Saturday, June 15, 2024

1990s and 1980s Mr. Li’s Shou


I got these complimentary samples from  It was an unseasonably cool June day and I was looking for warmth… and I found it with these nice shu samples!

1990s Mr. Li’s Shu 

Dry leaf has a milky nutty Traditional Hongkong storage odour.

Rinsed leaves have a wet fermented slight milky odour.  

First infusion has a woody milky taste with nutty minerals finish.  Soft of sweet mineral plum/honey faint taste.

Second has a honey woody taste.  Cooled down it’s a creamy mineral honey taste.  The honey sweetness is unique in Shu puerh and I really enjoy the taste.

Third infusion has a prune mineral sweet taste has a sweet light feeling to it medium viscous.  Nice smooth mouthfeel as well. Relaxing warming Qi.

Fourth infusion was left to cool and has a honey woody smooth sweet taste. Some faint milk and nut tastes but smooth and moderately lighter feeling tastes for a shu. Relaxing warmth.

5th has a nut milk sort of sweetness slight woody and mineral.  Smooth taste and feel overall mild sweet. Mouthfeel is soft not oily or drying. Mild relaxing warmth.

6th has a woody sweet mineral smoothness.  Soft round taste is easy to drink and satisfying. Smooth relaxer.

The rest is put into long mug steepings… overnight it comes out… smooth coco sweet… this is a nice aged shu… smoother and sweeter than most with a moderate body.

1980s Mr. Li’s Shou Brick Nobel Heart goes for approx $305.00 for 250 g brick or $1.22/g.

Dry leaves have more musty mineral odours than 90s.

First infusion has a nutty dusty sweet taste.  Mouthfeel is neither oily nor dry.  Stronger Qi here with spacing out and sighing.  Pours a lot darker than the 90s which seems like lighter fermentation than this 80s.  This 80s has more pronounced Hongkong Storage notes.

Second has a thicker oily sweet milky with some clear almost cherry/ plum and ginseng tastes.  Nicely pure and sweet and vibrant oily taste.  Very delicious!  Qi is deeper in the chest and happy mind.  Strong chest thumping. Excellent Qi in here!

Third infusion is left to cool and has a sweet oily red ginseng taste.  Nice oily feel with Qi strength in the chest and upbeat mind. The sweet ginseng taste is really delicious and the Qi is powerful and astute.

Fourth infusion has a milky creamy oily onset with a sweet red ginseng taste.  Strong chest beats and chesty feeling is deep and strong. Mind spacy and happy and uplifted. Nice complete package with this one!

Fifth is a milky nutty woody fallen leaves less sweet but still strong chest beats Qi and energized mind.

6th has a woody milky nut taste.  Lone nutt and wood now but not any fermentation tastes just like the 90s ready pure tasting Shu puerh. Strong Qi.

Put the rest in a long mug steeping overnight it comes out smooth nutty oily with a sweet taste overall. Very satisfying!

Mr. Li has some really nice aged Shu with the 90s being a lighter fermentation shu and the 80s being a thicker more traditional Hongkong stored shu.  No off tastes, no dry mouth, nor any harsh elements to either…. A very good aged shu puerh experience for me!


Thursday, June 13, 2024

Teas We Like Old Gushu Comparison: 2004 Old Tree Bulang Single Origin

Teas We Like was selling this comparison sample of Early 2000s Old Tree Bulang Tasting Set for $108.00 for two 20g samples.  

Dry leaves smell of faint dry wood.

Rinsed leaves have a rich resin coco odour.

First infusion has an oily resin bitters onset with a tingling mouthfeel and dry lips.  Chest pounding qi feeling.  Strong uplifting qi with happy excited kind.  Soft salivating mouthfeel.

Second has a clear pure fruity vibrant sweetness with bitter silty undertones.  Somewhat grape and coco almost wine like with dry woody coco finish in the mouth. Big chesty Qi feeling with a spacy.

Third infusion has a vibrant coco bittersweet onset with a wine taste in the middle and coco bittersweet finish. There is a sweet wine raisin coco chocolate taste with lots of mouthwatering effects.  Wine and chocolate finish.  Gobs of saliva in throat. Qi has a happy euphoria to it makes me feel happy-high! Limbs heavy and light with slow strong chest beats.

4th infusion has a rich bitter sweet pop almost wine tasting mid profile with significant salivating and strong high feeling with light almost floating body.  Vibrant pop of sweetnesss with salivating.  Long coco finish with soft sandy silty mouthfeel with deep throat saliva blob.

5th has a vibrant fruity sweet bitterness with a wine like taste in the mid profile which turns into a delicious coco taste. The mouthfeel is soft and almost a bit tingling with a saliva producing effect and throat deep gob.  Very Big spacy high feeling with heavy neck and limbs slow chest beats.

6th infusion has a dirt bitter sweet onset with a wine mid and almost resin honey finish.  The mouthfeel is a bit more chalky and the bitterness goes down the throat.  Spacy high feeling is very very strong!  The bodyfeel of light jaw, floating numb face heavy neck and limbs is also strong!

7th has a juicy fruity bittersweet coco onset with a silty slippery bitterness the sweet coco taste slides deep into the throat where saliva gobs linger. Big spacy high euphoria with strong alternating heavy and light body sensations!  Chocolate finish in mouth.

8th has a bitter dirt woody ashy onset there is more bitterness here still saliva gobs deep in throat and coco finish but red wine nuance is dropped as well as fresh fruit and there is faint honey resin still.  Long chocolate finish.

9thhas a bitter sweet resin honey coco taste. Silty slight sandy mouthfeel.  Deep throat mot as much saliva producing but still long coco finish.  Big spacy high qi super strong with face, jaw, neck, shoulders, chest and limbs going different things.  Big high quality Qi here. Chest and kind expansion.

