I have never tried a puerh from the newly trendy Tong Qing He producing area in Yiwu. Like the trendy Tianmenshan from Essence of Tea last year, I basically have only read about the region before trying it. Last year Yunnan Sourcing pressed a cheaper cake from this region the 2020 Yunnan Sourcing Baihuatan that I really wanted to try, just haven’t put an order through lately. Shah8 made a comment that made me chuckle saying something to the effect that it was likely bought from a man selling maocha from the side of the road if it’s this cheap. David and Yingxi seem to chime in by stating that there is a wide range of quality from this area. This 2021 Essence of Tea Bai Hua Qing goes for $280.00 for 200g cake or $1.40/g must surely be on the higher end?
Dry leaves have a subdued icing sugar creamy sweetness with a background of wood.
First infusion has a deep layered untouched creamy sweetness that threads along the profile into the mid throat, very ghostly cooling, sweet creamy returning a bit, then into the breath. There is mild suggestions of forest vegetal tastes and some faint bitterness but too faint here in the first infusion… this first infusion is about long creamy sweet tastes. The tongue coating is soft and a bit sticky-grainy but faint here. Not much throat feeling just a vacuous opening mid-throat. Qi seems to build in the head.
The second infusion is bitter with a sweet buttery and faint floral with a glimpse of creamy melon custard. The mouthfeeling is a bit tight and sandy over the tongue. The throat is vacuous. The Qi has a strong influence on the head and face making my face sweat on this very hot day. I can definitely feel some astringent bitterness in my empty stomach and am already contemplating removing some leaf from the pot. Qi seems really active in the face and strong stuffy head feeling.
The third infusion has a quick moving buttery/creamy sweetness that gives way to long flat bitterness. There is lots of tropical fruity taste melody that gets released in the aftertaste after the bitter taste recedes. There is a creamy sweetness lodged under the bitterness. Tight mouthfeeling with vacuous throat. It’s pretty delicious tasting despite its stronger bitterness. There is a bit of head stuffiness in here for Qi but not too much yet.
The fourth infusion is more creamy sweet and sweet fruity. There is some mild bitterness and some almost dirt-wood base taste that mingles with bitter. The tropical fruitiness is highlighted and seems to expand and join up with creamy sweet tastes in the aftertaste as the saliva returns over the tongue. The tongue coat is a thin sticky now and the upper throat is stimulated by the mild bitter astringency and pushes saliva out. Qi is kind of fuzzy in the mind… kind of cloudy. The double sweetness of creamy and fruity and the dance with a bit of bitterness in nice here. Some jaw sensations.
The fifth infusion has a vibrant light airy fruitiness that splashes up into the mouth. The sweetness gives way to bitterness before sufficient saliva pools from the upper throat simulation. The result is a tropical, a bit sour medley of flavours. The Qi is heavy in the jaw and stuffy in the head. Nice salivating tropical fruitiness with a subtle bitterness now.
The sixth infusion is cooled down and tastes of peachy apricot fruitiness that merges with bitter. There is a creamy sweet taste in there which kind of dances with the fruity sweetness. There is a bit of retuning saliva. Stuffy head feeling Qi.
The seventh infusion has a vibrant juicy fruity burst. The bitterness is just mild for the past few infusions but appears briefly after fruity sweet tastes as creamy sweet tastes merge as saliva slides over a mild chalky/sandy tongue. Nice juicy bursts of tastes, a certain lively sweet fruity taste. Some head stuffiness. Some lingering fruity aftertastes.
The eighth infusion has a nice pop of juicy fruity vibrant sweetness that is really nice and clean and just a bit of wood-dirt-bitterness trails behind it now. Nice tight mouhfeeling and empty throat with notable upper throat and saliva producing effect. The aftertaste is more on the tongue and saliva than on the breath. Some head stuff and jaw sensations the Qi is mainly directed at the head and face.
