285 Tasting Notes
This one is like a hot chocolate caffeine punch. Some of the premium Hai Lang Hao ripe teas have commanded over-the-top prices, so I don’t try them often. But this one sounded intriguing, and at $240 for a 1k brick, it was at least something I would consider purchasing if it were really outstanding. It turns out this one fit the bill. It is so good, perhaps the best ripe I’ve ever had. It is an incredibly smooth chocolate experience. It’s just really, really good if you like that style. Further, it is incredibly enduring, something I find only in very high quality pu erh. It probably went nearly twice as far as a regular ripe, so that does reduce the price per session. I’d suggest leafing less than you normally would or you might just waste some good tea! I had to stop well before the leaves did. Being from Bulang, it does have that super-charged qi, and it was just too much for me today. Buying one today with the 15% off sale at Yunnan Sourcing. If you like chocolate ripes, this one is not to be missed!
If there are any flaws in this tea, I couldn’t find any.
Another winner from Dayi. If you’ve tried other years’ versions of this cake, you know what to expect. It is as good as others I’ve tried. Small plantation leaves that give a lot. It brews up dark, with hints of cocoa and bitter chocolate. Stout qi. Get some while it’s still fairly cheap at Yunnan Sourcing.
What kind of tea can you get for $20 for a full sized cake? Turns out a pretty good one! This tea brews up thick and dark, just like I like em. A hint of coffee and bitter chocolate, followed by simple yet fairly smooth steeps. A little rough around the edges, but it is a great daily drinker, especially for those of us that go through a lot of shu. Comparable to a good middle of the road Dayi ripe.
I’ve been trying some of the more expensive “high end” shus, particularly from YS, lately. First, my review of this one. It is definitely pretty good, but kind of uni-dimensional. The flavor is simple but soft and nice, with very little fermentation funk, and a musty note here and there. It reminds me of cola. Not very complex, but enjoyable for sure.
Now to the bigger picture. This flavor and quality profile seems pretty similar to other high end shus I’ve tried. They tend to be single-origin, as opposed to blended, which may add to the lack of complexity and depth. They tend to have less fermentation flavor, taste cleaner, and last longer than standard shus. If they were the same price as average shu, I might buy some here and there. But these prices simply do not reflect a similarly high level of flavor, even though I understand they are expensive because the leaf is expensive and usually reserved for sheng. I find these shus too soft for my tastes. These higher priced shus tend to be at least 2 to 4 times as expensive as good “regular” factory or house brand shus. Since I tend to leaf 10g or more per session every day, these are too costly in my book. I recently tried a high end Hai Lang Hao ripe and it was really good, albeit simple, but again, not good enough to justify the cost.
I may continue to sample these here and there, but I’ll take a YS house ripe any day. Lucy and Serendipity are especially good ones this year, I prefer them to expensive shu.