Friday, February 1, 2019

The Best of the Cheapest: 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Impression & Scott’s Blending Skills

In the Western puerh scene white2tea’s Paul (Twodog) is known for his blends, certainly they can be quite delicious.  Then along came 2017... 2017 was a watermark year for Yunnan Sourcing puerh blends.  In the lest two years they have developed a good reputation for not only these two famous yet very inexpensive blends, but some of their other lab tested, pesticide-free, shut blends as well.  The 2017 Rooster King Shu, sold out quick- the quality really surprised me.  The other, this 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Impression ($27.00 for 357g cake or $0.08/g) has been very popular since its Autumn 2017 release (Edit: this tea was later found out to be released in Spring 2018).

It seemed the hype for this cake reached a climax at Black Friday this year with a few great articles featuring this full 357g sheng blend.  I don’t think I could add any more than this post on the topic really.  I wonder how many of these guys flew off the shelves on Black Friday?  I’ll bet that this was the single biggest seller this Black Friday.  I have been eyeing them for quite some time so ended up buying a handful of them to make it worth the shipping.

Many have championed this 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Impression as Scott of Yunnan Sourcing’s best sheng puerh blend to date.  I had pretty much sampled the whole Yunnan Sourcing Brand puerh selection from 2009-2011 and some of the 2012 but have never tried any of Scott’s sheng blends before, this will be a first for me...

Dry leaves are scented with a very vibrant tropical fruit odour over dry woody layers, peat, and moss.  The quality is immediately apparent in the vibrancy here.

First infusion starts with a soft fruity lemon and pineapple note, it transitions to a swelling creamy sweet taste.  There is metallic tastes as slight wood in the approach to the long creamy aftertaste.  The mouthfeel is sticky in the mouth.

The second is more sweet and full.  The initial taste is of stones and sweet vegetables, there is a lemon note in there as well.  The taste has a nice cool finish in a stimulating throat feeling.  There is a honeydew melon flavor lingering in the throat.  Lots of interesting notes playing out here.  Soft bitterness, slight sour, soft astringency in throat.  Creamy sweet with fruity sweet and even a vegetable sweetness.

The third infusion starts a touch spicy with sweet yam and creamy sweet notes followed by a metallic taste with makes the mouth sticky and nicely stimulated the throat.  The taste is long and creamy and almost cucumber in the aftertaste.  There is a lot going on here.  The cheeks are sticky as are the lips, and the mid throat opens to embrace the creamy and fresh aftertaste that also has notes of metal, yams, and even suggestions of wood.  The Qi makes my face flush and a heat sensation emerge. I feel it in the eyes which seem heavy.  I feel simultaneously sleepy as well as relaxed.

The fourth infusion has a juicy sweet taste to in now initially then a nice creamy sweeping aftertaste.  The mouthfeel is sticky and dense.

The fifth infusion has a nice burst of fruit but mainly creamy sweetness initially then it slowly rides into a long sweet creamy aftertaste in a full sticky mouhtfeeling.  The mouthfeel has a cotton like feel in the mouth and throat.  The creamy sweet taste is long with a touch of faint cooling.

The sixth infusion has a juicy fruity vibe, creamy sweet, softer sticky mouthfeel.  This tea is fading a bit here.  The mouthfeeling is nice and creamy fruity taste is fresh and vibrant in the mouth.

The seventh infusion has lots of those creamy sweet notes but the sweetness has a simple and very pure and fresh feeling to it.  You know that tropical sweetness, banana, pineapple maybe.  It’s yummy and the aftertastes take it along nicely.  Almost like an artificial banana candy taste, I like that.

The eighth I add 10 seconds to the flash infusion add it pushes out a bit more complexity in the flavor.  Green beans, banana, yam, moderate sticky/ dryness.  More of a vegetable fruit sweetness.

