Sunday, August 18, 2019

2019 Spring Puerh Releases (Part 2)… They’re All Out…

There was something simplistic and brilliant and meaningful about the way the Essence of Tea dropped their whole 2019 Springtime puerh line up…. First they almost completely removed themselves from the cycles of endless, shameless, and tireless social media marketing.  It was to the point that there was lots of underground hype as to what exactly, if anything, would be released this year from the Essence of Tea.

Then, in the middle of August, when all other vendors had released their line ups in full, they drop just a single cake named “2019 Boundless Ancient tree puerh”.  The description goes on to brilliantly describe an ancient tree production from an undisclosed location.  What a name… Boundless what?... from what?  From that which binds us?... Meditate a bit on that one…

Yunnan Sourcing’s 2019 line up is revealing a bold new direction, I’ll congratulate them in advance for this feat.  Over the last few weeks Yunnan Sourcing has been trickling out their always super extensive puerh line ups but this year there is a different feeling to the puerh, for sure.  More than in years past there is some tangible excitement brewing.  After the Yiwus came the Bang Dongs with over the top cute wrappers of little pigs in each step of puerh production.  Something super interesting that Yunnan Sourcing is doing this year is doing these area blends.  They are the only Western puerh vendor big enough and transparent enough to do these things and they probably know it.  The 2019 Yunnan Sourcing Bang Dong Impression blended cake offers puerh drinkers complete transparency as to which areas of Bang Dong were blended into which proportions.  This is unprecedented in a Western puerh blend so far and a super interesting statement on transparency in the puerh industry, I believe.

After the Bang Dongs came the premium single village shu puerh productions Bu Lang, He Kai, Ba Da, Lao Man E and then a few preimium shu blends An Xiang, Ba Wang. Scott and Xiao Yao are really going in an interesting place with these shu puerh productions. This is going to be a really interesting year for shu thanks to this release. A Wild tea blend, huang pian blend, it just keeps coming.  Scott and Xiao Yao really cover all the bases…

Then they dropped their line of Jinggu puerh which includes an old arbour blend called He Xie.  There is a mix of areas they have been producing from for years, some new areas, and some favorites from 2018 that sold out quick like the Long Tang Gu and Ai Lao Secret Garden.  Yunnan Sourcing is well known for its very tasty yet affordable Jinggu line up and this year won’t disappoint.  They just recently dropped their Mengku/ Lincang line up which includes some new areas close to the famous Bing Dao which don’t include Nan Po Zhai.  Personally, I’m really excited about these Mengku productions (I think the Mengku sunglasses pig wrappers are my favorite out of the bunch).

Quite possibly the most exciting part of Yunnan Sourcing’s spring line up, something that is generating a ton of hype, is their more premium sheng blends and their greater focus on Menghai area.  I’m talking about their premium 2019 Yunnan Sourcing ”Spring Impression” blend, 2019 Yunnan Sourcing “XY Blend”, 2019 Yunnan Sourcing Pasha, and 2019 Yunnan Sourcing “Bu Lang Secret Garden”.  This is, no doubt, a challenge to white2tea’s brand which is mainly known for these type of productions.  So not only has Scott and Yunnan Sourcing verbally challenged white2tea, but they have introduced a Spring 2019 line up which also directly challenges white2tea with a competitive product…

white2tea responded to both Yunnan Sourcing’s verbal take down and product challenge by themselves stepping up their game big time….

Frist, in classic white2tea fashion, Paul releases his third diss wrapper to date, the 2019 white2tea Budget Bitter.  The name and wrapper is a clear dis to Scott of Yunnan Sourcing and addresses his comment that white2tea markup their puerh higher than other vendors and the controversy surrounding his comments.  I think the meaning of this one flew over a lot of people’s heads which made me chuckle even more.  Brilliant.  If anyone out there things they can pull a fast one on Paul, they should think again (trust me, I know)…. Hahahhah

The Budget Bitter was released in the second and final wave of Spring 2019 sheng puerh releases that dropped with a promotional email that, to me, seemed a bit unhinged.  It was kind of all over the map and came off a bit crazy to me…. But here we are… the western puerh world is pretty crazy…  Paul’s promotional emails alone have become a bit of an attraction in and of themselves.  This latest one which was sent out July 5th uses a bit of self-deprecating humor by poking fun at the marketing format of these promotional emails.  The last part makes fun of the fact that white2tea never offers a sale but often calls his promotion a "sale".  The tone of this email is a response to criticism of white2tea’s aggressive marking style.

As for the releases themselves, white2tea released: 3 limited pressings 2019 white2tea Budget Bitter (100 cakes), 2019 white2tea Gold8 (100 cakes), and 2019 white2tea Road2Nowhere (30 cakes), some white tea and black tea cakes, and a limited edition “Yes” tea ware.  The 2019 white2tea Road 2 Nowhere cake was reviewed here by Cywn N.  A few people commented that they were quite surprised that it took so long to sell out.  I think it speaks to buyers fatigue (there is only a certain amount of puerh someone can consume), marketing fatigue (if too many things are limited the effect wears off), and simply releasing it in the Summer when people tend to pay less attention (think it caught some off guard).  I had a chance to purchase but took a pass on it for the above reasons, because the marketing rubbed me the wrong way, and because I just purchased up a cake that I determined is of better value with a similar description.  I am actually most interested in the 2019 white2tea Undercover, a blend of sealed maocha from 2014.  Great job TwoDog on keeping things interesting this 2019 Spring.

