Wednesday, July 1, 2020

2019 Essence of Tea Yao Zhu Di: An Essence of Tea’s Yiwu GuoYouLin Comparison

It was a very humid and warm day here and I really felt drawn to this 2019 Yiwu Guoyoulin.  It turns out that this was 2019 maocha that was recently pressed into cakes this spring from a Yiwu state protected forest.  This 2019 Essence of Tea Yao Zhu Di goes for $220.00 for 200g cake or $1.10/g and am thankful I got a small sample free with my last order.  Thank you David and Yingxi!  The description of this cake on the Essence of Tea website is as follows:

The tea is thick and rich, with a good balance of strength and refinement.  The aftertaste is long and steady.  This is a very nice Yiwu Guoyoulin tea.

Dry leaves smell of tasty mouthwatering candy like deep rich forest almost licorice deep sweetnesses… Yummy…

First infusion (no rinse) is of soft sweet water onset with an expansive sweetness on the breath.  Even this rise has a lot of depth a rainforesty but layered penetrating sweet depth to its sweetness which is a delightful sign of things to come… the wet leaf smells crazy good…

The second infusion has a bit of a spicy cooling pungent onset which sends ripples of expansive sweetness outward in the mouth and throat and then breath.  The expanding and echo of sweetness is full and satisfying despite being gentle.  The mouthfeel has a nice full but soft coating and the taste is really a progression or amplification of the initial sweetness which seems to expand candy like sweetness in the mouth.  The Qi is calming and focusing. 

The third infusion has a spicy pungent and soft sweet candy onset.  The candy just kind of expands in the mouth and breath over the course of the taste profile.  The pungency and odour throughout is notable and comes early and stays late. The throatfeeling is deep but subtle.  There are some cool pungent notes, creamy fruity notes but mainly just expansive candy sweetness.  The Qi is calming and focusing on the mind.  The aftertaste is long but doesn’t carry many minutes later on the breath due to its soft undulating coming and going.  A peaceful qi, a happy Qi but strong in this way.

The fourth infusion has a buttery sweet candy onset now which has a bit of cool pungency initially which expands while pushing out candy like sweetness on the tongue and in the throat.  The mouthfeel continues to be soft clouds and the throatfeeling is subtle and deep.  There is a slight green bean taste as well as subtle fresh forest.  The mouthfeeling here is a bit stickier and more depth seems to come out of the Yiwu sweetness.  Qi feels very liberating in the mind.  The body feeling is subtle around the neck and shoulders.

The fifth infusion has a buttery fruity apple pear and pungent cooling onset with a subtle barely fresh vibrant rainforest base.  The mouthfeel is soft and sticky.  The throat is subtle and deep.  The mouthfeel turns a touch sandy and candy tastes linger there in the aftertaste. 

6th has a mellow fruity sweet vibe of an onset with a quick emerging mild pungency that expands into candy.  The Qi is making me feel so so good.  A happy in the body kind of feeling that I haven’t had since 2017 Zheng Si Long Wan Gong.  A vibrantly happy feeling.  My chest feels open and my breaths deepen under the influence.  There is some foresty notes as a base taste.  The mouthfeel is soft and slippery which turns into fine sand on the tongue.

7th has a fruity clear pitch initially then a low cooling pungency sweeps through and pushes out candy like sweetness in a cooling breath.  There are some fruity tastes that also return.  There is a vibrancy to the sweetness and clarity that is of note.  I am really enjoying this one- both the taste and Qi are very nice.  The taste has that initial pungency that arrives first with the sweetness and that stretches over a really pure expanding sweetness.  The throatfeeling is subtle but deep.  The Qi is enlivening and happy.  Very comfortable in the body and mind.

8th has a mild fruity onset of pear and peach with a soft pungent candy like long aftertaste.  The taste is pure and sweet and stretches throughout and resides in the throat.  The aftertaste is truly long like the description of this tea states on the website and doesn’t go longer than one minute after swallow.   However, it’s more the progression and expansion of sweetness and pungency and how it slowly stretches into the deep throat.  This really gives us the impression of length.  The Qi is really happy and feels very nice in the body.

9th I add 20 seconds to the flash steeping pushes out a bit of underlying strength in the form of mild astringency.  There is more of a base foresty taste under the progressive sweetness.  The mouthfeeling is slightly sandier.  Happy qi also feels relaxing now.

10th infusion I add 30sec to the flash infusion and it brings out a long sweet cooling pungency that is there at the onset and reverberates into the throat.  There is a fruity almost candy onset which turns into a candy almost fruity finish.  The aftertaste is truly long in this 30 second infusion which returns even 10 minutes later popping and going in the throat.

11th is put to a 40 second infusion and pushes out some fruity sweetness which stretches into candy.  Basically the same at the 10th infusion.  The Qi is more mellow and relaxing now.  The long sweet taste is really nice.  The longer infusions bring out a bit of astringency which does well for the aftertaste.

12th infusion…. Oops … got called at work and left the boiling water on the leaves for a good 10 minutes wow… a tangy fruity pungent coolness with a tingling mouthfeeling not really overly astringent but quite active with a long tropical fruity finish in a drying tongue tip mouthfeeling.  The mouthfeel is really active and buzzy with this long infusion.  A returning peach taste comes a few minutes later.

13th I put into another longer infusion as I liked what I saw in the 12th….. This one is woodier with the sweet notes dropping off significantly. 

Overall, this Yao Zhu Di has a really straightforward very nice yiwu gushu profile.  The Qi of this one is strong in a really happy and rejuvenating energy kind of way.  It is very enjoyable for me.  The taste has a long pure uninterrupted sweetness which arrives early with just as long pungency.  You can really feel the sweetness expand and travel from the mouth into the deep throat.  The progression is a sign of superior quality for sure. This puerh can also be pushed harder for deeper expression of taste where a little bit of astringency develops and acts on taking the pure sweet pungent taste further into the breath.  The fact that this was aged initially as maocha for one year might help to give it a sweeter deeper taste.  I believe the description in that the processing is of very high quality as this puerh just seems to sparkle.  The leaves are also smaller. 

I think the description on the website is pretty accurate.  I have a different idea of "thick and rich" and think "full and satisfying" would fit better.  I would clarify a bit and say that this tea has the ability to be elegant or strong depending on how hard you push it.  If you trend lightly you get a really graceful Yiwu guoyoulin.  If you push harder you can discover strength underneath.  Overall, this yiwu guoyoulin is really flawless.  The fact you can decide if you want something more ethereal or something more tangible makes this one a real gem.  This is especially true if you were intending to drink this one young.  Think it is priced a bit low for its quality.  For this reason I would rate it close to their 2018 Yiwu Guoyoulin in overall quality (10th Year Anniversary).

Vs. 2017 Essence of Tea Yiwu Guoyoulin and 2018 Essence of Tea 10th Anniversary Yiwu Guoyoulin.  The 2017 Essence of Tea Yiwu Guoyoulin has a more syrupy and bready sweetness, great stamina.  The taste is pretty good but it is really lacking in qi which is always a hard pass for me.  The 2018 Essence of Tea 10th Anniversary Yiwu Guoyoulin has a stronger and deeper taste with a stronger mouthfeeeling and throat presence and positive astringency which really makes the flavours dance.  The 2018 has a strong thought slowing Qi.  The 2018 has the strength to age well I think.

To rate all the Essence of Tea Guoyoulin :

1-      2018

2-      (close second) 2019

3-      (Distant third) 2017 (sold out)


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