Yiwu Mountain TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This sheng has a very calm energy to it which compliments the thick yet soft liquor of the tea. The tasting notes are a bit more ethereal and less easily defined than other teas I’ve steeped as of late. Just a hint of something jammy and stonefruit like in the undertones but with top notes that remind me of the flower and hay fields back home in the Prairies in the hot, sweltering summer heat. It feels like this pu’erh is on the cusp of being something really, really distinct and delicious. I don’t think it’s quite there just yet, though…
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cd1Dr8LucIZ/
2.5g, boiling, thermos. 7s rinse.
from what I remember, a nice clean young sheng taste and sweet apricot-tinged aftertaste, though aftertaste did not linger anywhere to the degree that LP’s peach village maocha did. Died pretty gracefully, if somewhat suddenly, after a couple mugs. Definitely worth it for the price, which was $0.13/g for me after factoring in shipping and currency conversion costs.
I was disappointed to find that my stomach cannot seem to handle young huang pian either. A pity. I know HP is puer, but the way some people talk about it makes it seem gentler and lighter, at very minimum, without going into the criticisms “old-school” puer drinkers have against it. I’ll have to explore kombucha one of these days so I can run through my remaining young sheng samples.
Steeped this one up to enjoy while playing some Pokemon Legends Arceus afternoon – any other tea friends pick it up? I’ve been playing a lot of it since Friday and I basically haven’t been able to put it down since…
This sheng is very nice though, and honestly it’s making me glad I’m taking a brief pause from the game to take a moment of calm and also get some caffeine in my system! It’s soft at first with gentle sweet floral and citrus notes. However, as my tea session is progressing those lemon notes are gradually getting more syrupy and intense. It’s complimented by a slight brothy and green edge and undertone. Definitely loving this, but no surprises given my natural penchant towards yiwu sheng…
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZUtEgzOc3T/
Afternoon tea session during a meeting earlier this week. Sometimes I feel bad drinking really nice teas over meetings because I never take good notes on the tea because, understandably, I’m taking notes for work. However, it just feels and tastes so good in the moment. Plus there are only so many hours in the day to brew Gongfu…
But my God, this is such a soft and smooth sheng! Gentle and building body with sweet flower nectar and delicate peachy nectarine and citrus notes. Love how round it tastes, and the hint of bitter greens in the finish followed by more sweetness in the back of the throat! Mmmm!
Can you not just feel how cozy this session was!?
If you are wanting to throw $500 at a 200g cake of tea, this is an excellent choice but a tad too rich for my blood. Very glad I tried the sample tho. I’ve drunk a fair amount of young WanGong and it’s one of my favorite tea areas. This is my first with a bit of age (Xishuangbanna I’m guessing) on it. Big camphorous forest flavors and deep woody notes…exactly how you would expect this tea to age. Big stoner qi with all the muscle relaxation and sweating you’d expect from such a tea. It’s very costly but considering there are vendors selling 2016 teas of unknown origin for almost as much it’s not out of line. If you share my love of border tea and can swing it I recommend sampling this and any of the teas on this site.
It’s a good shou with a surprisingly thick texture. A lot of berries and wood, a bit of cherry. The aroma is really nice and I only wished it translated more to flavor, which is a bit muted but smooth and round.
Agree that it benefits of a hard brewing. Did a couple of soft steeps and it went too subtle and mineral. Most likely my bad.
