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Oh yes… did the puerh ever drop this year (not in price of
It started with fireworks, rather unintentionally, really…
It actually sounds kind of nasty but it is, in fact, Scott
attempting to re-define or at least remind us all, about what Yunnan Sourcing
is at its root and what it is not. Did
Scott say anything mean? Hateful? I don’t
think so at all but it certainly doesn’t follow a certain unsaid rules. Sure, it’s a bit controversial to talk openly
about how much you think your competition marks up their product… it’s
something I wouldn’t do. But there it is…
Scott just says it the way he sees it, an open book. Read all that info about each tea he presses-
It pretty much includes everything that you would possibly want to know (except
how much he marks up the raw material of course). He likes to give us information and what we
do with that is up to us. That’s why I
like Scott and Yunnan Sourcing and will continue to support him and his vision.
So, those into puerh know who Scott is trying to differentiate
himself and Yunnan Sourcing from, its main competition Paul of white2tea… we
all know this. And the fact I am still
talking and thinking about this, and repeating what was said is, well, probably
good for the Yunnan Sourcing brand (if you hear something enough times then
people start to believe it).
Alright then, so Paul of white2tea, isn’t one to respond directly
(nor is he one to just take it) instead he responds in his own roundabout way-
some rather brilliant satirical, and sarcastic responses on his Instagram… I mean
how do you respond to the accusation that your markup is higher when that
information is confidential? You aren’t
going to open your books up for everyone to see your accounting… and besides he
has no way of knowing Scotts mark ups either….
Anyway, this past week Paul has been dropping lots of sarcastic and
profane commentary about marketing on his Instagram in lead up to this 2019
puerh release… hahaha
While this was happening… Yunnan Sourcing was first to release
some pressed 2019 puerh, their 250g (dare I say) “premium” Yiwu line from some
pretty famous areas such as Wa Long, Ding Jia Zhai, Xiang Chun Lin… all tested
for pesticides and the like. I love all
of these areas that have become more famous over that last 5 years or so. Plus look at those wrappers… they are pretty
amazing… a bit playful, and inviting… I really like them. Great work Scott. I’m very temped to try these.
Then… Boom… white2tea dropped its Spring 2019 sheng puerh line up. If You Are Reading This, Lucky Puppy, and Splendid are the only teas to make a re-appearece in 2019. Every year white2tea has a creative theme
which comes from the names, descriptions, and wrapper art. This year’s theme seems to be playful and
loving, full of positive energy. There
is no controversial, obscene, political,
or kitschy messaging what so ever (Ok
maybe 2019 Astro Kittens is a bit kitch).
Only I love it!
The other theme I noticed is the use of blurred words and
images on the wrappers. To me this is a deliberate
response to the critique that white2tea is never clear on the origin and terroir of their tea and its use of blurry marketing. It speaks to their lack of transparency. It also speaks to the ambiguity and
uncertainty surrounding their productions.
However, this year I think Paul of white2tea did a great job
of explaining what the material is all about and what to expect from each puerh
product. He is actually a lot less ambiguous
in his descriptions this year and clearly outlines the goals for each of his
products way better than past years on most of his 2019 puerh cakes.
Paul also sent an email with a quick list of recommendations with links that best describe you. When you click on the description it takes you to the tea that is best suited for you. Its like a personality test that matches you with a puerh. I thought this was pretty fun and helpful (see photo). Great work.
Paul is genius in the way he drops his product too. He is the Taylor Swift of puerh tea and
actually uses a very similar marketing technique of dropping his product (see here), by teasing sassy, sarcastic, and vulgar but by then actually going
in the completely opposite direction and releasing love and positivity. This creates a really shocking effect when what you expect is overturned. This is the true creative genius and
marketing that Paul brings to puerh in the Western world and this is why I like Paul and white2tea and
will continue to support him and his vision.
They are barely on social media at all, not on any of the
tea blogs, no youtube channel, no showing off the new wrappers… no nothing… Where
is David in all of this marketing posturing? I bet he’s meditating and staring
at a blank wall and just chuckling to himself.
