Friday, August 27, 2021

Marco’s 2021 Blind Tasting Epsilon & Zeta

I sampled these both on the same day and came to the conclusion that they are actually the same puerh!

Epsilon is first…

Dry leaves smell of very sweet forest very freshly picked 2021 sheng odours.  Smells like a nice Yiwu here… very light.

The first infusion is a watery very clear airy sweet slightly floral with a foresty almost gamey forest taste that slides into a long slightly vegetal creamy sweet aftertaste.  Yummy…

The second infusion has a clear pure fresh sheng almost melon and floral pure note to it which gathers a bit of faint foresty-gamey base, but only every so faintly.  Pretty green processed fresh sheng.  With a faint coolness in the throat and subtle melon long sweet finish.  The mouthfeel is faint oily softness with some deeper throat opening.  You can feel a light upbeat qi feeling from this puerh.  Also you can feel the green processing in the empty stomach, just faintly enough.

The third infusion has an oily floral buttery onset over a thin soft mouthcoating.  There is a faint suggestion of forest and faint long sweet melon floral green finish.  Faint cooling deep throat can be felt on the exhale.  Nice subtle soothing/ refreshing bodyfeeling.  A faint astringency from the freshness of this puerh can be felt in the empty stomach.

The fourth infusion has a creamy sweet buttercup melon floral onset.  There is not much forest base left but more of a faint green astringent floral vegetal before cool throat and sweet melon finish.  This is pretty nice standard pure green processed Yiwu gushu-ish stuff.  The oily texture over a very soft mouthfeeling is a nice feature of this one as is the very light airy upbeat/ feel good Qi.

The fifth infusion has a watery pure clean fresh butter cup and subtle floral melon sweetness that fades into a faint mid-deep cool throat and faint soft mouthfeeling.  There is a faint astringency to the young leaves.  Soft bodyfeeling of mild uplifting.  The aftertaste is a faint sweet melon.

The sixth infusion has a mild watery vegetal almost woody but more melon onset with a faint cooling.  The mouthfeeling is becoming more substantial with a thicker dryer puckering.  There is also less aftertaste a faint mid-throat coolness and more of a vegetal than sweet finish.  Nice happy subtle floating feel good feeling.

The seventh has a watery melon floral watery pure onset with a very faint cool throat and vegetal melon finish.  The Qi is becoming more relaxing than feel good.  Soft thin mouthfeeling.

The eighth infusion has a very watery faint melon and floral onset that kind of fades out.  There is a bit of cooling in the mid-throat.  This puerh is Yiwu and has a greener production not from super old trees but old enough but definitely not plantation either.

The ninth infusion I add 20 seconds to the flash infusion and it comes off with more orchid onset and with a thin dryer mouthfeeling but still some upper-mid throat coolness and floral melon vegetal finish.

10th has a 30 second steeping and is much the same…

Overall, this is a nice clean pure green processed Yiwu single estate production.  It has a classic melon and floral onset with very faint coolness and faint sweet aftertaste.  Simple but pure and enjoyable for what it is.  The Qi is a mild feel good and relaxing experience.

Guess: Epslion is a more green processed 2021 Yiwu from a single estate production like Gushu but not overly gushu.


Dry leaves smell of very sweet fresh forest odours freshly picked sheng odours. Smells like a nice Yiwu here… slightly deeper and darker than Epsilon. More pungent forest odours here.  Not the sharp cut through the young leaf material- we can expect a bit of bitterness from that… Wet leaves after the rinse have a roasted nutty kind of odour.  You can see that the leaves are darker and more rolled than the Epsilon.

First infusion has a roasted veggie with a bit of floral and melon undernieth roasted taste there is a bit of coolness in the throat and some melon but also creamy coolness melon.  There is more saliva producing effect in the upper throat.  Nice smooth feel good feeling.

The second infusion has a spinach watery sweet melon floral onset with a bit of subtle roasted nutty taste and more lubricating mouthfeel over a thin soft mouthcoating.  The subtle coolness is in the mid-deeper throat and pushes out a creamy cool and melon floral.  There is a bit of saliva returning.

The third infusion is cooled but has a melon, roast floral nuance to it a long melon finish with a bit of creamy sweet and cool throat.  Nice feel good Qi sensation.  Qi is the same as the Epsilon, flavours are almost the same with the Zeta with more spinach and roast and the Epsilon with more vegetal.  The mouthfeeling is better with the Zeta as there is significant saliva returning.

The fourth has a green roast vegetal onset with orchid and melon sweetness as the saliva returns over the soft thin mouthfeeling it brings a wave of creamy sweetness that trails into the aftertaste.  Nice feel good Qi a bit alerting too now.  Minutes later there is a lingering green sweet roasty note.  Nice upbeat/ feel good Qi.

The fifth infusion has a watery, roasty sweet, orchid, and melon onset with a faint cool mid-throat with a returning melon floral sweetness.  There is a long creamy breath minutes later over the faintly drying soft thin mouthfeeling.  The Qi is a feel good but is starting to compound into a stronger energetic giddiness.

