Saturday, November 25, 2017
Often Overlooked: 1995 Teamasters CNNP Yiwu Brick
I remember your Teamasters Blog was one of three that I used to read in the mid-2000s. Effectively you inspired me with your posts to start MattCha’s Blog. Your enthusiasm, kindness, and passion for transmitting what you have learned is contagious. Thanks for putting your passion into this as well as the sale of teas that represent the extent of your tea knowledge.
When shopping for puerh Teamasters’ smaller curated selection is often overlooked in North America. Certainly, I’m just as guilty as everybody else. Luck for me, Stephane, was quick to send some unsolicited samples to this old blogger to try out. I have been eagerly waiting for the cold winter to give them a try. The warming qi of a nicely aged puerh cannot compare on these early Winter days. I’ve tried Teamsters' puerh before and was quite impressed. For me Teamasters’ puerh usually has nicer humid storage and usually has some quality aged offerings as well as a few more humid stored everyday drinkers. This sample is one such example of the former. At $750.00 per 500g brick or $20.00/12gsample, it offers us a glimpse of what puerh at this level, age, and storage should look like. Let’s indulge, shall we…
Stephane describes the origins of this tea as follows: This special order from Hong Kong to CNNP was made in 1995 in one of the state factories since the market hadn't been liberalized, yet. There's no neifei or neipiao to tell us which factory it comes from, though.
The dry leaves smell of soft fruity and deep aged puerh forest and dirt depth. The odour of the dry leaves immediately give away that this tea is should have lots of complexity to it. It smells of clean medium humid dry storage with lots of fresh depth.
The first infusion has a very smooth buttery sweetness. There are deep aged tastes with some suggestions of dried fruits in a very rich thick and viscus broth. The mouthfeel is immediately thick like syrup. It finishes lightly fruity with strong viscus depth. There is a nice soft cooling in the mouth with indications of vanilla and rum. You can feel the warm qi building in the chest and calming the mind.
The second infusion starts off more woody, and slowly transitions into more of a richness, a deep aged puerh taste. There is a nice lightness that creates a beautiful dichotomy of thick rich depth and suggestions of syrupy fruit underneath. The aftertaste is long the throat feel is lubricating and nice.
The third infusion has a pronounced wood note and a cooling aftertaste. The mouthfeel is very nice and full with a nice finish of cooling throatiness. There is less indication of fruitiness here and more deep thick aged puerh taste. This infusion releases a nice euphoric head feeling.
The fourth infusion has a more of an earthy, dirt taste to it. The aftertaste has a nice rich returning sweetness that has a very aged lighter fruit taste over a nice deep cooling. There is a certain taste to this infusion that I have a hard time describing almost like a brandy taste to it.
The fifth infusion has a nice lively fruitiness to it balanced with deep aged puerh tastes. The tastes are really nice here with the fruity tastes almost as distinct as the woody-camphor aged puerh tastes. The throatiness of this tea is significant and hold the aftertaste nicely. The qi here induces nice euphoria- I feel on top of the world.
The sixth infusion has more of a woody camphor taste to it, the brandy alcholol note is in there now too. The fruit tastes are gone now with just a ghost on the breathe with a slight bread taste as well.
The seveth is much the same as the sixth but now has a smoother compete taste there are hints of vanilla here.
The eighth has a high noted wood initial taste, I think this would be the way to describe it. Then is smooths out over the profile and matains a deep wood taste. The aftertaste is nicely cooling. Straight camphor through and through in this infusion.
The ninth infusion again has some hints of fruit under the woody depth. This tea really goes back and forth infusion to infusion showing off its complexity and depth.
Tenth once again presents light elements in dark. The eleventh is quite smooth too. Vanilla, camphor, woody, slight earthy dirt, a nice soft cool returning breathfeel. Very smooth.
The twelveth has some buttery brown sugar notes in there as well. There is a fresh robust taste to this infusion with touches of vanilla in the breath. Mmmmmm… There is just as much compexitiy here than in the earlier infusions but the flavors are much more conhesive. This tea has a nice rhythm to it.
The fourteenth infusion seems to offer basic woody tastes in a smooth mouth- throatfeel. The fifteenth is more fruity and cincentracted all the while maintaing that aged wood taste. Sixteenth has a deep depth of slightly different woody tastes here.
The seventh and eighteenth hold the line hear with light woody almost fruit tastes with a cooling aftertaste.
The nineteeth onward is pretty much just light camphory tastes with a cooling aftertaste and still somewhat full mouthfeeling. What’s not to enjoy about this puerh?
I like how this tea pulls off the fruity lightness of Yiwu with the deeper aged tastes. It really makes for a brilliant tea. Overall there is much complexity to be found infusion to infusion. The storage would be a medium-dry humid storage to me which I think has done this tea well in maintaining some high notes amongst manly just deep aged tastes.