Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2010 Essence of Tea Da Xue Shan Wild 1KG Brick (What’s Not To Like?)

I have to admit, I was excited about this 2010 Essence of Tea Da Xue Shan Wild ($0.26/g) right from the start…

What’s not to like about this?

It’s from one of my favorite vendors, the Essence of Tea.

It’s of yesheng material and I do like wild tea.

It’s very tightly machine pressed, exactly the way I like high noted tea.

It’s stored on the drier end of the spectrum, most often optimal for wild tea I suspect.

It’s material is from Da Xue Shan, an area which I always seem to enjoy.

And last but not least,

It comes in an over the top 1KG Brick!

Really, it checks all the boxes for me.

The oily purple hued dry leaves give off a delicious odour…

The first infusion starts with a watery, empty taste with a slight vegetal, slight turbid\ barnyard taste there are just glimpse of juicy fruity, barely there as this compression needs to release more.  What is most noticeable is the long breath cooling and faint almost cotton candy sensation.  This wild will be quite nice, I think.

The second starts with a subtle smoky and mainly juicy fruits and subtle sour onset with layers of almost tobacco and woody notes.  There is a long cool lingering returning undulation and creamy sweet breath, slightly talc with almost cherry tastes left on tongue.

The third infusion starts off with punchy tangy fruity tastes with a nice astringent feel.  Then there is slight woody layer, tobacco and slight smoke then long cherry returning taste with decent cooling.  The slightly forest, slight wood, slight creamy taste is long.  The mouthfeel is nice and astringent but not overly so.  It’s mainly felt on the tongue and cheeks as well as mid throat.  Nice full feel for a wild tea for sure.

The fourth has a woody, juicy fruity taste with very mild smoke then to a building pungent cooling in the throat.  There is more of a full onset with woods and fruits layered in.  The mouthfeel is nicely simulating for a wild tea, much more full than even the better yesheng I’ve had.

The fifth infusion becomes very thick right from the onset.  The liquor is quite viscus and denser layers of wood, slight sour, barely noticeable barnyard/turbid taste, thick dried fruits, slight juicier fruits which stretch into the aftertaste and breath.  The long ring of cooling pungent taste makes this wild special as well. Very refreshing.  The throatfeel paired with the sour slight astringency pushes saliva into the throat along with the deep, dense, layered flavours.  The Qi is very floating but my mind feels quite sharp, a very nice qi.

The sixth infusion starts off in a vibrant soapy guy (Thrills gum) taste and turbid/wild/slight barnyard taste with woods and fruits under this almost grapy sweet soapy taste.  The long pungent returning kicks in and rolling creamy talc sweetness.  The mouth/throatfeeling are nice and do a nice thing with the saliva.  I feel so floaty but clear in the head.

The seventh starts layered, dense, complex with layering of woods, sweetnesses, chalk, forest, fruits, juicy, and is capped with a strong pungent coolness and long creamy, talc sweetness with mild dancing fruits in the distance.  The sweet taste is quite strong and long.  The throat does a capturing of taste with the saliva even minutes later.

The eighth infusion is a thick dense onset.  The thickness of the liquor and mouthfeel really make the complex interplay of flavours hold.  Instead of coming one at a time flavours come all at once.  The Qi makes my heart pound with a certain intensity but I feel slightly spacy.  Like I have lots of energy but don’t know what to do with myself.

The ninth infusion is sweet, almost juicy smokey, dense, onset, with creamy menthol sweetness long on the breath.  The taste is barely sour, faintly astringent, long dense sweetness, long cooling. The interplay and complexity of this wild make it special, I think.

This tenth and eleventh infusion is more watery fresh almost fruity juicy type I’m more familiar with.  There is a mild juicy fruity taste throughout.  The deeper tastes and rolling pungency seems less here.  This is more like a solid and more typical wild presentation but this one is especially nice.

The 12th is smooth fruity and woody to start plumb and blackcurrents come to mind.  There is a wave of menthol coolness then a long woody and subtle sweetness.  I would say the wood note is the dominant here.

13th has a slight sour tart onset with a choke cherry like initial taste there is more of a slightly sandy and dry mouthfeeling now.

13th starts woody mainly with fruits underneath capped by a menthol taste.  Some sweetness and fruit in the aftertaste.  14th is much the same.

The 15th is brilliantly fruity and long the mouthfeel is a touch slit-like.  The Qi pushes me into a sweat.

I end up long steeping this one for a few days and get brilliantly viscous fruity flavors.  It goes for a few more days like this and I quite enjoy it.

Overall, this wild is really enjoyable, it really does have everything I look for in a wild tea.  So will I be buying up a few bricks? I’m afraid not.  Why?

The reasons are many but are mainly personal reasons.

Firstly, despite what you read here on this blog, I only drink wild tea/ yesheng infrequently.  I only go for it maybe once a month, that’s it.  The other times I’m downing puerh.

Secondly, I already own over 3KG of wild tea probably enough to last me a lifetime considering how infrequently I consume it.

Thirdly, I just picked up a KG of a very similar wild from Teapals, a 2003 Shuangjiang Mengku Da Xue Shan Wild 250g (very compressed) brick for($0.16/g).

Fourthly, although I consider this 2010 Essence of Tea Da Xue Shan Wild one of the finest example of wild tea but I have a very similar tasting (although admittedly inferior) dry stored, very tightly compressed, factory-esque feeling, and similar Qi pattern.  Mine is maybe ½ as delicious, though.

Overall, this has got to be one of my favorite Northern Xishuangbanna wilds…

I just can’t rationalize buying more…


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