Monday, September 28, 2020

2018 Puerist Hua Zhu Liang Zi: High Mountain Qi

This area is gaining in popularity for its pure and wild taste as one of the highest pureh producing areas in Yunnan.  I’ve only had it once before and there are not too many reviews on this region but it has been offered before at as a gushu and xiaoshu and there are some reviews on that 2018 and small Bush 2015 (see here and here).  In many ways puerh this high has different characteristics similar to the way high mountain Mu Shu Cha puerh from Mengku has at least in my limited experience with the area.  This 2018 Puerist Hua Zhu Liang Zi was provided free with my order for review but goes for around $129.00 for 200g ($0.65/g) when I convert back from CND.  Let’s try it!

Dry smell of dense fruity sweet artificial bubble gum grape.

First infusion has a wild tea almost grape unrooted sweetness that is really long in the mouth but yet that integrates with a dry woody nuance.  The sweetness is really distinct and the brooth is really watery.  It’s as if a grape sweet note is dangling at the top with almost nothing to root it down but a thin dry wood bark taste.  The sweetness does beautiful things though by expanding into the aftertaste pretty much untouched over a mouthfeel that is soft and watery.  The sweetness does something deeper with a sour faint astringency at the end of the profile.

The second infusion is a little bit deeper but still very light but now almost velvety grape taste that almost tastes artificial.  It has a Canadian Ice wine like taste to it.  It strings along far into the breath expanding and becoming more candy like.  There is a faint almost tree bark almost decomposing wood almost caramel base that give the light grapey sweet layer some depth but itself being quite thin.  The mouthfeeling is very soft and throat feeling even softer- light a faint sandy silk in the mouth.  This is a very ethereal type of high mountain almost wild varietial puerh similar in a way to the puerh of Mu Sha Cha or Mother Teas of Mengku in many respects.  The Qi is very soft in the mind and body.  My mind feels expansive and creative.  I experience and unusual qi sensation of my hair standing on my arms like a soft tingle in the limbs.  Very interesting.

The third infusion has a richer more oily and velvet onset of woody foresty tastes being even with grape sweetness.  The taste is almost of dry dirt and forest floor.  There is a faint astringency building now along with a very oily viscus liquor and soft faint tongue coating gives interesting layers to a lighter taste profile.  There is some faint cooling on the breath.  The tongue develops a thin mud like texture to it.  The Qi is really soft and soothing in the body and there is a distinct feeling of limb and scalp tingling.

The fourth infusion has a richer, woodier, earthier, foresty onset with sweet grape become more syrupy in taste and now laying underneath.  There is a bit of pucker astringency which pushes the saliva into the mid- throat and stimulating the upper throat.  There is a pungent coolness that develops and with it a long fresh almost dirt grape sweetness.  All of a sudden there is lots of grounding depth in the taste.  There is still oily texture but now a much more stimulating mouth and throat feeling.  Very mellow Qi.  Has a very nice soothing bodyfeeling as if it is light.

The fifth infusion has an oily rich woody foresty dirt forest floor onset with grape syrupy sweetness underneath.  There is a building pucker and astringency with this puerh which has an almost drying effect in the mouth and stimulating effect on the throat.  The arms and face and scalp feel light and almost tingling.  The mind happy.  The aftertaste that comes after a significant coolness is dirt and grape much of the same as the initial tastes but more cooling and pungent which intermingles in there with the aftertastes.

The sixth has a woody almost rubber bitter foresty astringency with a thin stevia and grape sweetness underneath.  The long pungency in the mouth and throat is the key feature here.  The sweet grape is more developed in the aftertaste along with dirt woody forest floor in the aftertaste bolstered by the long pungency.  The bodyfeel is stable with limb, face, and scalp lightness and tingling.  There is a bit of mild Heart pounding.  This inufison is less oily but still noticeable.

The seventh has a splash of fruity sweetness and stevia sweetness with a supporting tree bark and dirt forest floor nuance.  The mouthfeel has become flatter now and the mouthfeeling is still a mild puckering due to a mild astringency almost faint bitterness.

The eighth has that same fruity splash with a faint stevia almost grape finish.  There is a dirt, rubbery, woody taste that overtakes the sweetness now.  The pungent finish brings a bit more focus to the sweeter tastes but is actually more rubbery, forest floor dirt.  A noticeable pucker and almost bitterness throughout.  Nice bodyfeeling and happy Qi continues to delight.

The ninth infusion has a very similar feel as the eighth through and through.

The 10th infusion has an almost dark berry and grape stevia sweetness that is even with a rubbery-woody- dirt forest floor taste.  There is a quick mild-moderate bitter astringency here.  The pungency is nice and keeps the sweet dirt taste there until it disappears.

The 11th is a fruity sweet punchy taste up front with much less bitter-astringency and rubbery forest tastes.  This leaves the sweetness to fade into the aftertaste quickly without much support.  The Qi continues to course nicely throughout the body.

The 12th has a fruity plum and grape taste with mild dirt woody finish.  The throat feeling and tongue coating as well as oily texture has faded now.  Nice Qi throughout. 

13th has a punchy fruity pep then a dirt woody rubbery forest mild base with a nice long pungency that carries these tastes a bit.  This infusion is more juicy fruity with a bit more mouthcoating.  Happy Qi and tingling bodyfeeling.

14th has a mild stevia taste with rubber and dry wood base.  The pungency is nice but lessening slowly.  The bitter-astringency drops off in these mid-late infusions.  I feel happy and energized.

15th has a woody slight woody bark astringency with faint sweetness hard to parse out from woody rubbery forest taste.  The cool pungency pushes out some nice flavours.

16th has a nice balance of unusual woody forest rubbery base notes and some faint stavia taste with plum and grape sort of.  Nice Qi continues.

