Yang Qing HaoEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2004-dingji-yesheng-yqh
Flavors: Butter, Leather, Smoked, Sweet, Wood
5g, 90mL EoT hongni, Brita tap, boiling. cake edges so fair bit of dust, but not much bitterness at all. dry leaf is pretty classic YQH sweet mushroomy. No surprises. 1x rinse, didn’t time but pot has a pretty slow pour. wet leaf is also standard minty herbal medicinal, with something tart and almost acidic in there as well. I already had quite a bit of caffeine this morning, so that could be why, but this tea didn’t affect me much. Some warming and slowing, but people usually seem to report sedative feelings from this. Pretty good texture given water that usually thins out immediately. Taste was essentially linear. Really strong mushroom backbone. There’s hints of floral and medicinal notes occasionally, and some odd nuances similar to tomato and raw olives. Some sweetness in aftertaste, but not very strong. Middling session overall, and tossed into thermos after like 5 steeps total (pushed for long steep times). Thermos was nice texture, but basically no taste and a kind of honeyed edge. Hopefully subsequent sessions will be more exciting because I have quite a bit to work through…
YQH Longtuan Fengmei
Thanks to Tykal for the sample!
5.3g, 90mL gaiwan, Brita filtered tap, boiling
Dry leaf isn’t strong, or my perfume today is overwhelming everything else
Wet leaf: initially a hint of the YQH mushroominess, but then quite clean and the usual berry hint and slight smoke of mid aged sheng. Some darker woody aspect as well
5s: slight bitterness dissolving into a bright fruity sweetness. Something about that aftertaste reminds me of
finishing an orange or clementine, though it doesn’t stick for long
12s: some tongue numbing, grassy aspect to taste, but otherwise similar. Mostly mild. A bit slowing, and a bit of a throat aftertaste. Can see why Mattcha calls it cooling
25s: medicinal taste, but not especially bitter. Some sweetness in the throat. Same mild orange like finish in aftertaste.
Untimed: woody medicinal and some bitter notes. Also, agree with Mattcha’s honey and black licorice notes. This tea is more subtle and lighter in taste than the other YQHs which seem to fluctuate within a narrow spectrum. Bit of a heady feeling here.
KamJoved remainder since it’s midterm season. From what i remember, the slight melon note can pop up here and there, as well as some of the usual YQH mushroom, but in a much more delicate way than usual. I don’t know what the deal is with this cake, like if it’s because it’s young or what, but at moments, delicate and refined seemed apt for this tea, and that is not a descriptor I would use for a single other YQH I’ve tried. As Marco has reviewed somewhere, YQH taste tends to shift within a narrow range. But this is very different from typical YQH. Feeling-wise, it seems a bit unfocused and not too comfortable, but not sure what is just me vs. tea. I did eat beforehand, but had all the symptoms of an almost immediate, sharp blood sugar drop and had to take a break from the paper I was reading on the side since I couldn’t focus at all.
Overall I liked this tea. It tends to be on the lighter side, and notes are more subtle vs. the generally broad and darker YQH tastes. So do I like it enough to cake? Last September, I was quoted $260 USD from a different Taiwanese seller, before currency exchange, shipping, and logistics costs. At $260, I would cake it without hesitation, though it’s not really worth the hassle to me of doing so + given my backlog of other cheap teas to finish off, so I won’t. At the current $450 (90c/g) pricetag from Emmett, absolutely not. One likes what they do, sure, but this certainly does not feel worth near $500.
5g, 90 mL in gaiwan. Was stored w Qixiang cake ordered direct from Yang in Oct., so dry leaf still has some of the characteristic sweet particular to YQH smell, even after breaking up 100g or so into a separate tin and stored separately for a month or so now. None of the characteristic Yang storage is present in taste, which surprised me. I tried a Hou De stored YQH Yiwu Chawang recently, and that very much retained YQH characteristic storage tastes, so expected more of the same here. Tastes like an upgraded Qixiang. Couldn’t judge on effects because really short on sleep back when I had this and had been drinking through an oddball variety of things one after the other at the time.
Thanks to Tykal for the sample!