The sixth infusion has a watery melon and orchid onset there is a bit of brackish like bitterness like roasty bitterness from a nut shell which comes and fades over a cool mid-throat causing a creamy sweetness to return with melon and some floral.  It happens over a soft thin subtly drying aftertaste.

The 7th has a watery melon and orchid with a faint roasted bitter nut shell taste the mouthfeeling is thin and a bit dry with a subtle coolness and faint returning melon aftertaste.  A nice relaxing Qi is taking hold now.  There is a rubbery vegetal taste left on the breath minutes later.

The 8th infusion has a woody vegetal bland onset with very faint melon and floral some faint cooling throat and some very faint lingering sweetness.  Overall, relaxing Qi experience now.

The 9th I add 20 seconds to the flash infusion and it pushes out bland sweetness with a subtle orchid sweetness and some cooling in the mid-upper throat over a tighter dryer thin mouthfeeling.  There is some sweet woodier melon in the aftertaste as well as some bitter finish with gripping mouthfeeling.  Very faint candy sweet finish on the breath minutes later.

The 10th I do a 30second steeping and get much the same…

I mug steep out the spent leaves with Epsilon on the Left/top and Zeta on the Right/bottom they both have a nice sweet melon and floral taste with Epsilon being more tart and astringent and Zeta being more bitter.  Zeta is also more course in its mouthfeeling with a deeper cool throat and longer aftertaste.  Epsilon has a more vegetal and more aromatic floral presence throughout with a chalkier mouthfeeling.  They have identical Qi… and Qi can’t lie…

Guess: These are the same puerh with different processing.  This must be the 2021 Longdui Guoyoulin Half-Cake Set with Epsilon being the normal rolling and the Zeta being the stronger rolling.  At $0.60/g this cake is priced right and the option for learning is an excellent bonus.  I think the spent leaves mug steeping says it all… there is great learning to be had with this one.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Marco’s 2021 Blind Tasting Delta

Oh notorious Delta… why have you such a bad rep these days???

Dry leaves smell of very smoky pine like odour.  There are still some hairy with tipped smallish leaves which look maybe 5 ish ? years old

The first infusion has a surprisingly light watery almost fruity viscus body to it.  It has a smoky & meaty finish to it with slight cooling.  Overall watery and light with meaty smoke.

The second infusion has a watery smokey liquid that has a faint hard to pin down not that sweet plum taste.  The mouthfeel is a bit viscus then fades to a drier mouthfeel with only a faint throat opening that leaves a smoky finish on the mouth.  There is some faint bodyfeelings that I notice early on- little things here and there but nothing substantive.

The third infusion has a smoky pine watery flat taste with a faint touch of caramel.  There are some bodyfeels that manifest as faint face twitching and tingling.  There is an incense finish to the taste that makes it seem older that it feels initially.  I’m getting the sense that this is older and perhaps Taiwanese stored.  The mouthfeel is faintly viscus initially then fades to a thin dryness.  There is a faintly but powerful floating mind sensation going on with this Qi.  The tastes are really separate, watery and loose feeling. Can feel a body easing feeling with some Heart racing.  It feels a touch like a factory tea but also a bit like a gushu.  Maybe a special production?  I’m leaning towards Xiaguan but could be Menghai Factory. It’s a unique feeling tea that is hard for me to place.  Definitely Menghai region puerh though. Something about the clear separate taste and clear storage reminds me vaguely of Wistaria productions as well.

The fourth infusion has a woody varnish like sweet woody surgery taste.  The taste is more condensed here with woody, slightly-moderate smoky especially in the finish.  There is a rolling faint creamy sweetness that fades into the breath nothing but smoke in the aftertaste.  The bodyfeelings are quite strong with this puerh as I have a strong pounding Heart now and tingling limbs and even my respiration is impacted.  My limbs have a tingling feeling and my head feels floaty.  Qi is really really strong.  This puerh is really about this strong Qi.

The fifth infusion has a faint sweetness onset with faint woody pine and smoke.  The tastes are all quite separate.  They come over a faint weak dry mouthfeeling and not much in the throat.  The finish that comes out of these tastes is a long thin candy taste.  The bodyfeeling is in the face, limbs, chest.  Floating mind qi feeling.

The sixth infusion has a smoke and woody pine simple and kind of empty flavor.  There is a subtle sweetness to it.  Strong Qi beats the heart.  Strong mind floating.

The seventh is much the same.  The flavor and aroma is very loose, light, and simple but the Qi is strong and engaging.  Woody pine, moderate smoke, long faint caramel sweet finish that fades out.  Strong face and limb reactions.  Intense Heart racing.  The cooled down remainder of the cup is quite woody-candy sweet but the taste is crisp and narrow.

The eighth infusion has a watery woody onset with less smoke and an emerging faint sweet incense finish.  The taste is really thin here.  The mouthfeeling is a very thin dryness.   The Qi is less strong as well as this puerh has really dropped off quite a bit.  There is still a floating spacy feeling that is pretty strong and a limb lightness type of feeling.