I leave the pot over night and come back to the leaves for a flash 10th infusion which is left to cool and is a sweet chalky sweet taste with a subtle coco bittersweet finish.  Nice full soft chalky mouthfeel and deeper throaty opening with long lingering chocolate taste.  Body feels all over with a spacy euphoria happy feeling.

11th has a sweet pop of fresh fruity almost wine like with a bitter sweet finish very vibrant with grape wine like taste. Wet mouthing feel to it with deep throaty feeling.

12th left to cool has a resin pop of vibrant sweetness and a coco chocolate finish with a bittersweet nuance.  Nice spacy mild happy euphoria still. Coco aftertaste chesty Qi and heavy and light sensations.

13 has a vibrant sweet fruity pop very vibrant and delicious with a mouthwatering coco finish.  Happy euphoria now with lots of bodyfeeling heavy shoulders and light limbs. Face light and numb brow heavy…. Lots going on.

14th has a fruity pop of vibrancy then fruity long chalky almost but not really bitter sweet coco.  Chalky silty mouthfeeling with not much mouthwatering.  Spacy happy euphoric Qi.  Lots of bodyfeeling. Slight mouth drying feeling.

15th has a fruity sweet and menthol dry woody resin onset with a mouth drying.  Chalky dry mouth not much sweetness. Slight bittersweet coco finish.

I put the rest into long mug steepings.., an hour later it’s has a thick oily viscus bitter sweet coco with a slight roasted nut and even mushroom taste.  Humongous Qi explodes through body and mind! Big chesty beats push the mind it’s a frenzied euphoria!

The overnight infusion of the spent leaves has a bitter sweet resin oily mouthwatering onset with an oily and wet with mouthwatering.  I put it into another overnight steeping….

17th infusion has a smoke woody resin with wet mouth overall sweet and oily taste.  Nice sweet taste still. Strong Qi is still coming out of this one…

Maybe the best early era Gushu single origin I’ve ever sampled!!!!! The best! (Sorry the post on the blend stated this: This is very much a very high quality Lao Ban Zhang… probably the best I’ve ever tried!)

That comment was actually meant for this Single Origin.

In Oder of preference:

1- this single Origin

2- Nannou Gushu 

3- Bulang Blend


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Teas We Like Old Gushu Comparison: 2004 Old Tree Bulang Blend

Teas We Like was selling this comparison sample of Early 2000s Old Tree Bulang Tasting Set for $108.00 for two 20g samples.  

The small dark and light dry looser leaves have a faint dry woody odour.

Rinsed leaves have a rich mild bitter smelling coco wood odour.

First infusion has a brassy metallic taste that evolves into a sweet almost fruity bitter sweet vibrant creamy caramel and almond nutty slight salty taste.  The mouthfeel is chalky silty and smooth.  Complex taste and flavour evolution.  Face breaks into a sweat.  Lots of strong warming heat!

Second left to cool is a vibrant brassy bitter sweet onset with two distinct phases but lots of evolution and complexity.  The return is a bit nutty caramel and coco creamy tingling mouthfeel with some mild good pucker.  Strong intense warming energy and upward surge!  

Third infusion has a brassy vibrant bitter sweet taste with caramel and a pop return of creamy sweet some salty taste and coco.  Nice clear taste complexity. Mouthfeel is smooth chalky slight good puckering tugging.  Warming and upward surging Qi.  

Fourth has a bitter coco dirt onset with mild dry bitter tongue feel and brassy creamy sweet. Strong heart pumping energy surges with uplifting energetics.

Fifth has a creamy coco milky brassy metalic sweet taste tongue tingling mouthfeeling with bitter sweet coco and dirt taste. Salivating effect.  Some tongue tugging bitterness.  Out of body feeling with strong heart beats and warming energy. Qi is almost overwhelming strong and I need to step away for a while…,

Sixth infusion is left to cool and is a brassy bitter sweet dirt creamy coco bitter pop.  Silty mouthfeel with a slight tongue tugging finish.  Salivating effect with very nice mouthfeel and warming energy.  Strong chest beats and out of body and mind feeling. Strong wave of energy.

Seventh infusion has a bitter sweet onset with a woody dirt and coco taste.  Mouthfeel creates saliva and has a bit of tugging tongue afterwards.  Big chest beats and energy surging in body and mind.

8th is quite sweet fruity almost pear with a coco finish and a dirt coco taste.  Returning sweetness is strong slight fruity and creamy fruity finish.  Slight tingling mouthfeel with chalky and slight oily feeling with faint tug and saliva.

9th has a woody bitters onset with a slight dry tongue tugging. Cooled downed some fruity sweet sort of pear fruits come out with a dry woody base.  Strong uplifting Qi… I’m going to be up late tonight!

The next day I return to the ninth infusion which was left in the cup and it comes off bitter oily woody dirt coco bitter.  There is a slight cool throat then returning bitter sweet more milk chocolate in the finish but quite bitter. There is a silty mouthfeel left behind with even some faint sweet fruity trying to break through. Qi continues to roll me with big chest beats and out of body heart pumps.

10th has a watery fruity taste with a cooling undertone and soft silty mouthfeel with very mild background bitterness.  Stil strong Qi sensations.

11th is left to cool and has a watery dirt woody slight bitter not that fruity taste with faint coco.  Mouthfeel is more thin sand. Qi still shakes me a bit.

12th is put into a long mug infusion and an hour later comes out as a very sweet tingling vibrant sweetness with a dry woody finish and ashy dry woody aftertaste.  Big chest beats and spacy waves of energy with limbs heavy and face and jaw numb!

