Thursday, December 30, 2021

1999 Big Green Tree Black Stamp: Proper Dry Stored

I picked up a bunch of samples from Liquid Proust last year and this one is a famous one throughout puerh tea circles globally. Managed to somehow squeeze out a great session in a December day that was otherwise quite busy…

Dry leaves smell of very sweet and very cardboard like slight wood.

The first infusion has a watery creamy sweet taste to it with an icing sugar like finish.  It presents with a very clear dry stored taste.  There is some faint cooling mouth and a long expanding creamy icing surgery sweetness.

The second infusion has a clear almost meat-like taste, creamy sweet and clear profile.  There is a subtle touch of smoke.  The mouthfeel is a thin dry feeling.  There is a long and expansive icing surgar finish.  There is a feeling of release in the neck and shoulders from the Qi.

The third infusion has a slightly sour syrupy woody creamy sweetness.  There is this berry jelly note in there that is really nice and a very faint incense.  The woody sweetness extends into the long thin aftertaste but expands into something more creamy and sweet.  The mouthfeel is thin and full.

4th is left to cool and has a syrupy creamy consistency initially it stays and reveals a bit of distant incense smoke before intermingling with a pungent coolness.  There is a berry jelly plum jam sort of faint sort of note that comes mid profile with the incense.  The long creamy sweet aftertaste turns into an icing sugar long sweetness in the mouth.  Nice subtle shoulder release and soft euphoria feeling.

5th has a smoke and fruit creamy sweet taste upfront.  The taste is quite pure nicely concentrated and dry stored.  Nice fruity note that is hard to explain and arrives with and to counterbalance a very faint incense smoke.  A thin dry mouth coating with a soft euphoric vibe.  There is some sensations releasing the tops of the shoulders and giving the body a deep relaxation.  Subtle but profound.

6th has a rich smoky not quite fruity but almost more creamy sweet onset.  There are two notes that form an interesting polarity- faint smoke and long pure sweetness.  The mouthfeel is less thick here and overall it seems to be thinning a bit… Nice shoulder release still.  The wet leaf aroma is a sweet and spicy aroma.

7th has a syrupy warming spicy taste to it.  The texture is a bit oily still with a thin mouthfeeling long cooling and creamy icing sugar sweetness. More spicy tastes in this infusion.  Nice mild spacy euphoria with shoulder release.

8th has a smoky incense taste to it.  There is some spicy tastes, some bland tastes, some faint creamy sweet tastes.  The mouthfeel is a thin sticky sandiness to it that is a touch drying.  Nice soft euphoria.

9th has a subtle incense taste with a lesser, fading, hard to grasp sweetness now.  There is some spicier notes there.  I push with longer steeping times

10th is 30seconds past flash…and left to cool… more viscus maybe a bit more fruity… some back ground incense.  There is a bit more depth to the spicy sweetness, fuller dry sandy mouthfeeling, Nice relaxing feeling now.

11th 60 seconds…gives off a smokier, somewhat sweeter but overtaken by incense, more pronounced throat coolness but also more creamy sweet ending but still not too strong.

12th I push into minutes long infusion times… a plum and smoke presentation with a nice burst of woody, incense, and faint plum.  The mouthfeeling is sticky and a bit dry in the mouth. 

13th is a sour, incense, emerging creamy sweetness… finishes a bit cooling, mild creamy, smoke…

The overnight infusion is pretty much just a woody watery taste- not much left in these small tighly rolled leaves.

Overall, this tea is an example of a pure, clear flavored, and nicely dry stored puerh processed in the traditional fashion.  The exemplary points of this puerh is the very clean and pure taste and Qi, the bodyfeeling of neck and shoulder releasing with mild euphoria are some of the most sought out experiences, at least for me, and the polarity of mild smoke and fruity flavour with the long pure icing sugar sweet finish makes this one very nice indeed.

James’ (TeaDB) Tasting Notes


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

2006 Essence of Tea Naked Tea Horse

This Summer I picked up some other mid-aged samples at Essence of Tea along with the 2021s.  I was interested in comparing this 2006 Essence of Tea Naked Tea Horse ($228.00 for 350g or $0.65/g) to 2006 TeasWeLike Ristic Zhongcha.  They both seem like more rustic Menghai area productions.  In the end they weren’t much alike so not much comparing happened but I had a nice session with this one…

Dry leaves smell of straw, with a sweet almost licorice sweetness.

The first infusion has a sweet licorice caramel onset with a base of dry wood and green twigs.  There is a spicy taste that is simultaneously fresh and warming that develops with some breath coolness then a fading creamy sweetness Overall a creamy, sweet, oily feeling.  The drier Kunming storage is evident here.  The sweet taste really lingers in the mouth a long time later.  This first infusion reminds me of the Mengsong area profile.

The second infusion very sweet onset- icing sugar, creamy sweet, caramel- a nice complex and obvious laying of sweetness that is very nice.  There is some faint bitterness then some coolness, some complex spice then a long fading sweetness.  There is a strong oily texture with oily saliva producing.  Nice long lasting sweetness.  The Qi is mainly in the head with some head stuffiness.  Has a strong feeling underneath the layers of sweetness.  A bit harsh on my empty stomach but tastes of refined sweetness.