17th has a nice balance of sweet and woody-foresty high mountain taste.  The sweetness is mild but part juicy fruity and part stevia grape-plum.  Flat, slight puckering mouthfeeling.  Dirt-forest and almost grape-plum finish.

This pureh has great stamina and I’m give no choice but to walk away from the table this afternoon with probably more decent infusions a head…

I go back the next day for a few flash steepings…

The 18th is very creamy and fruity with a creamy sweetness with grape and plum tastes some surgery sweetness.  The sweet tastes are very layered here over a soft mouthfeeling.

The 19th is much the same with a punchy fruity grape and plum with more stevia tastes and even a bit of bitter astringency.  The mouthfeel is soft with a bit of pucker.

20th has a creamy peachy, stevia sweet, grape, plum fruitiness to it.  There is some great sweet tastes still layered in here.  These last infusions have more tastes than some other puerh’s peak infusions.  There is a soft and mild pucker mouthfeeling with some astringency.

Overall, this puerh is a very nice Hua Zhu Liang Zi puerh.  It starts as predicted very sweet and ethereal but quickly moves to sweetness with a woody high mountain forest base taste with a long pungent finish.  The middle infusions get a bit astringent and bitter with mild mouth puckering sensation all the while staying true to that thin almost artificial sweet kind of fruity taste with the foresty rubbery woody taste sometimes overtaking the high noted sweetness.  In the later infusions, more sweetness takes over the balance and plum and fruitier notes can be seen still juxtaposed with foresty, rubbery, woody high mountain “Mother Tree” potentially ancient varietal tastes. 

The Qi is the best part of this puerh with a strong building happy Qi with a unique bodyfeeling that leaves the limbs light and tingling.  The Qi is strong in this unique sense.  Like the high mountain Mu Shu Cha “Mother Tree” varietal of Mengku, Hua Zhu Liang Zi is maybe somewhere on a spectrum going towards a wild tea than conventional ancient arbour puerh.  It might be more of an acquired taste like wild puerh but should also be evaluated on its own similar to Mu Shu Cha or maybe even compared to it.

Oh did I mention the stamina of the leaf… I like this puerh.  Maybe the taste I haven’t completely acquired yet but it feels wonderful in the body and mind!


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

2018 Puerist YiBang “Ancient Tree”: Best of the West?

After my very first experience with Puerist puerh turned out to be a very Yibangy like Yiwu and excellent experience, I was left no other option to compared to this 2018 Puerist Yibang “Ancient Tree”  ($196.00ish for 200g or $1.00/g).  This was the only sample that I actually purchased whereas the others were provided free for review for readers of this blog.  So how was it… pretty great!

Dry leaf has a rich velvety grape fruity sweetness with deep mild floralness to it.  The richness of the odour suggests a decently humid, likely Xishuangbanna storage.

First infusion has a pondy and floral and almost grape taste nuance initially to it that finishes a long sweet candy floral finish.  It feels very smooth in the mouth and deep and opening in the throat without being simulating or astringent.  The aftertaste is particularly long and smooth.  There is some significant Xishuangbanana storage on this one but very clean.  This Yibang has a very smooth puerh feeling.  A smooth euphoria already starts inching into my mind.

The second infusion has a spicy, grape, floral popping and full taste feeling upfront that is thick, fulfilling, and flavourful.  The taste elongates following a pungent coolness that brings a sweet bread, grape, and vibrant floral taste out.  The aftertaste is really long and flavorful too.  The liquor is decently oily and the mouthfeel soft and slightly sticky.  More importantly there is a deep throat feeling here.

The third infusion has a thick fruity dense taste upfront- grapes, slight sour, decent fruity sweetness with a nice returning very sweet grape, dense floral and subtle bread sweetness.  The aftertaste is long and the liquor has some oily thickness to it.  The mouthfeeling is soft slippery with just faint edges of barely astringency and deep opening throatfeeling.  This is some delicious Yibang.  The Qi is subtle and slight euphoric.

The fourth infusion has a thick dense taste of floral, grapes, and slight sour peach it crashes into a mild cooling pungent then stretches into a long floral bread like sweet taste with some honey sweetness developing minutes later.  The flavours are really full over a soft almost slippery and not really astringent mouthfeeling.  There is a open deep-mid throatiness now with still some oily liquor.  Nice euphoria Qi is building here slight alerting a nice energy on this sunny early Autumn morning…

The fifth infusion has a bready sweet, slight malty and even sour grape and fermenting dried peachy full taste onset.  The result is some nice salivation with a deep throat and long sweet finish.  The mouthfeeling is becoming less oily and stickier as it pulls more saliva from the throat.  A nice deep throat aftertaste here and subtle but powerful Qi with a nice euphoria.  There are some bodyfeelings developing over the last few infusions which feel like an opening in the chest and expanding Abdomen feeling.

The sixth infusion has a thick fruity peach and grape floral onset.  There is a soft mineral taste developing now as well.  The sweet and sour fruity bready taste is long and expands in the throat after the passing cool pungency.  The strength, depth, and length of the sweet taste is really nice complimented with a deep Qi experience that is both rejuvenating and expansive in the mind and body.

The seventh has a really condensed taste of florals, grapes, and peaches bready sweetnesses with an added mineral almost woody mid taste.   The cool pungency brings a candy like sweetness that moves quickly into a floral fruity sweetness.  The mouthfeeling is a bit astringent.  A spacy loosing track of time feeling is upon me.

The eighth has a salty, briny, sour, sweet grape and fruit taste with a mineral woody base developing.  There is a nice euphoria high developing.  Deep throat and long aftertaste.

The ninth infusion has a salty fruity almost nutty bitter chocolate sweetness here initially.  There is a pungent coolness that dives into the bitter coco taste.  The chocolate develops a chocolate cake finish in the mouth which is really tasty here.  The mouthfeeling is slightly sandier here and the throat retains its depth.  There is a chest and heart opening body feel.

