Sunday, January 1, 2023

2003-2007 Chen Yuan Hao Ranking

I took the last week or so of holidays at home to retaste all of these and it was a really good tea week!  I just wanted to mention that this ranking is only comprised of the vetted samples by and TeasWeLike.

Well, I’m a bit surprised by what I found here.  I guess it wasn’t something that was out right stated by others until recently.  Most of what people were saying or what I understood was that the 2005 ChenYuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi was the pinnacle of ChenYuan Hao of this era.  However, although it is the Chen Yuan Hao cake I own the most, I think it is a bit overrated but I guess I’m not the only one.

Recently Marco stated that he enjoys the 2003 ChenYuan Hao ManZhuan and 2003 Chen Yuan Hao Youle more than the 2005 ChenYuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi for immediate drinking.  He believes Shanzhong Chuanqi will age into something more favourable but I’m a bit more skeptical about it because, it (at least the Teas We Like storage option) has some of the nuances washed away into the base depth taste and it overall feels like a bit of the complexity is lost here- still an excellent puerh.  I’m just as excited as him to see how this will age out.  I served the 2005 Shanzhong Chuanqi to another puerh person and he didn’t like it and didn’t even finish the cup- true story.  I believe James of TeaDB was also less enthusiastic about the 2005 Shanzhong Chuanqi when he first tried it but later warmed up to it.  I have sampled it extensively now.

Another thing I wanted to discuss is how to evaluate or appreciate these ChenYuan Hao on their own and in reference to other puerh producers of this time.  I think these earlier ChenYuan Hao productions are super interesting because they use a more traditional processing with obvious Gushu material.  I think it will age more favourably.  The 2003 six famous puerh mountain series gives a very clear, strong, and characteristic profile of these famous areas.  The blended commemorative cakes show off the complexity of the blend nicely.

Lastly I wanted to comment on the storage… although the TeasWeLike storage and the “standard storage” do taste a bit different I’m not really sure that they come from different storage, at the very least they come from similar storage or were until recently stored the same, or the difference are slight that they came from humidity and packaging- not sure.  But as they continue to age in my storage after sampling them a year later the differences are even less.  

I much prefer the other more limited but much better “old man” storage of  The cakes of this storage are the 2003 ChenYuan Hao Yiwu, 2003 ChenYuan Hao Yibang, 2004 ChenYuan Hao Song Pin Hao Commemorative, and the 2005 ChenYuan Hao Jing Chang Cha Zhuan (I do believe).  This storage is apparently quite hot and drier as it was stored by a hobbyist Mr. Old Man.  It comes off preserving more of the complexity and gives the puerh a subtle perfume fragrance,  the wet leaves appear slightly greener than the standard storage.

Ok here we go…

1- 2004 Chen Yuan Hao Song Pin Hao Commemorative- super strong wth thick oily juicy mouthfeel, strong bitter backbone, lots of resin and complex incense, strong body feeling and Qi sensations.  Powerful with nice stamina. Could be the best cake I own.

2- 2003 Chen Yuan Hao Yiwu (old man storage) (here and here)- this is just super delicious feel good classic Gushu Yiwu stuff there is an abundance of rich complex odours and sweet layer with this dry stored cake.  This one is easily winning the speed test!  I have half a cake but less each month. No longer for sale.

3- 2003 Chen Yuan Hao Tong Qing Hao Commemorative- (here and here)- very tasty, smooth creamy Yiwu with a thickish mouthfeel and nicer stamina then 2003 ChenYuan Hao Yiwu. This is not a strong Qi puerh but very easy to enjoy!  Picked up a cake from TeasWeLike.

The next four 2003 from the six famous tea mountains series are all very similar in quality first vetted by TeasWeLike.  I would love to try the Gedeng and Mangzhi one day.  Depending on my mood the four change preferences.  I drank them back to back this week and I actually prefer them in the opposite order but I’ll let the speed test sort this out for today…

4- 2003 Chen Yuan Hao Youle (here and here)-a very powerful yet very characteristic Youle.  Still some astringency in here and the taste is so condensed with the astringency and strong Qi that sometimes I have to step away from this one for a while in the session and regroup.

