Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2017 white2tea Pussy vs 2017 Yunnan Sourcing He Tao Di


This comparison came to me after sampling 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Brand He Tao Di because the He Tao Di had, in some way, a somewhat similar taste and very similar feel and qi as 2017 white2tea Pussy. 
White2tea’s philosophy is that a tea should stand on its own merit without leaning on its namesake, location, or backstory.  Yunnan Sourcing has brought us a tea from an area that likely no one is familiar with, He Tao Di.  Everyone is pretty much experiencing He Tao Di for the first time, expectations are non-existent with no previous experience to dwell on except Scott’s description the Yunnan Sourcing website.  In the 2017 Yunnan Sourcing blind tasting, lots of other bloggers drew a comparison to Yiwu/ Manzhang area with the He Tao Di.  Alternatively, whie2tea’s Pussy mentions nothing about where the raw material was gathered but it is widely thought tobe YiWu among puerh drinkers.

For me this comparison is a value comparison to see if white2tea’s Pussy ($0.45/gram pictured left or forward) was really more than 2.5 times better than Yunnan Sourcing’s He Tao Di ($0.19/gram pictured right or back).  If He Tao Di could close this gap a little in value or offered something more interesting than Pussy, I can see myself ordering a cake or two.

It can be argued that just because something is twice as expensive something else, it might not be twice as good.  The price of puerh is a complicated issue- What determines the price of puerh?  It’s hard to answer and probably a topic for another post.  Also price/ value are not a ratio and at some point potentially the price might skyrocket in the high margins of quality and languish in the lower quality.  So there isn’t a clear mathematical equation to work out value to price.

I did this side by side comparison at work with some nice Korean ceramic single cup makers the remaining Beta sample (later found to be 2017 He Tao Di) in the Yunnan Sourcing blind tasting event and a similar sized chunk from one of my 2017 white2tea Pussy cakes.

The Pussy’s leaves were larger and darker and more stemy where He Tao Di’s leaves were more varied with some hairy buds and a variety of colors (Scott explains this variability in this video here link).  When the boiling water hit the dry leaves Pussy was much more fragrant while the He Tao Di was still very fragrant but slightly less intense.

The first few infusions saw Pussy with more fragrant tastes and high notes with less low notes and depth in a lighter mouthfeel.  He Tao Di was still very fragrant with some deeper notes to add depth in a noticeably thicker mouthfeel.  In these first few infusions I feel that the Pussy is bit better overall but He Tao Di is showing more depth and range.

Then I steep a few more infusions and the leaves start to open up.  At this point Pussy really starts to pull away from He Tao Di.  Pussy has a very very intense perfume fruit cotton candy sweetness but more monotone in flavor, the mouthfeel is fuller than He Tao Di.  Pussy’s taste is much more vibrant and much longer, deeper, and evolved throughout the taste profile.  He Tao Di is still quite sweet but less so with less pure taste but deeper woodier tastes.  The Yunnan Sourcing offering is more balanced but less clear, pure, and alive.  He Tao Di’s mouthfeel is not as full but has more dynamic movement and change in the mouth.

Overall the He Tao Di mouthfeel is still complete but not as full, thick or stimulating as the Pussy’s mouthfeel.  In these infusions, I feel that Pussy is probably 2.5 times better than He Tao Di if strength, intensity, vibrancy, mouth and throatfeel, and aroma are the metrics by which we evaluate.  However, He Tao Di does have some points which make it interesting.  The deeper woodier notes gives it a bit more polarity in a resoundingly high note profile.  This results in a less monotone taste and a mouthfeel which also changes in the mouth a bit where the Pussy is more of just a thick all-encompassing wave. 

I feel that both of these teas could go quite a while but stop at about 5 or 6 infusions because the qi sensation is very intense.  It is also late afternoon and I want to be able to sleep before mid-night tonight hahaha.  This is the real problem about doing side by side comparisons you really cannot compare the cha qi.  This is one of a few reasons why this is one of the first side by side comparisons on this blog.  I am a Qi guy.  I can tell you this- when doing the blind tasting, the qi sensation of He Tao Di reminded me a lot of Pussy.  In my memory He Tao Di was similar in sensation, but slightly less alerting than Pussy, but gave a good head qi feeling.

The next morning at work, I get back to this back to back comparison…

The next day the He Tao Di showed more variance in taste, profile, and mouth- and throat feel but Pussy still had much more thickness, depth of monotone taste and sustenance to it.

