Flavor Profile of Sheng/Raw

Puerh and other heicha
Noonie
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:30 pm
Location: Canada

Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:20 am

I'm new to Puerh and I'm really enjoying the flavor of some samples I'm working through. On one end I had a 2000 Sheng that I found very earthy/woody, and while it was okay, it's not something I want over and over. My first samples were in tea houses, and consisted of 2015-2017 teas, and they're what hooked me. There was this bright, slightly floral flavor, with additional deep something I can't describe that I really enjoyed. I found them very different from my usual (sencha, high mountain oolong, wuyi, dan cong). I have since ordered a bunch of samples and had another 4-5 teas ranging from 2010-2016, and I really liked all of them. I can taste the difference between them, but they all share this similar flavor trait that I cannot identify. So, to the subject line of this treat, how would you describe the flavor profile of Sheng that is between (around) 3-9 years old?
Guy Juan
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:22 pm

Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:46 pm

@Noonie I’m new to puerh as well and have only tried 3 puerhs...only one was a young Sheng. The 20 year aged Sheng was sort of an attic flavor. Like antique wooden chair or something, musty, medium wet, old. There was no astringency at all. I am looking for something similar to the young Sheng I tried. It was fairly rank, but was interesting and had a great astringency after 3-4 brews...kept going for about 12 brews and was awesome towards the end. I’ll let you know if I find any gems.
Noonie
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:30 pm
Location: Canada

Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:21 am

Not a lot of posts here, perhaps my question wasn't clear or well worded, or it wasn't interesting...so I thought I would approach from another angle.

Last night I had a 2016 Sheng. It was 'okay'. I had to steadily increase the steep times from the start, and it maybe went for 8-10 infusions (last infusion for like 4 minutes). I enjoyed the flavor, but it felt weak. And I used 5g and around 90ml of water. This morning I'm having a 2010 Sheng. I'm on my 6-7th steep and they're still flash steeps - that is how rich the tea is. Also using 5g and 90ml of water. The flavor profile is very similar to last night's 2016, but there is so much more 'of' that flavor coming through...it's so much richer / bolder / more powerful. But adding years doesn't always work for me - as I had a 2000 Sheng (mentioned above) that I was not as fond of...sure it went for ever and was very rich/bold/powerful, but the flavor was not to my liking. And at a shop in NYC last month I had a 2016 Sheng that went forever and was so tasty (so it was young, but nearly as good as the 2010). Is this about age of tea trees, quality of leaf, terroir...all of the above plus other things I left out!?

I'm really new to Pu, and love to experiment by getting samples and finding what I like (in my budget). I'm really hoping for that rich/bold/powerful Sheng flavor I like, at the right price...as for example the one I'm drinking this morning is like 3x the price of the 2016 (but it's 3x as good, so this makes sense).
aet
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:56 pm
Location: Kunming ( China )

Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:51 am

I believe you are heading right direction. Starting from the beginning and not from the end , like many puerh beginners unfortunately do ( I suspect it's the lack of patience, they all hurry back to 80's and 90's , like searching their missing childhood or something ;-) .
Understanding the taste of young pu will make you understand ,and the most importantly, value the aging and therefore storage , which is on of the key elements of the good pu. The 2000y you had , was probably wet stored, that's why was so earthy and excessive wet environment causes fast transformation which diminishes original floral , fruity ..or any other notes the tea had at the beginning.
Please do not misunderstand that it's a bad thing. It's just different taste. Old teas, for ex. from 80's etc. are like that , yet they have the sweet body, woody or any other notes aside of possible earthiness ( like liu bao has for example ) , as they are on the way to "shu" kinda level.
You can try same tea of GZ and Kunming storage to compare and understand the difference. For that kind of learning the factory teas come handy, since you can find similar batch from different vendors located all over the China or even HK,TW or Mal.
Same technique can be applied on aging, but not sure if can get same series each year, yet I'd personally found it boring ( testing one factory tai di cha - bush tea ) . So can focus on some area only.
The best way to learn is to compare. So might brew 2 or 3 types/age/area ( or whatever u are learning ) teas simultaneously so can spot and remember the difference.
No need to do much science around it and better not to read some tasting notes from others. Make your very own based on your life experience ( taste, smell ) . Once you get some, then compare with others and see if that matches.
That's the way you also can choose your vendor in the future. If your taste perception is close to some vendor , your selection of purchase might be more efficient. Yet, don't be afraid of surprises ;-)
Mostly , have fun!
mrmopu
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:48 am
Location: Blacksburg Va.
Contact:

Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:41 pm

I will second many things said above. Terrior, age and proper storage are keys. One you find that profile and where it comes from that will help. I, myself, really love stuff from BuLang, HeKai , Menghai, and Lao Ban Zhang as well as NanNuo and MengSong stuff. I have a hard time with YiWu and JingMai. Don't really know but they seem a touch soft to me. I like an aggressive strong and bitter profile. Some of the older stuff that has aged well are others I enjoy. I would just keep experimenting wih samples till you find a profile you like. That will make it easier to narrow it down a bit.
John_B
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:42 am
Location: Bangkok
Contact:

Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:18 pm

Along these lines I was just on the subject of middle-aged sheng for a couple of posts.