5- 2003 Chen Yuan Hao Yiwu (standard storage) (here and here)- very sweet condensed layered classic Yiwu profile.  Not as nuanced as the dried stored cake above but super enjoyable.

6- 2003 Chen Yuan Hao ManZhuan- (here and here)thick in the mouth, with aged delicious fruity taste, very nice full oily mouthfeeling.  The leaves are much more typical larger Gushu looking than the others in the series also has an older tree vibe.  This one is climbing the list ever time I re-try it.

7-2003 Chen Yuan Hao Yibang- this one gives me a bit of the body tingling and itch otherwise it would be higher on the list.  Perfume floral and sweet raisins with a Qi that gets me high and bodyfeeling on the head and face and lower limbs.  A really nice example of older semi-aged Yibang. This week when I tried it again the itch was easy to overlook for the other really positive features.

8- 2005 Chen Yuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi- (here and here)- this is a six famous tea mountain blend with deep profile and bitter base.  There is the really nice creep-up-on-you Qi at about the fourth or fifth infusion that gets me every time!  Flavours are a bit washed out in the storage here- always enjoyable for me!

9- 2007 Chen Yuan Hao Autumn Yiwu Chawang- this is a nice leaning to a more modern Yiwu Gushu type of thing that is super subtle, deep but delicate with less stamina.  This type of cake signals a change of gears for Chen Yuan Hao.

10- 2011 Chen Yuan Hao Qian Jia Zhai Jincha- okay this is younger than the others… and it’s an outlier production being outside the six famous tea mountains and pressed into a mushroom shape… but it is delicious coco sweetness and powerful qi with great stamina… my kind of puerh!  Great value. 

11- 2005 Chen Yuan Hao Jing Chang Cha Zhuang- this one has a nice evolution throughout the session with oily and mouthwatering sweet onset that soon gets dominated by strong astringency and bitterness which drowns the subtle blend of this one.  Still interesting and enjoyable sample.


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

2003 ChenYuan Hao Yiwu- Standard Storage vs Old Man Storage


The 2003 Chen Yuan Hao Yiwu (goes for approx. $500.00 for 357g cake or $140.00/g) had come in two different storage options at  The “old man storage” (here and here) is very very delicious and there is a more typical or widely offered storage offered by TeasWelike.  This is also a more standard storage option that was sent to me for comparison in my last order that I will review here today..,

Dry leaves have a sweet bready woody not as perfume or fruity as preferred storage.

First infusion has a creamy sweet bready note with expanding creamy taste.  Mild chalky mossy mouthfeeling with some mouthwatering before the aftertaste of creamy icing sugar sweetness.

Second infusion has a woody rubbery taste that has a woody almost herby finish that is faintly sweet.  More like a bread sweetness.  Expanding sweetness in the breath.  Soft mossy mouthfeeling.  Relaxing Qi.

The third infusion has a woody dry-fruity chicory herbal taste to it with an almost licorice and bread finish sort of like sweet breads.  Sweet bready tastes lingers with a chalky mild mossy mouthfeeling.  There is a euphoric relaxing feeling in the Qi with shoulders and limbs light.

The fourth infusion is left to cool and gives off a mellow woody herb icing sugar sweetness that develops more creamy sweet taste in the aftertaste.  Euphoric relaxing Qi with shoulders and limbs light feeling.

The 5th has a woody herbs creamy sweet onset with subtle bready dry woody sweetness and a mossy mouthfeeling.  There is a brassy creamy dry woody base to the taste with some mild mouth dry feeling. 

6th has a dry woody herbal taste with a dry gripping mouthfeeling and some faint cooling and icing sugar taste that mixes with the cooling breath.  Nice relaxing euphoria.

7th has a flat woody bready onset with a drying oily mouthfeeling with a faint woody sugary finish.  Mainly dry woody tastes now.  Nice relaxing euphoria with full feeling mouth and throat.

8th left to cool it gives off a mildly oily and sweet woody taste not much sweetness just at the edges and a bit herby tasting.  The sweetness quietly expands in the throat.  Mossy mouthfeeing. 