The third infusion is left to cool and gives off a syrupy caramel, icing sugar sweetness with a spicy complex middle taste almost a mint herbal type of taste both warming and cooling spices and subtle woody incense.  There is a bit of incense smokiness coming out now less oily texture but still significant saliva producing.  Heady/ stuffy Qi feeling.

The fourth infusion has an herbal caramel sweetness to it.  More of a savory, smoky, spicy, woodiness to it now sharing space with the sweetness that dominated the first few infusions.  There is a flat bitterness to it as well.  Still some signs of floral and sweetness of its youth in here.  Stuffy head Qi, like a head pressure and dopey feeling.

5th infusion has a woody, soapy, with a bit of caramel in the onset that has a flat bitter and incense note on it.  The bitterness is increasing infusion to infusion and is now the dominant taste.  The mouthfeeling doesn’t have that oily texture anymore and is mainly pucker, silty, slight dry.  Strong stuffy head.

The 6th is left to cool and has a smoky caramel woody onset with a herbal taste and cooling mouth and sweet incense caramel sweetness.  There is still some oily taste in here but also a flat pucker bitter mouthfeeling as well.  Finishes both cool caramel and subtle pill bitterness.  Heady.

7th has a light fruity fresh sweetness onset with some caramel undertones and faint bitterness.  This infusion shows off its base taste with the smoky, bitter, spicy tastes less obvious here.  Nice flat silty tongue coating.

8th has a smooth fruity caramel taste the rest is pretty background now.  Just light smooth sweet floral caramel sweetness.  Nice display of the dry stored base flavors here.

9th has a fruity sweet floral with some incense in the distance.  Nice woody dry storage with lots more floral showing in this infusion.  Some icing sugar tastes in the aftertaste.  Oily and silty thin mouthfeeling.

10th infusion was a 20second beyond flash steeping and it is more bitter and gripping in mouthfeeling.  Some bland woody tastes come out with the longer infusion times.  Stuffy brain feeling.

I push this one a bit more and it fades out quickly into blandness… but was pretty good while it lasted.  

This one and 2012 Essence of Tea Cloud Watching are both nice more dry stroed teas… these are the things I was hoping to see from Essence of Tea when they moved their teashop to Kunming.  I like them both but maybe priced a bit too high for me to move on them.  Better than most older Kunming storage cakes I have.

Shah8's Tasting Notes


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Please Help ID 1970s? Puerh Cake

This cake is one of my last remaining cakes from the 90s/80s/70s.  I had mentioned before that I had some number of these in the past but I mostly drank through them all many years ago… because they are delicious.The only cakes that survived were ones with some sentimental value.  Some older shu puerh managed to escape my insatiable hunger for aged puerh simply because I drink so little shu.  This cake survived because it was given as a wedding gift and had this type of sentimentality attached to it.

Back in the day you could receive something significantly aged like this or even a Laobanzhang as a wedding gift… nowadays the closest we get is a tong of 2013 Xiaguan Love Forever… hahahhaha… still pretty good.  This is what I know of this cake…  I believe it was purchased by a Korean shop keeper who went on a puerh buying trip to Taiwan in the early to mid 2000s.  It was stored briefly in Korea then I stored it in BC where I sampled it once or twice.  I recently opened it again in Good’ol dry to the bone Saskatchewan where I currently reside.  It is the same cake that Marco recently blind sampled here.

Here are my tasting notes on this aged beauty… 

Dry leaves smell of dried out old faint oldness.  The rinsed leaves smell of old woody, a faint bit urine like, old puerh smell.

First infusion has a sweet candy plum taste that indicates some drier storage at the end with a subtle oily texture with a rich aged almost nutty taste to it that suggests some Traditional Hong Kong storage early in its storage history.  There is a bit of fallen leaf mulch taste in the mid profile a bit of cooling then a sweet candy finish.  Nice relaxing feel off the bat.

The second infusion has a sweet dry cherry taste with some subtle richer medicinal menthol woody taste initially there is a nice mild oily texture in the mouth especially in the front and a bit of sticky dry lips and slight drier throat simulation.  Nice deeply relaxing Qi so far but also a bit powerful in the chest.  A bit of body feeling in the wrists and hands and a subtle tingle in the face.  A cooling throat throws some returning plum cherry sweetness.

The third infusion has a coco smoothness an emerging camphor woody medicinal leaf mulch taste.  It has a bit of a creamy sweet woody finish.  The feeling is a bit chalky oily in the front of the tongue but also drying on the lips and back of the throat simulating it slightly.  Nice deeply penetrating Qi with some chest expanding and arms tingling.  There is a subtle bitter astringency that lingers minutes later.  The Qi has a lingering and deep power to it common with puerh from the 70-80s.

The fourth infusion has a deeper richer nutty sweet oily mulch taste with the sweetness being mainly the nutty taste with only a little sweetness trying to punch through the camphor cooling finish on the breath.  The mouthfeeling is simultaneously oily and dry which is an interesting dynamic feeling.  The Qi is also both deeply relaxing and deeply energizing a nice aged Qi feeling common of things a bit older.  There is a woody not quite coco but almost oily nuttiness left in the mouth.  The bitter and astringency is faintly appearing after the fact in the aftertaste minutes later.