After a few more steeps the He Tao Di’s mouthfeel becomes stronger and woodier with still some subtley of sweeter notes in there as well. The Pussy becomes more watery here with a more expansive sweet aftertaste and cool menthol finish.  At this point, the Pussy is maybe only 1.5-1.75 times better than the He Tao Di.  I steep these teas for a few more infusions.  Then start to put them into longer steeps.

The longer the steep, the better He Tao Di preforms, it actually tastes much better than Pussy now.  He Tao Di has more dynamic, more intense sweetness now.  It performs a bit better than Pussy here.  As the steeps even go into 30 mins in continues to out preform Pussy.

When I started this comparison, I imagined that the Pussy was better but only slightly better than the He Tao Di (maybe Pussy was 1.75 better than He Tao Di but not the 2.5 times better as the price per gram suggests).  So this was really an exercise in seeing if I will purchase He Tao Di.  However, after this comparison I find myself more compelled to purchase more of the Pussy than any of the He Tao Di!

The He Tao Di is still a great tea for the price, let me emphasize this.  It is interesting and even surprising to me that when comparing these two teas that the price/ value actually seems about right.  This rarely happens with puerh but, I think it’s true in this situation with these two teas.

Truth be told, next time I order from Yunnan Sourcing I may still have a cake of He Tao Di in my cart but I am really trying to resist the purchase of younger puerh and put my dollars toward some nice semi-aged stuff.  It is even plausible, that I might throw a few more Pussy cakes in a white2tea order if a sale is good enough to lure me in but really I am more curious about Paul’s white2tea blends which I have not sampled extensively.  So, it is most likely that I will purchase neither…. Or more of both….
Thank you for Paul and Scott for pressing these two beauties. 
I guess, I'll let you know if I end up ordering any.

Peace
 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Today is MattCha’s Blog’s 10th Anniversary!



The sharing or knowledge.

The absence.


I believe I am currently waning again…

Ten years… this is a big thing.  The very first blog post I wrote was on Febuary 17, 2008.  Tea blogs that I read when I first started are almost all inactive or have considerably slowed down or have started selling tea.  I don’t buy the fact that some old tea bloggers say there is nothing interesting to blog about anymore .  There is so much to say.  After all, puerh tea is the Black Hole of Tea.  I feel I have so much more to say.  This is evident from pages and pages of blog rough drafts or unfinished posts I have kicking around on my word processor which cover a broad kaleidoscope of puerh topics written over the past year.

Wait, I don’t know if you could even consider it a 10 year anniversary- I had a 2 year absence… maybe it’s technically only an 8 year anniversary… oh well… I’ll take it.  Hahaha

Lately, I’ve been in “Zen mode” with my tea drinking again.  It was a big year and I’m currently sitting on a bunch of good drinkers and enjoying them on a deeper level

 I just let my body feel the treasure of tea.

This is “busy season” for me and things are about to get busier with work, an ever expanding family, and life.  I welcome this change.  My puerh drinking will undoubtedly change with it.  This is life, being, puerh- it will change with age.  Right now, I'm just enjoying the process with puerh tea in the cup just as I am enjoying writing out this post now.

Most importantly thank you reader for all your love.  Without you, what would I have learned?  Thank you for sitting across from me thousands of kilometers away at my tea table.  MattCha’s blog has always been, and will always be, “yours and the teas”.

Peace

Saturday, January 27, 2018

2017 Yunnan Sourcing Blinded Puerh Tasting Event Epsilon & Zeta



Epsilon

The loose hairy small dry leaves smell of an almost metallic pungent odour with a touch of creamy sweetness.

The first infusion has a very intensely creamy cotton candy sweetness in the initial taste which swells in the mouth.  The profile is very pure and clean and sweet.  The mouthfeel is fluffy and slightly sticky.  There is a slight taste of hay or straw in the background and a mild returning coolness.

The second infusion has almost an orchid floral honey like sweetness with the floral note dominating here.  The fragrant sweetness is heavy in the full cottony slight stickiness of the mouth and throat.  The hay note has disappeared to these strong dominant sweet florals.  They linger for some time in the throat.  The lips become sticky and full.

The third infusion has a less intense floral sweetness but it is still strong and dominant.   It has a rain-foresty taste initially as well which plays out through the profile.  The mouthfeel becomes fuller and lightly grainy with that cotton feeling predominating.