In fact the Essence of Tea rarely makes a fuss over marketing, their word,
their product is their marketing… it’s that simple. They are almost anti marketing but by keeping us
in the dark they are creating their own kind of excitement. And this is why I like David and Yingxi and
the Essence of Tea and will continue to support them and their vision.
I tell you… when the Essence of Tea drop their 2019 puerh
pre-sale it’s going to be a big deal, things will sell out, it will be perfect.
Thanks again to these vendors (and all of the others as well) that have chosen to make a
career by putting their love into sourcing, pressing, marketing, branding, and most importantly, selling
this wonderful thing called puerh…
I got to go and stare at a blank wall for a while…
This complimentary sample came from KL Wong of Teapals in an order I placed a few months back.
Mr. Wong tells me that Bang Bing is a mere 15 KM from the famous Bing
Dao. I know 15 Km sounds pretty close in proximity
but if you have actually been to the tea mountains and understand a bit about
terroir, it is really quite far. There are lots of these puerh areas that are
near more famous areas that try to ride off their popularity. In a way this is harmless, but it is equally
deceptive because most of these areas even ones only a few KM away have such
KL also informs me that this cake is now sold out. So I report here only for the purpose of
recording my experience from a cake from Bang Bing, an area that I’ve only
tired blended into Shuangjiang Mengku cakes in the past… please sit down
and join me at the tea table, pals…
The dry leaves smell of very clear high noted sugar notes,
crisp wood and distant dry grasses. The
sweetness is pretty strong.
The first infusion starts off with vegetal tastes which are
barely sweet and bitter.
The second infusion starts with a slightly bitter edge which
has layers of vegetal tastes underneath.
The bitterness is notable and long as it recedes in the aftertaste a
malty sweetness is paired with bitter.
The third infusion starts with a buttery sweetness then
turns quickly to bitter there is a pop of fruit before a cooling wave heralds
in malty sweet tones. The tea liquor
feels reasonably thick there is a bitterness found throughout.
The fourth infusion starts with a buttery malty sweetness
with bitter underneath a soft cooling wave comes in and reveals interesting mix
florals and fruits, creamy sweetness, the aftertaste is reasonably long
here. This infusions taste is very
nicely balanced and quite delicious. The
mouth feeling is soft and sticky the throat is mildly stimulated. The Qi sharpens the mind and
concentration. The body feels loose in
the lower body and knees.
The fifth infusion is much the same as the fourth with a
mainly sweet profile of malty, vegetal, bitter then after the distant coolness
creamy sweetness, tropical fruit, malty sweetness and underlying bitterness
over a soft sticky mouthfeeling. This is
a real nice fairly dry stored sweetness.
The sixth infusion tastes even sweeter with more of a sweet
entry initially, a beautiful buttery thick sweetness which stays throughout. There are some tropical fruits and creamy
sweetnesses that appear in the long sweet aftertaste. The bitterness has significantly reduced but
is still underneath giving this tea much depth.
The saliva in the mouth pools a traps in the aftertastes even minutes
The seventh infusion has a light, juicy fruit mixed with
malty sweet depth onset. The liquid
feels less thick in the mouth in this infusion but still stimulates the throat
nicely. The mouthfeel is grittier now.
The eighth infusion is thick, malty sweet, mild cooling and
long sweetnesses throughout the profile.
There is a creaminess thoughout, some vegetalness. The sweet aftertaste is trapped in the
throat. 9th infusion is the
same, but more pronounced sweetness.
This is a very nice experience, I’m having here.
10th is creamy sweet malty, it turns talc and
slightly floral before transitioning into long sweet tastes. The mouthfeel is really nice here, velvety
coating. The 11th has a
pronounced pungency to it. The taste is
sweet throughout with just edges of astringency and bitter barely presenting
now. The sweetness is very apparent and
very nice. The layers of sweetness is
12th has a bit of a thinner profile now but has a
long butterschotch sweetness throughout, a touch of coolness, nice tongue
coating. The 13th becomes a
bit sandy in feeling and less substantial.