The 5th has a sweet oily nutty woody left onset with a camphor mid-profile and a faint chalky candy over a woody drying base.  The sweetness is faint and comes out with more bitter astringency on the breath.  Deep chesty Qi feeling with deep relaxing and rejuvenation.

The 6th has a medicinal rich almost but not really nutty sweet and oily deep taste.  There is some oily texture in the onset and some dryness in the finish.  Overall, not much sweet.  Nice deep relaxing now.  Some faint bitter astringency minutes later with a chalky nutty woody leaf mulch finish.

The 7th has a medicinal onset with a woody old books taste with sharper woody bitter astringency and not that much nutty sweetness.  A lingering mouth coolness with a camphor. 

I push harder with a 20 second added to flash steepings…

8th has a woody old woody taste with some sweetness woody underneath that is hard to access.  More of a woody varnish leaf mulch taste here.  There is some coolness on the breath woody finish.

9th infusion has 30 seconds beyond flash and is left to cool and gives off a rich nutty taste that moves toward a camphor.  There is a woody finish.  There is a distinct chestiness to this puerh nice relaxing and reassuring energy also deeply energizing.

10th a few minutes long steep… pushing it hard here… rewarded with nice rich nutty sweet oily tastes.  Thick camphor woody nutty finish.  Some dryness and gripping in the throat.

11th is left for a good 10 minutes… deep rich nutty woody onset that turns into a cooling camphor in the throat.  Nice woody overlay.  Warming Qi with a chesty feeling and deep energetic relaxing.

12th I do a quicker 5 min steeping… it gives off lighter woody varnish type tastes with not much other taste in there some faint cool camphor but that’s about it.  This old stuff usually has to be pushed pretty hard…

The next morning I push it long and I do this for the next few days savoring the old puerh taste that is pushed out…

Most definitely 70s or 80s material with some Hongkong Traditional Storage… I need to get me one of those puerh yearbooks… hahahah

Is there anyone who can give me more info on this oldie? I would really appreciate it!

Marco’s Blind Tasting Notes


Friday, November 26, 2021

Ranked! Western Puerh Vendors 2021 Yiwu GuoYouLin Productions Part 2!

 Last year one of my most popular posts was this one where I ranked all of the 2019/2020 Yiwu Guoyoulin productions by Western facing puerh vendors.  The list was ranked simply by my personal preference ( not overall quality), didn’t take value or price into consideration, and was limited by only the Guoyoulin productions I managed to sample.  An interesting conversation developed and I had a lot of feedback regarding my ranking.  Within only a few months of posting most in that list we’re sold out (Blogger effect??).  This year I tried some more excellent Guoyoulin/ Gushu from our finest Western puerh vendors.  Many of these were given to me as complimentary samples and some of them I purchased myself.  I thought I would keep the few earlier productions that have not sold out yet in the ranking list this year.  Some of these are going to be marked down with the Black Friday sales going on now.  Okay In order of personal preference…

1- 2021Essence of Tea Bai Hua Qing ($1.40/g)- this is a brilliant lesson in powerful complex Yiwu Gushu from a new and trendy area.  Tastes profile changes lots throughout the session.  With an interweaving of sweet floral and woody bitter.  First 5 flash infusions are pretty bitter but it integrates more harmoniously into the taste structure as the session progresses.  Very solid saliva returning with aftertaste.  Nice Qi sensation of mind fuzziness and physical face and jaw sensations.  What’s not to love about this one???

2- 2021 Tea Encounter Chawangshu Gushu ($1.75/g)- the most famous area in Yiwu doesn’t disappoint!  This one has extra points for the Qi that makes this area so desired- lots of chesty Heart beats, face and head sensations, even body swaying nervous system effect… so so good!  Strong lively euphoria energy.  Has very long sweet taste that really melts in the mouth with nice oily structure, mouthfeel, open throat, and saliva returning.

3- 2021 Essence of Youle GaoGan ($1.24/g)- a nice Youle with a deeper complex structure that would make it an ideal Youle for aging.  A calm relaxing Qi with deeper body feels.  Solid taste and saliva producing and stronger sticky/drying/tight tongue mouthfeeling with a complex movement of tastes that complicate the session nicely as the session moves along.  I’m really into nearding out over this decadent Youle experience!

4- 2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai Gushu ($1.35/g)- This puerh has lots of “deeper” Gushu qualities… so I used the word deep to describe it a lot in the tasting notes.  A nice strong deep euphoria Qi feeling, with strong mind floating.  There is a thick rich feeling to the liquor, taste, and Qi which brings a with it full cohesive feeling. Deep evolving Qi relaxing matches nicely to the thick oily sweet tastes.

5- 2021 Essence of Tea Yiwu “Queen of the Forest” ($0.99/g)-  This is a super interesting blend of Yiwu Guoyoulin material.  It definitely is greater than the sum of its parts as mostly ethereal, light and harder to grasp Yiwu materials combine to give off much more.   Complex and interesting in its presentation the simple complexity of each area come together to offer a single entrancing experience.  Many interesting abut subtle things happen through the session.  A weak throat feeling and super soft but very silky silty mouthfeeling back an orchestra of separate parts.