The 10th infusion has a chocolate fruity bitter sweet rich taste which develops initially.  There is a peachy taste that seems to push through retuning with a chocolate cake taste in the aftertaste.  The mouthfeeling with the bitter chocolate taste over the last few infusions feels stronger and more sandy in the mouth but still with a deeper throat.  There are fruity tastes that manage to push past chocolate cake. 

11th infusion has a bitter chocolate onset with a fruity strong sweetness under the bitter-sweet coco.  There is some underlying pungency which seems to push more fruity sweet from out under layers of bitter sweet chocolate cake tastes.  There is a subtle woody mineral taste in there as well.  The Qi is more sedating in the mind now.

12th infusion has an even bitterer onset with chocolate taste being lost in the moderate bitterness and not much fruity sweetness making it out.  There is somewhat of a chocolate finish over a flat sandy sticky mouthcoating.  This infusion also lacks much pungency or deep throat.  A biter sweet coco taste throughout.  Sedating Qi.

13th infusion has an almost mineral not really woody taste layered into the bitterness and coco.  The pungency is quite mild now without much retuning sweetness but the bitter coco is satisfying enough although quite simple here.

14th I push for a 15 second beyond flash infusion now which pushes out more grape and fruity tastes over moderate bitter chocolate tastes.  The mouthfeel is now pretty flat and the aftertaste loses its fruitiness and pungency and is just a bitter chocolate taste.  Its actually quite nice in its simplicity.  Qi is really relaxing now.  I can feel my heart race as there is still noticeable effects on the body here.

15th I push a 20 second infusion out and it gives off a bitter fruity chocolate taste.  The fruitiness comes and goes quickly and there is some mineral and almost pond like taste somewhere in there before a bitter sweet chocolate comes and goes over a flat sandy tongue coating.  Nice relaxing Qi with Chesty sensations now.

16th 30 seconds has a coco almost foresty pondy taste which is not really sweet anymore over a flat fine sandy mouthcaoting and very little pungency.

17th is about a minute long steeping… it gives off a bitter barely coco, kind of foresty pondy taste. 

I dump the wet leaf into a mug and steep this over the next few days grandpa style and it still has some decent tastes.  It has great stamina going this far.

Overall, this is a pretty satisfying YiBang!  Great Euphoric Qi, some bodyfeeling. Great taste and engaging mouthfeeling, great stamina.  I like it a lot and wonder if I would have been better to blind buy this one over the Wa Long?  Don’t know yet because haven’t tried the Wa Long but this Yibang is pretty satisfying!  

I wonder if it’s the best Yibang on offer by a Western puerh vendor as well?  I hope to sample Essence of Tea’s 2018 Yibang Gushu (when I get around to an order) and compare the two.  This one is substantially cheaper though, cheaper than the White2Tea Is a Gift productions also.  I should do a comparison with the White2Tea Yibangs but I’ll have to pull them out of deep storage…. Hummm… anyways this Yibang is a real treat might be the best of the West- very nice.



Monday, September 21, 2020

2020 Puerist Yiwu #8 Maocha: Excellent Yibangy Thingy!


This is pretty much a blind sampling from Puerist.  I received this sample free for review and know almost nothing about it nor is it on sale at Puerist’s Etsy site.  It’s a 2020 sample so I wanted to try it while the weather is kind of warm so it will be the first Purist puerh I’ve sampled.  Just as Mark Turner offeredEugene and Belle puerh blindly and had them form their own opinions about it, I too have chosen to drink my first sample he sent me blind (Yiwu #8 is not a real area) in this same spirit…

Super very small and delicate dry leaves smell of marshmallow sweetness and delicate icing sugar nuances.  Looks like very early spring flush possible small leaf variety.

First infusion has a soft almost soapy floral thickness that expands in the mouth.  The mouthfeeling is cottony smooth with edges of very faint astringency.  It ends a bit citrus, soapy perfume floral with a faint bitterness.  This puerh is very green tea like, very green processed.  Could be Mansa or likely Yibang.  You can feel a deep heady Qi developing.

The second infusion has a citrusy very perfume floral onset with a touch of mild astringency and bitterness.  It leaves the mouthfeel very full and cottony and almost fine chalky.  The taste is so pure and smooth.  Very refined producing here.  Long pure floral aftertaste with edges of honey dew melon.  A very smooth, delicate, yet thick delivery.  Very nice.

The third infusion has a bitter buttercup like bitter astringency.  With a melon and soapy floral finish in an oily broth.  Very smooth, it has a nice oily viscosity and thick feeling in the mouth.  Nice heady euphoria developing.  Very comfortable in the body.  Melon perfume finish.  Very soapy floral.  Think it’s a very nice Yibang here.  That’s my guess.

The fourth infusion has a very thick juicy fruity oily mild bitter astringent floral onset.  The quick moving mild bitter let the juicy flavours really pop.  The mouthfeeling is really nice the liquor is oily but the mouthfeeling is a fine chalky with slight tightness.  It faintly simulates the mid throat trapping some saliva there.  This puerh reminds me much of 2019 W2T Is A Gift but more refined and not as bitter or green and the Qi is not as powerful. It’s a really good quality Yibang or comparable character from a different area.

The fifth infusion has a quick almost citrus mild bitter melon to soapy floral onset.  Mildly oily in texture and full in the mouth with a saliva mid throat stimulation.  Overall this puerh straddles the line of fined and elegant yet powerful.  The finish is melon fruity sweetness, almost woody but with a distinct perfume floral.  The Qi can be felt in the body under the sternum slightly and has a euphoria in the mind.

Sixth has a woodier, juicy thick fruity, slight bitter astringent floral taste here.  There is a long bitter floral melon aftertaste stuck in a mid- throat feeling.  The oily texture is starting to thin here.  The Qi has a relaxing deep euphoria.