The overnight infusion of spent leaves gives off a bittersweet taste onset with woody slight creamy chocolate there is a subtle metallic medicinal camphor cooling taste in the finish.  Mouthfeel is mildly dry and mildly tight especially on the tongue.   There is a strong chesty Qi with relaxing and exciting mild impacts on the nervous system.  Lots left so I put the leaves onto another overnight infusion…

14th overnight infusion of spent leaves has a nut shell saltiness and ashy woody taste.  Mainly salty savoury not real sweet or bitter.

A very very high quality Gushu blend!


Monday, June 10, 2024

Teas We Like Old Gushu Comparison: 2004 Nannou Gushu

There are still some of these 2004 Nannuo Gushu sample packs available at $75.00 for 20g sample…. For some of the best puerh I have ever tried, it’s worth it!

Small tightly compressed dry leaves have a woody cereal odour.

Rinsed leaves have a woody, plum, roasted odour.

First infusion is left to cool and gives off a watery clear sweet taste… to compressed… there is a mild return of sweet taste.

Second has a fruity perfume incense plum and pear sweetness clear pop.  Vibrant sweet fruit tastes with a subtle resin base vibrant and long pear taste.  Mouthfeel is chalky. Storage is a nice drier storage on this.  Subtle spacy feeling.

Third infusion has a woody perfume resin plum grape vibrant sweetness.  The cool infusion has a sweet perfume plum resin clear vibrant taste.  Calm spaced out mild feeling.

Fourth infusion has a resin and pear taste.  Very clear and vibrant with a lubricating and oily mouthfeel with chalky tongue and mouth finish.  Mild spacy and deep relaxed feeling.  

Fifth infusion has a fruity plum/ pear / loquat taste with a strong resin base oily and lubricating mouthfeel with chalky tongurme underneath amazing top notch mouthfeels here!  Spacy deep relaxing mind slowing calm.

Sixth infusion has a resin and plum onset with an oily lubricating mouthfeelng.  There is a chalky dry tongue and back of throat feeling.  Lingering sweet taste.  Slow strong heart beats and mind slowing deep relaxing.

Seventh infusion has a vibrant loquat, plum fruity taste with a woody resin background.  Lots of vibrant pure sweetness with present resin wood.  Amazing mouthfeel that lubricates oily feeling and has a chalky full feeling after and deep into the throat.  Mouthwatering with subtle coolness and sweet friity resin.  Big qi slow strong strength emanating from heart.  Euphoric calm.

8th has a vibrant sweet pear plum fresh pure fruity taste.  Mouthwatering oily salivating wet mouth with chalky tongue and mouth deep the air feeling.  The taste sort of just fades out but stays in the saliva and throat.  Big euphoria and chest opening feeling.

9th has a vibrant sweet fruit plum taste with a subtle dirt resin background mouthfeel starts to get more gripping but still also a bit oily and mouthwatering - big chest w qi with slow beats open heart and mind stopping euphoria. Best Nannuo Gushu for sure ++++++ long lingering fruity taste in saliva.

10th has a woody resin almost coco bittersweet taste with more gripping mouth and throat- nice mouthfeel evolution in the session.  Some fruits in the distance and saliva.  Big Wu Jie brow sweating.  

11th dry woody dirt resin with oily and dry gripping with fruits in the saliva becoming more dry woody dirt but still vibrant big Qi feels.  Subtle coco bittersweet and dry wood finish in the dry mouthfeel.

12th the flash steeped liquor is left to sit in the cup overnight.. it has a dirt woody slight sour and salty taste with some bitterness and cooling not that sweet more bitter, salty, sour… chalky mouthfeel.

13th is flash steeping and is a juicy fruity almost fruit juice pear and orange juice taste with sandy silty mouthfeel underneath.

14th is left to cool and gives off a pure pear orange fruity taste.  There is a chalky woody base with some creamy fruity sweetness in there as well.  

15th is left to cool woody dirt orange watery bitter sweet flavours.  Sandy sticky mouthfeeling with a bit of oily. Relaxing spacy.

16th is a long mug steeping and an hour later it has a woody dirt root veggies medically sweet taste.   Very sweet and oily viscus with slight bitterness but lots of complexity and deep Nannuo tastes.  Big chest beats.

The overnight infusion of spent leaves is a thick rich resin woody fruity almost orange and carrot sweet dirt. Very deep rich oily resinous taste and feel.  Overall still very sweet tasting with edges of bitterness. Still lots left in here so I put it for another overnight…

18th infusion comes out a watery dirt root veggie dry woody bitter sweetness.  

One of the best Gushu I have ever sampled and by far the best Nannou I have ever tired… what a gem! Try now!!!!


Top Gushus!!! Teas We Like Gushu Samples

 Hi there! Wow! I am just blown away by these three Gushu samples that were on sale at TeasWeLike.  These were by far the best samples I’ve tried all year.  Actually some of the best Gushu ever!  They are in order I sampled them…  2004 Nannou Gushu, Old Tree Bulang Blend, Old Tree Bulang Single Origin.  It was suggested that you sample them comparatively and so I did in back to back days… amazing and glorious days!  They all had what seemed like the same storage on them with approximately the same age.  

I hope TeasWeLike offer more of these high end limited sample packs.  I certainly spurs me into putting through a purchase. I had just finished sampling the whole 2004 Yang Qing Hao line (posts are coming!) and followed up with these to see how they compare to Yang Qing Hao and these were really quite a bit better than the Yang Qing Hao 2004s in every way…

Posts on these to follow…


Thursday, May 23, 2024

1999 Yang Qing Hao MiTsang: Yiwu Gushu Qi


I got this sample from Liquid Proust in 2020 and sampled it shortly after here… the prices on these 1999 YQH productions have actually gone down a little since I last published on them.  All of the Yang Qing Hao 1999 (MiTsang $200.00 for 500g brick or $0.40/g TsangMi $330.00 for 1KG brick or $0.33/g JinTuo $135.00 for 250g Jincha or $0.54/g) productions are made of the same materials and pressed in 2007 with aged maocha.

