Thursday, July 16, 2020

2020 Tea Encounter Wa Long Guoyoulin: A Smoother Wa Long

One of my favorite offerings at Tea Encounter is the 2015 Zheng Si Long Wa Long which I have a few cakes of.  Last year Tiago offered a 2019 Zheng Si Long Wa Long as a follow up to the popular 2015 and this year we have this 2020 Tea Encounter Wa Long Guoyoulin which goes for $161.63 for 250g or $0.65/g.  Thanks to Tiago I received a sample for review that I will share with you in this post…

The dry leaves smell of strong deep rich vibrant cherry and fruits with lingering candy sweetness.

The first infusion has a sweet creamy onset that stretches into a woody creamy sweetness.  The cream has a bit of soapy metallic taste to it.  The mouhfeeling is moderately thick even on the first infusion.  There is a faint suggestion of fruit on the breath over a woody, creamy, mildly bitter taste.

The second infusion has a flat creamy onset that evolves into a woody base.  There are some soapy and metallic tastes underneath.  The mouthfeel is moderately thick and has a powdery texture to it.  There is a mild bitter, milk sweet finish with a breath taste of faint berries.  The throat sensation is faint with a subtle coolness to the throat.  The Qi is starting to relax my mind and has a mild dizzy effect.

The third infusion has a mild bitter milky onset with a wood base taste supporting a flat milk and metallic type finish.  There is a soapy almost restrained floral returning sweetness.  A faint throat sensation skirts a cooling throat and leaves a mild bitter, soapy milk, with faint breath suggestions of berries.  The mouthfeeling is a powdery and slightly tight sensation with a very faint throat simulation.  The Qi continues to sedate and strongly relax.  There is a suppressed faint candy breath even 10 minutes later.

The fourth infusion has a fruity cherry mild bitter onset with a creamy fruity returning sweetness.  There is mild wood underneath.  The fruity finish is dispersed over a powdery tongue coating and has a mild bitter and almost soapy floral nuance with a faint candy breath minutes later.  The Qi is a hazy feeling Qi.

The fifth has a quick juicy fruity burst followed by a flat moderate bitter taste.  There is a fruity cherry taste over a powdery and slight puckering tongue over faint wood base.  Faint throat feeling.  The aftertaste is a creamy fruity berry and metallic taste.  Qi pushes me into a sweat with stronger hazy feeling in the head.

The sixth infusion has a fruity and pill like flat mild bitterness.  There is a dry woody mid profile then returning bitterness with berry/cherry tartness and subtle soapy metallic taste.  The mouthfeel is powdery and throat feel is faint.  The Qi is a relaxing hazy feeling.

The seventh infusion has a flat bitter and cherry onset over a powdery mouthfeeling.  Some dry woody shows up in the mid-profile along with cherry sweetness.  There is a mild faint cooling in the throat which pushes out a cherry and almost milky bitter sweet soapy returning sweetness and aftertaste.  The cherry taste dominates with a mild pill like bitterness.  There is a candy breath taste minutes later.  The throatfeeling feels absent but the mild coolness seems to get down there and hold some candy like sweetness minutes later.

The eighth infusion has a fruity cherry onset with less bitterness here.  There is a creamy tart cherry returning sweetness with dry wood taste underneath.  Minutes later there is a cream sweet candy breath which seems to be getting stronger and more obvious with each infusion.  The mothfeelng is powdery and throat faint but cool.  The Qi is a moderate hazy feeling.  This puerh hasn’t much bodyfeeling to it.

The ninth infusion starts sweet creamy and fruity cherry.  There is a smooth sweet feel to the last two infusions.  The mild woody mid-profile gives way to a returning creamy sweetness with cherry nuance.  The bitterness is very faint and these infusions have a sweetness throughout now.  The mouthfeel is becoming more sticky/powdery now.  The Qi is a moderate haze.

The tenth infusion has a sweet creamy cherry onset with mild flat bitter that turns to wood.  The returning sweetness has a cherry, creamy expanding sweetness in the aftertaste.  The throat starts to open more and there is a coolness residing in there with creamy sweetness and subtle faint candy breath.  The aftertaste is decently long and nicely transforms.  Deeply relaxing.

The 11th infusion has a subtle fruity and creamy onset sweetness with dry wood underneath.  There is a deep faint cooling in the throat and a candy like long breath finish.  The taste is simple, smooth, with a powdery mouthfeeling and with a long candy finish.  Qi is nicely relaxing at this point.

The 12th infusion has a mild sweet slight fruity sweetness followed by a very mild flat bitterness.  The sweetness returns after a mild cooling pungency.  The mouthfeeling is chalky.