The seventh has a brothy fruity floral to it.  Some woody mid-profile but slight mild astringency which gives the finish a slight melon, floral, and almost grape fruit peel taste.  The mouthfeel and oily texture is waning here.

The eighth infusion is a bitter floral type of taste over a thinner fruity nuance.  The aftertaste sticks on the tongue on its slight puckering fine chalky coating.  The lips feel a bit chalky and the mind a bit euphoric.

The ninth infusion has a bitter orange peel floral taste to it.  The bitterness is a moderate type that carries all the way to the aftertaste and leaves a woody floral nuance there.  Nice relaxing mind.

The 11th has a floral bitter onset that holds throughout with fine sandy less chalky mouthcoating.  The bitterness really starts to take hold here with sweet tastes all but gone.

Surprisingly this maocha has lots of kick and stamina and I run out of time in my day to see how this session will go down…

I put these leaves into a mug and grandpa steep these leaves over a few days.  They still have lots of punch left in them.  A strong bitter, floral and surprisingly sweet fruity taste.  I must have steeped this out over a good 3 days like this and this maocha still had lots of taste in there.  These leaves have great stamina and its only maocha not the pressed material.  Real nice.

Overall, this is likely high quality Yibang material or similar character from different Yiwu region.  I like the quality better than the 2020 White2tea Is A Gift but not as good as the 2019 White2tea Is a Gift which is even more bitter and with stronger Qi.  Something like this could easily go for $200.00 USD for 200g cake and I like it a lot.  Wonder when Mark will press this and offer it on his Etsy site for purchase?

In the end I’m looking at these leaves and see a mix of very small and little bit larger leaves making me wonder if this is even Yibang small leaf variety here… maybe not?

Certainly quite a positive introduction to Puerist!


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Introduction to Puerist… Who?



Why is there almost nothing about this Western puerh vendor on the internet?  Google “Puerist” and see what comes up.  No reviews, no social media, no marketing, no nothing…. So mysterious… So unlike the way puerh vendors operate in the West.  Yet so intriguing…

I somehow found Puerist a few years ago but was unsure if it was legit because of the lack of info out there.  At the time a 2018 Puerist Wa Long GuoYouLin(State Forest) caught my interest… more on that one later.  The only thing that is stated definitively in the public internet about Puerist and his puerh teas beside his Etsy shop and puerh consulting company was a pretty positive lone public comment by Shah8.  Even Mark Turner’s Instagram is not really marketing his puerh.  So I was simply left wondering.  Until recently, when commenter twt_reddit out of the blue recommended trying theabove 2018 Purist Wa Long GuoYouLin.So of course I had to try it.

I picked up a few blindly and we will see how that is going to go down later… but it opened a bit of a door and communication with the quirky but super pleasant owner, Mark Turner.   He ended up sending me a bunch of free samples that I intend to post here on the blog so we can all get to know a little more about Purist.  Sounds alright?

It turns out Mark is an interesting and ultra-knowledgeable guy.  He has some great simple English info at the bottom of his Etsy site about puerh tea that I’ve never seen so simply stated before.  His blog also has very simply stated and super informative information on puerh tea.  He is specialized in offering puerh from the Nannou area but offers many other single mountain sheng from other areas as well.  He has been around the puerh scene for a long time and even offered early advice and consulting to Eugene and Belle of TeaUrchin in 2011 when they were just starting out.  

Basically, he really really knows his puerh but strangly almost no Western puerh drinkers know him or Puerist.  But like most English vendors he is pretty quirky too!  He was really quite hesitant in sending me purchased blind cakes and was even more hesitant in me publishing my tastings… but here were are and its going to happen… 


Thursday, September 10, 2020

2020 Zheng Si Long Mang Zhi: Deep Energy Battery


Regular readers know that I like the 6 famous puerh producing area of Mang Zhi.  This 2020 Zheng SiLong Mang Zhi ($175.10 for 400g or $0.44/g) turned out to be a nice one…

Dry leaves have a brine, woody, and faint floral nuance.

The first infusion has a juicy woody onset with some subtle warming spice in the mix.  There is a base of really mild bitterness.  There is a subtle fruity bread returning sweetness.  The mouthfeel is stone slippery.

The second infusion has a woody, slight caramel sweetness with a mild bitter underneath.  There is a lingering bread, faint fruity, and almost caramel finish.  The mouthfeeling is soft and stone like slippery in the mouth.

The third infusion has a caramel stone mineral sweetness that has a base of mild bitterness.  There is some forest like notes in there, woody, almost fruity returning bread-like sweetness.  The standout tastes are bitter and caramel.

The fourth infusion has a bitter woody kind of mineral caramel taste.  There is a long lying pungency that has a wild dirt mint kind of taste to it.  This infusion has an interest combo of tastes over a stone like slippery and almost sandy mouthfeeling.  The Qi of this one is slow to come and subtle in the mind- a clear type of alertness.

The fifth infusion has a fruity burst with a quick moving bitterness that gives the feeling of a grapefruit type taste.  There are some woody, floral, mineral nuances as well.  The overall feeling here is fruity yellow kiwi fruit and grapefruity tastes that are closely paired with a mild-moderate bitterness.  There is a cantaloupe melon type aftertaste that turns into mineral.  The Qi has a relaxing feeling to it.

The sixth has a bitter cantaloupe, kiwi fruit, creamy almost banana medicine like sweetness to it.  There is some faint woody mineral base tastes if you look hard enough but the feature here is a long tropical bitter sweetness that is really satisfying to me in this infusion.  I enjoy the moderate bitterness mixed with a nuanced tropical sweetness that is reminiscent of those new style IPAs.  The mouthfeeling has a soft slippery feeling to it and becomes a bit gripping in the mouth.  The throat opens at the top throat.  The teeth feel squeaky from the bitter here.  I like it!