9th is a minutes long infusion is a woody dry bark dry mouth sweetness with a nice oily texture and full mossy almost dry mouth.  Long cooling aftertaste with edges of sweetness and a relaxing euphoria.

10th is a 5 minute infusion and gives off a woody dry woody bark varnish taste.  Not really any sweetness and a long cooling mouthfeeling.  Nice euphoria tastes hold…

Overall this puerh doesn’t resemble the preferred storage option that much at all.  This “Standard storage” has much darker spent leaf.  The preferred “Old Man storage” has a greener leaf that you can see in the photos.  The “standard storage” doesn’t have the perfume florals and deeper fruity sweetnesses and is not really that sweet at all- its more woody than sweet where the preferred “old Man” storage is more sweet than woody.  If I didn’t know you would think they were different puerh… I’m drinking the overnight steeping of wet leaves and the standard storage is a bit plum with oily body and sweet creamy woody finish over a nice silty mouthfeeling.  The “Old Man” storage has a perfume incense taste to it with pear and peace and plum fruity complexity with less woody taste- it becomes obvious that the “old man” storage is dry stored in a house where the standard is more natural or part natural Taiwanese storage.  The drier storage is much superior here.


Sunday, December 18, 2022

2007 ChenYuan Hao Autumn Yiwu Chawang


This 2007 ChenYuanHao Autumn Yiwu Chawang was for sale at and is now sold out.  It is apparently the Autumn picking of a famous Spring Yiwu Gushu production.  It also is considered an important ChenYuan Hao production. It has the same “old man storage” that I prefer that is drier than other ChenYuan Hao offered on the site. 

The First infusion has a sweet woody taste with a grains cereal finish.  There is some watery and sandy texture.  Not much aftertaste.  Grains aftertaste in mouth… classic Autumn taste in there.

The second infusion is left to cool but is very nice rich creamy sweet coolness with woody and apple-like taste.  A very nice sweet fruity rich creamy splash of taste.  Nice creamy rich sweet finish fades out.

The third infusion has a woody creamy apple sweet pop of taste with a soft sandy mouthfeeling and not really obvious throat feeling.  Sort of a flat sandy grainy woody finish.  Mild relaxing feeling Qi.

4th was left to cool for a long time!  Overnight…  It has an ashy woody creamy sweet taste.  The mouthfeeling is chalky and sandy not that full but the tastes are clear and come in one clump up front.  There is a faint woody almost fruity sweet finish… mild extension of the initial taste but a bit fruitier.  Not much throat stimulation or opening but some chest warming Qi.

5th has a woody sweet sugar very clear taste initially the aftertaste is a quick fade of these tastes.  Some creamy chalky sandy sweetness.  Some slight gripping now.  Some faint bodyfeeling chest warming and mild feel good.

6th has a creamy almost menthol edge to it with a woody creamy sweetness over a thin fine chalk mouthfeeling and not much throat stimulation. There is a clear woody creamy almost cherry simple taste upfront that fades over the fine chalky/sandy mouthfeeling.  Some mild Chest bodyfeeling.  Mild relaxing feel good feeling. Very clear and easy to drink.

7th has a woody not that sweet sort of maple edge to it, more bland woody that sweet now with a fade of tastes in the mouth.  Slight maple sugar or brown sugar faint edge.  A bit tugging in mouth now.

8th infusion is left to cool and gives off a fruity sweet woody taste with watery gripping mouthfeeling and subtle grains aftertaste as most of the taste fades quickly in the mouth.

9th I push a longer infusion maybe 5 minutes…. The result is a woody clear taste with a dry sandy mouthfeeling and some faint edge sweetness that seems a bit cherry.  Bland woody grains finish.  Mild Relaxing Qi.  Tugging dry mouthfeeling and subtle throat gagging.

I mug steep out he rest… the result is super woody slight tugging dry mouthfeeling not really any sweetness or aftertaste and the coolest sensation on the breath

This is a pretty simple Yiwu puerh with not much throat sensation, aftertaste, or Qi but the flavours are really nice with no harshness and no bitter astringency.

This is a pretty pure but also a simple and straightforward Yiwu single estate production.