I think the second way white2tea is coming to the challenge of a more competitive Yunnan Sourcing is releasing some pretty amazing puerh this Spring.  I sampled the 2019 white2tea Dangerfield soon as it came out and it was pretty much as described as a poor mans Naka.  When I think about it I am still amazed how much the tasting notes resemble another famous Naka from years before.  I also purchased the 2019 white2tea Is A Gift, another super great offering.  I have had a chance to sample this a few more times and after comparison tasting my entire slate of Yibang cakes I came to a similar conclusion around the same time as Shah8.  This is most likely a very good Yibang (which was one of the hypothesis I was going on after my first taste of it).  Nothing screams “competitive spirit” like the release of high quality product that’s for sure.

I feel bad (because I did the same thing last year) by completely forgetting to mention the first Western puerh vendor to release in the spring, Farmerleaf.  Farmerleaf specializes in Jingmai puerh but the last few years this 2019 Farmerleaf Ao Ne Me cake has been quick to sell out and very popular.  The Weekend Sessions reviewed a sample and noted that they are doing a second pressing this year (very cleaver marketing here).  He also reviewed their 2019 Farmerleaf Jingmai Miyun a local blended cake.  I have never tried Farmerleaf but enjoy their branding and marketing from afar.  One of these days…

Speaking of Western puerh vendors that I’ve never tried but are very very popular… I’d also like to send my love and good energy to Crimson Lotus and Bitterleaf Teas.

Bitterleaf Teas released their 2019 Spring line up around the time of my last report.  Something I really like is there Try’Em All 2019 Puerh Set where you can sample their whole line up for $55.00… it begs the question, Why haven’t I?  Cody of theoolongdrunk blog reviewed the 2019 Bitterleaf Teas Big Old Ass Tree Hekai, a new offering this year.  They were brilliant in striking something that was lacking in the Westren puerh market last year with their focus on Lao Man E puerh.  White2tea has released a bunch this year as competition.  Sometimes I think Bitterleaf Tea and white2tea probably vie for a similar demographic with their Instagram and social media heavy marketing.  This year they have released 2019 BitterleafTeas All of ‘Em single region Huang Pian set as well as individuals.  They feature a removable postcard on the wrapper- very cool!  This again is very white2tea, they totally beat them to the punch again.  Very forward thinking from the folks at Bitterleaf Teas!

Crimson Lotus Tea was one of the last to release their 2019 Spring puerh line up.  They dropped a 2019 Crimson Lotus Yiwu Guoyoulin, 2019 Crimson Lotus Lao Man E Blend, 2019 Crimson Lotus Danger Zone (Hekai), and some maocha area samples.  The most exciting has to be their 2 Spacegirl blends (Cosima and Fiest) that follow up their very popular and quick to sell out 2016 Crimson Lotus Space Girls brick!  Their line up competes with similar cakes from Bitterleaf Teas and blends from white2tea.

Another vendor that I sometimes forget to mention is  I had a chance to try most of their 2013 line up and would have purchased the Naka cake had it not sold out.  They don’t press much and their stuff sells out quick.  They aim for higher end gushu type things and with the Essence of Tea only pressing a cake this year, I imagine their stock will sell out pretty quick.  They also do a sample set which is probably the way most go when buying puerh of this caliber.  Their 2019 line up consists of Huazhu, Naka, Bakanan, Mansa, Lao Mansa, Mannuo, Mannong (Rareness4), and YiwuGuoyuolin (Rareness5).  Sounds like beautiful stuff as I have come to expect from  Cody from theoolongdrunk reviewed two Mansas!

I just wanted to also put a shout out to two Western vendors who don’t press their own puerh but feature famous Chinese vendors which also released some 2019 puerh. Teas We Like brought in 2019 Bi Yun Hao Lishan Gongcha, 2019 Bi Yun Hao Mansong, and 2019 Bi Yun Hao Yiwu.  I believe Marco is a fan of these young puerh from Bi Yun Hao.  Tea Encounter brought in 5 Zheng Si Long cakes last month.  The lineup closely matches their 2018 line up with Ge Deng, Ma Hei, Mang Zhi, Yi Shan Mo, and back by popular demand a Wa Long.  The 2019 Zheng Si Long Ge Deng has sold out their initial order- likely people jumping on the fact that the Zheng Si Long Ge Dengs have been getting progressively better, year after year and selling out quickly.  The site claims that more are on their way.  The 2019 Zheng Si Long Wa Long is following up their popular 2015 pressing from this area.

All this going on in the puerh world and I keep thinking about that single 2019 the Essence of Tea Boundless….

Boundless what?...

Bound to what?....

