2017 Yunnan Sourcing "Suan Zao Shu" Old Arbor Raw Pu-Erh Tea Cake

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Apricot, Bitter, Bright, Camphor, Dry Grass, Drying, Effervescent, Forest Floor, Hops, Moss, Pine, Plants, Sweet, Warm Grass, Banana, Bark, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Eucalyptus, Flowers, Herbs, Honey, Metallic, Milk, Mushrooms, Nuts, Peach, Peppercorn, Peppermint, Powdered Sugar, Spicy, Straw, Tannin, Umami, Vegetal, Alcohol, Celery, Floral, Licorice, Vegetables
Sold in
Not available
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by derk
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 oz / 100 ml

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3 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I sat reading and clicking and deciding between puer samples (from kind and generous derk, thank you) for about an hour and half today. I loved diving into everyone’s notes. Reading and “loving”...” Read full tasting note
    92
  • “Had my yearly review at work the day I had this. I left work in a good mood and this tea made my day even better. Dry leaf is beautiful. Smells of apricot and honey-powdered sugar. Warmed leaf...” Read full tasting note
  • “Despite having only one session of this tea (thanks derk for the sample), I will remember it very well for its incredibly strong and long aftertaste as well as the unique energy. Unfortunately, I...” Read full tasting note
    86

From Yunnan Sourcing

Suan Zao Shu village is one of the most remote villages in the Jinggu area, taking nearly 2 hours from Jinggu town to arrive there. The winding dirt roads stop about 5 kilometers before you arrive and the remaining distance must be traversed by foot. Suan Zao Shu village lies at an altitude of 1800 meters and is home to tea trees ranging in age from 50 years up to 400 years. Our Suan Zao Shu tea cake is made from tea leaves harvested 200-300 year old tea trees in the Li family tea garden.

Suan Zao Shu tea is very strong in flavor, aroma and cha qi. The flavor is that of fruit with a honey like sweetness and a touch of sour, as well as having a bitter and savory edge as well that adds to it’s depth. The aroma is hard to describe, brothy and mushroom-like. This tea has very strong mouth-feel, returning taste (hui gan) and the cha qi is a bit stupefying (in a good way). The brewed leaves are mostly dark olive in color, large (in scale), thick and stout stemmed.

Stone-pressed in the traditional manner.

Wrapper design by Marichka Turanska

400 grams per cake (7 cakes per bamboo tong)

40 kilograms in total

This tea has been tested in a certified laboratory for 191 pesticides, and is within the EU MRL limits set for those 191 pesticide residues.

About Yunnan Sourcing View company

Company description not available.

3 Tasting Notes

92
392 tasting notes

I sat reading and clicking and deciding between puer samples (from kind and generous derk, thank you) for about an hour and half today. I loved diving into everyone’s notes. Reading and “loving” backlogs on Steepster feels way less stalky than other social media… the tea leaves keep moments relevant and timeless — at least until any particular selection is all drunk up and gone.

I went with this one because it felt important but still available to buy… some of these that will be gone once I drink them feel a bit more intimidating. Sacred.

Warming leaf smell of dewy fungus, moss, forest trees.

1. First steep was more of a rinse. Is it a rinse I drank, or a steep I didn’t rinse? Pours golden, medium translucent. Smells like lichen, with a freshness that calls up midwestern woods walks. Tastes light and bubbly, refreshing on the tongue.

2. Mild hops and pine coming off the leaves. Tastes like apricot. I pushed this steep to 30 seconds and got the tiny-good bitter of fruit skins. Cha qi already creeping in during the second steep, you kidding me? Outside with a fire going, and everything just popped. Birdsong, the orange tree that tried to die on me now flowering… being alive. Water sparkles, fire, the squirrel that just hail-maryed out of a tree. Incense. Life so glorious when it’s simple. Everything else gets to shimmer and this tea just keeps on being tea… the last sip suddenly smoothed, and the feeling while swallowing was luscious, yowza.

3. Wet leaf smells like laying in the grass a day after it’s been cut. Moist and dry, both. Clean and hazy. Third pour is more of a light caramel color. Getting warm… put the fire out, sweatpants off. Peach skin, hoppy bitterness (if I knew my hops better maybe I’d identify one… I love citra so much, but this isn’t citra), the liquor feels quite wet but then leaves substantial dryness in its wake.

4. Smell of the leaves is just really comforting, like a shirt you haven’t worn in a while, and it kind of smells stale, but loves you up and wraps your bones anyway. Unexpected tiny hint of smoke on the nose, huh. Bright-bitter in the mouth.

5. Smell feels like we’re on the same page now, this tea and I, familiar and indistinct… though I’m quite warm, I may need to go inside… yes, inside feels cooler. Refilled my thermos cause this gon’ be a while, methinks. Not much new: hoppy-bitter, drying, and effervescence persists, like beer.

6. Little bit of freshy-basement on the leaf, like green plants over-wintering down there. Easy drinking now. My teeth kinda tickle, though.

7-8. I left one of these steeps really long, pulled a whiff of shengy camphor out. Teeth still tickling. Kept riding this for a while… started petering out at 14ish steeps.