The ninth infusion has an incense onset which holds as the main taste throughout and just kind of fades away.  The Qi is still big and floats and sedates the mind.  There is glimpse of candy faint in the aftertaste under woody incense.  Heart opening feeling is strong.  Strong incense core tells me this puerh was dry stored for quite a while possibly sealed.  I re-evaluate the age of this puerh to be older than my earlier suspicions.

The 10th infusions is much more of the above incense, strong Qi, subtle candy hard to grasp faint aftertaste.  Thin dry mouhfeeling not much for throat feeling or stimulation.

11th are quite watery and insipid with only a faint incense and faint barely sweet finish over a dry mouth.  Strong sedating Qi now starts to really take hold of my mind.

12th I steep for 20 seconds to see if I can push some other tastes out without getting to much dry mouth.,, the result is a more condensed pine woody slight smoky taste with some faint cooling in the mouth over a increasingly dry mouthfeeling.  Big floating and sedating qi.  Strong bodyfeeling and Heart beats.  Faint long candy cooling and incense finish.

13th I put in a long infusion here… left to cool its quite woody sweet with a bit of a cooling numbness in the mouth.  The Qi has really backed me into a corner here and I feel quite docile and useless totally groggy under the spell of this puerh. A very strong downer Qi!

I push out another long one before ending things it tastes of woody varnish faint coolness faint bitter dryness.

Overall, I’m a bit unsure of this one… the taste is very simple and uncomplicated there are only really a few clear spaced out notes that emerge- wood pine, smoke, some sweetness(caramel rarely appears, sometimes a faint short candy finish), and a stronger incense core.  This one is really about the really big Qi and bodyfeelings- strong floating mind, sedating, and in the end I feel quite useless- like caught in a vat of pudding.  The bodyfeelings are intense with strong Heart sensations, limb and face tingling, and limb floating.  The Qi is really very powerful. 

Guess: It is mainly dryer stored, I think, maybe sealed and 8-15 years old ish.  It has a powerful Menghai area feel to it. In some ways this feels like a factory production and in some ways it feels like more than that. Hummm…. Not to sure about this one.  For some strange reason Marco’s take on my Alpha sample sounds a lot like this Delta sample… eerie…


Today I am drinking mug infusions of the spent leaves and they have a sweet plum and incense note, slight wood with a cooling menthol finish.  There is an incense and bitter coco aftertaste that lingers.  These mug infusions puts this age at early 2000s, maybe Xiaguan?


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Marco’s 2021 Blind Tasting Gamma

I decided to bask in the continuous rain we have been having for the past few days and cycle the long distance to work early in the morning.  When I get there and dry off I decide to open the next sample alphabetically and a warm aged odour greets me… a perfect sample to cozy up to I think…

Dry iron like tight compressed leaves smell of aged humid storage with a distinct dirt peaty odour but also there is a sweetness to it as well.  It kind of smells of dry-ish natural Taiwanese storage.  You can observe the distinct iron pressed straight edge which is a signature of such cakes.  Right away you know we are likely dealing with a Xiaguan 8653 Iron Cake until we can rule out otherwise… I give it a 30 second rinse then 30 minutes of rest in the warm teapot.

First infusion has a sweet hay and grass like taste with a rich creamy sweet woody taste with a returning not to sweet maple syrup subtle sweetness.  The mouthfeel is lubricating and nicely oily.

The second infusion starts with a spicy woody, vaguely smoky, and a sweet hay/grass like sweetness there is a cooling breath and throat then a returning sweet woody, almost spicy/forest, and not that sweet maple syrup finish.  The mouthfeeling is a thin sticky dense fine mossy mouthcoating.  Mild heart racing and energetic feeling but also soothing feeling Qi.  There is a hay kind of sweetness that lingers minutes later.

The third infusion has a slightly syrupy rich hay sweetness with a faint smoky incense mid-body and a sweet dry talc cherry medicinal nuance finish after mild cooling in the mouth.  The mouthfeeling is a bit mossy-dry on the tongue with not much throat involvement.  Nice mild-moderate curbed energetic feeling Qi.

Oh man… my workday got crazy fast and it takes me a few hours before returning the tea table… The fourth infusion has a smoky hay sweet woodsy onset there is a medicinal cooling finish that has a bit of sweetness and woodiness and incense.  The smoke lingers on the breath afterwards.

The 5th has a sweet hay and smoky onset with a sweet woody incense medicinal finish.  The mouthfeel is thin and mossy and faintly drying.  There is a sweet rich woody taste that appears throughout after a cooling mouth.  Nice mild alerting energy.

The 6th has a syrupy medicinal woody smoky sweetness that descends into a woody incense taste and returns as a dry leaf and not-so-sweet maple syrup taste.  The taste is really condensed and syrupy here.  The mouthfeel is thin and mossy.  Nice mild alerting energy.

The 7th has a watery hay woody taste upfront which then slowly transitions to a woody incense after a cooling mouth.  Nice mossy slight dry coating.  Nice mild alerting energy.