The seventh starts with a delicious caramel floral melon fruity note.  The bitterness is quite mild here and the caramel note reaches past the initial tastes into the aftertaste.  The aftertaste has a honeydew melon and mainly caramel finish over a slippery stone feeling mouhtfeeling and open top throat.  The Qi is a nice powerful alerting but relaxing Qi.  I can feel my heart beat.

The eighth has a dirt mineral woody mineral has a nice caramel finish with a low lying pungent dirt mint which brings a melon fruity finish with notes of apricot.  There is a nice breadth of tastes in here.  The mouthfeeling is slippery and slight sandy with open top throat.  Qi is a bit invigorating, happy feeling.

The ninth infusion has a dirt woody and fruity onset.  There is a splash of fruity tastes over woody bitter backgrounds.  The mouthfeel is sandier and has a faint melon and dirt type taste with some woody dryness.  The Qi continues to alert the mind and slightly relax it.

The tenth has a fruity woody mineral type of taste with a predominating fruit taste.  The fruity taste is long on the breath over a sandy mouth coating.  Nice sunny Qi.  The Qi deeply and slowly builds up over the infusions to give me a nice deep energizing feeling.

The 11th has a lessened bitter sweet onset with mineral woody mid taste.  There is a slight turbid mint like taste then a nice long mineral fruity taste.

The 12th has a fruity bland chalky onset with a faint woody mineral taste and not too much returning sweetness- mainly just chalky woody.  Not much sweet or bitter here.

13th I put it into 20 second steeping… and it pushes out more floral type almost fruity sweetness with woody and mineral underneath.  There is some faint pungency and bitter here that pushes out a bland flat type of sweet aftertaste.

14th 30 sec has a bitter stone woody taste up front with not much sweetness left…

I put it into a mug and grandpa steep it for a while… It is equally floral as it is bitter.  Strongly floral actually…

Overall, this 2020 Zheng Si Long Mang Zhi is all about the Qi.  It doesn’t seem as big as it later feels in the body minutes and even hours later.  A “sneak up on you” Qi for sure.  It really energized me a lot but felt almost relaxing.  In this way it is strong but not completely obvious or is more cumulative in nature.  The other thing about this Mang Zhi is it doesn’t have one obviously strong taste character but rather a lot of subtle tastes.  Obviously, it has a mild-moderate bitter taste but the bitterness and other tastes change quite a bit from infusion to infusion.  I enjoyed the deep strong backbone and complex and changing subtle tastes of this Mang Zhi.

Vs. 2016-2019 Zheng Si Long Mang Zhi.  Check out the review of all these Mang Zhi in my 2019 review.  I would say this one is much better than the 2019 Mang Zhi and closer to the 2018/2017 in quality.  There is some deep energy in this puerh despite its weaker taste/ mouthfeeling. Puts it as my 2rd favorite of the bunch.  Maybe between my favourite (2018) and previous second (2017)?

Alex’s (PuerhBlog) Tasting Notes


Monday, September 7, 2020

2020 Zheng Si Long Ma Hei: Very Ma Hei-y

I really enjoyed the thick presentation of the 2019 Zheng Si Long Ma Hei and wondered how this 2020 Zheng Si Long Ma Hei ($202.03 for 400gcake or $0.51/g) would compare?

Dry leaves smell of very salty savory and distinct wildflower sweetness.

The first infusion has a mellow watery woody with a faint bitter astringency and finishes with distinct sweet candy icing sugar finish.  There is a mineral almost mossy or pondy base taste that reminds me of Sencha.  There is a mossy aftertaste.

The second infusion has a thick vegetal grassy pondy woody onset that ends in distinct cake icing sugar like sweetness.  It pushes some saliva out of the throat with a mossy soft mouth and throat feeling and mild bitter astringency.  Overall there is a mild oily viscosity in the mouth.  Minutes later there is a nice floral finish. 

Third has a nice thicker floral onset with a bit of depth in a faint woody/ pondy taste that turns quickly to cake icing sugar sweet notes and minutes long florals.  The mouthfeeling is this thicker moss feeling in the mouth and throat.  There is a mild oily feeling to the puerh.  There is a sneaky hypnotic Qi to this puerh that comes on slow, deep, and a bit strong.

Fourth infusion has a pear with almost woody onset that has a bit of juiciness and descends into an icing sugar and pear peel type of taste.  The floral nuances appear on the breath later.  There is a nice mossy mouthfeeling and subtle throatfeeling.  The very mild bitter astringency is gone here.  The Qi is relaxing.

The fifth has a pear and creamy subtle tropical fruit onset with hints of mild bitter.  There is some fresh spearmint bursts in here that are kind of forest/ evergreen menthol but have a strong sweetness to them.  Like a toothpaste taste or mint candy.  However, the sweetness Is not really candy sweet its more fruity and floral sweet.  Soft gentle relaxing Qi.

The sixth infusion has a creamy fruity pear and floral onset with a faint woody almost mineral base.  There is a returning sweet spearmint taste then a not as strong icing sugar with a notable floral finish.  The Qi is relaxing and mellow. 

The seventh has a pondy Sencha grassy woody onset with a blandy woody middle which finishes slightly icing sugar sweet and mainly floral woody.  Nice mild mossy full coating in mouth and a soft mossy stimulation of the upper throat. 

The eighth is left to cool in the cup before imbibing… the result is a pear fruity kind of bitter woody onset with a moderately sweet and more floral finish.   There is a mild fresh pungency and longer bland floral taste now.  The mossy tongue coating holds.

The ninth has a woody, dirt-mineral, and mainly flat fruitiness.  The aftertaste is juicy peach and pear fruits which fades out into the aftertaste.  This infusion is juicy fruity and less floral.  The mossy mouthfeeling is lessening here.  The Qi is relaxing in the body and has a nice smoothness to it.