Dry leaves have a woody aged mulch odour. The rinse is sweet creamy woody Yiwu like odour.

Fist infusion has a watery woody creamy sweet taste.  Wet mouthfeel. 

Second infusion has a wet watery taste with creamy sweet woody.  Simple but undeniably YiWu.  Relaxing feel good a bit of arms limb lightness bodyfeeling.

Third is a creamy watery woody taste.  The mouthfeel is a bit tight cottony now.  Long cool breath with faint very faint sweet candy. Some warm brow and light limbs, deeper relaxing spacy mind slow. I sigh…. Slight almost ghostly tropical fruits.

Fourth infusion has a fruity dry woody pop with a creamy candy return and finish along with cooling creamy talc.  Face tingling arms limbs light. Warm brow.  Slight tight sticky mouthfeeling.

Fifth infusion left to cool is sweet woody incense bready sweetness cool breath with very faint candy cemreamy sweet.  Space relaxing qi. Limbs light face numb. Slight warm face.

Sixth infusion has a resin woody almost sour fallen leaf incense sweet creamy onset.  Chalky slight dry mouthfeel.  Creamy faint candy sweet finish.  Warm face and relaxed spacy qi with light limbs.

Seventh has a woody resin slight faint smoke incense with creamy sweet finish. Mouthfeel is becoming a bit drier and sticky. Squeaky gums.

Eighth has a woody leaf drier mouthfeel less sweet now but subtle. Slight cool finish with slight sweet taste. Bigger Spacy relaxing Qi with bodyfeel of numb face and light arms.

Ninth infusion has woody faint sweet taste.  Not much left in these flash infusions a bit cool and creamy sweetness. Strong deep Qi which swells the Heart and Chest now with face tingling and arms and limbs light.    

10th I put for a long mug steeping it comes off bitter woody leaf with a creamy slight medicinal camphor vegetal woody.  Strong deep Qi and bodyfeeling. Super strong Qi knocks me on my ass!

The overnight infusion is woody slight dirt but mainly sweet with a long sweet finish.  There is mainly a woody dirt almost bitter but a return of super faint candy returning.  Deep Qi sensation with chest opening face warming and limbs.

Has stronger bodyfeeling and deeper Qi feeling and quality than 2001 Naked Yiwu and 1999 Daye ZhengShan MYF Special Order which I sampled the days before this one.  The difference in storage when comparing thee is more profound because Yang Qing Hao has a more natural Taiwanese storage where the other two are dry stored.

Nice way to kick off the Yang Qing Hao 2024 Re-Taste Project. Even these 1999 Yang Qing Hao productions which are all, I believe pressed of the same materials. They all contain 1999 Yiwu Gushu maocha which was aged for 8 years before being pressed into 1Kg and 500g bricks, tuos, and jinchas in 2007.  The leaf has a tighter rolling processing than most Yang Qing Hao only few of their productions have a production of tighter rolled leaf the 2004 Yang Qing Hao Zhengcang is another that comes to mind. 

Overall a good value aged Yiwu option with a focus on Qi.


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Yang Qing Hao Re-Tasting (Re-Experiencing) Project

Well I have been drinking some great puerhs throughout the winter and into the springtime.  In January just before their new website launched, I ordered some Yang Qing Hao samples I hadn’t yet tried. The website has been up and running for weeks now and is really nice to use and allows for samples to be ordered.  It also used the less common English transliterations so don’t get confused about that.  Good Job Mr Yang and Emmett!  I started to re-sample the whole catalog from oldest to newest and thought to post the notes and comparisons here for your enjoyment and commentary.

The thing is with YangQing Hao is that most of what you will find in the English internet is from sessions during 2016-2021.  I have found that many Yang Qing Hao puerh that people have found to be great aren’t so much anymore and others that were downplayed have aged better.  Furthermore, there is a handful of the Yang Qing Hao offerings that have not been posted on or given a pass- we will look at these too…Probably Shah8 is the only person to post on all of them but over decades- I will try to link some of his notes.  I will use the transliterations used on the new site with links to the older tasting notes.

Okay let us begin… with the 2004s.


Sunday, May 5, 2024

1998 Zhongcha 8582 vs 1998 Menghai Tea Factory 8582

Dry leaves seem bigger than the 1998 Menghai Tea Factory 8582 Houde cake and more what I expect from 8582 leaf grade recipe. It smells of dry woody odours - has more of that Tea Urchin storage odour than anything.  This 1998 Zhongcha 8582 goes for $265.00 for 357g cake (or $0.74/g) at Tea Urchin.  I purchased this sample a few years ago and intended to sample them with the other two Zhongcha offerings at Tea Urchin the 2004 Zhongcha Lotus Aroma and the 2001 Zhongcha Ba Zhong but wasn’t able to.   I just sampled this one recently…

Rinsed leaves have a sweet woody leaf faint maple sweetness.

First infusion has a dry watery woody taste with a subtle raisin sweet finish.  Dry woody raison.  Slight dry sticky mouthfeel. Energy in chest is stronger.

Second infusion has a woody fallen leaf raisin woody taste.  Mainly dry woody taste with dry sticky mouthfeel.  Stronger chesty feeling and energetic. Subtle plum sweetness under dry woody and in aftertaste before dryness.

Third has a woody teak woody sweetness.  Woody almost varnished taste. Sone faint coco in the aftertaste.

Fourth infusion is a woody varnish slight sour woody taste with a coco woody finish.  Subtle warming face and chest.  Stronger chest beats.  Coco woody finish. Sweet woody coco.

5th has a woody teak wood sweet onset with sweet dry woody teak taste.  Woody dry with background sweetness. Some mouthwatering coco in the finish.  Chest beats strong. Warming.

