Yunnan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes

93

Okay, here’s my final review for the day. Hopefully, I’l l get to do this again in the near future. Of the Yunnan Sourcing Dancong oolongs I have tried recently, this was one of the best. It seems that I always either adore or feel pretty meh about Yunnan Sourcing’s Dancong offerings, but this one fell firmly in the former camp rather than the latter. I wasn’t expecting to feel as strongly about it as I did either since I had a little trouble with the spring 2016 version of this tea (I still liked it quite a bit though).

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cream, custard, orange blossom, sugarcane, vanilla, and tangerine. After the rinse, I was able to pick out new aromas of roasted almond, grass, sour cherry, peach, and pomegranate. The first infusion introduced aromas of orchid, caraway, and coriander as well as a subtle geranium scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of cream, custard, roasted almond, vanilla, orange blossom, and tangerine that were balanced by hints of grass, geranium, caraway, sour cherry, peach, and coriander. The subsequent infusions coaxed out stronger geranium scents and new aromas of plum, candied pomelo, pineapple, dandelion, and violet. I also picked up on subtle parsley and watercress scents. Stronger and more immediate sour cherry, coriander, and peach notes emerged in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging orchid notes and impressions of dandelion, plum, candied pomelo, minerals, violet, and pear. I also noted hints of sugarcane, pineapple, butter, watercress, and parsley. As the tea faded, the liquor increasingly emphasized notes of minerals, roasted almond, cream, grass, and coriander that were balanced by sour cherry, candied pomelo, peach, tangerine, butter, watercress, violet, vanilla, and sugarcane hints.

Compared to some of the other Dancong oolongs I have tried recently, this one displayed greater balance, integration, and sophistication. It had some amazingly charming and exotic qualities that grew increasingly difficult to pin down as my drinking session progressed. If all of Yunnan Sourcing’s Dancong oolongs were this likable, I would probably not purchase such teas from other vendors.

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Dandelion, Fruity, Geranium, Grass, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Parsley, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plums, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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59

This was my final sipdown of October and another tea that I am struggling to rate numerically. It didn’t leave much of an impression on me, and the little bit I recall about it doesn’t leave me with particularly positive feelings. I think I found this to be a pretty awkward and unappealing Dancong oolong.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of pomelo, cherry, butter, orange blossom, peach, and plum. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of honey, sugarcane, and tangerine that were accompanied by a subtle grassy scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of white grape, violet, and orchid. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of pomelo, cherry, butter, sugarcane, orange blossom, tangerine, and honey that were chased by hints of white grape, violet, peach, plum, grass, wood, and pomegranate. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of pomegranate, turnip greens, coriander, lychee, basil, and collard greens. Stronger and more immediate wood, white grape, pomegranate, grass, and plum notes appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging orchid hints and new impressions of minerals, turnip greens, coriander, spinach, collard greens, pear, lychee, basil, and honeydew rind. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, grass, spinach, coriander, wood, and honeydew rind that were balanced by hints of basil, turnip greens, sugarcane, violet, white grape, lychee, pomelo, and pomegranate.

The more I think about it, the more I come away with the impression that this was a very strange and awkward tea that had some rough edges that really irked me. It was a bit astringent in the mouth, and some of those vegetal notes came through in ways that struck me as being distinctly unpleasant. The nicely textured tea liquor and pleasant, clear flower and fruit notes kept it from being a total wash, but this tea did not make much of a positive impression on me. I found it to be a mixed bag with slightly more good than bad. A score just below 60 feels about right to me, at least for now.

Flavors: Butter, Cherry, Citrus, Coriander, Fruity, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeydew, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Plums, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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75