Just flash steeping it still.
The clock of the day runs out on my session so I put this
guy into an overnight session and awake the next day to some major deliciousness-
thick and sweet and still very nuanced and interesting…
Great tea, very sweet, layered sweet, saliva pushing flavor
up throat action, lots of depth, pure, clean, nice dry storage, good
concentration enhancing Qi, too bad its gone….
I noticed that KL Wong has recently added a few different puerh to his website. From what I’ve tried, he’s worth paying attention to…
The dry leaves have a much sweeter creamy wood penetrating odour
than the much more humid stored Malaysian storage offered at the Essence of
First infusion starts a touch creamy sweet with a vegetal
taste initially there is a mild cooling suggestion then a slight creamy sweet
dry wood finish. Very clean, tight dry
storage off the bat.
The second infusion starts with a slightly creamy dry wood
onset, there is a vegetal base with mild cooling then longer pungent dry wood
aftertaste. The mouthfeel is mildly
sandy and mildly astringent here. There
are light creamy woody sensations long on the breath.
The third infusion starts off with resinous pinewood, creamy
sweetness underneath, vegetal taste deeper in the profile, then a pungency
rings out with nice creamy sweetness balanced with woody pine notes. The profile is clean and clear and
crisp. The qi is mildly relaxing here
and mildly alerting. I can feel some qi
pooling in the head. The mouthfeel is
slightly sticky and barely astringent.
The fourth infusion starts off pine wood, almost vegetal,
resin, there is a mild pungent coolness that opens up a little sweet creamy
woody taste which attempts to stretch out on the breath.
The fifth is more piney and resinous throughout, a slight
pungent taste comes through then slightly creamy sweetness. The pine wood taste dominates all the way
through. The taste is clean, crisp, and
long in the mouth. Good clarity. The mouthfeel has a tighter smoother feeling but
not as gripping or deep feeling compared to the Malaysian stored.
The sixth infusion is very pine, resin, almost sour and
astringent stimulating throat now a touch, pine dominates profile, some mild
cooling and sweetness trying to push through pine taste. The sweetness is more distinct and untouched
in this Taiwanese dry stored version but also the resinous pine note is more
dominating- it is really dominating.
Taiwanese dry storage seems much more pure and true to the
original material but in its purity it looses some complexity than a more humid
storage brings out. The 2003 HK Henry
Conscientious Prescription has pretty simple and clear profile, it isn’t super
complex so this can be seen as a positive or negative here. Or to put it another way the more humid Malaysian
stored adds complex storage humid nuance to the original materials.
The seventh infusion starts off with an almost vegetal pine
taste with an almost soapy creamy sweetness underneath. The pine is less dominant in this infusion
and the sweetness has almost a plumb and candy edge to it which is more
distinct and long in the aftertaste here.
The sweet plum taste is quite nice.
The eighth infusion carries a pine incense taste now slight
pungent returning arrives then a clear woody long plum sweetness. The returning coolness and pungency is less
in the dry stored version compared to the Malaysian but the sweetness in the
aftertaste is now much more distinct, pure, and vibrant. The mouth and throat feeling is different as
well. The dry stored is more stimulating
the tongue and mouth with a tightness and mild stringency but is just mildly
opening in the throat where the humid Malaysian stored has more throat feeling
than mouthfeeling and a deeper throat feeling.
The qi is mildly relaxing and it pools in the head, slightly alerting
the senses, and visual acuity.
The ninth infusion nice pine wood profile, creamy sweetness
lingers underneath, clean pure, simple taste, sweetness comes out a bit more in
the aftertaste. Cooling pungency is mild
here. The Qi starts to make the head
feel like its floating. The qi of this
Taiwanese dry stored is slightly less warming but seems to have more
bodyfeeling in the head slightly.
