41 Tasting Notes

88

Oh Lordy, what a value! Buttery, sweet, and cooling, the Bangbao village is exactly what I look for at the mid-price range. There is a pungent, floral profile, with just enough kuwei to give it a little edge and keep my attention. I find myself appreciating the olive-oil like viscosity of the soup, the hints of vanilla, and the enduring after-fragrance that this tea leaves. Another beautiful cake from YS.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Vanilla

jschergen

Appreciating all the notes you’re putting out there for Yunnan Sourcing productions. Really under-reviewed teas!

Ginkosan

Yeah I got 250g of samples with my last order… I also couldn’t believe these weren’t more reviewed, I appreciate your appreciation!

jschergen

Yeah, seriously. I’ve had maybe five or six from 2014, but without Hobbes and Jakub regularly reviewing them it’s a pretty unsurmountable task to sort through their stock!

Ginkosan

From 14, winners so far are Bangbao, Yi Bi, and Da Hu Sai. Just one man’s opinion though, I don’t have nearly the breadth of experience as Hobbes and Jakub do….

jschergen

I don’t believe I’ve tried any of those. If you get around/have interest in autumnal cakes, I’m a fan of the Daqing Gushu from the autumn.

jschergen

Oh and these notes should be most helpful for deciphering the 2015 harvest.

mrmopar

Have either of you tried the Da Si ancient arbor from 2013? It’s stellar.

jschergen

Yeah, I have a sample. It’s definitely good.. Also had it on the episode with Scott.

jschergen

OK. Just drank the Dasi again, back to back with the Da Qing Gushu. The Dasi is clearly the better tea, more depth etc. I don’t regret my Daqing cakes as they’re still great value IMO, but I’m increasingly more tempted by the Dasi.

Interestingly, it probably came the closest to reminding me of Crimson Lotus Tea’s Slumbering Dragon. Hard to say based off one session and because I’m just going off my memory, but big thumbs up to the Dasi.

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83

Is this really from near Jing Gu? As Hobbes has written, neighboring fields in Burgundy can have different terroire… Its really quite low and savory, not very much at all like its overtly sweet and floral neighbor. There are notes of tobacco, barn-straw, wet forest floor and damp moss. There is some smoke and it seems a bit rough around the edges, not overly so though. A faint whisper of Jing Gu’s pungency lingers in the background. I am enjoying this, it’s quite unique, and there’s just enough thickness and sweetness to float the savory/nature qualities described above. I think some age would do this cake a lot of good.

Edit: having this again, from a Yi Xing this time, it seems to have more Jing Gu vanilla and additional sweetness. Weird what little changes can do to the experience of a tea. Still plenty bitter, punchy, viscous.

Flavors: Straw, Tobacco, Wet Moss, Wet Wood

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88

Note: I may edit this review later because I’ve only had it once and wasn’t paying terribly close attention. That said, I really enjoyed this little guy. Nice and thick, balanced bitterness and sweetness, notes of apricots and flowers with some honey under-tones. Lasted quite a while, very nice looking leaf and bud-sets.

Edit: I’ve since bought this cake and designated it as a work daily-drinker that I store in my cube. It performs quite solidly as such, in fact I fear that it’s a little too good for a desk tea, but there’s no going back now… DHS is remarkably dense, mouth filling, and crisp. As I drink it more I’m actually noticing a fruity taste that is closer to bananas or honey-dew melon than apricot (which is one of my more common pu-tasting notes). It’s strong, but I’m not afraid to overbrew it, since it tends to stay balanced even if its bitterness goes up.

Flavors: Apricot, banana, Bitter, Honey, Honeydew, Jasmine

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80

I’m a little enamored with this cake, it’s just SUCH good summer-time drinkin’. Thick, sweet and pungent (if not a little straight-forward), it is suggestive of ripe peaches and meadow flowers. Very sweet, but picks up some bitterness towards the end.

Flavors: Floral, Peach, Vanilla

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90

I didn’t order this sample, but I got it anyway! Even though Yiwu isn’t usually my cup of tea, I’m inclined to make an exception for this one. It does indeed have the typically floral Yiwu profile, but good lord is it strong! There’s medium-high bitterness, plenty of body, and is intensely focused and structured. There’s also a bit of dry-fruit texture, though not as much viscosity as other Yiwu’s I’ve had (this is sort of the opposite of Scott’s GFZ), I’ll probably be inclined to spring for the cake at some point…

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Lemon, Straw

tanluwils

I’m sad I didn’t try this while the price was reasonable. A tea really has to knock my socks off once it’s over $0.25 per gram…

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90

Whoa! Sooo buttery! This is very good Bi Luo Chun, though it’s not the delicate stuff you’d get from more the Eastern provinces. The leaves are huge, the soup is thick and sweet. Notes of fresh bread, grass and orchids.

Flavors: Bread, Butter, Freshly Cut Grass

tanluwils

I’ll keep a look out for that one this spring! Have you tried Scott’s 2015 Teng Chong Hui Long Zhai green tea? It has that enjoyable pu’er bitterness. Fun reviews, by the way!

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85

Scott Wilson pulls through again, with another budget-friendly puer from ancient and wild trees. The first thing that I notice is the musky orchid aroma, then the smooooothe, oily body with a base of solid bitterness, and lastly a lingering aftertaste that reminds me of buttered crackers. It may sound weird, but the XHS reminds me A LOT of Scott’s Yunnan Bi Luo Chun… maybe its from around the same area? I can’t really fault this tea… it might not be as much to my personal tastes as others, but its strong, fragrant and interesting, with cha qi for days.

Flavors: Bread, Butter, Lavender, Orchids

Doug F

My Yunnan Sourcing orders are getting more and more frequent—and I guess this one should go on the wish list.

Ginkosan

Yeah Scott is basically a drug dealer… that said, I probs won’t be getting this one. As noted above, it’s just a bit too smooth and flowery for my tastes. I can see someone who’s really into Yiwu liking this one though…

Doug F

I enjoyed the interview with Scott on the teadb.org site. It reaffirmed my respect for his business.

tanluwils

I like that combination conceptually: “baked bread, butter, lavender, orchids”. Have you tried Scott’s 2015 Da Hu Sai? I’m curious to hear comparisons since their base material come from neighboring villages.

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78

This is a strong, interesting tea at a good price-point. Last year, it was very green, aggressive and bitter. This year it’s mellowed somewhat into a lower, thicker, but still powerful and bitter tea. I’d say that it has notes of wet, dark straw, fermenting fruit, and sweet tobacco. As you can probably guess, this tea may not be for everyone, but I find the flavor profile outlined above to be to my tastes. It is enduring, while being both savory and sweet. I can certainly see it continuing to age very well.

Flavors: Smoke, Stewed Fruits, Straw, Tobacco

mrmopar

Agreed as this is a good one. Mang Fei is known for its potent brew.

Ginkosan

Ye I’d love to see how it ages. Too bad I’ve already killed the better part of a cake this year…

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75

I like this tea. It’s certainly strongly in the “daily drinker” category- not super exciting and a bit watery, but it checks all the sheng-pu boxes that are important to me: texture, huigan and qi. It is sweet and mellow, perhaps a bit tannic, with notes of roses, dark straw, and stone fruits.

Flavors: Rose, Stonefruit, Straw

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95

I recently sampled this, gotta say that the quality is undeniable. Soup is thick, dark, sweet, reminiscent of decayed wood, mushrooms, and wild honey, and has a distinct mahogany finish.

Flavors: Decayed Wood, Honey, Mushrooms, Oak

jschergen

Cool. I have a sample of this incoming. Looking forward to it!

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