Tuesday, May 10, 2022

2003 Chen Yuan Hao Youle: Puerh.uk vs Teas We Like

In my exploration of earlier Chenyuan Hao from the above two vendors the 2003 Chenyuan Hao Youle is one of my favorites after this reallynice session from Teas We Like.  I like the strong gushu Youle presentation, particularly the strong happy mood altering effect that often lasts a few days for me.  It’s a strong exaggeration of the typical Qi one would get from the Youle producing area.  It’s got to be one of the better examples of the Youle area with this much age on it.  I mentioned in the Teas We Like review that I’m considering purchasing a cake or maybe at least another quarter.  

I purchased this 2003 Chen Yuan Hao (approx. $492.00for 357g cake or $1.38/g) storage version from Puerh.uk.  I have tried this same storage in other Chenyuan Hao which include this 2005 Chen Yuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi cake as well as samples of the 2011 Chenyuan Hao Qian Jia Zhai Jincha and 2003 Chen Yuan HaoTong Qing Hao.  The Taiwanese storage is a bit drier than Teas We Like and tends to have more sweetness and higher notes exaggerated as well as more bitter and astringency but sometimes less depth.  For some cakes I prefer the Teas We Like storage and for some I prefer the Puerh.uk storage.  Let’s sample this one and see how it compares…

The dry leaves have a pine tree, slight grain and prune/raison odour.

The first infusion has a woody sort of creamy flat menthol taste.  It finishes a watery prune taste that has a flat almost tight watery mouthfeeling.  There is a nice mid-profile of peachy prune that comes and goes.  The mouthfeeling is a very thin almost watery but full reaching pucker.  There is a lingering coolness in the breath minutes later with a bread-like sweetness to it.  Lots going on early with this one.

The second infusion has a sweet prune almost woody menthol with a dazzling pop of sweetness initially there is a strong puckering astringent mouthfeeling that is less gagging in the throat and more on the cheeks and tongue.  This induces lots of saliva to push out of the throat and into the mouth.  There is a long cooling in the breath and long sort of menthol taste.  The Qi is very happy euphoria with a mind slowing feature with a chest pressure.  Strong Qi sensation.  There is an almost woody menthol and bready taste lingering in the mouth.  Strong warming in the face and chest and body.

The third infusion has a woody almost cherry tart menthol sweet astringent onset.  The woodiness is more prominent here as is the astringency.  Strong puckering mouthfeeling with sweetness and woody and menthol punching through.  The tongue and mouth is a full dry pucker with the throat opening deeply to push some saliva out and greet a lingering cool bready sweet woody menthol.  This Puerh.uk version seems more astringent and puckering and less layered and deep than the Teas We Like version.  There is some sort of peachy/prune sweetness lingering at the end.  Nice time slowing and happy euphoria Qi sensation.  The profile has 4 sort of phases: the initial sweet and astringency, woody menthol puckering, deep throat cooling and flavours, lingering sweet prune/peachy.  Qi is equally layered and complex with slowing properties to the mind, chest beats, and happy euphoria feelings.

The 4th has an almost sour tart tangerine woody taste initially.  The astringency is less as is the menthol.  The mouthfeeling is almost a grainy sandy feeling here with a chalkiness to it.  There is some throat cooling and bready tastes in the finish.  A bland chalky taste lingers.

5th infusion has a woody bland chalky very slightly sweet tart cherries onset.  There is a dry bland woody taste that comes after then a woody faint tart cherry finish. This infusion has a bland chalky woody taste that dominates even in the aftertaste.  There is less of a deeper aftertaste now.  Minutes later a bland chalky taste is left in the mouth.  Warming feeling mild happy euphoria with Chest heaviness and openness.

6th is left to cool and gives off a bland woody creamy sweet peachy taste with less astringency and more bland with a cooling almost but not really menthol finish.  This cool infusion has a long bland chalky taste to it.  Faint bread in the aftertaste and a lingering sweetness with not as much astringency and pucker and chalkier mouthfeeling than pucker and bland woody chalky taste throughout.

7th has a fruity fresh fruity sort of melon peach type of taste over a bland chalky woody taste.  The astringency becomes less here and is just very mild now in these flash infusions.  There is a creamy bready sweetness in the finish.  Nice calm mind, less slowing now but still nice happy vibe with chest opening and beating.

8th has a fresh but muted by woody bland tasting fruity melon/peach.  No astringency in these flash steepings.  It has a deep open slight cooling with creamy sweet woody bready sweet aftertastes.  This infusion is less astringent and less bland chalky than previous.  Nice mind slow focus juxtaposed with a happy vibe with a slight euphoria.  Long creamy chalky sweetness many minutes later.

9th as a more vibrant peachy sweet onset with a mild oily texture.  There are woody almost incense notes underneath.  With an open mid-deep throat there are lingering bread and creamy tastes with dry woody lingering.  Nice chest beats.

10th has a more woody than peachy fresh onset that is a bit oily and put together and full.  Nice slow emerging creamy sweet over woody with lesser bready notes.  Nice heat beats and warming feeling in the body with stronger euphoria and happy feeling.  Deep creamy woody lingering taste sort of resin but not really not really incense but satisfying.

11th infusion is left to cool and gives off a creamy woody chalky taste.  There is a deep throat faint cooling creamy sweetness that lingers.  The flavours are less now but the Qi has pushed me into a very happy-go-lucky state of mind which this Youle always manages to do.

12 has a woody bland sort of but not really sweet taste.  There is suggestions of peachy tastes but barely now with more of a grains cereal nuance with bland tastes- some faint breads.

I mug steep out the rest and it gives off a woody bitter with just edges of faint sweetness with a long strong deep coolness in the deep throat and strong Heart beats and vibrant happy mood feeling.  The Qi of this puerh is just great- the best of Youle!

Vs Teas We Like storage Overall, the Teas We Like storage on this is maybe a bit more preferable.  This Puerh.uk storage version, I don’t think has the depth of the Teas We Like storage other than its interesting pine woody resin taste and dry leaf odour which I really loved… actually there was lots of complexity here. The Teas We Like storage has a deeper resin ashy quality that gives it depth without being as astringent.  The layers of this kind of thing appeals to me bit more but it lacks the complexity the Puerh.uk version has lots more dynamic complexity in the first few infusions.

Oh man… still can’t decide on if I’m going to get more of this Youle or just back away with the two quarter cakes here…. Both storage options here are are good in their own way…



Paolo said...

If you had to condense in one sentence your brewing and appreciation (what to look for) advice for Youle and this tea in particular what would you say?

To this question, a well drank friend answered: "Flash steeps". (are you flash steeping your first infusions?)

I know I like the Qi a lot (the most mind-stilling of the various 03 CYH for me), I know the taste in the second part of the session is a classic thick-sweet, but I'm still unsure of how to talk about what's going in the first part

I've been following your "what about youle?" series and my conclusion is that this taste profile is much harder to understand that many others, hence the relative lack of interest in the west.


Matt said...


The phrase has to be “mood altering happy euphoria” for this one. The tastes of Youle can be tricky to explain and are often a bit astringent, sweet, and woody. At this stage the floral quality has left.