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

2016 Yunnan Sourcing Bing Dao Lao Zhai … A Premium Offering…

This puerh goes for $298.00 for 400g cake or $0.75/g.  This was my 3rd favorite sheng I sampled out of a handful of Yunnan Sourcing Brand samples I purchased a month ago…

Dry leaves smell of mild dry wood, faint sweet almost tropical and sugar.   The dry leaf odour is very generic sheng type of smell.  With a slight lingering wild floral nuance.

The first infusion has a nice candy like onset, some mineral, almost evergreen, a slipper mouthfeeling then an elegant entry into a long mild cool candy finish.  There is a mild stickiness on the lips and throat.  A long mild cooling candy taste is left in the mouth.

The second infusion has a mild astringent woody onset that is kind of a mix of dry wood, evergreen, pungency and sweetness but it is not overly deep.  This taste hits a mild-moderate cool pungency then a returning candy sweetness and mild almost tropical fruit sweetness glides under a woody almost mineral base.  The mouthfeel remains quite sticky and the throat has a mid-upper opening sensation.

The third infusion has a sticky onset of dry wood, mineral, and floral, it is not really sweet until the mild cool pungency hits then it rides that out into a candy, almost tropical and almost floral sweetness over a dry woody base.  There is a smooth elegance about the way these flavours present themselves.  None is overpowering or strong.  Still not much Qi coming out yet a bit of chest stuffiness, some mild lightness of the head.  There is a slight astringency around the edges that my empty stomach takes not of.

The fourth infusion starts with a mild almost juicy fruit taste mixed with mild bitter wood.  The juiciness is surprising and long and interfaces with woody, almost mineral and grassy notes.  There is a moderate coolness in the mouth then an almost faint candy and wildflower slight juicy fruit nuance to end.  The mouthfeel is sticky with lip drying effects.  There is a low lying astringency typical of Mengku area.

The fifth infusion starts with a quick burst of cooling fruity sweetness that is very satisfying and stretches across the profile.  This is some typical Bing Dao taste profile that is prized coming out in the 5th infusion here.  The sweetness compounds as the pungency peaks and then rolls out like a wave in the distance.  Nice.  The mouthfeel is sticky and moderately full the throat opens to a mid-level deepness. The Qi is a relaxing thing.

The sixth infusion has a creamy sweet pungent onset which stretches throughout the profile.  There are faint suggestions of dry wood or even forest or dry grass underneath but mainly its this typical profile playing out.  I wouldn’t say the flavours are overly complex or strong but rather elegant. The astringency is mild underthe whole profile.  The mouthfeeling is sticky and almost puckering astringent.  The Qi is relaxing and I can feel the tops of my shoulders slightly heavy.

The seventh infusion starts with a quick bitter, floral sweet creamy, almost pungent taste.  It has an almost dry wood, almost slippery rock like taste that crests with a touch of pungency then the sweet fruit floral expands on the breath. 

The eighth is that fruity buttery floral sweet quick pungent mild bitterness that stretches into the aftertaste there are some mango taste and some other tropical nuances that extend in the aftertaste.  This is a real pure almost elegant puerh.  The mouthfeel is an almost sticky, velvet, barely astringent type of thing that is overall quite mild but somehow carries the flavor nicely.  The Qi is mild and relaxing.

The ninth infusion has the quick pop of deliciousness of juicy fruity mango, slight floral, nice coolness, the sweetness feels so grounded in the taste and balanced nicely with a sticky mouthfeeling.  The pungent quities don’t ever overtake the sweet taste but somehow give it depth and nuance.  The sweet aftertaste is nice and long.  This is a really classy tasting puerh with no negative or distracting flavours and results in a very satisfying long sweet taste that seems nuanced but not overly complex.  The Qi is a mild lingering in the mind relaxed type of Qi.  A harmoniously calming type of thing going on here.

The 10th is a nice juicy pungent with an underlying coolness that gently supports a floral candy like mango sweetness.  The sweet pungent taste feels full and satisfying on a sticky mouthfeel and mid-deep opening throat.  The taste is reasonably long and slowly trails on the breath.  This has to be one of the better tasting puerh I have sampled over the last few years.  The taste is just really delicious and harmonious.

11th has this pungent, sweet fruity mango, buttery clear sweet candy quick on the mouth taste that stretches out in the mouth and throat.  Qi is quite calming in nature the body feels a bit light.

12th has a bit more dry woodiness up front detracting to the last 6 really pure and elegant infusions.  It is not as prominent as the pungent fruity candy sweet taste which still dominates the session.  The mouthfeel is cottony and fluffy in the mouth.

13th is more dry wood and almost grainy tasting initially which is now stronger than the sweet high-noted pungency.  An interesting citrus taste appears minutes later.

The 14th infusion is back to having that really delicious, creamy, buttery, pungent, juicy fruit bunched up note trailing throughout.  One thing of note is how stable this taste is across the session.  Maybe a bit monotonous but the monotony is glorious and yummy.  The Qi continues to be relaxing and clam.  Peachy mango tastes appear minutes later.  This taste evolves into a citrus taste.

The 15th is a bit drier woody and astringent than juicy fruity.  There seems to be more of a candy like aftertaste when the woody astringency is more dominant.  The candy sweetness is long.  This puerh has a nice harmony to it.

16th is more woody dryness astringency now which overtake the highnoted subtlety of the early infusions.

