Thursday, July 9, 2020

2020 Essence of Tea Lao Jie Zi GaoGan : A Very Mansa Puerh

This year sees a focused attention on Mansa area puerh by David and Kathy of Essence of Tea.  Previous years saw a sustained focus on the Gua Feng Zhi area.  As Gua Feng Zhi maocha continues to climb especially in famous gardens it makes sense to look to areas like Zhang Jia Wan in Mansa.  This year they released 2020 Essence of Tea Xu Jia Liang Zi and this 2020 Essence of Tea Lao Jie Zi GaoGan which goes for $298.00 for 200g cake or $1.59/g. 

This 2020 Lao Jie Zi is being billed as the crown jewel of their 2020 line up- one of those meditative take you some place, comfortable, covered in silk type of gushu puerh experiences.  I love when I can experience these in sample form, a nice treat.  I have little to none of this type of puerh and, although I rarely look to buy such things myself, I value the experience these types of puerh offer.  I found a small complimentary sample slipped in my order of the 2020 Essence of Tea Tian Men ShanGaoGan.  It is rather beat up looking.  Let’s see if this one lives up to its claims as an exceptionally subtle and gratifying experience…

Dry leaves smell of very sweet candy with an almost watermelon edge.

The first infusion (no rinse) pushes out a soft watery slightly creamy slightly vegetal taste with a mild faint coolness on the breath. The mouthfeeling is soft and smooth.

The second infusion has a soft vegetal almost creamy sweet onset with a low cool pungency.  There is faint suggestions at bitter astringency that don’t really break through in the taste.  The taste is soft and so is the mouthfeeling.  The throatfeeling is moderate deep.  With a fresh mild pungent cool finish.

The third infusion has an almost bitter vegetal onset with a creamy sweet suggestion.  The taste kind of sticks on the tongue and there is a mild pungency in the throat that comes later.  The Qi in the body is mild relaxing and mellowing and a bit slowing.  The mouthfeeling has a sticky tongue feeling and not that much throat simulation but faint middle opening.  There is a bit of pucker going on with the lips and sides of mouth.

The fourth infusion has a faint creamy sweet and faint fruity sweet onset over a more bitter astringent vegetal base taste.  There is some tongue gripping and puckering but it is mainly in the middle tongue and cheeks.  The Qi has a mild hypnotic effect on the mind and the body has a faint floating sensation.  The throat depth is less obvious and the aftertaste has less cooling pungent finish and more faint bitter vegitalness.  There is a bit of mind release with the Qi here.  This puerh is really soft with a rather timid taste.

The fifth infusion has a mild watery woody slightly salty slightly floral almost kind of creamy and not really fruity onset.  This initial taste is very faint but complex and is hard to grasp at.  The base taste underneath is a soft vegetal and woody.  The bitter and astringent taste is less here even if faint to begin with.  I wonder if the condition of the beat up sample pack had anything to do with it.  The mouthfeel is mild with a sticky pucker taste in the mid-tongue which is weaker now.  The Qi is relaxing and mildly hypnotic.  The body feels a touch light.

The sixth has an almost creamy fruity floral onset.  The initial taste is soft very faint and smooth.  It has a mild base of faint bitter astringency and hard to grasp at pungent coolness.  The aftertaste is a weak almost vegetal taste.  The throat simulation and depth is weak.  The stomach feels a nudge of very mild astringency and youth and feels not overly comfortable in the body.  The processing of this puerh is really green for Essence of Tea and I think it’s the right processing for this puerh.  The Qi is relaxing and slightly hypnotic.

The seventh has a bitter astringent sour mild vegetal onset with a pop of sweet floral grass almost fruity sweetness which comes and goes before you can get into it.  There is a longer sweet floral fresh grass taste. The stomach is getting a bit raw from the astringent bitter of this young green puerh.  The shoulders have a subtle lightness to them and the mind has a deeper sense of ease and relaxation.