5.5g, 90mL gaiwan. Brita tap, quick rinse. There’s a persistent bitterness running throughout the steepings that completely squares with the one time I overbrewed the tea flowers “tea” from Little Red Cup Teas. Slightly sweet in the same bready and then distinctly sharply bitter way. The time away from Yang’s storage helped a bit, not much of the Yang storage note, and the mint/mushroom in taste are at a minimum. A search in CT server and on LP’s Etsy and seems others noted little to no astringency and bitterness, so my experience seems out of the ordinary. Perhaps due to the particular leaf of the sample, this was not great taste wise. Feeling seemed okay, bit lethargy and drowsiness that most YQH teas impart for me. Afterwards, had a bit of a stuffy heady feeling and then was not as comfortable. I probably could’ve continued steeping, but couldn’t stand the bitterness today and stopped around steep 6-7. Scared to try the Yehgu I ordered…
Wet leaf pics (https://imgur.com/a/zBBih18). A mix of colors here. Yabao, pu, and something else?
Thanks to R2 for the sample via Hou De!
2005 Yang Qing Hao Yiwu Cha Wang
7.2g, 90 mL gaiwan, 212f Brita filtered tap
Seems to be one of the less popular YQHs, so curious to see how it is.
Dry: a sour woodiness, maybe some leather and mushroom
In prewarmed gaiwan: stronger sour mushroom note
Wet: smoky, woody, slight sweet
8s: sour and bitter, resolving into mushroom initially and then light minty sweetness in throat, w/ slightly floral aspect. Reminding me of the jincha aftertaste from my session with that a while back. Slight heady feeling. Good texture.
8s: similar, stronger bitterness in an almost aspirin-like way. Stronger sourness stuck on tongue like the time I tried the 06 Double Lion, but neither as lasting nor as gripping. Aftertaste is the floral minty, but doesn’t hit throat as much.
16s: still good texture, woodier in taste. Bitterness initially like aspirin, but also like oversteeped jasmine tea. Very mushroomy in taste, slightly in aftertaste with the lighter floral backdrop
45s: pretty bitter in aged medicinal way + mushroom, w/ slight floral aftertaste. Not as good on texture.
1 min: dying off it seems. Drinkable, but not notable, classic aged sheng taste.
1 min.: definitely weaker
Thermos’d the rest. Was admittedly very tired and fairly distracted during today’s session with it being midterms and all, but this was disappointing and felt weak even though I went in with low expectations knowing that it’s one of the least liked YQHs. At any rate, current price from YQH price list of $340 for 500g is totally baffling given how it performs more or less like the jincha.
Thermos overnight: quite bitter, undertones of the sweet floral and mushroom, but very much caffeinated w jitters in effect
3.7/90. Taste is much of the classically Yang house taste profile, but pretty soft, some lightly pear like floral in aftertaste. Very approachable, not much bitterness or astringency at all until the kill steep. Good tea for a rainy night, but drowsy pausing feeling makes it not usually something I want to reach for. was surprised that the effect was still so strongly present at something like 60-75% of my usual ratio
Probably not going to write detailed notes for this one again since I did it once and lost them. That was my first time trying YQH, and it was a sample from LP. I was quite enamored by that inital session and caked it not too long after. Having tried it again yesterday, I definitely would not have made the same decision if I could go back in time. It’s not that I think this is tuition tea. This is enjoyable for its own reasons (qi is pretty pleasant, not as intense as I remember some other YQHs being), but downsides are the relative lack of complexity and change from steep to steep and needs pushing a few steeps in. Forced (I.e. pushed long steeps) bitterness doesn’t resolve to be as sweet as I’d like, but this is also in the context of some particularly sweet non-puer lately. I’ve been trying not to look at teas always in terms of cost and moreso context, but I really cannot wholly divorce the two. Taste and preference are subjective of course, but I really think there are better options at this price point. I would 100% not pay what I paid for it again, and I’m not sure I can recommend caking this even at the current sale price from LP, which brings it to about 50c/g. Agree with a tea friend that this is a very pretty cake though!
Now that I’ve sold everyone on this with my lukewarm review, if anyone ever finds themself interested in buying half a cake, I’m happy to split mine. LOL
Gongfu Sipdown (1597)!
Thank you Togo for the sample!