The 8th has a malty hay sweet woody kind of initial taste. There is a cooing medicinal finish to it, a bit sweet.  The thin mossy mouthfeeling seems to harmonize nicely with the aged tastes.  Nice mild alertness is getting me through this day today with a level head.

The 9th was left to cool and gives off a robust mildly sweet hay and muted maple syrup yet reasonably condensed cool medicinal almost dry woody camphor kind of taste.  The mouthfeeling is mossy.  Qi is softly alerting.

The 10th has a medicinal woody faint sweet hay onset with a lingering woody incense follow through.  The mossy mouthfeeling supports this all.  Nice harmonizing slightly alerting Qi here.

The 11th has a rich woody taste to it with a cooling which comes with a woody medicinal finish.  The mouthfeeling is a bit dryer here.  There is an incense like taste left in the mouth, a bit smokier in the finish now.  The wet leaves in the pot smell like delicious raison.

12th infusion has a mellow sweetness to it of hay and almost bread before turning to cooling and medicinal in the mouth over a thin mossy tongue coating.  There is a lingering sweet woody nuance.

13th infusion has a woody incense onset that has an underlying sweet woody taste that turns cool and incense medicinal.  There is a soft thin mossy almost drying mouthfeeling. 

14th is really nice sweet peat woody almost spicy incense woody taste with the main taste being sweet.  The mouthfeel is soft fainter moss here.

The slow release of the iron pressed cake allowed for a hand full of more sweet, rich, woody, incense, tasting infusions.  Then slowly the complexity started to wane and the bitterness started to take over.  The bitter infusions lasted past 20 before it weakened into bitter woody water.  Very nice!

Guess: 2001-2004 Xiaguan 8653 Iron Cake.  It looks like Teas We Like has a lot of these listed on its site here.  The description of the storage matches my experience with this cake- drier natural Taiwanese storage.  I had consumed the 1990s Xiaguan 8653 once in a while in the puerh tea shops in Korea many years ago.  They were much more humidly stored than this sample.  I love the way the session slowly progresses as the compression loosens from these iron bings.  Although talking up the Iron Bing, I don’t own any 8653 and am interested in purchase of this one once I know which one it is.


Friday, August 20, 2021

Marco’s 2021 Blind Tasting Beta

I know it is common practice or etiquette to sample the younger, cooler energy puerh before the older aged warmer energy puerh.  However, after the sauna which was Marco’s blind “Alpha” sample I needed something cooler in energy to bring my sweating-overheated-self back into harmony.  In fact it is common that I will drink a super warming puerh in the cool of early morning then cool things down in the afternoon with something younger.  There isn’t anything wrong with that- its called “listening to your body”.  So I thought to squeeze in another blind sampling on this first rainy cool day in a few months of drought.   So I started on the next sample alphabetically and I opened the package labeled “beta”.  It looked and smelt pretty young so I just went for it in the afternoon of a long but leisurely day at work…

Dry leaves are younger looking with a thin white hairy fur presentation they smell sweet- an orange floral kind of odour.  Rinsed leaves smell of sweet mineral, coco and piercing pungent sweetness.

The first infusion is a very creamy creamy almost custard sweetness that transverses to a creamy coolness.  The profile is very clear, pure and young maybe 2020 material here?  The creaminess is long in the aftertaste.  Lots of cooling sweetness on the inhale.  Thin oily soft light creamy tongue coating.  Spacy Qi sensation here.  The wet leaves smell of a pungent gamey- mushroom odour that reminds me a bit of Yiwu regions far south and a bit of even close to border tea territory.

The second infusion has a creamy buttery cup vibrant fruity taste with subtle mushroom-gamey-forest-almost smoky nuance but mainly a strong clear pure sweetness.  Very clear pure long sweetness.  The throat sensation is deep with a very creamy sweetness returning.  There is a subtle barn yard like taste to it to give it depth.  The aftertaste is deep and long.  Spacy Qi.

The third infusion has a licorice creamy peach vibrant sweetness to it with a forest taste underneath that faintly appears and disappears as well.  Nice peachy light creamy sweetness, a long pure sweetness.  Somewhat reminds me of Lincang here but more likely Yiwu.

The fourth infusion has a creamy peachy gushu sweetness.  The taste is pure and long.  This puerh kind of reminds me of the 2015 BiYunHao Lishan Gongcha.  In its long pure sweetness and is starting to finish slightly coco chocolate.  The effect is very nice.  Not sure if it’s just because it’s coming from Marco but it seems like it has a Biyun Hao production taste and feel to it… Maybe 2019 Lishan Gongcha?  Nice spacy Qi.

The fifth infusion has a nice coco chocolate onset with a creamy sweet bready taste creamy and smooth.  The chocolate subtle nutty taste is more creamy than bitter and the sweet taste is very long.  Nice vibrant pure tastes here reminiscent of Biyun Hao productions.  Nice spacy Qi sensations.  Very deliciously tasty.  Has an almost medicinal sweet mushroom aftertaste.  Yummy!