6- 2021 Tea Encounter Yi Shan Mo ($0.70/g)- The slow and steady evolution of narrow but engaging and dense tastes coupled with the building of Qi and the powerful stamina of these leaves, especially the signature lubricating mouthfeeling, make this the best Yishanmo I’ve tried to date.  A treat for those who like this region!

7-  2021 Essence of Tea Yao Zhu Di ($1.10/g)- is maybe the best pure and true Guoyoulin out of the list and a very honest and straightforward Yiwu Guoyoulin profile.  Flavours are a lingering pure uninterrupted and deeply expansive sweetness with a quick arriving but ling arch of cool pungency.  It goes over very nicely.  It is also something that can be both pushed hard or enjoyed light- either experience is a very nice one.  A happy and rejuvenating energy to it.  It’s also one of the cheaper options on the list.  This Yiwu Guoyoulin is very full and satisfying to me- maybe just not enough to order…. I think I might have over ranked this one… not sure…

8- 2021 Tea Encounter Yiwu Guoyoulin ($0.35/g) -  this is way cheaper than others on the list yet I feel it is still very Gushu.  It has that barnyard gamey Gushu taste and some wild floral taste with not too much sweetness- the flavours are not that condensed.  It’s the deeper Qi I really like in here with bodyfeeling in the neck and a deep spacey almost feel good feeling.  This is the one out of the teas on this list that I’m most likely to cake this year… nice and cheap but believably Guoyoulin with a Qi to back it up!

9- 2020 white2tea Is A Gift ($1.25/g)- is a solid above average Yibang which I quite enjoy.  It has some strength behind it and a very and a very satisfying aftertaste.  The taste peaks slowly and has above average stamina.  Qi is warming and euphoric.  Seems more processed and more balanced than the 2019 version.  I blind caked this one.

10- 2021 Biyun Hao Longdui Guoyoulin (Standard Rounian) ($0.55/g) Nice pure, clean, clear Guoyoulin energy.  This has a bit more bitterness but also stronger throat sensations and returning sweetness than the stronger rolling below.  Same nice feel good relaxing Qi as the stronger rolling #11 below.  Some people could easily place this higher on their list especially considering the cheaper price.

11- 2021 Biyun Hao Longdui Guoyoulin (Stronger Rounian) ($0.55/g) - A Nice clean processed Yiwu single estate production.  Has a classic simple but pure and enjoyable honest taste and faint aftertaste.  I enjoy the uncomplicated purity of it for sure.  Time will only tell if it outdoes the standard rolling above… but why not buy the half cake set offered on TeasWeLike website and find out on your own?

Just like last year, I wish I tired a few more from white2tea and Yunnan sourcing… maybe next year.


Saturday, November 6, 2021

2021 Kim Jong Yeol Saejak


It’s been a busy few months for me and my family … all good kind of busyness … but still so busy that it’s been at least a month since I’ve had given myself the time for a mindful gongfu session or an attentive evaluation session of tea.  It’s been years since I had such a long drought.  I assure you I am still throwing back lots of nice mug steepings and weeks long, a few steeps a day, sessions with some nice tea though.  Although I have naturally cut my caffeine/ tea intake in half, I feeling more alert and productive and not as stoned off of all that chaqi…. Hahaha…

One of my last nice gongfu sessions I had months ago was with an old favourite of mine- Kim Jong Yeol’s sejak.  I ended up purchasing some of this delicious stuff and a bunch of other Japanese green teas at the request of my better half while she is going through a green tea phase these days.  I ordered some from Pedro’s O5Tea outfit in Vancouver.

Me and Pedro go back a while so he kindly sent some complimentary samples of Japanese bancha free with my order.  Pedro knows I have a passion for traditionally/folk processed teas.  If you read the early blog entries you can see me exploring these in Korea at a time when those outside of Korea has never heard of such things.  However, I don’t have too much experience with Japanese bancha.  However, I always marvel at the deep and interesting tastes that come out of bancha. Pedro’s passion for Bancha is leading him to produce a documentary on traditional processed Japanese bancha.  If you are interested in this sort of thing you should contact him.

Anyways here is some brief but very satisfying notes on the 2021 Kim Jong Yeol Saejak...

Dry leaves have a deep sweet evergreen forest almost nutty edge.

The first infusion 30 seconds has a nutty sweet forest taste that goes into evergreen with a long expanding fresh nutty vibrant minty creamy sweetness.

2nd has a sweet aqua cucumber forest green taste slight nutty finish with an evergreen like freshness.  Lingering sweet creamy evergreen forest in the mouth.  Nice clear alert and focused Qi.

3rd infusion has a woodier onset with creamy sweet evergreen and more distinct roasted notes.  There is a subtle wood and cool aftertaste with an underlying roasted sweetness.

4th is a woody and evergreeny with creamy woody creamy finish.  More of a cohesive together evergreen taste.

5th has a more upfront vibrant green roast asparagus and evergreen sweetness.

The bag didn't last long in our house and was shared with friends...

The one thing that struck me the most with these sessions was how much ability I lost in evaluating Korean green tea with such a long absence from tasting.

If you don’t use it, you loose it.