Though I debated saving this aged sheng for a more special occasion, my fondness of Yiwu and curiosity clearly got the best of me! It’s no where close to brewed out yet, so I’ll have to come back to it later tonight. However these first few steeps were so sweet and captivating and the absence of astringency was notable! The rich syrupy notes of pomelo and lemon practically dominate these infusions but find balance with the slight green edge, woodier undertones and soft notes of spices and camphor in the finish. I’m excited to see what the rest of the session will hold, and also somewhat scared to see how much a full cake of this might cost – tempting as it is to check!
EDIT I did end up finishing the session during a live stream with The Rabbit of Tea on IG and it was incredible! Shifted a bit away from being more fruity and instead leaned more into the smoky/spiced and camphorous realm with that same woodiness. Still tasted somewhat of sweet pomelo throughout, though!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CY9310DOdLN/
This tea is a great example of YQH productions. It has a pleasant taste profile which makes it easy to drink, soft mouthfeel, strong huigan and expansive aftertaste. Above all, however, it presents a strong, dreamy qi that is anything but aggressive. It is surely a feel-good kind of tea. Even with heavier brewing parameters, It also lasts for a while, easily surpassing the 200ml/g mark.
In terms of specific notes, there are aromas of whiskey and licorice root. I can’t detect much bitterness or astringency at all. The taste is a little sour and woody with notes of apple and straw among others. In any case, this is certainly not the tea beaming with complexity.
Flavors: Apple, Licorice, Sour, Straw, Sweet, Whiskey, Wood
This one is similar to other YQH productions, but also more pungent at the same time. However, neither the taste profile nor its texture is particularly engaging and I didn’t find the cha qi to be very pleasant either.
Dry leaves have an aroma of almond shells in a Chinese medicine shop, while after the rinse I can smell wood in a fireplace too. The taste is woody, herbacecous and somewhat sour. There are notes of sage, burned butter, nettle as well as a protracted camphor one. The aftertaste has both some bitterness and biting sourness.
Initially, the liquor is quite thin and astringent. Once the leaves open up, the mouthfeel is rather airy, creamy and a little bubbly.
Flavors: Almond, Biting, Bitter, Burnt Food, Butter, Camphor, Fireplace, Herbaceous, Medicinal, Sage, Sour, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wood
2007 Yang Qing Hao Huangshan Lingya
6.1g, 80 mL shuiping, Poland spring bottled water
Dry leaf has classic sweet mushroomy smell of YQH
Wet leaf has sweet, almost incense-y smoky smell along with the sweet mushroomy note
8s: a mushroomy, slight medicinal sourness with a slight sweet aspect that fades almost immediately. Slight minty cooling on aftertaste that recedes back into a mushroomy note
9s: a lightly woody medicinal bitterness, similar sourness to before, but much less of the mushroom. Something citrus/tang like to it. Leaves tongue dry, but a shifting sour taste to slight sweet aftertaste slightly in throat. Definitely tastes like something my mom would make me drink when I was sick as a kid. Calming drowsiness, slight warmth
9s: crisp woody medicinal taste. Slight bitterness, much lightened from before. Sourness also lightened. Astringent again, leaves tongue and teeth feeling dry. Much lighter aftertaste.
10s: initially an oddly chalky candy like taste a la Smarties. Sweeter overall taste, but retaining general woodiness and slight sour medicinal taste from before. Still drying on the tongue, slight sweet aftertaste. Slight warming. Caffeine is kicking in.
12s: slight dark fruity aspect, generic slight medicinal clean aged sheng taste otherwise. Still astringent
15s: lightly fruity, sort of generic YQH taste. Can’t really pick any notes out. Slight drying
17s: similar. Not really an aftertaste other than slightly dry tongue, but aroma in back of mouth and upper throat
23s: same generic mushroomy, clean crisp YQH taste
37s: a slightly plum note amidst the rest of the slightly bitter YQH slight mushroomy background. Slightly bitter aftertaste
37s: darker taste, slightly drying. Slight sweetness/floral aspect to aftertaste. Can’t quite find the words for it, but I’m enjoying it
40s: gentle sweetened profile. A little drying
1 min: light Chinese herbal medicine taste. Still drying
1 min. 30s: lightly plummy aftertaste, but taste not too interesting, though comforting. Slight warming settling in again
2 min: a medicinal, slightly plummy taste, though light. Slightly drying
3 min.: a light, very slightly plum note
5min.: much lightened. Will move to thermos.
overall: light warming, relaxing qi. Made me want to nap, but caffeine kept me unable to actually fall asleep. I expected to like this better based on other reviews/tasting notes, but the drying aftertaste of many teas really kept me ambivalent to this one overall, so if this were still for sale from YQH, wouldn’t be one I’d cake
2007 YQH Xishi Shenpin
7.0g, 100 mL gaiwan, boiling, complex syrup water
Dry leaf has a dark mushroomy smell
Wet leaf has taken on a minty herbal hint as well
7s: soft and minty, with a brothy aspect. Slight sweet aftertaste.
