Yunnan Craft

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Recent Tasting Notes

Generous sample kindly provided by the proprietor. ~25g yields about two lengthy sessions.

Prepared in my Jian Shui gaiwan, and served in my porcelain tea cup via my glass cha hai. Filtered Santa Monica municipal water just off the boil throughout.

5 flash infusions: Butterscotch liquor; stone fruit, figs, wood, honey, and yam are all hinted at, but the aromatic sum, which amplifies the scent of the dry leaf, is something more concrete and distinctive even if I can’t name it; sweet palate entry, creamy with hints of licorice, leading into a faintly spicy/woody finish suggesting pink peppercorn; slippery, almost thick mouth-feel with low tannins and bitterness.

Well crafted, subtly unique red tea with impressive longevity (I expect to get another 5 infusions out of this session when I return to it tomorrow morning), although the nectar-like sweetness makes me prefer this as a dessert tea rather than a daily drinker.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Haha. This has to be the most forgettable sheng puerh I’ve ever had. Sandpapery young astringency fades away within several steeps. What’s left is a mostly flavorless, lightly vegetal-honey bitter cup with a whisper of cooling throatfeel.

The only aspect that stands out to me is the returning sweetness and even then it’s like “Whatever.”

Time for a lazy experiment. No control, no reproducibility. The rest of the sample I’ll leave sealed in its bag. The bag will be placed in a compartment in my truck to avoid direct sunlight. It will be exposed to higher temperatures and greater fluctuations than the relatively stable 65-70F, non-air-conditioned storage of my bedroom closet. I will forget about it all summer and probably find it when I clean out my truck sometime in November, at which point I’ll go, “Huh. I wonder how long this has been here. Let’s have a brew.” Or maybe I’ll forget about it all winter. Maybe whoever buys my truck in the future will find it.

What does the proposed treatment hold for such a vapid tea?

Preparation
Boiling 4 OZ / 110 ML
Martin Bednář

Better forgettable than plain bad :)

So Keta

Given a similar treatment of time, vapid people tend to mature and develop in surprising ways. To clarify though, I do not recommend locking someone in the trunk of your car all summer! HA.

tea-sipper

haha. Truck aging.

derk

So Keta, so true.
tea-sipper: that made me chuckle. I feel like my roots are showing.

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Found yet another Jinggu county tea (or is it Jingdong? I’m finding conflicting info) in my stash — 2018 Lao Wu Shan Gu Shu Cha from Yunnan Craft. I’ve not seen Lao Wu Shan puerh available at any of the other vendor sites I’ve frequented.

Dry leaf aroma is floral-raisin-wood. Warmed leaf aroma has a sharp barnyard pungency with raisins and fruit punch? Rinsed leaf brings out mellow apricot, wet wood, more florals and savoriness. Medium-bodied, a lot of saponins in the pot and cup on first pour. Savory, alkaline, dry grass; light creamed honey sweetness and butter. Overall mellow and smooth with a bright mineral finish that later turns tart and drying with growing bitterness. Returning sweetness, cooling in the chest/throat and calming all from the first steep. I’m left feeling indifferent; it’s still young.

Lighter compression, the chunk separated with the rinse so I’ve been poking around the wet leaf. Single leaves, buds, 2-3 leaf and bud sets, some longer stems. Doubt it’s gushu but other than a few char spots, it looks healthy and well enough made. Cloudy brew for many steeps, though.

I wonder how other teas from this area compare.

Flavors: Apricot, Barnyard, Bitter, Butter, Dry Grass, Drying, Flowers, Fruit Punch, Honey, Mineral, Mint, Raisins, Smooth, Tart, Wet Wood, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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I’m supposed to be making carnitas.

Right now, this sheng has me kicked back in my chair with my feet on the bed. I’m transported back to Akron, in the old house, winter. Living room, French doors closed, wood-burning stove roaring, tomato soup bubbling away on top, the sound of Skyward Sword in the background. Cocooned in a blanket. My ears are burning from the heat. So drowsy and comfortable, that feeling as you succumb to the fading in of sleep, reality slowly stipples away at your periphery, defocusing your gaze, the fire crackles, eyelids lower, dreamtime seamlessly folds over the diminishing edges of this moment. I think about the wrapping of a puer cake, everything points to the beenghole. A nice package.