This felt comforting and friendly. It didn’t take me for a ride so much as it came along on mine. A really lovely sheng that I am so happy I chose today.

(Sometimes putting a number on these little shits feels really wrong. But also: compulsion.)

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Bright, Camphor, Dry Grass, Drying, Effervescent, Forest Floor, Hops, Moss, Pine, Plants, Sweet, Warm Grass

Michelle

I lol at ‘feels way less stalky’ but then I started thinking at the wealth of tea information on this site and how ‘stalky’ you could get by reading it all. I like reading old tea notes and learning.

beerandbeancurd

Me too! I will admit to a low level of anxiety at the thought of Steepster just poofing into thin air someday… the knowledge and experience here feels precious.

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1575 tasting notes

Had my yearly review at work the day I had this. I left work in a good mood and this tea made my day even better.

Dry leaf is beautiful. Smells of apricot and honey-powdered sugar. Warmed leaf reminded me of freshly made honey-sesame candies. The rinse was bright, softly pungent, fruity with apricot and also possessed aged florals.

The first steep was light but left a spicy and fruity finish, something like red fresno chili peppers and peaches, straw. I sat with that for a minute and realized I was also tasting sichuan peppercorns — floral and citrusy — which I’ve only tasted once before in a yellow tea. The aftertaste was already cooling and prominent with cream, peaches and powdered sugar. Delicate strength came to mind with the first steep.

Second infusion, a thin bitterness spread across my tongue on the sip, while herbs, gentle forest floor and something similar to tannic redwood bark fleeted through. A light, rapsy throat astrigency developed, leaving my throat feeling very warm and full. This was followed by a vegetal, unripe peach skin aftertaste. Then the throaty astringency crept up to the back of my tongue and morphed into the feeling of eating a green banana or a peach that hasn’t had its fuzz removed. It felt like everything happened on the swallow.

The third steep was intensely cooling throughout my body but also warming — an impression of peppermint mixed with eucalyptus and Saigon cinnamon. Metallic, mouth-watering. Light milkiness to the body and aftertaste.

With the fourth infusion, I found myself paying most attention to the tea’s floral-mushroom aroma. Bright straw taste with mellow meadow florals, somewhat savory, umami. Tingling, ringing tongue. The aftertaste was more metallic; my active imagination noted it as drinking liquid aluminum. How could that be enjoyable? I don’t know but it was! Still that intense spicy warming and cooling sensation that I’m becoming addicted to. It’s a quality in sheng that I just find so damn pleasant and intriguing.

The energy of the tea fit so well with me. I can’t describe it beyond invigorating and smooth with my head above the clouds and a desire to have my hands working the earth. After a few weeks of procrastinating, I finally planted the remaining native shrubs that had been sitting in pots for far too long. I came back inside many more times between planting and watering the entire garden to continue with this tea.

Beautiful. For the current $0.31/g, this is a tea worth trying. Added to my cake list for sure.

Flavors: Apricot, Banana, Bark, Bitter, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Eucalyptus, Flowers, Forest Floor, Herbs, Honey, Metallic, Milk, Mushrooms, Nuts, Peach, Peppercorn, Peppermint, Powdered Sugar, Spicy, Straw, Tannin, Umami, Vegetal

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86
971 tasting notes

Despite having only one session of this tea (thanks derk for the sample), I will remember it very well for its incredibly strong and long aftertaste as well as the unique energy. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy its taste profile and mouthfeel that much.

The smell of the dry leaves is very nice, mostly floral and quite pungent. After rinsing the leaves, the aroma displays notes of gasoline, forest and stewed vegetables. Yet more new scents emerge from the liquor in the empty cup. Apart from the usual honey note, there is a cinnamon like spiciness.

The taste is initially somewhat milky, vegetal and herbaceous. The most prominent note is eucalyptus I’d say. Later on, I found the tea to be more robust with a strong metallic quality to it. Flavours like tree bark, chewing gum emerge, as well as a light licorice bitterness. Now, the aftertaste is where this tea excels, as I already mentioned. It start off with an alcohol and sour notes and then transforms into more vegetal and spicy qualities. Later steeps have some bitterness as well, a bit like celery leaves.

As for the mouthfeel, that was a bit of a disappointment. It is quite slippery, powdery and bubbly, but overall unremarkable. The liquor is very beautiful to look at, it is super clear and golden. Body is medium at best.

The cha qi is very warming and strong. Someone described it as feeling tea drunk at the YS website. I guess that’s just an umbrella term for the mind altering effects of tea, but for me this is nothing like being drunk. Initally, I get a slightly rushy feeling that quickly turns into a dreamy state. At certain point the disconnection with physical sensations is so strong that I feel like levitating.

Flavors: Alcohol, Bark, Celery, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Floral, Forest Floor, Herbs, Honey, Licorice, Metallic, Milk, Vegetables, Vegetal

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

Interesting. I haven’t sampled this yet. Sounds like a grab bag of aromas and flavors at the moment. Wonder what some time will do to its character.

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