6th has a sweet almost raison sweetness with wood mouthwatering return coco is slightly bittersweet.  Mouth is slight sticky dry big chesty qi and energy surge.  Warming. 

7th has an almost syrupy woody sweet taste with some coco bittersweet finish. There is this nice sort of maple woody coco sweet taste.  Qi is strongly alerting and chest pounding with some warming.  

8th is a sweet woody teak sort of honey sweet woody with a silty mouthfeeling and mouthwatering return of coco sweet taste.  Strong Qi alerting with chest beats strong and warming face.

9th has a woody almost spice woody sweet taste.  There is a return of woody coco taste. Mouthwatering coco finish. Strong alerting qi will have me staying up too late tonight!

10th I come back to the pot a few days later it has a sweet watery plum taste with an oily feel and some faint returning bitter sweet coco faint aftertaste.  Some warming Qi and chest beats alertness.

11th has an incense almost pond dry storage taste.  Not that sweet with a smoke coco chocolate bittersweet finish.  Silty slight dry mouthfeel. Stronger warming and chest beating Qi. 

12th has a sour cherry bitter sweet pond and dry woody onset with coco more bitter than sweet finish with smoke.  Warming face qi with chest beats. Finishes bitter woody slight smoke. 

13th has a woody pond slight dry woody sweetness.  There is a flatter drier mouthfeel with slight bitter and smoke.  Mouthfeel starting to become slightly gripping. Warming Qi and chest beats.

Long mug steeping of spent leaves has an earthy woody plum taste with pop of sweet cherry.  There is a drier mouthfeel and bitter woody not much coco but a sweet bitter plum finish. Squeeky teeth feeling.  With big energy alerting bursts with chest pounding. There is a dirt raisin taste throughout.

I do another few days long steeping but it just pretty much is dry woody bark with very faint tastes of sweet raisin almost medical incense.

Vs 1998 Menghai Tea Factory 8582 (pictured Right)-  is much much sweeter and much much more complex aged puerh.  Both puerh have an overall factory feel and taste.  Both were exposed to some more humid but not overly wet storage than where they were dry stored longer term.  The zhongcha was then stored in Tea Urchins dry storage and the Menghai Tea Factory in Houde’s hot dry storage. The Houde cake has a deep complex medical ginseng complexity over very very sweet tastes. The Tea Urchin is not that sweet and has a more bittersweet woody pondy.  The Houde has a deeper warming and energizing Qi where the Tea Urchin has more zippy factory Qi.

Note on the three Zhongcha offerings at Tea Urchin…They were all selected to represent the classic stereotype Zhongcha offerings- a more muted elegant one- 2004 Zhongcha Lotus Aroma, the powerful smoky Bulang one- the 2001 Zhongcha Ba Zhong, and the more classic factory style- 1998 Zhongcha 8582. They are all pretty good for their price but not good enough for me to cake anyways… at least not yet…


Thursday, May 2, 2024

2001 Zhongcha “Ba Zhong”: Old School Smoky Strength

*** These tasting notes were from 2021/2022… According to the Tea Urchin’s site, this was stored in Taiwan until 2014 when it was purchased and stored with Tea Urchin’s tea in Shanghai for the remainder of its life.  Pretty close to 1/2 Taiwanese storage and 1/2 Shanghai.  Belle and Eugene guess it has some Bulang leaves in the mix and the description makes it sound a bit old school, smoky, and rustic.  This 2001 Zhongcha “Ba Zhong” 357g cake goes for $265.00 or $0.74/g.

Dry leaves smell of smoke with a fair bit of creamy sweet odours and faint wood.  The dry leaf both looks and smells pretty appetizing…

The first infusion has a smoky honey-like onset. There are underlying creamy and almost strawberry cherry plum notes.  The mouthfeeling is a flat fine sandy texture.  The aftertaste is almost nutty but more faint bitter with a creamy sweetness underneath. Smoke extends long into the aftertaste.  This puerh feels a lot like 2005 Nanqiao Double Lions.  There is a strong feeling emerging with the Qi.

The 2nd has a tangy sweet fruity onset but with a heavy dose of smoke.  The fruity taste is mainly a syrupy presentation with an incense woodiness to it and subtle faint bitterness.  There is a deep slow moving coolness in the throat which kicks out a long creamy sweetness that slowly fades into smoke.  The mouthfeeling is a thick silty dryness.  There is lots going on here with lots of complexity emerging from the storage which does this cake quite well.  The Qi is strong in the Chest and races the Heart.  It alerts the mind but I find myself taking deeper breaths.  It has a strong pull on the mind, rendering me unable to concentrate…

The 3rd has a tangy fruity then sweet then almost savory meaty smoke taste.  There is a smoky earthy taste throughout.  The mouthfeel is really thick silty full with nice throat stimulation.  Flavour, Qi, and mouthfeeling are all quite strong.  Creamy sweet then smoky finish.

4th is a smoky, syrupy not that sweet onset with a long cool emerging throat and subtle creamy sweet then smoky finish.  This infusion tastes and feels a lot like the 2006 Rustic Zhongcha of TeasWeLike.  Nice silty full mouthfeeling.  Some chest and alerting but also unfocusing energy.

5th has a rich sweet syrupy caramel and strawberry plum with a decent amount of smoke.  There is some long faint cooling and some creamy emerging sweetness that fades into smoke.  Nice unfocused fuzzy head with some alerting and chest sensations.

6th is cooled down but gives off a very nice caramel smoke taste.  The flavour is really pure and full smoky but not harsh, strong but not overwhelming. There is less cooling here and a smoke creamy caramel finish.  Nice dense taste.

