Sunday, June 20, 2021

What about Youle???

 Why does the Western puerh scene not value Youle area puerh compared to other Six Famous Mountain puerh? After blind sampling this 2010 Youle Gushu from TeasWeLike last Summer and really appreciating its complexities- I started to ponder this.

I guess some of the reason that Youle doesn’t get the respect it deserves in the West is because it was widely written off of as an area of “drink now puerh” by many Western puerh drinkers in the early days.  I am as guilty of this as the rest!   Some of my first exposures to Youle were examples from Douji that had a complex new style factory nuance to them but many more early Western puerh drinkers were influenced by Scott’s real delicious light Youle puerh.  Even Scott seems to concede that he enjoys his Youle puerh when young. David of Essence of Tea seems to imply that this is simply due to a lack of old trees of high quality in the area.  Maybe there isn’t enough interesting complex examples of Youle out there?

Another reason why Youle doesn’t seem to get the same respect in the West is because it isn’t commonly offered by Western puerh vendors.  Not sure if this is a chicken-egg thing happening here ? but it seems to be true.  The common idea that Youle puerh is better young than aged is perpetuated by fact that there have been so few Youle semi aged or aged puerh for sale by Western vendors over the years.

Anyways, it’s good to see more Western vendors selling Youle and even semi-aged and aged Youle. There is that one at TeasWeLike, Scott and Xiao Yao have 5 on their site- some more humid aged examples, a Gushu from Hailanghao, and the three of his own brand which I have tried.  I look forward to sampling that 2021 from the Essence of Tea which is on its way.  Also, Puerist has a few interesting Youle as well. I really do like to appreciate the qualities of a nice Youle even though I still have not cracked for a cake yet.

Expect to see some interesting young Youle in the next week or so on the blog as well as some samples from the Essence of Tea.


Saturday, June 5, 2021

2021 Puerist Ban Pen Maocha: Lao Ban Zhang-ish Power

Ban Pen is an area that is really overshadowed by its close neighbour Lao Ban Zhang.  Its also notoriously known as one of the area ingredients (along with Lao Man E) to fake a Lao Ban Zhang.  However, like any area, it has its own merits that are often overlooked… I look to not overlook…

On this unseasonably hot 31C early June day I go for something that is reeeeaaaaally fresh...

Dry leaf smells of intense very grape deep sweetness.  Very sweet and very grape… a bit too fresh for 2020 (this is actually fresh 2021 maocha!).

The first infusion has a buttercup shining sweetness with an underlying woody taste and returning grape sweetness.  There is a faint cooling in the mid throat and a saliva producing effect in the mouth.  There is a bit of underlying bitterness that moves into that grape sweetness with rubber/wood underlying.  The mouthfeel is a fine sandy feeling in the mouth.  It tastes really vibrantly fresh.

The second infusion has a quick moving vegetal bitterness that moves to a mild saliva producing grape sweetness in the mouth.  There is a strong floral presence with this taste that says throughout the profile.  The mouthfeeling is thin and slightly sandy with a saliva producing effect almost being trapped in the mid-throat.  There is a muscatel sweetness and grape skin pucker going on here that reminds me of a good Darjeeling.  The aftertaste is long with grape, bitter, rubber, florals stretching out for minutes later.  The Qi is felt in the Chest and in the mind with a spacy expanding energy.

The third has a strong bitter onset with an underlying floral and grape sweetness.  The bitterness is strong and overpowering here, a bit astringent and really pushes my empty stomach reminding me it’s time for breakfast.  I am also pushed into a euphoric state by the overtaking Qi- my Heart races.  A flat thin kind of griping tongue coating.  Bitter but also nicely floral sweet.