The sixth infusion has a vibrant fruity melon and peachy pop of an onset with an emerging and supportive chocolate base that expands long in the long run uninterrupted aftertaste.  The mouthfeel is velvety and soft.  The throat feeling is a deep opening feeling.  Vibrant and clear taste with a nutty choco body to it and a vibrant long sweet bread taste.  The taste has a pop to it that is really very much Biyunhao.  Nice euphoria Qi.

The 7th has a creamy coco biter chocolate tasting very delicious thing.  A long cool chocolate tasting thing.  Has a nutty almost bitter dirt like taste to it something here reminds me of Banzhong.  Long cool sweet chocolate profile.  Nice spacy feeling.  Oily soft mouthfeeling.

The 8th has a creamy coco sweetness with a sweet nutty taste to it.  Really long profile aftertaste over an oily soft faintly gripping mouthfeeling.  Nice euphoric Qi.  Not much for body feelings.

9th has a watery fruity coco chocolate taste that has a deep faint coolness which carries a long undisrupted sweet creamy coco aftertaste.  Nice euphoria.  Soft velvety mouthfeeling with an oily feeling.

10th infusion has a watery coco nutty roasted creamy sweetness.  The moderate euphoria of the qi is starting to make me feel ungrounded and a bit stoned.  Nice velvety mouthfeeling. 

11th has a bit of a carrot dirt taste that reminds me of Nannou (Shah8 would say) area puerh it mingles with coco and has a different roasted hazelnut dirt coco carrot taste to it.  There is an interesting saliva gob building with a faint creamy sweet finish that is somewhat vegetal.  I’m getting some Heart palpitations now from the Qi.

12th is a watery dirt kind of taste with some nutty tastes, coco bitter tastes and creamy sweet tastes emerging.  The taste has flattened out a bit and became a bit more bitter.  The mouthfeel and throatfeel are moderately gripping now.

Next day…

The 13th tastes pretty watery a bit of sweet watery celery and some floral faint watery tastes.  Still faint cool throat with a flat thin mouthfeeling.  Pear fruity aftertaste.

14th is still at flash steeping and has a watery chocolate taste with a sweet pear fruity returning taste.  Long cool sweetness, almost sugary here.  Sweet taste is really long and ethereal, pure and unimpeded.  Still has a mild euphoria.  Nice long sweetness…

15th has a more watery mushroom-dirt-coco watery taste… not much taste… but what is there is long the coco turns to coolness and long faint fading sweetness….

I put this one into mug steepings…

The result is a moderately bitter slight vegetal coco tasting thing with a long cool breath finish.  The mug steeping is quite nice and full feeling.  A nice euphoric Qi is still there to be enjoyed.

Guess: 2019/2020, Yiwu, BiYun Hao.  This is likely a BiYun Hao production as it has that taste and feel and processing and, well, it came from Marco, which biases me leaning toward BiYun Hao.  It tastes like a Southern Yiwu area Gushu puerh to me.  This sample really reminds me a lot of the 2015 BiYun Hao LiShan Gongcha and I think it might be the 2019 Bi Yun HaoLiShan Gongcha or at least some of the individual components that go into this blend like this or this?  It has the really long ethereal super stretched out sweetness that the 2015 LiShanGongCha has.  There are licorice like sweet tastes to it and an almost Lincang like feel to it.  Then as the session goes it develops this bitterness to it.  In this way this sample has a similar feel to my blind tasting of the 2015 last Summer.  But looking back on my notes they are only roughly similar…


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Marco’s 2021 Blind Tasting Alpha

Okay I got the package in the mail yesterday then got right at the blind tasting today which is the first cool day in a few months during the drought here in Western Canada.  It’s a rainy day and the first day with overnight temperatures dipping past 15 C. Work is steady but not busy… perfect for a day of blind sampling…

Dry leaves have a smoky leathery yet underlying sweet Yiwu odour that smells a lot like Yang’s storage of Yang Qing Hao.  The smell tells my brain that I’ve had this puerh before…

First infusion has quite a smooth soft sweetness obvious of Yiwu.  The creamy sweetness onset has a touch of tart, almost bitter coco, and finishes a faint creamy cool dry woody on the breath.  Nice smooth feeling in taste, Qi and in its watery oily mouthfeeling that induces a mild salivation.  There is aftertastes even minutes later in the oily mouth.

The second infusion has a woody teak, creamy sweet robustness to it.  There are some leather almost beet sweet potato notes underneath.  Overall a very woody creamy yiwu taste, nice coolness in throat.  The veggies notes remind me of Gua Feng Zhi.  All the tastes are over a chalky oily mouthfeeling.  There is nice throat saliva stimulating even minutes later.  Qi is really nice, strong in a relaxing euphoria floating feeling kind of way.