The tenth has a woody smooth apricot sweet fruity onset that expands in the mouth.  The sweet fruity apricot taste is nice and long with not much interruption over a mossy soft coating.  The relaxing vibe is nice the body feels a bit light.  There is almost a creamy icing sugar cookie like taste in the returning sweetness that overlaps briefly with apricot sweetness.

The 11th infusion has a creamy woody subtle fruity sweetness. The sweet fruitiness stays for a while over a weakening mossy mouthfeeling. 

The 12th is still at flash infusion and tastes woody, almost bitter, mineral, faintly floral, and mainly fruity apricot.

The 13th I add 30seconds to the flash infusions and pull out much creamier and sweeter fruit apricot tastes with woody base.  The mouthfeeling becomes mossier.  Qi still mellow and relaxing. 

14th is another 30second steeping and gives off watery creamy sweet fruity tastes over wood on a mossy mouthfeeling and empty throatfeeling.  Still nice delicious summertime puerh tastes here.

15th is a long steeping and mainly just pushes out bitterness with a faint fruity and chalky creamy not that sweet edge.

I put the rest into overnight steeping.

Vs 2019 Zheng Si Long Ma Hei-  The 2020 is much more typical Ma Hei woody fruity sweet tasting comfortable in the body.  This one has a touch of bitterness that can be pushed out under longer infusions to give it some bredth.  Overall a nice smooth relaxing Qi.  There is a reason why Ma Hei puerh is so popular… it’s just really nice to drink.  This 2020 Ma Hei also kind of reminds me a bit of Gedeng in its presentation of some mineral then floral nuance.  Blind guessing this puerh I might have guessed it Gedeng.  Comparing it to the very favorable 2019, the 2019 has a very dense thick coating mouthfeel which makes it really engaging and takes the nice flavours of Ma Hei and really cranks them up.  The 2019 was my favorite of the Zheng Si Long offerings at Tea Encounter last year for this reason.


Saturday, September 5, 2020

2020 Zheng Si Long Gedeng: Delicious!

 Ok.... this review is one that you’ve been waiting for!

Yes the good man that he is and proprietor of Tea Encounter, Tiago (aka Curigane), kindly gifted me most of the 2020 Zheng Si Long line he is offering!  Expect reviews of these in the next week or so.   At the end of this review we are going to compare this 2020 Zheng Si Long Gedeng ($262.64 for 400g cake or $0.66/g) to the 2019-2017 Zheng Si Long Gedeng as well as the 2018 Essence of Tea.  You can see the evolution of sample package marketing at Tea Encounter above- beauty!  Sample marking is a big deal in the Western puerh scene but that’s probably a topic for a different post.... on to this delicious Gedeng...

Dry leaves have a smooth creamy tropical fruity sweetness.

First infusion has a creamy clear soft moss and slight wood taste.  The taste is really pure and the mouthfeel is tingling on the tongue.  There is a really active numbing tongue sensation.  Tropical fruits come out nicely on the aftertaste after a mild sticky stone and almost mint taste almost woody. The mouthfeeling is very sticky and active.

The second infusion has a quick tropical fruity sweet taste with a strong menthol onset that turns into a stone, almost woody, almost seaweed taste.  The taste is mainly this delicious creamy tropical fruit in a very active and full feeling mouthfeeling that is a bit tingling.  The aftertaste is someone woody but mainly an active creamy tropical banana fruitiness.  There is a very mild astringency and bitter that kind of tugs at the tongue. The tongue feels sticky from the effect.  I am starting to feel floaty and a bit high even this early in the session.

The third infusion has a strong stone with mild bitter astringency vegetal and tropical tastes.  There is some woody, almost minty-seaweed, and tropical fruit.  The mouthfeel and tongue coating is stimulating at first sticky then almost drying.  It has a pretty engaging feeling.  The thoat feeling is open with a saliva producing effect in the upper throat. There is a tropical fruity nuance then a chalky powdery aftertaste.  You can see the deeper yellow liquor of a less green, longer processed?, maocha in the picture.

The fourth infusion has a juicy creamy almost tropical and banana fruit taste with a mild bitter astringency over chalky powdery taste and feeling in the mouth.  The mouthfeel is sticky then turns a bit dry and pushes some saliva into the back of the mouth and the throat has a faint mint nuance.  There is an overall chalky stone and powdery feel and taste to this puerh which is interesting.  The finish is almost tropical fruits then turns to a chalky taste.  The stimulation of the mouth, throat and tongue are quite dynamic and changing.  The Qi has a stoned effect.  The body feels light and floaty.

The fifth has a slight caramel, and tropical banana sweetness onset with a mild quick moving bitterness that leaves a flat stone, some candy and tropical banana in the mouth.  There is a chalky and powdery finish along with the banana- it tastes slightly like banana flavoured Penicillin but not bitter.  This infusion is really powdery and stone tasting.  The tongue coating is sticky and the throat has a subtle stimulating in the top throat that almost hold saliva but not quite.  The aftertaste is more stone and banana taste.  Qi is relaxing and has a bit of shoulder release.

The sixth infusion has a thicker fruitier banana and Thai dragon fruit kind of taste to it.  There is a quick moving flat stone bitterness.  The nice part here is that there are more candy nuances that come out here.  An initial candy taste comes out, then it returns stronger on the breath as classic Juicy Fruit brand bubble gum.  The fruity and candy sweetness in this infusion explode and are the dominant tastes with some bitter stone in the base.  The mouthfeeling is a thicker chalkiness that is mainly on the back of the tongue.  The Qi is really relaxing and even has a relaxing effect on the body.  I sigh…

The seventh infusion has a sweet, rich, almost caramel, sweetness to it with some tropical sweetness underneath.  There is a mild stone flat bitterness underneath.  The mouthfeeling has a sticky thickness on the tongue and back of the mouth.  The Qi has a happy feeling to it.  Its relaxing on the body and mind and has a mild uplifting feeling.  Makes me sigh.