The fourth infusion has a very vibrantly floral grape sweetness that comes after a moderately strong quick moving bitterness.  There is the splash of vibrant flavours.  This infusion has a brilliant and clear pure balance of quick moving bitterness and strong returning floral muscatel sweetness.  There is underlying woody rubber taste, flat tongue coating and long floral aftertaste.  The Qi is big and euphoric in the mind.  There is strong bodyfeeling in the shoulders and arms almost pulsing throbbing.  The length of the floral aftertaste is notable.

The fifth infusion has a vibrant lemon peel bitterness that quickly moves to a floral grape skin fruit taste. The bitterness is moderate strong- to strong and has a quick reversal to a long floral finish in the mouth.  Chest Qi with limbs floating and throbbing.  There is a flat sticky tongue coating with some faint saliva producing in the upper throat.

The sixth infusion offers an almost gamey pungent barnyard not as bitter but also not as sweet.  There are more subtle florals and white grape skill tastes over a flat sticky tongue coating and faint upper throat opening.  Qi is quieting in the mind with Chest and limb bodyfeelings.

The seventh infusion has a mild-moderate quick moving bitterness that transforms into strong more pungent florals and grape skin fruitiness.  The mouthfeeling is a touch gripping but the throat sensation is nice and deeper into the mid-throat.  The Qi has taken me places and it starts to soften and relax just a bit but still euphoria reigns.

The eighth has a buttercup and gamey tastes that come out after quick moving bitterness that turns to gamey floral notes.  A flat sticky tongue coating and fading floral finish.  There is a relaxing bodyfeeling now.  Soothing and tranquil.  Shoulders and arms feel like they are floating or separating from my body.

The ninth infusion oops was left in the pot for 5 minutes!  It has a very concentrated pear syrupy gamey pungent barnyard taste with a fair bit of thickness.  Syrupy bitter wild flower dandelion barnyard.  Very strong spaced out feeling with this hard push…. Spacey very spacey.

My busy day engulfs the tea session and I, unfortunately, abandon it for the day and come back the next day…

I fill a big mason jar up with the leaves from yesterday which I refrigerated and pour boiling water over them and drink this stuff up grandpa style…

Wow! Is it ever good…

Obscenely fragrantly floral notes fill the nose and mouth.  The floral is strong and long.  The bitter taste hits you pretty hard especially after sitting in the boiling water for hours but there is always a strong movement to grape muscatel notes over a strong hard chalky and slightly gripping mouthfeeling.  There is a bit of linger depth in the throat but not overly.  There is also suggestions of vegetal notes, and almost faint pungent gamey suggestions.  The floral and grape and bitterness is strong and along with the gripping moutfeeling stick tightly to the mouth.  The Qi is really insane here and push me into a euphoric stupor with a floating bodyfeeling overall.  I have to step away and approach cautiously tomorrow!

This fresh 2021 Puerist Ban Pan maocha is not like any I’ve tried before but no doubt has the power of a solid Lao Ban Zhang underneath.  This maocha hasn’t been pressed yet or put up for sale.  Its Mark’s style to let this powerful stuff rest for a few months.  I also am not too sure about the current pricing from a region that can piggy back on the price of its ultra-famous neighbor Lao Ban Zhang.  I could guess a tea like this could go for above $250 for 200g cake.

Its good stuff.


Thursday, June 3, 2021

My “Special Occasion” Tea Ain’t That Special

 Nowadays you hear lots of talk of “tea for special occasions” or “special occasion tea” (here and here).   I have said previously on this blog that I don’t keep tea for special occasions  and I’ve even mused whether I was made fun of for having such a stance.  Recently I was doing some self-reflection as to why, exactly, I find the whole topic unnerving. I guess I came up with a few different reasons why I find the idea of “special occasion tea” to be kind of weird to me...

The early days of puerh drinking was pretty unpretentious.  20 years ago puerh tea was much cheaper than most other types of tea. Also if you go back to the early English writings on puerh you never hear talk of puerh for “special occasions”.  Did something change as a society that we now demand to feel “special”?  Even just the idea of elevating a tea to special occasion tea simply because of its current popularity has me scratching my head.