9s: wet leaf has a slight incense like aspect. Muted bitter taste. Slight warming, relaxing
15s: still a muted woody base. Similar slight warming and relaxing. Slight sweet, crisp aftertaste
23s: slight medicinal bitter with a mushroom hint. Sweet aftertaste, slight numbing in mouth, slight warming mostly in back and back of neck. Slightly drowsy
32s: medicinal bitterness. Slight sweet aftertaste. Relaxation and warming
20s: soft and rounded woody taste, with a slight sour medicinal note. Slight sweet aftertaste.
30s: comforting medicinal profile. Slight sweet aftertaste but fades almost immediately
45s: a sour, slightly bitter medicinal
30s: a bittersweet mushroom
1 min: slight bitter, herbal, medicinal
2 min: much stronger bitter than before. A coating bitterness lingers in aftertaste. Slight warming.
2 min.: bitter mostly receded. A sort of hollowed mushroomy taste. Slight warming.
3 min: slightly bittersweet.
5 min: not too much taste
20 min.: a tart, almost bitter and bright fruity. Will thermos the remainder.
Overall: This particular tea made me feel too tired to complete work but also too caffeinated to fall asleep. Thus, this was probably the wrong choice when I was supposed to be diligently preparing for exams, leading to overall none too pleasant connotations when I struggled on my primary midterm this morning. Shh, let me scapegoat this tea in peace. Was interesting to try, but didn’t quite command the current $/g ($2/g) for me. The cake price is especially hard to argue for when you can get similarly interesting offerings from Yang for half the price or lower (though apparently YQH has had erratic price shifts somewhat recently). I’m not sure if I would’ve caked prior to price increase, but I certainly would not with the current pricing.
2006 YQH Tianpin
7.1g, 100 mL gaiwan, 212f, complex syrup water
Dry leaf has a dark aged herbal mushroomy smell
Wet leaf smells of slight mint and dark fruity notes
8s: tart, fruity aspect, and a slight brothy aspect with slight medicinal bitterness. Heating and relaxing. Sweet light fruity juicy (almost pineapple like) aftertaste.
10s: more medicinal bitter with sweet aftertaste. Slight cooling in mouth.
12s: a spiced medicinal. Slight drying. Sweet aftertaste that moves slightly to throat.
18s: lighter than before, with a slight mint edged sweet aftertaste
45s: darker and stronger. Astringent. But overall nice. Seems like this might need to be pushed on steep timing either from the tea or the water (TDS was 75 when measured)
1 min.: general herbal medicinal profile. Complex syrup water probably at play, but light sweet aftertaste is lasting and pleasant.
1 min.: general aged mushroomy herbal taste
2 min.: stronger bitterness, slight astringency and itchy throat
3 min.: something like a stray cherry skin note amidst water. Not much taste otherwise.
5 min.: soft woody base. Will thermos remainder
Overall: seemed to be lacking in much qi for me. Not the most exciting tea to begin with, and a rather poor value proposition when $/g ($1.60 at time of writing) is taken into consideration.
2007 YQH Jin cha
7.1g, Brita filtered tap, 212f, 100 mL gaiwan
dry leaf: dark herbal, slight mustiness
1x 10s rinse
wet leaf: barest hint of smoke, aged sheng dried fruits
5s: stronger smoke and woody aroma in wet leaf. bitter initially with hint of mushroom. Bitter in that medicinal sort of way. Aftertaste is crisp and floral immediately, almost perfumey, before shifting to something seemingly like either mint or kale (in that dry leafy green sort of way)
7s: very strong bitterness vs. previous cup, leaving tongue slightly dry before floral aspect moves in and quickly shifts to an arugula/kale like edge. the floral edge is really quite pleasant. I can’t stand the later steeps of oolongs that start to obtain the soapy florals, but this is that intense floral without the soapiness. aftertaste is concentrated in the front of mouth, but slight in throat/back of mouth. If you’ve smelled Diptyque’s Do Son before, this floral reminds me of that in some way lol.
