Friday, September 24, 2021

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

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

Okay let’s get into it here…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I mug steep the rest of this out…

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

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

I like this one…

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

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

….But oh man that Qi…


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex’s (Teanotes) Tasting Notes


Sunday, September 19, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I mug steep it out overnight…

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

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

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

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

Another good one without killing the bank account!


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai Gushu: Comparison of Tea Encounter Guafengzhai

This 2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai Gushu is from the Chaping garden of Guafengzhai and goes for $269.38 for 200g cake or $1.35/g.  I sampled last year’s version and liked it enough to buy some when it was discounted on Black Friday of last year.  I hope to compare this free sample with some other guafengzhai from Tea Encounter..

Dry leaves smell of a deep pungent forest fresh odours with faint fruity sweetness.

The first infusion has a sweet deep forest taste initially with a pungent and gamey edge to it there is a deep throat coolness and a long slow releasing creamy corn, pumpkin, and sweet melon and floral sweetness that follows.  A creamy sweetness expands in the mossy mouthfeeling.  Nice euphoria feeling is detected early.

The second infusion has a juicy light splash of oily fruity sweetness which has a foresty faint pungent underbelly over a chalky mouthfeeling and deeper open throat.  A mild euphoric feeling and stronger clam washes over me.  There is a mild sticky sweet finish on the breath.  Strong deep Qi feeling of floating mind.

The third infusion has a strong juicy oily bready pumpkin muffin taste to it that has a faint foresty pungency but a strong thick sweet finish that evolves from a bready, fruity, then to a creamy sweetness over the chalky tonguecaoting and open throat.  Nice strong deep euphoria Qi feeling with strong mind floating.  There is a thick rich feeling to the liquour and taste and Qi.  Deep evolving Qi relaxing matches nicely to the thick oily sweet tastes.

The fourth infusion has a more spicy pungent sweetness initially with an oily texture that evolves into sweetness over a mossy and chalky mouthfeeling and deeper open throat.  There is a strong bready taste to the sweetness but it is layered over fruity tastes and creamy sweet finishes.  A strong deep relaxing takes hold with a euphoric feeling to it.  There is the sensation of an opening chest and dipapragm and some neck and shoulder release.

The 5th infusion has a sweet creamy fruity onset with a thick cottony fluffy mouthfeeling there are some vegetal hints as well as some foresty hints of flovours.  The vegetal sweetness turns to a subtle creamy sweetness in the mouth.  The strong deep relaxing takes hold.  Floating head feeling feels quite stoner feeling.  Chest open and shoulder and jaw relax.  Nice deep penetrating Qi.

The 6th has a spicy oily thicker sweetness, a pumpkin and bread sweetness with a deep throat cooling and emerging foresty taste.  There is a retuning creamy sweetness with some saliva producing effects.  A creamy cooling woody finish.  Minutes later tropical fruity tastes in the saliva.  Strong swaying body feeling euphoria.  Some faint woody astringency is building.  Nice banana finish.

The 7th is a cool thickish syrupy pear taste over woody notes and forest suggestions some deep pungency and some oily saliva returning.  Nice evolution with banana and woody pear sweet tastes left in the minutes long breath.  Nice deep relaxing.  With open chest and abdomen feeling.  Mild euphoria.  Long sweet aftertaste.

8th has a cool fruity and even a bit smoky taste to it initialy with woody, sweet, almost yeasty tsates to it.  The deep relaxation is nice as is the mild euphoria that follows.  Nice almost milky bready finish with a creamy sweet edge.

9th was left to cool and has a sour fruity almost citrus-mango like vegetal with a creamy cooling almost menthol finsh.  The mouthfeeling is less thick mossy here with still an open deep throat going on.  The flavor is mainly nuances of sweetness with some denser feeling to it in the form of faint forest and wood.  Nice relaxing euphoria.

10th is mainly a woody sweet pumpkin bread taste with still a strong cooling and returning creamy sweetness.  There is a lesser chalkier feeling in the mouth and still a deep throat of cool pungent taste.  More of a rubbery woody nuance to it now.  Nice relaxing chill.

11th infusion has a more dryer wood dominating mouthfeeling and taste with still a deep coolness but more of a bitter astgringent woody taste throughout with some returning creaminess.  The mouthfe puckering is noticed but a nice open throat feeling where less sweetness is pushed out.  Strong relaxing still.