The fourth has a creamy floral vanilla almost metallic initial taste with the floral creamy candy like sweetness still dominating here.  There are hints of mild dry wood and metallic taste in the base profile of this tea.  The aftertaste pumps the sweetness up again, it crests, and then recedes slowly like a wave.

The fifth infusion is more forest in initial taste then an orchid sweetness builds.  In the aftertaste it is almost cotton candy like in taste and expands on the full and grippy mouthfeel and throatfeel.  The mid throat is opened up by this sensation.  The profile feels very natural and harmonious.  The qi of this one is nicely relaxing and makes the head and shoulders feel light.

The sixth infusion starts off with pungent forest notes which keeps the pungency but turns sweet quickly.  The sweet taste crests throughout the profile and develops a cotton candy like feel to it.  This infusion is much the same as the fifth.

Seventh has a burst of pungent sweetness and florals.  These tastes are dominant over rain forest like tastes.  The first signs of light fruitiness appears and disappears in the start of the aftertaste.

The eighth has a strong pungent initial taste with sweetness under the pungent.  This spiciness seems to be the dominating flavor in the last two infusions.   The sweetness lasts longer than the pungent in the aftertaste which carries on for quite some time.  The mouthfeel is back to being more cottony now.  The qi continues to mildly relax.

Ninth is more watery now in its taste and carries barely pungent creamy sweetness with a bland forest taste as the base taste now.  The aftertaste continues to be the most interesting of the profile as creamy floral sweetness is left along to linger.  The qi is not overly strong but relaxing and slightly floating.  The body sensation is light and airy.  The wet leaves are small and slightly more stems.

The tenth infusion 10 seconds are added to the flash steeping and it brings out more of the pungent sweetness and more full sweet taste throughout the profile.

The eleventh 25 seconds are added to the flash steeping and a slightly metallic pungent sweet note is fading but present.  The twelfth 30 seconds are added and it tastes and feels much the same but with less sweetness.

This tea is put into a few days long steeping.

I am a bit unsure about what area this tea could be but my best guess is Yibang.  I believe that the sample in question is this 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Brand Autumn Yibang.


Zeta

Opening this sample reveals that this is a shu puerh!  Quicker than the musty, mossy, shu puerh dry leaf odour hits me, I am convinced this must be the very popular Chinese Zodiac shu puerh that Yunnan Sourcing is quite famous for!  This year it is the 2017 Yunnan SourcingRooster King.

My wife quite enjoys a good shu puerh so I decided to puerh mug this shu with her instead of doing one of my conventional reviews.  The mugs were a wedding gift made by a famous local potter and are very dry feeling like the air in the prairies.

We enjoy the thick, viscous and warming energy of this multifaceted shu on this cold Canadian mid-winter day.  The taste nicely evolves and is much more than many monotone tastes but is rather cohesive and full in flavor for a shu.  It has a nice oily mouthfeeling which feels especially satisfying on these cold dry days.  This is a very good and satisfying shu puerh and I now understand why it is so popular in Western puerh circles.

Well that’s all 6 teas blind tasted.

Thanks to Scott at Yunnan Sourcing for offering these teas for the blind tasting and all the bloggers out there who participated.  I look forward to reading may more posts of this blind testing over the next few weeks by some of the other bloggers out there.

Peace
 
Answers:
 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

2017 Yunnan Sourcing Blinded Puerh Tasting Event Gamma & Delta

This is the second of three posts on a blind sampling event comprised of 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Brand Puerh (the first was here).  Things are progressing rather interestingly through this little event...

Cwyn of Death By Tea has kindly lent her notes and options on all 6 blind samples on her blog recently.  Thanks Cywn for that.

Scott of Yunnan Sourcing has just emailed me the top secret identities of these puerh so I have posted the identities of Part 1 and at the bottom of this post as well.  Before peeking at the identities of the Gamma & Delta I post these notes and guesses...

Gamma

The very small dry leaves smell of sweet notes, fruity strawberry and tropical notes and brisk slight pine/evergreen.

First infusion delivers a very smooth, very intensely sweet and pungent initial taste that slowly evolves into a pine, evergreen forest, and pungent sweet taste.  The aftertaste is of fruits but not overly sweet or pungent and slightly woody.  The mouthfeel is immediately thick and sticky in the mouth and tongue and slightly opening in the top throat.  This first infusion begins to stick to the teeth.