The 17th has a more mellow fruitiness to it almost a melon taste in there now but mainly woody.  A faint buttery floral nuance and some faint candy on the breath.

I push the 18th infusion for a minute a get a more bitter woodier but also fruitier infusion.  There is a stickiness that is left in the mouth.

I put this one into a day’s long infusion and am completely blown away but the result of vibrant creamy fruits, a dense explosion of tropical tastes layered on creamy tastes, slight vegetal and cooling underneath.  This is a real tasty puerh.

I don’t think I would have guessed this to be Bing Dao even though it has an obvious character from this area.  Very good tasting sheng puerh with a taste that is stable thoughout.  The session is not super powerful not outlandish Qi but a nice overall feel to it.  The taste profile has a delicious elegance to it. 

Who said Yunnan Sourcing was a budget vendor… ???... hahahah….


Monday, August 12, 2019

2018 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn Ai Lao Secret Garden vs 2018 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn Nan Po Zhai

Shhh… don’t tell… it’s a secret… wait a minute… Yunnan Sourcing doesn’t keep things secret… limited… promotional video You Tube… quickly sold out of the 2018 Spring Ai Lao Secret Garden ….

This puerh sells for $88.00 for 400g cake or $0.22/g but was kindly gifted to me (Blogger premium) for review when I purchased a large amount of samples a month ago.  Thanks Scott for this interesting one…

Dry smell of creamy sweetness and layers of sweetness underneath with a lingering pungency.

First infusion is of a mellow fruity taste that is slow to evolve in the mouth but increasingly ratchets up in to an expanding mouthfeel of honey, potato, a mellow fruits, there is a deep slow lingering pungent and subtle candy finish.  The mouthfeel and throatfeel are full and come in like a wave.  This puerh is like a soft sunrise… and this is only the first infusion…

The second starts almost spicy and woody with a long slow evolving taste.  The mouthfeeling is really full and cottony but yet astringent.  There is taste of potato, some fruit, slow wave of underlying pungency, candy finish.  The throatfeeling pushes the saliva into the mid throat trapping it there with deep tastes.

The third infusion starts with a very thick cottony mouthfeel with a certain astringency to it.  There is a mellow fruity taste with intense returning creamy sweetness.  The stimulation in the mouth is quite strong and very stimulating.  There are notes of pumpkin, potato, woodiness, a fruitiness familiar to Ai Lao but that I can’t seem to explain.  The Qi is mellow and a bit relaxing in the mind.  The mouthfeel is a wonderfully intense experience.  There is a bit of astringency more than bitterness. The Qi is making me feel silly, and lax and a bit giddy.  I also feel a touch restless.  The astringency is felt on my empty stomach.  These early infusions show the signs of some space in the taste profile typical of Ai Lao but the intensity of the mouthfeel and interesting slow moving evolving taste give it a different kind of complexity.

The fourth infusion starts with a thick juicy fruit taste which crests with a mild pungency then a distinct creamy sweet then the complexity of woody, pumpkin, sweet fruits, play in mouth.  The mouthfeel is really a beautiful thing here.  Very engaging and involved deep mid throat.  Interestingly, not as much on the breath minutes later though.

The 5th start is a woody almost fruity thing then it dives into a distinctly sweet caramel returning sweetness.  There is some creamy sweet tastes that reveal themselves as the caramel receives, then there is a fruitiness then woody and bitter astringency, and more sweetness.  This has a long and engaging finish but minutes later is a touch rubbery on the mouth.  The mouthfeel is very thick and stimulating and focuses most of its energy on the throat.

The sixth infusion starts strong caramel sweetness pungency, mellow fruity orange taste, woody, astringent, slight bitter, fruity again.  The flavours come on strong and thick but take turns in the stimulating mouthfeeling.

The seventh infusion comes on quick with a thick orangey fruit soup with a returning sweetness of creamy sweet then potato, woody, fruity juicy tastes in a stimulating cotton thick mouthfeel. 

The eighth infusion starts thick orangey fruit, slight wood, faint pungent with a creamy returning sweetness.  The mouthfeel is less intense but still moderately thick.  The orange fruit taste lingers in the mouth.

The ninth starts with an interesting mix of pungency slight coolness and orange peachy fruitiness.  The taste evolves in the mouth and a quick returning sweetness delivers a creamy sweet, then long peachy orange notes.  The Qi is mild to moderate and makes me feel slightly relaxed and a bit giddy and physically restless.

The tenth infusion has a quick bitterness which turns into a mellow mild buttery orange fruit taste.  The orangey peachy sweetness lingers on.  The taste is less vibrant and intense here.

The 11th infusion has a bitter orange fruit start with a faint pungent which marks a small bump in the fruity taste.  The mouthfeel is drier here but maybe less astringent.  The Qi has a mellowing effect on my thoughts.  It also has a happy vibe to it.

The 12th infusion starts mild bitter then fruit than faint pungent then more orange then slight drying in mouth.  The throat feeling is slightly constricted here.

The 13th starts off bitter and quickly moves away to a smooth faint fruity slight woody orange fruit feeling. The mouthfeel is stickier and throat a bit lighter sticky here.  The Qi is mild, light, and happy.