Flavors: Berries, Cherry, Wood
If you are an Yiwu fanatic chances are you will eventually encounter the teas sourced by Philip Lee. He provides amazing products at a reasonable cost. His Chawangshu gushu was easily the best 2019 tea I drank. Regarding this tea, it’s a Guangzhou stored Yiwu blend and at $.60g is among his more affordable semi aged teas. When I first sampled this tea back in the spring it didn’t make an impression one way or another. It tasted generically like a clean dry stored adolescent sheng of no particular distinction…a few months in the crock has made a world of difference. Yesterday I needed a quick afternoon steep and this was the first thing I grabbed. Less than excited I smelled the wet leaves and was greeted by notes of basswood honey, dried porcinis and decaying leaves and wood. Just the thing for a dismal November day right? The flavors almost perfectly mimic the aromas in early steeps while in later steeps sweet oily thickness takes over. This stuff really coats the throat and has a lingering sweetness. The dry storage has allowed some floral top notes to remain while allowing some earthy aged flavors to emerge. Sadly I’m not getting much in the way of plums but perhaps this is a few years off. The qi is of the gentle tingling relaxing variety and starts in the chest and oddly spread next to my kneecaps. This tea definitely punches above it’s weight. I’m considering caking this but already have a fair amount of semi aged and fully Yiwu. I have little doubt that in 10 years this stuff will rival most 20 year Yiwu available today. If you want some solid semi aged old arbor Yiwu that won’t require a second mortgage this tea is definitely one to try… and his 2005 huang pian runs rings around any other hp I’ve tried so you should sample it too.
Japanese drink tea every day.
This tea is the best tea to drink every day.
I drink it every day by extracting with hot water or cold water.
I hear that Chinese people don’t drink the huangpian of tea very often, so it is just cheap, very tasty and delicious.
I ordered 400 g after taking the sample.
Here’s the memo I took.
Boiling, 80 ml, 2 g, 20 , 30, 45, 30 seconds
Use a small amount of tea leaves and a long extraction time.
Hot tea in hot season.
This method produces a complex taste and a good aftertaste.
So then 90 seconds, 60, 120, 210
It was so tasty that I couldn’t help drinking it.
This raw Puer tea has a soft taste that you feel when you take it in your mouth and a mineral taste that remains behind your tongue after you drink it.
The roots of Gushu trees are very deep, so the taste of minerals is very comlplex and impressive .
This tea is very good even this kind of tea.
I think it’s their conscience to sell these teas.
Second tea from my Yiwu Mountain order that I’m dipping into – first from the sampler though, since the 2019 Spring one was a freebie sample. Steeped Gongfu of course, at work though so not in my yixing pot. That’s ok though – a gaiwan works just fine!!
4.6g/70ml gaiwan – 200 degree water.
First five infusions were shared with a coworker, so I didn’t drink all of them – but I had infusions six to twelve all to myself! This was a nice session; I only drank three of the first five infusions, but after that I was already feeling fucked up. Definitely, in my opinion, a tea where the emphasis is on body feels/qi and less so on taste. Not to say it didn’t taste pleasant, because it did – but very silky, smooth and mellow without much of the sweet or fruity notes I would say often define this region. As it progressed though, around steep six/seven, I was getting more sweetness in the infused cups as well as a very light bitterness. It was a good contrast of the two flavours, actually.
I actually liked the 2019 maocha better; it was more flavourful and sweet/fruity with more body to the steeps. Both teas were lovely, but if I’m choosing between taste and body feels, I lean more heavily towards wanting a good taste. Just a personal preference.
Will absolutely, and happily, finish this tea off though!
This was a free sample from my Yiwu Mountain order – and it seemed like a very nice selection. Super sweet and fragrant smelling; definitely had the dry leaf aroma of tangy lemon curd! It was making me insane wondering what it would taste like, so I brewed this one first out of all the the teas from that order – in my Yiwu yixing pot, of course.
This one steeps a really lovely pale yellow/gold colour, but with a taste that is much stronger than the infusions would seem to indicate. There’s a lot of tang and sweetness of a baby sheng, without the bitterness. Sweet and tangy lemon notes are 100% what I’m picking up from this tea; so many different sorts of lemon related things spring to mind throughout the session: lemon candies, lemon curd, lemon sherbet…
It’s a very nice tea/session!