The eighth infusion has a watery caramel, creamy sweet almost tropical banana taste that is over a flat mild stone bitterness.  The mouthfeeling is chalky and full and the throat has an empty opening with more stimulation at the back of the mouth and top throat.  The sweet aftertaste is never that long however there is a chalky powdery taste that lingers minutes later and compliments the stone taste.  This infusion is still mainly sweet.  There is an obvious caramel sweetness that starts to develop in the last few infusions here and compliment the separate but less strong now tropical fruity nuances.

The ninth infusion has a mild flat stone bitterness with tropical fruits onset.  The tropical fruitiness is not as strong as the stone bitterness.  The mouthfeeling is more dry and tight chalky and the throat is more tugged from this.  The aftertaste is a powdery chalky not that sweet taste.  The Qi is mellow and relaxing on the body and mind.

The tenth infusion has a watery creamy sweet tropical nuance.  It kind of expands in the mouth.  It has a really nice sweet taste with almost no bitterness here.  Still a nice full chalky mouthfeeling and stimulation at the back of the tongue/mouth.  Relaxing, tension relieving Qi.  Feels good in the body.

11th has a very sweet taste of expanding tropical nuance over a base of mineral stone.  The sweet tropical taste expands in the mouth and over the tongue.  It releases lots of saliva here and leads to a very creamy sweet tropical aftertaste.  The Qi is really relaxing and mellow and happy.  My body feels a mild floating.  The taste is real nice here.

12th is a bland almost woody stone taste with a bit of fruity taste.  The mouthfeeling is chalky on the tongue.  The finish is bland stone.

13th infusion I steep for 20 seconds… It gives off a fruity but bitter bland tasting infusion.  The mouthfeel remains unwaveringly chalky full on the tongue. 

The 14th I do a 30 second steeping… and it gives off a bland bitter taste with edges of faint fruit…

I mug steep this one out..

And it gives off some stone, creamy sweet, tropical sweet, flat bitter taste.  The taste is still complex here and highlights most of the flavor profile throughout the session.  It also induces a nice deep focused calm.

Vs The 2019 Zheng Si Long Gedeng is more green processed than this 2020 and pours out more pale/greenish yellow than the 2020.  The 2019 has more woody notes and a bit more complexity to the taste and more bodyfeeling and Qi overall.  However, the 2020 has just the most brilliant sweetness and layering of sweet tastes and a fuller more juicy presentation.  The 2020 is the sweetest and maybe the best tasting of all the Zheng Si Long Gedeng offered at Tea Encounter.  The 2020 has an interesting mouthfeeling at the back of the throat and a bit of bitterness up front where the 2019 has more astringency and less bitter but less mouthfeeling presence.  The Qi… the Qi of the 2019 is noticeably stronger and is of different nature as the 2020.  The 2019 gives a much stronger high with a strong hypnotic feeling in the mind and has a stronger levitating bodyfeeling.  The 2020 on the other hand doesn’t offer much bodyfeeling and is more of a noticeable happy and tension and relaxing energy to it.  The Qi is still stronger than average and I quite liked it.  In this way the 2020 is very very different than the 2019.

Vs The 2018 Zheng Si Long Gedeng.  The 2018 Gedeng has a much denser and engaging fullness compared to both the 2019 and 2020.  The very full mouthfeeling has a way of presenting a condense and complicated and long taste that is somewhere between and a little bit the best of the overly sweet 2020 and the more woody and savory 2019.  The 2018 has a very distinct bodyfeeling and Qi sensation which pushes it definitely over the top of the 2020 and 2019.  The 2018 also has a deeper aftertaste and throat sensation.  However, the taste of the 2020 is sweeter and just tastier than the 2018.

Vs The 2017 Zheng Si Long Gedeng.  The 2017 has a very similar vibrant delicious taste as this 2020 but the 2017 lack a larger Qi experience.  This makes the 2017 Zheng Si Long Gedeng maybe the most similar to this 2020 in taste.   However, the 2017 lacks a bigger Qi feeling overall which this 2020 has much more of.  In Qi and feeling it is closer to the 2019.

PuerhBlog's Tasting Notes

Edit: Vs The 2018 Essence of Tea Gedeng Guoyoulin.  This one is just powerful Gedeng that lacks some of the nuances that some of the better the Zheng Si Long have.  The power is this one’s beauty which makes it quite nice at a category of the 2018 Zheng Si Long Gedeng.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

2018 Essence of Tea Spring Gedeng Guoyoulin: Strong!

Shah8 has only given me two recommendations/ pieces of advice here on the blog. 
The first was to simply look to the Taiwanese Facebook auctions for standard factory drinkers.  When I came back to restock my stash I quickly filled up my quota of these before getting to the auctions.  There are problems with this approach when you don’t even have a personal Facebook page.  Besides that, I think I have enough drinkers that I need not fuss with the Facebook auctions.  Maybe one of these days…

The second was to sample this very puerh- the 2018 Essence of Tea Spring Gedeng Guoyoulin.  After my enthusiastic review of the 2018 Zheng Si Long Gedeng Shah8 recommended it in the comments… it turns out that these are very opposite gedeng that sell for almost the same price… but maybe I even like this 2018 Essence of Tea Gedeng Guoyoulin ($250.00 for 400g cake or $0.63/g)  better… maybe…

Dry leaves smell of dry woods and subtle sweet icing sugar candy.

First infusion has a strong presence of icing sugar cake, mild bitterness, slight evergreen forest, and evolving fruitiness with a long creamy floral finish.  The mouthfeeling is very full and powdery and the throat opens deep with a lingering pungency.  This is a very full first infusion!

