Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2018 Black Friday Puerh Purchase Report

I thought it would be a good idea to go over all my 2018 Black Friday purchases and free samples.  This year I put myself on a budget of $500.00 for Black Friday and did a good job of sticking to it.  I was also swayed by the sales offered by vendors and went out of the sale not exactly how I intended going in.  However, the puerh which I purchased was all very good and good value.  Many of which are now sold out.


I went into Black Friday to purchase a cake I’ve read a lot about over the last few years, this 200g cake of 2016 white2tea We Go High.  I was also keen to test the waters with the bottom of white2tea’s brand in trying to snag some promotional cakes to compete in a search for the cheapest fresh young sheng… if that is how it was going to go down… and it did. In the end I ended up with some free samples and a free tote.

Complex fruity layers, interesting range of notes, nice stoner qi, good stamina, not sure about value still but liked it enough to purchase another cake.  Nice raw material.  I enjoy both the stamina and Qi in this one.  Price went up just a nudge to $152.00 for 200g cake or $0.76/g.

Decent mouthfeel that hold complex blend of interesting notes together nicely, good diversity of tastes throughout the session, good stamina, depth of taste is lacking, tea liquor is a bit thin, still quite a good  value at the price.  Sold out in a few hours.  Not sure if I would go for it next year, if offered.

Smooth grainy sweet taste, wheat, mild coco, mild cognac taste, tight mouthfeeling pulling throat, wood.  There are better shu at white2tea.

Fresh bamboo suggestions, toasted grains, deep milky coco shu taste with nice coolness in the breath, nice strong and alerting Qi.  Rich and Velvetly mouth- and throat-feel.  Nicest bamboo puerh I’ve tired.

Overall some nice teas put out by Paul at white2tea… great job!

The Essence of Tea

I noticed that David and Yingxi re-stocked some Malaysian stored 2003 Hong Kong Henry Conscientious Prescription in the lead up to Black Friday.  I missed out on these when he offered them a year before and was hoping they would stay in stock long enough for any Black Friday promotions… and they did!

I was going into Black Friday thinking that I would pick up 2 cakes but only ended up going with one of these and a mini cake to get me to the free shipping.  I was offered 20% free tea promotion which I spent on the 2010 Da Xue Shan Wild 1KG Brick and ended up landing a free sample as well, sweet deal!

Clean/pure more humid Malaysian stored, interesting sour fruit and pine wood taste, simulating mild gripping throatfeeling with solid menthol taste.  Slight thinner liquor, with mildly dizzing and somewhat heavy headed Qi sensation, simple in some ways but delicious, easy drinking aged puerh.  Not sure if I will pursue another cake.

Nice fresh drink now spring Wuliang area puerh, very green tea-like production that is full of light refreshing puerh energy, easy to drink enjoyable value puerh.  Slight astringent if pushed, nice relaxing fluffy qi.  I’ve almost drank up the bing!

Excellent wild tea.  Heart pounding/ Spaced out Qi.  Sweet fruity/ juicy taste is quite strong and long with the throat capturing the saliva minutes later into a long dense sweet aftertaste and breath taste.  One of the best wild’s I’ve tired.

Vibrant, intense, freshly aromatic, with a smooth complex fruity body, deep rich unfolding hong cha profile.  Very interesting hong cha from very good raw material.

These Essence of Tea purchases are all above mark, they are all very different and I really enjoy all of them.  When I purchase from Essence of Tea, this is what I usually expect… and they usually deliver.

Yunnan Sourcing

I wasn’t planning on purchasing from Yunnan Sourcing but Scott’s 15% off sale lured me in.  I ended up buying a stack of the now sold out 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Impression.

Very nice blend of Autumn and Spring puerh.  Flavours early on are great- very fragrant, juicy tropical fruit, creamy sweetness, some other vegetal notes.  Qi has an alerting yet dopy effect as is decently strong.  Poor stamina but overall a real winner for the price.  Will there ever be a blend this good and cheap again?

Overall, very happy with all of these Black Friday buys.  They are a decent enough reflection of the puerh I enjoy with an emphasis on cheaper/value puerh.  Most of the teas I went for are sold out so the purchase was a timely one.



Monday, April 1, 2019

Famous Puerh In the West: 2003 HK Henry “Conscientious Prescription”

Reason For Fame: This puerh was the first well documented instance in English of a young puerh that was initially very impalpable and undrinkable aging into something very enjoyable.  The details can be found in this blog post by Hobbes on the famous Half-Dipper here and here.

There are many different transliterations of the name of this cake out there but they are all referring to the same cake.  Here are some alternative names with the links to articles which used them:

2003 HK Henry “Conscientious Prescription”

2003 Hong Kong Henry “Conscientious Prescription” 7542

2003 Menghai Hong Kong Henry 7542 (“Scholarly Tea”)

2003 Henry Trading Co.HK Ltd."Seriously Formula" Ching Beeng 7542

2003 HK Henry Specially Ordered 7542 Menghai

As mentioned in the Half-Dipper post, this tea was for sale at Hou De Asian Arts in 2007 for $78.00 for 357g cake or $0.22/g.  Back then this tea was really expensive, and probably a bit overpriced for its age at that time.  Remarkably this cake now sells for around $130.00 and can be found with varying storage options and from various vendors.

Teas We Like feature a dry Taiwanese Stored version of this cake for $130.  The Essence of Tea offers a Hong Kong then Malaysian stored more humid version also now priced at $130 which is currently sold out but may possibly be re-stocked.  I have also heard that it is sometimes available from the Taiwanese Facebook puerh auctions.  The options on this cake are many mainly because I think this puerh is actually more famous in Western puerh circles than it is in Asia because of the above reason for fame.