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsYvm9mdew0
Flavors: Lemon, Lemon Zest
Most aged huang Pians I’ve tried are nice but I usually get about 4 steeps before it’s cashed. This stuff gave me 14 and that was with pushing it. I got all the nice figgy tobaccoey tamarind flavors I expect but I get more than I expected. The only deficit I noticed was a slight sour note. Perhaps I pushed it too hard or perhaps the storage got a little dry although as it was shipped directly from Yiwu I rather doubt that. I plan to add a bit of humidity and try again in a few weeks. The qi is nice and relaxing as well. Definitely glad I got a decent sized chunk. This vendor is exceptional. I’ve tried about a dozen teas and every one was excellent, from the ripe gushu to the semi aged and young teas every one has been a winner in its category. Right now I’m enjoying a 2017 Gedeng gushu maocha which isn’t listed here. Gedeng being my fav of the 6ftm this is probably the best young Gedeng I’ve tried.
My first sheng by Yiwu Mountain Tea. They specialize in generally quite high-end productions, and while not exactly cheap at 50¢/g, this represents more of an entry-level tea in their lineup. Like the 2016 Yiwu Gushu Ripe I reviewed previously, this sample was also acquired through The Tea Guru. More so than the ripe, this tea had quite the dank nose to it when I received it, which is the main reason I let both of these samples sit for close to two months before sessioning them. Upon taking the sample out of my pumidor I must say though that any traces of the humid nose were gone and all I smelled was a perfectly clean aged aroma.
Before writing these notes I actually sessioned the tea twice and finished my 20g sample. For the first session I used 8g in a 120ml silver teapot and the second 12g in a 180ml teapot made from clay from Dehua. The results were interesting, so I will start with the silver. I did a short rinse for under ten seconds followed by a rest of five minutes or so. The aroma of the wet leaf was again clean like the aired out dry leaf. Creamy, woody aroma. I followed up with a total of a dozen steeps, the timing for these 15s, 15s, 12s, 15s, 18s, 20s, 25s, 35s, 50s, 80s, 2 min. and 3 min.
My face grimaced in disgust upon taking my first sip. It is almost ironic that while I seem nearly immune to the wet pile taste in shu pu’er, I have practically an allergy to even the slightest whisper of humid notes in sheng. This tea had a certain sourness in its initial steep that did turn me off. It wasn’t nearly as bad after that first sip, but my first reaction was that of disgust. Getting past the initial reaction, the general taste was sweet, mineral, sour and astringent. Big, creamy body.
The sourness persisted for one more steep, but after that it was more or less gone from the tea. In direct sunlight and a glass cha hai, the color of the liquor appears a gold with an orange tinge to it. In terms of strength the tea seems to brew up slightly bolder than your average Yiwu. Practically all of my steeps in silver came out tasting very mineral, which I’m generally not a fan of and wasn’t a fan of here either. The tea showed hints of developing dry fruit in the background at various stages and had an inherent drying quality to it that kept building to intense levels over the course of the infusions. This is honestly one of the most drying sessions I’ve had. The initial bit of slight sweetness quickly drops out and doesn’t return to the tea until toward the very end. What surprised me actually given the region and storage is that I got some bitterness in the middle steeps. Not terribly much, but it was there and sometimes persisted long after swallowing.
In terms of qi, I did feel the tea for a short while in the early-to-mid steeps and even felt a bit drunk for a bit, but this quickly passed and I didn’t really feel the tea after that aside from some heatwaves later on. My notes have very few mentions about the body and only that it’s medium, so it must not have been particularly noteworthy. I do specifically mention there being nothing noteworthy about the texture. Around the eighth infusion the flavors began tapering off, but at the point where I stopped the tea was still going and I imagine it could have carried on brewing out mainly sweet for at least a few more infusions still.
Moving on to the clay, I gave the tea a slightly longer rinse, maybe fifteen seconds, and while there was still a touch of sourness in the very first cup, it was not something I’d describe as nasty or even something I’d recognize as humidly stored. Very clean overall. This time I only did ten-ish infusions, but I was using a larger vessel and drinking alone as opposed to with company before. I flash steeped the tea a round or two less than with the silver pot, my steep times mirroring more closely how I typically brew tea in my reviews. The tea showed less signs of slowing down at the point which I stopped than in my first session and gave the impression it could have gone for many more rounds.
