Wednesday, May 19, 2021

COVID-19 Heralds in the Renaissance of Puerh In the West

 With nowhere to go, no one to see, and with the result of an ever growing savings (for those benefiting) during the COVID-19 Pandemic, puerh tea has experienced a natural resurgence in the West.  Drinking puerh is an activity that can be easily (or most frequently) done alone and at home by most Westerners who savour the puerh experience. During the isolation of the pandemic people are looking for beautiful experiences which puerh naturally and effortlessly offers us.  The recent renaissance is driven by many new comers, a number of people returning, some veterans and bloggers that have had more time to publish about their drinking, and supported by surging sales by up and coming as well as well established vendors.  The recent interest in puerh makes me strangely happy!

New comers to puerh during the pandemic are many and are driving the interest and growth.  It is known that the purchase of consumptive luxury products have exploded during these COVID-19 times. Older puerh drinkers may already have a lifetime of puerh so it’s the newer drinkers that are realizing the true beauty of puerh and are the main consumers and drivers of both more sales and new information on puerh.  But even those with very little money to spend can easily indulge in a bit of this beauty too.  It’s a luxury and beauty that we can all enjoy together- that is a wonderful thing!

Some of my older Blogger friends have been putting out some excellent thought provoking blogs in the last few months that stimulate interesting debate and present interesting topics and ways to view and understand puerh.  As the in-person world becomes more isolated and restricted, I find myself feeling more fondly and maybe even closer towards those puerh bloggers whom I have known through our common writing interests in puerh for many years.  To be a friend is to support but also challenge to be better and I feel the bloggers listed below do that for me and hopefully I do that for them.  To be a friend also means being there for them in times of need and I hope my posts and comments fulfil some of this as well.  I suppose, if they reached out to me I would do my best to help them.  This is a friend to someone who is basically a tea hermit... hahaha....

So what have my tea Blogger friends been up to....

Marshaln of A Tea Addicts Journal has put out a few more posts on his pots, on 7542, and a super interesting interview with Glen of Crimson Lotus which encompasses many of the issues of the old school.  Any post by the Grandfather is always a gift even if it is just a teapot inventory!

Cwyn N of Death By Tea, who is widely believed to be the best puerh writer, has gotten back into the rhythm of blogging over the last half year.  It’s great to read her posts which have started to use a connoisseur lens to look at puerh and has been offering other practical and thought provoking articles on her blog.  Always a great puerh read!

Marco of Late Steeps has recently taken a run at addressing some gaps of published knowledge in the Yang Qing Hao catalogue as well as attempting to look at how these cakes are aging.  I also have really enjoyed his experimenting with the video, and charts on his blog!

Shah8’s weekly post on the Badger and Blade Sheng of the Day forum has often been one of my puerh highlights of the week.  I really enjoy his detailed review of Sheng puerh.  To me he is one of the first to dive the deepest into gushu puerh in the West.  He is one of the only English writers to regularly offer very detailed notes and comparisons of Sheng puerh.

Thank you my friends! Your articles bring me much joy and a much needed point of provoking thought and good puerh debate!

The vendors have supplied the demand brilliantly too!  I think 2020 will go down as their best years to date for some of the veteran puerh vendors.  2021 could even be bigger!  It was also a year that allowed for relatively new vendors to really expand and explode forward like the following vendors that I had purchased from last year...

Liquid Proust significantly expanded their puerh offerings this year to a point where I would recommend sampling heavily for the new comer.  He went from having only a small handful of puerh at a time to many handfuls just in one year.

Tea Encounter expanded their own brand and offered more Zheng Si Long but sold out of many after Black Friday.  They started to bring in more affordable single estate Autumn offerings including some pressed from their own brand.

TeasWeLike really turned a corner going from a few well know cakes to many many interesting other options some are found in their archives now.  They started doing a lot more interesting quarter cake sample packs and even a collaboration with Marshaln.

The way that these vendors pivoted at this time made puerh more accessible for those new to puerh and to those on a tighter budget.

As the city I live experienced surge of variant COVID cases in the 3rd wave here (the highest per capita in Canada in March), and as the city started to lock down again, I once again found solace in puerh.


2017 Puerist Yi Shan Mo, Xiang Chun Lin & A Xiang Chun Lin Comparison

I’m a fan of the Xiang Chun Lin area.  It’s kind of a new puerh area that has in the last 5 years or so rose to some sort of notoriety.  I find the juxtaposition of a very sweet, very floral soft taste with a very strong heady and euphoric Qi.  For the price of other more expensive puerh areas, I think this area offers some value if you enjoy this type of puerh experience… especially the Qi… and the wildflowers…

This 2017 Puerist Yi Shan Mo, Xiang Chun Lin goes for approx $137.00 for 200g cake or $0.69/g.  This was a complimentary sample provided for review in my last order.

Dry leaves have a faint floral kind of sweet note to them.

First infusion has a woody buttery sweet daisy floral.  It has a sweet wildflower oily taste to it.  Nice long sweet melon and wildflower expansion in the aftertaste.  Nice soft chalky feeling in the mouth with a mid-deep mild pungent throat.  Nice relaxing and expansive Qi.  Nice long subtle floral sweet aftertaste with immediately apparent Qi is nice.

Second infusion has a very sweet candy like onset with a icing sugar taste that pops and stays throughout the profile in the soft chalky mouthfeeling and deep faint pungent throat.  Although the flavors are light there is a thick groundedness to the sweet flavors as the have an underlying woody feel.  The flavor is quite sweet, quite thick, quite deep, and quite long.  Very nice.

Third infusion has a strong sugary sweet with layers of melon and caramel now.  The caramel taste goes the distance.  Very layered sweetness with a powdery chalky moderate mouthfeeling and a woody faint base that is pretty much overtaken by thick sweetness.  The taste is really delicious and mouthwatering there is a long caramel and wild flower finish.  There is a deep throat taste that holds in the long aftertaste.  Nice Qi with strong expansiveness in the mind and open chest.  I feel light.

Fourth infusion is developing a strong syrupy taste.  There are notes of apricot, melon, caramel, and sugar, and candy lots of layered thick sweetness over a base of intertwined woodiness.  Nice expansive and chesty Qi.  Strong stoning expansiveness.

The 5th infusion has a creamy buttery thick sweetness that is like apricot jam syrupy sugary sweet over a condensed mild chalky feeling in the mouth.  There is a peachy floral long finish as the taste goes deeply in to the throat and has a mild pungency there.  There are some bready notes, woody notes and layered of dense sweetness.  Strong Qi seals the deal with this one as there is a strong chest opening and expansive free feeling.

6th has a fruity thick syrup taste of peach, melon, almost caramel, icing sugar.  A dense fruity sugary sweet onset with a layer of faint bread and woody taste that is overcome by thick sweetnesses.  Long almost licorice peachy deep throaty sweet aftertastes.  Strong Expanding mind Qi and open chest with slight floating body.

7th has a sweet less condensed sugary peachy onset that turns to melon sweetness.  There is some woodiness and tart but very faint it’s mainly just smooth fruity sweet long tastes.  Nice chesty floating body Qi.

8th is fruity peachy melon fruity syrup sugar sweet with chalky layer of faint wood and wild flower.  It has a slow creamy fading sweet aftertaste.  Nice Qi.  Long taste in mouth minutes later.  There is basically no bitter or astringency in here but still feels full tasting especially the layered sweetness.

9th is a fruity soapy peachy taste with a creamy wildflower underbelly with some woodiness and bready buttery creaminess. There is a longer, more wildflower taste in there.  Nice chalky powdery taste as well.  There is a strong melon peachy taste in the cooled cups minutes later.  I feel really spaced out from the Qi.

10th has a strong fruity soapy buttery floral taste with long deep sweetness with more woody and bready notes coming out as the session progresses. Nice spacy strongish Qi.

11th is thick dense syrupy peachy melon bready woody has a powdery taste with deep throat mild pungency and long trailing wildflower sweet taste still lacking any bitter astringency and makes up for it in pure condensed vibrant flavours.

12th … I run out of time in my day for this one which still has some good stamina left in it…

I mug steep it out over a few days and it still gives off very sweet not really much bitterness and lots of wildflower tastes.  Still lots of Qi left to savor.  Nice stamina.

Overall this is a nice full layered condensed sweet tasting one with great stoning expansive Qi with a bit of chest opening bodyfeelings.  This one has very little bitterness or astringency just enough to give it some depth but still feels full with the layered often vibrant flavours.  It actually does have a bit more of a Yi Shan Mo vibe and thickness to it than the other Xiang Chun Lin I have sampled.

Vs 2017 Tea Urchin Xiang Chun Lin- these are very different in that the Tea Urchin has much more punchy, astringent and bitter kick but also a quicker moving bitterness that pushes a lot more intense sweetness out.  It tastes like it is from younger trees a bit edgier and more smaller chopped and broken leaves.

Vs 2018 Zheng Si Long Xiang Chun Lin- I like this one enough to cake it.  It has a stronger floral layering to it as well as deeper interplay of light floral notes and a deeper Qi sensation.  In some ways its similar to this 2017 Puerist Xiang Chun Lin.


Monday, May 17, 2021

2020 Tea Encounter Lao Man E Kucha (Bitter) When It’s Hot Out!

I have been saving this sample throughout the winter for the first real hot day of the year.  The first day my body feels really hot, uncomfortably hot.  These days are Lao Man E days!  Today is that day…

Unfortunately, my waiting has been too long and this2020Tea Encounter Lao Man E Kucha  (200g cake was selling for $82.16 or $0.41/g) has now sold out.  It was a rather late entry into the fray, released after Black Friday. Lao Man E at this price ain’t bad at all… least not as bad as this heatwave of Above 30C…  There is still some samples left for those that want to try it. 

Dry leaves smell of a woody paper odour.

The first infusion has a mild gamey floral watery onset with a slow developing mild bitterness that returns with a bit of watermelon sweetness.  The mouthfeeling is a bit gripping but not dry.  There is a lingering floral watermelon peel on the breath.  A chest opening Qi can be felt.

The second infusion has a floral green bitter bite.  The bitterness is really strong as expected with a bitter green overwhelming taste to it with a bit of cool throat and returning slight floral and watermelon peel tastes.  The mouthfeel is gripping and full with a bit tugging on the throat.  Nice mild open chest and light limbs feeling.

The third infusion has a sweeter bread-like sweetness a burnt toast kind of sweetness over a slightly gripping mouthfeeling and relatively more mild bitterness throughout but a slightly floral and almost honeydew melon rind and almost woody returning sweetness.  The Qi makes the limbs light and airy and the body feels deeply recharged.

The fourth infusion has a bready toast sweetish onset with a moderate bitter that comes out of that.  The mouthfeeling is slight fine sand and faintly gripping.  The sweetness here goes from onset to aftertaste and is a bready sweetness.  This infusion is the least bitter so far and is much sweeter.  The Qi is nice and relaxes the body and limbs.

The fifth is more buttery milky sweet almost floral with a moderate bitterness in the mouth and a bready finish in the mouth.  The mouthfeel is slight gripping, slight sandy. There is a low level almost fruit, floral, bread sweetness throughout.  The bitterness lingers on the tongue.  The Qi is relaxing here.

The 6th has a bitter toast sweet taste with a returning watermelon rind sweetness with a more floral finish.  Nice relaxing and slightly slowing down Qi.  Light limb bodyfeeling is pronounced and is my most enjoyable aspect of the puerh so far.

The 7th has a creamy bready sweetness to it that comes initially then stays into the aftertaste. There is a quick splash of watermelon sweetness.  Nice light limbs and open chest feeling. An almost lime melon rind finish.  Light body feeling.

The 8th left to cool is a mellow bread and rind soft of taste with a bit of coolness in the upper throat and on the breath with a honeydew melon rind finish.  This infusions is almost fruity sweet with faint bitter and a more juicy feeling in the mouth.

9th is left to cool once again and gives off juicy bread and fruity almost melon with some burnt toast kind of tastes.  There is a mild bitterness that lasts long in the profile and is the last note in the mouth after the melon rind sweetness has dissipated.  Qi feels really relaxed and slow with very light limbs.

10th has a juicy feeling with an almost rubbery moderate bitterness that puckers the mouth.  The throat feel is mild here with a bit more upper throat gripping than most infusions.  Some melon rind finish and increasingly sedate feeling from this one.

11th has a juicy muted fruity melon mild watery bitterness to it.  It has a nice long honeydew melon taste in the aftertaste.  Some chest opening and floating limbs but very mild.

12th is luke-warm and is a bit woody burnt toast not really sweet and only mildly bitter.  Not much flavor here but nice Qi continues to emit from this one.

13th oops is a good 10 second past flash steeping is woody bland similar to the 12th more floral finish… I put this into the mug..

Mug is mainly just bitter deliciousness on this end… crush that heat out with this bitterness… hahahah…

This Lao Man E is an interesting creature.  It really isn’t that bitter but nor is it as sweet as some Lao Man E I’ve tried before.  It also doesn’t really taste much like Gushu but also not plantation or Xiaoshu.  I check the site and it says its Zhongshu or middle aged tree… That makes a lot of sense… and look the description is also really similar to some of my notes… I agree with the Strong Qi and with the bread sweetness…

What it does have is a very approachable price tag for Lao Man E.  It also offers a very solid bodyfeeling of relaxed limbs and Qi that is relaxing sedating and airy.  It also offers nice variability throughout the session with lots of different and interesting tastes to enjoy throughout.  On the first really hot day of the year, I enjoy this bitter cool energy of Spring.  Very satisfying to my body on this unseasonably hot day… this is the aspect of this puerh which I enjoy the most.. the bodyfeeling… a very nice feature for this price point.

Alex’s (Teanotes) Tasting Notes


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

2015 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai: Lots of Ban Po Lao Zhai!

I had mentioned that that Puerist has about ¼ of their catalogue from the Nannou producing area.  Specifically all of their productions are from a garden that is “on a ridge between Duo Yi Zhai, Ban Po Lao Zhai and Shi Tou Zhai.”  The 2015-2020 are also all processed in a similar style by the same farmer.  I believe from tasting this puerh that it might be different from the 2013PueristBan Po Lao Zhai that I purchased last year.  For someone looking for a vertical sampling of a higher quality Nannou, look no further…

This 2015 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai goes for approx. $83.00 for e200g or $0.42/g.  Let’s give it a try...

Dry leaves smell of faint creamy sweetness.

The first infusion has a watery creamy sweet taste over a background of faint raisin there is some low lying coolness and a full chalky feeling in the mouth and even mid throat.  The Qi is invigorating and chest opening.

The second infusion has a strawberry woody almost raisin full initial taste.  There is some dirt woody sweet raisin in the background.  A cool low pungency in the mid-deep throat and a full chalky mouthcoating with subtle oily saliva feeling on top.  Nice sweet creamy raisin finish.  Strong warming and invigorating Qi sensation and open chest feeling.

The third infusion is cooled down but gives a creamy sweet caramel raisin with a low slow moving cool pungency in the throat over a creamy full fluffy mouthcoating and deep open throat.  Vibrant Qi and open chest bodyfeeling.

The fourth infusion has a thick creamy sweet raisin onset with a carrot dirt like base and a low moving cooling deep throat which pushes out a lot of creamy carrot sweetness and almost fruity mango and dirt tastes.  The taste is nice and condensed and full feeling and is creamy sweet into the distant aftertaste.  Nice thick chalky fluffy mouthfeeling and deep open throat with salivating oily returning.  Nice.

5th strong creamy almost strawberry carrot raisin taste a bit woody and caramel.  Thick chalky mouthfeeling with a returning grape woody creamy sweet taste.  The flavors are condensed and mouthfeeling thick and chalky.  The Qi is invigorating.

6th has a strong almost syrupy sweetness with a low menthol pungency which pushes out a woody juicy fruity menthol and grape aftertaste in a very full chalky puckering mouthfeeling.  The throatfeeling is deep with a saliva bursting sensation.  Vibrant invigorating deep sighing Qi washes over me.  Body feel is a chest expanding feeling.

7th has a smoky meaty creamy sweet woody condensed taste that hits a pungent menthol deep throat and turns quite sweet- grapes, creamy sweet, woody, carrot, dirt, caramel… flavor is very complex here and nice.. deep throat and full mouth.  Invigorating Qi.  Very nice.

8th has a strong fruity punch thick mouth woody menthol taste with an emerging creamy raisin and almost grape sweetness over a dirt woody carrot taste.  There is a strong condensed taste throughout with a deep throat pungency and mouthwatering effect.

9th is cool but packs a good thick punch of complex Nannou flavours- woody, raisin, grape, dirt, carrot, menthol, cooling, creamy sweet, even a mild bitterness.  The mouthfeeling is chalky and throat opening is deep.  Very nice.

10th has an increasingly mild bitter onset with woody, dirt, carrot, not as creamy sweet. Vibrant shaking surging Qi.  Deep throat.

11th has a juicy fruity taste creamy sweet, slight smokey woody dirt.  Tastes are condensed and excellent.  Vibrant Qi. Chalky full mouthfeel and deep throat. 

12th has a tangy fruity woody carrot dirt mild bitter slight smoky full feeling.  Condensed with a low menthol and creamy sweetness.  Thick. Enlivening.  Long sweet and slight woody smokey finish.  Heart palpitations with open chest feeling.  Buzzing feeling.

I mug steeped out the rest…

This is a very lively, flavourful, and powerful Ban Po Lao Zhai!  Lots of complex and very dense flavor presentation here as there still lots of young puerh notes in there but also emerging semiaged notes as well.  Qi is the best part with a surging powerful vibrant Qi at some points of the session, even Heart Palpitations and chest opening stronger bodyfeelings.  Nice deep throat stimulation and mouthwatering effect over a chalky full mouthfeeling.  It’s all about the maximum experiential effects with this puerh and it does not disappoint!  One of the reasons, I could guess, Mark keeps pressing this garden is because the package you get here in terms of quality is hard to beat for this price.



Tuesday, May 11, 2021

2018 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai Selected Trees Dragonball: About Selected Trees Puerh

One of the areas of special interest of Puerist is its focus on Nannou, and specifically its most famous village Ban Po Lao Zhai.  11 of 42 offerings at Puerist (1/4 of their current offerings) come from Nannou.  Out of these 2 of their offerings are more specific offerings for those who want to dive into the world of selected tree or single tree productions.  The two are 2017 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai “Single Trees” and this 2018 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai “Selected Trees”.

For me Nannou has always been a favorite.  In my earliest of puerh drinking days Nannou was always known and it has a rich history with puerh production.  The price of Nannou puerh is also quite reasonable for the quality you receive, at least to me with a strong robust flavor and Qi with significant mouth and throatfeeling and a nice deep camphor coolness.  As a result Puerist can offer these more specific productions at a price that won’t completely kill the bank account and put you into years and years of debt… hahahah…

This complimentary dragonball was composed of the same material as this 2018 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai Selected Trees 200g cake thatgoes for approx. $178.00 for 200g cake or $0.90/g.  For those who don’t know, “selected trees” are usually considered both the oldest/ largest trees in a garden which usually have a noticeable difference in taste compared to the rest of the garden.  In my experience that difference is usually a softer and more ethereal Gushu puerh experience while still having lots of qualities of the garden it is located in.

Let’s see how this special treat goes down…

Dry leaves smell of faint creamy sweetness.

After a 30 second rinse and then wait period I flash steep the first infusion and get a watery creamy sweet infusion with an airy expanding sweetness.  There is a creamy fluffy chalky light mouthfeeling with a saliva producing effect in the mouth.

The second infusion has a creamy watery initial taste that has a nice expanding creamy sweetness over a still watery profile from the balls not unfurrowing.  A nice slippery chalky tongue and saliva producing throatfeeling.  This is a smooth creamy sheng.  Nice long creamy sweet sugary aftertaste.  A nice subtle Qi feeling puerh.

The third infusion is a very smooth in taste and feeling with a creamy airy surgery taste and slippery mouthfeeling with a mild saliva producing effect after a very faint cooling and then long subtle creamy sweetness.  Smooth in the mind as well- just calm focus with a bit of Heart beats.

The fourth infusion has a woody creamy taste initially over a slippery mouthcoating.  There is some almost vegetal sweetnotes that appear before a slow to evolve cooling which pushes out a freshmint and creamy sweet faint long finish.  The Qi is really smooth and with Heart beating slow-down bodyfeeling.  A faint astringency can be felt on the empty stomach.

The fifth infusion has a creamy sweet woody onset that has a bit of vegetable taste.  The low lying coolness triggers a long aftertaste of faint creamy and sugar tastes. The mouthfeeling is starting to become a mild puckering feeling that can be felt on the lips.  Qi is mellowing with slow Heart beat palpitating effects.

The sixth infusion has a creamy melon watery smooth taste that has a low building faint coolness in the throat that turns to a creamy surgery taste.  Some vegetal faintness, almost woodiness comes out in the aftertaste. Hear beats slow and mind feels very relaxed.

The seventh has a clear sugar creamy sweet initial taste over a fluffy chalky thin mouthfeeling.  There is a bit of a vegetal woody creamy taste that returns after a mild pungency but also a long sweet taste.  Cool calm feeling with slow strong Heart beats.

The eighth a mild pure clear orange creamsicle with woody onset with a sugary returning sweetness.  The sweet taste rides long into the aftertaste on a backbone of ethereal cool pungency.  The clam in the mind is juxtaposed with the beating of my Heart.

The ninth infusion has a creamy woody sugar pure taste.  There is an expansive and opening coolness deep in the throat that carries sugary pure tastes into the distance.  The mouthfeeling has a mild chalkiness to it, lips dry, throat opens faintly but deeply and slowly embraces a deep pungent taste. 

10th has a mild astringent bitterness to it with a woody almost orange taste upfront and an almost dirt taste underneath. 

11th has a mild watery creamy sugary taste to it.  A tight mouthfeeling is developing.   Kind of finishes a faint creamy pear taste. 

12th the taste is most definitely weakening here with a faint watery sugary woody taste and increasingly gripping mouthfeeling… I’m going to try to loosen that dragonball with a pick….  Very relaxing Qi… too relaxing this snowy spring day…

13TH has a buttery woody sugar-melon creamy upfront sweetness.  There is an interesting full creamy sugary melon condensed sweetness here and a slightly drying mouthfeeling.

14th I add 20 seconds to the flash to push something more interesting out… and it does a fuller flavor presentation of sugar, creamy sweetness, woody, vegetable, and slight dirt with an overall sweet taste over a thin sticky mouthfeeling. 

15th oops… left the water in the pot for a good 10 minutes… intensely floral fruity almost rose with a strong saliva producing effect.  Strong creamy fruity tangy taste almost like orange blossoms.  Not much bitterness at all really.  A bit of mouth puckering sensation and more invigorating energy when pushed this hard….

16th I push hard again and get a very floral orange blossom dirt clear fruity mainly sweet taste.  There is just a bit of bitterness here over a smooth chalky mouthfeeling.  Qi is stronger in the mind and in the Chest with these long steeps.

17th I push hard again the next morning with these leaves a get a strong candy like taste over a sugar backdrop with faint woody.  There is a nice orange blossom taste with a lingering floral sweetness.  The leaves sitting a day really allowed for nice candy-like tastes to develop.  Nice focusing Qi this morning with still noticeable slow calming Heart palpitations.

18th I do another long infusion… this is a great puerh considering the lack of bitterness and astringency.  It gives you a lot of diversity in a session.  The tastes are of a chalky woody almost fruity carrot like creamier sweetness.  The creamy sweetness lingers in the aftertaste and combines with subtle candy.

I mug steep out the rest… and it’s pretty delicious with the dragonball still unfurrowing… its sweet sugar with a bit of a dirt woody background and low cooling throat with long dirt sugary feeling.  Nice focusing relaxing Qi with slow Heart beats.

The gushu has a nice smoothness to it with a focus on sweetness.  The contrasting distinct slow heart pounding with a very very relaxing feeling is an interesting and more rare Qi experience for me.  Overall the effect is a very mindful and centering feeling.  These Qi sensations are what Gushu is all about.  This puerh also has the ability to be pushed really hard to get more intensity of Qi and flavor due to the low/lack of bitter/astringent taste.  This gives you a lot of flexibility.  Nice sugary creamy sweetness and low pungency with long pure aftertastes can be had or stronger orange blossoms and dirt woods if pushed harder.  Overall, very nice high quality gushu thing.  It’s refined in a way that I would have not guessed it as Nannou.  My experience with this region is long into the era of stronger older school factory Nannou.  This more refined Gushu has subtle suggestions of Nannou that can easily be pushed out at will or you can opt for more elegant things.  Very nice.


2019 Puerist Mengsong Dragonball: A Complex Evolving Mengsong

This is the second complimentary dragonball sampling I’ve done of Puerist’s offerings.  There is another that will follow this one as well.  The dragonball is the same material as this 2019 Puerist Mengsong 200g cakethat goes for approx. $75.00 or $0.38/g I do believe…

Dry leaves smell of faint spicy almost faint fruit.  I give the balls a 30 second rinse then wait a few minutes.  I give the pot a gentle shake.

The first infusion has a watery vegetal taste with a woody creamy taste that is quite watery still with the balls not opened up sufficiently.  There is a sticky mouthcoating developing with a fine peachy taste in the aftertaste even in this early attempt.

The second infusion has a woody almost bland bread onset with a full tight chalky mouthfeeling with tight dry lips.  There is a faint peachy taste that lingers in the aftertaste.  This infusion is still pretty faint and clear and pure in taste but strong in mouhfeeling and lip dry tightness.  The Qi is a bit sedating.  It almost tastes like an Autumnal production here.  There is an interesting bodyfeeling over the Liver and Stomach.

The third infusion has a watery bland almost bread woody onset.  It develops a faint elegant peachy, peach pie finish in the mouth.  Stomach expanding Qi sensation very mild.  The mouthfeeling mainly on the tongue and lips with little in the throat.  A faint astringency develops.  The mind has a sedated feeling to it.

The fourth infusion has a watery almost peach water dry wood onset.  The peach kind of disappears then returns.  It has a bit of a soapy Thrills gum edge to it.  The Qi is warming in the body and has a Stomach expanding sensation and lower ribs expanding feeling.  The mind is sedated.

The fifth infusion has an almost milky watery but long expanding soft faint peach taste.  The mouthfeeling is tight on the lips and sticky mild tight on the tongue with very little throat stimulation.  The Qi is warming and rib and Stomach expanding.