The 14th infusion starts off a bit fruity and a bit bitter then goes orange and almost bitter orangy finish.  This puerh looses its finesse in these later infusions but the orange taste is kind of unique and interesting in and of itself.

15th starts a touch sour/bitter with mellow orange and slight peach underneath.  There is an almost unnoticeable coolness with bitter dry finish.

16th and 17th have a bitter sour onset with woody and orange tastes.  There is a dry scratchiness in the throat here and a muted orange aftertaste is noted.  I put this one into long infusions from here…

This Ai Lao is probably the best I’ve tired pegged with the name “Ai Lao” admittedly I only tired a handful from this region.  I understand that this producing region covers a very very large area so there is bound to be lots of variability here.  This Ai Lao has some characteristics that are typically Ai Lao which are a juicy fruity feeling and a more spacious taste profile.  Conversely these are also some characteristics I peg in a typical Autumnal puerh productions.  Its flaw is just the fact that it is Ai Lao, nothing more.  It’s slow evolving taste profile and strong engaging mouthfeeling and especially throat feeling in the early and mid session are real nice and make this puerh a nice treat.  The Qi is mild-moderate and relaxing in nature.  In later infusions they develop a tight dryness when the pot is packed as full as I did with this session. I’m not a big fan the dry throat but that will probably age out in time or can be steeped around.

To compare to the 2018 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn Nan Po Zhai this one is very very different in almost every way.  The strength of the Ai Lao is the long thick slow to evolve flavors of each sip.  The strength of the Nan Po Zhai is the mind melting and body busting Qi.  The weakness of the Nan Po Zhai is the strength of the flavor.  The weakness of the Ai Lao is that its dry scratchy throatfeel if over brewed or leafed heavy.  Overall, both nice Autumnal productions are unique and interesting to drink.  To lob another 2018 interesting Autumnal puerh in to the mix, I would say the 2018 white2tea Snoozefest is also pretty interesting to drink for its price but it is a bit cheaper and not quite as much going on as these.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Highly Recommend This Bargain Bodyfeeler: 2018 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn Nan Po Zhai

I am writing up this post in haste in an attempt to get it out so readers can have a crack at getting this very good puerh at the lowest price possible…

It is in my opinion an extraordinary example of very clean single estate puerh with very powerful Qi sensation but particularly intense bodyfeel.  This type of bodyfeel and Qi sensation is rarely, if at all, found in a puerh with such a low price.  This 2018 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn Nan Po Zhai goes for $72.00 for 400g cake or $0.18/g.  Scott is going to raise the price of this one another 15% in his annual price increase in about a month and this weekend (5 day sale) there is a 10% off Yunnan Sourcing Raw puerh sale with the checkout code RAW10 .  Waiting till Black Friday isn't going to get you more of a deal on this one and as soon as the word gets out on this one it will be sold out even before the sale.  This is an extraordinary chance for beginner or veteran to get something with the profile and bodyfeel that is often sold for 4X this price from other vendors without even being as intense…

Let’s see why I hit this one hard with a hammer…

The dry leaves smell of very very intense minty pungency with a deep foresty sweetness.  It has an intense floral quality to it as well.  The dry leaf smell is the one you keep going back to the sample back to huff- very deep and aromatic.

The first infusion delivers a strong unnami and saline burst right off the bat.  I’m left distracted trying to think of a puerh that I’ve ever tried that was more savory…. There is a woody depth to this tea and strong minty pungent taste then long sweet with fresh cut floral smell.  The aftertaste is long and candy like.  The mouthfeeling is very quick thick and coating on the tongue and mouth.

The second infusion delivers more very salty and savory unnami.  The onset tastes like salted yarrow chips.  The mouthfeeling is very very thick and coating and the throatfeeling is deep.  This is a very strong autumnal production.  The Qi is starting to float the head and make me happy.  A long floral sweetness follows.  There is a calming and heavy body sensation that is immediately apparent.

The third infusion has an intense minty pungent and savory onset.  The mouthfeeling is really strong and intense with a deep throat feeling.  This is quite powerful.  There is some strong underlying bitterness on the tongue and astringency in the throat.  Long floral taste remains.  This puerh has a strong presentation of all 5 flavours: Salty, Sour, bitter, Bland, and Pungent tastes.  The most prominent being the Salty.  Very interesting and powerful puerh.  The body feeling is quite strong and I space out and float.

The four starts like a very dense salty saltine like sweetness with bitter and sour mixed in.  The sweet taste comes after a cool returning sweetness and brings a distinct taste of flowers and long candy on the breath.  The mouthfeel is very thick very strong and goes into the deepest to deep mid throat.  The head floats and the body has almost a shiver to it.

The fifth infusion starts with a very thick liquor of moderate to strong bitterness, strong intense saline and salty yarrow chips and layers of woods underneath.  The taste presentation is very dense and strong and thick.  The body feel is intense, with an unusual heaviness with arms floating and dangling.  The Qi pushes my mind far into a creatively opening spacy, very intense and wonderful.