The third infusion has a sweet onset of creamy sweet almost cherry powdery sweetness there is a bit of woodiness then a coolness in the mouth that reaches down the throat.  Nice cooling creamy sweet finish.  Nice smooth feeling to this puerh, very sweet.  Very comforting and cozy and mild euphoria.  Chalky oily mouthfeeling with an open deep throat and slow saliva returning minutes later.  Subtle smoke on breath minutes later.

The fourth infusion has a very sweet creamy onset with a slightly tart cherry teak woody backbone.  The woodiness is stronger than the sweet here but a nice balance with a cooling deep throat and some gripping with returning saliva.  There is a bit of pucker here with some astringency.  Nice putting-at-ease Qi feeling that is deep and penetrating.  Very comforting. Mild body sensations of slight floating and limb tingling.

The fifth infusion has a woody sweet onset the taste is a bit more woody teak tasting than sweet now.  The woody taste is substantial.  There is a bit of astringency but mainly is smooth woody sweetness.  A long cooling throat with chalky mouthfeeling.  Nice relaxing Qi feeling.  Slight floating with mild limbs tingling.

The 6th has a creamy smooth woody sweetness nice chalky mouthfeeling.  There is a bit of tart cherries and coolness in the throat.  Mainly woody with some sweetness.  Nice spacy-relaxing-cozy feeling.

The 7th is again a nice creamy sweet which turns a bit woody astringent.  Nice chalky full mouthfeeling.  Faint smoke and leather.  Relaxing cozy feeling, with a subtle light feeling in the body some limb and even face tingling.  Creamy sweetness is left in mouth minutes later.

8th has a flatter cherry creamy fruity taste with a wood underneath.  It is more creamy sweet than woody here.  Subtle astringency that returns a bit of saliva, faint smoke and leather.  It seems to alternate.  Face tingling and limb tingling is becoming more obvious now. 

9th has a creamy menthol taste to it woody, creamy, cool pungent, sweet.  Nice Yiwu-ness to it.  A bit of pucker, astringent griping but mild and deep throaty cool feeling with stronger dryness.  Subtle warm spicy cinnamon on breath minutes later.  Warming cozy feeling induces a sweat.

10th has a watery creamy woody astringent onset with deep cool throat.  Woody and creamy sweet almost leather.  The last few infusions have been more gripping but also a lingering sweetness minutes later.

11th has a more watery feeling with a stronger astringency but without as much flavor initially but more of mainly creamy sweet deep cool throaty aftertaste and breath taste.  Nice relaxing cozy feeling.  Saliva struggling to return.

12th has a woody, dry gripping, with more sweetness now on the breath- a creamy sweet taste.  There is some mineral taste, and even leathery tastes.  Limb and face tingling and warm cozy feeling with face warming now.  Some subtle spice in the aftertaste minutes later.

13th has a creamy woody almost fruity leather taste to it.  Face sweating is happening.  Some dry puckering.  Nice long sweet taste in throat.  Lots of heat generated in this one.  Nice cozy feeling on this rainy day.

14th has a watery creamy fruity taste.  Slight dry gripping mouthfeeling with deep throat cool and lingering sweet breath taste.  Compounding warming energy.

The long mug steepings of spent leaves are a bit dirt tasting with a bitter astringent woodiness left over… nothing much left to savour.

Guess:  Either a 2004-2006 Yang Qing Hao production or the Yang Stored 2001 Jing-Yeh Hao “Green Sun”

The Yiwu pedigree, 2004-2006, Yang storage, and Gushu profile is undeniable here.  It is most likely the 2001 Jinyehao (Green Sun) cake stored by Yang which was the only cake I requested to try from Marco.  It might just taste a bit younger due to maybe Marco purchasing it from Yang’s storage 3-5 years ago then it being exposed to dryer sealed storage here in Canada? Also it seems to roughly match what Shah8’s notes say about the famous 2001 Jinyehao.  I especially relate to the fact it could be autumn material due to the intense wood character that sometimes occurs in semiaged autumn cakes that I’ve tried before. What impressed me the most about this sample was the deep penetrating warmth cozy feeling of the Qi here which is really satisfying and pretty intense.  This kind of Intensely warming Qi is something I have not experienced from Yang Qing Hao productions before. 


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Marco’s 2021 Blind Tasting Intro

 Okay, hear we are again… another COVID Summer and another blind sampling swap with my old school puerh loving bud from the Six!  This summer we decided on sending 4 blind samples with one of the four being a cake that we requested to sample…. The others… who knows? But then we couldn’t decide what to send so we just sent more!

Last year ended up being a really nice opportunity for me to blind taste a lot of stuff from TeasWeLike.  Marco bended my mind a bit on how accurate his assessments were.  This year promises to be equally fun!  I even tried my hand at the Greek alphabet this year… hahaha. Please follow along and join us for the ride…


Friday, August 13, 2021

2012 Essence of Tea Cloud Watching: Nice Dry Storage Gushu

I purchased a sample of this 2012 Essence of Tea CloudWatching ($298.00 for 357g cake or $0.83/g).  The dry leaves just looked too good to not try.  This find of David and Yingxi was released at the same time as their 2021 Spring release.