Brewed in clay, the tea was way more bitter. My surprise at the tea being slightly bitter in silver turned out to be an amusing comment as it turns out there was a lot more where that came from. I found the texture, body and mouthfeel to have significantly improved, while the prevailing mineral taste in silver was nowhere to be found. While still not an overly sweet tea, there was definitely more sweetness to be found this time around and it did a decent job complementing the bitterness. The bitterness did eventually start to decrease in the middle steeps making way for more sweetness and even some aftertaste and huigan, only to start climbing steeply toward the end.
In terms of taste the tea resembled very closely my experiences with most semi-aged teas I’ve tried. It was bitter, sweet, sometimes a touch fruity or woody. Nothing particularly interesting or engaging. In one steeping I did get some tartness and even some actual vanilla in the finish. I did experience some of the bitterness in the late steeps turning to sweetness, as well as some cooling and a slightly medicinal character to these late infusions as well. More interesting than the taste itself is that I would not have been able to tell this apart from a dry-stored tea.
For me the most notable thing about this session was the qi. Compared to my earlier session with silver where the qi kind of fell off after the first few infusions, this time it remained present throughout the session. I first noticed it in the second cup and by the third while still subtle it was starting to become more heady. After this it became more meditative in the mid steeps and really relaxed my muscles. The feeling of calm it offered here was the best thing about it over these two sessions. After this the qi unfortunately turned more aggressive and the relaxing effect turned to pain in my muscles. This was accompanied by heavy perspiration.
While the mouthfeel and body had improved from my first session, neither was still particularly outstanding. In the past I used to put less emphasis on aroma, but recently it’s started to become a more and more important factor of a truly outstanding tea for me. The YMT ripe I reviewed was exceptionally fragrant for a shu and it contributed greatly to its final verdict. This tea on the other hand I found quite lacking in terms of fragrance. Young teas can often get a pass for not being particularly aromatic, because they haven’t necessarily had time to develop it yet, but in a semi-aged tea like this it starts to reflect negatively on my overall impression of it. Perhaps that aroma is still coming, but for now both the empty cup smell and the aromatic compounds perceptible in the mouth and nose are rather underwhelming.
In conclusion, the differences between the two sessions were interesting. Personally I preferred the latter session brewed in clay as the mouthfeel and body were enhanced and there was more qi. The intense dryness was absent as well. Whether these differences are a testament to differences between silver and clay, inconsistency in brewing pu’er, or variance in human perception, is difficult to say. Thing of note is that disregarding the first infusion or two I found this tea virtually indistinguishable from the dry-stored semi-aged teas I’ve had. My understanding is that Philip Lee of Yiwu Mountain Tea has A/C where he stores his tea, so while stored in Guangzhou, the storage is an example of a fairly controlled humid storage. Those adverse to humidly stored teas honestly shouldn’t be too worried as the storage notes can be brewed out of the tea with a slightly longer rinse or maybe two shorter ones.
Other thing I’d like to point out is that I highly doubt I could have pegged this tea down as an Yiwu in a blind tasting. Honestly to me it tastes similar to the vast majority of semi-aged teas I’ve tasted, but admittedly my experience in terms of aged teas is still fairly limited. Perhaps for the same reason I still find it quite hard to gauge the quality of these teas as none of them have particularly impressed me. I think this one still needs more time as it hasn’t really developed any interesting characteristics that make it stand out. Perhaps there’s hidden potential in these leaves, but aside from the capricious cha qi I found it a fairly standard tea — definitely not worth the asking price for me, not that I was buying anyway.
So a bit of a letdown after the spectacular ripe they produced, but I will have to sample a couple of their more premium teas at some point in the future. To me this came across as a step above budget Yiwu productions and I recall even the product description more or less mirroring that sentiment, but the price is more of an upper midrange / lower high-end production which many would likely be unwilling to pay. The controlled humidity has certainly sped up the aging by at least a few years while still retaining most of the original character of the tea, though, and those seeking an authentic Yiwu to age with a bit of a head start but which doesn’t break the bank might find something here.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Drying, Fruity, Medicinal, Mineral, Sour, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla, Wood
This is my first time trying one of Yiwu Mountain Tea’s offerings. My sample was acquired through The Tea Guru based in the UK. Perhaps it’s because I knew these have been stored in Guangzhou, but when I received my sample I felt like I was picking up just a touch of dankness in the aroma, so I let the sample sit in my pumidor for close to two months before this session. When I finally took it out and gave it another smell the aroma had totally cleared up. Very clean, no dankness whatsoever.