12th has a bitter woody onset with a mossy pasty dryer mouthfeeling.  There are just edges of sweetness now whit a deep cooling. Some significant astringency.  Melon and creamy sweetness emerge under the bitterness at the end.

13th is left to cool and gives off a flat woody sweet sour fruity with some mild astringent bitterness over a chalky, slight dry mouth, and cooling throat.  The aftertaste is quite sweet woody melon. Quite enjoyable still.

14th is a sour bland sweet mango pear type sweetness with still nice deep throat cooling and long sweet finish.  Nice relaxing day today slight might euphoria and face tingling… its been a good day…

The mug steeping of spent leaves are deep and full in the mouth over a chalky oily texture with an initial forest pungent and subtle sweetness but a very deep cooling and stronger dense sweet retuning sweetness that lingers in the breath.  Thick feeling overall.  There is a strong base taste of bitter astringency underneath everything.

I did a comparison sampling of 2021 Tea Encounter GuafengzhiXiaoshu (above), 2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhi (Chaping) Gushu (Middle), and 2020 Guafengzhi (Chaping) Gushu (below).

The 2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai Xiaoshu was surprisingly closer to the 2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhi Gushu as far as value goes.  However, the xiaoshu didn’t have the enduring sweetness and deeper qi and unraveling complexity to it which is expected for something of that price.  I didn’t have any sample of the 2019 xiaoshu to compare because it is so effortlessly delicious I probably drank up the sample quickly.  It makes a bit of sense because the Gushus are not strong singular gushu’s here… but they have great appeal to me in their width, mouthfeeling/throatfeeling, and qi.  Last year’s 2020 Guafengzhi Gushu was much sweeter in taste with a more condensed intensity of taste.  This year’s 2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai Gushu is similar in its Qi, mouthfeeling/throatfeelng, and taste- a very nice package overall.

Alex’s (Teanotes) Tasting notes


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai: A Bargain Favorite!

This is the third year in a row that Tea Encounter has produced this xiaoshu, small bush, Gua Feng Zhai (the 2019 and 2020 were pressed from the same batch of 2019 Maocha).  It was a good one especially for its price.  This 2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai was given as a free sample for review but usually goes for a crazy cheap $68.69 for 250 g cake or $0.27/g. 

The dry leaves smell of peppery sweet delicious fresh forest and barnyard odours… complex smelling…

The first infusion has a pungent/peppery onset with a creamy forest-barnyard with a faint cooling and subtle woody sweetness.  The tastes gloss over a watery and mildly lubricating mouthfeeling.  The aftertaste is mainly a foresty-barnyard- pungent that fades out in the mouth.

The second infusion has a robustly peppery pungent forest barnyard onset that has a subtle coolness then a woody almost dryness in the upper throat.  The mouthfeel is mossy with a subtle upper throat simulation.  The aftertaste is a more pungent peppery foresty fade out.  The infusion has a bit of salty tastes and almost a faint pasty dryness to the mouth.  The Qi congregates in the chest, races the heart a bit and provides an expansive mind feeling with a clear alertness. 

The third infusion comes with pungent peppery force and an almost melon sweetness there is a woody taste, foresty-pungent-barnyard taste with a cooling upper throat and mouth.  Very pungent tasting with layers of spicy coolness and warmer peppery spices.  There is a melon sweetness that starts to emerge from more salty and a lot of spicy tastes.  There is pasty mouthfeeling and upper-mid throat stimulating feeling.  The Qi is mildly euphoric and expansive and races the Heart and brings a stern clarity.  There is lots going on with this puerh… all good and complex thingys- mouthfeelings, Qi sensations, bodyfeelings, taste, aroma, … so good … tastes blended possibly or from a wide area of Guafengzhai or of layered processing… nicely complex for sure.

The fourth infusion has a spicy peppery pungent onset with forest barnyard and wood.  The taste imparts a strong cooling then a classic returning melon sweetness under layers of spicy cool and warm spice which stays strong throughout.  There is an upper throat stimulation thing happening with a very full pasty chalky mouthfeeling and gob of saliva producing.  The Qi is euphoric with a strong alerting and Heart racing, slightly warming and some face tingling sensations.  The concentrated aroma and taste and strong Qi and bodyfeeling- so good!