The sixth infusion has a peachy fruity pure clear taste.  It’s a simple taste but pure and clear and vibrant.  It causes a bit of salivation and has a bit of an oily chalky feeling in the mouth.  The aftertaste is a fading peachy juicy taste.

The seventh is a floral buttery almost fruity pear type taste.  It is pure clean and not that strong.  A bit of dry lips and thin sticky tonguecoating.  Slightly sedating Qi.

The eighth infusion has a bit of mild woody floral butter pucker very faint with a more brackish clear woody taste here.  A clean simple profile. Thin dry tongue coating.

The ninth becomes even woodier.  Less floral and fruity.  The sweet fruity taste is almost gone completely now.  There is a bit of astringency.  Thin woody with a building strength to it.

The 10th has a soapy fruity taste in there with floral and woody notes.  This infusion has a full woody fruity saliva producing oily sensation once again.  The mouthfeeling is becoming stronger and so is the euphoria producing feeling.

The 11th has a tangy juicy woody pear taste, very clean simple tastes, with a chalky/gripping mouthfeeling.  There is a flat bland finish- a bit floral dry wood.  Qi has a faint feeling in the lower ribs and a mild hypnotic feeling in the mind.

12th infusion has a mild bitter dandelion leaf onset with a buttery woody finish.  Not much sweetness here.  Dry lips and tight mild tonguecoating with a chalky dry mouthfeeling.  Very cozy, warming, relaxing and euphoric Qi feeling.  I feel comforted and a bit spaced out.

13th is a strong bitter floral buttery woody taste.  The stronger the bitter taste, the more pronounced the overall clear flavours.  The taste of this puerh kind of just fades into the distance without much coming or going.  The Qi is euphoric with a building underlying power now.

14th is an almost syrupy peachy floral woody bitter up front taste that fades after a saliva blob of taste runs through.  Nice alerting Qi.

15th is a syrupy woody faint fruity bitter that fades into the distance.  Dry lips and chalky tight tongue with very little throat stimulation as it has held throughout.  Qi is starting to give me a power surge.  Lots of dynamic change in the Qi sensation throughout this long session.  Very nice.

16th a bitter splash of fruity floral taste drops into dry wood and fades.  Sticky mouthfeeeling and dry lips.  Nice vibrant Qi starts to build and course through the body.  I feel re-energized from the experience.

17th an almost flat sweet gasoline like with woody bitterness onset that has a vegetal floral woody finish.  The taste is still changing here.

I come back to the pot the next day…

18th & 19th have a creamy woody almost plum peachy faint fruity taste.  Thin sticky tongue coating with dry lips.

I mug steep this out…

It give off a very floral soapy Thrills gum taste.  Tasty floral and vegetal taste.  Surprisingly not much bitter or astringency.

Overall, this puerh in dragonball form offers lots of dynamism of both taste, mouthfeeling, and Qi throughout the session.  This is partly due to its tight compression but also from its raw material.  It has lots of subtle flavors of floral and tart fruits, peachy notes and more syrupy notes as well as bitter dry woods, vegetal notes and bitter dandelion tastes.  The first half of the session is pure and faint with a clear peachy taste.  The later infusions thicken up and add elements of bitterness to the sweet.  During even the pure simple tastes of the early session there is lots going on with the Qi sensations with this one as well and same for the mouthfeeling that is sometimes very saliva producing and other times very gripping and dry.  Lots of variability here.  Bodyfeelings are not as common but appear as warming body, feel limbs, and rib and stomach expanding feelings…

Lots going on here people for those who like dynamic, evolving, and complex puerh with a nod to the Mengsong character.


Sunday, May 9, 2021

2018 Puerist Zhang Jia Wan: A more Edgy Zhang Jia Wan!


These days I am really enjoying a deeper appreciation of softer and more subtle tasting puerh.  Years past I have enjoyed these things but always under the shadow of “how can they possibly age into anything substantive?”  These days I have come to terms with the idea of them being consumed and appreciated young or just aging them terribly dry and living contentedly with the subtitles that remain.  In this mindset problems in the future are overlooked for the enjoyment of the present... and boy did I ever really enjoy this one... turns out it wasn’t one of those overly faint experiences.

This 2018 Puerist Zhang Jia Wan goes for approx $84.00 for 200g cake or $0.42/g.  My experience so far with the Zhang Jia Wan area is lots of gentle and subtleties this one had that but it is just done so well...

Dry very small leaves smell of faint dry distant floral and sweetness- almost like a light faint honey.

The first infusion has a very soft creamy honey smooth profile with no bitterness but an oily fullness.  There is a fresh watery oily mouthfeeling that gives this puerh a full feeling although it is decisively light.

The second infusion has a almost minty fresh meadow olive oil taste with a honey undertone.  There is a faint fresh coolness then returning floral honey almost creamy candy strawberry taste that combines into a vibrant and refreshing sensation with a sticky soft but full mouthfeeling.  This is a very nice Zhang Jia Wan.  The Qi is light and airy in the body.

The third infusion is left to cool but gives off a vibrantly delicious mouthwatering cooling taffy, no bitterness nor astringency and a very long floral sweet taffy candy-like returning sweet aftertaste.  Very nice chalky soft and full mouthfeeling.  Nice peaceful Qi sensation.  Very nice overall.