The tenth infusion starts off with a touch off pine incense
then to just pine wood then to a mild pungent then to wood over mild creamy
sweetness. Pretty woody here. There are no earthy, foresty, soil tastes in
this very clean dry stored version at all.
Simulating sandy and tight coating on the tongue mild but deeper throat
The eleventh infusion the mouthfeel becomes stronger and
gripping, almost drying, a distinct dry wood onset then there is a woody resin
returning with mild pungent. The
sweetness is less here the pungent cooling is more with the stronger, tanic
mouth and throat feeling. The Qi is
quite relaxing now. The odour of the wet
leaves smells of red Korean ginseng but it doesn’t show in its taste.
The twelfth infusion has more of a creamy sweet plum onset
with wood that emerges slowly. The mild creamy sweet taste is still more
apparent here. The thirteenth is more
woody and dominating but still the sweetness is mild but throughout and more
obvious than in previous infusions. Wood
and creamy sweetness- simple tastes in these infusions but enjoyable ones.
14th is woody, creamy sweet, this tea is fading
here if not the last few infusions. Plum
note is clear and the mouthfeeling is milder here. Nice fruity wood. 15th is mellow
fruity woody enjoyable thing with a touch of cool pungency.
15th infusion I push it with a 60 second infusion
but get much the same maybe even a slight sour note in there as well. Woody more pine and resin. More cooling pungent.
16th I do a long infusion and it pushes out a lot
of pine, more resin and some incense notes which mask any sweetness underneath. The cooling pungent is more obvious with this
push the sweetness shows up a minute later. Nice.
17th I do another minutes long steeping and get a
very resinous pine taste with cooling pungent aftertaste with no sweetness
found. I enjoy the pine woodiness.
It’s put into an overnight infusion and comes out quite
fruity plum after a few days. The
Malaysian stored comes out tasting just dirt in these days long steeping.
Overall, I feel that this drier stored Taiwanese version is
better at preserving some of the teas original essence and is will be a better
option for long term aging in people who are looking for a slowly evolving
puerh with age. It is closer to a Qing
Bing type of storage and feeling and its stamina and flavor has not been pushed
out by humidity.
However, I prefer the Malaysian stored version which is
warming and harmonious to drink now.
Will it age more interestingly than the dry Taiwanese stored
version? I doubt it, but right now on
these unseasonably cold Spring mornings I seem to be going to it instinctually
and this dry stored version didn’t satisfy me in the same way. Part of this preference is my history of drinking similarly more humid stored cakes like this weekly around the tea tables in Korean teahouses. I still think it would be interesting to pick
a dry stored one up to see how it will fair in 10 years.
I had my eyes on some Gao Shan Zhai from another vendor over
the last year but still haven’t purchased any.
The Gao Shan Zhai region in Yiwu is known for some pretty delicious
puerh being higher altitude relative to other regions in Yiwu and all. This production ($114.49 for 250g cake or $0.46/g) is a collaboration between Zheng Si Long and Chen Xi Hao of which the
wrapper bears its name. It was kindly sent in a complimentary care package by Tiago (thanks again)...
Dry leaves smell of perfume florals, subtle fruit, and woody
First infusion is a woody almost flat syrup taste there are
almost floral notes in there as well but strong predominating dry wood
tastes. The mouthfeel is slight sandy
and astringent, slightly bitter.
The second infusion has a flat dry wood, slight malty taste with
slight brown sugar taste. The mouthfeel
is fairly stimulating slightly dry and astringent. There is a very mild cooling then a long
brown sugar and dry wood aftertaste which lingers on the breath.
The third has a more cohesive dry wood, slight malt, and
brown sugar taste which plays out in the aftertaste. The taste profile is pretty simple and
obviously single origin material. The
mouthfeel is slight dry and slight astringent pretty simple as well but
The fourth has a distinct deep malty sweet, almost syrupy
medical herbal taste. The menthol
returning is more pronounced and there is dry wood underneath everything. The thickness of the liquor here increases
its viscus feeling and it makes for a denser taste. The Qi is mild and relaxing.