The fifth infusion has a woody pungent forest barnyard onset with a creamy melon finish.  Over a chalky full mouthfeeling and simulating upper throat.  There is a cooling then a returning creamy melon finish.  Big chest Heart feeling, alerted mind racing, some face tingling, energetic.  With no bitter or astringency this puerh also feels nice on the body.

The sixth infusion is left to cool and is quite sweet with a tropical fruity banana onset with notes of forest pungent coolness in the mid profile.  A long cool melon and tropical fruits finishes.  With a stronger chest and Heart feeling with strong alertness.

The seventh infusion has a condensed woody, banana, peppery, pungent coolness with a returning sweetness of woody and tropical fruits.  There is a salty, spicy and sweet combination here which is quite complex and seems like it must be blended.  I look into the pot and see lots of dark olive leaf mixed with lots of lime green clolours.  Could be a blend of different processing as well?   Its very satisfying to me.  Strong Heart racing and face tingling are interesting and paired with the strong energy push this puerh packs a punch.  The mouthfeeling is also quite thick chalky with some saliva returning and upper throat simulation.

The eighth infusion is left to cool and finishes really sweet with a tropical fruity full flavoured taste.  Nice sweet pops of flavor with a returning mouthfeeling that pushes a saliva taste of creamy rich sweetness banana tropics.  The mouthfeeling remains thick throughout- a chalky pasty sticky throughout. Nice energetic Qi.  A bit of upper throat simulation.

Day got crazy and I’m headed back for the 9th infusion the next day…

The 9th has a thick melon onset over a lubricating mouthfeeling.  There is a nice dense flavor to this puerh- a beefy Guafengzhi type of thing.  The mouthfeeling is pasty chalky and full and the finish is slight cool with dense fruity oily finish in the mouth.  The Qi is energetic and alerting.

The 10th infusion has a thick oily melon sweetness with slight bready onset there is some faint woody and foresty-pungent tastes in there as well.  There is a thick pasty mouthfeeling and some upper throat simulation and mild saliva returning.  The aftertaste is kind of pungent-barnyard forest and sort of melon sweet.  There is a cool throat feelng minutes later.  A strong alerting energy with some haziness and face tingling.

The 11th infusion has a woody profile throughout with melon sweet onset with a puckering woody forest and pungent underbelly.  There is more puckering and astringency here in this infusion and it brings out the woody aspects of this puerh.  Strong alerting and slightly hypnotic energy now with some face tingling.

The 12th infusion has a woody taste with some subtle sweeter melon edges along with a pungent foresty taste.  There is a bit of cooing then a bit more melon sweetness under a puckering woody taste in the mouth.  Mouthfeeling is more puckering slightly and the taste becomes woodier now.

The 13th infusion has a woody sweet becoming a bit puckering slight grainy but still pretty flavourful taste. The taste is thinning a bit now it’s pretty much just the polarities of melon and wood with still nice throat stimulation and coolness with some fading melon wood finish.  Astringency builds a bit here.

The 14th is a creamy woody pungent foresty onset that is predominantly woody and with a puckering astringency to it now.  Some cool throat exists as well as faint melon breath…

The mug steeping of spent leaves pushes out very deep foresty pungent salty tastes that have a thick chalky oily texture and a long deep throat pungent coolness.

This is probably going to be the best 2021 puerh I try for this price or less.  It punches way above its weight.  Strong stoning Qi.  Recommend.


Monday, September 13, 2021

2021 Tea Encounter Chawangshu Gushu: Statisfying Chawangshu!

“Why not press a Gushu Chawangshu?” I ask… then he did!!!  

“If not for anyone then at least for us!” I exclaimed… and so destiny has arrived…

A sample of this 2021 Tea Encounter Chawangshu Gushu was supplied free for review but normally goes for $350.19 for 200g or $1.75/g… nobody said Chawangshu was ever cheap…

Dry leaves smell of pungent gamey barnyard forest odours.

First infusion has a buttery/ milky creamy floral onset that melts into a creamy melon chalky sweetness slowly over the tongue and into the throat and breath.  A long sauntering velvety sweetness is released.  The mouthfeeling is a mild mossy and the texture is quite oily and lubricating.  There is a long melon floral almost potato and fresh spring grassy rainfall taste to it that it quite delicate but nuanced.