It’s difficult to describe the actual tea when the qi is so distinctive. This is very close in profile to the 2016 Bang Wai Gu Cha I tried last night. Much less sweet, which I prefer, more balanced, spicier, brighter. Good returning sweetness and longer lasting, more distinctive fruity peach-mango-apricot aftertaste. The oiliness isn’t as pronounced but it’s felt later lining my tongue. Not yet sure about longevity. Very nice for a young one and arguably worth the tenths of a cent more per gram :P Might cake. Can’t go wrong at $0.14/g. Edit: Will cake this weekend. Please don’t buy them out.

I’m having deja vu. I’ve typed this note before.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Mango, Metallic, Peach, Plums, Raisins, Rice, Smooth, Spicy, Straw, Strawberry, Toffee, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
derk

2.5 hours later and I still haven’t made carnitas. Instead I spent that time derking around the Pu’er Woo-wooniverse, trying to type up crackpot romantic comparisons of beengs and beengholes to conceptual themes such as art and science, creation, compression, pressure and transformation. Something about dark underbellies, velvety spermatic leaf weaving over and under and in between, feeding frenzies. Holy crap I feel absolutely rejuvenated.

puerh, pu’erh, pu-erh, puer, pu’er but never pu-er
whatever

Martin Bednář

Now I want carnitas. And this pu-erh.

Nattie

Your description had me falling asleep and wishing for winter! Sounds like bliss.

ashmanra

I don’t know what a carnita is!

derk

ashmanra: falling apart Mexican braised pork

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drank 2016 Bang Wai Gu Cha by Yunnan Craft
667 tasting notes

First sheng from Yunnan Craft.

2016 Bang Wai Gu Cha seems like a good deal for the $23 I paid for a 200g beeng (now sold out). Impressive dry and warmed leaf aroma with a heavy and tangy mixture of toffee-plum-strawberry and faint aged florals. Balanced toffee/ripe papaya like sweetness that’s sticky but not cloying. Full sip thins nicely on the swallow. Tingling, mouthwatering, oily long after swallow until the end of my session, some camphor/menthol, very light bitterness and astringency. At one point, some chili pepper heat lit up my mouth. Light fruity aftertaste. Later steeps fade into lightly sweet hay-rice porridge?

The longevity of this tea is mid-ranged; combined with some relaxing, head-clouding qi and low caffeine, this made for a pleasant evening brew. Plenty of 2 leaf and bud sets with no obvious oxidation.

Not complex in taste but what it does, it does very well. For me, it needs some acidity to brighten things up a bit. I’d direct those newer to sheng toward this sweet daily drinker.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Camphor, Flowers, Hay, Menthol, Mineral, Plums, Rice, Smooth, Spicy, Strawberry, Sweet, Toffee, Tropical

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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85
drank 2013 Liu An Hei Cha by Yunnan Craft
667 tasting notes

Another new company for me, Yunnan Craft, found via a Steepster member review. I enjoy the no BS communication and approach of the vendor.

This is my first time trying a Liu An heicha, a fermented tea similar to shou puerh. I’m keeping this review short because I’m just really enjoying sipping on this and sharing it with housemate #2, not really taking notes.

Brewed gongfu in a 180mL clay teapot, 205-212F, drank the rinse because there was absolutely no fermentation aroma present in the dry leaf — pure chocolate. Already full of flavor, bright with plenty of cherry and plum, mineral, complemented by a robust backbone of nutty milk chocolate, caramel, graham cracker, nutmeg and wood, faint bamboo. Light coffee-roasted chicory aftertaste. Very aromatic, active in the mouth with tingling and light salivation, smooth and soothing, warming. Later leaves a constricting, tannic throat feel that’s a bit distracting. Housemate #2 took some CBD drops before I handed her a cup and said the flavor of the tea cut right through the CBD. She’s really impressed by it.