9s: more subdued bitterness. upfront taste is lighter. Aftertaste is lacking. Not much in the way of florals, only a light mint/vegetal edge that quickly disappears. Nothing lingers like before.
12s: Bitterness w/ just a slight sweet edge, almost a honeyed floral. Slight floral reappears, and disappears almost as quick in aftertaste. mouth drying is rather disappointing and unpleasant when not accompanied by the previous burst of florals.
23s: a mellowed honey before a light bitterness appears and disappears almost immediately. I can’t remember ever having a tea that went from 100 to 0 so quickly
30s: same as before, but even lighter
40s: same as before, but less honey, more bitter
1 min: the same boring light sweet w/ barest hint of bitter. I’m sure there’s more interesting bagged tea out there. Capping this session for the thermos, and probably won’t update. I wouldn’t bet on this becoming anything interesting.
No real qi to speak of, which I thought might’ve been due to water, but same as AllanK’s review below seems to confirm that. I had this on an empty stomach, and I’m shaking as I’m typing this, so the caffeine is definitely there.
I know this is basically the cheapest tea in Yang’s lineup, but wow is this disappointing overall. I’ve never been so impressed by something as early as steep 2 (post-rinse) to being as disappointed by the remainder. AllanK’s review seems to suggest longevity, but I might as well have stopped by steep 3 from this session. This was a single session purchase for me, and I doubt I’ll order more. I suspect this might lend itself to grandpa style brewing better, so it’s more consistent overall. Steep 2 was incredibly impressive to me, which is what makes this overall so disappointing. Like the brilliance of fireworks, and then poof, gone. If JHCW felt like a musical composition, this is a magic trick, and then everything disappears. If this review sounds dramatic, I promise it’s because the tea was too. what in the world?
2006 YQH Blended Brick
212f, mix of Brita filtered tap and Poland Spring, 100 mL gaiwan, 6.0g
dry leaf smells lightly dark and mushroom earthy
1x 5s rinse, which smells almost like a shou. Very clean, but also musty and earthy in that sort of shou way. Something crisp and sweet on the edges. Leaf material is pretty choppy in my single session sample.
5s: aged sheng woody medicinal. Easy drinking and leaves a sweet, crisp aftertaste that fades.
10s: slight bitterness in additional notes from previous cup. some weird and very offputting element that I can’t really describe is present as well. A light sense of the tea lingers in throat and mouth
32s: very pretty burnt amber color. stronger bitter woody medicinals. bitterness slightly lingers.
1 min: dried woody medicinal w pill-like bitterness, same as before. not a strong aftertaste, but generally tea just feels lingering in mouth, which is interesting. slight warming in upper body (back, upper arms, and light sweat on forehead)
1 min 15s: less interesting. Continued woody sticks w tiniest hint of florals and sweet in ending, w the sugared floral like aftertaste that sits in throat.
1 min 30s: bitter woody medicinal again.
2 min: similar
2 min 30s: bitter and less complex than before. drying in throat
3 min: fading a bit. weakened bitterness, emphasizing the darker woodiness
4 min: boring, but if this taste profile with crisp wood and light sweetness in the edges was in a cheap daily drinker, I would tong immediately. easy easy drinking, all the way
5 min: bittersweet water lol
10 min: very light wood, w touch of water.
tossed into thermos, but not expecting anything much. I’ve also realized all my thermos’d teas are starting to taste the same (not in a bad way though… I don’t mind), so I can either figure out how to deep clean the darn thing or just go with it. will not update unless it blows me away for whatever reason
overall: some warming effect. Taste is nothing memorable, but when it was available for purchase, not too expensive (relative to YQH, that is). Doubt I’d reach for it often if i owned a brick due to taste profile. wish I hadn’t lost my notes for Jinhao Chawang, bc in some parts, this brick gave a similar aftertastes, but much less refined, less sweetness, and stronger bitterness than the JHCW.
This is probably the first aged tea I encountered that can match up against the best examples of young sheng I’ve had. It’s just a shame that it is so expensive. I like the taste, although it really only shines after swallowing with its neverending huigan and a unique, sort of expanding and numbing, mouthfeel. The liquor texture is likewise among the best – slick and full bodied. Cha qi is pretty heavy, but not extremely aggressive. The energy seems to be mostly focused around head and spine.