The ninth infusion has a bit of bitter mixed with fruity sweet taste initially there is some creamy sweetness that comes as the saliva fills the dry/sandy/chalky moderately full mouthcoating. The aftertaste is a bit of dirt-wood-bitter taste. This infusion is less sweet and complex as others and I’m wondering if the puerh is waning here. Face Qi and stuffy mind. There is a kind of looking outside of yourself introspective Qi thing happening here. Not really a powerful out of body but subtle.
The 10th has those pops of vibrant fruitiness initially with a lagging bitter-wood-dirt that finishes off the aftertaste with not much saliva producing or the creamy sweetness that follows. Still lots of face Qi and contemplative Qi.
11th has a juicy light fruity taste light airy very sweet light honey notes. A creamy returning sweetness. Very bright and pure very tasty with a retuning sweetness. Over sticky sandy tongue. Finishes bitter bland woody dirt.
12th has a very sweet initial taste of florals, pops of fresh fruit, very vibrant and pure fruity sweetness here with a slow lagging bitterness that turns into creamy sweetness as some saliva returns over the sandy sticky moderate tongue coating. The Qi is nice and contemplative but is building into an enlivening feeling.
13th I do a long 5 minute infusion here… oops… a strong juicy fruitiness initially very strong pure and vibrant like nectar or juicy tropical blend of sweetness there is only very very mild bitter now and a bland-woody-dirt taste in the aftertaste.
The long mason jar steepings of the wet leaves tells me this puerh could have easily gone a good 5 more steepings at flash steepings with tones of flavor. The result is a very bright fruity vibrancy throughout with very little bitterness now and a full sticky sandy full mouthfeeling that finishes with a stone-dirt kind of finish. There is a bit of mild throat stimulation and nice contemplative Qi.
Puerh is all about the vibrant shinny pure sweet fruitiness that is basically undisturbed after the bitterness and how the retuning saliva dances with different sweetnesses as the upper throat becomes stimulated. It reminds me of sort of like Gaoshan Zhai area puerh with an influx of bitterness and Forest like aftertaste. The Qi becomes this very contemplative thing as mild face and jaw sensations un-disturbingly exist harmoniously. Although bitter, it’s only really strongly bitter in the first 5 infusions and this bitterness is essential to the structure and interplay of saliva producing, and changing sweetness. The bitterness never seems harsh in the body… this is a really good puerh. It’s unlikely that I will try a better 2021 puerh this year but I still can’t bring myself to shell out the $280.00 for this one.
I know the description of this puerh on the site says that “It’s not particularly a tea that we’d recommend for beginners but for old tea drinkers”. I disagree and think that beginners should sample this puerh and follow the notes above as well as Shah8’s notes below to get a better understanding what makes this puerh so good. You can learn a lot from a puerh like this.
Vs 2020 Lao Jie Zi- Shah8 compared these two and I just happen to be drinking this one today. These two both have a very similar Qi feeling in the mind which is of deep relaxation Lao Jie Zi is more slowing and Bai Hua Qing more contemplative- both quite powerful in a calming and harmonious kind of way. The Lao Jie Zi has a lighter limb bodyfeeling with a body Qi that is directed to the limbs and the Bai Hua Qing has more concentrated face and jaw sensations directed at the face. Everything else is quite different I think with the Lao Jie Zi having no bitterness and only a very subtle astringency. The Bai Hua Qing having strong bitterness and astringency for the first part of the session. The taste is also quite different but has similarities in its stone and woody qualities but these are pretty minor. The Lao Jie Zi has subtle mild pure subtle flavours that reveal themselves singularly where the Bai Hua Qing has powerful bursts of flavours that interweave and cross with each other to create a complex effect. The Lao Jie Zi has very faint throatfeeling where the Bai Hua Qing has a very stimulating saliva producing effect. These are very different puerh tea. The Lao Jie Zi’s brilliance is its subtle nature where the Bai Hua Qing is its strength.