So then is it simply the high price or perceived scarcity that defines something as special???  It certainly seems to be marketed this way.

For me personally, I define something special as something that you cannot put a price on - a feeling, an experience, an event, but most importantly a special moment in time attached to a memory.  All tea can be appraised for a certain price- the cheap stuff and the astronomically expensive stuff.  Then what is it that makes a tea a “special occasion tea”?

Interestingly, when there is a special occasion in my life I never go for my most expensive teas nor my rarest teas.  The teas I go for during special occasions are usually not that expensive at all.  What they do tend to be are teas that bring me back to a certain time and place, a moment, a certain meeting, certain people, good memories, good times.  Connecting the past to the good times in the present moment.  This is the wonder of aged puerh tea!

So really if you are looking for a “special occasion tea”I suggest taking a tea and making good memories with it, share it with good people, and have good times.  It doesn’t have to be expensive tea but maybe it will be priceless for you someday.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

COVID-19 Heralds in the Renaissance of Puerh In the West

 With nowhere to go, no one to see, and with the result of an ever growing savings (for those benefiting) during the COVID-19 Pandemic, puerh tea has experienced a natural resurgence in the West.  Drinking puerh is an activity that can be easily (or most frequently) done alone and at home by most Westerners who savour the puerh experience. During the isolation of the pandemic people are looking for beautiful experiences which puerh naturally and effortlessly offers us.  The recent renaissance is driven by many new comers, a number of people returning, some veterans and bloggers that have had more time to publish about their drinking, and supported by surging sales by up and coming as well as well established vendors.  The recent interest in puerh makes me strangely happy!

New comers to puerh during the pandemic are many and are driving the interest and growth.  It is known that the purchase of consumptive luxury products have exploded during these COVID-19 times. Older puerh drinkers may already have a lifetime of puerh so it’s the newer drinkers that are realizing the true beauty of puerh and are the main consumers and drivers of both more sales and new information on puerh.  But even those with very little money to spend can easily indulge in a bit of this beauty too.  It’s a luxury and beauty that we can all enjoy together- that is a wonderful thing!

Some of my older Blogger friends have been putting out some excellent thought provoking blogs in the last few months that stimulate interesting debate and present interesting topics and ways to view and understand puerh.  As the in-person world becomes more isolated and restricted, I find myself feeling more fondly and maybe even closer towards those puerh bloggers whom I have known through our common writing interests in puerh for many years.  To be a friend is to support but also challenge to be better and I feel the bloggers listed below do that for me and hopefully I do that for them.  To be a friend also means being there for them in times of need and I hope my posts and comments fulfil some of this as well.  I suppose, if they reached out to me I would do my best to help them.  This is a friend to someone who is basically a tea hermit... hahaha....

So what have my tea Blogger friends been up to....

Marshaln of A Tea Addicts Journal has put out a few more posts on his pots, on 7542, and a super interesting interview with Glen of Crimson Lotus which encompasses many of the issues of the old school.  Any post by the Grandfather is always a gift even if it is just a teapot inventory!

Cwyn N of Death By Tea, who is widely believed to be the best puerh writer, has gotten back into the rhythm of blogging over the last half year.  It’s great to read her posts which have started to use a connoisseur lens to look at puerh and has been offering other practical and thought provoking articles on her blog.  Always a great puerh read!

Marco of Late Steeps has recently taken a run at addressing some gaps of published knowledge in the Yang Qing Hao catalogue as well as attempting to look at how these cakes are aging.  I also have really enjoyed his experimenting with the video, and charts on his blog!

Shah8’s weekly post on the Badger and Blade Sheng of the Day forum has often been one of my puerh highlights of the week.  I really enjoy his detailed review of Sheng puerh.  To me he is one of the first to dive the deepest into gushu puerh in the West.  He is one of the only English writers to regularly offer very detailed notes and comparisons of Sheng puerh.