The second infusion has more deeper woody notes up front along with sweet fruit and almost malty tastes and even slight bitter tastes.  The pungent tastes almost come in the mid profile along with wood.  There is a nice cooling and sweet menthol like returning sweetness along with an almost dried fruit taste.  The mouth and throat feel are significant and sticky in the mouth.

The third infusion continues the progression of less intense fruity sweetness at the initial taste explosion and more of a deeper caramel rich sweetness that turns to woody notes and to pungent then back to sweet more fresh tropical fruit before become more of a malty dried fruit taste.  The sticky mouthfeel has a barely a touch of astringent dryness to it in the aftertaste.  This one has a bit of a punchy qi in the body that kicks at my empty stomach slightly.  I feel heavy in the shoulders and light in the neck and head.  The tea has notable body qi, that for sure.

The fourth infusion has a nice strong sweet banana and slight bitter balance in its initial taste which now taste a bit buttery.  It finishes a bit dry wood and a bit pungent and cooling menthol sweetness is less obvious that the drier wood taste.  Minutes later a tropical fruit undercurrent emerges with intense sweet fruity waves on the breath.  The qi makes the hands a bit jittery.

The fifth infusion comes together very nicely and pushes out intense waves of very full mouthfeel which ride out intense fruity notes.  The initial taste is barely bitter and has a rich creamy banana and pineapple sweetness there are garden sweet pea notes in the aftertaste along with fresh tropical fruit tastes.  The sweet fruit tastes linger on the breath there is a base taste of dry wood which adds depth to the taste.  This tea is a fragrant one.  The qi is mildly relaxing and unobtrusively stimulating.

The sixth infusion starts a bit drier in the mouth and the astringency is more noticeable here it starts with peach tasting woody barely creaminess now.  The fruit taste stretches over woody notes into the aftertaste which is still dominatingly sweet with a bit of coolness on the breath.  Deeper dry fruit notes emerge briefly.


The seventh infusion is a touch creamy sweet but is losing some of its more vibrant and interesting sweet fruit notes which appear more in the long aftertaste along with a dry woody taste.  The complexity of taste starts to wane a bit here. This infusion as well as the eighth was left to cool before consuming by accident so will affect the taste.

The eighth is much the same with a subtle corn taste in the initial taste some faint fruit in the aftertaste.  The dominant taste is now dry wood not sweetness and the mouthfeeling is more dry and astringent.

The ninth has 5 seconds added to flash brewing and is more creamy and fruity with a bitter astringency.  A dry woody taste dominates but there is still a tropical returning cool sweetness in there somewhere.  There is lots of fruitiness in these small tippy leaves.

The tenth is much the same and tastes much fruitier and less woody.  The fruit tastes remain vibrant and mouthfeel is more grainy than astringent especially on the tongue.

The eleventh the tastes becomes more cohesive and simple and the taste of mild wood and pear are noticed.  The twelfth is much the same.

The thirteenth is a grainy woody barely sweet tasting experience.  The fourteenth is 30 second steeped and pulls out more fruit but also a turbid bitter taste which is more dominant.

An overnight steep pulls out mild woody barely sweet tastes in a nice full mouthfeel.

Taste like a Jingmai to me with the sweet tipsiness and grainy tastes I guess it to be this 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Brand Jingmai.

Delta

The more compressed and larger sized dry leaves smell of intensely sweet juicy fruit notes and candy like bubble gum sweetness.  The leaves smell of Lincang material to me.

The first infusion has a salty/savory base taste which begins in the initial taste with a barely noticeable blip of sweetness.  The middle profile is salty and otherwise vacuous.  The aftertaste has a slow moving feeling of dry wood, barely coolness, barely sweetness, and then barely rubbery foresty taste.  The taste is quite mild in the first infusion and the mouthfeel starts off light.

The second infusion starts off almost bitter then has a savory sweet edge to it.  It slowly transitions to a woody foresty taste with a mild sweetness trailing throughout the profile. It finishes with distinct cereal notes.  The mouthfeel is thin but full coating and slightly dry on the tongue.  It simulates the upper throat.  Minutes later a rubbery turbid sweetness and cereal taste lingers on the breath.

The third infusion starts with a smooth slightly sweet grainy cereal note.  This taste starts to fade into the mid profile then intensifies slightly in the aftertaste.  The sweetness is dropped and a grainy taste lingers.