Friday, September 24, 2021

2021 Tea Encounter Yiwu Guoyoulin: Big Qi, Big Size!

The website was late to put up any sort of description of this 2021 Tea Encounter Yiwu Gouyoulin that goes for $141.42 or $0.35/g so I basically tired this free sample only knowing the price and general location as there is lots of Yiwu Guoyoulin with lots of different Yiwu Guoyoulin character.  One thing that I noted was that Tiago pressed this into both 250g and 400g sizes- I applaud the initiative to offer both a small more accessible size and a big ass old school size!  This way everybody is happy… hahahhah…

Okay let’s get into it here…

Dry leaves are a thick obvious layered sweetness with some forest gamey odours in the distance.  The look of the long leaves with the smell of the dry leaf is decidedly Yiwu Gushu.

The first infusion has a gamey foresty taste.  This tastes a lot like boarder tea to me with its very gamey barnyard tastes.  It’s a faint tasting thing with primarily a long barnyard taste with just a slight suggestion of grassy almost melon creamy sweetness.  The sweetness only really hints in the aftertaste.  A barnyard finish is in order here.  I can feel some faint body sensations in the face right off the bat as well as a subtle floating sensation.

The second infusion has a gamey barnyard with a sweet straw-mushroom like grassy taste initially.  The sweetness stretches its legs in the aftertaste amid barnyard and grassy tastes.  The mouthfeeling is watery.  A cup of cooled liquor has an oily and viscus creamy grassy sweetness with long barnyard base taste.

The third infusion has a pungent forest grassy and hay onset with an oily texture over a watery faint mouthfeeling and mid-deep faint throat opening.  There is some faint coolness there and an expanding faint creamy sweetness over the barnyard and forest tasting base layer.  The cool menthol forest taste lingers in the mouth over a faint watery sort of faint sandy mouthfeeling.

The fourth infusion has a straw barnyard onset with a slow underlying emerging sweetness that expands in the mouth and returns alongside menthol cooling notes and the steady barnyard notes.  There is a melon creamy sweet barnyard woody finish minutes later.  The tastes are really clear and pure.  The Qi has lots of little bodyfeeling things going on especially releasing and tingling the neck. 

The 5th is a spicy slightly bitter and astringent woody barnyard condensed onset with an emerging sweet taste that pairs with a strong menthol taste and expands in the mouth.  My empty stomach can feel some astringency here.  There are some spacy Qi feelings which are quite strong now and some neck releasing.  There is a long and strong menthol barnyard sort of faint underlying creamy melon sweetness.  The Qi here is really powerful and pushes my mind into a Spacy floating state!

The 6th infusion has a dense spicy pungent woody barnyard note initially with a lesser sweetness that grows out of this, pairs with the menthol tastes and is a faint creamy under menthol, barnyard, and woody taste.  This Qi is really big here, beating the heart slowly with a Spacy feeling and neck sensations here.  Some face tingling as well.  A stickier mouthfeeling is emerging with some throat mild stimulation happening.

7th is left to cool down and tastes of dense barnyard woody taste with some emerging lesser creamy sweetness that comes with a menthol barnyard coolness.  The aftertaste is a strong menthol barnyard faintly sweet and mainly.  Nice strong spaced out Qi with neck and face bodyfeelings.

The 8th is a watery spicy woody pungent foresty that turns menthol and a bit sweet.  There is a mainly woody barnyard bland taste in the aftertaste with not that much sweetness at all here.  Nice spacy Qi with face numbness.  The mouthfeeling is a faint kind of watery empty with dry edges, teeth, and upper throat.

9th has a almost bitter woody barnyard taste with just edges of faint corn like sweetness.  The aftertaste is a menthol barnyard faint corn sweetness.  Big spacy Qi with facefeelings.

10th infusion has a dense woody barnyard slightly bitter onset with a pear edge of sweetness that comes along with the cooling menthol finish.  There is a pungent cool menthol taste that even trails into the aftertaste with barnyard and dry wood and only harder to grasp edges of pear sweetness now.  The Qi is big and I sigh and feel a useless relaxation wash over me.  The mouthfeel is sort of empty with these dry edges to it.

The 11th infusion has a mainly woody bitter onset with a bit of brackish dirt barnyard underneath that develops a kind of coolness in the mouth.  There is a bland barnyard forest woody aftertaste to it with a menthol edge.  Qi is spacy still.

12th is a bitter woody barnyard menthol experience still.  The flavours are stable throughout the infusions and still give a lot here but the sweetness has completely dropped off now.  Big Qi pushes me into a sweat.  Spacy.

13th is becoming more bitter and woody with still some faint edges of barely sweetness and barnyard with menthol finish.

I mug steep the rest of this out…

The taste is a nice forest deep menthol foresty gushu taste more smooth in the mug and deeper more complex tasting here.  Edges of creamy sweetness are found here over the chalky mouthfeeling.  This mug steeping is pretty nice with a strong relaxing and spacy feeling still.

The overnight steeping is a thin oily with edges of sweet creamy faint tastes with pungent foresty barnyard nuances.  There is a pop of melon fruity sweetness in the retuning taste with a subtle floral nuance here.  The profile is still deep and long here.  The stamina of these leaves is notable.