Shah8 Tasting notes


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

2005 ChenYuan Hao Jing Chang Cha Zhuang

I was excited to try this sample from ChenYuan Hao because it follows in the Series of blended cakes that commemorate Classic puerh cakes that include the 2003 ChenYuan Hao Tong Qing Hao and the 2004 ChenYuan Hao Song Pin Hao.  Also because this comes from the same old man storage as the 2003 ChenYuan Hao Yiwu and 2004 ChenYuan Hao Song Pin Hao which I really enjoy.  This 2005 Chenyuan Hao Jing Chang is for sale at for approx $351.00 for 357g cake or $0.98/g.

Dry leaves smell of creamy woody fallen leaf subtle smoke like complexity.

First infusion has a fruity clear watery taste with a smoke follow up a bit woody.  Watery sandy mouthfeeling. Nice mild cool throat with subtle candy sweet aftertaste.

Second has a creamy fruity clear onset with a creamy expanding fluffy sweetness with subtle smoke.  There is a watery sandy and a touch gripping mouthfeeling with a long subtle creamy candy finish.  Some nuance of wood bark in there too.  Relaxing feeling can feel it in jaw and elbows.

Third infusion has a woody fruity creamy sweet dry wood bark onset.  The mouthfeel is gripping sandy slightly drying and the throat opening is pretty deep.  Qi washes a wave of relaxation and mild stillness over me- its mild but noticeable. Nice peace out content feeling.  Some bodyfeeling in neck, jaw, face.  Long candy sweet taste lingering is really nice.

Fourth infusion was left to cool and gives off a creamy fruity vibrant fluffy sweet candy-like thing.  The deep throat opening holds faint creamy candy sweetness.  There is a touch caramel initially that ducks into the creamy candy taste also some dry woody taste.  Clear pure taste but cohesive with a focus on long creamy candy sweetness.  Relaxing and peaceful feeling with mild sensations is jaw.  Watery, sandy mouthfeeling.

The fifth infusion has a fruity woody coco onset with a returning mild but expanding creamy candy sweetness.  Throat feeling not quite as deep but a nice chalky powdery feeling in mouth.  A bit of a warmer spicier subtle nuance hard to grasp as over the long more obvious candy creamy cotton candy aftertaste.  Peaceful Qi.

6th infusion has a creamy almost fruity woody onset that is a bit fruitier woody and less candy sweet which sort of appears in the aftertaste as it expands I the mouth a bit and into the throat.  Sticky chalky sandy mouthfeeling that dries out the roof of the mouth.  Warming and peaceful energy here that is starting to give me a deeper relaxing feeling almost sleepy.

7th has a woody dry wood less fruity but more creamy candy across the profile with a warming Qi blanket.  The mouthfeeling is becoming quite gripping. Sleepy energy takes hold.

8th has a dry woody puckering with not much sweetness left in there.  Some faint candy comes out in the aftertaste but its mainly overpowering puckering dry woodiness with faint edges of complexity- fruit, wood, creamy, candy.  Dry squeaky roof of mouth.  Sleepy Qi.

9th has a woody fallen leaf dry woody bland taste with not much sweetness in here but with a drying gripping mouthfeel that makes the roof of the mouth dry.  Some incense in there.  Really mainly just woody water now.

I push with a longer infusion fearing the dry gripping mouthfeeling… 30 seocnds for the 10thbut it is just dry woody water with overwhelming gripping dry pallet drying mouthfeeling.  Sleepy relaxing is king here.

I mug steep out the rest… its woody fallen leaf bland with not much else to savour… not much stamina for this one.  

My least favourorite of the Chen Yuan Hao I’ve sampled of these curated samples but still really enjoyed it lots especially of note is the long deep throated candy aftertaste and sleepy Qi in the first half of the session.  I also likes the separate blended layers that can really be seen separately in the profile as it descends into intense bitter astringency… Latter it becomes an intense dry gripping mouthfeeling with no sweetness and limited depth… the downfall.



Monday, November 21, 2022

2014 Puerist Mangzhi: A Big Kick!


Dry leaves smell of faint fruity sweet fresh notes… very distant.  This 2014 Puerist MangZhi is currently not for sale…

First infusion has a sweet pop with wood a then a sugar finish.  Smooth watery with a long faint cooling on the breath that stretches out with sugar notes releasing and mouth salivating.  Nice solid subtle long sugar taste that returns strong in the saliva producing effect.