Shortly after I got this sample, there was a noticeable humid storage aroma reminiscent of dungeons / castles, more so than in the other YQH teas I got. Now, after almost a year in my storage, this note is basically gone though. The aroma is crisp, warming and nutty with notes of milk and incense instead.
The taste is very sweet, woody and tart initially. Texture wise, the liquor is bubbly and smooth. There is a mild camphor sensation as well as some astringency. In the second steep, the flavour profile gets quite heavy with notes cedar wood, celery root, and vegetable broth. Mild bitterness appears in the very thick and full-bodied third infusion. The aftertaste is sugary sweet with a hint of vanilla to it.
There is definitely more to uncover here, the flavours are basic yet unique in some way. For example, for 12th steep I wrote: “woody with a twist of coffee and soil”. If I get another order from YQH and it is still available, I may grab a cake.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Cedar, Celery, Coffee, Earth, Milk, Nutty, Sugar, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Vanilla, Vegetable Broth, Wood
I drank through almost my entire 50g sample before I started to ‘get’ this tea. Maybe it just needed an extended period to acclimatize though. At this point in time, the tea no longer feels like it absolutely needs more aging before one could enjoy it, even though it could definitely benefit from further fermentation. It doesn’t seem to possess a hard-hitting qi, but I actually found it to be pretty defocusing at first and body-warming overall.
The first few times I tried this tea, I found it to have a boring, bitter taste profile with a relatively light body. The latter still holds, but it’s not as problematic given that the mouthfeel is not as one-dimensional as I thought. The liquor is very soft and slick, with a bubbly texture to it that makes it an engaging drink despite the light body.
Another point of note is that, yes, the profile is not very complex, but it’s actually quite pleasant. Vegetal and fruity notes dominate early on, while woody ones take the center of the stage in the second half. Clearly, the bitterness forms the foundation though, and medicinal notes are just about peeking through. Notable flavours include dried dates and orange. The finish is somewhat biting, and the aftertaste throat-cooling with a decent huigan as well.
Finally, let me speak to the aromas a little. In the gaiwan I can detect mushrooms, forest, cream and grilled red peppers. The empty cup scent is pretty interesting too with notes of spiced rum and raisins.
In conclusion, I must adjust my initial impression of the tea. Given the friendly price, this is actually a pretty good semi-aged offering from YQH, especially if it can continue to improve in the years to come.
Flavors: Bell Pepper, Biting, Bitter, Cream, Dates, Dried Fruit, Forest Floor, Grilled Food, Medicinal, Mushrooms, Orange, Raisins, Rum, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood
I bought a blended brick through Emmett, and he was kind enough to send me a free sample of this tea. I brewed the whole sample in my 120ml jianshui pot, and got a fantastic result. Some of the strongest qi I’ve ever felt along with mouthwatering aroma and a robust, thick body. I don’t have the budget for a whole cake of this, so this review is written based only on the experience I had with my sample, not bearing in mind the price.
Flavors: Overripe Cherries, Plum, Raspberry, Wood
This is my second review of a YQH production, the first one being the highly acclaimed Te Ji Pin. Compared to the other YQH teas I’ve seampled this one has the strongest bitterness which is definitely a plus. Other than that, the most notable aspect is the face-melting cha qi.
The aroma is not very strong, but there are hints of vanilla beans, fermented fruits, dry earth, and wood. The woodiness present in all YQH samples I tried is fairly similar, but I am not going to speculate why that is exactly.
First infusion starts with a tart, medicinal liquor that is a little drying and has a distinct buttery taste. Second steep bring more umami, woody, and fruity flavours. Peach and roasted barley are among the most prominent ones. The aftertaste is very sweet and displays a brown sugar flavour.
The texture is decently active and smooth from the get go, but around steep 4 is when it gets really thick and oily. The rest of the session is fairly consistent – this tea definitely brews out over a long period of time.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Earth, Fruity, Medicinal, Peach, Roasted Barley, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Umami, Vanilla, Wood
This is my second session with this tea. I wanted to give it at least two sessions and compare my notes before I wrote up a report. This tea is outside of my normal purchasing range. One thing I wanted to know was do I have the palate to distinguish between really good tea and OK tea. This one has a wide following as being very good to excellent, so I ordered a sample.
