Friday, November 26, 2021

Ranked! Western Puerh Vendors 2021 Yiwu GuoYouLin Productions Part 2!

 Last year one of my most popular posts was this one where I ranked all of the 2019/2020 Yiwu Guoyoulin productions by Western facing puerh vendors.  The list was ranked simply by my personal preference ( not overall quality), didn’t take value or price into consideration, and was limited by only the Guoyoulin productions I managed to sample.  An interesting conversation developed and I had a lot of feedback regarding my ranking.  Within only a few months of posting most in that list we’re sold out (Blogger effect??).  This year I tried some more excellent Guoyoulin/ Gushu from our finest Western puerh vendors.  Many of these were given to me as complimentary samples and some of them I purchased myself.  I thought I would keep the few earlier productions that have not sold out yet in the ranking list this year.  Some of these are going to be marked down with the Black Friday sales going on now.  Okay In order of personal preference…

1- 2021Essence of Tea Bai Hua Qing ($1.40/g)- this is a brilliant lesson in powerful complex Yiwu Gushu from a new and trendy area.  Tastes profile changes lots throughout the session.  With an interweaving of sweet floral and woody bitter.  First 5 flash infusions are pretty bitter but it integrates more harmoniously into the taste structure as the session progresses.  Very solid saliva returning with aftertaste.  Nice Qi sensation of mind fuzziness and physical face and jaw sensations.  What’s not to love about this one???

2- 2021 Tea Encounter Chawangshu Gushu ($1.75/g)- the most famous area in Yiwu doesn’t disappoint!  This one has extra points for the Qi that makes this area so desired- lots of chesty Heart beats, face and head sensations, even body swaying nervous system effect… so so good!  Strong lively euphoria energy.  Has very long sweet taste that really melts in the mouth with nice oily structure, mouthfeel, open throat, and saliva returning.

3- 2021 Essence of Youle GaoGan ($1.24/g)- a nice Youle with a deeper complex structure that would make it an ideal Youle for aging.  A calm relaxing Qi with deeper body feels.  Solid taste and saliva producing and stronger sticky/drying/tight tongue mouthfeeling with a complex movement of tastes that complicate the session nicely as the session moves along.  I’m really into nearding out over this decadent Youle experience!

4- 2021 Tea Encounter Guafengzhai Gushu ($1.35/g)- This puerh has lots of “deeper” Gushu qualities… so I used the word deep to describe it a lot in the tasting notes.  A nice strong deep euphoria Qi feeling, with strong mind floating.  There is a thick rich feeling to the liquor, taste, and Qi which brings a with it full cohesive feeling. Deep evolving Qi relaxing matches nicely to the thick oily sweet tastes.

5- 2021 Essence of Tea Yiwu “Queen of the Forest” ($0.99/g)-  This is a super interesting blend of Yiwu Guoyoulin material.  It definitely is greater than the sum of its parts as mostly ethereal, light and harder to grasp Yiwu materials combine to give off much more.   Complex and interesting in its presentation the simple complexity of each area come together to offer a single entrancing experience.  Many interesting abut subtle things happen through the session.  A weak throat feeling and super soft but very silky silty mouthfeeling back an orchestra of separate parts.

6- 2021 Tea Encounter Yi Shan Mo ($0.70/g)- The slow and steady evolution of narrow but engaging and dense tastes coupled with the building of Qi and the powerful stamina of these leaves, especially the signature lubricating mouthfeeling, make this the best Yishanmo I’ve tried to date.  A treat for those who like this region!

7-  2021 Essence of Tea Yao Zhu Di ($1.10/g)- is maybe the best pure and true Guoyoulin out of the list and a very honest and straightforward Yiwu Guoyoulin profile.  Flavours are a lingering pure uninterrupted and deeply expansive sweetness with a quick arriving but ling arch of cool pungency.  It goes over very nicely.  It is also something that can be both pushed hard or enjoyed light- either experience is a very nice one.  A happy and rejuvenating energy to it.  It’s also one of the cheaper options on the list.  This Yiwu Guoyoulin is very full and satisfying to me- maybe just not enough to order…. I think I might have over ranked this one… not sure…

8- 2021 Tea Encounter Yiwu Guoyoulin ($0.35/g) -  this is way cheaper than others on the list yet I feel it is still very Gushu.  It has that barnyard gamey Gushu taste and some wild floral taste with not too much sweetness- the flavours are not that condensed.  It’s the deeper Qi I really like in here with bodyfeeling in the neck and a deep spacey almost feel good feeling.  This is the one out of the teas on this list that I’m most likely to cake this year… nice and cheap but believably Guoyoulin with a Qi to back it up!