The eighth infusion has a light fresh grassy almost but not really floral sweetness with a vegetal base.  There is a lingering grassy floral almost melon fruitiness that skirts the edges of the whole profile.  The Qi is relaxing and peaceful.  The face experiences a faint tingle. 

The ninth infusion has a grassy fresh melon nuance to it with a vegetal base.  There is a faint cooling pungent.  A faint mid throat opening.  The aftertaste is of faint grass and melon.  The Qi is relaxing and slows the mind down here.

The 10th infusion I add 10 seconds to the flash steeps and it has a watery floral melon presentation with a soft underlying creamy floral finish.  There is a quite cool pungency more like a freshness in the mouth.  There is a faint long elegant creamy sweetness that is long in the breath.  The mouthfeel is really soft sticky mild.  The Qi is very chill.  These last two infusions are nice when the vegetal taste is not present- this is something that will age off in the coming months.

The 11th infusion I add 10 seconds to the flash steeps and it has a woody fresh grass and suppressed buttery sweetness.  There is a bit of mild fresh cooling pungency and the mouthfeeling has a bit of puckering but faint.  A faint creamy woody finish.  Deep sighs relax the body and mind.

The 12th I add 15 sec to the flash steepings and it has a mild creamy woody and less fresh grass and melon.  The taste is really clear and soft and soothing.  The mouthfeel is a very soft sticky in the middle of the tongue.  This puerh doesn’t give you that thick tongue coat or feeling and is tenderer. 

13th I add 30seconds to the flash steeping and it results in a soft mild almost lime and grass and faint bitter taste with a soft faint creamy grassy floral breath finish.  The tastes of this puerh are really gentle throughout the whole session.  Even these 30sec pushes don’t push out anything strong or one directional in taste.  This is a soft puerh with nothing extreme even when cajoled a bit.

14th 50 seconds has a soft mild grassy melon onset which kind of just stretches into the aftertaste.  It has a juicier melon edge now and a more substantive mouthfeeling which is a bit drying on the tongue.  The Qi is relaxing and mellow.  The breath has a mild fresh pungent taste.

15th infusion I push for a minute… it gives back blank woody tastes with edges of fresh grass and even melon fruit.  There is a fresh aftertaste cool pungent with some breath melon trying to hang on.   The throat has a faint spacious mid-throat opening. 

16th infusion is a few hours and I drink the cool broth… even under pressure it pushes out a smooth creamy sweet, fresh grassy, edge of melon peel kind of taste with a slow fresh almost pungent breath taste and a faint bitter.  The mouthfeeling is sticky on the tongue and faintly opening in the upper throat.  Expansive fresh grass and almost creamy sweet edge of melon breath.  Relaxing focus.

I put it into another long infusion because I like the last one so much and it gives off a smooth almost floral creamy sweetness with melon peel in a sticky mouthfeeling.  No bitter or astringency left just smooth simple drinking.  A long breath faint creamy sweetness emerges.

I put this into an overnight infusion…

Pictured right is this 2020 EoT Lao Jie Zi and Left is 2020 EoT Tian Men Shan.

This Lao Jie Zi has a solid stereotypical unwavering Mansa smoothness to it and starts to show its colours later into the session when a soft, smooth easy drinking taste emerges that are typical of Mansa like grass and creamy sweet and melon.  The Qi emulates the taste and so does the mouthfeeling- it is mellow in the mind at times almost hypnotic with very few bodyfeelings and overall a mild and relaxing qi experience.  The overall experience is a quieting one not an overly engaging or excitatory experience.  The sign of quality to me is when you really start to push this puerh but it basically is stubbornly smooth.  This also has decent stamina as the longer push at the end suggests.  To criticize this puerh it is not overly complex in taste, mouth- and throat-feel, or qi.  Its more of a "Everyone Stay Calm and Carry On" type of experience that maybe we all can benefit from these days.  Early in the session it has mild signs of astringency and bitterness which detract from the experience but should go away with a bit of age as I’m drinking this very young.

Shah8's tasting notes


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