The ninth infusion I add 15 sec to flash and get a slightly chalky, dry wood, and creamy taste with vegetables underneath.  This infusion is a touch more bitter, it makes the sweet tight aftertaste pop but it is overshadowed by the woody/biter taste.  There is a butterscotch taste in the aftertaste.

The tenth infusion I add 20 seconds to flash infusion and get a thicker, richer taste of woods and beans with sweeter tastes retuning for a pop in the aftertaste under quilted bitter woods.  There is not too much complex taste in these leaves in the late infusions and the stamina of these leaves is not the greatest.  The sweet taste sure pops with that bitter astringency but then goes back to bitter quite quickly here.  The qi is pretty strong heavy, dopy, make me feel sleepy type of qi sensation.

The eleventh I add 25 seconds to the flash infusion and get a really dark chocolate delicious tasting thing with fruity notes in the distance and bittersweet coco up front.  This is yummy and right when I think about throwing in the towel with this one.  It is a Laoman E type of note even though you can be sure there is none of that in here.  The body qi of this blend is really harmonious and this puerh could easily be consumed now because it lacks a certain harshness in the body.  It actually makes the body feel warm and soothed, I like that.

I go for a 12th at 30 more seconds than flash all of the sweet taste is pretty much gone here.  Nothing but bitter left.  So, I end the session.  I steep this tea overnight and get a rich broth of flavors the next morning.

The flavours in the first few infusions are the best of the cheapest- complex and interesting.  The Qi is also the strongest so far- is offers a big relaxing dopy effect, if that’s your thing.  But the stamina is weaker than the other cheap budget puerh I have sampled.  I felt I had to add more time to infusions much earlier and the tea ends much quicker than the other budget options.  To me, stamina is really important because I really steep my puerh to the very end.  A tea that finishes at 12 infusions vs 20 makes a big difference in value.

This 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Impression is the same actual price per gram as 2018 white2tea Snoozefest ($0.08/g) .  They are actually similar in many ways- the most obvious being that they are both multi area Autumnal puerh blends.  To compare the two I would say that mouthfeel is better with Snoozefest by a little, flavor snoozefest is more high notes but Impression has more depth of flavor and more interesting flavor by a bit.  The impression also has a deeper feeling tea liquor- there is a certain thickness in the tea liquor that is the biggest flaw in the 2018 Snoozefest.  The stamina of Snoozefest is better as the late infusions are a very pleasant and enjoyable sweetness where Impression is more bitter in the end and peters out faster. I like Snoozefest’s tighter compression as well.  The Impression is lab tested pesticide free and the Snoozefest doesn't feel as pure to me.  This 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Impression is the winner out of these similar priced things, for sure.

All in all this 2017 Impression is probably the best for how cheap it is, I don’t imagine finding anything cheaper and this enjoyable.  However, with this said, I would gladly pay double and get 3x more value i.e the 2018 white2tea Splendid.  There are probably no fresh puerh in this lower price range that taste as good.  Also, I still tend to go for 2018 Essence of Tea Bamboo Spring for drink now sheng puerh consumption over any of these budget options.

You’re paying almost twice as much for the 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Impression but the winner is still 2018 white2tea Splendid for the best of the cheapest sheng puerh.

Rats!  I just checked the website when I was adding the hyperlinks to this post and found out it has just sold out.  This exercise of finding the best of the cheapest feels a bit silly if we are just comparing Sold Out puerh, doesn't it?  Conveniently, the 2018 Yunnan Sourcing Impression was just released with a beautiful koi fish wrapper design.  I thought the 2017 wrapper was stunning!  I wonder if it is comparable in quality to this, now famous 2017 Impression?

But wait, I have a late entry in the quest for the Best of the Cheapest fresh young sheng puerh…
Dogleg Sean's (Dead Leaves Tea Club) Tasting Notes

Char's (Oblong Owl) Tasting Notes

John B's (Tea in the ancient world) Tasting Notes

Steepster Tasting Notes


No comments: