Monday, January 4, 2021

2006 Yang Qing Hao Chawangshu: A Failure of Yang’s Storage





This is a puerh that I have had my eye on for many years now but have not sampled it before blind buying it in November.  In 2015/2016 when the whole catalogue of Yang Qing Hao was first opened up to the West via Emmitt’s group buys this was sometimes cited as the best / second best of the Yang Qing Hao catalogue.  Shah8 made this claim here, James, and Marco also rated it at the top of Yang Qing Hao offerings especially for the price.  Since this time the price has not really went up despite some other Yang Qing Hao puerh tripling in price over the last year.  There was also a few reviews from those who are buying tea around that quality that have very recently rated this tea as not worth buying (see treetime on Sheng of the Dayhere and vuanguyen on Tea Forum here).  In the end, I decided to finally go all in for a blind cake of this one ($425.00 for500g cake or $0.85/g) this year as I am a fan of Chawangshu area and it seemed like the window for getting material at this age with this pedigree would soon close.

Dry leaves smell of dominating storage smells of Yang’s Taiwanese storage as well as a subtle vegetal, creamy sweet and even smokiness.

The first infusion is a watery almost vegetal empty kind of taste with a slippery but still a bit griping mouthfeeling that simulated the mid throat and tongue.  The aftertaste is kind of empty with a vegetal taste in the mouth and very subtle creamy sweetness and subtle strawberry taste.  This first infusion has a very watery and mild flavor.

The second infusion has a vegetal watery onset with a subtle body of paper taste almost subtle buried cherry.  There is very little sweetness, astringency, or bitterness and a bland taste dominates the profile with a paper and vegetal nuance very subtle smoke and some faint creamy ghostly sweetness in the throat.  The mouthfeeling is a slight dry gripping with a mid to deep throat stimulating with a watery texture.  The Qi is starting to build a very relaxing euphoria in the mind.



The third infusion has a faint cherry and vegetal onset with a paper tasting base taste and a building gripping and moderately drying mouthfeeling that has a pucker to it.  The Qi is powerful and invigoratingly euphoric with a warming out outward moving from the Heart sensation in the body.  The power of this Qi is leaving me in a stupor.

The fourth infusion has a paper and vegetal watery onset with barely any subtle cherry sweetness that is sort of in the throat.  There is a moderate to strong drying tongue feeling and deeper throat dryness.  The Qi is huge though a dizzying strong euphoria and warming and expanding chest.

The fifth in fusion has a bland paper subtle quick moving cherry fruity taste.  There is a bit of creamy sweetness developing.   Big euphoria Qi happening over a mild drying and astringent tongue and throat.  It’s main taste is rice paper pith.

6th has a cloudy paper vegetal astringency with an almost creamy sweet aftertaste over a drying tongue and throat.  The taste is quite vacuous as is the mouthfeeling and throatfeeling.  Qi envelops the Heart.

7th has a bit of a spicy almost cherry sweet but not really more of a bland paper taste.  There is faint sweetness in the throat and a paper vegetal finish.

8th has a subtle smoky vegetal getting to be more slippery mouthfeeling with a mild creamy vegetal and paper finish over a dry tongue and throat.  The taste is quite mild.  The Qi is more relaxing and energizing with a bit of euphoria and Heart pumping and slowing with light limbs.

9th has a smoky rich tobacco leaf taste with slight rum and vegetal taste with more of a creamy sweet oily texture now.  Taste is mild.  Qi is turning into a focused bit of euphoria. 

10th and 11th has an oily tobacco vegetal taste with a creamy faint emerging aftertaste that finishes rice paper and dry in the tongue and mouth.  Relaxing focus with a bit of euphoria.

11th has a vegetal and paper tobacco taste with a dry tongue and mouth.  The astringency can certainly be felt in the Stomach.  No sweetness here except faint suggestions in the breath.

12th has a nice oily smoky tobacco and vegetal taste with a paper tasting base taste and finishes almost creamy sweet kind of vegetal tasting.

I come back to the pot the next day…

13th and 14th has a fruitier watery slightly oily onset with a paper tasting base taste.  There is a bland kind of vegetal aftertaste now.  With some more noticeable astringency in the mouth and throat.

The 15th infusion has a fruity and vegetal kind of tobacco taste to it. With a slight dry not that oily finish. The Qi is more mild and restrained today.

The 16th is almost mild bitter astringent vegetal paper pith tasting.  It seems like no signs of any sweetness for the last infusions.  Actually, almost none of the infusions are sweet.  The mouthfeeling is a mild dryness the throat feeling is flat.  The Qi is quite mild here.

I stop the session as it’s hard to tell if this puerh died out long ago or is still going.  Certainly the Qi has stopped, so I do as well.




Overall, this Chawangshu is all about the Qi of big euphoria Qi.  But is Qi enough for a $425 cake?  The other positive this one has is its slow to evolve and changing mild taste and mild viscosity as the session progresses.  However, the taste really was really very mild not to my liking- a lacking rice paper pithy vegetal taste with very little sweetness, pungency, or aftertaste.  The dominating taste is vegetal and paper blandness.  I have drank this one three times thus far in 3 very different pots but nothing too exciting happens here.  At some point it feels like you are just drinking storage tastes and you just proceed because the Qi is of a nice Gushu quality.  The most flavorful infusion is often the very first or first 3.  When too much leaf is used there is also an off putting astringency that beats on the stomach but manages to offer little to accentuate the throat or root down any substantive aftertaste.  When less leaf is used the harshness is gone and you get very little taste but a really nice gushu Qi euphoria.  Overall, I like yang storage and think it works decently well for most of his offerings but it has done little to bring out what might have been positives when this puerh was much younger.  Those who purchased this one 5 years ago will have a much better tea than this.  This is also a lesson in how some of these smooth Gushu puerh will age. There is a reason that a cake from such a famous region has remained at nearly the same price over the last many years while other Yang Qing Hao puerh in Yang’s storage have increased (interestingly the 2004 Yang Qing Hao Dingji has also remained at the same price as well).

In a year of more mindful purchases and a bit of luck, this might be my worst purchase of the year.  I agree with the more recent sentiment that this one is not really worth it compared to others although it is a wonderful Gushu Qi throughout.  This post featured maybe one of the best raw materials of Yang Qing Hao stored moderate humid by Yang .  Next post I will compare it to 2005 Yang Qing Hao Yiwu Chawang dry stored at Houde which is more standard Gushu Yiwu material but stored brilliantly dry…

James (TeaDB) Tasting Notes

Shah8's (sheng of the Day) Tasting Notes

Mircoshrimp’s Tasting Notes

Cywns’s (Death by Tea) Tasting Notes

Marco (Late Steeps) Tasting Notes

Steepster Tasting Notes

Peace

34 comments:

  1. I sampled this one and was rather glad I didn’t cake it. I believe it’s $600 now. Had I sampled it blind I would have guessed it was 10 year old Walong, Gaoshan or some other lighter more polite Yiwu. I also sampled the Houde and it definitely had more kick but for the money there are better semi aged Yiwu teas available.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Natethesnake,

      What makes this puerh amazing is also what makes it less desirable. How can a tea with such beautiful and present Qi also have a taste which is so hard to grasp? These are deep Gushu problems or are they prized?

      Thanks for your thoughts on these two! I feel generally the same way.

      Peace

      Delete
  2. The chunk of the tea I have, I have the opposite impression than Mattcha. Good on taste and aroma, not so great on aftertaste and qi.

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    1. Shah8,

      Thanks for putting your current thoughts on this one on the record.

      Likely from a cake purchased years ago.

      Peace

      Delete
  3. I wouldn’t blame it on being gushu as that’s all there is in Thailand and the HTC teas are amazing. I also wouldn’t blame it on processing to be approachable when young although maybe that’s partly responsible. I’m thinking of the 2003 CYH Manzhuan from TWL that was clearly processed in such a manner. While there are some aged notes it retains many youthful top notes and the aged character is not that deep. I also have some 2011-12 YS pressings in heated storage that fit this category and are aging into monsters, especially the 2011 Mushucha.