9- 2020 white2tea Is A Gift ($1.25/g)- is a solid above average Yibang which I quite enjoy.  It has some strength behind it and a very and a very satisfying aftertaste.  The taste peaks slowly and has above average stamina.  Qi is warming and euphoric.  Seems more processed and more balanced than the 2019 version.  I blind caked this one.

10- 2021 Biyun Hao Longdui Guoyoulin (Standard Rounian) ($0.55/g) Nice pure, clean, clear Guoyoulin energy.  This has a bit more bitterness but also stronger throat sensations and returning sweetness than the stronger rolling below.  Same nice feel good relaxing Qi as the stronger rolling #11 below.  Some people could easily place this higher on their list especially considering the cheaper price.

11- 2021 Biyun Hao Longdui Guoyoulin (Stronger Rounian) ($0.55/g) - A Nice clean processed Yiwu single estate production.  Has a classic simple but pure and enjoyable honest taste and faint aftertaste.  I enjoy the uncomplicated purity of it for sure.  Time will only tell if it outdoes the standard rolling above… but why not buy the half cake set offered on TeasWeLike website and find out on your own?

Just like last year, I wish I tired a few more from white2tea and Yunnan sourcing… maybe next year.


Saturday, November 6, 2021

2021 Kim Jong Yeol Saejak


It’s been a busy few months for me and my family … all good kind of busyness … but still so busy that it’s been at least a month since I’ve had given myself the time for a mindful gongfu session or an attentive evaluation session of tea.  It’s been years since I had such a long drought.  I assure you I am still throwing back lots of nice mug steepings and weeks long, a few steeps a day, sessions with some nice tea though.  Although I have naturally cut my caffeine/ tea intake in half, I feeling more alert and productive and not as stoned off of all that chaqi…. Hahaha…

One of my last nice gongfu sessions I had months ago was with an old favourite of mine- Kim Jong Yeol’s sejak.  I ended up purchasing some of this delicious stuff and a bunch of other Japanese green teas at the request of my better half while she is going through a green tea phase these days.  I ordered some from Pedro’s O5Tea outfit in Vancouver.

Me and Pedro go back a while so he kindly sent some complimentary samples of Japanese bancha free with my order.  Pedro knows I have a passion for traditionally/folk processed teas.  If you read the early blog entries you can see me exploring these in Korea at a time when those outside of Korea has never heard of such things.  However, I don’t have too much experience with Japanese bancha.  However, I always marvel at the deep and interesting tastes that come out of bancha. Pedro’s passion for Bancha is leading him to produce a documentary on traditional processed Japanese bancha.  If you are interested in this sort of thing you should contact him.

Anyways here is some brief but very satisfying notes on the 2021 Kim Jong Yeol Saejak...

Dry leaves have a deep sweet evergreen forest almost nutty edge.

The first infusion 30 seconds has a nutty sweet forest taste that goes into evergreen with a long expanding fresh nutty vibrant minty creamy sweetness.

2nd has a sweet aqua cucumber forest green taste slight nutty finish with an evergreen like freshness.  Lingering sweet creamy evergreen forest in the mouth.  Nice clear alert and focused Qi.

3rd infusion has a woodier onset with creamy sweet evergreen and more distinct roasted notes.  There is a subtle wood and cool aftertaste with an underlying roasted sweetness.

4th is a woody and evergreeny with creamy woody creamy finish.  More of a cohesive together evergreen taste.

5th has a more upfront vibrant green roast asparagus and evergreen sweetness.

The bag didn't last long in our house and was shared with friends...

The one thing that struck me the most with these sessions was how much ability I lost in evaluating Korean green tea with such a long absence from tasting.

If you don’t use it, you loose it.