This reminds me of a cross between a shou puerh and a medium to heavy roast Wuyi oolong without char notes.

Flavors: Bamboo, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Coffee, Graham Cracker, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutty, Plums, Smooth, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec 9 g 6 OZ / 180 ML
Leafhopper

I was looking at Yunnan Craft’s site a while ago and was tempted by their low prices. Did you get any blacks or oolongs from them? Also, what’s the shipping like?

derk

I haven’t yet ordered any of his black or oolong though, like you said, the prices are very tempting! My first order consisting of puerh and heicha totaled roughly 1.1kg and $115 USD. For that weight, shipping was ~$17 USD.

derk

I don’t remember through what method/carrier the parcel was shipped but it did arrive within 2 weeks I think.

Leafhopper

Thanks! That’s reasonable given the size of your order.

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Prepared in my Jian Shui gaiwan, and served in my porcelain tea cup via my glass cha hai. Filtered Santa Monica municipal water just off the boil throughout.

8 infusions from 10 to 60+ seconds. Sienna liquor with harvest gold highlights; gentle roast in the nose with hints of Japanese yam and barley; faint floral and mineral notes present a lingering chocolate-tinged sweetness. Moderately malty, but very little smoke on the palate. Finishes medium-dry with a distinctive nutty/grassy flavor I can’t quite put a name to (perhaps what others have referred to as “oaky”?). Longer infusions bring out more cocoa and darker toast flavors with a tiny bit of smoke in the finish.

Smooth, medium-light bodied, and surprisingly refreshing.

Closer to a good Keemun than a Lapsang Souchong, this is a unique and interesting Hong cha, well worth sampling.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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89

Tastiest hei cha I’ve had thus far. Great complexity and really appealing flavors.

On the nose, notes of caramel, red currant, and chocolate graham cracker. Taste is milky black tea blend, woody spiciness of coriander seed, carob and milk chocolate. Tart berry fruitiness arrives in aftertaste. Really interesting balance of creamy, tart, sweet, and savory.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv96N2nFKIh/

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Generous sample kindly provided by the proprietor.

Prepared in my Jian Shui gaiwan, and served in my porcelain tea cup via my glass cha hai. Filtered Santa Monica municipal water just off the boil throughout.

Dry leaves resemble long slightly twisted black sticks with some spots of rust.

10 infusions ranging from 10 to 60 seconds.

Chestnut liquor; wet wood, river stones, and a hint of chocolate, walnut skin, and grain husk in the nose; smooth, creamy, and faintly nutty on the palate – long, increasingly cocoa and autumn-leaf-laden finish that takes ages to unfurl despite a persistent subtlety. Very low acidity/bitterness. Flavor/aroma drops off very slowly over the session. Consistent, gentle, and nearly delightful.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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90
drank La Hu Craft by Yunnan Craft
3 tasting notes

Sweet and balanced

This tea even young, but has a balanced character. Well stored, has kept the fruity aroma with little flower bouquet smell.
As usually I started the session with 85C steepings for 22-27s /4,5g tea for 80-100ml NORDA water/.
After the 5th infusion started to rise water temperatures to 90Celsius and up to 100C for the last 7-8-9-10th infusions.
The tea holds the fast emerging sweet aftertaste, bitterness changes fast to sweetness, astringency is not much and not disturbing. The freshness comes in front mouthfeel which goes along the whole session.
I like this tea much, the effect is calming and focusing and gently refreshing. Has a medium thickness with good salvia producing effect.
I can recommend, for those who like the fresh and fruity, Shengs with sweetness.

Flavors: Bitter, Flowers, Fruity, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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81

Nice pleasant smell of dry leaves in the hot gaiwan. Than after wake up, the color of the wet leaves shows better the blend (purple- brownish- and green leaves mixed).
The broth is gold-yellow, with gold-dust particles.
Wet leaves smell: light fruity, and meadow flowers, pleasant.
Taste: light fruity sourness, which astringency gives a vibrating front mouthfeel. Bitterness as well pleasant and brings immediate aftertaste. The broth medium thick in content, good salvia producing aftertaste.
Effect: has a good uplifting energy, brings a good mood.
In body: has a warming effect and the feeling of warmth goes from heart to the hands. Stimulates digestion well.
Can stand for decent 10 steeps. An interesting and complex blend.