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    1. Natethesnake,

      Oops... Oh I kinda made it sound like it’s a problem with all gushu but that’s not what I was trying to say. Thank you for pointing that out.

      Thinking It’s an issue with lighter gushu possibly other lighter not as blended Yang Qing Hao, maybe not processed well?( As comment below states), and mainly (as the title of this post implies) stored in a way that is not so great for their character that a lighter type of gushu puerh has.

      Hope to post on the Houde 2005 Shuangjiang Mengku Mushucha this week or next. You’ll have to let me know what you think.

      Peace

      Delete
  4. I had a different impression than both Mattcha and Shah8. It was bland, dry and lack of Qi. For whatever it's worth, Emmett gave me a discounted price of $425. The 2004 dingji yesheng was bought at $565 and it had a similar profile. The worse blind $990 purchase I made in my life. The lesson for me is always sample before buying...unfortunately even this lesion may not always be a good advice...as I have experienced that the samples tasted better than the cakes :(

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The problem with sampling before buying is that if there is a very limited quantity of very good or underpriced tea by the time you receive your sample much let it rest a few weeks, the tea is often sold out and you missed the boat and regret it. Sometimes you have to trust the judgment of vendors/bloggers who’ve typically earned that trust. A few times I regretted pulling the trigger but am usually glad I did. I’ve also often found that cakes that were originally disappointing have improved in heated storage.

      Delete
    2. Tea Apprentice,

      Solidarity! Hahaha... looks like we both got burned on this one. Thanks for putting your thoughts on the record here.

      Peace

      Delete
    3. I encourage u to keep the tea in good storage for a while and return to it, I have my criticisms of it but it really does have some great aspects. The energy specifically, if u dont get anything try upping the dosage. It definitely shouldnt be bland and lacking qi. Best wishes

      Delete
  5. Unfortunately, most of the reviews out there on YQH are 3-5 years old and it’s hard to make a pragmatic decision to purchase a cake in 2021 unless you know someone who purchased recently and is willing to sample. Obviously, these cakes have transformed quite a bit since their Origen/teadb/Hou De heyday and some may not like the direction they’ve taken. I can say that the samples of both the Chawangshu and Dinji Yesheng I’ve tried (Taiwan stored and then stored in Minnesota for a few years) were excellent from a Qi perspective but unlike the flavor notes I’ve read about years ago. They’re much smoother and lacking the complexity, and in some cases, durability that warrant the $400+ purchase. Since I suffer from severe FOMO I bought the Chawangshu in November as I got back into this hobby and I’m letting it rest before making a judgment call. I hope I enjoy the tea even if it only really has Qi to offer. I do wish that Guang had purchased many more of these productions so we had a direct comparison with Yang’s storage. Cheers!

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    1. Tim W,

      Let us know how it goes when you finally get into drinking your cake.

      Peace

      Delete
  6. I always want to try teas from Thailand. Is there a good place to buy semi aged authentic HTC teas?

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  7. My opinion of the YQH that i bought, and this includes this cake, has been trending downwards as I have sought out and found certain exceptional cakes which have been processed and stored better than Yqh. I still enjoy my YQH (especially the dingji yesheng) but there are better options for puerh with more concentrated character and at a better price.

    For a subset of US based puerh drinkers who came up in the age of Houde, it is axiomatic that YQH and XZH are ne plus ultra of puerh, and it is hard to avoid the influence of this vocal and authoritative-sounding group, especially for newcomers. There is a smaller subset of these who eschew “factory tea” in favour of “boutique gushu” and this is just a rehash of drinking the wrapper, i.e. nonsense.

    In retrospect, drinkers in the 2000s who bought a wider specturm of teas came out a lot better than those who focused on YQH/XZH from Houde, both in terms of collection value and long term prospects. Its not often discussed but hard to argue against.