Thank you my friends! Your articles bring me much joy and a much needed point of provoking thought and good puerh debate!

The vendors have supplied the demand brilliantly too!  I think 2020 will go down as their best years to date for some of the veteran puerh vendors.  2021 could even be bigger!  It was also a year that allowed for relatively new vendors to really expand and explode forward like the following vendors that I had purchased from last year...

Liquid Proust significantly expanded their puerh offerings this year to a point where I would recommend sampling heavily for the new comer.  He went from having only a small handful of puerh at a time to many handfuls just in one year.

Tea Encounter expanded their own brand and offered more Zheng Si Long but sold out of many after Black Friday.  They started to bring in more affordable single estate Autumn offerings including some pressed from their own brand.

TeasWeLike really turned a corner going from a few well know cakes to many many interesting other options some are found in their archives now.  They started doing a lot more interesting quarter cake sample packs and even a collaboration with Marshaln.

The way that these vendors pivoted at this time made puerh more accessible for those new to puerh and to those on a tighter budget.

As the city I live experienced surge of variant COVID cases in the 3rd wave here (the highest per capita in Canada in March), and as the city started to lock down again, I once again found solace in puerh.


2017 Puerist Yi Shan Mo, Xiang Chun Lin & A Xiang Chun Lin Comparison

I’m a fan of the Xiang Chun Lin area.  It’s kind of a new puerh area that has in the last 5 years or so rose to some sort of notoriety.  I find the juxtaposition of a very sweet, very floral soft taste with a very strong heady and euphoric Qi.  For the price of other more expensive puerh areas, I think this area offers some value if you enjoy this type of puerh experience… especially the Qi… and the wildflowers…

This 2017 Puerist Yi Shan Mo, Xiang Chun Lin goes for approx $137.00 for 200g cake or $0.69/g.  This was a complimentary sample provided for review in my last order.

Dry leaves have a faint floral kind of sweet note to them.

First infusion has a woody buttery sweet daisy floral.  It has a sweet wildflower oily taste to it.  Nice long sweet melon and wildflower expansion in the aftertaste.  Nice soft chalky feeling in the mouth with a mid-deep mild pungent throat.  Nice relaxing and expansive Qi.  Nice long subtle floral sweet aftertaste with immediately apparent Qi is nice.

Second infusion has a very sweet candy like onset with a icing sugar taste that pops and stays throughout the profile in the soft chalky mouthfeeling and deep faint pungent throat.  Although the flavors are light there is a thick groundedness to the sweet flavors as the have an underlying woody feel.  The flavor is quite sweet, quite thick, quite deep, and quite long.  Very nice.

Third infusion has a strong sugary sweet with layers of melon and caramel now.  The caramel taste goes the distance.  Very layered sweetness with a powdery chalky moderate mouthfeeling and a woody faint base that is pretty much overtaken by thick sweetness.  The taste is really delicious and mouthwatering there is a long caramel and wild flower finish.  There is a deep throat taste that holds in the long aftertaste.  Nice Qi with strong expansiveness in the mind and open chest.  I feel light.

Fourth infusion is developing a strong syrupy taste.  There are notes of apricot, melon, caramel, and sugar, and candy lots of layered thick sweetness over a base of intertwined woodiness.  Nice expansive and chesty Qi.  Strong stoning expansiveness.

The 5th infusion has a creamy buttery thick sweetness that is like apricot jam syrupy sugary sweet over a condensed mild chalky feeling in the mouth.  There is a peachy floral long finish as the taste goes deeply in to the throat and has a mild pungency there.  There are some bready notes, woody notes and layered of dense sweetness.  Strong Qi seals the deal with this one as there is a strong chest opening and expansive free feeling.

6th has a fruity thick syrup taste of peach, melon, almost caramel, icing sugar.  A dense fruity sugary sweet onset with a layer of faint bread and woody taste that is overcome by thick sweetnesses.  Long almost licorice peachy deep throaty sweet aftertastes.  Strong Expanding mind Qi and open chest with slight floating body.