Okay, I’m finally back. This schedule is killing me. Anyway, this was my most recent sipdown. I had to spend more time with this tea than I planned because I was never able to convince myself that I had the best handle on it. Normally, Mi Lan Xiang does not throw me for a loop, but this one I struggled with immensely. I’m still not entirely confident about the numerical score I’m giving it.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, peach, orange blossom, sugarcane, and orchid. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and grass that were accompanied by subtler scents of geranium, spinach, and cannabis. The first infusion introduced stronger spinach and cannabis scents, though the spinach scent was the more dominant of the two. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of honey, peach, roasted almond, orange blossom, and orchid that were underscored by hints of pomegranate, butter, grass, cream, geranium, and cannabis. The subsequent infusions quickly coaxed out aromas of violet, pomegranate, cherry, plum, butter, and lychee as well as subtle scents of earth, wintergreen, and wood. Stronger and more immediate butter, cream, geranium, grass, and pomegranate impressions appeared in the mouth alongside new notes of minerals, sour cherry, wood, plum, lemon zest, violet, lychee, caramel, and nutmeg. I also detected hints of wintergreen, watermelon, spinach, and sweet potato. As the tea faded, the liquor settled around somewhat amplified spinach notes and impressions of minerals, butter, grass, caramel, and wood that were backed by hints of honey, violet, sugarcane, roasted almond, sweet potato, pomegranate, and lychee. Bizarrely, green bean and vanilla hints appeared just before the tea liquor ceased to yield much flavor.

There was a lot for me to unpack with this tea. It yielded the expected Mi Lan Xiang aromas and flavors in spades, and though I have not mentioned it prior to this point in the review, the tea liquor displayed nice body and texture in the mouth. Unfortunately, there were some odd, predominantly vegetal aromas and flavors that were also apparent to varying degrees from the get-go that never seemed to be fully integrated into the whole and came off as distracting in a number of places. Overall, I would say the good outweighed the bad with this tea, but in my opinion, it was still something of a flawed offering. I feel there is no shortage of better Mi Lan Xiang out there.

Flavors: Almond, Almond, Butter, Butter, Cannabis, Cannabis, Caramel, Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Cream, Earth, Earth, Fruity, Fruity, Geranium, Geranium, Grass, Grass, Green Beans, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Herbaceous, Honey, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Orchid, Peach, Peach, Plums, Spinach, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vanilla, Violet, Violet, Wood, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
eastkyteaguy

Why the hell does Steepster constantly double the flavors I list? I seem to be the only person this happens to consistently, and it does not matter how many times I try to fix it because nothing I do ever works.

eastkyteaguy

Why the hell does Steepster constantly double the flavors I list? I seem to be the only person this happens to consistently, and it does not matter how many times I try to fix it because nothing I do ever works.

LuckyMe

Yunnan Sourcing’s Dan Congs tend to be a mixed bag for me as well. For the most part they’re good but rough around the edges.

Mastress Alita

I think that is the first time I’ve seen the doubled flavors list like that… sure would be nice if we had any sort of upkeep/moderation for all the bugs around here, but alas… rolls eyes sadly

Jade

I have similar experiences with YS’ Dan Cong offerings. It’s either hit or MEH.

derk

Are the price points at least comparable to quality or is one taking a gamble purchasing dancong from YS?

eastkyteaguy

derk, I would say the price points are fairly comparable to quality with YS, maybe just slightly inflated. I know there have been a few stinks about the prices of their pu’erh increasing, but honestly, I don’t buy a ton of pu’erh these days, and when I do, I buy cheap stuff in an effort to unearth hidden gems or decent drinkers for sick days. That being said, the quality of their offerings will obviously vary both from tea to tea and year to year. I know I have seen positive reviews for this tea elsewhere, but it wasn’t for me. Decent to great Mi Lan Xiang is not all that difficult to find since it’s one of the Dancong oolongs that everyone seems to carry. What-Cha had a really nice one several years ago, and I recall liking one of the Mi Lan Xiang Verdant offered too. I even found one of the other Mi Lan Xiang Dancongs sourced by Yunnan Sourcing in the spring of 2017 to be better than this one. With regard to YS Dancong oolongs, I find that I tend to like their King of Duck Shit, Ling Tou Village Bai Ye, Wu Dong Ba Xian, Zhi Lan Xiang, and Cao Lan from year to year. The last time I tried their Da Wu Ye, it was really nice too. I know a lot of people like their Chou Shi offerings as well.

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77

I bought 50g off the original 1 kg brick. The pressed tea crumbles easily and is getting infused fast. Not much of a smell besides some vague decay.

The taste is dark and gloomy: decayed wood, old leaves, cocoa, muted dark chocolate, some undetermined expired spices. A barely perceptible touch of the honeyed sweetness mercifully enlivens this somber affair. Finally, this tea has a powerful and lasting aftertaste of stale dark chocolate and last-year leaves – for those who are into this kind of things.