When I smell the dry leaves, it smells nice. I like this scent profile in teas. It is rich and dark and has that dark dried fruit aroma that I find appealing in tea. There is also a little smokiness in the dry leaf aroma.
The wet leaves smell more of younger sheng camphor and the smoke comes forward more. The dark fruits retreat. Smelling the lid after the first rinse is interesting. The lid retains the dark dried fruits smell and a little smokiness, but there is also a very bright and light aroma. Some might call it citrus. It’s like a very sweet lemon/lime. OK, full disclosure, it smells a little like Sprite to me. I’ll never get to join the inner circle of tea aficionados, now. Should have said lemoncello ;-)
First infusion — flash steeped for seconds in a clay shui ping. Liquor is amber. Taste is very sweet with no bitterness. I also get no immediate astringency. There is a bit of a cooling menthol effect. Coats the mouth. My lips feel as if I have lip balm on them.
Second infusion – 6 seconds. Liquor darkens slightly. High pour produces bubbles that last for over 30 seconds. Lid of pot smells of camphor and smoke now with some leather. Wet leaves smell the same. A little bitterness in this infusion. Mouth watering effect. A little astringency. Back of throat feel – slight. In the mouth, tea feels soft and medium thickness. Mouth becomes thicker and stickier after swallowing. Aftertaste lingers slightly bitter.
Third infusion – 8 seconds. Lid smells again of dried dark fruit and light smoke and leather. Leaves less camphor and more smoke. Liquor remains a darker amber. Very slight bitterness this time compared to the second infusion; however, it is more astringent. Menthol cooling effect is pronounced. Sweet but tempered by that slight bitterness. There is a new flavor, but I can’t name it. It is kind of malty but that isn’t quite right. Mouthfeel is still thickening. First two infusions I felt a flush of warmth, but assumed that was simply from drinking the hot tea. Now I’m getting a small amount of feeling in my head like I’ve just awoken from a nap and I’m a little out of it and groggy.
Fourth infusion – flavors and aromas remain unchanged. I’m getting more head feelings.
We pause for a word from our taster — I am using a 70 ml clay pot. I’m drinking alone. That means, I’m drinking almost two shots of tea every infusion. The first one I drink hot, the second has obviously cooled. The second cooler cup often is more flavorful and intense than the first hot cup of each infusion. This also means I’m usually getting lit up faster with a strong tea. Now back to our program…
Fifth infusion (tenth cup - my God!) – smoke is almost gone from wet leaves. Lid has that bright note again. ‘Bout dropped the lid. My fingers are tingling now. Hands feel tight. For the doubters out there, cha qi is a real thing no doubt about it. I’m up to about 15 +/ seconds now. It takes me a couple of seconds to fill the clay pot with my gooseneck pot. The pour takes another 6 seconds. Tea is sweet and smooth and no bitterness present. No astringency on this infusion. Still a little bit of smokiness in this. I was given some samples of Xiaguan recently, and it reminds me of their flavor profile at this stage. This infusion is easy going tea…on the tastebuds, that is. Inside my body, it’s a party.
Sixth infusion — cups 11 and 12. I have to call it here. I’ll continue using these leaves later this evening and see how far I can take it. Taste is getting a little sweeter as one would expect with leather and smoke fading. A little of the young sheng camphor is present again, but it isn’t overpowering. I do not get any hui gan sweetness with this tea. The sweetness is all in the initial taste for me. I do get back of throat sensations and some mouth watering and a thickening coating inside the mouth. I am literally getting somewhat bleary-eyed. Menthol cooling remains strong. Lips feel slightly buzzy like I’ve taken up my trombone and played after not playing for years. You old brass players know what I’m talking about.
My opinion only, but this tea is an all-star in the cha qi category. I’ve been sitting here now for about 10 minutes, and I’m floaty, relaxed, and a wet noodle. If you’re looking for a tea drunk tea, this one will fit the bill. This one also tasted “good.” Most of the young green sheng taste is gone, but not completely. It’s getting there on the aging. But is it worth around $2 a gram? For me, no. I have experienced teas that are similar for far cheaper and that actually had more complexity in the taste. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try this tea. It was a nice educational experience.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Dried Fruit, Leather, Smoke, Sweet