The fifth has more of this malty, herbal medicine taste with
wood underneath. The liquor remains
medium thick now and the aftertaste is long carrying some of the initial tastes
of wood, malt, and herbal medicine but in a mild wave of menthol and in a brown
sugar sweetness. The taste is long on
the breath and now has a nuance of complexity and charm.
The sixth infusion becomes denser and more complex still
with a dense layering of herbal medicine, woods, malty butterscotch but now
there is a pronounced tropical fruit sweetness that lingers throughout it
almost has a bubble gum sweet edge to it.
The Qi starts to mildly alert.
The mouthfeel is slightly oily but mainly mildly astringent- the dryness
is gone. This infusion the sweetness
becomes quite apparent.
The seventh infusion is dense and malty sweetness, mild wood
now and herbal medicine tastes. It has a
nice medium to thicker feeling and long menthol sweetness with slight tropical
fruit and almost bubble gum sweetness.
The eighth is becoming heavy on the menthol/eucalyptus from
start to finish. There is more woody
taste in the initial and sweeter taste in the aftertaste with a strong
medicinal herbal quality throughout.
The ninth is very menthol, malty sweetness with topical
sweetness under heavy camphor much the same as last infusion. This infusion seems to be more licorice
The tenth is strongly menthol/eucalyptus in taste so much
that it drowns out other aspects of the profile.
The eleventh is almost creamy menthol onset woodier in the
aftertaste. The mouthfeel is
significantly astringent, almost but not really dry, slight pucker. The Qi of this tea is mildly relaxing with a
bit of head sensation of lightness of the brain.
The twelfth infusion is strong menthol/ eucalyptus through
and through. The tea is becoming more
astringent to in these later infusions.
The 13th is much the same this infusion is a bit
more sweet wood and menthol. The profile
changes very little from initial to aftertaste.
The 14th shows signs of sweet woods, herbal
medicines, and an underlying tropical sweet taste under medical notes. The taste is quite bold even now but is not
as sweet as it is astringent and pungent menthol. The pungent menthol is really something.
The 15th has an almost peachy sweet onset now,
woody, slight licorice, almost herb, long cool sweet aftertaste. Still lots going on here, much to enjoy. 16th is a touch bitter and
astringent but similar tastes, more wood almost a sour grapefruit taste. Faint tropical fruits.
The seventeenth is sweet peach, woody, almost herbal
medicine like before shifting to a slight cooling and long sweet
aftertaste. This puerh has some great stamina
with the taste complex and full late into the session.
The eighteenth and nineteenth give off sweet tastes, medicinal
tastes, woody tastes, long sweetnesses.
I really stuffed the teapot with these leaves but this tea
could go on for quite some time, I suspect.
I overnight steep it and a greeted the next morning with a very viscus
and dense butterscotch/ caramel sweetness.
It’s so full that I decide to put it though another few day-long steepings.
This tea has what I consider “harmonious Qi” it doesn’t
overtly feel relaxing or simulating and to someone with little experience
almost feels like no qi but in the end this qi makes you feel good. If you are tired, you will feel more alert
and if your simulated it kind of makes you feel relaxed. I think this puerh has this type of energy
to it. It can easily be overlooked by
those who are less sensitive.
Tastewise, this tea is a winner. It has much to enjoy as far as tastes
go. It’s a bit unique in how pungent it
is. This feature will do it well 10
years down the road.
I believe that the storage is clean moderately humid Xishuangbanna
Storage. I remember a time that
Xishuangbanna storage was a dirty word in puerh circles. It was synonymous with poor storage or
forgotten tea. It’s my understanding
that Mr. Zheng of Zheng Si Long has been instrumental in elevating the profile
of Xishuangbanna storage of which this cake seems to be a good example of.
*I ended up trying to replicate this type of greatness a few
days later and was unsuccessful at pulling together a great session like my
first experience above. The second time
didn’t have as much pungency, depth, or stamina, Qi seemed weaker too. Might
have to pick up a cake to investigate further when I finally do an order of
Zheng Si Long from Tea Encounter.
