Monday, July 13, 2020

2020 Tea Encounter Wan Gong Guoyoulin: Spacy Qi!

Tiago of Tea Encounter surprised me by producing a high quality Gushu/ Guoyoulin from both Wan Gong and Wa Long.  He surprised me again by sending me a bunch of his 2020 Tea Encounter brand puerh for review.  These are both pretty famous puerh producing areas in their own right and areas that I have some familiarity with.  Today I go for the 2020 Tea Encounter WanGong Guoyoulin which does for $242.44 for 200g cake or $1.21/g.

Dry leaves smell of wafting sweet candy with a faint musk forest odour.

The first infusion has a watery slight woody and slight forest musk onset there is a returning deep dirt barely sweet pungency with a faint menthol buzz.  These faint first steeps go deep into the throat.  There is a long menthol musk forest sweetness.

The second infusion has a creamy buttery faint musk and candy onset the candy taste expands in the mouth and is the dominant flavor now.  There is a deeper dirt musk menthol that is deep in the throat.  The breath is mainly long candy with a dirk forest musk in there as well as a metallic mild taste.  The mouth is soft and slightly sticky over the tongue.  The mind starts to unwind from the Qi.  I feel my breath slowing.  I feel a mind starting to drift and my shoulders relax… many minutes later there is a sticky forest mossy taste in the mouth.

The third infusion has a fresh green mossy forest onset there is a pop of sweet honeydew shrouded by foresty mossy tastes.  The pungent coolness emerges slowly and goes deep into the throat.  A slow release of returning sweet honeydew melon lingers and recedes like a wave leaving a foresty mossy long breath taste.  When my tongue traces the roof and edges of the mouth there is an almost soapy floral sweetness and mossy forest taste. The Qi is relaxing and peaceful and I feel the world stop in the moment with this tea.  The mouthfeel is a soft tight gooey stickiness.

The fourth infusion has a perfume like candy sweet onset that expands as the foresty menthol pushes deep into the throat.  Underneath there is a mossy forest base.  There is some fruity notes as the sweetness returns like a wave and lingers for a while on the tongue.  The mouthfeeling is a moderate sticky gooeyness that is a touch tight.  The taste is very long and has an expansive quality to it.  Minutes later there is a deep dirt forest menthol lingering on the breath.  The throat is more stimulated here as this infusion seems to push out some fainter deeper astringency.  The Qi is very deeply contemplative and mind slowing.  Very strong in this way as I sigh deeply and slowly releasing the world in my exhale…

The fifth infusion has a sweet fruity onset with a foresty dirt base.  There is a slow moving and expanding menthol taste that saunters deep into the throat underneath mossy forest taste.  The returning sweetness is long deep candy in the breath with a mossy dirt forest taste that really spans the profile but is quite mild and adds mid-depth to the sweet interplay of initial fruitiness and returning candy.  The Qi is starting to melt my brain and I loose sense of time and space… oh no… I smell my fresh wood fired Montreal made bagels burning in the toaster…. I come back to reality… close call the honey and sesame seed topping just started to crisp… this Qi really takes you somewhere else….

The sixth infusion has a fruity melon and even slight sour tropical fruit onset with a base taste of moss forest.  The fruity onset is stronger now but dissipates as a low faint menthol reaches into the throat to push out foresty and light candy taste on the breath.  The mouthfeeling is soft but sticky in the mouth.  The Qi puts me out.

The seventh infusion has a fruity onset that is a touch sour mango and some honeydew melon the sweet initial taste is the most prominent but a faint underlying dirt forest taste and slow faint deep throat menthol lingers discreetly underneath.  There is also a bread like sweet taste in the mid profile as well now.  There is some moss forest and candy lingering tastes in the mouth.  The Qi is really big and pushes the mind into an altered relaxed state.

The eighth infusion has a dirt moss forest and almost bitter astringent onset with less fruity slight sour sweetness.  The mouthfeel is a moderate sticky tightness and there is a deep faint opening in the throat where menthol resides.  More bread sweetness come out too and a foresty not as candy finish.  The Qi is very big and sedating and peaceful.  The body feels at peace and is very comfortable.