The second infusion has a buttercup milky/creamy fresh foresty sweetness that is very oily and floral and melts in to the soft mossy mouthfeeling leaving a slow dispersing floral, melon, fresh rainfall taste dissolve over the mouth.  The throat faintly opens but yet the sweet subtle aftertaste seems to hang around lots.  The taste is very subtle, creamy, fresh, but yet very present.  Lots of saliva is dumped over the tongue.  A soft current of relaxing waves start to take me.  The very oily texture and mossy mouthfeeling with strong saliva producing is very nicely paired with sweet and fresh oily tastes.

The third infusion has a pungent gamey onset with a stronger immediate subtle gripping mossy mouthfeeling.  The initial taste is barnyard and gamey with wood mid body and juicer floral melons underneath.  The aftertaste is very long and is faint in the mid throat but pushes saliva onto the tongue.  There are some subtle face numbness and deeper mind floating Qi here.  I can especially feel it heavy on my forehead.  There is a potato melon taste that intertwines with saliva for even 15 minutes later.

The fourth infusion has a pungent forest onset with faint quick moving edges of gamey taste.  There is a building sweetness that moves from this taste.  It’s a melon, slight floral oily taste that melts over the mouth.  It has a certain lightness to it and a bit of depth.  Some woodiness.  The mouthfeel is soft mossy and the throat presence is mild but an aftertaste lingers there.  Nice face sensations with some Heart slowing and mind relax happening.

The fifth infusion has a spicy pungent forest onset which moves quickly to a thick gummy oily fruity taste.  There are vibrant and strong pops of Starbust candy tastes thick sweet and long that melt over the almost gripping mossy tongue coating.  The oily texture, mossy gripping coating, and faint loopen mid-throat and saliva producing impart a strong effect on the melon, almost floral, almost potato sweetness.  There are bodyfeelings of chest slowing and face sensations and heavy forehead.  The body effect is strong.  All of a sudden I feel a wave of clarity and giddiness.

The sixth infusion has a thick oily melon onset with a floral underbelly onset.  The thick oily melon floral sweetness melts over the tongue, spills down the faint open throat and returns as a gob of saliva over the gripping mossy mouthcoating.  There is a long woody, almost dry, and cooling breath that pushes the oily melon sweet taste long on the breath.  The sweet melon taste is very long but is supported by a woody undertaste.  The Qi is really strong and pushes me into a talkative-giddy but also euphoric state of mind.  The body feeling is as if I am rocking back and forth with strong slow Chest beats.

The seventh infusion has a spicy pungent foresty onset with some woody and lesser floral sweetness emerging now.  The mouthfeel is less gripping and the throat less opening now.  An oily melon-floral sweetness emerges.  The cooled down cup of tea is more sweet almost a melon/caramel hue to the taste now.  This infusions has a more prominent woody base to it.  The woodiness extends at least as long as sweet, probably longer.

The eighth infusion has a lime woody cream sweet melon initial taste with a long cooling throat and a melon floral retuning with a flat woody base.  Long retuning taste of melon.  The mouthfeeling is a mild gripping mossy faint drying coating.  Heart strong beating and lively euphoric energy typical of Guafengzhai.

The ninth infusion has a woody, sour fruity juicy melon like onset.  There is a cooling then returning sweetness.  Nicely lively euphoric Qi over a mossy slight drying mouthfeeling.  Long woody sweetness and Heart beats.

The 10th infusion has a pear and woody onset over a dry mossy mouthcoating.  There is an increasing sour lime note in here that is the primary fruity note now with much less sweetness.  Nice euphoric Qi sensation.  With long sour, sweet melon, and woody dry taste.

11th has a woody sour fruity onset with a strong woody dry taste underneath.  The dry mossy gripping mouthfeeling. There is a long coolness with a melon and woody finish in the mouth.  The mouthfeeling is full and strong but not much saliva is produced nor is the throat sensation prominently open now.  The Qi is still quite strong with Heart beats and euphoria.  My mind travels…

12th infusion has a woody dry onset with some lesser sour fruity taste underneath then a bit later a cool throatiness comes and a sour, woody and some sweet returns.  The mouthfeeling is getting more drying.  There is some saliva producing here… big Qi continues to push one into a euphoria Heart beats strongly.

13th has a lime fruity not that sweet onset with a flat woody dominating base taste now.  There is the throat cooling and retuning not that sweetness but more of a sour fruity and woodier taste.  The Qi continues to push me hard into a warmed and floating euphoria state. 