Thankfully I remembered at the last minute that Philip Lee’s personal recommendation is to leaf this tea heavy — 1g/10ml. I’m often a bit sceptical of brewing parameter recommendations unless I’m very familiar with the producer/vendor and while I personally tend to leaf shu fairly heavy already (~13g/160ml) my experiences with the few times I’ve tried 1g/10ml is that most teas tend to get a bit too much for me. That being said, this being Yiwu and supposedly higher quality material I figured if there’s a tea that can pull it off this would certainly be a candidate for it. Thus I ended up using 12g in my 120ml silver teapot. Regular porcelain cup for this session.
I used a large intact piece of the cake along with some loose bits to round out the weight. I did have to break up the big chunk into smaller ones to fit it in my pot however. The material itself looks very fine and the compression is just about perfect — tight enough to keep everything together but loose enough to break without too much effort. I gave the leaves a slightly longer rinse at fifteen seconds and about five minutes to rest and soak up the moisture before I got to brewing. I did a total of thirteen infusions, the timing for these 14s, 14s, 14s, 12s, 17s, 20s, 25s, 35s, 50s, 80s, 2 min., 3 min. and 5 min. respectively.
From the moment the hot water first hits the leaves, they fill the room with the aroma of cherries and wood. The leaves smell perfectly clean and brew up a beautiful reddish-brown auburn color. Taking my first sip, the nice texture is what immediately captures my attention. Soft and velvety, gliding almost effortlessly down my throat. Body is medium for now. The flavors are very forward but gentle, as you’d expect from an Yiwu. Very clean from the first infusion. There’s a touch of sweetness. Some caramel, berries and nuts. Quite nutty actually. Very elegant, clearly an Yiwu. This is darn good so far. My mouth is left mildly sweet. I can already say based on my first cup that this is one of the best ripes I’ve had, but let’s not be hasty.
The second infusion brews up the same nice auburn color but now deeper and darker. The tea is definitely stronger but still very palatable. There’s a lot more sweetness. The berries have become more prominent. Not sure if they lean more toward red berries or cherry. The body is thickening. Cha qi is quite strong and there’s a strong physical sensation at the back of my mouth. The mouthfeel is incredibly velvety. The aftertaste is sweet, carrying both notes of light, elegant wood and cherry. Incredible tea.
The third steep is a shade darker. I nearly can’t see the bottom of my cup anymore. The strength keeps increasing, but remains palatable. The mouthfeel has improved. That takeaway alone makes me write in my notes that this is a bomb of a tea. The aftertaste is long. One sip is enough, making it there’s no rush to have another since you are still experiencing the tea. Cha qi remains potent but not overpowering. The flavors are cherry, wood and sweet. Maybe a touch of red wine. The mouthfeel is to die for. There’s a very active sensation at the back of my mouth. Virtually no bitterness to this steep or any other steep.
Managing to shave off a couple seconds for the next steep, the tea remains strong, but I’m losing a bit of body and texture as a result. The flavors remain the same: sweet, cherry and wood. This seems like a good point to start experimenting with extending the brewing time a little. As a result steep five is indeed bold, but gentle. The texture has improved, but does not match its prior peak. The body is very substantial, though. Thick, thick broth. Likely the thickest ripe I’ve had. Thick and heavy. The taste is woody and slightly chocolaty. Sweet, so, so sweet. The aroma is also very thick and I can literally taste the tea in my nose when I breathe out through it. This is easily the most aromatic shu I’ve ever come across.