Dry leaves smell of faint dry leaves and cardboard.  Not too much here but an obvious clean dryness.

The first infusion has a watery paper, and dry wood bark initial taste with a faint taste of spice and faint cooling on the lips that comes with a faint white sugar edge.

The second infusion has a watery clear warm spicy peppery note initially that drifts into a faint cooling open throat with a retuning faint white sugar not that sweet taste.  The mouthfeeling has a bit of lip drying and very very mild light sandy coating.  Nice relaxing feeling as I sigh.

The third infusion has a viscus mushroom warm spice watery and clear onset with a deep faint cool open throat with some icing sugar finish.  There is a bit of mushroom and forest taste and spice left in the mouth.  The mouthfeeling is a very very faint dry sticky with dry lips- a very soft mouthfeeling.  The taste sort of lingers along.  Relaxing smoothness.

The fourth infusion has a honey mushroom forest taste initially with a bit of background warm spice.  It turns into a mild cooling open throat and a bit of faint sugar.  There is some forest mushroom in the aftertaste.  The mouthfeel is full but thin, slight drying lips, slight sticky tongue.  Relaxing and tranquil feeling… a bit spacy.

The fifth infusion has a chalky woody dry leaf mushroomy taste.  There is a cool throat with a woody dry with a bit of sugar almost camphor aftertaste.  Nice thin full mouthfeeling with a mushroom woody aftertaste.  Deep contemplative relaxing.

The 6th has a woody mushroom cooling camphor with thin sugar taste.  There is a subtle foresty complexity in the dry leaf, dry woody, mushroomy, forest thing.  Nice full mouthfeeling. 

7th is left to cool and gives off a camphor cool woody dry leaf mushroom taste that turns into a not that sweet honey-sugar sweetness on the breath.  Thin full moufeeling without any throat involvement.  An open throat with some subtle coolness and brings a returning sweetness of mushrooms and honey and white sugar.  The tastes are really crisp and clean.

8th infusion is left to cool and has a woody cooling camphor with some faint honey mushroom sugar mild sweetness returning.  There are some bread tastes in there as well.  The mouthfeeling is really full sticky taste.  Nice relaxing Qi.  Strongly puts me at ease.

9th has a creamy bready woody mushroom forest onset with faint cooling throat and returning sugary mild sweetness, forest-mushroom.  Nice thin full sticky mouthcoating that is a bit dry and grainy and dry lips.  Nice relaxing calm.

10th has a mushroom almost faint bitter sweet fruit dry wood.  There is a dry woody-mushroom bread creamy very faint sweet taste in the aftertaste.  This infusion starts to get a touch bitter but the others so far had no bitter or astringency.  The mouthfeeling also becomes more gripping here.  Nice spacy relaxed feeling.

11th is cooled down and has a mushroomy-forest almost fruity-honey sweetness.  There is just edges of bitterness and coolness and wood.  Full dry-sticky mouthfeeling.  Relaxing vibes.

12th has a bitter mushroom woody taste to it with some throat cooling and faint sweet honey.  The mouthfeeling has become quite gripping with the increase of bitterness honey tastes has also increased but lots of sutlites of taste are lost.

I run out of time in my day and mug steep out the rest but these leaves could easily be steeped at least a few more times.  The mug infusions reveal lots of flavor and complexity over a bitter backbone.  I like the flavours and feeling of what is left in the mug.

Overall, this is a really nicely dry stored Gushu type production.  The Jinghong dry storage really preserves the subtleties nicely. I like the interesting and tasty complex tastes which are at first subtle then dynamic especially the mushroom-honey taste create an interesting balance.  The session slowly builds in intensity as it goes.  In the end the bitterness and the mouthfeeling become stronger but the Qi reminds us that we are, in fact, quite relaxed.

I like this one a lot, maybe not enough to cake for this price, but my assessment is much closer to Alex’s than Shah8’s assessment of this puerh.

Alex’s (Teanotes) Tasting Notes

Shah8’s (B&B) Tasting Notes


Monday, August 9, 2021

2020 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai: Sweet and Powerful

I’m a fan of the Ban Po Lao Zhai productions at Puerist.  So I was happy to find this complimentary sample in my last order from Purist.  The one I got was this2020 Puerist Ban Po Lao Zhai goes for approx.$99.00 for 200g cake or $0.50/g

Dry leaves smell of sweet grapes.  There is almost a fresh sea breeze odour to them that reminds me of being on a beach on the ocean…kind of different for a Ban Po Lao Zhai …smells very fresh.

First infusion has a creamy very sweet creamy, almost ice cream sweetness that has edges of berries and wood very soft thicker silky texture in the mouth.  Nice saliva producing effect.  Long creamery sweet taste throughout the start to the finish.  Nice very thick creamy oily mouthfeeling.  The oily texture is excellent here.  Faint pungent cool taste brings out long sweet finish.  The taste is really satisfying here.