14th is a steady woody sour fruity taste over a gripping mouthfeeling the sweetness is pretty much gone now with some long cooling throat and a hint of fruity sweetness still. 

15th is pretty much dry woody insipid water at these flash infusions…

I put the spent leaves in a mug and mug steep them out.  It tastes of bitter and floral melon.  Still big Qi in here!

The overnight steeping is quite enjoyable… thick oily texture with watermelon whites with a long subtle taste with edges of floral.  A full thick feeling in the mouth sticking to the teeth.

Overall, this is a nice Chawangshu experience.  The session has some key elements of Chawangshu for sure especially its euphoric Qi with strong Heart beats which is what Chawangshu is all about.  The long sweet taste is notable with this one as is the very structured oily texture, mouthfeeling, open throat, and retuning saliva.  The first handful of infusions really show how that sweet taste can melt over the mouth.  I really liked this experience here with this one and had a great time with this on this unseasonably warm late summer day.  It’s pricey experience for sure, but a good one.  It has enough Chawangshu-ness in it to keep me happy without being an overly singular pure simple Gushu like experience.

Days later my mind is still thinking about those first 5 infusions.... Yummy..

Alex’s (Teanotes) tasting notes


Sunday, September 12, 2021

It’s been a good week: 2021 Tea Encounter Brand Puerh Tasting:

Well, first of all, the rainy cooler late Summer weather that hit a week or two ago gave way to warmer weather.  Just enough to squeeze in some good fresh Sheng samples from Tea Encounter.  It has been a tradition of the last few years for me to sample Tea Encounter’s freshest offerings from their annual catalogue around this time.  It’s a thing I have started to take some enjoyment in and am always thankful for the experience.

I noticed that Alex of Teanotes has a head start on his reviews of these.  I will be sure to reference his notes along the way. The package arrived and I have started to swim through the all house brand Tea Encounter puerh.

I stated with the good stuff a Guafengzhai and Chawangshu sampling….

And I can tell you it was a good week to be alive!


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Marco’s 2021 Blind Tasting Summary/ Ranking

Just like last year’s blind sampling I hope to give a little review and discussion before having the blind samples revealed to me.  I thought to rank the samples in order of enjoyment they have brought me and to give them a short description.  First, I can say that I enjoyed them all on some level- all nice samples as expected from Marco.  When I received this package the long Summer’s drought and smoky heat wave was broken by cooler nights and long late summer rains.  As a result I had much better personal experience with the older samples he sent.  All of my impressions are based on one session as is usual on this blog.  In order of enjoyment…

1- Gamma- This iron bing,likely the 2001-2004 Xiaguan 8653, has a lot going on with it!  In classic iron cake style it does all this in slow motion, a slow release, with lots of condensed flavours and stamina.  This cake has some nice storage on it and it shows by dressing up the sometimes more modestly tasting Xiaguan 8653.  I want one of these cakes!

2- Alpha- oh baby… gimme da heat!!! This one has nice warming energy and feeling to it… it has a very nice Qi package overall with strong woody flavours and a familiar Yang Storage taste.  This Yiwu Gushu has a balance of wood and Sweetness.  I like this one a lot and wonder if I could have ever paid the $475.00 for the dry stored version of this cake at Houde last year???

3- Delta- has spacious clear tastes of wood, pine, smoke, some lesser sweetness and an incense core. The Qi is strong energy and has that brain slowing power to it with some interesting body sensations.strong downer Qi!  This is in some ways a clear simple thing but power is quite strong! Nice storage on this one.  The taste and energy reminds me of maybe an early 2000s Xiaguan production?  

4- Beta- this one is all about that crazy long Gushu sweetness stretches way out thing!  Nice spacey Qi.  Has a similar feel to and vibrant purity that Biyun Hao productions I’ve had before like the LiShan Gongcha.  Probably around 2020/2019 and likely Yiwu Gushu production.  Nice vibe here.

5- Zeta- same tea as below but with different processing.  I like this processing better of the two.  It’s more bitter but also with stronger throat sensations and returning sweetness. Both have the same Qi.

6- Epsilon-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. 2021 Yiwu Gushu experience!

That’s my take on Marco’s 2021 blind samples… now I just await some answers on which teas he sent and look forward to reading his reviews of the blind samples I sent… fun.