Over the last few years, I’ve taken the time to look a bit
at the marketing and branding behind Western puerh vendors here on the blog. Since returning back to puerh buying, I
noticed that marketing has become a driving force these days. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that,
in fact, I enjoy the marketing on display.
However, I have sometimes openly questioned whether we are buying the
puerh or just buying into the marketing.
I recently read this article about how we rate a wine label
influences how good we perceive and rate the wine. It talks about the research by a Master’s
student at the University of British Columbia.
The article is titled “Like the label? You'll probably like
the wine, says UBC researcher”. The
subtitle proclaims, “Masters candidate Darcen Esau says people want wine that
matches their personal identity”.
I got to thinking that you could easily replace the word “wine”
His research look to answer these questions: "With so
many options available, why do some labels appeal to some people but not
others? And then taking it a step further, does that label actually impact the
wine drinking experience?”
The research essentially had different parts to it such as
an online survey and a taste testing.
For the taste testing, he employed a triangle design with 3
glasses of wine and 2 of the 3 were the same wine. Esau also used two types of labels in his
research: a contemporary design and a traditional design. No single design was found to make the wine
taste better. However, if the person
identified with a label they would perceive the wine as actually tasting better.
Do you think, as I do, that this result could easily be
reproduced among puerh drinkers in the West?
Do we really like the puerh we are drinking or are we just unconsciously
picking the Western puerh vendor and/or puerh wrapper that matches our personal
One of my favorite blog posts is this article by Marshal’N’
of A Tea Addicts Journal where he introduces The Speed Test as “a more honest and straightforward
method of determining whether you like a tea or not.” Its method is simple- the teas you drink
through the fastest are likely the teas that you enjoy the most.
I find there is a lot of truth to this measure. I really
like it to the point I’m considering publishing how much of certain cakes I
drink through in a year as a measure of their value. Actually, I have even came up with my own straightforward/
practical metric that follows from and increases the reliability of The Speed
Test, The Re-Order Test (see comment here). The Re-Order Test is also practical way of assessing the subjective value of a tea.
Anyhow, there are a few consideration about The Speed Test
that you might want to take into consideration for it to be a more
First, the tea that you are speed testing has to be readily
available for daily consumption. It
can’t be locked away in some complex storage vault. It has to be easy to get at.
Second, it has to be something that can be easily re-ordered. If you can’t ever re-order it
again and you really like it and want to age it, you might be more reluctant to
drink through it as quickly. As
Marshal’N puts it in that article, “I have to control myself from drinking,
lest I run out of it.”
Thirdly, and most importantly, you have to consider the
stamina and potency of the tea you are drinking.
What do I mean by stamina? - How many enjoyable nfusions can you get
out of the dry leaf?
What do I mean by potency? - How many grams of dry leaf do
you need to get the maximum amount of enjoyable infusions?
The above considerations will drastically impact how quickly
you drink through your tea. It might even skew the results of the Speed Test. I know it influences how fast I drink though
I got this complimentary sample from Tiago of Tea Encounter (the cake sells for $124.95 for 350g cake or $0.36/g) in a care package a few months
ago. An interesting thing about this
puerh is that it has been stored in the drier more Northern Heibei province of
Dry leaves are small, likely plantation, and quite
tippy. They have the odour of strawberry
yogurt with slight wood.
First infusion has a slightly sour almost fruit like onset,
barely dusty old puerh taste before it arrives at a mild almost minty peak. It then becomes slightly creamy and sweet. A strawberry fruit note comes to mind
here. The sweetness is long and creamy. There are pops of various fruit tastes in the
aftertaste as well as a bubble gum flavouring.
The overall feeling and tea liquor suggest pretty dry storage.
The second infusion starts off just mildly astringent like
the skin of a grape with slight dusty aged note before it becomes barely minty
and cool with a nice bubble gum taste in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is slightly tight and
astringent. The storage is nicely
dry. The long candy finish is uninterrupted
by other nuances and is long on the breath.