This is decidedly not my kind of tea. Drinking it on on a cold, clammy November morning is coming uncomfortably close to the monastic mortification of the flesh and spirit.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Decayed wood, Spices

Shae

Love your description! This sounds like a perfect tea for Halloween.

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92

One of a few 2019 pu’er cakes I bought is “Ai Lao Secret Garden”, one that I missed out on last year as far as spring version is concerned, but I really enjoyed the autumn one. I will do a side by side tasting of the 2018 autumn and 2019 spring in the near future. However, based on this session – my first with the 2019 harvest – I’d say that it is less fragrant than the 2018 autumn, but more flavourful, more bitter, and with a stronger cha qi; more or less as one would expect.

Dry leaves smell very sweet and floral, with aromas of bell pepper, fenugreek, and forest floor emerging during the session itself. There’s more in terms of fragrance for sure, but unfortunately I couldn’t give the tea my full attention.

The rinse has a crisp grassy and savoury taste. Already the first infusion is much more flavourful though. It is still quite grassy, but also has a molasses sweetness with a touch of bitterness and a tart finish. The aftertaste is cooling with a very light smoke note, as well as some pear and spring onion flavours.

Second steep is definitely more bitter and woody. There are also new notes of nuts and fenugreek seeds, followed by a long aftertaste reminiscent of sugar, bread crust and coriander. Some other flavours I noticed include courgette and grapefruit around fourth infusion and anchovies (both in the aroma and liquor) very late in the session.

The liquor body is medium, with a very smooth, creamy, and mouth-watering mouthfeel – even though maybe not the selling point at the moment, it is not lacking either. The tea is still very young though, I am looking forward to tracking its development over the coming months and years.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bell Pepper, Bitter, Burnt Food, Coriander, Floral, Forest Floor, Grapefruit, Grass, Molasses, Nuts, Pear, Smoke, Spices, Sugar, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal, Zucchini

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
tanluwils

I had to assume Scott had a reason for showcasing this one from a place as unassuming as Ai Lao at this price point. I wasn’t let down either. I’m savoring the sample I have and am considered getting a cake of this truly unique tea.

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87

This is a fu made by a well-known Yi Qing Yuan factory. The golden flowers are clearly visible, which is while not essential is still visually pleasing.

This tea is not tightly compressed and can be broken off by hand easily. However, it does require some time to absorb the water and get going and its taste improves with subsequent steepings ( I had it Western), which you can get quite a few out of it.

The liquor is pale and the tea itself has a typical fu taste of a very light decay, metallic sourness, minerals, light berries, figs, tobacco and gentle melon-like sweetness. It produces a very long pleasantly sweet-and-sour aftertaste. The flavors are nicely balanced and complimentary. I enjoyed drinking this tea at different times and in different moods, i.e. the versatility is strong.

In summary, it is not a showy knock-out but a very reliable and solid performer for those of us who appreciate dark teas.

Flavors: Berry, Decayed wood, Fig, Melon, Metallic, Pleasantly Sour, Tobacco

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70

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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I had heard mostly good things about this tea and seriously considered blind-tonging the 2018 release based on reputation and price and wrapper design alone. Glad I didn’t! I must just hate this taste profile that includes smoke. Many people love it. To me, it tastes clearly of ashtray. Hot ashtray water. Tried brewing it stronger to see if I can at least feel some of the cha qi. The taste is stronger ashtray water, though. :tears emoji:

I am probably just spoiled, but sorry Yunnan Sourcing. This ain’t it.

Just read the 2018 product description. Seems the blend must have changed since 2012. Maybe the 2018 will therefore be better. Jinggu is a region I’ve liked. But this 2012 is bleccch. Really happy Andrew aka Liquid Proust sent this out as part of the 2019 starter kit so people can sample at low cost before commitment.

Rich

The 2019 certainly doesn’t have any noticeable smoke. Same for 2014. Those are the only ones I’ve tried.

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87

Gongfu!

This was something I got from a coworker – and I was kind of shocked how into it I wound up being because I’m sort of impartial towards osmanthus. Even more than enjoying the taste, though, this wound up being one of the most visually stunning teas I’ve had in a long time – especially for a dragonball!