The fourth infusion has a creamy oilive oily floral and creamy sweet presentation.  There is a creamy chalky long floral candy sweetness that comes from the fresh long pungency.  This puerh has a very vibrant and enlivening presentation but very smooth and peaceful in the body.  Nice open airy Qi in the body- like a subtle floating body.

The fifth infusion oops good 20 second infusion there… a strong cool minty pungency with an oily taste and long candy floral cooling breath and aftertastes.  Strong but not bitter or astringent even when pushed too hard.  Nice sticky chalky taste. 

The sixth infusion has an oily silky floral almost honey sweet taste to it.  There is a strong wave of cooling minty pungency then a candy almost woody aftertaste.  The mouthfeeling is starting to be more sandy sticky and the Qi continues is airy and light armed journey throughout my body.  I feel at peace.

The seventh infusion has a fresh minty, oily floral taste that returns as a fresh minty and creamy candy taste.  The mouthfeel is an oily feeling with a slight sandy more sticky feeling.   Nice peace exudes from this puerh.

The eighth infusion is left to cool and gives of a creamy sweet fresh minty toffee taste.  The mouthfeel is full soft sticky taste.

The ninth has an almost melon taste with floral and cool pungency.  The oily texture is waning a bit but has a nice sticky sandy feeling with a fading longer sweet melon floral almost woody aftertaste and less candy now.  Peaceful feeling flows through the body.  Very harmonious Qi.

The 10th has an almost soapy woody not that floral taste now.  There is little to no bitterness nor astringency.  Nice chalky floral finish a bit sandy now but still exceptionally smooth in taste, texture, qi, bodyfeeling.

The 11th has an almost empty melon sweet taste with a bit of wood. There is a light melon and woody floral.  Overall better than average stamina in this one too.  Nice peaceful feeling.

12th I go for a 30 second steeping.  It’s very woody and melon still no astringency or bitter and it feels like the taste is still significant even as the mouthfeeling loses all oily texture and is mainly a full sandy chalky.  Peaceful feeling.

13th is another 30 seconds and pushes out a very peachy woody taste.  Almost a melon and woody bland taste.  The mouthfeel is becoming more sticky and chalky.  This is a very nice representation from this area- nice stamina too.

I mug steep it out… it is faintly bitter wood bark and empty floral.  The dry wood bark really takes over but still a cooling throat and dry mouthcoating.

Overall, this was a really nice Zhang Jia Wan experience with the puerh not being overly opaque but rather gentle with substance.  Yet still managing to pull it off with the fact that there is no bitterness or astringency… that is hard to do and hard to please someone of my tastes… but this one seems to aim to please.


Saturday, May 8, 2021

2018 Puerist Ai Lao & Breaking My Winter Abstinence from Young Puerh


This year I did something that I have never done before in my years and years of drinking puerh.  I completely abstained from the consumption of green tea and young puerh from late Autumn to early Spring. Readers of this blog already know my seasonal preferences for tea.  It is a formula that I generally follow every year but never strictly.  This year to bring about greater harmony I completely abstained from young puerh and others teas with cold thermal energy and I feel healthier, I think.  The last puerh I consumed that was younger was this nice 2015 Nannou Dou Yi Zhai which I ended up multiple caking.  Then I just consumed semiaged and aged Puerh throughout the Winter.  It felt great and I highly recommend trying it!

As the seasons started to shift from Winter to Spring I started once again to crave younger puerh again.  I choose this very very inexpensive 2018 Puerist Ai Lao ( $25.00 for 200g cake or $0.13/g!) that I received as a complimentary sample for review in my last order from Puerist to break my winter’s fast.  I always seem to enjoy young Ai Lao area puerh as the quality of this inexpensive area seems to be quite high for the price you pay.  Strangely enough I have never tried aged Ai Lao region puerh and I left wondering how it would age out?  I think Scott of Yunnan Sourcing has a few options there.  If anyone out there has tried any, please amuse us...

Dry leaves smell of very floral sweet odours mixed with a butter tart raison odour.

The first infusion has a buttery, almost can peaches, but mainly vegetal onset with a nice oily presenting mouthfeeling full and saliva producing and lubricating.  There is a vegetal and mainly long floral finish in the mouth.

The second has a sweet oily syrupy floral lubricating vegetal canned peaches onset there is a flash of interesting complex ash woody taste that turns to a mouthwatering canned peaches taste.  The mouthfeel is very oily and lubricating.  There is an interesting warming Stomach and lower abdomen feeling that is rarer in younger puerh and quite re-assuring.  Very nice thick satisfying gushu presentation.

The third infusion has a quick moving woody mild bitter vegetal with a strong floral that moves to a more oily thick vegetal with a buttercup floral insistence.  There is a long vegetal oily floral that fades into the breath.  A nice happy soft feeling qi with substantial lower abdomen warming sensations.

The fourth infusion has a woody vegetal bitterness that moves quickly to oily almost canned peaches floral with a significant vegetal underbelly.  The floral taste is oily and syrupy and expansive in the aftertaste as the mouthfeel becomes a fine sand under oily.  The throat pushes saliva into upper throat.  The astringency of this one is felt here.

The fifth infusion is left to cool and has a peachy, woody, almost perfume edge to it.  It is nicely oily with a saliva blob taste in the mouth.  There is a noticeable mild astringency underneath.  The Qi is happy and bodyfeeling warming in the lower abdomen.

