Sunday, September 17, 2017

Why This Tea Will Sell Out First: 2017 White2Tea (Yiwu) “Pussy”

Hi Paul,

After all the hype I have heard about White2Tea I am very excited about
my first order of your tea!

Thanks for presenting such a unique and refreshing perspective on puerh.
I think I am not only speaking for myself, but for many others who love
puerh, when I say how much this means to us.


Matt (MattCha's Blog)

So I have managed to both break my promise of never owning aheinous xiao bing and avoiding a probably overpriced 2017 puerh season purchase all in one order… Darn.  On the other hand, I have managed to put an order through to White2Tea, a controversial and ingeniously marketed vendor that has a big following and that I had completely missed during my many years absence from puerh.  I said that I was going to test the waters with this ultra-popular vendor to see what they are made of this year and here I am doing just that….

I think I’m a rather impulsive puerh buyer.  Years ago in South Korea I would sit at many tea tables and decide days, weeks, or even months later if I was going to purchase a $20.00 cake only after I really knew the tea.  Online is a totally different purchasing experience.  I mentioned before that I like to buy whole cakes as samples for a variety of different reasons.  But that seems quite unattainable considering the increasingly high 2017 price of puerh that seems to be especially high forWhite2Tea’s offerings and just the volume of cakes would cost a lot of money.  Besides puerh related funds are dwindling after big purchases this year and I keep telling myself that I am trying to spend on semi-aged puerh only.

So acquiring some samples seems like the logical thing to do but I simply can’t stomach paying multiple hundreds of dollars for samples - really I just want someone who knows a lot about tea to tell me which are best and I will buy the cake.  Today, I guess, for you, that person is me.

When White2Tea released their descriptions on their site I was drawn to 2-3 cakes that might meet my tastes based solely on Paul’s one sentence descriptions.  Mainly, I am looking for a thick and fragrant Yiwu to replenish my stash which currently only has a handful of Yiwu left.  The description of 2017 Pussy seemed to best match what I was looking for so immediately I honed in on this cake.

[It was at this point that I discovered another reason Paul no longer includes any relevant info on his puerh, he did this to make people shell out a lot of money on sampling. If people have no idea what teas they are buying they will be more likely to sample many teas.  This is the same reason why Paul will probably always discontinue a cake after a year or so regardless of popularity- so the buyer is left to sample again and not rely on what they already know to be true.  This is not only a slick marketing strategy but also another mechanism by which he encourages hiscustomers to question the construct of “Truth” when it comes to puerh.]

Then something happened that you just know is the beginning of something big.   I’ve seen it all happen before- reviews that have something of an awe inspired feel to them when describing a cake.  These reviews started to roll out for Pussy (here and here).  A brilliantly planned “free shipping” promotion was enough for me to throw 600g (3 x $89.90, 200g demasculinizing xiao beings, $0.42/g) into my cart and check out.  Why 3?  It’s the closest to my single 500g cakes I prefer (this is how I justified purchasing the xiao bings) and besides it might be just enough to dissuade me from buying more if I really do like it.

Okay… enough … let’s get down to business and mediate with this one…

Opening the ziplock which contains the cake overwhelms the senses with strong deep inhuman perfume-like sweet fruit notes.

The first infusion delivers a sweet hay-like initial taste followed by a blast of cotton candy sweetness.  There are already some suggestions of wood or hay underneath.  A long, slow to expand aftertaste takes hold which glows of fruit taste.

The second infusion kicks a straw like sweetness into your mouth.  The sweet flvour expands and unravels slowly to reveal a layering of wood taste as well as cotton candy sweetness which now develops a creamy edge with deeper sweet tastes lingering the background. The sweetness appears in the aftertaste and stretches on.  The mouthfeel here is quite full with a slightly sticky full tongue feel even into the mid throat.

The third infusion delivers very sweet, hay like sweetness which now is strung along a base taste of hay and slight cereal tastes.  The mouthfeel is full and develops a nice sandy texture over the tongue and cheeks.  The aftertaste is a layered part sweet, mildly cool, with a slight sweet hay in there as well.  The qi here is now starting to show some suggestions of a nice body effect as my body feels relaxed and calm.

The fourth infusion the sweetness is now like the sweetness you would get from grains.  The tea has a beautiful way of gaining momentum in the mouth and slowly expands into a long slight grainy, slight cotton candy, slight fruity sweetness all the while being supported underneath by hay like flavours which give a supportive depth and feel.  The qi is felt heavy in the chest.

The fifth starts off with a hay-like cereal sweetness that slowly expands from here to a fruity sweetness over dry wood then to a sweeter cotton candy like sweetness.  In the breath minutes later you can feel a melon, even topical fruit, sweet taste underneath.  This tea is sweet but always seems to have enough depth to hold it down.

The sixth infusion develops a malty almost edges a ghostly medicinal note.  A stronger woody profile is noticeable throughout and the initial body of this tea is now more woody and slight hay/cereal notes rather than sweetness.  The sweet taste lingers throughout.

