Sunday, November 5, 2017

How to Appreciate Wild Tea (Don’t Compare It to Puerh)

1-      shouldn’t compare to puerh because it’s not puerh (see here and here)

2-      Those people out there who have compared wild tea to puerh, thinking that it is puerh or something puerh like, will likely be disappointed because it is really quite different (here and here and here).  However, those who maintain an open mild will enjoy good wild tea (here and here).

3-      Sweet wild tea is the wild tea which I am familiar and was almost exclusively the type of wild tea marketed and sold in the mid-late 2000s.  So it is this profile that I wish to explain. Bitter wild tea will have an intense bitterness that will appear in throat and tongue.  Bitter wild tea is blatantly and obviously bitter, if it doesn’t have this quality then, to me, it is sweet wild tea.

4-      Leaves- look different, purple hue or darker color almost purplish/ reddish colour, the dry leaf odour is usually much more perfume and fruitier than standard puerh, sometimes there is a subtle smoky odor that will usually dissipate as the tea ages.  The high notes in the dry leaf are much more intense than standard puerh.

5-      taste of sweet wild tea often feels weaker than puerh in the initial steepings, so there is an inclination for those who are unfamiliar with it to add more leaf

6-      The initial taste burst feels a bit ungrounded compared to conventional puerh with few deeper notes to root or ground the taste down.  These tastes are usually intense fruity tastes.

7-      The middle of the profile is always vacuous and empty feeling compared to standard puerh- this is not a sign of bad wild tea, rather, it is a sign of legitimate/true wild tea.

8-      The mouthfeel is always weaker than the throatfeel in good quality wild tea.

9-      The returning sweetness has a different profile than standard puerh.  Puerh usually has a strong cooling and sweet aftertaste where wild tea usually lacks a cooling aftertaste and tastes slightly rubbery or bitter with a much more intense fruity returning taste.  Wild tea usually induces salivation at this point and the degree to which it does, I feel, is a sign of quality because it makes the aftertaste in the throat fuller and longer lasting.

10-   Another sign of quality, for me in a good wild tea is the taste and strength of the flavor that gets pushed into the throat and therefore breath minutes or hours after swallowing.  This is a special feature of wild tea that puerh tea does not have.  The flavor, intensity, and duration of this lingering breath taste is a sign of quality to me.

11-   Both young conventional puerh and young wild tea is a bit tough on the digestion.  All young wild teas I have tried, if they have even a small bit of bitterness, tend to be a bit tough on the digestion.  This effect depends on your own body constitution and will decrease or go away as wild tea ages.

12-   Wild tea’s qi sensation is always stronger than conventional puerh and the body feel is often stronger as well.  To me wild tea is all about the qi sensation.

The above list is based on my own experiences with wild tea/ yesheng.  For those familiar with wild tea, what would you add to the list?  How do you appreciate the uniqueness which is wild tea?
I hope this list will help those just getting in to wild tea to appreciate it more.



marco said...

I'll be interested to retaste all the wild tea I received from EoT with an open mind, following your points. I'll post re-reviews. However, let's be clear: what I ordered from EoT was puerh. All these teas are currently listed on the EoT site as puerh. I agree with you however, they are not. If you read my reviews with that in mind, you'll understand why I was disappointed in some cases.

Matt said...


I think I just put two things together (connected the dots) after reading your above comment...

1- I just put together that you are the author of Late Steeps blog

2- I think I have, rather accidentally, steeped into a bit of controversy here with my position on wild teas.

Firstly, I really enjoy your critical reviews of puerh on your blog. Keep it up and keep it authentic to you. Thank you for this!

I could definitely see from your posts that you were likely expecting something different than what you got so I understand the view point at which you published your posts and get the point you were making. I can respect that.

My posts on wild teas are not meant to stir up controversy but rather meant to help people better appreciate this unique type of tea. I wanted to publish some of this stuff because I don't think there are too many people who have aged out wild tea for 10 years and have tasted a modest variety of it so I feel like my option on it should be out there for the record.

I look forward to seeing some of your re-reviews of some of your yesheng. Would you ever consider selling it all in a lot?


marco said...

Haha! Sorry, Matt, I thought you knew it was me :)

I was actually very glad to read what you have been writing on this subject, which fits exactly with my limited experience. I think my initial impression of these teas would have been much better if I had known what they actually were. Instead, I was focused on the question "what in the world is this stuff and why does it behave differently from every other puerh I've tried". You'll see from my notes that I did indeed feel a lot of warmth and energy from these teas, but this did not win me over; instead I was just confused!

I'll try to figure out how much wild teas I have from the 2016 EoT club and figure out a fair price. No international border between us, so it would be easy!

Matt said...


Maybe after re-tasting them with the above criteria you will be less willing to part with them.. hahaha

Leave a comment with your email in a post from last month, the comment will not be public and will go to comment moderation, I will send you a reply email.


marco said...

Ok sent my comment with email. Feel free to delete this comment.

Matt said...


I have sent an email.