It's familiar enough that people tend to drink younger (newer) or else older, truly aged sheng (a dozen or more years), but less in the middle, right? There would always be exceptions, and space for personal preference to completely change what is ideal.

Per my own take and moderate amount of experience I've not ran across results that worked well for me from aged Yiwu, although given how large an area that is any singular generality wouldn't seem to apply. It would just relate to what I'd happened to try. One of those teas was a 2008 Yiwu, the other two a 2011 Yiwu and 2011 Jinggu. All were a bit subtle. A tea being light in character (with less flavor intensity, or even moderate thickness of feel and aftertaste effect) wouldn't necessarily be bad, but to some extent more tends to be better, and overall balance and impression is the main thing, to me.

Per my interpretation they would all probably be better once they'd crossed over into more aged character. One I own a 250 gram brick of, so I'll get to check on that, and the other two were samples, so I won't. Value issues and storage conditions make for interesting sub-themes related to sheng in general and those specific examples, with more on all that in the reviews (with this the second):

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... d.html?m=1
Noonie
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:30 pm
Location: Canada

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:05 am

Thanks for the helpful replies, and @John_B for the link. Seems like I have to note down some of these factors as I’m sampling teas and then find out what cross sections I like best. But so much to explore with Pu-Erh that it will likely be a journey (and not about the destination).
John_B
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:42 am
Location: Bangkok
Contact:

Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:05 am

That's how I take it; that trying to get to some sort of level of experience wouldn't necessarily be productive.

On the opposite side of that, I was just considering how people tend to do a more systematic exploration of broader and then more narrow source-areas of sheng. Even though that's quite limited in effectiveness at least it's a start, and it may work well to establish any sort of base, even if exceptions outnumber generalities later on tied to other inputs.

I've not really done that. I have a general idea of how typical character works out in some broad areas but then exceptions keep throwing it off. It has worked better for Yiwu than others, I guess.

It's odd mentioning other bloggers in posts (but I do; I mention whatever I find interesting), but I was just revisiting how James Schergen's approach in Tea DB is interesting related to that theme. He would try 25 or so versions from a broad area in one month, then write about it in a matrix of findings, along with two-sentence reviews of each. This isn't a recommendation to do that but it seems to represent an approach along that line at one extreme. Some vendors sell source area character exploration sets; that would seem a lot more practical for most.

Trying out more random exploration has went ok for me but there's no keeping track of it. Favorite character types will click from somewhere, and then if later versions from that source area are consistent enough you've got a starting point, but as often the variations kick in instead.

I've tried about as much sheng from other places than China as just about anyone but that was just due to being local (in Thailand), and making chance connections. Speaking of that, I just met the owner of Kinnari Tea yesterday, and a vendor from Myanmar two weeks ago (Kokang), and I need to get samples back to a guy in Laos related to a swap.

Networking and sharing is a good approach, in whatever form that seems to evolve organically. If it's not evolving leads like Liquid Proust's group buys or those by the Dead Leaves Club can stand in place of that. Even if you aren't interested in such a thing I'd look into those; it's an interesting theme to consider.
Noonie
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:30 pm
Location: Canada

Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:14 am

John_B wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:05 am

It's odd mentioning other bloggers in posts (but I do; I mention whatever I find interesting), but I was just revisiting how James Schergen's approach in Tea DB is interesting related to that theme. He would try 25 or so versions from a broad area in one month, then write about it in a matrix of findings, along with two-sentence reviews of each. This isn't a recommendation to do that but it seems to represent an approach along that line at one extreme. Some vendors sell source area character exploration sets; that would seem a lot more practical for most.

Trying out more random exploration has went ok for me but there's no keeping track of it. Favorite character types will click from somewhere, and then if later versions from that source area are consistent enough you've got a starting point, but as often the variations kick in instead.
@John_B I was thinking of these approaches and what makes sense for me, as I’m early in the Pu’erh journey.

When I ordered my first samples from YS I read descriptions of a bunch of teas and looked for those that fit what I thought I wanted. This has led to me really liking some teas and buying a cake here or there. I think I will still take this approach, but mixed with the ‘area’ exploration sets, partly informed by my random sampling.

What’s interesting for me so far, but not entirely surprising, is that there have been teas that I really like and are reasonably priced, and others that are as good or only slightly better for 2-3 times the price. The more exploring I do the better I hope to get at picking the great deals.
Guy Juan
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:22 pm

Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:35 pm

@Noonie I highly recommend KingTeaMall com. Everything I’ve sampled from them is very clean and quality seems great. I’ve found some more expensive teas are not what I’m looking for in puerh. I like the spicy or smoky ones with a decent amount of astringency like the dry taste of tannin. It seems most look for a puerh without astringency for immediate consumption...which works out in my favor $ :mrgreen: $

What is the flavor profile you gravitate towards?
John_B
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:42 am
Location: Bangkok
Contact:

Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:38 pm

I've been reviewing teas from King Tea Mall lately, and in the past, and they do seem to represent a good value, consistent quality option. I've tried mostly their in-house produced versions so I can't extend that to commenting on their semi-aged commercial / factory tea versions. I've been thinking of doing a blog post on best value sources and they'd make that list, along with Chawang Shop, another vendor I've just done a round of reviews related to. Yunnan Sourcing and Farmerleaf orders were just prior to those; both of those aren't bad, although filtering both for preference and value is essential, as is the case with any vendor.

