Yunnan Craft

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85
drank 2013 Liu An Hei Cha by Yunnan Craft
470 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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88

This is a really nice Mao Feng. My personal experience with Mao Feng is that it is a light green tea with subtle flavors. I would say that this tea in particular does still have somewhat subtle flavors, but they are still quite noticeable and defined.

The body of the tea is brothy and thick, and the flavors that it presents are a bit light, but not at all weak. Just subtle, calm flavors that are complex and tasty. Nice combination of savory, sweet, and even fruit flavors.
*
Dry leaf – sweet corn, peach gummy candy, coconut, sweet floral like lily of the valley; heat has corn and roasted nuts, peaches and cream

Smell – light honey, sweet corn and edamame, hints of peaches and cream

Taste – sweet corn and hints of salted edamame, light honey, lemongrass, very light dewy grass; aftertaste of roasted corn, mint, light honey, pineapple-coconut

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82

Overall, a nice, creamy ripe. It has notes of vanilla and bourbon cask, some dry chocolate notes, raw Brazil and hazelnut, and cherry pit and cherry wood flavors. There are the slightest hints of horehound in the aftertaste. It has a creamy flavor, although I wouldn’t necessarily describe the mouthfeel as creamy – it felt a bit light for me, although I tend to like really thick motor-oil ripes.

I couldn’t detect much of an aged taste, although there was a certain “fusty” dustiness that popped up very subtly in the finish. No camphor notes or other flavors that point to more progressed aging. On the topic of age, I appreciate Yunnan Craft’s addressing the purported age of this tea with what they consider to be more realistic.

So, a nice tea if you like ripes on the lighter end of things, and the flavors are very good. Decent value for the price.

apefuzz

Edit – price was incorrect in original review. This cake is very affordable.

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92

Loose-leaf gong ting grade material that was picked and processed in 2017. Despite its youth, this is exceptionally clean and easy to drink. Deliciously nutty with dry chocolate notes and noticeable molasses sweetness, followed up with date-like fruitiness. No unpleasant flavors – there is a bit of fishiness present in the smell of the dry leaves, but this does not carry over to the liquor or taste itself.

I was surprised to see this much going on in such a young tea, particularly in only a single-grade ripe pu’erh. I really enjoy the gong ting grade in general, but this is a great one, and will likely have even more to offer once it ages a bit. Excellent product.
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Dry leaf – some fishiness, dark cocoa, hazelnut, Brazil nut, hints of cherry wood and coffee grounds. In preheated vessel – pungent sweetness of blackstrap molasses present

Smell – Brazil nut, dark molasses, nutty woodiness, hints of dried dates

Taste – arrival is fairly soft, with Brazil nut and hazelnut. Development includes light coffee grounds, cocoa, molasses. Finish is clean, with nutty dryness. Aftertaste of date, molasses, nuttiness, even hints of slight floral.

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86

A nice, savory green tea. Notes of roasted nut and corn are balanced by consistent lemongrass notes and hints of fruitiness. There are subtle hints of more complex flavors like Mexican chocolate, dried mango, and macerated blackberries.

I generally prefer sweeter green teas, but this is a great option for those who prefer more savory greens. The roasted notes are not overwhelming, and the savory flavors are well balanced.

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90

I first tasted a sample of this tea and decided to get a cake. The dry tea smells of leather, sweet smell of caramel from the wet leaves. The leaf grade is small and the material looks good.

Strong notes of dark chocolate and walnuts. Hints of coffee and cardamom. Sweet and with a pleasant bitterness, very smooth and easy on the stomach. This is a lightly fermented, easy drinker. Very little fermentation flavor for such a young tea. The aftertaste is not overly strong but very pleasant and lingers for a long time. Keeps going for more than 10 steeps and lands softly rather than collapsing. It takes a few steeps for the tea to get going (or you can do two rinses and let it sit a while).

At this price point you are of course not going to get super-complexity and cha qi coming out your ears, but that said, this tea punches above its weight. It’s a gentle drinker rather than a punchy show-stopper but a very pleasant tea. My rating of 90 is relative to the price point, not absolute.

I bought this tea from www.yunnancraft.com and have not seen it anywhere else. I brewed it for 12+ steeps, 11 g in 100 ml and boiling water.

Flavors: Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Walnut

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 11 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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