Here’s my instagram summary:

Easy going, with strong floral, oak, and chocolate notes and a soothing and coating medicinal note that feels excellent on the throat on such a chilly day…

Long session – not sure what the steep total was. I did really push this one though and the steeps near the end were getting quite long in infusion time. I feel like, this last week, I’ve been really conscious of the way different tea has felt in my throat – both while sipping and afterwards. It’s not something that I usually pay this much mind, but this tea was very pleasant on the throat and felt incredibly soothing so what I was really doing in having these long steeps was drawing out whatever element of the blend was giving me that almost coating, nice medicinal feeling…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4yNOymA7yT/ (Seriously, so pretty!)

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agBRljcBMP8

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80

I’ll start my review off bluntly, the fragrance is better than the taste. Upon the first steep in the gaiwan, I noticed a scent of sweet grass. Despite this lovely aroma, the bitterness and astringency of the tea really turned me off. It took roughly 4 steeps for me to adjust to its temperment. The lingering aftertaste in the back of my mouth was incredibly dry. This is a pungent and robust green tea of Simao that can be infused many times. I believe my experience with this tea comes down to preference alone; therefore, I cannot give it a bad rating.

Flavors: Artichoke, Asparagus, Butter, Chestnut, Cut grass, Hay, Spices, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal

Flavors: Sweet, warm grass

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87

I was not feeling the best today, so I took out this sample I got from derk thinking it could be a good tea to cheer me up and relax. I think that worked to some extent, the tea kept my attention for several hours and allowed my mind to abandon some toxic thoughts.

My main takeaway about the tea from this session is that it indeed has a strong cha qi, not really of the dreamy kind though. It did help dissolve my thoughts, but didn’t really enhance the creation of alternate reality to replace them. The other thing I will remember this tea for is how much it reminded me of Dan Cong oolongs, more than any other sheng I can remember. In particular, I got reminded of Dan Congs of the floral/vegetal/buttery kind. Personally, I didn’t find the bitterness overwhelming at all and the astringency was almost unnoticeable among other characteristics.

The tea has a piercing aroma of sauna, peat, coriander seeds, wood, incense and a hint of smoke initially. Later throughout the session, I also picked up distinct peach and pine scents. The taste starts off bitter, vegetal, and crisp with a significant walnut flavour. Around steep 4, it gets more tart and floral, displaying notes of citrus zest, parsley, light smoke and meat. Aftertaste is sweet and cooling with flavours such as peas and honey. It has a good huigan and longetivity, as one would expect in this price category.

The texture is very viscous and oily, but the liquor feels light in the mouth nonetheless. After swallowing, there is an interesting milky mouthfeel and a slightly cooling throatfeel. As I mentioned already, the cha qi is strong and grounding. Early on, the sensation involves a pressure in the head and I can feel blood pumping in my face. Then there is about half an hour that I have almost no recollection of. I did meditate a bit and then I might have been sleeping but maybe not, I really can’t remember. After I came back from the high, my whole body was incredibly warm and relaxed yet alert.

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Citrus Zest, Coriander Seed, Floral, Honey, Meat, Parsley, Peach, Peas, Peat, Pine, Smoke, Tart, Vegetal, Walnut, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
derk

Hope you’re feeling better, Togo.

Something about this tea rang a bell for me. I bought a cake after having only one session and sending the rest of the sample packet to you. It’s interesting you said this puerh reminds you of a dancong; it did nothing of the sort for me, though maybe another year on record has transformed it. I look forward to breaking the cake soon.

Togo

I imagine it has changed faster being broken up than inside the cake, but I would be interested to know your thoughts when you revisit it. It’s definitely one of the best aged shengs I have tried. I reckon it probably rang a different bell for me than it did for you, but I have been coming back in my thoughts to yesterdays session, so it definitely left a mark :)

It’s crazy you sent me half of the sample you had, I am very grateful :)
I recently got more samples of aged pu’er as I am trying to explore the space and educate myself, so this fit into that objective as well.

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85

This Tie Luo Han was an interesting oolong and would have made for an excellent tea on a gloomy day. Upon the first steep, I noted a very distinct smell of cannabis. I chuckled as I happened to be sitting at my office desk. The liquor itself had an array of aromas including oak and coffee with hints of jasmine. The mouthfeel was clean and light. I oddly longed for the scent of pine to accompany this cup of tea I was holding. I imagined it would pair quite nicely. This all continued for several more steeps in my gaiwan with the smell of char fading. The tea moved into a lighter fragrance of orchid with a taste to match.