The qi is pooling in the head and the body feel relaxed, the joints
nimble. The qi is sedating and tranquil as
things slow down around me.
The third infusion starts a touch astringent, dusty, almost
sour grape peel before it goes into a short mild mint and long distinct candy
breath. The bubble gum sweetness is long
and obvious on the breath. The mouthfeel
is slightly tight and tart. The throat
feels open at the mid-level. This puerh
is not overly complex but rather pure and obvious in its presentation of grape,
dust, mint, and bubble gum progression. Almost a red wine like taste and odour
in there as well.
The fourth infusion starts off almost legume like, almost
coffee or coco mild bitter and oak barrel then transitions to mint and long
clean bubble gum finish. The Qi is real
nice I feel a bit euphoric now with my bubble gum breath. There is a oak aged wine like taste to this,
almost alcohol. The dry storage finish is
The fifth has an almost merlot onset that is simple and pure
almost oak barrel then barely/ not really minty then long bubble gum. The merlot taste is throughout. The profile is real simple, crisp, nice very
dry and compressed storage. There is
some faint floral and fruit that is hard to pin below the surface. The mouthfeel is slightly astringent and
sticky on the lips.
The sixth infusion has a nice oak barrel wine merlot taste,
more woody now with a very faint lingering creamy sweetness. The mouthfeel is a touch tart. Sweet bubble
The seventh infusion has a velvety mouthfeeling now, a touch
dry. There is a subtle smoke oak taste
in these initial tastes that melt well with mild grape tastes, then mint then a
creamy sweetness appears more the bubble gum.
The sweet taste is uninterrupted and long.
The eighth and ninth infusions have an oak barrel merlot
taste to it then eases into a long bubble gum sweetness. Qi feeling is gently sedating here. The sweetness on the breath is long. The flavours are simple and enjoyable and
The tenth has a slight pungent medical wood touch under
oaked wine, mint, and creamy sweetness. The eleventh is back to the same
profile. The 12th shows signs
of slight medicinal again along with the other tastes. The simple consistent profile
is evince of single estate. The
mouthfeel is slight astringent almost velvety.
The tea liquor is slightly thinner but consistent broth.
The thirteenth is similar in profile the grape skin of early
infusions is gone and there is a touch of medicinal tastes in there the finish
becomes merlot like. The profile is
simple and enjoyable.
In the fourteenth the initial taste is dry wood and slight cherry
fruit there is some very mild cooling mint then a long merlot wine
sweetness. The fifteenth is much the
same with more of a creamy sweet finish than wine. The slight bit of astringency in this puerh
gives it some substance despite the thinner, dry stored broth. It feels very pure in the body, the Qi seems
to wear off by mid-session.
The next few infusions are dry wood with slight wine profile
and long slight sweet finish. I decide
to steep it a few more times.
I enjoy this simple, clean, pure, example of dry storage. The clean merlot taste and long bubble gum aftertaste
is quite enjoyable.
The long dry storage bubble gum sweetness is also described
in China as the plum taste but I have tasted plum before and it really is more
like bubble gum or cotton candy too me so I usually describe it this way. A nice long dry machine compressed storage is
sure to bring about this note in a reliable puerh. The last cake I purchased with this note and
similar long dry storage was a cake of the sold out dry Shanghai stored 2003 CNNP Small Green Mark Iron Cake from Yunnan Sourcing which also has this characteristic.
This 2003 Ban Zhang is a bit different in
its profile but for those who enjoyed that cake and storage I would recommend
So the question remains: Is this really from the famous Ban
Zhang area? Well, it’s always possible
but also probably more unlikely than possible.
Part of these older “Ban Zhang” are just the fun of imagining that they
may in fact be from somewhere in or near Ban Zhang… most likely not Lao Ban
Zhang but it’s always possible that it is some plantation fixture from nearby,
I suppose. Hahahah…
I actually blind sampled this one that was labeled “2003
Banzhang” and appraised it at $200-300 for 357g cake. So in my eyes this cake is at least a 30%
A surprise from Tiago of Tea Encounter. Dry leaves smell of
sweet misty rainforests, distant sweet berries, sweet woody odours. Sweet very pungent taste very cooling finish.
