Tuesday, July 2, 2019

2018 Zheng Si Long Xiang Chun Lin vs Fresh Maocha

This was my pick of the early 2018 Zheng Si Long Maocha samples I tired.  I really like the Qi in this puerh and this made my selection of top 3 Zheng Si Long. It was my first introduction to the Xiang Chun Lin producing area.  Here was the tasting notes of the fresh maocha just months after picking:

New producing area for me.  Creamy sweet, slight vegetal-like intense berry fruity sweetness in the dry leaves.  Starts savory, seaweedy, rainforesty, long subtle berry fruit/creamy sweet finish.  Sticky full mouthfeel.  Berry taste pops nicely in very full sticky mouth.  Long sweet cooling berry aftertaste.  Feel qi on forehead and brow.  Slowness in the mind.  Heart noticeably beating now. Vigorous and relaxing very early in session.  Nice dizzying Qi.  Green tea-like, vegetal suggestions.  Reminds me of boarder tea.  Creamy sweet taste dominates with long cooling sweet menthol.  Slowly becomes softly astringent in mouth and mid-throat.  Fairly big Qi sensation in head- very relaxed but acuity strongly sharpened.

This is not typical of the puerh cakes I usually buy but I thought I would go based on the Qi and not as weighted on the taste.  After spending a bit more time with the sample from the cake I decided to pick one up at $199.00 for 400g cake or $0.50/g

Dry leaves smell of clear wildflower woods, almost mushroom sweetness, grasslands and grains and a deep pungent forest odour, slight berry odour.

The first infusion starts off a creamy clear sweetness.  It has a very subtle sour and soft mild creamy sweet pungent.  There is a faint touch of astringency and sticky mouth coating.  This first infusion is very light, ethereal, clear, bright, fresh, green.  Creamy sweetness penetrate throughout.

The second infusion has a more clear strong wildflower quick flavorful onset with nuances of dry wood, grasses, almost nutty, the fruitiness that is apparent in the aftertaste is strong, clear, and clean.  It’s a fruity sweetness the seamlessly transitions to a creamy sweetness.  There are interesting wildflower and fruity nuances in the distance.  Also a cinnamon sweetness, some warmth, barely noticed in the distance.  The Qi in the head is pronounced with this puerh.  I feel instantly focused, tunnel focused and relaxed.  My face flushes.  Qi is strongly spacy as well as clarifying at once.

The third infusion has a thicker more viscus onset of dense vegetal sticky rice in banana leaf and wildflower then melts into a clear fruity and wildflower finish.  The qi is super relaxing here.  Big relaxing qi and focusing qi right in the first infusions.  The taste is fresh and green tea, border tea tasting puerh.

The fourth starts with a thick dense wild flower sweetness there is a touch of astringency barely in there to give it some substance then a long creamy sweet finish.  The mouthfeel is thick and slippery and throat opens nicely.  This one is light and creamy in taste and thick in the mouth.  The big qi alerts the mind, pounds the heart, and pours on the relaxation.  There is almost a sour edge to this puerh.  The wet leaves in the pot emit a pungent, mint aroma.  The feeling in the body is interesting, like my arms aren’t attached to my body.

The fifth infusion has a decently thick wildflower onset, the coating in the mouth is slippery with nuances of wood far in the distance.  The mouthfeel is mildly astringent almost sour and pushes a nice sweet creamy taste across the profile.  Wildflower and slight tart fruit are in the long aftertaste.

The sixth infusion presents with a wildflower thickness once again.  There is very mild pungent mint then long wildflower almost creamy and not that sweet in the aftertaste.  I like the Qi in here.  Overall this tea is quite light in taste and moderately thick in texture.

The seventh infusion has a less flavourful initial taste but is mellow vegetal and wildflowers.  The sweetness is more wildflower and restrained now.  The mouthfeel isn’t as full but still coats the tongue and opens the throat a bit.

The eighth infusion tastes a bit thicker than last, the liquor is of decent thickness and coats the tongue nicely.  There is a little bit of squeakiness to it, a touch of astringency.  Qi is big relaxing type, mind is alert, can feel the heart pounding in the chest.  This duality of being super relaxing but yet physically stimulating is the kind of energy that I look for in puerh.

The ninth is starting to fade.  It becomes more astringent but really is very green tea/ border tea tasting.  Big Qi.  Tongue coating is less sticky and more astringent now.  The flavours have really dropped off and it tastes like steeped out green tea.

The tenth infusion I put in a minutes long infusion to try and push out some substantial wildflower sweetness… and it does along with thicker honey tastes and strong florals the bitterness is pretty non-existent with just barely some astringency in there.  This is true throughout the session as it is now.

So I push hard again… thick slight wildflower fruity edges, almost no bitter, thick on tongue and full mouthfeeling.

The overnight infusion is really interesting.  It tastes of super sweet honeydew melon, juicy and refreshing.  It almost taste like true candy in its sweetness. Yummy.

I like the Qi in this one… very light delicious and invigorating tastes.

To compare it to the fresh maocha…

It is actually quite similar but slightly deeper in taste.  There is a touch more complexity in the cake version but not overly so.  It is still a very green tea and boarder tea tasting thing although the cake has a deeper and longer floral taste in it. There is a bit more complex lighter tastes in there but overall is not overly deep and retains the light, green, ethereal essence found in the maocha.  The Qi is strong and pretty much unchanged from the maocha, as usual.  The mouthfeel and throat feel are similar as well, a bit thicker maybe but not that much.

There is actually anther similar feeling and tasting puerh to this one that I would like to compare, 2018 Tea Urchin Along the Boarder.  Just like this 2018 Zheng Si Long Xiang Chun Lin, it was picked from a relatively close area, I think.  It shares a lot of its energy and taste profile.  I actually was sent some very early picked mao cha in a Spring 2018 order and enjoyed it.  They ended up pressing it and putting it up on their site a year later.  Out of the two I thought the Xiang Chun Lin was the clear winner but for half the price, I might pick up a cake of it to compare more deeply.

These two still are a bit too light, green, ethereal, border tea character for my tastes but I simply like the way they make me feel…



Curigane said...

I had to retry it after your post as you can imagine. I was very happy. I really enjoy the fruity sweet huigan on this tea. I'm very curious to see how it age but I am very happy with it as it is.

Matt said...

Curigane (Tiago),

Sometimes I get more of a honeydew melon fruity sweet huigan which is more obvious in longer infusions. The session recorded above it felt more like a wildflower and creamy sweetness, a bit like green tea sweetness.

This puerh is a good one for those who like to drink now but I wonder if it will age similar to some boarder tea that I acquired in 2009?

Thanks for sourcing this one for us.