Flavors: Cannabis, Oak wood, Orchids

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62

I find this DHP much less interesting than the 4 year older one. None of its qualities really caught my attention, maybe with the exception of the bubbly texture.

It still has some charcoal aroma, complemented by notes of cucumber, old books, moth balls, and very light cannabis. Wet leaves, on the other hand, smell of metallic, roasted pear, and ash. It’s a sweet, but not very pungent aroma. The taste is muted and somewhat boring – mostly woody and sour.

Flavors: Ash, Cannabis, Char, Cucumber, Metallic, Pear, Sour, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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74

Sipdown and overleafed one. 6 and something grams. And my 85 ml gaiwan.

Dry leaf was vegetal, bit of tobbaco, astringent, little herbal.
Quick rinse and tobbaco disappeared, became more strong in astringent and vegetal notes. I do not know how much steeps and how long they were. But usually I counted some time between 15 seconds to 30.

First steeps were super astringent, then it turned to mellow, some notes of leather there. Following steeps were quite vegetal, but bit plain, nothing really distinctive. And then? It was just warm beverage.

I wonder if I steeping it wrong, or need some more aging. But I have no more left. But thank you Donatzsky for sample.

Flavors: Astringent, Herbs, Tobacco, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

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71

(Notes from 8/1/19)

I got this as a sampler from YS (20 g sampler)

This was the right tea to drink tonite. It’s an interesting tea…best for a late afternoon tea. However, I’m not sure I would order it once this sampler is done.

The flavor initially starts of very thin velvety chocolate, but then blossoms into a robust flavor of sweet toasted aromatic wood/florals with the barest hint of minerality; it’s like the aftertaste is where all the flavor lies.

It’s a weird combination that makes it a fairly well-balanced tea. And the finish is extremely clean. This tea is really easy to drink. And there’s a very faint hint of cha Qi, which given that I ate before the session is saying something.

Steepings are consistent and very forgiving. (5g tea/150ml water). I pushed this from 20 seconds (#1) to 60s (#2), 80s(3) to 2 minutes (4), then 3min (#5) and there was no astringency at 195-200 deg F. I’m sure this can be brewed full Western or Grandpa style with a large amount of leaf without it getting bitter.

But for me, the initial thinness of flavor puts this in the 2.5 out of 5 star range. The robust aftertaste and cha Qi saves it.

I’m going to try this again as full ChaZhou brew with some crushed leaves to see if it improves that initial thin flavor.

Notes from 8/14/19
Okay, tried this again CZ style with a bit of crushed leaves.
Overall, this is a much better tea with the crushed leaves. It’s a bit more robust than before.
This raises the overall recommendation of the tea.

Also tried steep stacking this tea. Much better this way…better balanced.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Wood

Preparation
5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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68

(from my notes 6/23/19 as I try to figure out pu-erhs)

Either my tastes or changing or I am a much more demanding tea drinker.
This stuff brews to deep dark black red. Even after 6 steeps, it stays this color. Brewed GF. 208 deg F. Short steeps 10s, 20s, 25, 35, 45, 60. (5 grams tea / 100 ml of water)

Amazing amount of cha Qi in this ripe puerh. I’m pleasantly surprised. The leaves smell of sweet cedar & moss with earthy undertones. It’s got a viscous mouthfeel but it’s not a dry tea. This tea has very little bitterness but has a bit of light astringency.

Overall, it’s a well-balanced, smooth, and quite drinkable tea although watch out for the cha Qi. I was quite buzzed before I finished the first 100ml. (maybe I should have ate first)

By the 2nd 100ml, I could feel the chi in my head, and then got that slight heat flush by the 4th. By the 6th steep most of that was gone and I can tell that the tea was going to wash out within the next 2 steeps

But it’s too well-balanced for me. There’s nothing to distinguish this tea in flavor and while I like a good bit of Tea drunkenness, I want to rewarded with a distinct flavor.

I was drinking a Four Seasons Oolong earlier in the day and that particular cultivar has amazing flavor so perhaps this just pales in comparison? Or maybe I’m not getting into puerhs like I had hoped.