Fourth infusion has a slightly bitter grain sweetness initially.  The mouthfeel is a bit stronger now, slightly drying and gripping especially on the tongue and less in the throat. A dry cereal/ grainy slightly bitter taste dominates the profile.  The sweetness and subtlety of this tea disappears under this slightly stronger profile. A grape sweet taste lingers in the throat minutes later.

The fifth infusion starts with a burst of sweetness then moves to slightly bitter grains.  The aftertaste is a touch sweet and grapey in dry cereal taste.  This tea is not complex in taste and the bitterness definitely is significant enough to kick at the stomach.  This tea is something that requires aging and is not really a drink now tea but humbly I continue…

The sixth infusion starts of a touch watery, a touch grainy but mainly sweet and this cereal sweetness stretches into the aftertaste where it expands slightly.

The seventh is even sweeter.  This tea is starting to dramatically change with the sweet note dominating the profile.  It’s not an overly sweet note but more of a corn or grain type of sweetness.  There is a vegetable taste like broccoli in there as well.  The aftertaste turns a bit turbid rubbery in the throat.  The taste is a simple uncomplicated taste which suggests to me a single estate tea.

The eighth has a slight bitter edge to the grainy sweetness.  The sweetness glides through some mild dry wood tastes.  It finishes a bit turbid rubbery taste in the mouth.  The qi of this tea is not overly strong on the mind and has a mild alerting sensation to it and is slightly raw on the digestion.

The ninth infusion starts off with an almost buttery sweetness before slight bitter starts nudging in.  The mild sweetness rides out the taste just as it has done the last few infusions.  The mouthfeel is a touch dry but not overly so and is mainly felt in the tongue and upper throat.  The lips are sticky and stimulated as well.  The qi in the body seems to aggregate in the jaw and slightly in the chest.

The tenth and eleventh infusion are much the same.  I put this one to an overnight steeping earlier than usually because my stomach tells me to do so.  The next day it gives off a very complex thick dried fruit taste layered with lighter fruit and a pronounced bitterness.  There are complex cherry fruit tastes in there as well as peppery flavours.  The mouthfeel is profoundly thick.  This tea could likely go for many more infusions if aged as it still contains much robustness to be explored.

I think this could very well be a puerh picked in the Autumn.  It has that kind of feeling and profile to it.  This tea starts like a grainy cereal tasting Simao but kind of finishes like a vegetal and almost floral You Le character like this 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Brand Youle.  So, I’m going to guess the Youle.

I'll be back in a few minutes to reveal which puerh these are when I check that email...

Peace

Answers:

2017 Yunnan Sourcing "Yi Bang" Ancient Arbor Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake  <--- amma="" font="">

2017 Yunnan Sourcing "Jing Mai" Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake  <--- elta="" font="">


Double Peace

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017 Yunnan Sourcing Blinded Puerh Tasting Event Alpha & Beta


This is classic, old-style, puerh blogger fun and games!  It was a bit of a puerh blogging tradition back in the day to sample the latest Yunnan Sourcing brand puerh blinded and see how poorly you could guess the tea producing area.  This sport was usually orchestrated by good ol’ Hobbes of the Half-Dipper (see here, here and here).  These events always kept me sampling teas from different areas at times in my life when I would have not otherwise sought that out.  So I am grateful that Hobbes and Scott had taken the time and consideration in organizing these events in the past.  On my return back to puerh tea I was back and forth with Scott of Yunnan Sourcing about reviving this tradition and he loved the idea.  So here we are (Thanks again Scott)…

As per tradition and as a homage to the old Half-Dipper/ Yunnan Sourcing Events of years past, the samples were labeled only with Greek letters (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta).  They were sent to many of the current puerh bloggers who agreed to have a little fun with this (as well as myself).

I can only surmise that my ability to guess such areas has likely decreased substantially since my long absence from the puerh scene.  Back in the day Yunnan Sourcing was producing tea from a lot of the classic/ popular areas mainly in Xishuangbanna and they were producing much less tea.  That first Yunnan Sourcing Tasting Event there were only 9 teas produced by them to guess from, in 2017 last I counted there was 34!  At that time, I would say my guesses were a touch below 50% - not bad at all!

I have no experience with any of Yunnan Sourcing brand puerh from 2017 or even the last number of years and a lot of the puerh we might be sampling will likely be from areas I have not even tried.  However I will put it all out there for you readers and fellow bloggers and guess my best. Hahaha..  Although I was supplied enough dry leaves for two sessions per sample in my small pot I have based the notes below on a single sampling.  I look forward to sampling them again after reading all the other tasting notes and seeing how my experience with them will change with this knowledge.

