Monday, February 11, 2019
Rough & Elegant: Two Interesting Yesheng/ Wild Tea Samples from Teapals
Last month I put my very first order through at Teapals. I picked up what turned out to be the last of these 2003 Shuangjiang Mengku Da Xue Shan Wild puerh bricks (I haven’t tired them yet) and in the order I received a few interesting complimentary samples of wild puerh by Mr. Teapal himself, KL Wong.
I believe these came from KL Wong’s personal collection because I don’t see them for sale on his website. Usually, I don’t write about samples that are never offered for sale in the Western market but these two are both a bit unique in their own ways. One of them is one of the most ethereal and elegant wilds I have tried where the other is from Western Xishuangbanna, the Naka region, an area that we don’t tend to see a lot of yesheng. So I thought, for eduational purposes, I would type some notes up on these two interesting wild teas. Why is most yesheng/ wild that reaches western markets from Northern Xishuangbanna or from the Yiwu/ Western Xishuangbanna producing areas? This, I don’t know?
2008 Teapals Small Factory Naka Yesheng
The dry leaves smell of hay and distant woody sweetness.
The first infusion has a buttery entry with a soft and woody base with a creamy sweetness. There is a faint cloud of fruit sweetness on the breath- almost like a tart cherry taste but not really even tart.
The second infusion I taste a more woody less buttery taste. It has a straw almost dry wood with a layer of sweetness. The moutheel is mildly sticky the breath is of fruits of faint strawberries and wild cherry, it’s more of a creamy sweetness almost candy floss. The tastes are faint and delicate but are supported in the woody base.
The third infusion is a touch more woody with a pungent almost wood bark with a long faint fruit aftertaste layered into faint candy floss. This infusion has a bit of a brackish/ smoke tinge to it.
The fourth infusion starts a touch smoky and wood. The mouthfeel is mainly on the tongue. The Qi is pretty mild with a soft warmth generated in the body the spine feels nice and loose. This infusion gets noticeably smoky and slightly rough with a baked apple sweetness and candy floss covered in a woody slight smoky taste.
The fifth infusion has a nice woody, deeper slight smoky, layered dry apple nuance. Has a slight cooling taste. The qi is mild and a bit relaxing now. I can feel it behind the eyes. This tastes like a pretty traditionally processed wild. Has a bit of a fruit aftertaste lingering there.
The sixth infusion starts a bit smoky with nuances of wood and almost fruit sweetness. The qi is quite mild but warming in the body.
The seventh infusion is a bit warm fruity smoky onset slight sandy tongue feel. Lingering smoke and slight fruit aftertaste. Long slight sweet, slight smoky taste. Mild Qi sensation- warming in body and can feel energy in the diaphragm.
Eighth is much the same. With a faded talic berry nuance. Energy feels clean and natural.
I steep this for a few more infusions and get a nice smoked plum flavor in an almost sandy tongue feeling.
This is standard enough wild for an everyday drinker, clean in the body, but no other overly apparent strengths and an old-school a traditional processed vibe.
I enjoy this tea for what it is- nice little traditionally processed wild from a region I have not yet sampled a wild tea from, Naka.
2018 Teapals Early Spring Wild Yiwu
Dry dark coloured leaves have a heavy dense deep floral syrupy sweetness with lingering candy odour.
The first infusion arrives with a light water vacuous onset with faint icing sugar sweetness and faint woodiness. The taste is delicate and the minute’s later aftertaste is a mild woody coolness with distant long creamy sweetness.
The second infusion has more sweetness in its approach and a soft and elegant long dry woodiness that stretches into a faint bubble gum flavor long on the breath. This tea is very elegant and long tasting. Its mouthfeeling is very soft and mildly viscus on the tongue. It feel like it reaches deep into the throat but with graceful simulation there. The Qi in here is very nice, happy feeling, light-floating head sensation, lax body, smiles.
The third infusion starts off very faint, almost woody with a faint underlying bubble gum sweetness and icing sugar. The profile is very long, subtle, graceful, super mild. A soft returning coolness in the deep throat.
The fourth develops some depth with a soapy bubble gum almost grape Thrills gum like taste that pops initially before embracing the thin dry wood tastes. This initial taste is strung out slowly in the aftertaste and breath. Deep relaxation you can feel it in the heart slowing- Qi is very very nice. Big relaxing and gooey body sensation Qi here.
The fifth infusion has a woody almost icing sugar onset with dry woods to follow. It develops a fluffier cotton in mouth feeling and has a woodier almost briny woody and faint floral suggestion. Deep long faint sweetness of bubble gum on breath. Floating.
The sixth infusion is developing a subtle chestnut richness with thin dry wood taste and faint long barely bubble gum tastes. The taste is still very elegant but I wouldn’t say it’s weak or thin but rather fine. The seventh is much the same as the flavours develop a warmer almost nutty wood nuance. The mouthfeel is soft, fluffy, and barely sticky.
The eighth and ninth have a richer nutty wood taste with a barely creamy sweetness. Overall the taste is sweet but hard to explain like the sweetness is coming from the nuttiness. Faint creamy sweetness in breath. The mouthfeel develops a mild astringency now.
The 10th and 11th have a more round, almost metallic woody taste and deep faint long sweetness. There is faint floral lingering- the mouthfeel is more astringent here. The taste is mainly woody now slight astringency with metallic and faint breath sweetness.
I had to step away from the tea table very early morning and, unfortunately, didn’t return until sunset. This one seemed to start to fade before I stepped away. I put it in an overnight infusion and got some really nice dense, rich, syrupy fruit stuff. I put it in another overnight infusion and got much the same which tells me this one could have probably steeped out nicely.
This wild had real nice qi, it was one of the most fragile wild tea I have sample so far. Much more delicate than any other Yiwu wild I have tried in the past (here and here). Nice to drink now… love the qi in there.