I am really not sure who first coined the phrase “sneak up on you Qi”? I do know that I had not seen it in use to describe the chaqi of puerh until I came back to buying puerh around 2017. I also know that it has been quickly adopted by many Western facing vendors to describe and market their product including the most famous vendors- white2tea, Yunnan Sourcing, and the Essence of Tea. Did it originate in China, some other puerh drinking nation or in the West? I don’t know… but what I do know is that this 2005 Chen Yuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi ($599.00 for 400g cake or $1.50/g) is one of the best examples of this type of Qi… and I haven’t even seen anyone mention this before- vendor nor customer! Around the 4-5th infusion it just runs you over with the car, steals your soul, then drives away… every time, without fail!
I purchased this one from Paolo of puerh.uk at $600, last year it was for sale at TeasWeLike for $490. They both seem to be natural Taiwanese stored but from different sources. This seemed to kick off a bit of controversy in this post here but overall, and on a personal level, I am quite happy I had another crack at this one. After trying the 2003 Chen Yuan Hao TongQingHao Commemorative Cake offered at TeasWeLike I was pretty impressed and was ultra-curious about this 2005 Chen Yuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi. I will undoubtedly get into some of this controversy later but hope to focus this post on this beautiful puerh….
Dry leaves have a deep rich woodier musty smell similar but not exactly like Yang storage smells but not as strong…
First infusion has a woody creamy expanding and creamy pop of taste. Tastes very active and almost tingling in the mouth. Has overall a woody, earth, and creamy rich taste- a nice balance of tastes but expands to a creamy earth taste in the mouth. Taste creamy with a chalky mouthfeeling. There is a bit of dried fruit on the breath minutes later. Somewhat of a deep expanding throatfeeling.
Second infusion has a sweet pop of flavor initially like a creamy kind of fruity pop. The feeling is oily and creamy in the mouth. It tastes really active and has a nice floral fruity creamy layered sweetness. The mouthfeeling is really full chalky feeling a dense feeling where layers of dried fruit like apricot, longan, cherries reside. There is a really vibrant taste and mouthfeeling to this puerh and they kind of work together to give you a really active taste and feeling. There is a nice deep throat opening feeling as well. Nice chest opening and feel good energy so far. Nice taste, mouthfeeling/throatfeeling and Qi. Really tasty.
The third infusion has an oily creamy sweet onset with a nice full lubricating mouthfeeling. There are imprints of dried sweet cherries, plum, longan. The sweetness expands in the mouth and out into the aftertaste. It feels deeply opening in the throat. There is this juicy sweetness even minutes later. This infusion has a bit more tightness and maybe underlying bitter structure to it giving it a deeper feeling. Nice open and expanding chest feeling with an overall feel good energy to it. A little bit of thought slowing and kind of slows the breaths down.
The fourth infusion has an oily dense kind of woody taste with less sweet dried fruits and more deep underlying mild bitterness. Full tighter mouthfeeling and throatfeeling that pools saliva in the mid-throat. This infusion has a woody medicial taste to it that fades into a bitter fruity sweetness in the aftertaste. Stronger chest sensations building. A bit of astringency that pushes out fruity tastes in the aftertaste. Starting to feel more bodyfeelings with floppy arms and heavy shoulders sensations. The mind is starting to slow strongly now with a slowed down feeling. My chest starts racing and I break into a big sweet… this exerts a very strong effect on the body… Oh baby…
The 5th has an oily fruity even a nutty onset with a long nutty oily hazelnut taste. There is some bitterness and dried fruity sweetness in there. This cup was left to cool and nutty tastes result which kind of surprised me.. yum. Nice oily mouthfeeling and deeper open throat with saliva producing effect.
The 6th infusion has an oily buttery onset that is a bit woody and nutty and fruity but nothing too strong, more subtle but overall sweet and lubricating in the mouth. The mouthfeeling undernieth the oily texture is full and a bit gripping, the throat is open and some saliva producing mid-throat. Overall, less intense bodyfeelng and Qi but a deeper chest feeling in the body. Nice feel good and a bit of mind slowly.
The 7th has an oily creamy sweet almost melon fruity sweetness with vibrant quick pops of dried cherry and longan. The cooled down cup has more of a nutty earthy woody sweet taste. Nice oily texture. Creamy sweet finish. Chest sensations, feel good Qi.
8th has a sweet creamy fruity oily onset. There is some lesser nutty or woody tastes but overall just a nice oily sweet taste with some fruity tastes that pop in the mouth. Thick chalky coating. Nice pops of fruity sweet taste in the initial tastes and minutes later in the aftertaste. Deeper open throat and feel feeling in mouth.
9th has a woody-earth sort of sweet taste onset its watery here with a bit of sweet taste in the aftertaste. The mouthfeeling is a very full slight chalky puckering feeling. There is a subtle deep throat cooliness. Nice slowing feeling in the mind now with some chest opening.
10th has a woody cherry oily sweet taste. There is a faint underlying bitter astringency that is hard to grasp. The mouthfeeling remains full and the taste is a watery, not too oily sweetness mainly.
11th is steeped 30 seconds past flash steeping and gives off a deeper woodier taste still not much sweetness but a bit more bitterness is pushed out giving the mouthfeeling a more puckering feeling. Nice slowing energy now.
The rest goes into longer mug steepings…
They are a earthy oily mainly dried fruity bland taste with not that much bitter. The texture is still quite oily almost coco tastes as it cools down and it seems to get more bitter than sweet now.
Overall, this is a powerful puerh that packs a Qi sucker punch... sneak up on you Qi! It has a lot of nuance to it with a full delicious taste, stronger mouthfeeling and open deep saliva producing throat. There is lots of change from infusion to infusion to keep you engaged. It’s a nice one but its stamina is not as good. The power of this puerh also comes in quick like a big wave then recedes relatively quickly. A powerful example of the “sneak-up-on-you” Qi.
Vs 2003 Chen Yuan Hao TongQingHao Commemorative Cake- these both have a certain older school factory production feeling to them without being overtly old-school. I’m not too sure exactly what it is, maybe a tighter rolling in production?… I’m not really sure but compared to say Yang Qing Hao they seem to better honour the old way of producting puerh.. althought both this 2005 and the 2003 are very different cakes. The 2003 Chen Yuan Hao Tong Qing Hao Commemorative Cake is all about the delicious flavor… so delicious but not much Qi in the mind… the bodyfeeling of the 2003, although subtle, is of a very high quality that is actually quite similar to the 1999 Black Stamp I tired within days of this. This puerh is so different than the 2005 Shanzhong Chuanqi which is all about complexity and big Qi.
Vs 2006 Yang Qing Hao QiXiang- this comparison is much better and shares some qualities being both a Six Famous Tea Mountains blend of gushu materials and both being stronger teas. The 2005 CYH Shanzhong Chuanqi has that very specific high quality Qi that sneaks up whereas the 2006 YQH Qixiang has that super deep relaxing Qi that is still deeply alerting and revitalizing. Qixiang has less bodyfeeling for sure and doesn’t generate the intense nervous system reaction but is almost the opposite. With the Shanzhong Chuanqi you get ran over by the car but with the Qixiang you ARE the car… and it kind of takes you somewhere. The 2005 CYH has lots lots more complexity of flavor and much more interesting change infusion to infusion. However, I find that session to session it isn’t as dynamic as the 2006 YQH Qixiang. With the 2006 YQH Qixiang you get lots of variability session to session sometimes it tastes more like Gedeng, sometimes Yiwu, sometimes slightly Manzhuan-ish or a bit Mangzhi sometimes it is a bit more smokey, sometimes a bit unpleasantly astringent. Oh the 2005 CYH is also more bitter than astringent where the 2006 YQH is more astringent than bitter… the 2005 CYH never feels harsh on the body but occasionally the astringency in the 2006 Qixiang can. The huge price difference reflects this.