7th has a subtle bitter smoke with less dense caramel taste.  There is a grainy almost dry mouthfeeling now with the bitterness. This infusion tastes less sweet and more smoke, bitter, and a bit harsh.  Nice uplifting with fuzzy thoughts.

8th has a lesser sweet caramel plum with some smoke and less bitter.  It has a dense and rich presentation here with sweetness almost syrupy scattered throughout under the smoke.  Nice uplifting and fuzzy thoughts.

9th syrupy caramel not that creamy sweet with significant smoke.  Full condensed taste with a subtle cool throat.  Nice silty thick mouthcoating which sticks to teeth.  Alerting but slightly spacy here.

10th has a juicy smoky presentation with a slight bitter dirt almost coco like finish.  The aftertaste has a sweet nutty breath but mainly just mild smoke. Sticky tongue feeling.

11th has a juicy smoke taste to it with a subtle cooling breath and bitter smoke not sweet finish now. Thicker sticky sandy aftertaste.  Nice relaxing vibe now.

12th a bit more syrupy onset with, yes, a bit of smoke, nice vibrant smoke finish.  Not turbid or harsh or hazy in its presentation…. Nice upbeat with a heavy thoughts feeling.  Thick sticky almost dry full mouthfeeling.

13th has a juicy syrupy density to it but not that sweet anymore but, again, nicely smoky…

The mug steeping is a strong smoke with condensed syrupy woody sweetness and resin like taste.  Still very powerful, flavourful, and smoky.

Vs 2006 Rustic Zhongcha- very similar in most ways- both very Rustic old school productions both aged about the same with Rustic having stronger Malaysian storage and this cake with the ½ Taiwanese then drier Shanghai storage but aged a bit longer… they feel both at the same point of aging. The Rustic still has a bit more youthful harshness and is more random and impure in its blend.  I think I like this one better but hard to say.


2004 Zhongcha “Lotus Aroma”

*Just a note that these tasting notes are from 2021/2022….This one was naturally Malaysian stored for 10 years before being put in drier cooler Shanghai storage since 2014.  Apparently, this will be a fragrant one… This 2004 Zhongcha “Lotus Aroma” 357g cakes goes for $198.00 or $0.55/g at Tea Urchin.

Dry leaves smell of very sweet, very floral aroma without much aged smell at all.

First infusion has a really sweet bread and cherry plum odour from the wet leaves.  There is a fruit cake and powdery chalky floral like taste upfront with some fallen leaf aspect but quite sweet throughout and with a long creamy sweet finish.  The mouthfeeling is oily and fluffy and full.  Nice thick sweet but aged feeling.  Sweet and salivating throughout. This has a nice uplifting and cheery feeling.

Second has a creamy powdery talc onset with a creamy brassy mid taste that leads into a cool aftertaste some saliva returning.  There is a creamy bread and talc plum finish. There are hints at old books and leaf but it is primarily sweet throughout. There is a touch of bitter astringency here.  Not very woody tasting but more pastry sweetness with creamy, plum, and talc.  Nice relaxing feel good qi.  Nice focusing mind.  Tastes vaguely like a tippy 7532 crossed with something like 2001 TeasWeLike HuangYin.

Third infusion has an oat, floral, bready sweet, not as talc onset that reaches into a brassy mid-taste.  There is this pop of plum taste that fades into a creamier long aftertaste.  The mouthfeeling is thick nice chalky full feeling in the mouth.  Noticeable talc, granny powder taste in here… always a good sign. Nice full sweet aged profile.  Lots of sweet complexity.

The fourth infusion has a plum tart creamy talc onset.  There is a thicker chalky building mouthfeeling here.  A bit of woody taste comes in and less creamy salivating sweetness.  There is a slight cooling with some very mild astringent bitterness.  Nice feeling good Qi.  

5th has a plum taste with talc powdery taste.  Nice chalky full and becoming a bit more gripping mouthfeeling.  The aftertaste after a bit of mouth cooling is chalky powdery sweetness with a plum taste.  Nice feeling good Qi, nice focusing energy.

6th has a nice mellow woody almost plum taste that is a bit watery now and loosing is thick sweetness.  The mouthfeeling is more thin sandy than chalky full. There is some talc powdery sweetness in the aftertaste.  Nice vibes.

7th has a juicy fallen leaf not as sweet taste.  There is a woody bland talc finish to it over a thin sandy mouthfeeling.  Nice relaxing.

8th has a woody leafy taste.  Most of the complexity is all but gone with this tippy blend that is what you would expect… but I want more… you can feel some body feeling racing the Heart a bit…

Next day I attempt mug steepings… 

Overall, this is a really interesting cake and the two storages have done this cake well.  It is super fragrant and delicious with a Qi that makes you feel good. Nice and enjoyable for me.


Saturday, April 13, 2024

1999-2003 Mr Chen’s JiaJi Green Mark

This 1999-2003 Mr Chen’s JaiJi Green Ink sample came free with the purchase of the 1999 Mr Chen Daye ZhengShan MTF Special Order.  I didn’t go to the site so blind to the price and description and tried it after a session of the ZhongShan MTF Special Order…

Dry leaves have a dry woody dirt faint taste.

Rinsed leaves have a creamy sweet odour.

First infusion has a sweet watery onset there is a return of sweet woody slight warm spice. Sweet, simple, watery and clean in this first infusion.

Second infusion has a sweet watery simple woody watery sweet taste.  Slight woody incense and slight fresh fruity taste.  Cooling mouth.  Sweet bread slight faint candy aftertaste. Slight drying mouthfeel.

Third infusions has a woody dry wood onset with a dry woody sweet kind of taste.  The return is a bready candy with sweet aftertaste.  Tastes faintly like red rope licorice.  Dry mouthfeeling now. Somewhat relaxing qi.  Mild but slight feel good feeling. Mild Qi feeling.