Now that I have adequately lowered expectations and nicely self-handicapped myself lets dive right into the Alpha sample… hahahaa….

 Alpha

The dry leaves smell of very spicy pungent and dominating mushroom fungus funky odours and more distant sour/sweet notes.  This immediately smells like an interesting puerh or it is a blend???



The first infusion emits a very spicy pungent sweet initial taste and slowly develops into a watery mushroom profile in a light mouthfeel.  There is a soft returning sweetness of sweet, barely cotton candy taste and slight grassiness.  The mouthfeel is very light and the throatfeel even lighter.

The second infusion starts with a more bitter-sweet pungent taste followed by bitterness and that base mushroom taste.  There is a more grittiness to the taste.  The aftertaste displays signs of vegetal tastes, hay, mushrooms, and pungent tastes.  There is not as much sweetness here.  The mouthfeel becomes a soft graininess in the mouth.  Minutes later there is a sweet-pungent turbid like taste in the throat.

The third infusion starts with a slightly creamy-flat-gritty bitter-sweetness.  There is a pronounced vegetal taste initially followed by hay and mushroom tastes.  A mild cotton candy like sweetness expands in the throat and evolves slowly into a turbid vegetal taste.

The fourth starts with a grainy, hay, vegetal like sweetness with just edges of cream.  It carries the base taste of mushrooms and hay into the aftertaste which has a nice opening cotton candy sweetness.  All this happens on a mild grainy mouthfeel and throatfeel which is grainy at the top throat and slightly opening at the mid throat.  The effect pushes some saliva into the mid throat- holding a turbid slight sweet vegetal mushroom taste there minutes later.  The qi of this tea is very alerting and invigorating on the mind but very mild on the body.

The fifth has a melon initial taste now that develops into a slight pungent mint sweetness.  The base taste is slight mushroom vegetal taste.  The aftertaste has a turbid vegetalness to it.

The sixth has a slight bitter-sweet taste over grains and hay.  The granary hay taste joins mushroom in the base taste.  The aftertaste becomes bitter as well as still slightly sweet.  There is a gumminess in the mouth afterwards.  The seventh tastes much the same as the sixth.  There is lots of layers of flavors to this tea.

The eighth infusion starts slightly bitter-sour vegetal taste and to sweet.  It moves to sweet bursts and then to mushroom hay tastes. In this infusion the sweet nicely pops transitioning from bitter to sweet then opening up to the base tastes.  The mouthfeel of this tea is mild and grainy but full.

The ninth starts to flatten out a bit in the initial taste but still retains much flavor throughout the profile.

The tenth starts to hollow out under flash steepings.  With melon watery tastes over faint sweetness mushroom, and hay.

The eleventh and twelvth is much the same starting with a watery sour sweet vegetal taste with mild hay and subtle returning sweetness.  The mouthfeel is slightly sandy and mild.  The qi of this tea is nice and gives a partially euphoric type feeling in a whole lot of alertness.

I let this one overnight steep after leaving it sit for a few days in the pot and I am left with a sour almost briney taste sweet woods.

Out of all the samples in this even this one was the hardest for me to determine. When I was actually drinking it I was leaning to either Simao or possibly Yiwu in my thoughts.  I also tasted some Mengku notes in there as well.  I’m guessing its Simao maybe this  2017 Yunnan Souring Brand Da Qing Gu Shu.


Beta

Larger, loosely compressed leaf and bud dry leaves smell of nicely sweet rose florals.  The odours are juicy and light, slightly fruity.

The first infusion is light and watery and has hints of barely sweet icing sugar that transform into a slight barely noticeable vanilla and vacuous barely noted sweetness.

The second infusion starts off a touch sour and creamy.  It carries a barely creamy fluffy sweetness.  It has a slightly tart and puckery drying taste and mouth feeling.  The astringency opens the mid throat up to faint sweet/ creamy note in distant forest/wood notes.  Overall this tea starts off very light in taste with a more stimulating mouth and throat feel.

Third starts with a slightly creamy sweetness.  The sourness is less now but still noticeable.  The taste profile is short and relatively simple.  It ends with a mildly astringent throat feel, faint florals and sugary sweetness.  There is a slight dry wood taste starting to emerge.

