It was in the mid 90’s F in an unusual spring heatwave when this tea arrived last week. The tea cake was warm and smelled fantastic when I removed it from the bubble wrap. It had a sweet dried fruit raisin-like aroma. I let the tea rest for a week and gave it a try this afternoon.
The cake compression is not extremely hard at least on the edges. I was able to loosen some material from the edge of the cake with only my fingers. I freed up 6 grams of dried leaf and did a quick rinse. The primary smell of the wet leaf reminded me of a mild roasted tea. There are some sweet tea notes above the light smoky notes.
The first infusion yielded a tea soup that tasted sweet with some mineral and light roasted notes. It did not seem particularly thick or posses any standout characteristics. It was smooth with no bitterness and no young sheng tastes. Astringency was completely absent.
The second infusion was much the same, but now there was more sweet tea coming through, and it was thicker feeling in the mouth. Still, pretty uniform in flavor.
The third infusion was a little more astringent and very mildly bitter, and after drinking the third infusion, I began to heat up. My wife had tried a few sips of each session, and she too said she was getting warm.
The fourth infusion the astringency wained, so maybe I overdid the third infusion just a bit. Now, it was just very sweet and mineral. Thicker now in the front of the mouth, and my wife said that she felt a little vibration or tingling near the front of her mouth. More heat coming on in my body, and my forehead got a little sweaty.
After the fifth infusion, I was cooking. For me, this was a very warming tea. The tea continued to be thick in the mouth and remained sweet, mineral, and lightly roasted in taste. Even though this was stored in humid Xishuangbanna, it does not have any ripe earthy, damp characteristics. It’s clean as can be. For me, it much more closely resembles a milder roasted version of a da hong pao. This review makes two back to back reviews of raw puerhs that I’ve compared to oolongs. That’s not something I normally do, but I think it is appropriate here. If I were blind tasting this, I would guess it is a mild roasted oxidized oolong that isn’t green-leaning.
For an aged Yi Wu raw, this is a pretty good value. For Yi Wu fans, I think it could be a good daily drinker if you don’t mind the warming qi. I had to stop at five infusions, but will revisit this tea in the near future and see if I get similar results and will extend the infusions to see how it changes in later steeps.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Mineral, Raisins, Roasted, Sweet