Steep six still brews up strong, still brews up dark. Fast huigan. Crazy thick. I’d say the mouthfeel has improved slightly. The taste is even cleaner now than before. The taste hasn’t evolved terribly much, most steeps have retained the cherry wood vibe, but it remains very enjoyable nonetheless. Just as I say that we see a small watershed moment starting with the seventh infusion. We start losing the base notes now, which in turn reveals a lot more of the top notes — which this tea has — especially those berries and other familiar notes from the very beginning like the caramel and the nuts. This was one of the standout cups of this session. So aromatic, so bright, so delightful. After a brief seeming absence, the familiar wood and cherry notes we’ve come accustomed to reveal their presence in the aftertaste.
The nuttiness is emphasized in the following cup. It is so very nutty now. A really strong cherry aroma permeates in my mouth if I aerate the tea. Such a strong aroma. Crazy. Steep nine still retains the big body and heavy feeling in the mouth. In contrast to before, the taste is now more subtle, mostly present after you swallow. Very elegant and refined. Like drinking liquified diamonds. The texture is sublime right now. Like massaging your tongue. This tea is so good and sensual it’s honestly a bit arousing.
Infusion ten is again back to more immediately flavorful. The tea is predominantly sweet now. For such a late steep it remains substantial, i.e., interesting and rewarding. For the first time I’m picking up some minerality. The familiar wood and cherry notes are still there in the background. I’m possibly picking up a hint of vanilla now as well. The texture changes again in the following infusion. It now feels like a bumpy, textured surface. The aroma has also changed and I’m tasting deeper, darker wood now. Very refined. Like the cherry before, the woody aroma permeates in the mouth. I also notice a catching sensation at the entrance to my throat. Such an incredible tea.
Here I took a long break from the tea as I had to go run some errands. One or two hours later I returned back to the session, but either the tea didn’t like the break, was starting to wind down, or I just wasn’t feeling the session anymore, but the last two infusions I did ended up being kind of lackluster. The color of the liquor did start to fade noticeably, so I don’t think it was just me, but it could be a combination of factors. The second brew after the break did seem to revitalize the tea a bit more, but by this point I’d had enough to draw my conclusions and as stated I simply wasn’t feeling the session anymore. Allegedly this tea steeps into infinity, but I can leave testing that to another session. I seldom take long breaks in the middle of a session. Should I perhaps rinse the leaves briefly to kind of re-prime them before I resume? I vaguely recall some people recommending something like that.
And there you have it. I went into writing these notes thinking I could keep them brief as describing this tea would not be too difficult to boil down to some main points, but it is such a special tea I quickly realized it deserves a more thorough rundown even if I might end up repeating myself in the process. I was very enthusiastic about this tea and my notes reflect that. Going in, I had not read or even seen any reviews for Yiwu Mountain Tea productions, so I honestly did not know what to expect. Their sheng productions are mainly very high-end, I’m talking multiple dollars per gram, but price alone is not a guarantee of anything and on top of that this is their first ever ripe productions so I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Man, was I in for a treat.
This is honestly the best ripe pu’er I’ve had up to this point, surpassing even the Hai Lang Hao 2017 Yi Shan Mo at least in its current state. I expect the Yi Shan Mo to continue to improve with age and years down the line who knows which one will come out on top. The Yiwu Gushu does not only offer superb texture and mouthfeel but is also the most fragrant shu pu’er I’ve ever come across. It displays all the characteristics you’d expect from an Yiwu tea and the material is clearly high quality and processed to perfection. That being said, I can see the charm and quality of this tea being lost on an inexperienced drinker as its qualities are not necessarily apparent. If you are someone who has tried other ultra-premium ripes before and not noticed a significant difference between them and more affordable productions, this tea is not going to convert you. It is the opposite of bold.
Halfway through the session I rushed to place an order for a bing. Thankfully after two months The Tea Guru still had the tea in stock. I have no idea how much he and Philip in China have of this tea in stock, but if you are curious I would order a sample sooner rather than later. I think the recommended ratio is spot on and I would not skimp out on the leaf and use a smaller vessel instead, because you’ll be getting lots of infusions.