Fourth infusion is left to cool and is creamy sweet watery with a faint background wood and even faint incense.  Simple sweet clean tastes. Thin dry mouthfeel. 

Fifth infusion is a slight creamy sweet watery slight woody simple sweet pure tasting.  left to cool is a creamy sweet some lubricant watery sweetness.

Sixth has an incense creamy sweet talc woody creamy more full sweetness initially. Creamy sweetness watery mild Qi. Enjoyable and easy drinking puerh.

Seventh has a sweet woody leaf watery taste with an incense woody watery base.  The mouthfeel is slightly dry and qi is pretty mild and agreeable.

Eighth infusion is a woody watery sweet with subtle incense warm spice.  Mild dry mouthfeel.  

Ninth infusion has a woody incense onset with sweet edges.  Dry flat mouthfeel and mild qi.

Tenth I put into long mug steepings… it has a dirt woody bland slight bitter taste… not much for sweetness anymore.

Overnight infusion has a watery bland, slight dirt, slight sweet insipid taste.

This is a pretty simple and straightforward dry stored aged sheng. Sweet woody incense taste with mild dry and mild relaxing feel good qi.  On a busy day at work I appreciated its steady aged simplicity.  I go to the site and look at the price and description and I couldn’t really agree more.  The price is a bit lower than I thought and the description is dead on!

Vs 1999 Mr Chen’s Daye ZhengShan MTF Special Order-  despite coming from the same collector, being both dry stored, and being the same approx age these are very different puerh.  The MTF special order is much more complex in taste, very very sweet and has much more powerful space out Qi. This JaiJi Green ink is satisfying enough but not so fancy complex or mind-bending. It’s more of an aged dry storage drinker.

After a session of the 1999 Mr Chen Daye ZhengShan I did a back to back with 2001 Naked Yiwu from TeasWeLike but they are also completely differ puerh… the Nake Yiwu was much more condensed, present, and powerful in taste with sweet tastes, resin wood, and smoke incense.  It’s more aggressive and forward and feels less aged than the 1999 ZhengShan MTF Special Order but in the same way it can be more satisfying especially for the price which seems like a pretty good deal.  I suppose all three of these are good value dispite the totally different vibes of each.

Pictured is Left 2001 Naked Yiwu from TeasWeLike, Middle 1999 Mr Chen’s Daye ZhengShan MTF, Right 2001-1999 Me Chen’s JiaJi Green Ink. 


Friday, April 12, 2024

Complex Sweet Dry Storage: 1999 Mr Chen’s Daye ZhengShan MTF Special Order


Paolo was excited about this find and offered it to those who bought into the Tea Hunter package at a reduced price.  I had sampled through the previous dry stored aged puerh offered by Mr. Chen that were released over a year ago (here and here).  I enjoyed them all but yet not enough to cake.  This 1999 Mr Chen’s Daye ZhongShan MTF Special Order is at a level above the others. Over a year now has been releasing some 8582 recipe versions from Mr Chen’s dry storage.  Like Mr Chen I’m a big fan of the aged 8582 so I hope to sample them at some point….

Dry leaves have a sweet slight marsh peat odour to them.

Rinsed leaf has a leaf slight medicinal raison odour.

First infusion has a purfume medicinal fruity sweetness.  There are notes of fig, cherries, longgan fruit nice complex onset with a were dry leaf base.

Second infusion has a woody slight purfume medical sweet cherry and fig taste.  Nice dry storage base of slight mineral and leaf taste.  Mouthfeel is a bit oily at first but slight silty underneath.  There is a soft lingering sweetness returning of fruit with a woody base taste throughout.  Slight warm chest with spacy head feeling.

Third infusion has a leafy woody maple syrup onset that gets a bit sweeter on return the sweetness is syrupy like stewed fruity with a leaf dry woody background that is throughout the profile. A more fruity pop of taste before some cool camphor on the breath.  A silty almost dry mouthfeeling emerges after the initial slight oily syrup feeling. Slight warm chest and spacey mind slowing Qi.

Fourth infusion has a leaf medical onset with a slow emerging sweet taste that is quite sweet fruit on returning and sort of slowly builds up next to dry woody leaf and syrup medical taste.  The cooled down infusion is a sweet creamy sweet syrupy. Spaced out Qi feeling.

5th infusion has a syrupy sweet woody medicinal creamy sweet with some fruity and maple syrup.  Silty mouthfeel.  Space out qi.  The cooled down liquor is a woody maple sweet taste.  Nice creamy almost fruity returning sweetness. Pear plum tastes underneath. 

6th has a creamy oily watery sweetness with faint medicinal incense but mainly oily sweet taste.  Fruity return with a slightly drier silty mouthfeel. Slight warming with nice space out Qi.

7th infusion has a woody pear leaf onset with an overall sweet pear oily onset.  

8th has a soft pear woody leaf taste faint medicinal incense.  Soft fading taste. Faint warmth and spacy mind.

9th has a mellow fruity sweetness with an oily texture and some incense medicinal mid taste.  There is a woody leaf base.  Mainly mild sweet no astringency or bitter. Oily watery mouthfeel.

10 this a long thermos steeping of the spent leaf.. it. Comes out oily and sweet with a strawberry sweetness subtle woody but mainly just fruity strawberry sweetness.

The overnight steeping is a sweet strawberry pure slight lubricating taste.  Still sweet and lubricating. Very Yummy!


Friday, March 22, 2024

2004 Dragon Tea House Yiwu Gushu vs 2006

I was really excited to try this 2004 Dragon Tea House Yiwu ($520.00 for 400g cake or $1.30/g) from TeasWeLike.  I love the 2006 Dragon Tea House Yiwu but for some reason it doesn’t agree with me.  I turns out this 2004 and me get along quite nicely…

The very compressed dry leaves smell of a dry peat sweet odour.

