Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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!”
Sunday, December 3, 2017
I got an email recently that stated:
Dear Tea Friend,
If you follow Morning Crane Tea on Facebook, you already know that I am making a very special tea offer. Kim Jong Yeol is one of Korea’s finest artisan tea producers yet only two of his teas have ever been offered in the West. To correct this, we made a special arrangement and are able, for this TeaBuy only, to offer six of his amazing teas at prices much lower than my normally discounted prices. If you have tried his teas before, you know the exceptional quality of the teas he produces. If not here is an unprecedented opportunity.
Master Kim uses large nearly wild bushes organically grown with deep roots. They are hand plucked and hand processed by the master himself insuring outstanding quality. This special offer ends December 9th at midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the USA. Most teas will be shipped from the USA but If you are closer to Korea, we can ship directly to you. Our goal is to get these teas to you in December.
If you are a tea company and want to purchase wholesale, these are our wholesale prices unless you buy by the kilo that would reduce the price slightly.
This is an unprecedented opportunity and another one of our tea offers from which we will make very little profit. Morning Crane Tea is an educational enterprise not a tea company.
Please respond with your order to morningcranetea(at)sbcglobal.net.
Arthur K. J. Park
Morning Crane Tea
I just wanted to re-iterate how epic Kim Jong Yeol’s Korean tea is and what a special opportunity this is to try Korean tea at prices below what you would actually pay in Korea.
If anyone out there is interested in what Kim Jong Yeol’s teas are all about please feel free to browse this stack of old posts on his teas that go back to his 2009 selection:
Or check out this recent video review at TeaDB:
It is a false statement that only 2 of Kim Jong Yeol’s teas have been offered in the West as Pedro (formally of Daotea and currently of O5tea) has been selling various grades of both his green tea and balhyocha since 2009 and continues to do so. If you are lucky enough to live in Vancouver you can even try Kim Jong Yeol’s teas out in person or walk out with a bag before ordering at 05Tea.