I can recommend for fresh young sheng puer fans, who likes the slight fruity sourness and vibrating mouthfeel.

Flavors: Fireplace, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Pleasantly Sour

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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100

The taste is complex in the way: that has a thick and velvety-creamy base character and beside this has the earthy-beetroot bringing aroma. Both distinct characters are in balance and support each other. This comes out in the smell as well. The complexity gives these “aroma colors” in a changing way through the steepings. The enjoyable taste and aromas of the tea comes mellow and round and harmonious. The quality arbor material shows by the effect as well: a very warming and healing tonic effect.
Stands for more than 10 stable steepings, at the end of session recommend to boil out the last aromas as well!
Well recommended Shu for grounding harmony and balance in us!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cacao, Creamy, Smooth, Wet Earth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Generous sample kindly provided by the proprietor. 25g yields about two lengthy sessions.

Prepared in my Jian Shui gaiwan, and served in my porcelain tea cup via my glass cha hai. Filtered Santa Monica municipal water just off the boil throughout.

7+ infusions from 10 to 90 seconds. Fulvous liquor; aromatics of fresh cut wood, lychee, and berry; sweet mellow palate entry is again fruity and perhaps slightly floral or spicy, with a pleasant nutty finish.

I was expecting at least a hint of smoke, roast, or char given the high temp final processing, but none of these elements obtrude on the rounded, youthful, easy-drinking flavor profile. Fairly potent/energizing with regard to caffeine, this would be a suitable daily-drinker at the office if you like the flavor signature (which is perhaps more distinctive than my notes suggest, it’s just that I can’t put a name to the individual flavor that is present throughout).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

I am going through some of the items from this store as well.

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82
drank Wu Long Hong Cha by Yunnan Craft
167 tasting notes

This is a nice daily drinker. It never really wowed me, but that’s OK. It was a good drink to have when I didn’t feel like blowing my palate out of the water.

My one gripe is that I found myself using quite a bit of leaf to get deep flavors. Using my normal ratios resulted in a fairly thin and uninteresting brew. Best results were achieved with a gaiwan full of dry leaf. Once I did that, however, the quality improved noticeably.

Overall, flavor was light-bodied, with peanut-shell and Brazil nut nuttiness. Distinct and noticeable minerality throughout. Some nice stewed berry fruitiness and a little baking spice in the development.

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95

A delicious, chocolatey experience. I actually like slightly overbrewing it to accentuate the dark chocolate notes. It tastes like biting into a bitter dark chocolate bar, whose flavor gradually softens to rich milk chocolate. Other flavors include cafe mocha, cherry cordial, and blackberry syrup. Some sweet woody notes linger in the background.

An exceptional black tea. Very few black teas deliver the richness and depth of flavor as this one.

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85
drank Keemun black tea by Yunnan Craft
167 tasting notes

A nice go-to daily drinker. Dark caramel with tart berry sweetness. Some nuttiness in the body. Lingering minerality in aftertaste. There is also a little horehound or sassafras in the nose of the dry leaf that I thought made an appearance on the palate.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BoBxm6QFbPB/

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86

A green ya shi xiang with notes of honey, canned pineapple, buttered yeast roll, and fresh mint and cilantro. Aftertaste is fresh and longlasting.

I’m not a huge dancong guy – it has just never resonated with me. I also am fairly inconsistent with brewing parameters – let’s call it “intuitive”! That’s not a great combination with dancongs. But I have to say, this one is very good and dealt well with my nonsense. The flavor in-mouth can sometimes be lacking, in the sense that body and mouthfeel is there, but there are no strong flavors coming to the forefront. When it is strong, there is a really tasty buttery yeast roll flavor complemented by a subdued nuttiness. But again, this inconsistency is likely my fault.