The rinsed leaf is a sweeter peaty odour.

First infusion has a creamy talc sweetness with faint woody background.  Nice chalk finish pure clean tastes.long finish with slight sandy sticky mouth and clear sweet creamy talc and almost fruity taste.

Second infusion has a woody creamy sweet taste.  Full almost dry chalky with pops of coco creamy almost fruity sweetness.

Third is left to cool and gives off pops of sweet fruit and creamy talc.  There is a peat dry woody faint base and a long creamy sweet returning that dissolves into fruity on the breath.  The mouthfeel is a chalky not dry but almost gripping undertone.  Long deep throat and sweet taste.  Sweep of happy peace feeling with notable light limbs feeling.  Heart slow beats with mind and chest open.

Fourth infusion has a woody sweet creamy taste there is a creamy sweet return that transitions to fruity sweetness.  Chalky almost gripping mouthfeel leaves a long sweet taste in the mouth.  Peaceful focus. Light limbs and body.

5th has a sweet fruity clear onset strong euphoria happy feel good Qi.  Strong floating feeling with face flushing.  

6th has a woody slight incense smoke sweet taste. Creamy sweet return that turns into fruits.  Strong floating limbs and euphoria peace with strong slowing heart beats.  

Next day I’m flash steeping 7th infusion it is mineral sweet with a creamy talc finish in the mouth.  Almost turns fruity sweet minutes later.  Clear tastes here.  Strong happy focusing Qi.

8th is a clogged pot…. Welcome back to teapot sessions!!!! It gives off a dense incense resin woody bitter with a sweet fruity taste.  Strong woody incense resin wood with strong sweet taste underneath.  Dense taste in this accidental minutes long steeping.

9th is flash steeping and comes out very fresh fruits sweetness.  Long fruity clear sweetness. Light body strong happy feel good qi. Silty mouthfeel with deepthroat sweetness.  Lots of fresh clear fruit taste.

10th is left to cool and taste like sweet wood silty smooth mouthfeel.  Nice peace out Qi feeling.

11th has lots of clear pure sweet fruity taste but also some sour taste developing underneath.

12 is cool but has a woody incense sweetness with a returning sweet bread finish.  There is some mineral taste and some coco taste as well.  Silty amouthfeeling with mouthwatering and deep throat.

13 … 14 th …. 15th has good stamina still giving of peace vibes and sweet tastes.  Woody resin, faint incense, faint coco.  Mild silty mouthfeel.

16th is in the long mug steeping which is quite woody incense and bitter with a sweet taste underneath.  Full chest feeling.  

This has very clear long sweet tastes, nice strong peace out Qi feeling with aslow heart beats and light limbs body feeling. The mouthfeel is layered with a silty mouthfeel that is sometimes almost gripping and stimulating but also mouthwatering- a nice compliment to the long clear fresh fruity tastes.  This puerh feels like aged tea but still maintains the fresh fruity nuances of its youth.  The description on the site says it’s smokier than the 2006 but I disagree- at least my cake has some infusions with slmost no smoke and other times it’s that aged out blended in background incense smoke.

Vs 2006 Dragon Tea House Yiwu Gushu

First infusion has a creamy smoke sweetness. The creaminess is more pronounced and sweet and the smoke is stronger and less background incense than 2004.  

Second has a lubricating mouthwatering sweetness with upfront smoke balance.  Thick lubricating mouthwatering oily feel in the mouth.  Very long cool creamy sweetness.  Strong chest thumbing and surging energy is mixed with euphoric calm.  Face numb and mind floating has much stronger excitatory effect in body and mind than 2004.  

Third infusion is left to cool and gives off a smoke mesquite BBQ long creamy sweet slight mild lips tightness with an oily almost pasty texture.  Long creamy almost bready sweeetness. 

Fourth is a creamy sweet balanced with smoke long creamy sweetness. Strong chest beats and energetic euphoria.  Strong in the mind sweet taste is long.

Fifth infusion has a creamy sweetness with faint smoke background nice silty chalky mouthfeeling.  Mind expanding and big chest beats. Of note the liquor or this 2006 is quite a bit darker than the much tighter compressed but two years older 2004.

Sixth infusion is left to cool and is very creamy sweet with chalky mouthfeel long sweet creamy taste. Less smoke background.  

Seventh again consistently sweet creamy with chalky mouthfeeling smoke becomes less and sweetness holds.

Eighth has a woody sweet long creamy sweetness it kind of just snowballs into the retuning sweetness, it’s nice and long mouthwatering with more relaxing spacy qi left in here.

Ninth … 10th … 11th soooo yummy sweet with background smoke is less and less but there starts developing a bit of acidity.

Comparison: the 2006 has spent two years in my drier cooler storage but feels much younger that the more aged feeling 2004.  The 2006 has more power and intensity to it overall- it’s more acidic, it’s gives of an energetic effect on the body and mind and is a bit harsh on the body at times,  its sweetness is also strong and its smoke is more out front.  The 2004 exerts a more mellow peaceful feeling with strong but slow heart beats airy light limbs.  Its sweet taste is very clear, pure, fresh, and long.  The mouthfeel is a more complex mouthfeeling.  You can see the difference in composition of the wet leaf.  The 2006 pours a much darker colour where the 2004 is still yellowish.  For me the 2004 is the superior puerh.

Just one more note on these Dragon Tea House Yiwus that Idont think is mentioned enough.  The storage is really quite brilliantly dry.  It really captures the light nuances of a Yiwu puerh brilliantly and makes it feel almost younger than it is.  This was apparent to me in this blind testing of the 2015 Dragon Tea House Yiwu.

Not sure if I will pick up another with this price tag … but I do quite like the experience…

Marco’s (Late Steeps) Tasting Notes