The 13th infusion has a bitter and mild sweet creamy fruit start.  The bitterness is stronger here and intermingles with the cool pungent and there is a bitter, slight creamy sweet and subtle candy finish.  The tastes, mouthfeeling, and qi are consistent and steady throughout the session which makes for a bit of a less engaging session.

14th has a more bitter and bland woody onset with much less sweetness now.  A creamy sweetness returns more in the aftertaste.  Candy taste on edges can’t really push through.  The Qi is making me feel a bit dopey. 

In the 15th I put to a longer 20sec infusion it pushes out juicy flat mild bitter fruity sweetness with fainter cool throat on a thinning powdery mouthfeeling.  The Qi is making me sleepy and although I think it could be steeped out for a while like this, I need an afternoon push…

I put the rest in a mug and long steep it out and it pushes out substantial bitterness, lesser cherry creamy sweet tart and very subtle candy.

Overall, this 2020 Tea Encounter Wa Long GuoYouLin is very stable throughout the session.  The first half of the session has the bitterness as a key flavor component along with a more cherry sometimes tart cherry fruitiness.  In the second half of the session there is more of a creamy onset sweetness and less bitter.  There is candy breath taste throughout the mid session which is nice.  The mouth and throat feel have unshakeable steadfastness and remain moderate-low chalky in the mouth and deep but not very stimulating in the throat where a faint coolness always seems to navigate.   The Qi is moderate-low and has a hazy feeling in the head at first then in mid-session becomes more relaxing and sedating and in the end of the session I am left feeling sleepy.  Of note is how despite its youth and bitterness it feels very comfortable in the body even as I leafed it quite heavily.  The bitterness here that is common with Wa Long area puerh should give it a leg up with aging.  At $0.65/g it makes more accessible Guoyoulin to those who don’t want to break the bank.

Vs 2015 Zheng Si Long Wa Long vs 2019 Zheng Si Long Wa Long.  I compared these two Zheng Si Long Wa Long also available at Tea Encounter here.  This 2020 Guoyoulin is a very different Wa Long compared two these.  The 2020 Tea Encounter Wa Long Guoyoulin is much more smooth and lacks any astringency or stronger bitterness which the 2019 Zheng Si Long has and the 2015 Zheng Si long likely had in its younth. The 2019 Zheng Si Long Wa Long is not really ready to drink as a result.  This 2020 Guoyoulin is not astringent and not harsh on the body so it is a Wa Long that could be consumed fresh.  Overall it has a smoother vibe from its taste, to its odour, to its mouthfeeling, throatfeeling, and Qi than the Zheng Si Long productions while still maintaining its Wa Long character.  I think a more interesting comparison might be to some of the Yunnan Sourcing Brand Wa Long Gushu that Scott has sourced over the years that I still have not tried.



  1. best Wa Long I had was a '18 Guoyoulin from Puerist (on Etsy)..
    went for a sample after Shah recommended it blindly from his acquaintance with the vendors abilities and with WL-GYL.. ended up getting a kilo in a sale, and I'm VERY particular with teas I "tong"..

    much preferred it over the YS..

    I have Tea-Encounter's sample too, but waiting for it to "loose it's green" to give it a try..

    btw Puerist's Yibang I caked too!
    his other teas I didn't feel the need to keep around..

    1. twt_reddit,

      This is a real nice smooth Wa Long with still some typical Wa Long attitude. I enjoy it and will try it again when it looses it green. When will I try it again???...

      When I compare it to the 2018 Puerist Wa Long Guo You Lin! Thanks for the recommendation!

      I have been eyeing that one for quite a while but with literally nothing at all said about Puerist in the public English internet I wasn’t sure if it was legit. Think Shah8 had a single vague reference about Puerist but that was it.

      Mark of Puerist de-listed a few more cakes of this one for those who wish to try it. There is also a sample.

      Hope to post at least a few reviews from Puerist in the next month or two for those that are interested.


    2. Most of his teas I tried were decent to good value, even after the relatively expensive shipping (the samples have cheap shipping though!)

      My favorite from him are the Wa Long GYL '18-> Yibang '18 -> Mannou '17 -> Xiang Chun Lin '17, which are "coincidentally" the 4/5 most expensive teas he has..
      but like I said I pulled the trigger only on the first two, as those price brackets are very competitive..

      hope you enjoy his teas, I'm looking forward for your reviews!
      he is for sure legit, and definitely worth sampling :)

      and that Wa Long GYL '18 I hold at a very high regard.. every time I drink it I'm glad I tonged it, and wonder if I shouldn't get more for aging, as it for sure has good indications, and this is an area that ages well..