed a stiff dryness with these long, high temperature steeps. Pretty good longevity for this many steeps, but I also started lower temperature.

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Round 2 Stove Boil

Method = 2 cups filtered water brought to boil, then added 5 grams of 2005 white. I halved the recipe as I’m a solo drinker and wanting to stretch white. At 10 minutes it tasted good. Steeped up this crazy dark colour.

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Interestingly, this 2005 Aged White tastes super different than the gongfu method. It’s very creamy with a slight medicinal and dry wood note. It’s got a bit of beany date aftertaste but not as strong as the last white2tea club aged white. The body is great, really thick and I love creamy teas so this I actually like more than the other white. Left to cool, it get more creamy and sweet.

Last month, White2Tea sent a 2008 ShouMei, which was good, but this month’s 2005 Zhenghe white is certainly more complex and boils better. For March, there is another aged white from White2Tea I need to try when I got time. I also picked up two more aged whites in Vancouver.

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  • aardvarkcheeselog

    New (relatively anyway) puer drinker who disagrees with you about that tuo. My reaction was “good, too bad it’s not a little more so.” I felt like it was pretty played out after about 10 steeps with 98°. “Incense” is the word I was groping for but all I could come up with was “unicorn farts.” Didn’t get green peppers, but will watch for that next time.

    Definitely boil the Zhenghe. Or try it with a mug infuser with boiling water (goes 3-4 steeps pretty good), both better than gaiwan IMHO.