The second infusion has a strong rich woody faint plum pop of flavor with a faint underlying bitterness which slowly ekes out some strong saliva producing then long sugar taste.  There is this full but still gentle base to the profile like an underlying bitter astringency but barely and stable but the surgery taste is the dominant.  Nice long cooling throughout.  Strong sighs and chest opening feeling.  Nice sedating calm.

The third infusion has a fruity sweet woody almost dirt pop of taste.  It is clear but also kind of rich and layered fruity taste is almost like dried goji berries.  The sweet sugar taste is throughout but has these layers and nuaces in it.  The age and storage is at a point where is almost like dried fruit and almost like fresh fruit and the edge that its on now is super enjoyable to me.  Nice soft oily mouthfeeling with strong saliva producing and mid-throat opening.  Nice euphoric relaxing happening.

The fourth infusion has a sweet dried raison and goji bitter pop of flavor.  The taste is a rich dried fruity woody bitter taste.  It has a sort of brassy metallic feel and a sugar sweet taste throughout. This infusion has more saliva producing much more intense flavor including bitterness, richness, dried goji in a full throaty mouthfeeling with a big saliva gob stuck in the throat sensation.  Strong Chest Beat and energetic euphoria here.  Almost coco bitterness in the aftertaste but not quite.

5th has a fruity vibrant goji berries pop of taste with a woody sort of metallic and sort of dry fruity nuance.  There is this long sugar taste throughout. There is this creamy bready almost bitter aftertaste.  Nice mid opening saliva gob in throat feeling.  Nice super relaxing feeling that induces deep meditative sighs.  There is an interesting layering to this puerh between semi aged notes and fresher notes, and a dueling base of both long sugar taste and an almost bitter-astringency taste. Mainly it goes quite sweet though.

6th has a vibrant fruity bitter sugar- fresh fruity plum and dry goji taste.  The pop of taste is notable as is the quick bitterness that lingers low after the secondary wave.  The result is lots of saliva producing.  Lingering bitter astringency is felt.  Strong euphoric relaxing.

7th has a creamy bready fruity onset with secondary bitterness and long sugar taste faint long cooling and chalky soft feeling in the mouth with strong throaty feeling like a gob of saliva in the throat.  There is an almost soapy floral nuance to it.  These infusions have this rich faint bitterness base and an ethereal sugar stamina. Strong mind bending relaxing now.

8th has a buttery bready sweet and almost fruity taste with a low lingering faint bitter-astringency and long sugar taste.  There is a long bready sweet aftertaste and lots of salivating.  Nice mid throat stimulation that is quite nice.  Strong tranquil feeling with strong chest beats and heart beating sensations that reverberate in the body.

9th has a fruity sweet dried plum and goji taste with a metallic brassy finish in the mouth.  Tastes of fresh fruity and dry and sugar layer.  Nice sweetness here but also a long lingering astringency.  Strong effect on the body/Chest/Heat and tranquil in the mind.  Lingering bitter astringency can be felt in the Stomach.

10th has a bready peachy vibrant pop with a bitter and astringent finish. Nice long sugar taste.  The astringency builds a bit and I walk away from this one again.

I return the next day to do a few mug steepings and I get some deeper darker notes out of that with still some bitter/astringency and long sugar taste. Overall, this is a strong Mangzhi with some astringency that is hard to overlook, especially on an empty stomach.  I like the Mangzhi area and appreciate the nuance and power to this 2014 Puerhist Mang Zhi.

Vs 2018 Zheng Si Long Mang Zhi- I had this one back to back as a comparison but the Zheng Si Long Mang Zhi are more vegetal and caramel and much more approachable than this 2014 Puerist Mang Zhi which is much more astringent and bitter with much more layering and depth as well. This 2014 Puerist is still not really to enjoy drinking even for me someone who enjoys stronger stuff.  I still think I like the 2018 Zheng Si Long Mang Zhi better than both of these but the 2014 Purist Mang Zhi shows some promise as it ages.