The seventh infusion a slight cotton candy sweetness reappears briefly before fading into a more woody profile.  The aftertaste slowly builds on itself with crests of grain, hay, wood.  The sweet and slowly morphing taste of this tea makes it an interesting one.  This infusion is much more of that initial cotton candy sweetness even late on the breath.

The eighth has more of this barely medicinal sweetness initially, with the wood base now being secondary to the sweetness in the last few infusions.  The mind is so calm.  This tea has lots of taste and does a lot of things in its long evolving flavor.  The mouthfeel remains a solid soft grainy feel and throat feels even slightly grainy as well with the top throat open.

The ninth infusion starts to water down initially with lots coming out in the mid profile including hay, grains, dry wood, the sweetness is not going away anytime soon.  These flavors prance around then lend itself to a mild coating of cotton candy then melon, then hay, then some other sweet taste.  This tea is really gentle with very very little bitter or astringency and feels relatively harmonious to drink this fresh as opposed to age for those that like that sort of thing.

The tenth is more watery to start then a nice slow to expand middle taste of sweetness and base flavours before a long aftertaste takes hold.  The aftertaste is interesting in that it has not that much coolness but soft deeper flavours of wood and hay as well as fruit.

The eleventh and twelfth infusions develop a different initial taste like a woody type taste which swells in the mid-profile where expansive sweet tastes start to take off.

The thirtieth and fourteenth start with a juicy onset go to a more sweet middle with a creamy and expanding aftertaste.  The woody deeper tastes seem to be more in the aftertaste here as the taste profile is slow to expand.

The fifteenth I push it a bit harder a giving it more time than a flash infusion here and get nice round melon taste and hay in the initial taste here.  The taste here remains full and complex even in these later infusions.

The sixteenth and seventh have a faint sweet start which jumps to wood taste.  Steeped longer here the throat becomes more astringent and the taste seems to linger there more which is of layered sweetness especially of green grapes.  These infusion has a nice green grapes and hay taste that really is a great combination.  There is still a lingering cotton candy taste to it as well.

Eightieth and ninetieth start to fade into a flat wood taste but the aftertaste remains vibrant and active with a longer and stronger cooling and melon sweetness if you stretch the steeping times out.

The twentieth is enjoyed by daughter and wife- they both grab a small ceramic cup and enjoy the nice light flavor that is left lingering after crawling out of bed on this lazy Sunday morning.

Overall, this tea has lots of stamina, a long and evolving taste profile, and enough depth that you could probably steep it out for a long time… so I will.

This tea as I predict will sell out first because it is very good, has the catchiest name, is very easy on the system, is ready to drink immediately and is mid-priced for White2Tea’s 2017s.  This first sampling of White2Tea totally checks out- the tea is great!  But no matter how good it is I just can’t justify the price tag.  I keep trying to logically justify buying more than the 600g I own but I just can’t do it.

As for the name “Pussy”, I took the high road and left the way too easy innuendo out of this post (which was very very difficult to do, trust me).  I think the name "Pussy" is a reference to the soft nature of this cake opposite to being as "Tough (Tuhao) as F***".  The name, it’s a bit sexist don’t you think?  You don’t hear of a cake called “Cock” with a man wearing a fedora holding a few rosters under his arm… I guess that’s for Paul’s 2018 wrapper of this exact same maocha.


Edit June 3, 2019: I pulled this cake out of three cakes Saran wrapped together and then Ziplocked storage and had a great session of this today.  Its tastes are deeper and it pours a brown color.  It still has much stamina in it and a certain strength to it.  The thickness in the mouth is better than I remember a few years ago.  The fruit sweet tastes are  becoming a bit deeper and richer but there are still much high notes in here as well.  I hope to continue to age it this dry sealed fashion as things 2 years in look great.  I added a bit of steam to the bag before sealing it up.  I am happy I bought these cakes and wonder how the 2018 white2tea Pussy would compare?  I am also surprised that none of the 2017 regular run white2tea raw puerh line has sold out yet.



marco said...

Thanks for your notes; no question it's a very striking tea. The thing which I wonder about is how it will age in good storage. I think the processing is good, and I don't get any oolong notes on this tea. So the question is: with this type of pungent resinous aroma, will it actually fade away or will it convert to more and more incense notes? My guess, which may be only wishful thinking, is that it will remain pungent for many years, but go further into woody incense. What do you think?

Matt said...


Your thoughts and question about the future of this tea are quite timely because I am currently contemplating such things...

How much do I put into storage, how much do I keep out and enjoy and what type of storage will best transform this tea?

This is one of the most fragrant young puerh I have tried with true depth. I'm a firm believer from experience that these teas should be almost immediately wrapped in Saran Wrap to preserve as much of that as possible. Then I like what dry storage does with a tea like this- it retains a lot of the intense fruit sweetness (basically its high notes).

If you go to a more humid storage you are going to start to transform those notes to the incense too quickly and this will loose some of that awesomeness. If you are a real big fan of a heavier, woodier incense taste go for the humid storage. I saw this happen with the 2008 Shuangjiang Wild Arbor.

I'm with you, I'm hedging that with good dry and tight storage those pungent notes will embed themselves in there nicely.

Excuse me while I go get the Saran Wrap...