7th has a sweet less condensed sugary peachy onset that turns to melon sweetness.  There is some woodiness and tart but very faint it’s mainly just smooth fruity sweet long tastes.  Nice chesty floating body Qi.

8th is fruity peachy melon fruity syrup sugar sweet with chalky layer of faint wood and wild flower.  It has a slow creamy fading sweet aftertaste.  Nice Qi.  Long taste in mouth minutes later.  There is basically no bitter or astringency in here but still feels full tasting especially the layered sweetness.

9th is a fruity soapy peachy taste with a creamy wildflower underbelly with some woodiness and bready buttery creaminess. There is a longer, more wildflower taste in there.  Nice chalky powdery taste as well.  There is a strong melon peachy taste in the cooled cups minutes later.  I feel really spaced out from the Qi.

10th has a strong fruity soapy buttery floral taste with long deep sweetness with more woody and bready notes coming out as the session progresses. Nice spacy strongish Qi.

11th is thick dense syrupy peachy melon bready woody has a powdery taste with deep throat mild pungency and long trailing wildflower sweet taste still lacking any bitter astringency and makes up for it in pure condensed vibrant flavours.

12th … I run out of time in my day for this one which still has some good stamina left in it…

I mug steep it out over a few days and it still gives off very sweet not really much bitterness and lots of wildflower tastes.  Still lots of Qi left to savor.  Nice stamina.

Overall this is a nice full layered condensed sweet tasting one with great stoning expansive Qi with a bit of chest opening bodyfeelings.  This one has very little bitterness or astringency just enough to give it some depth but still feels full with the layered often vibrant flavours.  It actually does have a bit more of a Yi Shan Mo vibe and thickness to it than the other Xiang Chun Lin I have sampled.

Vs 2017 Tea Urchin Xiang Chun Lin- these are very different in that the Tea Urchin has much more punchy, astringent and bitter kick but also a quicker moving bitterness that pushes a lot more intense sweetness out.  It tastes like it is from younger trees a bit edgier and more smaller chopped and broken leaves.

Vs 2018 Zheng Si Long Xiang Chun Lin- I like this one enough to cake it.  It has a stronger floral layering to it as well as deeper interplay of light floral notes and a deeper Qi sensation.  In some ways its similar to this 2017 Puerist Xiang Chun Lin.


Monday, May 17, 2021

2020 Tea Encounter Lao Man E Kucha (Bitter) When It’s Hot Out!

I have been saving this sample throughout the winter for the first real hot day of the year.  The first day my body feels really hot, uncomfortably hot.  These days are Lao Man E days!  Today is that day…

Unfortunately, my waiting has been too long and this2020Tea Encounter Lao Man E Kucha  (200g cake was selling for $82.16 or $0.41/g) has now sold out.  It was a rather late entry into the fray, released after Black Friday. Lao Man E at this price ain’t bad at all… least not as bad as this heatwave of Above 30C…  There is still some samples left for those that want to try it. 

Dry leaves smell of a woody paper odour.

The first infusion has a mild gamey floral watery onset with a slow developing mild bitterness that returns with a bit of watermelon sweetness.  The mouthfeeling is a bit gripping but not dry.  There is a lingering floral watermelon peel on the breath.  A chest opening Qi can be felt.

The second infusion has a floral green bitter bite.  The bitterness is really strong as expected with a bitter green overwhelming taste to it with a bit of cool throat and returning slight floral and watermelon peel tastes.  The mouthfeel is gripping and full with a bit tugging on the throat.  Nice mild open chest and light limbs feeling.

The third infusion has a sweeter bread-like sweetness a burnt toast kind of sweetness over a slightly gripping mouthfeeling and relatively more mild bitterness throughout but a slightly floral and almost honeydew melon rind and almost woody returning sweetness.  The Qi makes the limbs light and airy and the body feels deeply recharged.