2015 Puerist Autumn Gua Feng Zhai

This was a complimentary sample for review but the cake goes for approx $63.00 for 200g cake or $0.32/g.  Its pretty cheap for even Autumnal Gua Feng Zhai so let’s see what that’s about…

The dry leaves are a dry sweet fruity woody odour.

The first infusion has a peachy pear onset with oily texture there is a bit of spicy tastes in the mid profile then a woody finish with a deep cooling throat and mouth.  The oily lubricating texture is nice as well as the long peachy pear taste which strings out from initial to aftertaste. 

The second infusion has that same satisfying peachy-pear onset with a woody mid- profile. Nice light and airy feeling with long pear-peach finish.  Woody taste is underneath this airy and unadulterated peachy pear.  The pop of sweetness initially is nice as well as some long deep aftertaste.  Nice elegant Gua Feng Zhai here.  Qi is mild focusing.  A nice slow long saliva release gives off a peachy pear oily taste in the mouth even minutes later… so nice.  Under the lubricating feel is a very soft mouthfeeling.

Third infusion has a strong woody pear onset with oily thick texture and lubricating feeling.  There is a deep mid throat coolness and full chalky motuhfeeling.  There is some chest opening feelings and a wave of calm feeling in my body. Nice oily textures with full sticky chalky mouthcoating.  This has more upper throat stimulation and long peachy-pear-woody long aftertaste.  Nice full feeling in the mouth.

Fourth infusion has a woody sandy onset with lesser peachy pear notes.  The mouthfeeling is gripping with some floral appearing in the woody finish.  This infusion has more wood dryness than oily sweet peachy pear.  The upper throat is stimulated a bit.  Nice chest opening feeling with deep relaxing sighs.

5th infusion has a chalky pear and woody onset with an oily lubricating feeling.  The oily texture is nice and sweet with a syrupy pear taste when the liquor cools down.  The Qi is a strong calming and sighing chest opening Qi- very relaxing and quieting.  Nice saliva producing and long syrupy pear taste.  Qi is so deeply relaxing… so nice….

6th infusion has a honey woody bitter pear initial taste with a tongue tingling mouthfeeling.  Nice chalky woody pear taste is really long and the mouthfeel is almost puckering dry after the saliva retreats.  Nice strong spacey deep sigh relaxing with deep chest opening feelings.  Strong Qi for me.

7th infusion has a watery chalky woody onset with a bit of pear peachy at the periphery.  There is a nice cool mouth and stimulated top throat with woody chalky sort of sweet pear at the edges.  Big Qi of deep relaxing here.  A bit puckering astringent but with fruity edges and powerful arms floating away Qi.

8th has a watery melon sweet onset with a cool almost but not really menthol coolness that is really faint.  There is a long melon aftertaste that has a juicy and fresh taste to it.  Very soft light mouthfeelng now.  Simple tastes.

9th has a woody melon taste to it with a long faint melon finish.  The mouthfeeling is really soft now.  Strong Qi is euphoric.  Nice mellow sweet melon taste.  Very simple and clear now with soft mild taste and mouthfeeling.  Strong Qi sensations still.

I mug steep out the rest… the result is a woody bitter taste with melon and some foresty mushroom tastes.  Still very strong calming and warm waves of energy with limbs floating.  Strong Chest expanding sensation and limbs floating- very strong bodyfeeling here.  Overall, this one had a bit weak stamina in its flash steepings and falls into a simple taste relatively quickly but its still quite delicious and very satisfying in early infusions.  It can be enjoyed late into the session for its powerful Qi!

Vs 2016 Gua Feng Zhai Pure Ancient Tree from Paolo- Its amazing how close this mug steeping is to the 2016 Gua Feng Zhai from Paolo I had yesterday!  This one has more of a floral soapy taste in there vs the 2016 which had more mushroom taste.  Both are very Qi heavy as Gua Feng Zhai should always be.

Vs 2014 Puerist Auumn Pasha- these are both nice Autumn puerh which means great value.  The Pasha is all about its strong bitter backbone and the contrast between this power and its lighter nuances.  This 2015 Gua Feng Zhai is a very nicely balanced with its trick being the powerful Qi and bodyfeeling.