The fourth opens with brisk, short initial tastes of sour sweetness.  A dry wood base taste is emerging and gets stronger with sour wood tastes in the aftertaste along with slight florals.  The mouthfeel is moderately drying and astringent.  Overall the taste profile is short and simple with this tea in a fairly simulating throat and mouthfeel.

The fifth has an almost grapefruit like sour sweetness as well as a creamy sweetness that makes its way past the dry wood taste to the aftertaste.  In the aftertaste the creamy sweetness expands in the slightly astringent throatfeel.  The qi of this tea is relaxing and makes the head feel stuffy and expansive, like a pressure or build up there.  It also makes the arms feel light and airy.

The sixth is smoother in taste with less sour and more muted creamy sweetness up front.  There are faint notes of vanilla and barely notes of florals in this clean tasting infusion.  The mouth and throat feel are nice as they are moderately astringent but never choking or restricting.  The qi sensation in the head starts to build into a very qi stoned, floating feeling.

My guess is Lincang puerh likely Mengku, it tastes almost in some ways like the famous Bingdao area and definitely old arbour.  My guess is this 2017 Yunnan Sourcing BrandHe Bian Zhai.

The seventh infusion is very nice and smooth with clear sweet creamy, not really floral tastes over very light woody notes.  This tea is very clean, very tight, simple in taste, complex in qi, nice in mouth/throat feeling.  The sweetness has an icing sugar taste.  There are no turbid or vegetal or forstesy tastes in this tea just a very pure tasting, short profile.  The qi is very very euphoric.

The eighth infusion becomes more creamy, cohesive, and tastes much more sweet.  This tea is just starting to shine with pure, sweet, surgary tastes.  The sweet taste lingers in the throat.

The ninth infusion presents with creamy sweetness again.  There are almost fruit notes in there now.  The sweetness softly swells in the mouth and lingers in the aftertaste.

The tenth infusion I start adding 10 seconds to the flash infusions and it results in a touch stronger but not that different taste profile.  If anything the mouthfeel becomes fuller with a touch longer infusion time here giving it a similar but more full taste.

The eleventh infusion I add 5 more seconds to the flash infusion (15 seconds more) and the result is a faint mango taste as well as a gummy wood taste dominates the soft profile of this tea.

The twelfth infusion I drop back down to 10 seconds to see I there is still any of the lighter tastes left.  I am greeted with light sweet mango fruit tastes with develop into a rubbery wood taste in the aftertaste.

The thirteenth infusion is much the same but has a pronounced sugary aftertaste amongst the rubbery wood tastes.

Fourteenth is considerably lighter at a 10 second steeping.  The fifteenth has an enjoyable fruit hue to it over the sugary sweetness and clean profile.  There is a slight rubbery after taste here.

This tea has some nice stamina to it as well.  This is mainly due to the lack of bitter or over astringent flavours which allows this one to be pushed to the end.

An overnight steeping pulls out more sweet, clear, clean suragy notes… nice.

I have avoided reading/ watching these other blogger reviews of this tasting even to remove bias from my tastings.  After posting I am going to read these:



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017 Teamasters’ Wild


This wild tea was a free sample sent with a recent order from Teamasters.  It currently sells for $388.00 for 200g cake ($1.94/g) or 10g at $25.00.  At this price it is the most expensive wild tea that I have sampled even more expensive than any fresh young puerh that I have ever sampled.

Dry leaves smell of very intensely sweet sugar cane and licorice/ fennel odours in a deep forest base.

The first infusion greets the drinker with a very smooth full mouthfeel and thick chalky throatfeel.  The feeling in the mouth and throat are wonderful but almost distract from the very light, juicy fresh lychee and floral taste.  There is a mild coolness in the throat as it opens slowly and deeply.  There is a very light floral lingering there minutes later.

The second infusion opens up with a mouthfeeling before a true initial taste comes along.  When it gets there, a turbid, foresty taste with a sweet slight sugary edge reveals itself.  It finishes in the throat with turbid barely floral tastes lingering there.

The third infusion has nice movement.  It starts with a bit of a vacuous taste, then subtle flat floral notes appear, then slight sugar, then turbid forest tastes, then slight cooling, then slight turbid floral.  Overall there is no base taste to root down these very light, transitioning tastes.  The qi is calming and very mellow.  It is very light on the body and relaxing on the mind.