I like this one…

This is one of those obvious Yiwu Gushu’s probably the clearest and purist Gushu example in the Tea Encounter’s 2021 catalogue.  It is also one of those Yiwu gushu puerh that isn’t very sweet which is the reason why it isn’t a few hundred dollars more in price.  However, it does have a deep foresty gamey barnyard profile that is common among some gushu in Yiwu and its taste and profile is reasonably dense and long but just not very sweet.  Its Qi, on the other hand, the bodyfeels in the neck and deep spacey almost feel good spacey qi that doesn’t bother to slow or sedate- it is something you can find in a premium gushu offering… its really good… but it’s just not that sweet.  In some ways it’s like the 2020 Tea Encounter Walong Guoyoulin which had a very deep profile and deep qi but not as overtly tasty but much more Gushu than the other 2020 Tea Encounter offerings… its just not that sweet.

This one actually reminds me a bit of 2013 Tea Urchin’sSnake blend in the fact it’s not overly sweet.  It also reminds me of the blended 2019 Tea Encounter Laos Gushu.

….But oh man that Qi…


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

2021 Tea Encounter Yi Shan Mo Gushu: Top Shelf Yi Shan Mo!

I was recently informed that much of what was previously Yi Shan Mo is now, considered a state protected forest area or as they say “GuoYouLin”.  This 2021 Tea Encounter Yishanmo Gushu($175.10 for 250g cake or $0.70/g) is Tea Encounter’s first pressing of the Yi Shan Mo area and it really impressed me..

The dry leaf has a deep gamey distinct wild floral sweet odour.  The smell is mysterious and deep but very inviting with that floral.  Pretty compressed and looks like the Bing hole…. Mmmm….

The first infusion has a clear wildflower watery profile almost like a tisane with a faint long cooling breath and woody wildflower finish.  There is not that much sweetness here but some edges in the aftertaste.  The mouthfeeling is a very mild lubricating with an open mid-throat.  The profile is a clear watery pure image.  Minutes later there is a kind of rubbery brackish taste in the mouth.

The second infusion has a woody spicy almost mild bitter and wildflower-like not that sweetness.  The initial taste is condensed and has a chalky cottony mouthfeeling and faint open mid-throat.  The aftertaste has a woody wildflower with a slight creamy sweet edge.  There is a subtle upper throat stimulation that makes it feel like a blob of saliva is caught there.  Nice calm and reflective feeling to the Qi.

The third infusion has a spicy pungent onset with a woody not really bitter nor that sweet distinct wildflower taste.  There is a nice oily and lubricating mouthfeeling and a slow release of strong wildflower finish.  The floral is not that sweet but very floral and expands into the aftertaste with edges of more candy and creamy sweet tastes over a faint cooling throat.  Not much for bodyfeelings but a nice calm reflective energy here.

The fourth infusion has a peachy woody spicy taste with the sweet peach taste coming through here over a thick oily mouthfeeling and open mid-throat.  There is a bit of a saliva gob at the back throat and a faint cooling where peachy woody and wildflower tastes seem to expand and grow in the viscus mouth.  The Qi is a really nice chill vibe with relaxing and easygoing feeling to it.

The fifth infusion has a peachy woody a bit spicy condensed taste onset which pop in the mouth and with a cooling mid-throat and saliva gob in the upper throat produces a full expanding peachy woody wildflower finish in the mouth.  Nice expansive relaxing.  Nice full oily lubricating mouthfeeling.  Clear, simple, condensed taste and oily rich feeling puts me at ease and seems to relax me deeper.

The sixth infusion is a pop of dense peachy woody with wildflower distinct finish over a lubricating mouthfeel and some faint cooling that has a bit of pungency to it and seems to expand the sweet peach but especially the wildflower taste in the mouth.  Nice relaxing chill vibes here. Subtle tingling in the face.

The 7th is a bit creamy sweet buttercup like floral sweetness there is a very mild spice initially then a cool throat with a dominating wild flower finish with some sweeter and woodier touches.  The mouthfeel is still quite oily and a bit chalky.  The aftertaste just sticks in there.  Nice happy chill feeling to this tea that I’m totally into today as the leaves start to change around me.

8th has a dense woody buttercup floral faintly peach not that sweet and not really bitter wildflower onset.  There is some throat cooling and a thick oily mouthfeeling then a returning stronger wildflower in the aftertaste.  Strong happy vibes to this puerh as well as this engaging relaxing that is deeply energizing like lying in the sun.

9th has a peachy woody floral onset with the spice note gone the last few infusions.  The initial condensed woody sweet floral rests on a lubricating mouthfeeling that is subtly mouthwatering but mainly just oily. The aftertaste shows some more clear sweetness but mainly more wildflower taste.  Nice Happy uplifting but not overtly or excessively energizing- a really happy smooth ride here.  There is some Abdominal opening body sensations which are really subtle.

10th has a condensed woody wildfloral and sort of not that sweet peachy taste.  There is some throat cooling and more of a dry sticky mouthfeeling.  Wildflower notes stick out in the aftertaste with a bit of woody and less sweet.  Nice strong deep happy feel good Qi with some Abdomen and rib spaciousness.