Flavors: Earth, Malt, Tobacco

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

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73

(from my notes 7/06/19)

For the tea of the day, we have Emperor’s Yellow Tea.
The leaves feel like a cousin to silver needle leaves (which are soft and velour like) This one tastes of bittersweet cocoa with hints of orange/citrus and some florals. It’s an easy tea to drink with a mild viscosity reminiscent of very light roasted oolong, but parts of it remind me of a green/white tea.

Brewstye: Gongfu
Tea: 5grams water: 150ml
Temp: 185F
Time: 20s, 30s, 40, 60

The color of the tea brother is a golden, orange amber.
The wet leaf smells of chocolate, malt, cocoa, orange. Later infusions bring out slight florals.

The flavor ranges from bittersweet chocolate to cocoa & florals depending on the steep. There’s a mild viscosity.

Overall, I really like this tea. You need to be careful on the temperature. I brewed once over 185F and it came out just a tiny bit bitter. This really needs to be brewed closer to green tea temps.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Orange

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML
derk

Other than the temperature constraint, would you say this is similar to a Yunnan gold needle?

Jade

Yes. It’s about the same family. YS’s Imperial Golden needle might be a touch sweeter and have more of a malty flavor than the yellow, and there’s no floral notes in the YS’s Imperial GN. If you enjoy one, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the other.

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84

This is a very interesting green tea, which is quite different from the others I have had. I wasn’t sure how to brew it, but in the end I used 4g for this session in a 100 ml gaiwan with a fairly constant 80°C water. The infusion times were 60s/20s/30s/60s. It turned out well, but given the character of the tea, I think it can perform quite differently with other parameters.

Dry leaves smell of watermelon and popcorn, and in the preheated gaiwan also vegetables and spinach. Once wet, I get aromas of stewed carrots, beef broth, and gardenia flowers.

The first infusion is extremely smooth and full bodied with no astringency and only light bitterness. It tastes of sunflower seeds and broth with a slightly grassy finish. After swallowing, the tea is cooling in the throat and displays crisp sweetness with flavours of nuts and green apple.

Second steep has more astringency and lighter body. Higher notes are more present with a crisp profile and citrusy flavour. Aftertaste again has some sour green apple note, but is also reminiscent of copper, sand, and spices. Third steep is somewhat less interesting in this particular session, but it has a sweeter long-lasting aftertaste with a new melon flavour.

Finally, fourth infusion is again fairly distinct. It has a strong melon seed flavour and notable dryness, but overall is more savoury once again.

One final thing to note is that the tea has a strong cha qi for a green tea. It is relaxing and warming and makes me sweat.

Flavors: Broth, Carrot, Citrus, Drying, Flowers, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Meat, Melon, Popcorn, Sweet, Umami, Vegetables

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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89

210 Degrees F, Gongfu, 20 second infusion + 5

Wow! What a great tea session I had today. It made me remember why I love tea so much and cherish tea experiences like today. This tea is fantastic, but I don’t know if it was my mood, or the aging of the tea, or the way this tea was making me feel, but I loved this tea today.

Nothing sounded that exciting today so I was looking through some old teas and decided to give this one another shot. I don’t remember it being too remarkable the last time I tried it about a year ago. This one really knocked my socks off today. The smell of the wet leaves instantly drew my interest. First infusion – Dark brew coffee, then honey, a floral note and then a strong sour fruit note. Amazing. Such a well rounded tea with the charcoal roast, honey sweetness, sour fruity notes, and orchid/floral notes. Then minutes after drinking, I have this lingering honey sweetness and slightly sour peach flavor on my tongue. I doubt the year of aging benefitted this tea, but this tea really surprised me today and I will be reordering it.

Had to start pushing the tea after the 5th infusion, ended up getting 7 infusions by really pushing it. I was definitely feeling the chi from this after the 4th infusion. Wonderful tea!