The fourth infusion has a bready toast sweetish onset with a moderate bitter that comes out of that.  The mouthfeeling is slight fine sand and faintly gripping.  The sweetness here goes from onset to aftertaste and is a bready sweetness.  This infusion is the least bitter so far and is much sweeter.  The Qi is nice and relaxes the body and limbs.

The fifth is more buttery milky sweet almost floral with a moderate bitterness in the mouth and a bready finish in the mouth.  The mouthfeel is slight gripping, slight sandy. There is a low level almost fruit, floral, bread sweetness throughout.  The bitterness lingers on the tongue.  The Qi is relaxing here.

The 6th has a bitter toast sweet taste with a returning watermelon rind sweetness with a more floral finish.  Nice relaxing and slightly slowing down Qi.  Light limb bodyfeeling is pronounced and is my most enjoyable aspect of the puerh so far.

The 7th has a creamy bready sweetness to it that comes initially then stays into the aftertaste. There is a quick splash of watermelon sweetness.  Nice light limbs and open chest feeling. An almost lime melon rind finish.  Light body feeling.

The 8th left to cool is a mellow bread and rind soft of taste with a bit of coolness in the upper throat and on the breath with a honeydew melon rind finish.  This infusions is almost fruity sweet with faint bitter and a more juicy feeling in the mouth.

9th is left to cool once again and gives off juicy bread and fruity almost melon with some burnt toast kind of tastes.  There is a mild bitterness that lasts long in the profile and is the last note in the mouth after the melon rind sweetness has dissipated.  Qi feels really relaxed and slow with very light limbs.

10th has a juicy feeling with an almost rubbery moderate bitterness that puckers the mouth.  The throat feel is mild here with a bit more upper throat gripping than most infusions.  Some melon rind finish and increasingly sedate feeling from this one.

11th has a juicy muted fruity melon mild watery bitterness to it.  It has a nice long honeydew melon taste in the aftertaste.  Some chest opening and floating limbs but very mild.

12th is luke-warm and is a bit woody burnt toast not really sweet and only mildly bitter.  Not much flavor here but nice Qi continues to emit from this one.

13th oops is a good 10 second past flash steeping is woody bland similar to the 12th more floral finish… I put this into the mug..

Mug is mainly just bitter deliciousness on this end… crush that heat out with this bitterness… hahahah…

This Lao Man E is an interesting creature.  It really isn’t that bitter but nor is it as sweet as some Lao Man E I’ve tried before.  It also doesn’t really taste much like Gushu but also not plantation or Xiaoshu.  I check the site and it says its Zhongshu or middle aged tree… That makes a lot of sense… and look the description is also really similar to some of my notes… I agree with the Strong Qi and with the bread sweetness…

What it does have is a very approachable price tag for Lao Man E.  It also offers a very solid bodyfeeling of relaxed limbs and Qi that is relaxing sedating and airy.  It also offers nice variability throughout the session with lots of different and interesting tastes to enjoy throughout.  On the first really hot day of the year, I enjoy this bitter cool energy of Spring.  Very satisfying to my body on this unseasonably hot day… this is the aspect of this puerh which I enjoy the most.. the bodyfeeling… a very nice feature for this price point.

Alex’s (Teanotes) Tasting Notes


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

2015 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai: Lots of Ban Po Lao Zhai!

I had mentioned that that Puerist has about ¼ of their catalogue from the Nannou producing area.  Specifically all of their productions are from a garden that is “on a ridge between Duo Yi Zhai, Ban Po Lao Zhai and Shi Tou Zhai.”  The 2015-2020 are also all processed in a similar style by the same farmer.  I believe from tasting this puerh that it might be different from the 2013PueristBan Po Lao Zhai that I purchased last year.  For someone looking for a vertical sampling of a higher quality Nannou, look no further…

This 2015 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai goes for approx. $83.00 for e200g or $0.42/g.  Let’s give it a try...