    The problems with the weaker YQH and XZH are also shared, imo, by the more recent CYH, which is why Ive sought out the better among the early CYH. But the same problems show up a lot in factory productions especially Changtai (e.g. brown changtai but really most changtai) and in some of the more recent Dayi (for example IMO 901-7542).
    Interestingly, the famous 2001 green sun by Ye Binghai that Yang loves so much is also in this softer style - i wouldnt recommend it at the 500$+ price.


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    1. Marco,

      Sweet! I look forward to seeing some of those cakes with more concentrated flavour at better prices at TeasWeLike soon!

      I suppose maybe a better question to ask is... Are there cakes out there with an obvious Chawangshu profile( which this puerh still has dispite its faults) at a better value? This would be classic drinking the area kind of thinking vs drinking simply the puerh on its own merits But I doubt there is such a thing.... or is there??? Hahaha

      I think we are often held hostage by when, where, and how we developed our puerh tastes/ pallet and then after that we also develop a preferred taste to our own storage.

      For me I value old school tasting puerh and dirt tasting puerh as well as extreme dry storage puerh that has not been exposed to much humidity at all more than most puerh drinkers because of simply me developing my pallet in Korea many many years ago with such things and my own damn dry Canadian storage on the young puerh I have bought... hahaha

      I think that there is some truth applying this line of thinking to those most influenced by Houde, Yang Qing Hao and Xi Zhi Hao during that era. I actually have a post half written that makes this point as well.

      Thanks for bringing up lots of interesting options on specific examples as well Marco.

      Peace

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    2. Thought provoking to be sure. Maybe we should come out with lists of cakes we regret buying and cakes we wish we had bought more of... the problem is the embarrassment about having spent too much money on them!

      Delete
  8. Do you think that was a fair or appropriate comment, Marco?

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    1. If you’re referring to my comment about factory tea vs boutique gushu and drinking the wrapper, I dont include you in this, since you do have a wide appreciation of different styles and I dont think you “drink the wrapper” in this sense.

      However, if you are willing to take constructive criticism from someone who has read a lot of your posts and values your insights, I would suggest that you are way too forgiving of teas from YQH/XZH/EOT/W2T (i.e. teas you “grew up with” ). with major problems and maintain a strong negative bias, based on almost no tasting, against shall we say other sources.

      My bias tends to come from another source: money. I tend to be very harsh (Ive been told way too harsh) in general on expensive tea or hyped regions, which is why I find the practice of selling anonymous 250g cakes for 500$, with the implicit claim “this is the good stuff” to be highly off putting.

      Delete
  9. Alright, but is this line of thought topical to the post?

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    1. Yes because there will be people reading this post who will be making buying decisions based on it and on the sources listed in the post. I am explaining my train of thought and my influences, and why I think there is an inflation of Houde-selected teas on the english speaking puerh market.

      Delete
    2. *I think this kinda bridges some of the ideas from both your and Shah8’s comments

      Delete
    3. Marco,

      Some of that inflation is simply due to the fact that there was limited access to puerh in the west at that time. So such and such a cake is curated by Guang (who people trust as a great source) and becomes popular (because it is good) and then due to limited options to taste other comparable cakes is held up higher than it maybe should be due to lack of similar comparisons.

      The issue is access in the West to other comparable cakes and consumer behaviour rather than a vendor.

      If the West still has access issues, which you are implying above (and which I also agree), in years down the road the 2005 Nanqiao Double Lion could seem inflated in the western market simply due to its fame in the west and access issues?

      But this really will have nothing to do with TeasWeLike.

      Peace

      Delete
  10. Okay, if we must continue along this line of thought, might I suggest that Houde has the place it does because it has sold a number of both historic teas, did much of the primary evangelizing of puerh in the West, along with Maison Des Trois Thes, and sold an enormous number of many people's *best* teas, from 60's GYG cakes, 88QB, mid-90s 7542/8582 lan yins, the great '99 teas, a bok choy lbz, some famous mid-naughts Dayi and Xiaguan, and a wide variety of odds and ends (at quite a bit higher quality than, say YS odds and ends) as well as TW boutique XZH, YQH (only three cakes zzcw, qixiang, and '05 ycw, mind you!), and Chen GuangHe Tang.