The lesson it taught me was this: if a puerh initially has a “Burning Acid in Throat” taste and throatfeel this quality will likely turn into an enjoyable “Stronger throatfeel with Sour aftertaste” with some moderate to heavier humid storage behind it.  Last year I read some similar tasting notes on a different puerh and I bought a bunch of this up and is it ever tasty (I need to post about this one other one soon I think).

Anyways, as you readers may or may not remember this very tea sold out on me before it was quietly restocked by Essence of Tea before Black Friday. I think the re-stocked price was even cheaper than the price they originally marked it at (or maybe the exchange is just more favorable now).  Either way, good for me.  It was included in my order which also included this, this, and this- all nice teas by my estimation.

Ok, redemption time… let’s see what Hong Kong/ Maylasian stored HK Henry is all about.

Dry leaves are greyish typical of heavier humid/ Hong Kong storage and smell of old library but more sweet and grainy.

The first infusion starts with a slightly sour smooth woody onset which catches me off guard at first.  Its tea body is slight watery here and a mild cooling camphours aftertaste with mild creamy sweet base.  It tastes more light and deep and almost fruity.

The second infusion has a sour almost dried and candied grapefruit taste, if you can imagine it.  It has a smooth pine tree base taste and a faint creamy sweetness underneath.  The pungent camphor is cooling in the aftertaste.  The mouthfeel is a bit gripping at the throat.

The third is smoother and more cohesive.  It starts with some sour notes over an increasingly woody pine aged leaves base taste.  There is that grapefruit sourness thoughout.  The tea liquor is light and spacious.  The mouthfeel is slightly drying, slightly coarse on the tongue and gripping in the throat.  Menthol on breath.  Long dried grapefruit aftertaste of slight sour\ bitter.  The Qi is slight heavy in the head and behind the eyes.

The fourth infusion delivers a smooth slightly sour onset with an aged grapefruit like taste with pine woods and old leaves taste.  The sourness apparent in this puerh gives this medium humid stored and aged puerh a fresh zesty feeling which makes it unique.

The fifth infusion starts more creamy sweet wood along sour grapefruit.  The pine taste is stronger on the breath than body and the cooling camphor taste is there too.  There is a mineral stone like taste in the infusion also.  The liquor and body is light and almost dry but mildly gripping.  The Qi starts to feel mildly dizzying.

The sixth infusion is almost bean tasting along with less sour in the initial taste.  There are still wood notes under there as well as grapefruit.  This infusion is become less sour and drier wood overall.  The cooling camphor aftertaste brings the most fruity grapefruit tastes out long in the aftertaste.

The seventh infusion is watering out a bit.  The viscosity of the liquor is not the strength of this tea.  There is an interesting incense note, pine wood, camphor.  The fruity grapefruit is very faint in the aftertaste only now.  The throat feel has a mild gripping sensation.

The eighth starts woody, incense, pine wood, long mild apricot and grapefruit taste under camphor wood.  The ninth is much the same.  The profile of this puerh is relatively simple but pretty delicious.

The tenth I add 10 seconds to the flash infusion it results in more woody tastes being pushes out.  The mouthfeeeling and throatfeeling are more watery then gripping here but there is a little of that.  This tea develops kind of a smoothness here.  The aftertaste is mildly fruity.

11th I add 20 seconds to the flash and get aged but nicely refreshing pine woods, and dried apricots with not as sour tastes now but a little in the aftertaste.  Although this tea is not overly complex, it is interesting enough, clean, feels nice in the body and makes me feel light. 

12th I add 30 seconds to the flash and it really is much the same with a slightly more gripping mouthfeeling.  The long fruity taste is nice here.  The tastes are really clean in here.

13th infusion is about at 60 seconds past flash and delivers more fermented autumn leaves, woods up front with some bitterness.  There is that same camphor and slight fruit in there.

The 14th is another long infusion pushing out mainly woods and autumn leaves, there is some barely fruity sweet under some bitter and some sour.  A fresh clean menthol remains.

I long steep this one a handful more times.  I get some nice but not overpowering woody tastes with menthol and dried sour fruit.

Overall, this tea is really clean and pure, it has an interesting and unique sour fruit and pine wood profile and simulating mild gripping throatfeeling and solid menthol aftertaste.  However, its liquor is on the thinner side even with the teapot stuffed with leaves and its change from infusion to infusion is slight.  I enjoy this one for the smooth and easy drinking for sure.  I can only imagine that this more humidly stored version was probably closer to being stored in a way that this cake was originally intended when Hong Kong Henry Co. Commissioned it. 
I think I would have been pretty content with more of these but I don’t think I will seek out more…

…Maybe just a cake of the Taiwanese dry storage just for some fun comparison...

Edit May 16, 2019: When I initially sampled my cake and made the notes above I hadn’t opened it from the sealed bag the cake arrived in until just before sampling.  After making the above notes I just added a touch of humidity from the steam of the kettle into the bag then sealed it up again.  I tried this puerh about 5 weeks later and the sour taste was completely gone.  The other tastes that interacted with the sour kind of transformed as well.  For instance, the pine note was much less in the second tasting.

Overall, this second tasting was very warming, more roasty earthy, and deeper tasting.  With the loss of the sour/ grapefruit note the flavours, it felt much more harmonious however it seemed much less interesting and complex.  Overall, the qi felt more warming and the session was much more comforting.  Personally, I really liked the sour in there and wonder if shrink wrapped storage would have preserved some of it. Perhaps it was just a fermentation note working its way out from the sealed bag (it wasn’t “aired out”.  Or maybe it was my addition of extra humidity after a period of drier storage.  Either way this bing cha transformed more in just a few weeks than many of my cakes do over a period of years.