The sixth infusion is smoother, almost finishes buttery and floral sweet.  The thick minty and salty saline tastes emerge first.  I let it sit a few minutes before drinking and it’s a bit less bitter.  The bitterness here is never off putting but is moderately strong.

The seventh is sweeter throughout again but it starts more bitter which stretches throughout the infusion the mouthfeel is strong and a long buttery aftertaste is found that turns to candy on the breath.  There is lots of nuance here.  My body is outside itself right now.  My mind is free and a bit spacy.  My breath slows and thoughts are clear.

The eighth infusion starts with layered taste of bitterness with salty and minty tastes underneath.  The long sweetness comes in like an undulating wave as the bitterness recedes.  My mind and body is overpowered by the Qi.

The ninth infusion starts with a dense soup of salty unnami thick taste of woods and some sweetnesses underneath a pungent mint and a sweet rolling floral sweetness.  Qi is very floating in the head and has a nice body floating sensation.  The mind is free and relaxed.

The 10th starts with a thick sweeter woody briney onset.  It has a soup and broth like taste here.  The aftertaste is sweet with some florals.  There is a minty nuance in there as well throughout the infusion.

The 11th has a thick onset.  A brothy and dense taste that is thicker in the broth than it is on the tongue now.  The tongue is slippery and almost sandy.  The floral nuance lingers on the breath.  Mind is super relaxed.

12th this tea I mellowing out here.  It is quite sweet, buttery, floral tasting with a moderate-mild lingering bitter taste.  The taste has a juicy sweet feeling to it, it’s a touch brothy but the saltiness is much reduced now.  A lingering floral sweetness and mild coolness lingers.  In the body the Qi feels strangely at home and not aggressive but in the mind, mouth, tastebuds, and throat it’s a different story.

13th has a bit more punchiness bitter initially but then a thick soupiness takes hold the taste evolves interestingly throughout the profile

The 14th has an incredibly clear orchid aroma and taste to it after the slight sour and bitter move quickly into a long rolling sweetness.  The mouthfeeling is sticky and strong and the throat opens deeply.

The 15th and 16th deliver then soupy flavours of mainly sweet tastes, the thickness here is of note, the bitter is much less and there is more astringent and sour bitterness that moves quickly.  I am pretty spaced out…

Overall, this has some really powerful Qi sensations.  I don’t recall ever drinking a single estate puerh this cheap with such strong body sensations.  This puerh really punches above its weight in this department.  The taste is alright, a very nice taste actually a bit of a unique very savory taste mixed with some Mengku charms.  This one is all about the intensity of the bodyfeeling and overpowering effect on the mind.

Just yesterday, I started to doubt that my experience was this positive so I used up the rest of the sample which was about 2/5 less leaf than I normally use.  This session was very salty and savory tasting which is a very interesting taste profile- I don’t have in any puerh in my possession with this profile right now.  But the Qi was almost more intense than I remembered it- It really ran me over.  The power and strength of this puerh is such that I don’t even need to leaf it as much.  This is really a great bargain for those who love intense body sensations and mind exploding Qi.  This is the one.  I would even say it’s close to but not quite as intense as the 2018 Zheng Si Long Gedeng I purchased a few months ago at almost 4x the price.

Scott only pressed 99 cakes of this puerh, it is extremely limited but why hasn’t it long sold out if it’s as amazing as I’m making it out to be?

I think it lacks the “cool factor”.  It’s one of those crazy amazing puerh that is just sitting unnoticed because..

1-      It’s autumn production.  I used to also snub autumnal puerh so I don’t blame those who do this but, to be honest, you are overlooking some puerh that may be much better than spring productions.  This one doesn’t have that vacuous taste profile which plague a lot of autumnal pureh.  Tasted blind, I doubt even a highly educated pallet could identify this one as Autumn.

2-      It’s not from Southern Xishuangbanna.  If its not from Southern pureh producing regions then it won’t age well or is in some way inferior.  I also can’t blame people for this one either because I also favor the South.  But readers know I also love Menku area puerh and am pretty familiar with its awesomeness.

3-      Its not from a famous puerh producing region.  Where is Nan Po Zhai???  I’ve actually never heard of this region before until reading about it on the Yunnan Souring site.  Why?  Because its actually the closest region to the 3rd most famous puerh producing region, Bing Dao.  Scott explains in the video tasting of this one that it almost always gets falsely sold as Bing Dao and no one really markets this stuff as Nan Po Zhai… but that’s great news because Bing Dao is famous…

4-      Scott listing the KG of his productions rather than number of cakes pressed.  The average person doesn’t probably do the calculation to see how many cakes are produced from the KG of raw material that Scott usually lists.  I noticed that the 2019 productions now list how many cakes are produced which will clue some people in to how limited some of Yunnan Sourcing productions really are.

5-      Wrapper.  Ok this wrapper is pretty cool but not as cool as most of his other ripe or spring 2018 Lucy themed wrappers.  In in the end if the wrapper isn’t cool and I can’t personally identify with the branding… then how could the puerh possibly be any good?

