Toby’s Curated Factory Box 01
Toby’s Curated Box 01
2004 Simao Fangcha
High compression, I broke up into smaller layers and let it air for several days. The smell of the dry leaf started out with a noticeable basement storage dank note but this faded out and became a medicinal version of minty camphor aroma. This dry leaf has a prominent dry ginseng aroma.
The aroma on brewing is a familiar and very nice pungent floral one, but the taste is not familiar. very medicinal light taste in the beginning, bitter herbs, hops. The liquor is not clear, somewhat cloudy, there is slight smokiness, medium thickness. No moldy taste or funk at all.
Easily causes salivation on aftertaste and causes numbness in the sides of the face within the first couple of steeps. You can feel the strength penetrating the mouth and strong heat along the back starts hitting after steep 3, distinct feeling of alertness.
Arrival is herbal and mild, the dominant mouth feel is the spicy oily gasoline coating which goes far back down the thoat. New levels of wakefulness! The flavour starts improving at steep 4, with a lot of stevia sweetness coming in. Face is numb and quite jittery. Powerful stuff.
Very awake, arms and shoulders are heavy, face is numb. By the 9th steep it has transitioned to a strong black tea note. Very unique experience for me.
2005 Xiaguan Nanzhou FT Tuocha
Another interesting unique experience. Dry leaf is very pleasant minty camphor aroma with smoky herbal backgroundt. Two washes have lots of soapiness, not just bubbles but a fresh citrus type detergent aspect. Cloudy.
First steep is clear young sheng taste. Active on the tongue, strong herbs, medium thickness, savoury, not bitter
Second Steep: very interesting and unique herbal complex flavour. Sweet aftertaste. Spicy, woody, like bitters. Tannins clearly present, I feel it on the cheeks and upper mouth.
Third steep: very salty and very spicy. Unique and enjoyable taste. Mouthwatering salty long lasting aftertaste. Very drying.
Fourth: super tannins. mouth puckering.
Fifth: Smoky, savoury and rough
Sixth: Very thin, almost no salivation, bitter.
Much longer steeps needed after this point to get anything. Totally dead by the 9th steep.
Dayi 2006 0622
This cake had (and I think still has) a lot of potential as a lot of people love it and the source normally has good natural guandong storage. But my cake seems to have seen some serious wetness at some point and even after a lot of airing out, it didn’t lose a certain strong mouldy storage taste. In some steeps this flavour receeds and you could say that it has a nice HK traditional storage taste but that is a small minority of steeps. I find that normally it is not possible to avoid this tea tasting either like shou puerh or like strong black tea. But I could never really get it to taste right, except for a couple of steeps. Note that after airing out the first couple of steeps really improved and got a lot less shu-like, but then after a couple of steeps it really returned quite strong.
That said, if we ignore the off flavour note, it has a lot of really nice aspects. For example, it has a very strong and sweet pungent honey aroma, lots of florals. Strong flavours of red dates, and a really nice strong sweet huigan, strong fruit juice salivation. These positive aspects would really make this a good daily drinking tea if it weren’t for the storage note problem.
The remaining two teas were the more expensive teas in the box, and the quality really shows. Both were very impressive.
2005 Dayi 501 7542
Super high compression, no aroma on dry leaf at all. Wet leaf is dark spicy with camphor + mint, very similar to YQH Qizhong.
1. Very light first steep due to high compression. But very pleasant and active. Sweet and remarkably thick considering. Wet leaf has a nice dark fruit aroma, a lot of pungent strength with florals and fruit.
2. Enjoyable aftertaste already obvious, very sweet, arrival is thick and herbal, then juicy and sweet. No bitterness. Fruity basement!
3. More subdued gentle taste but with a beautiful bright candy aftertaste. I’m not getting the “strength” gasoline coating feeling. Immediately after arrival is a big juicy sweet huigan. Heat to the head and face. Relaxation. Wet leaf is very YQH like but with the distinct aroma of corn tortillas.
4. Clean and fresh. No storage note. No smoke. No bitterness. Very thick, coating, almost no tannins.
5. By this steep, aroma is almost totally gone. Still quite compressed. But the taste is great, with great aftertastes.
6. I break up the chunks forcibly by hand with some effort. Then get a lot of smoke and bitterness. But, also get a huge, massive huigan.
Much bigger flavour now. Relaxation. No energy. Rich taste and sweet aftertaste.
7. Super strong huigans! nothing else but huigans!
This tea is very interesting in that it performs exceptionally well, possibly better than any other tea, on the strength of the huigan. At the same time it is quite lacking in flavour, aroma, and qi. It’s a huigan specialist apparently.
2003 Dayi 7542
This was my favourite tea in the box, excelling in several ways.
The damp leaf was more distant aroma, more pure aged basement smell yet still pungent. The wash was sweet and bright, tart, very light. The wet leaf had a Marijuana/Tomato plant smell, bitter herbs, a very unusual aroma, new for me.
1: very clear strength penetrating into the surface of the mouth. herbal umami, light flavour. Aftertaste is already clearly present. Sweet alcohol on tongue, spice on throat
2+3: Earthy mineral arrival, bitter but juicy with some basement and spices. and you get a very strong pungent floral aroma! Extremely dynamic complex taste, very active juicy aftertaste. Whole throat is sweet.
4-5: Red dates, face heat, Strong! thick very pleasant, and very sweet huigans.
6: Now the major body effect begins: face feels vibrating, major uplifting mind effect. Very nice.
7. Tannins come out in a bigger way. Oakiness and woodsap. Sweetness, juiciness all the way down throat. Strong feeling of contentment.
8: mouth relax, somewhat numbing, long-lasting juicy plum like red fruit flavours.
9: Super happy uplifting feeling, quite strong!
10: Shivers, goosebumps, really nice active feeling, quite something.
This continues for quite some time, aftertastes continue past 15 steeps.