11th has a woody wildfloral onset there is some cooling throat then an expanding peachy wildflower woody sweetness in the aftertaste.  The thick somewhat lubricating mouthfeeling holds and so does the feel good Qi.

12th has a woody oily wildflower and almost faint mushroom taste.  The mouthfeeling is still somewhat oily and there is still some saliva producing effect.  The Qi is just really satisfying for me- deeply feel good Qi with some faint bodyfeeling opening lower ribs and abdomen.  Happy.

13th opens up with a floral almost peachy that ends in a woody taste.  The floral and peach is still quite satisfying to me still.  The mouthfeeeling is chalky.  Qi is feel good with stronger bodyfeelings as the session progresses.

14th has a similarly strong condensed onset… its weird that this tea seems to get better and better this late into the session.  The taste is almost but not really bitter and has a bit of a mushroom touch to it now.   Feelin’ Good.

15th has an almost sour fruitiness with woody and floral onset there is some faint mushroom… interesting things are coming out of this one.  The mouthfeel is still quite lube and strong cooling.  Feel good Qi… I’d hate to stop this session.

16th the next day has a more distinct but sweeter and clear pure floral onset with a melon edge of sweetness.  A brighter and fruitier floral today.  The mouthfeel is softy oily now with an expanding slow fade sweet melon floral.

17th was left to cool and gives off a woody floral with a more distinct melon sweetness over a chalky sticky mouthfeeling with some oily texture still.  The melon floral taste stretches in the aftertaste becoming the dominant note and devlopling a melon-creamy-sweet taste with floral, for the first time being secondary.  Nice feel good Qi in there today as well.

18th has a woody almost bitter wildflower onset there is not much coolness here but a retuning creamier sweetness with not much melon taste.  The mouthfeeling starts to become more gripping now.  Nice easy going Qi.

19th is left to cool but still pounds out very thick viscus and very flavourful taste.  Nice low sweet floral finish.  There are lots of puerh out there that won’t even taste this full, vibrant, and delicious in the first handful of infusions than this 19th! Infusion.  The stamina is very good and tastes very consistent but slowly and gently evolves throughout the session.

With how much I packed the pot with these leaves I’m convinced they could go on a lot longer at flash infusions… but I decided to mug steep out the rest of the leaves…

Very thick dense forest taste with a thick chalky mouthfeeling, still quite oily, with a distinct strong wildflower finish.  Not a bright sweet floral but more of an almost weedy floral wild flower taste to it. There are glimpses of melon, pear, and creamy sweet nuances as well as subtle mushroom- all notes that appeared in the session underneath.  Mild saliva returning here.  Nice almost euphoric feel good happy feeling.  Very dense and thick and powerful tastes and mouthfeeling and Qi in these longer infusions.  There are also abdomen opening and lower rib opening feelings in the body with some Heart and Chest expansion in these longer stronger infusions.  Super tasty and satisfying to me.

This is the nicest Yishanmo that I have sampled and for those who like this region, I can’t think of a better treat!  It is very condensed and clear in its taste, of note is the distinct wildflower note which usually shares a bit of space with some woody and some lesser fruity/creamy sweetness.  The taste expands nicely in the aftertaste as there is a bit of saliva returning but overall a very sturdy oily lubricating mouthfeeling for the flavours to hang out in.  The Qi is really wonderful here it has this strong happy feel good vibe to it that is a powerful mood enhancer.  There are some bodyfeelings that come out later in the session such as abdomen, lower ribs, and even Heart/Chest feelings.  The slow and steady evolution of narrow but engaging and dense tastes coupled with the buillding Qi and the powerful stamina of these leaves as well as the signature lubricating mouthfeeling make this the best Yishanmo I have yet to try.

Alex’s (Teanotes) Tasting Notes


Sunday, September 19, 2021

2021 Tea Encounter Tongqinghe: Everything I’m looking for!

Okay, Essence of Tea says that the trendingTongqinghe production area that there is a large variation in the quality,purity, and price.  This 2021 TeaEncounter Tongqinghe is apparently a Zhongshu or middle aged trees production goes for $55.22 for 200g cake or $0.28/g.  I’m not too sure about what is going on in this area exactly but for that price and for what David said I’m thinking that it is either of a lower quality leaf or potentially blended with surrounding area stuff.  The proof Is in the cup, so let’s try this complimentary sample out…

The dry leaves smell of thick barnyard foresty deep odours… I think this is going to be good…

The first infusion has a watery buttery sweet onset with a nice pungent barnyard underbelly.  There is a soft icing sugar creaminess that is long on the breath.  Melon bread mild tastes reveal themselves minutes later.  The profile is quite delicate so far in this infusion but surprisingly long.  The mouthfeel is just mild mossy soft feeling.

The second infusion has a buttery bread sweet onset that is decently oily in texture with a strong saliva producing effect.  There is a faint throat opening with coolness and a roasted nutty bread melon sweetness that is really long on the breath.  The Qi gives me a sense of clam with some tingling behind the neck.  Nice soft chalky mouthfeeling and long delicate sweet flavor with strong expansive aftertaste that is nutty, sweet bread, melon… mouthwatering.  The sweet taste is constant throughout but also changing- butter-bread to nutty-bread to melon.

