Tuesday, August 4, 2009

2008 Yong Pin Hao Lan Xiang Wild Arbor

This sample that one recently finished came in an old box from Hobbes.

Its dry leaves- large, furry, diverse, and incredibly healthy- smell of high sweetness that drops off into a deeper licorice tone. These diverse leaves easily separate and tumble onto yixing.

Rinse. Breathe.

The first impression in the mouth is very nice. Sweetness reveals itself fast then takes a quick turn into soft peppery pungent spice which tickles the nose like black ground table pepper would. This sensation trails disappears under more characteristic, but welcoming, creamer notes but starts off the very involved mouthfeel. Actually this sensation is more like an overarching sinus, throat, nose, and mouth- feel. To call it simply a mouthfeel doesn't do this tea any justice. It is much more.
The chaqi doesn't take long before slowing body and mind.

The dichotomy of smooth, sweet, creamy and soft, pungent, peppery creates a balance of flavour that truly pleasures.
As the tea takes a few more dousings it suggests more of a grittiness and somewhat of an earthiness. Minty notes seem to almost noticeably shadow peppery notes. The aftertaste at this point is an uncomplicated event, unraveling with just enough to appreciate.

The chaqi coxes one into unequivocal relaxation. Ones heart beats slower, ones vision perforates the periphery, ones breath widens. Peace.
A few more floodings of hot water bring out a very soft bitterness paired with more familiar sunny, leathery, puerh tastes. The peppery notes at the start of the session have turned into a more general earthy spice.

This tea really transforms over the course of the session although it seems to lack stamina. Before too long it is simply sweet minty puerh- full in the mouth, full in the soul.



loose leaf tea lover said...

This really puts into perpective what puerh tea should taste like. Ive tried a few and each is different from the next its confusing. Thanks!

Matt said...

Loose Leaf Tea Lover,

Trying lots of samples from the very good too the very bad, from very young to very old, from different mountains/ regions, and producers. Sheng and Shu puerh.

Experience- that's truly the only way you can learn about puerh.

In Korea, there is a fair amount of old puerh, and good puerh. But the excellent young puerh like this is harder to come by. Only through nice samples from generous friends has one had a better understanding of what 'excellent young sheng' should taste like.

Reading some good reviews doesn't hurt either.

Glad to help with the puerh confusion.


Anonymous said...

Can you give any leads about where to buy newer quality puerh? I have been ordering form eBay: Dragon Tea, Yunnan Sourcing and Hou De Teas. But I would like other sources, especially in Korea. The old teas I know I can't afford, at least not at the places I have found them.

I also have a question about Mattcha. Recently I have been drinking two Korean varieties:
SKtea Powdered Jirisan Tea and Gguem Yae Boen Tea, a tea from Boeseong Moeng Jueng Mtn. Compared to the Japanese matcha teas I have seen and tried, these teas have a very olive drab color to them, not the bright, almost neon, green of other teas I have seen. Is that just a nuance in variety, strain or processing? Or an issue of quality? Can you recommend a nice mattcha? Thanks, Andy

Matt said...


'When in Rome, do as the Romans do.'

'When in Korea …

Never did one meet a teamaster in Korea that had drank Korean powdered tea.

As one wise master once said,

“The Japanese have been making malcha (matcha) for hundreds of years, perfecting the art. I'll drink Japanese malcha (matcha).

Koreans have been making nok-cha (green tea) for hundreds of years, perfecting the art. I'll drink Korean nok-cha.”

He explained that Korea's climate is not best suited for the making of powdered teas. He also said that the Japanese have so perfected the production, that Korean matcha doesn't even compare.

Interestingly, there is no historical record of matcha ever being produced in Korea. This is quite an interesting fact considering the deep history of tea bowl production here. Ironically, most of the history about Korean ceramics is from Japan.

To this day, Korea practices a very individual powered tea ceremony that has somehow survived. This might suggest that the Japanese, especially in the last 100 years, have propped up and heavily influenced this ceremony.

When the Japanese occupied Korea before the end of the second world war, they had experimented with different the production of different kinds and varietals of tea. They were especially eager to find a good place to grow black tea for export to the west. After much experimentation with different teas in different areas of Korea they decided on the Boseong area. Today it thrives by primarily the production of green tea. Although one has tried a matcha from this area.

Ones experience with Korean matcha isn't so positive either. Just as you mentioned, very dull in colour, taste, and qi.

One did try one Korean matcha that was not bad. It turns out it was produced in Japan and packaged and marketed by a Korean Company. Go Figure!

As far as puerh goes, your best bet is to buy them online on the sites you have mentioned. If you buy them from a shop in Korea, you are bound to pay a bit more. The old stuff is plentiful but, as you mentioned very pricey as well.

Thanks for stopping by Andy.


sp1key said...

Thats a nice cup. Something different from my usual porcelain cups.

Matt said...


It's a beautiful piece of art by Sel Young Jin. Check out this post on this little cup: