Tuesday, December 14, 2021

2006 Essence of Tea Naked Tea Horse

This Summer I picked up some other mid-aged samples at Essence of Tea along with the 2021s.  I was interested in comparing this 2006 Essence of Tea Naked Tea Horse ($228.00 for 350g or $0.65/g) to 2006 TeasWeLike Ristic Zhongcha.  They both seem like more rustic Menghai area productions.  In the end they weren’t much alike so not much comparing happened but I had a nice session with this one…

Dry leaves smell of straw, with a sweet almost licorice sweetness.

The first infusion has a sweet licorice caramel onset with a base of dry wood and green twigs.  There is a spicy taste that is simultaneously fresh and warming that develops with some breath coolness then a fading creamy sweetness Overall a creamy, sweet, oily feeling.  The drier Kunming storage is evident here.  The sweet taste really lingers in the mouth a long time later.  This first infusion reminds me of the Mengsong area profile.

The second infusion very sweet onset- icing sugar, creamy sweet, caramel- a nice complex and obvious laying of sweetness that is very nice.  There is some faint bitterness then some coolness, some complex spice then a long fading sweetness.  There is a strong oily texture with oily saliva producing.  Nice long lasting sweetness.  The Qi is mainly in the head with some head stuffiness.  Has a strong feeling underneath the layers of sweetness.  A bit harsh on my empty stomach but tastes of refined sweetness.

The third infusion is left to cool and gives off a syrupy caramel, icing sugar sweetness with a spicy complex middle taste almost a mint herbal type of taste both warming and cooling spices and subtle woody incense.  There is a bit of incense smokiness coming out now less oily texture but still significant saliva producing.  Heady/ stuffy Qi feeling.

The fourth infusion has an herbal caramel sweetness to it.  More of a savory, smoky, spicy, woodiness to it now sharing space with the sweetness that dominated the first few infusions.  There is a flat bitterness to it as well.  Still some signs of floral and sweetness of its youth in here.  Stuffy head Qi, like a head pressure and dopey feeling.

5th infusion has a woody, soapy, with a bit of caramel in the onset that has a flat bitter and incense note on it.  The bitterness is increasing infusion to infusion and is now the dominant taste.  The mouthfeeling doesn’t have that oily texture anymore and is mainly pucker, silty, slight dry.  Strong stuffy head.

The 6th is left to cool and has a smoky caramel woody onset with a herbal taste and cooling mouth and sweet incense caramel sweetness.  There is still some oily taste in here but also a flat pucker bitter mouthfeeling as well.  Finishes both cool caramel and subtle pill bitterness.  Heady.

7th has a light fruity fresh sweetness onset with some caramel undertones and faint bitterness.  This infusion shows off its base taste with the smoky, bitter, spicy tastes less obvious here.  Nice flat silty tongue coating.

8th has a smooth fruity caramel taste the rest is pretty background now.  Just light smooth sweet floral caramel sweetness.  Nice display of the dry stored base flavors here.

9th has a fruity sweet floral with some incense in the distance.  Nice woody dry storage with lots more floral showing in this infusion.  Some icing sugar tastes in the aftertaste.  Oily and silty thin mouthfeeling.

10th infusion was a 20second beyond flash steeping and it is more bitter and gripping in mouthfeeling.  Some bland woody tastes come out with the longer infusion times.  Stuffy brain feeling.

I push this one a bit more and it fades out quickly into blandness… but was pretty good while it lasted.  

This one and 2012 Essence of Tea Cloud Watching are both nice more dry stroed teas… these are the things I was hoping to see from Essence of Tea when they moved their teashop to Kunming.  I like them both but maybe priced a bit too high for me to move on them.  Better than most older Kunming storage cakes I have.

Shah8's Tasting Notes



Ignoramous said...

Hi Matt,

Nice review, I resonate with the stuffy head feeling and icing sweetness.

For me a similarity between this and TWL rustic zhongcha is that while they are strong and exciting, they hit hard mostly with caffeine and not qi and usually leave me feeling more bad than good. They aren't comfortably drinkable yet for me [probably just need much more time].

Like you & Shah, I feel it's too high priced / risky to bite. This one more so than the Rustic Zhongcha, though I'd say I'm more excited/curious about this one. The dry, floral, pucker, and flat bitterness aspects are a bit harsh and frustrating... Kunming.

Matt said...


Thanks for your detailed response. I enjoy both of these types of teas a lot on some level. I was not a big fan of the Qi in the Naked Horse but overall it was more interesting.

Much peace