Lots of tasty florals and fruit flavors in the aftertaste, which – in my opinion – is the best part. There are sweet and refreshing flavors – peach, fruit blossom, pineapple, fresh cilantro and mint. A really nice tea, particularly if you slow down and really allow the aftertaste to open up and develop.

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89
drank Huo Shan Huang Ya by Yunnan Craft
167 tasting notes

This is a great experience for green tea lovers looking for some new, interesting flavors. Yellow tea is a great opportunity to explore. The base of this tea provides notes of sweet corn, corn husk, and honey. Not unlike sweeter green teas.

It gets interesting with notes of honey roasted peanuts, mint, and even hints of lemongrass and coconut. There is also a consistant sweet note that I can only describe as cinnamon pastry. Complex and delicious.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmDs-YVnvOh/?taken-by=cincinna.tea

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86

A nice nutty sweet hong cha. Savory notes of roasted nuts and pleasant woodiness give a backbone to sweet notes of dark caramel, toasted marshmallow, dark honey, and blackberry syrup. Even hints of toasted coconut.

Great daily drinker. Be sure to use lots of leaf. My first few sessions turned out a bit thin because I was underleafing (which is very rare for me!)
*
Dry leaf – blackberry syrup, raw almond, bitter dark honey, pine wood

Smell – woody, toasted marshmallow, hints of toasted coconut, honey roasted nuts, dark caramel

Taste – roasted nuts, honey roasted nuts, toasted marshmallow, some light blackberry syrup fruitiness and toasted coconut

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91

This tea has aged well. Great fruitiness with solid tobacco and hay notes backing up the whole experience. The quality of the body of the tea is shown in later infusions, when, despite losing some of its initial top notes, retains a buttery and satisfying flavor and texture. A very nice tea at a very nice price.
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Dry leaf – stewed prunes, dried dates, sweet tobacco, hint of pond flora and pencil shavings. In preheated vessel – blackberry syrupy sweetness

Smell – prune and date, pencil shavings, funky gummy sweetness, sweet tobacco, mushroom broth

Taste – sweet tobacco, date, prune, gummy sweetness, mushroom broth, hay and straw. Becomes very buttery in later infusions

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The first thing I noticed when opening the 25g sample pouch was a fairly pungent aroma that immediately reminded me of mesquite wood. I’m not a huge fan of barbecue-esque smokey teas, so I was a bit taken aback. My other experiences with Bang Dong have been noticeably sweet, and this was at the other end of the spectrum – burly and savory.

It does carry over into the flavor of the tea, although it is much more muted. Overall, it is a savory pu’erh, whose primary flavors are mesquite wood and mushroom broth. Its sweetness comes from hints of horehound or sassafras and some sweet tobacco notes in the finish.

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89
drank Liu An Gua Pian by Yunnan Craft
167 tasting notes

This is my first experience with this type of green tea. I was surprised at how much it reminded me of the few Dragonwell greens I have had. Prominent notes of chestnut and some savory green herb notes of dried parsley. Also noticeable were hints of cinnamon, cherry, and other sweet notes that really reminded me of pastries. In fact, I would be much more likely to pick up this again than a Dragonwell. The price is unbeatable as well.

Overall, I’m not a huge fan of parsley flavors in teas, which have popped up in green teas, green oolongs, and young raws – particularly from Menghai. But, that said, these flavors in this tea were very pleasant, and quickly transformed into spiciness and then sweetness.

I highly recommend any green tea lover to try this. A high-quality tea at a great price. Complex flavors and development.
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https://www.instagram.com/p/Bk7qwpBHQLJ/?taken-by=cincinna.tea
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Dry leaf – vegetal and nutty chestnut, dried parsley, snow peas, peanut shell; cinnamon pastry, maraschino cherry, sweet corn. In preheated vessel – roasted corn notes dominate

Smell – chestnut, dried parsley, cinnamon pastry

Taste – chestnut, salted edamame, dried parsley; development finds cinnamon pastry; finish has lemon curd, cinnamon pastry, hints of maraschino cherry, fresh parsley and lemongrass

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