Dry leaves smell of faint creamy sweetness.

The first infusion has a watery creamy sweet taste over a background of faint raisin there is some low lying coolness and a full chalky feeling in the mouth and even mid throat.  The Qi is invigorating and chest opening.

The second infusion has a strawberry woody almost raisin full initial taste.  There is some dirt woody sweet raisin in the background.  A cool low pungency in the mid-deep throat and a full chalky mouthcoating with subtle oily saliva feeling on top.  Nice sweet creamy raisin finish.  Strong warming and invigorating Qi sensation and open chest feeling.

The third infusion is cooled down but gives a creamy sweet caramel raisin with a low slow moving cool pungency in the throat over a creamy full fluffy mouthcoating and deep open throat.  Vibrant Qi and open chest bodyfeeling.

The fourth infusion has a thick creamy sweet raisin onset with a carrot dirt like base and a low moving cooling deep throat which pushes out a lot of creamy carrot sweetness and almost fruity mango and dirt tastes.  The taste is nice and condensed and full feeling and is creamy sweet into the distant aftertaste.  Nice thick chalky fluffy mouthfeeling and deep open throat with salivating oily returning.  Nice.

5th strong creamy almost strawberry carrot raisin taste a bit woody and caramel.  Thick chalky mouthfeeling with a returning grape woody creamy sweet taste.  The flavors are condensed and mouthfeeling thick and chalky.  The Qi is invigorating.

6th has a strong almost syrupy sweetness with a low menthol pungency which pushes out a woody juicy fruity menthol and grape aftertaste in a very full chalky puckering mouthfeeling.  The throatfeeling is deep with a saliva bursting sensation.  Vibrant invigorating deep sighing Qi washes over me.  Body feel is a chest expanding feeling.

7th has a smoky meaty creamy sweet woody condensed taste that hits a pungent menthol deep throat and turns quite sweet- grapes, creamy sweet, woody, carrot, dirt, caramel… flavor is very complex here and nice.. deep throat and full mouth.  Invigorating Qi.  Very nice.

8th has a strong fruity punch thick mouth woody menthol taste with an emerging creamy raisin and almost grape sweetness over a dirt woody carrot taste.  There is a strong condensed taste throughout with a deep throat pungency and mouthwatering effect.

9th is cool but packs a good thick punch of complex Nannou flavours- woody, raisin, grape, dirt, carrot, menthol, cooling, creamy sweet, even a mild bitterness.  The mouthfeeling is chalky and throat opening is deep.  Very nice.

10th has an increasingly mild bitter onset with woody, dirt, carrot, not as creamy sweet. Vibrant shaking surging Qi.  Deep throat.

11th has a juicy fruity taste creamy sweet, slight smokey woody dirt.  Tastes are condensed and excellent.  Vibrant Qi. Chalky full mouthfeel and deep throat. 

12th has a tangy fruity woody carrot dirt mild bitter slight smoky full feeling.  Condensed with a low menthol and creamy sweetness.  Thick. Enlivening.  Long sweet and slight woody smokey finish.  Heart palpitations with open chest feeling.  Buzzing feeling.

I mug steeped out the rest…

This is a very lively, flavourful, and powerful Ban Po Lao Zhai!  Lots of complex and very dense flavor presentation here as there still lots of young puerh notes in there but also emerging semiaged notes as well.  Qi is the best part with a surging powerful vibrant Qi at some points of the session, even Heart Palpitations and chest opening stronger bodyfeelings.  Nice deep throat stimulation and mouthwatering effect over a chalky full mouthfeeling.  It’s all about the maximum experiential effects with this puerh and it does not disappoint!  One of the reasons, I could guess, Mark keeps pressing this garden is because the package you get here in terms of quality is hard to beat for this price.