Season: Spring 2018
Cultivar: Wu Yi Mountains, Xing Zhen, Cao Dun Village
Origin: Fujian, China
Picking: Large, Thick leaves
Elevation: Unknown

Eyes – Dry Leaf: Large dark brown twisted leaves
Nose – Dry Leaf: Charcoal, Heavy roasted stone fruits, dark cherries, honey
Nose – Wet Leaf: Honey, Musty Sour Candy, Cherries, Peaches
Eyes- Liquor: Golden/Amber Brown
Mouth-Texture: Thick
Mouth-Taste: Dark roast coffee, Honey, Sour peaches, Orchid
Nose-Empty Cup: Honey, Cooked Peaches
Mouth-Finish: Smooth with a lingering sweetness
Eyes-Wet Leaf: Large unraveling olive green/brown leaves
Effect: Happy

Flavors: Candy, Coffee, Honey, Orchid, Peach, Pleasantly Sour

Preparation
5 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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90

210 Degrees F, Gongfu, 20 sec infusions + 5

A very yummy Duck Shit. I was pushing infusions a bit because it felt a little weak. One of my favorite Oolongs. This one is very tasty and I enjoy the whole session very much but always find myself wanting a couple more infusions than the tea wants to give me. That could be because the tea is 1.5 years old. I get about 6 infusions. 9/10 Highly recommend

Season: Spring 2018
Cultivar: Ping Keng Tou village
Origin: Chaozhou, Guangdong Province, China
Picking: Large, Up to 3rd or 4th leaves
Elevation: 850 M

Eyes – Dry Leaf: Twisted large leaves, Dark Brown/Black
Nose – Dry Leaf: Charcoal, Wood, Nectarine
Nose – Wet Leaf: Butter, Sour Cherries, Charcoal, Tons of fruit
Eyes – Liquor: Golden yellow
Mouth – Texture: Thick and viscous
Mouth – Taste: Butter, Sour Cherries, Whiskey barrel
Nose – Empty Cup: Honey, Whiskey Barrel
Mouth – Finish: Sooth with a slightly dry finish
Eyes – Wet Leaf: Large unraveling olive green leaves
Effect:

Flavors: Char, Cherry, Peach, Whiskey

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85

195 Degrees F, Gongfu, 20 seconds for first 3 infusions, then + 5 Second infusions

This is my first Jin Jun Mei. I suspect that this isn’t a high quality Jin Jun Mei because these teas can go for a very high price and the picking doesn’t appear to be great. This tea was very affordable. Overall, this is a very enjoyable black tea, but I had to search pretty hard for tasting notes. My first impression was just, “this tastes like a good black tea”. Very Smooth finish. The slight sourness seems to give the tea just enough character to be interesting all the way through. I noticed that I started to perk up and feel pretty good after the 3rd infusion. Ive been avoiding this tea for about a year, but I think I will make this my morning tea for awhile. This is one of the better black teas I have in my collection currently. Tea lasted about 8 infusions.

Season: Spring 2018
Cultivar: Tong Mu Guan Village
Origin: Fujian, China
Picking: Buds
Elevation: Unknown

Eyes – Dry Leaf – Dark Brown, tightly rolled buds, very little light brown
Nose – Dry Leaf – Musty, Coffee, Light Floral notes
Nose – Wet Leaf – Sour Cherries, Rose Petals
Eyes – Liquor – Golden/Amber Brown
Mouth – Texture – Light
Mouth – Taste – Floral Notes, Rose, Light Sourness to it
Nose – Empty Cup – Burnt Honey
Finish – Smooth, Lubricating
Eyes – Wet Leaf – Golden Light Brown, Appears to be mostly leaves with a some buds.
Effect – Laid Back and Happy

Flavors: Cherry, Coffee, Rose

Preparation
3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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91

(from my tasting notes 7/7/19)

It’s no secret that I love oolongs and this one… this one is like a fine aged Scotch with a damn fine Cigar…literally.

It’s starts off with & sweet (light) smokey taste a roasted malt flavor hinting at dark chocolate with a touch of bitterness that doesn’t last long. It’s slightly earthy with tinges of oak, and has that touch of minerality that oolongs sometimes possess. This what happens if you take a roasted oolong and it had sex with an aged Puerh. (This is probably due to the multiple roastings over the course of its lifetime)

This tea is velvety smooth, complex, and the cha Qi goes straight to my head. I’m so glad I had this as an after dinner drink instead of on a partially empty stomach!

Brewing notes. CZGF style.
5g tea at 208 F at 30 seconds increasing by 10 seconds every steep until 1 minute.
Then an additional minute after than until 4 minutes.

Flavors: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Mineral, Smoke

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
derk

This has been neglected in my tea closet for a year. Looking forward to it once the rains come.

Jade

I’ve had it a number of times and it never disappoints.

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