6-      Scott presses way too much.  I honestly should not be complaining about this but really I think it is a wonderful thing.  But the average person just simply can’t navigate and sample that many productions in a year.  Easy for some to fall through the cracks especially considering the above.  I emailed Scott specifically to recommend me a very specific qualities of puerh irregardless of price or region and he supplied me a crazy long list of recommendations. I personally narrowed them down then sampled a bunch this one really stunned me (lots more reviews to come).

7-      Anti- Yunnan Sourcing bias.  There is something that some people find not cool about Yunnan Sourcing.  IF you don’t identify with the branding you are restricting yourself for superficial reasons and will miss out.

8-      Unusual taste profile.  This puerh has a really unusual taste profile that has to be one of the most savory puerh I have sampled before.  It almost tastes artificially salted at times.  I think this unique taste profile as well as the heavy Qi could be overlooked in some people who are putting more weight into the taste of the puerh rather than the feel of it.

In the end, I purchased more of this than any other single estate production I have ever bought- over a tong of this stuff.  After sampling this I watched the You Tube video of Scott drinking this puerh and he claimed that he had not tired it since pressing it.  In that video he honestly seems a bit stunned as well at the power of this one.  If this one stunned Scott and me, I can almost guarantee it will stun you too.


Friday, August 9, 2019

2018 Zheng Si Long Yi Shan Mo vs 2018 Zheng Si Long Xiang Chun Lin

This is another Zheng Si Long Yi Shan Mo from Tea Encounter.  This sample was included free in my last order from Tea Encounter.  For those who care to know the 2018 Zheng Si Long Yi Shan Mo goes for $167.01 for400g cake or  $0.42/g.

The dry leaves smell of hay, straw, wood, and lingering cherry fruit and slight evergreen nuance.

The first infusion delivers candy like cotton candy tastes up front.  The taste is really really sweet almost immediately.  It reminds me of cotton candy ice cream my daughter eats at birthday parties.   Very pure, clean, vibrant sweetness.  There is a nice mouthfeeling, quite sticky and reasonably thick for the first infusion.

The second infusion starts with a reasonably dense thick sweetness, an unperturbed sweetness.  Cotton candy icecream like sweetness over a nice sticky mouthcoating.  The sweetness is not hallow or superficial because the mouthcoating gives it a deeper grounding.  The aftertaste has a touch of green forestlike tastes.

The third infusion starts off with a foresty and woody base with intense sweetness.  There is a touch of sour nuances in there and quite a thick sticky coating on the tongue.  There is a long melon sweetness that stretches on the breath.  The throat stimulation here is quite nice too.  A bubble gum like lingering taste lingers for a while minutes later.

The fourth infusion is quite thick cotton candy and even apple fruit sweetness layered over slight woody and forest base.  The mouthfeel is densely simulated with a sticky astringency and the throat opens deeply.  There is a slightly sour nuance and a deep long sweet taste.  The balance to the sweetness here is quite nice and exploited by the open throat feeling and dense tongue stimulation.  The Qi is relaxing and relieving type of feeling in the mind.  The long sweetness in the aftertaste is that long creamy sweetness.  There is a lot of depth to the sweet taste here.  Very nice.

The fifth and sixth infusions start with a dense and thick fruity/candy/creamy fruit nuance the layer sweetness is pronounced and stimulation in the throat and mouth is strong.  There is a base of hay, slight wood, and forest underneath the dense compact and strong sweet taste.  The Qi brings a strong clarity to the mind.  The sweetness is quite strong even minutes later- it gets lodged deep in the throat.  This gets thicker as it goes.

The seventh infusion delivers a dense layered fruity sweetness right off the initial sip.  There are base tastes of woods and forest underneath which give depth to the taste.

The eighth infusion has lots of deep fruity sweet tastes initially supported by forest, slight hay, and slight dry wood.  A touch of sour seems to trigger such a faint pungent then a very sweet candy taste long on the breath.  The mouthfeel and throatfeeling a deep and simulating.  The Qi is relaxing, soothing, and in the body I feel it in my face dropping and relaxing.  Melting tension in the face.  Happy feeling.  Heart beats slower.

The ninth is more of a sunny, almost tropical and apple type of dense sweetness the sour is a touch more pronounced.  A thick satisfying tongue coating with a long strong lingering sweetness.  The Qi is definitely doing many things here.  The overall effect is happy and relaxed, a bit slowly me down a bit alert and clear.  The puerh is not at all harsh on the body for a young puerh.

The tenth starts vibrant dense fruity sweetness with a very mild touch of sour.  The sweet taste is an apple and orange and pineapple type taste which is quite interesting and delicious.  The Qi is really building, it is pretty strong now.  The sweetness is really interesting and deep and long in the mouth.

11th thick dense sweetness creamy pungent sweetness, long long sweetness.  Lots and lots of sweetness.

12th thick dense fruit sweetness, a more wood taste emerging, still stimulating mouth and throatfeeling, juicy fruit taste is long lasting, a dense long juicy sweetness with emerging woody base underneath.  Deep throatfeeling.

13th  and 14th become more juicy apple/slight tropical sweetness there is a thinner but still full coating mouthfeel over the tongue.  A slight sour edge and long more faint now sweetness on the breath.  There is still a mild woody under taste.