Unlike most ripes, which tend to have a more grounding cha qi, I found the Yiwu Gushu more towards slightly energizing but nothing too hyper. It also wasn’t too taxing on the body like some old tree and lighter fermented material can be. Interestingly I also didn’t experience the typical laxative properties of shu pu’er, but that could have always been just a fluke. Too hard to say anything definitive based on just one session.
I honestly couldn’t recommend this tea any higher. At ~35¢/g the price is not just fair but possibly a bargain. There are obviously other premium ripes around this price point so sample all the ones that interest you before making purchase decisions. The aforementioned Yi Shan Mo is sadly sold out (Yunnan Sourcing has only samples left). Another tea I would recommend is Crimson Lotus’s Storm Breaker. That tea is another king in terms of texture, but I recall liking it far less in terms of taste. Yunnan Sourcing’s Yi Wu Rooster is a more budget Yiwu alternative, but at two thirds of the price of the Yiwu Gushu I’m honestly not sure if the small saving is worth it for the huge gap in quality.
But that’s all from me. I do have a sample for one of YMT’s more entry-level sheng offerings, so expect a review on that soon.
Flavors: Berries, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Mineral, Nutty, Red Wine, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood
This is by far the best young tea I’ve ever had…and at $5 a gram it should be. Being an Yiwu fanatic I had to see what all the rage about Mansong is so I steeped the whole 10g sample. I’m immediately greeted by a strong oily background and notes of cedar and fennel. No astringency. It tastes older than the stated 6 years and has had clearly impeccable storage. A wave of relaxation washes over me halfway through the first steep and continues to grow throughout the session. The flavors remain fairly constant through the steepings which is fine because they’re great and I get 20 steeps from this. While the flavors are awesome, the real winner here is the qi. The muscle relaxing euphoric effect rivals that of 1950s Pu Tian Gong. If scientists isolated the agents in this tea and learned how to manufacture it I think they could produce a great safe painkiller/antidepressant. After drinking this I remembered that I needed to take a 2hr drive to Pittsburgh to pickup some speakers, which was a bummer because I just wanted to stay home and meditate or sit beside the local waterfall as this tea put me in a very meditative mood already. Now being a country boy I get easily agitated by Pittsburgh traffic but this tea caused me to laugh instead of curse at it. 12 hours after consuming this tea the calm meditative mood persisted and I still had zero neck pain. (Neck pain from a bicycle wreck is a constant in my life). If I had Bill Gates’s (the computer guy, not my grandfather the diesel mechanic) money this would be a daily drinker. As it is I’m grateful to have sampled probably the finest Yiwu tea that a westerner can get his hands on.
Some good complexity of taste for such a young raw. Initial few steeps had a bit of a smokiness to it that disappeared later. Overall it was quite sweet with not much bitterness and relatively little astringency. Later, longer steeps were beautifully full-bodied and sweet with strong returning sweetness and pleasant menthol aftertaste.
Here, have a copy of the notes I took for myself while I was trying my sample of this tea:
10s: Petrichor and gentle bitterness. I can smell honey and light woodsiness but not taste it. Warmth and a bit of roughness in the back of my throat. Immediately relaxing, which I desperately need this morning. Texture is soft.
15s: A bit less bitterness, a bit more woodsiness, otherwise pretty much the same. Oh, and texture is getting less soft and more oily – I’m starting to feel it coat my mouth. There’s not much flavor, it’s just a very calming experience. I think I could fall asleep to this tea pretty happily.
20s: Mostly same but getting sweeter, especially around my teeth afterwards. I shouldn’t have started this one before work, wish I had more time to push it.
25s: My ears just popped. That was weird. Maybe unrelated. Anyways, getting a bit more astringency I think. No, wait, my left ear definitely feels warmer inside. What is going on here.
35s: I think I just hit a floral note? Both my ears now feel like they’re filled with warm liquid, and my mouth is getting a bit fuzzy. It’s naptime, but I’m hella late for work. This is pretty decent tea, and I have erred.