    There was always other shops, most of them on eBay when Houde was operating--and the majority of them sold teas that were in bad shape, relatively speaking--not least because so many westerners bought from a particular wholesaler that sold crap teas in crappy shape.

    Houde is a venerable online tea shop run by tea enthusiasts (who have real jobs, and grab tea when visiting family) that has mostly or always done well by people. It rather deserves more respect than your comment grants it.

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    1. I have nothing but respect for what houde accomplished. You should re-read what i wrote if you think I said anything critical of Houde. Everyone I know who shopped at houde managed to avoid buying those older gems you mention, and i never heard that houde was selling legit 88qb. Why did people focus on their xzh and yqh, when they had such options? If i were around then, I would hope I would have found out about Origin Tea. They seem to have done the best job of all, and we are trying to follow their model to some extent.

      Delete
    2. Check out a similar discussion 2012 about Houde;

      https://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=18049

      Also Guang just dropped a 2003 7542 Red Dayi (301)

      https://houdefinetea.com/product/2003-%ef%bc%882001%ef%bc%9f%ef%bc%89-menghai-jian-yun-simplified-yun-uncooked/

      Peace

      Delete
    3. Looks good, it could be a 2001. Ill swap u some for some of Yang’s green sun cake!!

      Delete
    4. Marco,

      Hahahaha...

      Joking aside. I want to first thank you for navigating what would have been a tricky balance with the commentary on the last few posts on this blog. Thank you for doing this in the public realm. I now fully understand what you were trying to do and your motivation for doing it. I think u you oh did a classy job without inciting puerh riots or what not.

      With your comments and discussion over the last few posts on the 2001 Menghai Tea Factory from TeasWeLike, the post on fakes, and this post coupled with the disclosure that was just released by Guang of Houde that what was always thought to be and sold as a 2001 Menghai Tea Factory 7542 Simplified Yun “Red Dayi” from Houde (and the cake that Shah8 had purchased and has been referring as “ 2001 Menghai Tea Factory 7542 Simplified Yun “Red Dayi”) is not that at all- finally this makes sense. Because it simply doesn’t exist as a legit Menghai Tea Factory cake... this doesn’t exist. Rather, it is possibly a 2003 7542 Red Dayi but this would be from only looking at yearbook pictures so the possibility of it being a fake is real.

      Now I can see what you were broadly trying to do with these comments and I thank you for that.

      I have one of these coming and will review it on the blog. We will soon find out it’s pedigree after all!

      Peace

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Hi Matt, yes we must beware of the puerh riots - they bring their picks!

    I took a closer look at Houde's cake. First point: it looks really good, I imagine you're in for a treat. Second point: it doesn't quite fit any of the descriptions of Dayi products from the period. It is hard to say without looking at it directly but imo it's a "fake" of the simplified yun.

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    1. Marco,

      I agree that it doesn’t really look like any Dayi productions of the period. It doesn’t look like the 2003 really either.

      Curiously killed the cat!

      Peace

      Delete
  13. I’m curious as to why the cake HouDe posted is a “fake” of the simplified Yun when there are two versions apparently:

    https://xw.qq.com/cmsid/20190609A0LMC700

    Are you suggesting that the Dayi wrapper was produced in 2003 to “fake” the CNNP Simplified Yun originally produced in 2001? What about the photo provided of the Menghai yearbook?

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    1. Yes, there are two versions, and the one TWL sold is the second version. The cake at Houde is neither 01 nor 03, and it doesnt match the catalogue picture (its not even close, if you inpect the catalogue page). There are a few things off with the wrapper as wel, which show its not Dayi. Ive seen a few fakes like this on the taiwan auctions, but it doesnt mean they arent good.

      Delete
  14. Does anyone know if "2003 Chenyuan Hao Manzhuan Gushu" by TWL has a similar taste profile like this YQH Chawangshu cake? I want to buy this cake but kinda worry that it falls in the same category.

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