Wednesday, November 7, 2018
2017/2018 Spring The Essence of Tea Drinking Report
In an attempt at replenishing my dwindling stash of puerh, I really appreciated seeing the drinking reports that James drafted at TeaDB. With that being said, I really am happy with my older style of tea review that I used for many many years here on MattCha’s Blog. The reviews really focused on simply reviewing the tea itself- the isolated and intimate experience with it, without comparisons, opinions, and value overshadowing the tea experience.
However enjoyable those old reviews are, I realized that this style of review is not very good at helping my readers both understand the tea, make judgments of its value, and give them any idea if it’s something they would want to purchase. Many years ago we knew a lot less about puerh than we know now and I thought it would be pretty foolish of me, at that time, to make sweeping authoritative statements about the tea I was drinking. If you look back at other bloggers old reviews that are very opinionated, they sound quite silly now that we know a lot more about puerh. I essentially dogged that bullet.
I too have sometimes relied on the reviews of other bloggers to guide my puerh buying in the past and to some extent and more so over the last few years. It is impossible to sample all puerh so reading reviews, especially of someone who you feel enjoys a similar style of tea, is one way you can at least narrow things down. In my return to blogging, I promised myself that my reviews would give my readers something a bit more tangible. I personally found James’ drinking reports the most useful in analyzing a bunch of reviews without having to go through hundreds of single reviews. My first report was on the Zheng Si Long from Tea Encounter. This one is on some of the new spring pressings from the Essence of Tea and I hope to publish another I am working on soon.
The following report is based on all the complimentary samples I received in two separate orders from the Essence of Tea. They represent about 1/3- 1 /2 of their Spring selection of each year so it should give you a good idea of what’s on offer at the Essence of Tea.
2018 Spring Gua Feng Zhi (Sold Out)- not typical Gua Feng Zhi but interesting, nice noticeable depth added with a small amount of huang pian, lots of deeper pumpkin/ nutty/ woody/ bread taste paired with mild returning sweet and pungency, relaxing/ floating body mild-medium qi sensation, slight dry/ constricting throat with not too much stamina
2018 Spring “Piercing the Illusion” ($128.00 for a 400g cake or $0.32)- first wild tea/ puerh blend from Essence of Tea, tastes like it contains more wild tea than puerh tea, blended likely for qi sensation which has a fairly strong downer/ sleep qi sensation, mind slowing qi, has mild taste characteristics of wild tea fruitiness and minutes long aftertaste, as well as vacuous mouthfeeling, mild puerh tea taste in returning sweetness/ camphor and woodiness
2018 Spring EoT 10 Year Anniversary Yiwu ($560.00 for 400g cake or $1.40/g)- composed of state forest material, very full satisfying astringency which holds flavors very nicely, nuanced sweet woody with a candy-like sweetness at the edges, depth of initial sweet tastes, full mouthfeel and deep throat feeling, penetrating deep, thought slowing Qi, favorite cake I’ve tired from Essence of Tea
2017 Spring Yiwu Gouyoulin (Sold Out)- nice syrupy bready sweetness, fruity-woody-menthol, mild but deep throat feeling and mouthfeeling, mild qi sensation, tastes are very nice, doesn’t compare to 2018 above.
2017 Spring Nancai Ancient- (Currently delisted probably in Malaysian warehouse , $80.00 for 400g cake $0.20/g when last listed) – creamy slowly unraveling sweet taste with top cherry notes, woody base, slight roughness, nice mouthfeeling astringency, not that much stamina, simple puerh tastes, mild head floating qi sensation. Strength is the mouthfeeling/ astringency but not overly complicated puerh.
2017 Spring Wulang Wild (Currently delisted probably in Malaysian warehouse)- sweet candy-fruity taste without bitterness, buttery cherry and melon notes, very soft flavours, cheerful Qi feeling, recommend as a nice intro to wild tea for those who enjoy Wu Liang puerh.
The whole bunch of these teas are very pure and very agreeable in the body as the Essence of Tea’s puerh exclusively are. Still haven't been able to seal the deal with a purchase of any of these young puerh though.