The fourth infusion starts with a vacuous sweet taste which turns into a turbid foresty almost bubble gum sweet taste which sticks to the cheeks and tongue as it evolves into a floral taste.  All this movement is very very light.  Overall there is much movement within each sip but the tastes are not strong.  The mouthfeel and throatfeel of this tea are very nice.

The fifth has a more rounded juicy fruit feeling to it.  A lychee taste is present throughout now but it is very fragile and even simple.  The aftertaste slowly unravels into sweetness, slight coolness, and even floral.  The tea is very gentle on the body and probably would be best consumed immediately.  This is for sure a sweet wild tea.  Everything about this tea is subtle, gentle, and fragile.  The full, soft, chalky and sticky mouth- and throat-feel is the exception.  The qi of this wild is quite cooling and its cool thermal energy is noticeable.

The sixth infusion again has a defined initial taste of florals and rubbery barely fruit sweetness.  The taste has rounded out significantly with movement in the long subtle aftertaste especially in the throat but also later in the sticky coating in the mouth.  There are lychee fruits, florals, clean wild tea foresty-turbidity tastes minutes later.

The seventh infusion starts with a classic subdued gummy foresty floral wild taste before an empty dip.  The aftertaste is just mild coolness and barely forest notes here.  The eighth turns lighter into a foresty wild taste.  The ninth fades considerably with just ghostly flavours lingering in a gummy, forest wild tea taste.  A profound cooling sensation sweeps over my body.  This tea is by far the most cooling and refreshing of all wilds I have tried.

The tenth infusion I add 15 seconds more steeping time and some apricot and pear notes appear in the initial taste profile followed by a subtle pungency.  This infusion has more complexity to it.  The eleventh even more time is added and a much thicker mouthfeel is the main result.  In this thick mouthfeel are candy like subtle sweet tastes as well as some rubbery tastes.  The great thing about this sweet wild tea is that there is so little astringency and bitterness that you can really push it hard to get more interesting things out of it with longer infusion times.

The twelfth infusion is long and pushes out sweet gummy tastes, slight florals and barely cool throatfeels in a gummy rubbery wild base taste.  The thirteenth pushes out some berry fruity tastes initially in an more interesting wild base taste.  The aftertaste is now fruity and lightly sweet.

This tea is interesting in that you can really vary the steeping time to pull out lots of different flavors because you really don’t have to contend with bitterness at all.

So I do this for another few steeps before putting these leaves to rest.

This is an interesting wild tea because there are so many different steeping options available which push out a different dimension with each pot.  If there are those of you out there who are curious about how steeping temperature and time effects flavor in wild teas, this tea might be as interesting for you as it is for me. 

Peace

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

white2tea: It’s All About the Blend, Stupid!


It really only took me one sample included in my order to realize that some of the popularity of white2tea puerh lies in its blends.  In a Western market educated almost exclusively in valuing single estate and single villages/ areas, white2tea found a gap in the market.  The good work of Scott of Yunnan Sourcing has educated us since 2009 about the value of single village/area puerh.  No doubt David from Essence of Tea has taught us how to appreciate a single tree or estate puerh.  However, it must have been the foresight of Paul of white2tea to see that there was a gap in the market for blended puerh.

For me, to determine the true quality of a product, evaluation of the raw unblended leaves seem the easiest and best way to make such a judgement.  This is exactly what I did with my order of 2017 Pussy.  It is probably the highest quality and maybe most expensive of all non-blended puerh that white2tea has sold and for me, it passed the mustard test.  However, almost all the puerh that I used to and continue to consume and around 95% of the cakes I own are blends of either producing areas or factories.  An exception is a few particularly exceptionally pure puerh and high quality cakes of Yunnan Sourcing Brand puerh and Essence of Tea as well as a few others.  I prefer the blended things or maybe I am just used to such things.

For the blender essentially they should be able to create more depth in their product at a lower cost by blending it.  For the drinker they are rewarded with much more complexity and depth presumably for a much lower price.  For white2tea, lower price is not always a guarantee with their blends and the rising prices of white2tea’s puerh is proof of this.  With that being said, I have never tried a blended puerh that was as chaotic, interesting, multifaceted,and unusual as I did with the 2017 4 am.

After just one session with 4 am I realized that I probably missed the point in my first order.  While sipping the fragrant deliciousness which is 2017 Pussy I chuckle to myself “It’s All About the Blend, Stupid!”

Peace