Pungent camphorus wood and a creamy long sweetness. The storage seems drier
than other Fangmingyuan puerh from Tea Encounter . Sticky lips and tongue
feeling. Faint bubble gum breath. Relaxing qi even spacy and floating body type
of qi. Nice apricot and wood in late
infusions. At $88.89 for 400g cake or$0.22/g , I think I should buy this one again …
Dry leaves smell of a very sweet, kind of faint floral fruit
with a mineral rock like odour.
First infusion has a mild sweet honey and woody almost grain
onset with wood bark and almost cherry tastes in the aftertaste. The tastes are crisp and pure the mouthfeel
The second infusion has a soft onset of dry wood, grains,
almost grass with a subtle fruity nuance.
A candy-like aftertaste lingers on the breath. The mouthfeel opens gently and the
mouthfeeling is slightly taught and sticky.
The third infusion has a malty grains and woody
sweetness. There is a long sweet,
date-like, malty sweetness and noticeable camphor pungency in the returning
sweetness. The aftertaste displays
different layers of sweetness- malty, date, and faint candy floss.
The fourth infusion starts off sweet and fruity with dry
wood in the distance. The pungent
camphor aftertaste sets off a long sweetness the trails into the breath. This sweetness is maltier and grain-like
initially but has a candy-like nuance in the aftertaste.
The fifth infusion starts off mainly sweet malty, grainy,
almost date. There is pungency then long
sweetness. The mouthfeel is slightly
tight and slightly sticky but not overly stimulating. The throat is mildly opened. The profile overall is quite sweet with dry
wood- very Yiwu in profile. The Qi is
mild and lingers heavy in the head, behind eyes, makes me feel pretty relaxed,
almost dopy. I’m looking for an energy
boost this morning but am give only dopiness and relaxation and a heavy head.
The sixth infusion starts off balanced between dry wood and
malty, grainy sweetness. The onset of
camphor sets into motion a long sweetness.
The seventh infusion is a nice clean woody, malty sweet
taste. There is less sweetness now and
more of a light balance between dry woods and malty sweetnesses. The camphor returning taste is there and the
sweet tastes are long, if not becoming less obvious now. The long candy like breath taste is holding
The eighth infusion has a more intense pungent camphor taste
but less obvious initial taste. The
pungent camphor in this tea is very nice as is its long aftertaste. The tastes are one dimensional but pure and
flavourful. The qi continues to relax
The ninth is more wood but still contains all the same
flavor elements in there. The mouthfeel
is becoming more sandy and less sticky now.
The tenth is loosening a bit of strength now, its mellowing
out into a nice sweet/woody/camphor thing.
The eleventh is sweeter now, but its harder to define the
sweetness. The taste remains pure and
unmuddled here but not as intense or nuanced as early on.
I add 10 seconds to the flash infusion in the 12th and get a
nice fresh, crispier woody sweetness. In
the 13th I add 20 seconds and get much the same mellow woody
sweetness but the longer infusion pushes out more candy aftertaste that still
lingers in these leaves. I feel spacy
To lazy to do more, I do a few more longer infusions with enjoyable fruity/
woody tastes in a mild sandy/sticky mouth- and throat-feeling.
This puerh has a very stable infusion to infusion session
but what is there is very pure and very flavourful. Its single estate pedigree is quite
obvious. Very Yiwu tasting. The mouthfeeling/ throatfeeling and qi are
not bad too. A very solid tea for those
who like the Yiwu taste and single estate but don’t want to pay crazy for it.
I go to compare the 2018 and 2017 Mang Zhi but I drank them up….
Too delicious to keep around too long, I guess… I’m starting to really enjoy
these Zheng Si Long Mang Zhi. My
favorite out of the bunch is the 2017.