I push harder with the fifteenth and add 20 seconds to the flash infusions and come up with a more muted juicy fruity initial flavor with a woody, straw and forest nuance that seems to be more pushed with these longer late infusions.

The 16th I push for about 60 seconds it delivers slightly sour woody forest tastes with a back drop of faint fruity sweetness.

I put this one into the overnight infusion …

Overall, this is a nice puerh.  It is very sweet but with some depth to it to ground it.  The taste is thick in the mouth and presents with dense flavor.  The mouthfeel and throat feeling are really nice.  The tongue coating, in particular is super interesting and engages the sweetness providing depth to the otherwise simple tastes.  The throatfeeling is also quite deep.  As a whole this puerh offers quite a refined experience with sweetness and density and depth that evolves throughout the session but is not overly complex.  The Qi is also pretty good and interesting feeling.

It is interesting to compare this puerh to the 2018 Zheng Si Long Xiang Chun Lin because it’s close proximity to the Yi Shan Mo producing area, same production year, same producer.  The Qi of both of these teas was strikingly similar to me prompting me to sample the 2018 Zheng Si Long Xiang Chun Lin the following day.  The Xiang Chun Lin had much deeper tastes more evergreen, forest, rainforest, and more of a melon fruit taste the Yi Shan Mo had a stronger multifaceted sweetness but less deeper and mid notes.  The Xiang Chun Lin had considerably less stimulating mouthfeeling.  The Qi of both are similar but the Xiang Chun Lin is about 1/3 stronger especially felt in the chest.  Overall they have a similar feel to them.  The Xiang Chun Lin seems to have a bit more stamina especially when put into long and overnight steeps at the end of a session- delicious tastes are still pushed out.  I think the 2018 Zheng Si Long Xiang Chun Lin ($199.99) is a slightly more engaging puerh but for a price that is just a bit more than the 2018 Zheng Si Long Yi Shan Mo ($167.01)… but that mouthfeeling…


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Please, Oh Please, Don’t Tariff Our Teas

After the 2016 US Presidential Election, some were lamenting the philosophical shift.  But, I think there were many like me that wondered how this would affect their tea purchases as well.  In 2018 I  predicted here that if Mr. President gets war-stancey, it would significantly affect the world of puerh.  I think this effect manifested in a more indirect way over the last year in the form of currency fluctuations.  Last week things got real when a 10% tariff was applied to all goods entering the USA from China.  That tariff is applied to all goods (that’s right tea as well) that enter the USA after Sept 1st.

I wonder if there are any of you out there who are stocking up before the 10% increase takes hold? 
I wonder why Western puerh vendors aren’t taking advantage of this in their marketing?  I also wonder how that is going to affect vendors like white2tea or Bitterleaf Teas who ship from China?  Or Vendors who have wearhouses in other countries, will they move their stock out before the tariffs hit?  I wonder how it will impact Yunnan Sourcing that ships from China but also has the option of moving its stock to Yunnan Sourcing USA?  Or the Essence of Tea that has an option of moving tea to their Malaysian warehouse?  I wonder about how it would affect smaller projects like Liquid Proust Teas or Crimson Lotus Tea?

Those comfortably sitting in countries other than the USA might also be effected if a global slowdown is the result of the trade war or if their currency decreases in value as a result.  Today there is much talk about currency manipulation and its effect.  It’s anyone’s guess as to how this will end but for now, with the Canadian dollar a bit higher, I’m considering a purchase…


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Best Puerh Bloggers Are Canadian, Eh?

Have you ever wondered why so many good tea bloggers are Canadian?  Almost all of my favorite current and active tea bloggers are Canadian.  They are either ex-patriots living in the USA, such as Char of Oolong Owl, or currently reside in Canada (I’m not sure if they are Canadian born or not) such as Marco of Late Steeps, and a newer blogger that I’ve been really enjoying lately of The Weekend Sessions.  There are also two very young puerh bloggers out there that I am also reading Tea Reviews and My Tea Journey.  Each and everyone of these bloggers have their own distinct style of blogging so I won’t say there is a distinct style of Canadian tea blogging.  However, I have come up with a few reasons why Canada, with a population less than California, turns out many more quality tea bloggers…

July 1st is a National Holiday here in Canada called Canada Day!  On this day during my meditation, I happened to reflect more deeply on this idea…

1-      I wonder if the long cold winter has something to do with it? Drink more tea and have more time inside to type out something a bit longer?

2-      I wonder if the British Influence and high Chinese minority (largest minority in Canada) have anything to do with it? 

3-      I wonder if the slower pace of Canadian culture? It is said that Canadians even talk slower… hahah conducive to slower tea, gong fu tea, ect?

4-      I wonder if the distant geographical proximity have anything to do with it?  Canada is a big country and the distance makes it harder to me up with tea friends.  Blogging seems like a reasonable way to connect.

5-      Canada produces great innovators, critical thinkers, and those that ask why?  Canadian news, education and culture is less about the sound clip or click bait and more about getting to the bottom of things and thinking about the reason why things are the way they are.  It is with this spirit the long format of the blog is perhaps preferred by Canadians?

6-      Canada some of the best tea shops outside of Asia- O5Tea in Vancouver and Camellia Sinensis in Montreal.