Monday, April 4, 2016

I am thinking about reviving Ancient Tea Horse Road

Hello, I am not sure if anyone is still out there but I am thinking about possible reviving this tea blog. I have not stopped drinking tea and do so quite frequently. I have amassed a considerable amount of puerh tea over the years and are now starting to show their potential. Comments? Love tea!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mid 80's Golden White Needle Shupu MengHai Factory

Golden White Needle Shupu from the MengHai Factory has definitely become one of my favorite ripe puerhs. The quality of the MengHai GWN, when compared to other big factory fare seems always to surpass my expectation -- it provides an artful balance between quality and price.

Being 20 years or more, I wasn't expecting too much in regards to aroma or longevity. After a few years of storage, it has been my experience that shupu rarely if ever will undergo a miraculous transition. Granted, shupu will get better with some age in terms of its mellowness, but for the most part there is no real advantage in aging shupu past 5 or 10 years. Why you ask? As a consequence of artificial fermentation the harshness which we find in young sheng has been for the most part lost or destroyed. Simply put, why age something that is already meant to emulate aged tea?

That said, shupu will never in my humble opinion be an "on par" replacement to sheng. This is not to say that there are not some fantastic shupu on the market with wonderful and vibrant flavors; indeed there are. Yet, shupu in my humble opinion does not generate the same romance of aged sheng which can only be achieved with time.

Initial Impressions

The leaves were wonderfully intact with virtually no breakage. Lovely color with no sign of infestation. The aroma was very woody and laced with a non-offensive dampness. The leaves correspond to a a higher grade when compared to your quintessential shupu. Overall, nice.

Brewing Parameters

Amount - 6g

Brewing vessel - Porcelain Gaiwan

Water Source - Natural Spring MI

Infusion times

1st - 30s
2nd - 20s
3rd - 45s
4th - 60s
5th - 75s
6th - 85s

Brewing Session

Aroma - The aroma corresponded with the dry aroma - very woody and pungent. There was and abundance of dampness, yet not offense. The dankness of the brew became sweet after the 4th infusion. More notes of wet hay and wood were revealed. For the most part, very typical for shupu.

Liquor - The liquor was wonderfully dark. A nice coffee hue and clear. Amazingly clear for shupu. Very sweet and comfortable down the the throat and in the earlier infusions, quite viscous. The woody notes were also quite apparent in the brew which and an amusing spiciness. All in all, not a disappointment.

Overall Impressions

The brew was nice, unfortunately, the age may have affected the longevity of the brew in regards to its flavors. Though aging shupu for a few years may benefit a shupu, IMHO, anything longer than 5-10 years, may actually negate the effects we strive for in a good shupu since most of the aging process has taken place during artificial fermentation. Nonetheless, the age provide for a very uncomplicated brew.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CopCo Stainless Steel Thermal

Ok, as many of you know, I rarely if ever review products on my blog, yet, I was so surprised with this one, I made an exception. I have always wanted a thermal that would do what it was designed to do - make great tea! Unfortunately, the products that I have test have all fallen short, except this one. I think CopCo had stolen my mental design since they created exactly what I have always pondered would make a great travel buddy.

Here are the Stats

Stainless Steel Thermal

Durable stainless steel construction with non-slip silicone grip

Removable infuser cap allows user to pour hot water directly over loose leaf tea or bag tea

Twist-to-stop steeping feature incorporated in sip-through lid

The function that I enjoy the most IS that I can remove the leaves without removing the basket! - Just a twist of the top dial voila! DONE! The leaves are removed from the infusion. You don't even have to discard the leaves until you are ready since twisting the dial, it creates a barrier between the water and the leaves. Lastly, for this thing to leak you practically have to play catch with it which means no spills to work, school, shopping, or what have you. It's great!

For more info : CopCo

Sunday, February 7, 2010

MengHai Da-Yi "Yun Xian - Wu Tsi Den Ke" Series - Hao

This is the "Hao" beeng for the MengHai Da-Yi "Yun Xian" Wu Tsi Ke Series - Hao (Tips).

Again,like the previous beeng reviewed, the information for this particular beeng was again scarces. Yet, I do believe what MengHai was going after is showcasing a beeng with a high bud ratio which is obviously implied in the name - yet, you never know with puerh and Chinese translations.

The dry leaf does appear to have a slight higher bud ratio than your average beeng preseciption - but not much. I figured if you were going to showcase a beeng and name it "hao", it would be slightly "whiter", yet this was not the case.

Brewing Session

Method - Gaiwan 100ml

Infusion times




Definitely still a very young tea even after almost 4 years of aging. There were quintessential aroma notes that you would find in a younger example; mostly floral, but almost candy like. There were wafting notes caramelized honey enveloped with a tad of smoke, though not offensive. The aromas were very strong and did not dissipate easily from the aroma cup nor from the brew itself. Wonderful.

In the latter infusions, the sweetness had transformed more into a vegetal quality allowing more of the muskiness to come through - a nice transition which helped to even out the session.


The liquor very much corresponded with the youth of the aroma. There were notes of rubber, smoke and very much astringent. However, after the 3rd infusion, in a surprising turn, the notes had transformed into a subtle leather and tobacco; interesting indeed. The astringency was still noticeable which is "ok" in a young and potent beeng. However, what concerns me is that after almost 4 years, it still has quite a bite. The acidity was impeccible, which made the liquor lively and bright. When you can get passed the astringency, there is a subtle huigan that in my opinion makes the astrigency worthwhile. The texture of the liquor was quite smooth which is somewhat suprising with its complex brassiness.

Spent Leaves

Ordinary Big Factory Fare

Final Impressions

What a punch! Very potent in all respects. It had a wonderful longevity and could of gone more rounds however decided to cut the session short as I was starting to feel the effects of drinking such a young tea. I assume that this been will age nicely however, if the astringency is still not in check in a couple of years, there may more concern. But I am going to be lenient only because it supposed to be slightly more bitter with its higher bud ratio. All in all, it was a potent brew which certainly lets you experience the strength of puerh. The cha qi was pleasant and short lived.