The second infusion has a thick an engaging up front sour syrupy sweetness there is a mild bitterness then a thick fruity syrupy returning sweetness with a lingering almost candy taste over evergreen forest.  The mouthfeel is thick and chalky.  The aftertaste is very long and sweet syrup with a creamy almost cake candy nuance.  The flavours are really dense and thick and deep propelled by a mild bitterness and a thick oily coating and deep throat sensation.  Very thick full presentation.  I feel a mild tight chest sensation in the body.

The third infusion has an intense moderate bitterness that pushes metallic like stone taste over a syrupy fruity taste.  There is a strong chalky bitter bland presentation here with a chalky full mouthfeeling and deep throat.  It starts to illicit a hazy and stoned feeling in the body.

The fourth infusion has a thick dense syrupy fruity presentation with less bitterness.  There is a fresh evergreen forest base and some stone taste underneath but is mainly this thick syrupy sweetness.  It then stretches into a long dense juicy fruity sweet deep aftertaste which hold nicely over the chalky somewhat oily mouthfeeling and deep throat sensation.  There is a mild hypnotic feeling in the mind.

The fifth has a juicy peachy onset with a faint bitter and strong deep icing sugar returning sweetness.  There is a slight evergreen forest base even slight stone.  The aftertaste is long dense and sweet and does well over a thick mouthfeeling and deep throat which continues here. These infusions are much less bitter and have a long dense sweetness throughout.  There is a chalky fruity taste in the mouth even minutes later.  A mild and surprisingly comfortable feeling in the body.  The Qi has a mild hypnotic feeling to it.

The sixth infusion has a strong dense juicy syrup onset.  There is a bit of bitterness and woody forest taste underneath.  The mouthfeeling is less chalky and the throatfeeling is less deep and the aftertaste has more woodiness to it overall.  The aftertaste is less sweet and woodier.  A moderate relaxation starts to take hold along with mild hypnotic feeling. 

The seventh infusion has a fast bitter juicy fruity punch there is some floral notes that come and go throughout the session and are more noticeable in some infusions.  The density of taste is really nice there is wood which is becoming more noticeable as the session progresses.  There is less deep and cool pungent throat sensation which leaves the aftertaste much less than what it was at the beginning and more of a woody taste with some faint icing sugar notes.  Qi is a moderate strong gushu relaxing, very comfortable in the body slight hypnotic yet energizing.  A nice feeling.  The mouthfeel is a bit sandy dry and not really chalky.  This infusion looses a lot of pungent and evergreen forest nuance.

The eighth has that same dense syrupy onset with slight bitterness that pushes out very nice candy like sweetness now.  The bitterness really merges with the chalky and powdery sweetness.  This infusion has more of a powdery mouthfeeling and a bit deeper throat sensation than the last few infusions.  There is a mild head stuffiness developing.

The ninth spent 30seconds in the pot by accident… and pushes out a chalky stone like bitter layered into a syrupy fruity taste.  There is more evergreen forest layered in as well.  The finish is deep in the throat and almost powdery chalky and icing sugar aftertaste is less than woody.  A strong and dense tasting and feeling puerh with stronger relaxing but yet energizing Qi.  Slight hypnotic feeling.  Mild head feeling.

10th is a 10 second steeping and pushes out apricot fruitiness with not much bitter and astringency left.  There is a bit of a sour bitter orange peeling bitterness here that is left in the aftertaste with slight woodiness.  This infusion doesn’t have much sweetness.

11th at 20 sec is a sour bitter orange peeling taste slight woody base.  There is a nice icing sugar finish in the mouth over a slight sticky not dry mouthfeeling that is thinning a bit.  The throatfeel loses a bit of depth but still substantial enough to parlay icing surgery sweetness.  Heavy brow and relaxing feeling.  Heavy body sensation begins to take hold.

12th 30sec gives off real nice apricot notes juicy and almost syrup with some evergreen forest mintiness still found in the base taste.  There is some flat bitterness but moves quickly to juicy fruity tastes that are a touch sour. 

13th 40 sec infusion a thick almost creamy bitter very juicy syrupy fruity dense presentation.

I do a few longer overnight steepings… 

Overall the dense, strong mainly sweet fruity syrupy taste of this Gedeng is really top notch.  It almost resembles more like Yiwu generally than specifically Gedeng but it has some evergreen forest and stone and woody tastes in most of the infusions that are more typically Gedeng.  The mouthfeeling and throat feeling are top notch as well when they present but wane a bit through the session. The Qi in the mind is very nice balance of energizing and relaxing also a bit hypnotic.  The bodyfeeling is there but is not unusual or overwhelmeing.  The feeling overall is of comfort but yet powerful, relaxing yet energizing. 

Vs 2018 Zheng Si Long Gedeng.  These Gedeng are really both quite good but are really opposite in most all respects except price which makes the comparison super interesting.  I ended up consuming the 2018 Zheng Si Long the next day for comparison.  The 2018 Zheng Si Long Gedeng is loaded with a bunch of subtle complex dense nuances of flavor where the Essence of Tea Guoyoulin really runs you over with strong thick syrupy flavours that are not as complex but delicious in their own.  The Zheng Si Long has a deep arching full pungency and long nuanced aftertaste in a very present but not as standoffish mouth and throatfeeling.  The Essence of Tea has a very strong present mouth and throatfeeling.  The Zheng Si Long has a very unique and powerful bodyfeeling where the Essence of Tea is much weaker in this respect mainly offering a mindfeeling with less bodyfeeling.  The strong body feeling of the Zheng Si Long is what puts it over the top (well also the depth of subtle complexity of flavors) but otherwise I prefer the overly strong presentation of this Essence of Tea. 
Shah8's Tasting Notes