Sunday, November 10, 2019

2019 Tea Encounter Gua Feng Zhai: Budget Gua Feng Zhai!

Gua Feng Zhai is a pretty famous puerh producing area these days and to find a full size cake of Spring Gua Feng Zhai puerh, “small bush” (as they call it these days) or not, for under $100.00 is rare.  This sample was provided for review but goes for $98.32 or $0.28/g.  My experience with Gua Feng Zhai thus far is with the far more pricier medium and large bush/tree so I wonder if the younger trees will have some of that classic Gua Feng Zhai taste and Qi?...

Dry leaves smell of very perfume floral and pungent forest sweetness.  They smell quite delicious.

The first infusion has a foresty initial taste with a sweetness and rainforest and almost spicy pungency to it.   It has a soft sandy and chalky mouthfeeling.  There is a slight tingle and tanginess to it.  The taste is muted and deeper tasting.  There is a faint candy taste in the aftertaste.

The second infusion has a more woody deeper foresty taste with a long lingering pungent note that slowly unearths slight fruity and candy and almost zucchini like sweetness.  The mouthfeeling is a nice chalkiness and the throat is mildly stimulated by the chalk.  The aftertaste is long and meandering with gord and candy and fruit nuances.  The Qi is a bit stronger in the chest and makes the shoulder feel heavy.

The third infusion has a forest deep taste onset with a lingering sweetness and pungency.  The taste is really layered.  There is notes of carrot, candy, wood, dirt, zucchini, pear, spice.  The Qi is pretty strong and I feel it in my chest and Lungs.  My breath relaxes and my mind sharpens.  The mouthfeel is fairly all coating and has a chalky feeling on the tongue and throat.  A candy taste lingers on the breath minutes later with pumpkin and pear and rainforest.  The profile is layered and slow moving.  The Qi is spacy here too- there is lots going on with the Qi.  There is also a warm sensation at my lower back.  Nice Qi in here.

The fourth infusion has an almost sour fruity sweet onset with rainforest taste and layers of zucchini and woods underneath.  The main flavor note here is subtle sweetness in interesting layers.  A candy like sweetness comes out in the returning sweetness which intertwines with zucchini and woods.  The mouthfeeling is chalky, so is the throat.  The Qi is felt in upper shoulders, neck, low back, head- a relaxing feeling in the mind and a sharpness.  Good Qi.

The fifth infusion has a soapy, thrills gum nuance, forest taste, a bland with sweet taste with a pop of initial sour.  The low cresting pungency pushes in a long layered aftertaste of melon, almost candy, forest, and zucchini.  The Qi feel like its releasing the shoulders.  The chalky mouth and throatfeeling a full and long-lasting in the mouth.

The sixth infusion starts foresty and sweet zucchini with pear taste.  The taste is layered and somewhat nuanced.  The sweet note is the most prominent here with a slight bland bitterness and quick moving slight sour.  There is lots going on but in a layered subtle way with this puerh.  A chalky, almost bitter faint candy sweetness lingers on the tongue.  Qi makers me feel really good.

The seventh infusion starts with a nice sweetness going on with layered depths of forest taste, slight wood, melon, zucchini.  The sweet taste is prominent here and long in the aftertaste with lots of nuance.  I can feel my chest beating and a nice surge of energy. 

My session ends unexpectedly and too abruptly.  I end up packing the leaves up and long infusing them in my large 300ML Yixing at home and get a lot of mild deeper tastes with mild bitterness approaching in longer infusions.  The description on the website claims that this one has nice stamina… I’ll have to try again for a longer gong fu session with the remainder of the sample.

This is my recommendation out of the first line of Tea Encounter brand puerh which includes 3 puerh and 1 Yesheng wild tea.  It occupies an interesting price bracket because it’s a full, standard size cake- 357g and it’s apparently Gua Feng Zhai.  But is it really, truly Gua Feng Zhai for that price???

I believe it is… two things tip me off as being (at the very least mainly) Gua Feng Zhai material.  First is the taste profile.  This has the typical pumpkin deeper layered sweetness that I associate with Gua Feng Zhai.  Second, is the bigger Qi sensation.  It has both the stoner relaxed effect going on as well as the body sensations as well.  Both of these characteristics are not as intense as I’ve experienced with other Gua Feng Zhai but for the price… under a $100… I’m calling this one as hitting above its price.  Quite enjoyable!


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