Chen Yuan Hao (teapals.com)Edit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
So, this is one of those legendary teas that costs an arm and a leg, coming from a region known for producing “gift teas.” I got it as part of a package generously provided by Liquid Proust (who, I believe, acquired it through TeaPals, who supply Chen Yuan Hao products). If you want to really see what hard-to-find pu’erh is all about, you have to check out his offerings. He makes the exclusive stuff very accessible (and affordable, at that.)
Overall, this tea is fine. It’s a hay-ish, floral, and citrusy tea with some fruit notes that remind me of what you find in a Dayi 7542. Tasty, unassuming, soft – very Yiwu-esque.
I’m not going to beat up this tea, but it’s hard not to be critical when it claims such a price ($1000/cake) and you find yourself really honing in on what the tea offers. I’m really happy to have had the chance to sample such an exclusive tea and to better wrap my head around what is claimed to be some of the “best” pu’erh. Again, it was an enjoyable session.
That said, for those of you on a tight budget who don’t drink $1000 cakes, or even $100 cakes, don’t think that what you are consuming is crap. In fact, the teas that I would give top marks to are actually some of the cheapest teas I own. Literally all of the expensive teas I have tried (from $200-$1000 a cake) have been good, but notably average and easily compared to teas that sell at a fraction of the price. That may tell you more about my own palate than tea quality, but take it as you will.
Anyway, suffice it to say that if you are curious about what this tea offered, I seriously would recommend another hay-ish, floral, and sweet tea offered by Yunnan Sourcing – “Chen Yun Yuan Cha” ($56). I compared both, and the YS cake had more powerful floral aromas and a thicker body. The sweetness of the YS cake is more honeysuckle and honey, while the CYH cake has more gummy fruitiness. The YS cake also has some very faint char notes, but it comes out more of a subtle smokiness, and is not at all unpleasant. Put side-by-side, I would likely grab a cup of the YS cake over the CYH cake.
There you have it. Again, this is a good tea, no question about it. It certainly has high praise from tea bloggers. I just think hyping these things up is a disservice for new pu’erh drinkers. You don’t need super old or super expensive boutique teas to have a quality pu’erh session. Quite the opposite, in fact. Personally, now that I have gone out and sampled 20-30+ year old teas, several Lao Ban Zhang’s and Bing Dao’s, a number of gu shu’s, and other “premium” pu’erhs, I am relieved to find that the experience of these teas is very easily found elsewhere in cheaper and more accessible teas.
Dry leaf – lemon/citrus, floral, peach confectionery, blackberry pie filling
Smell – light, sweet floral, some lemon notes, lemongrass, gummy fruitiness (Juicy Fruit), hints of blackberry. Icing sugar and spice cake in empty cup
Taste – lemon, floral, gummy fruit, hay, lemongrass, hints of spice cake in development, hints of slightly tart red apple in finish. Aftertaste is very light. Hints of floral and white pepper
See others’ reviews here:
TeaDB – https://teadb.org/2015-chenyuan-hao-mansong/
Cwyn – https://deathbytea.blogspot.com/2017/01/2015-chen-yuan-hao-mansong-yibang.html
Maybe I’m just a cheap date…
7.5 grams 100 ml yixing. First the dry leaf long intact fuzzy leaves with a nice sheen, excellent material. They are extremely pungent, opening the tin filled my entire kitchen with the scent of the tea. Now for the steepings all i can say is HONEY BOMB. On the lid, in the cup, in the empty pitcher and especially in the taste. Thick sweet floral honey hits all parts of the mouth and throat and sticks. There are some hints of other typical yiwu flavors but they are in the background but the honey is driving, ain’t no one else touching the wheel. Needless to say but this is some very tasty brew. As the session goes on the honey subsides a bit but remains the dominate flavor throughout. 10 plus steeps and the tea is still oily and full tasting. Steeps are still short showing that the tea has plenty of strength.
Now the qi in this comes on relatively fast compared to most teas but slower than other CYH teas I’ve tried. Creeps in after the second cup builds to a nice buzz and remains at that level till a good hour after I stopped. Typical yiwu feelings of calm and relaxation (for me).
Very much enjoyed all aspects of this tea and I’m strongly considering a cake of this after I have a couple more sessions with it
The Yi Wu Zheng Shan cake is produced yearly with the earliest I’ve seen being 2001. The cheapest quoted price for a 2003 cake is MYR 2000 (about USD 500 today). In this regard, the price appreciation for CYH YWZS is on par at least with mass-produced factory puerh.
After about a month of acclimatisation in Malaysia, I finally get to review it. In terms tea fragrance, it has strong sun-dried smell; sweet sugar cane. The tea soup seems to be darker than I remembered YWZS cake from 2014.
The tea soup is thick. Only truly early spring tea with tender tea buds and thick stems will have this quality. The soup coats the mouth smoothly like a thin layer of oil. There is no noticeable bitterness but a tinge of astringency is felt. Once the tea soup leaves the throat, it will return with a sweet huigan. I’ve drank more than 1.5 liters of this tea from a 180ml pot and it’s still going strong. In the later brews, it’s sweet water.
Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Sugarcane
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7g 100ml Yixing. This has to be one of the best tasting puerh I’ve had to date. Lots of fruit, especially fresh green apples (gramdma’s apple pie anyone) and peaches. Thick and extremely coating, which I always love, maybe not quite as thick as W2T’s bosch but really hit all part of the mouth and throat and lasted for hours. It also steeped forever, 20+ steeps over the course of 2 days. First couple steeps were very strong and flavorful, followed by a slight drop off where it just stayed there for an eternity it seemed.Could feel the tea flow down into my stomach, left a very farm feeling throughout the session and for hours after. Felt like the tea was coursing through my body. Started at at the back of my head, down my neck and in to my arm and torso. Usually take a couple cups for that to happen(if it happens) but this hit me fast, in the middle of the first cup, with lots of strength. Actually started feeling it from drinking the wash which was a bit surprising. Overall a great tea from a producer that I’m now excited to try more tea from
A quick shout out to Teapals who was great keeping in touch with me via e-mail throughout the shipping process which got slightly delayed due to them being away for a tasting event followed by the Eid Mubarak festival which closed down the local post office. Thanks for reading!
Fine, smooth and bold.
Dry leaves smell very sweet and without smokiness.
The first brew is light yellow although later brews are darker. The soup itself smells like sweet peas and savoury. The soup taste fine and absolutely no harshness expected of new tea. It returns honey sweetness after it slides into your throat with “oily” smoothness and ends up warming your chest. It’s bold and strong and packs much cha qi (茶气 ). On the 6th brew, as always, it’s subjected to torture brew by leaving it in 90°C water for over 2 minutes. The abusive brew results were remarkable. No obvious astringency or bitterness and it was as smooth, fine and thicker in mouthfeel.
Flavors: Nectar, Peas
This tea has residual smokiness that should be gone by end 2015. The tea soup is medium in thickness. As it’s a blended tea from arbor leaves of several mountains, you get much activities in your mouth. It is also very fragrant like fresh sugar cane. There is sweetness from Yiwu, fruity freshness from Youle and some other mountain that forms the base of this tea. As it’s still less than a year old, it has some roughness on tongue but minimal astringency or bitterness. It’s really good to drink now and would improve by ageing a year or two.