69 Tasting Notes
Ok now that I have procured a kilo of this stuff I feel safe to review it. This is by far the best tea I’ve had in the buck a gram range and competes with stuff 3x that. For starters the super clean Taipei dry storage has preserved a lot of the top notes while making this tea taste much younger than it really is. In fact an Yiwu stored 2012 Yibang I recently had tastes much more aged. The soup is copper colored and exudes notes of cedar, orange blossoms and sandalwood with a touch of caramel and plum. No mushroomy decayed forest notes or dankness. This tea likes to be pushed in terms of amount of tea per ml, temp and steeping times. I’ve found it more satisfying to do fewer and longer steeps as it adds to the oily texture and bigger huigans. It is difficult to make this tea bitter. This tea reminds me of the 2013 Mansong from Yiwu Mountain tea (which I’ve only had once dt the $5g pricetag) in terms of flavor and qi. Oh yeah the qi. That’s the real kicker with this tea. The blissful, meditative full body qi of this tea is better than anything I’ve had for under $3g. I can’t recommend this tea enough. Another aged Yiwu I love (not listed here) is the 2000 Yiwu from EOT. It displays much more aged flavors (although very clean with no dankness) and much fuller bodied but less qi. I highly recommend trying this tea before it sells out. BTW this seller is a collector of amazing teas and has some beautifully aged 90s Menghai teas as well as an outstanding assortment of oolongs. His baozhongs and high mountain oolongs are incredible. The shipping is super fast too. I got my last order in 5 days! From Taiwan to USA
This is a really good, intense yesheng and is only a dime a gram. Each steep is smoky and bitter at first then fades to a fruity, oily spicy finish. The qi is fairly intense. By the 3rd steep I was sweating and grinning. Energized but relaxed. Not the all enveloping meditative at peace with the universe qi I get from an Yibang gushu but one can procure a tong of this stuff for the price of a 200g cake of the Yibang. I got a dozen steeps and that was with pushing it.
Smooth and mild. Woody and mildly bitter. Relaxing qi. I think this tea will open up and offer some rather interesting flavors over the next year. Beer comparison: English mild brewed with Kent Golding hops. As it is now, not a tea that really excites me but I’ve had similar teas that really developed in the following months and have a feeling this may do the same. If I were feeling adventurous I’d gamble on a cake but I have enough of the sample left to revisit in the fall and decide then.
My 2.5 years of nearly constant Pu drinking has caused my stash of black tea to be a bit neglected. I had a hankering for black tea this morning and dug this out. Big hairy golden buds. Each steep is immensely floral and thick with hints of sorghum and horehound. To my surprise there’s a bit of qi to this cha as well. Interesting how I’ve never been wowed by Jinggu puerh but the blacks and whites always seem to impress.
Paul says that what makes this tea so amazing is not so blatantly obvious. I beg to differ. The strength, oiliness, complexity and qi are all top shelf. It starts off with papaya/ basil in the aroma but more vegetal in the flavor of the early steeps. If I were to guess what it was in early steeps by tasting and not looking at the leaves I’d guess Lao Mansa with perhaps a bit of Guyolin. Middle steeps change dramatically and I get salted caramel and melon flavors. That I’d expect to get from Guyolin. Final steeps become tart with a hint of cardamom and dill which I associate with small leaf Yibang teas which is what I expected from the beginning because that’s what the majority of the leaves look like. Small leaf wild Yibang with perhaps a spot of gedeng although I didn’t get the evergreen notes I get with Ge Deng teas. So my guess is it’s a blend of Yibang and Guyolin. Now the big question is is it worth the price? IDK. This price point can buy Chawangshu, Tianmenshan and Bohetang teas. Excellent Lao Mansa and Guyolin can be had for less. If you’re an Yiwu lover like me I definitely recommend a sample of this and a sample of all the maocha from Yiwu mountain teas (they didn’t press any this year as there was so little) all the Yiwu from Puerh.sk and any other source you like and compare. The Yiwu teas are excellent , scarce and expensive this year. The only one I’ve pulled the trigger on and caked this year is the Lao Mansa from Psk and it’s significantly less but this stuff is tempting even at this price. Perhaps I could trade a guitar for some…
I don’t get plums or bubblegum either . I don’t get much huigan. I do get cedar minty smooth bitterness that I associate with Banzhang tea though I doubt this is the real deal. It is clearly a clean stored Menghai area tea, judging from stem size likely a blend of terrace and younger forest tea. It is very pleasant and I get about a dozen steeps. Going by memory it reminds me a little of Hai Lang Hao 2005 Nannuo only a bit sweeter and milder in the qi department. For someone looking for a reasonably priced semi aged Menghai sheng for their collection this is a decent choice. Clean, pleasant, relaxing but subtle qi. Personally I don’t think I’ll buy a cake because I feel that there are similarly priced and aged Lincang teas that perform better for the price.