The ninth infusion has a flat fruity onset with a slight sour taste and mild bitterness that slowly emerges in the mid- late- profile.  There is a taste of white slight sour grapes and even sweet bread in the taste profile.  The mouthfeeling becomes more dry astringent.

The tenth infusion has a melon and slight sour fruit onset with some faint emerging bitterness along with menthol.  The mouthfeel becomes more tight than sticky and the taste in the mouth is not as complex now.  The deep stimulation of the throat has also weakened and there.  There is like a bland and mossy finish with hard to grasp menthol.

The 11th infusion has a flat woody foresty onset with a suppressed sweetness fruity.  The mouthfeeling is moderate slight sticky and slight tight but is mainly localized to the tongue and makes the cheeks squeaky and gums as well.  There is very faint menthol that no longer reaches the deep throat but is more upper-mid.  There is a faint candy on the breath.  The Qi is profoundly peaceful here.

The 12th has a mellow fruity mango onset that slowly trails into a forsesty taste.  The tongue feels mildly sticky but the throat has lost its depth and is more superficial.  The Qi continues to impart a deep relaxation.  A subtle candy lingers in the breath.

The 13th is a mellow fruity even slightly creamy sweetness with a faint forest wood that comes out mid-profile.  The mouthfeeling is mild sticky tight.  There is a subtle astringency and candy taste in the throat with hiding cool breath.  The Qi continues to relax.

The 14th is a cool pungent almost minty with fruity taste.  The pungent coolness is strangely featured in this infusion whereas the 13th it was almost non-existant.  There is a deeper throat that comes with the pungent coolness as well as a nice returning creamy and almost banana fruit taste.  This is a tasty infusion. These is a soft moss forest thin base.  Candy is in the breath minutes later.

15th infusion has a soft woody and faint fruity nuance.  There is a soft forest taste with not much returning sweetness.  The mouthfeeling and throatfeeling weaken here.  There is a faint forest taste on the breath.  The Qi is mellow and relaxing now.

The 16th I push into a minutes long steep and it pushes out mainly bland woody notes with a pungency that adds a bit depth to a forest moss woody taste.

The 17th I put into a very long steeping and the result is a bitter woody tasting soup with a long and strong menthol finish. There are still edges of candy finish under the woody bitterness.  The Qi is relaxing and mellower this late in the session.

Overall, this one is all about the big mind stopping, contemplative, spacing out Qi sensation!  I really like this aspect of this puerh a lot.  In addition there are other positives such as a deep penetrating menthol and deep throat feeling.  There is also lots of subtle change in flavor and taste throughout the infusions from start- mid- and end- session.  Unfortunately, this tea drops off fast and by the 15th infusion there isn’t much taste, mouth/throat feeling, and Qi by the 15th infusion.  This is actually quite common with my experience of Wan Gong so I’m not sure what to really say about that.  In the end I peg this as a nice Guoyoulin Wangong.

Vs other Wangong puerh… I am going through the fresh puerh at a steady pace and don’t feel like pulling out other Wangong samples to compare.  I can say that this one is much more stereotypically gushu than the 2017 Zheng Si Long and the handful of ones on offer at Tea Urchin.  The 2017 Zheng Si Long Wan Gong is more complex in presentation and has a distinct mood altering Qi but lacks a fuller deeper Gushu effect like this 2020.  The three Wan gong at Tea Urchin are all a little different from each other some more insipid others more fruity others a blend but none have quite the same presentation in its low lying deep throat and menthol like this one.  In the end, like most Wangong, it’s the Qi sensation that keeps me on the hook… this one is no different and its qi display really takes your mind somewhere.  I feel the Qi sensation is stronger in this one in its ability to alter time/space and its overall spiciness feeling.  I like.

Edit July 14/20: Today  I am drinking the overnight infusion and it is quite nice and has a robust musk and low lying menthol with some spice and low cool returning almost bready sweetness.  It reminded me that this state forest must be right on the border with Laos as this puerh shares more Laos influence than other Wan Gong I've tried before but he Qi is much bigger than Laos.  Maybe this is why I like it so.


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