The third infusion has a juicy fruity pear and foresty taste that come initially then stretch into a cooling and then a beady-nutty creamy taste with a long melon breath.  The taste is really delicious clear and mouthwatering.  There is this nice calming mild Qi with a bit of Heart pounding now. 

The fourth infusion is left to cool and gives off a thicker spicy peppery sweet caramel with a long sweet caramel finish in the mouth.  The caramel sweetness is thick and long into the aftertaste.  There is some saliva producing as this puerh has a nice mouthwatering effect.  The mouthfeel is a pudding chalky mild but full texture.  The throat cooling is long.  There is a nice relaxing feeling to this puerh.

The fifth infusion has a juicy vibrant onset with a peppery note to it and a long bready melon that turns to caramel.  There is a nice velvety mouthfeeling and not too noticeable throatfeeling with a returning saliva thing happening.  There are some super mild neck tingles happening but overall just some solid relaxation happening. 

The sixth infusion has a buttery almost floral peppery onset that has an almost menthol like coolness and a sweet bready melon finish.  The texture is oily and the mouthfeeling is a velvety mossy feeling.  The sweetness really expands and lives long in the mouth- it’s a caramel melon type of sweetness there.  Nice relaxing and calming Qi feeling with very faint Heart/Chest sensations.  Almost a mild calm focused feeling.

The seventh infusion has a peachy but mainly pear like taste with hints of caramel there is a slight peppery onset with juicy viscus pear and a long cooling menthol.  The aftertaste is long and sweat with pear and slight melon nuances.  Nice mossy velvety soft mouthfeeling.  Not much going on in the throat but some oily saliva retuning.  No bitterness or astringency at all in these infusions.

The eighth infusion has a juicy pear woody-peppery onset with a coolness and long pear like finish in the mouth.  There is a chalky pear kind of finish with a melon that comes on in there as well.  The chalky velvety soft mouthfeeling is nice as is the nice relaxing feel to this one.

9th has a buttery almost peppery floral sweet bread onset there is a long coolness and a bready sweet caramel almost melon finish.  Nice chalky mouthfeeling with some teeth stickiness but not squeaky teeth feeling but more like chalky teeth.  Nice relaxing vibe.

10th infusion has a thick buttery faint peppery and more obvious caramel bready note.  There is some cooling throat and long sweet bread and almost mushroom like aftertaste.  There is still some saliva producing over the thickening chalky mouthfeeling.  Nice relaxing Qi in here although not much for bodyfeelings.

11th has a more woody almost fainter floral peppery onset there is still some cooling but not as much and much less sweetness here.  The sweetness mainly appears in the aftertaste as a bread melon type of thing.  This infusion has a manly woody-peppery-floral-mushroom kind of taste throughout.  The chalky mouthfeeling starts to develop dryness here.  Nice relaxing and even happy vibe to this puerh…

12th has a bitter, soapy, woody taste initially then there is some cooling then a mushroom bready melon kind of aftertaste.  The mouthfeel is becoming more drying and even a bit tight.

13th has a woody almost mushroom peppery floral then there is a coolness then a melon and bready sweetness.  The mouthfeel is a dry chalky now.  The Qi is beautifully relaxing and a bit focusing.

14th is a bit more sweet juicy pear initiailly but still quite woody-peppery.  There is a bit of cooling then some pear and melon sweetness but now mainly a dry woody taste in the mouth that matches the dryer woody mouthfeeling.

15th has a juicy and still somewhat oily pear onset with a woody-peppery base taste that carries the profile into the cool breath and mushroomy woody bread and kind of melon sweetness.  The taste profile is really enjoyable for me and the balance of tastes is something I enjoy.  The peppery woody taste is a bot unique.  Qi continues to please- very relaxing and focusing.

16th is still at a flash infusion which speaks to the stamina of this one going the distance.  It is more woody-peppery than melon bread sweet but the balance here continues to be quite enjoyable especially as there is not much if any bitter astringency.  The mouthfeel is chalky and there is a long melon sweetness in the breath minutes later.

I think this one could have kept going strong which is pretty amazing for its price…

I mug steep it out overnight…

It gives off a very very sweet melon fruity note to the point of Starbrust candy like vibrant sweetness upfront.  The texture is very viscus and oily here.  A sticky texture that sticks to the teeth. Very oily and lubricating feeling with lots of mouthwatering and retuning saliva.  Thick condensed candy sweetness.  Very delicious here.

Overall, this is another really good puerh for its price!  It has a nice relaxing Qi feeling with some neck releasing and tingling bodyfeelings.  The strong saliva producing effect as well as the very distinct delicious peppery and some times savoury mushroom with distinct Starburst candy sweetness  when it appears with notable oily texture makes this one super enjoyable for the price.

 Vs The 2021 Tea Encounter Gua Feng Zhai and this 2021 Tea Encounter Tong Qing He are maybe not the highest quality or purist or oldest of these areas but it can be sure that both of these really punch way above their weight and a very nice teas for their price… The both have the combo of sweetness, mouthfeeling/throatfeeling and Qi that very much make the experience worthwhile.  I already demolished these samples… too delicious to keep around…

I think They both have a similar feel overall - the Guafengzhai has more complexity and the Tongqinghe more depth.

Another good one without killing the bank account!