The comment about more expensive tea versions not necessarily seeming better is familiar ground. Part of that relates to preference, about how people often tend to eventually prefer a limited set of aspects in teas that aren't necessarily seen as better at first (eg. thick mouthfeel and extended aftertaste, or variances in both ranges that can be hard to describe in specific terms, then later onto "cha qi" or how teas make you feel). Then higher demand for teas from certain areas comes into play. That subject overlaps with preference for specific sets of aspects but they're also just different issues.

Next it's also about value and vendor theme, since different vendors might sell relatively equivalent forms of teas for different prices. In general those other factors are shifting what is offered and for how much just as much or more, but this does also relate.

The twist that makes it all tricky is that the versions that are going to get the most buzz, more online mention, are those in higher demand. It's much more rare for people to bring up liking teas that don't cost much at all, for those different reasons. One part that's hard to factor in, related to sorting or filtering what you hear, is that people discussing tea tend to bunch into groups of two types, of those who have been through a lot of prior exposure and developed preferences (along with online connections, and real-life tea friends, presumably) and those newer to it.

One might think that more developed awareness of options and sourcing would be clearly better, so listening to those in the first set is just better, and there's something to that. It also seems true that natural patterns in developing preference occur, as I'd mentioned, and that those people would be in a different place for what they like (to some extent). Listening to a lot of people works well, along with trying to place how and why they have a different range of preference. It goes without saying but scanning older discussions of similar themes might work better than only referencing what comes up in forums like this as new posts (and in FB groups), since the same types of discussions would repeat but wouldn't occur frequently.
DailyTX
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:43 pm
Location: Northern California

Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:19 am

Guy Juan wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:35 pm
Noonie I highly recommend KingTeaMall com. Everything I’ve sampled from them is very clean and quality seems great. I’ve found some more expensive teas are not what I’m looking for in puerh. I like the spicy or smoky ones with a decent amount of astringency like the dry taste of tannin. It seems most look for a puerh without astringency for immediate consumption...which works out in my favor $ :mrgreen: $

What is the flavor profile you gravitate towards?
@Guy Juan
What’s the typical shipping time for King Tea Mall to send tea to where you at? Based on their site, it seems their tea is shipped from Guang Dong. Have you purchase any yixing from them, if you have, what’s your experience of the quality? Thanks!
Noonie
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:30 pm
Location: Canada

Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:09 am

I'm learning a lot from everyone's posts - keep them coming!

Currently drinking a sample 2004 Yi Wu Sheng. I'm really enjoying the complex flavor profile - woody (smooth, aged wood) and sweet. And the steeps go on forever, which is great when I'm work...working away and enjoying the tea for over an hour. Would also be great at home, sitting out back looking at the woods.

As this is an aged / semi-aged sheng from Yi Wu, I'm now tempted to get some samples of other similarly aged Yi Wu sheng, to see how different the tea would be from different villages, processed by different factories, stored in different locations...and the other factors that go into impacting the flavor profile of pu'er.

If anyone has some recommendations of the above let me know, and I'll be sure to include them with my samples.
Guy Juan
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:22 pm

Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:29 pm

DailyTX wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:19 am

Guy Juan
What’s the typical shipping time for King Tea Mall to send tea to where you at? Based on their site, it seems their tea is shipped from Guang Dong. Have you purchase any yixing from them, if you have, what’s your experience of the quality? Thanks!
10 days to the door. I purchased a 90ml yixing pot. It’s a nice quality pot, high fired, nice ring to it too.

The best thing about kingteamall is the customer service. John is a cool dude. Answers all of my annoying questions :lol: I have another order on its way, I’ll let you know if it’s any longer but the first one was 10 days.
DailyTX
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:43 pm
Location: Northern California

Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:06 pm

Guy Juan wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:29 pm
DailyTX wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:19 am

Guy Juan
What’s the typical shipping time for King Tea Mall to send tea to where you at? Based on their site, it seems their tea is shipped from Guang Dong. Have you purchase any yixing from them, if you have, what’s your experience of the quality? Thanks!
10 days to the door. I purchased a 90ml yixing pot. It’s a nice quality pot, high fired, nice ring to it too.

The best thing about kingteamall is the customer service. John is a cool dude. Answers all of my annoying questions :lol: I have another order on its way, I’ll let you know if it’s any longer but the first one was 10 days.
@Guy Juan
Sounds like super fast shipping. Thanks for the info, I may try a few samples from them :)
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