So I’ve been on a yin trip lately and have accordingly been drinking mainly Yiwu (and a bit of aged Lincang). I figured it was time for a little Yang and broke out a sample of this. Yang indeed. I was immediately transported to 1990 when I was 16 and puffing on a Camel light at the skating rink. The security guard handed me a Pall Mall non filter and said try this son. This is a MAN’S cigarette. Indeed it was, just like this tea, brimming with toxic masculinity. Actually this tea doesn’t so much remind me of a cigarette but of a Parodi cigar. When most people talk of cigar notes in a tea they mean nice smooth cedary notes you’d expect from a fine Dominican wet cured stick. Not this tea. It tastes for the world like a Parodi, the Italian dry cured cigars you see in gangster movies. Bitter, spicy, strong and manly. The soup is thick and bitter but not as much bitterness or returning sweetness as a Lao Mane but close. It also has the slate and fennel notes I get from Lao mane teas but less pronounced. It’s also thick enough to satisfy an espresso drinker. The qi is also powerful but not of the calming euphoric meditative type I get from an Yiwu or the bombastic stoner qi I get from an LBZ. This stuff makes me spacey, lethargic and dumb. Like I lost a few iq points. I find myself looking for my phone while talking on it and reminiscing about Pall Mall cigarettes. I get a similar effect from adolescent red mark teas so I wonder if they got their material from the same part of Menghai. If you like a tea that is simple, potent and zonkering try this stuff…did I mention it was potent?
When I got this sample it had sourish notes of a tea that had gotten too dry or was sealed in a sample bag too long so I did my usual trick of wrapping it in paper and placing it in a humidified canister with other samples in similar condition. After a few months I’d forgotten about this tea and reread the description on the eot site and remembered that I had some. First 2 steeps were smoky and sweet. Oddly I’m reminded of Korean bbq pork with perhaps a touch of pineapple and cardamom. Steeps 4-5 are among the thickest stickiest shots of tea I’ve had in recent history and have a thick brown sugar caramel taste that reminds me of a Belgian strong ale. Steep 6 sees an enormous drop in thickness and the emergence of the tart and snappy but thin tastes of semi aged Wuliang yesheng like that of YS. At this point the qi hits and is of the relaxing clarifying type. At this point I keep doing long steeps expecting the kill steep is near but I’m rewarded with a slight return to thickness and continual shape shifting flavors. Excellent yesheng.
Nice example of dry stored You Le. Has a grapefruit like bitterness withfloral high notes reminiscent of ye sheng. Again, coming from the beer world I’m reminded of a hop variety, Chinook. Think Pike IPA. I’m still educating myself on how these wildish Yiwu area teas taste with a bit of age on them. In the past I tended to prefer them young. Now I’m getting into aged and semi aged Yiwu teas. In the past I always said that I prefer Menghai teas aged and Yiwu teas young. I’m now beginning to rethink this. I got about a dozen steeps from this and they were all pretty consistent. The qi is of the gentle uplifting clarifying slightly calming variety. Not spectacular but nice. A good buy for $.28g if you like this sort of cha.