The second infusion has a cherry and grain kind of soapy grapes onset with a long pungent woody cool finish.  The mouthfeel is now a chalky almost sticky lips tightness.  It is felt in the mid-throat kind of stimulating it and drying it.  Nice oily chalky texture.  Lots of saliva producing mouthwatering effect.  So tasty with a very enlivening Qi and uplifting feeling with a gentle bodyfeeling with some face and hand tingling.  Taste, aroma, mouthfeeling, Qi are all quite nice.

Third is a mild quick moving bitter that turns to a woody cherry very creamy sweetness with a bit of astringency here.  The Qi is starting to slow the mind down, kind of floating feeling in the body.  There is still a woody menthol creamy finish on the breath.  Cherries also return with woody and astringency is noted in the finish.  Strong Qi in this one.  Astringency is enough to make my empty stomach cringe.

Fourth has a quick bitter that pops into a creamy sweet cherry berry sweetness.  There is some woody taste and some cooling pungent in the mid-throat.  A bit of saliva retuning.  Very sweet tasting overall with a bitter/astringency that makes it pop.  The mouthfeeling is a bit puckering.  Qi is enlivening in the mind.

5th has a juicy fruity sweet vibrant pop of thick white grapes and cherries flavor that fades into a cooling pungent woody sweetness.  These infusion have lots of sweet vibrancy.  Very juicy and oily in the mouth.  Thick viscous feeling with a nice returning sweetness. 

6th has a cherry very sweet pop of taste with a very mild bitter astringency- more astringency than bitter.  The sweet fruity cherry tart taste rides into the aftertaste with a bit of creamy sweetness underneath.  Nice bready creamy woody but mainly just this long vibrant tart sweetness.  Fruity and creamy and full feeling.  The mouthfeeling is puckering with a bit of returning saliva.  Qi is enlivening and uplifting without being strong.

7th has juicy pop of tart cherries and white grapes flavours.  There is a puckering mouthfeeling with some creamy sweet, bread sweet, dry woody and cooling mid-throat.   A bit of saliva retuning and a good feeling overall.  Nice upbeat Qi.

The 8th has a nice sunny juicy white grapes taste to it with a faint bitter/astringency that emerges without impeding the flow of sweetness in the mouth and into the saliva.  It kind of finishes chalky in the mouth.  The mouthfeeling is chalkier than puckering now.  The Qi has a mellowing effect on the mind.  I can feel some face tingling.

9th has a soapy grape almost floral creamy sweet onset with a slight tart astringency.  The bitterness carries a soapy woody mineral finish to it.  The infusions are primarily very sweet with notable astringency which producing a nice saliva effect and there is also faint cooling now in the mid-throat and a soapy chalk aftertaste.

10th has lots of juicy fruity almost tart but creamy sweet soapy tastes and ends in a woody bland mineral taste with a faint distant floral.  The moutnfeeling is drier pucker and the infusion has lost its oily texture and saliva producing. 

11th has a quickly fleeting fruit sweetness that is taken by the dirt-wood bitterness that finishes in the aftertaste as coco.  A dry sticky pucker mouthfeeling remains.  The Qi is really mellowing now a bit hypnotic maybe.

12th infusion is more tart and bitter astringent with a woody mineral bitter dirt taste primarily.  The mouthfeel is a full drying pucker but with no oily texture anymore or returning saliva this is feeling shallow.  Still relaxing mellowing Qi.

Mug steeping… is pretty bitter and astringent with a bit of sweetness wood and vegetal taste.  The bitter astringency dominates these late infusions.

This puerh is powerful enough that you can under leaf it and still get very nice results.  Today I’m drinking the remainder of the sample and it still comes through well.  The first handful of infusions are especially delicious.  There is a bit of power behind this one which will help it age nicely too.  I still prefer the 2013 and 2015 (also Tea Encounter’s 2015) over this one though.  This one tastes awfully young still.


Saturday, August 7, 2021

I Don’t Crave Smoky Puerh on Days with Smoky Weather

 Readers of this blog may already know that I am a fan of a bit of smoky taste in my puerh.  I understand that this can also be seen as a flaw but I don’t care.  There is something strangely comforting with a touch of smoke in aged sheng- like sitting by an outdoor bonfire on a clear summer night, a wood burning fireplace in the cold of winter or next to a warm hearth or charcoal tea stove.  Besides, all of the old puerh I started drinking a long time ago had at least a bit of smoke in it and I developed an appreciation for it.  I’m fond of it in the same way I like the dirt taste in my puerh.

This summer, like many summers of the last decade, there have been terrible forest fires in Canada’s West.  When there are weather advisories for poor air quality caused from the forest fire smoke you can really taste the smoke in the air.  On these days, I am really put off by smoky tasting puerh and generally don’t cave it anymore.  I recalled a similar lack of craving during some really smoggy spring days in Korean many years ago.  It just no longer seems harmonious to imbibe the smoky note in puerh at these times.  When it’s smoky or smoggy outside I crave a bright young Sheng or, even better, a fresh early spring green tea.  There is something more pure and clean about these that I wish upon myself during these hot hazy days.