The sixth infusion has an oily buttery astringency to it initially with along floral taste over an oily throat and mouth with a chalky fine sandy underneath.  There is a faint suggestion of canned peach syrup underneath it all.  There is a nice warming in the lower and nice comforting feeling.  Nice Qi.

The seventh infusion has a ash woody mild bitter vegetal quick moving onset that turns to a long floral and oily throat feeling. 

8th is an almost ash woody mild bitter which has a floral vegetal oily taste with an increasingly sweet banana aftertaste.  Nice warming Qi flushes the face.

9th the bitterness starts to increase and the sweet taste is much less… I could have kept going with this one but ran out of time.

I mug steep this one out for a few days and am left with some pretty tasting mugs.

Overall,  this puerh is pretty enjoyable for its price.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.  I liked the warming Qi, oily texture, and saliva producing effect... you rarely get these qualities at this price point.  The flavour and aroma is less exciting but preforms better than it should with fruity, floral and vegetal notes contrasting some bitter and astringent suggestions.  Great young puerh for this price! 


Friday, May 7, 2021

2019 Zheng Si Long Autumn Yibang Ma Li Shu: Building Power

I have been sipping away at this semi aged 2013Puerist Ma Li Shu that I purchased last year and wonder how this will compare?  This 2019 Zheng Si Long Autumn Ma Li Shu goes for $51.18 for 200g cake or $0.26/g. Thanks Tiago for sending this satisfying sample...

Dry leaf is of a mossy sweet floral woodiness.

First infusion has a watery floral with a soft returning creamy sweetness.  A strong heady Qi seems to be coagulating in the mind.

Second infusion has a soft creamy pear sweetness over a pure clean watery body.  There is a base taste of dry wood.  The taste is pure light and clear.  The mouthfeeling is as soft as the flavor with a sticky lips and mild mossy faint toungcoating with faint lingering cooling in the throat.  Qi is a mild spacy relaxing feeling.  There is an Asian pear aftertaste minutes later.  There is a faint opening below the ribs.

The third infusion there is a woody dense pear taste and orange peel that moves fast to a light pure icing sugar finish.  There is some mouthwatering over a fine clay like taste.  There is long pure sweet pear-sugar aftertaste is really nice minutes later.  Nice relaxing mind stopping Qi.  Slight opening bodyfeeling in ribs and chest.

The fourth infusion has a creamy sweet candy and floral pear like dense high-noted complex light onset which comes with a quick moving bitterness with a faint sugar that bridges the gap.  Very Sticky, almost dry, lips and clay mouthfeeling with this complex sweetness is really nice here.  Light limbs and Open chest sesnsation and mid slowly effects. Very nice infusion with a Qi sensation that is really strong in the mind and pushing me into an extreme spaced out.

The fifth infusion has a peachy banana woody mild bitter pear like onset.  There is a clay puckering monthfeelnig with very dry lips.  The aftertaste is a bit dry woody with a sugary finish, slight candy, Slight more woody.  Big Qi sensation.

6th has a quick bitter lemon peel with pear and slight floral creamy surgar-honey.  Nice sticky lips and clay thin coating on the tongue.  Faint rubbery woody taste that fades when the sweetness returns into a fading out of pear taste on the breath.  Mind stopping Qi.

7th Ooops… a good few minutes went by… very dense peachy taste, almost soapy floral peach with dense clay sticky tonguecoating and dry lips.  A bit bitter but not overwhelming so.  Strong floral presence in the accident strong push.  Big Qi is chest and relaxing mind.

8th is left to cool as work gets a bit busier than I imaged and I’m honestly pretty spaced out from the Qi here… peach-pear with a touch of orange rind and faint slight wood that turns to a fading candy on the breath.

9th has a peachy woody a bit of bitter orange peel.  Faint cooling at top of throat turns to sugary candy peach woody.   Very satisfying if not that complex right now.

10th is left to cool and I get a more woody dry bitter balanced with creamsicle tastes.  Big open chest Qi.

11th has a bitter woody orange peel with an almost creamy sweeter finish with a gripping but dense tonguefeeling and relaxing spacy Qi.

12th has a bitter dry woody with underlying peachy suggestions.  The mouthfeeling has become quite strong and gripping on the tongue and lips with the upper throat opening as it has throughout the session.

13th is a bitter orangey floral wood onset that is a balance of flavours with bitter being the strongest.  There is still lots of flavor here.  This puerh has great stamina!  Powerful Qi in the chest and mind but not at all harsh on the body.  The 14th is much the same with still a strong presence and flavor.

The mug infusions afterward are super flavourful still with a bitter and sweet blend of tastes.

Overall, nice complex light sweet fruity florals a touch of bitter and dry wood.  Nice sticky almost clay faint mouthcovering.  Big spacy Qi in here.  Nice to drink now and space out or just age it out very dry for the powerful Qi experience.  I had a great day with this one.  This is a good value option for those looking for Qi and power and don’t want to break the bank.  It was a busy day but I was so spaced out I didn’t care… hahhahha….

Vs 2020 Tea Encounter Autumn Chawangshu.... these are almost the same price and both Autumn.  The Chawangshu is more complex and Balanced with less stamina as it gets weaker fast.  The Ma Li Shu has a power that builds throughout the session but has less balanced taste that tends to be more varied highnotes throughout most of the first half of the session.  The last half is a nice bitter and sweet balance.  Both nice cheap options with enough elements to enjoy for their price.

Alex’s (Puerh Notes) Tasting Notes