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SOTD- sheng of the day

Naka and the wild tea lasted through the week fine, but I didn't enjoy them that much.

I did a thermos of the 2011 EoT Mannuo to compare with the Naka. EoT had a bit thinner viscosity, but same texture, and the taste (lacking barnyard, meatiness) and aroma isn't as rich or complex. Flip side was that the taste and aroma are more pleasant and agreeable. Aroma had strong wood/florals component, and the taste is intensely sweet--I would like to see the face of a person who doesn't like sweet puerh drink this. It is also really rather close to the taste of a banzhang/Guangbienlaozhai--it wasn't very different from the 2020 XZH Taiji maocha, for example. Lastly, while the quality of the aftertastes are about even (tho' the Mannuo aftertaste survives cooking and is present in later pours, in a way that the Naka doesn't, the Mannuo qi and throatfeel is much better.

The shu of Friday was the 2007 Dengshihai. It was largely its usual self--not much fermentation flavor, has rather nice wood character in aroma and a slight bit in taste. Good aftertaste and qi. This was a better session than last time, and normal sourness was present.

I did a couple of fancypants sheng this weekend from Essence of Tea. And one Liubao from TeaSide.

The first sheng of the weekend was the 2006 Bingdao Lao Zhai Ancient Tree from Essence of Tea. It was a mild disappointment in that this is one of those Bingdaos that has been tweaked to have that tangerine section candy character in aroma and taste, so it was never really going to age in a significant way. Also, the storage was a bit too heavy for this sort of tea.

On to the tea... As might be expected, this tea is pretty minerally in aroma and taste. Earliest brews can have wood, dark herbal in aroma as well, but most brews are mineral with a suggestion of fruit and sugars. The taste is pretty transparent. Again, usually mineral with a touch of sugars and tangerine section candy fruitiness. If brewed hard, there is a small, narrow bitter pole with a propensity to pinch the sides of the tongue. A couple of early brews has a real tcm bitter pole, dark herbals, and aromatic woods. This tea has a tendency towards sensate sweetness when you let the soup cool a bit. Good viscosity, with the oil texture that I'm routinely recognizing as typical of more real Bingdaos. Astringency is generally moderate level. There is some mouthcooling. Most of the fun in the tea is in the dynamic yiwu-huigan-mouthcoat segue. There were a couple of yuns. The qi is strong and tends to warm the body. Late brews do not seem to continue that strength. This tea is an indefinite brewer, and I stopped at about fourteen or fifteen brews to reuse the pot.

I can't say that this is a very good value. There are lots of good substitutes that do not cost as much, albeit usually much younger--for example the 2017 XZH Peach Drunk at $518/400g will give you the same minerals, fruitiness, big mouthfeel, qi, etc in transparent taste. Puerhguy has a single 2012 Baifuzangcang Bingdao at a price well below its worth 2012 Baifuzangcang Canglu Bingdao Ancient Tree - Puerh Guy - https://www.puerhguy.com/shop/bfzc/2012-baifuzangcang-canglu-bingdao-ancient-tree/ as well as another non-Bingdao but good substitute in the 2010 Upper Cave Man Art cake 2010 Xizihao Dingji Qiaomu Yuancha - Puerh Guy - https://www.puerhguy.com/shop/xzh/2010-xizihao-mountaintop-caveman-qiaomu-yuancha/ not fruity, but should be big on mouthfeel, qi, etc, etc...

The second tea of Satuday was the 1991 HongTaiChang Liu Bao from TeaSide. The first try of this tea, I was impressed by, so when I saw that TeaSide had a Thai New Year's sale, I promptly took advantage to buy myself a cake. Pretty easy win. Affirmative good teas from around 1991 generally costs more than the $136/200g it cost me, even the shu. And I certainly think this was affirmatively good tea. Not too dynamic and not too complex so it's easy to describe. Themes are a certain sort of aromatic wood (teakwood works, I guess), caramel, a slight nuttiness, and a dark bitter herbal verging towards choco. There is a bit of black eyed peas warehouse note early. As the brews go on and the taste thins, there is a more evident wine-toned plumminess (hey, like that 88QB). Decent to good viscosity, smooth and round in the mouth. Decent to good yiwu huigan and mouthcoat. Sneaky qi at about moderate level, good quality. Very durable--probably close to twenty brews, and still worth putting into the fridge for the week.

The Sunday tea was the 2005 Bangwai Single Tree from Essence of Tea. As for whether it's *the* single tree, I don't know, but yes, this has the classic profile of a single or few trees sheng. I find the blurb to be pretty accurate here. I think the blurb does play a bit too soft on being fried too high. It is definitely over-fried, and there's something of a nudge towards yancha character as a result. Or maybe it was an intentional processing step?

Like the Bingdao, not a super complex tea in aroma and taste. It is a bit richer, especially in aroma. Aroma early was relatively rich with roasted grain, a bit of tobacco herbalness, a touch of smoke. Latter aroma is more of a mineral and plummy aroma. Taste is transparent like the Bingdao with the core of it being this yancha congwei-ish mineral note, accompanied by subtle fruit, light roasted grains. Good viscosity with pudding texture. Moderate astringency. There is a light feeling down throat, a bit of cooling in mouth, a few brews has the tonguetip being numbed. Aftertastes are quite nice, a dynamic, sweet, mouthcoat that tends to last well after cup is finished, along with yuns. Qi is of moderate strength but is of good quality, and there is some chest warming. I didn't do enough brews, maybe eleven? to tell how durable this is, but pot's going into the fridge nonetheless.

It's pretty good, but it's not something I could even come close to wanting to buy at three dollars plus a gram--any number of teas at Sanhetang I'd rather buy.
Had a bunch of excellent tea this weekend...

The liu bao really went a long way before dying. The Bangwei performed about expected.

The shu of Friday was the 2009 XZH Beginning Blessings Mengsong shu. It was an outstanding session that largely stimulated well the later brews of an aged 7542. Aroma did not rise above the cup much except in the first one, but it was nicely aromatic wood with some dark herbal. There was no real fermentation taste, like the '07 Deng Shihai shu or the '16 BFZC shu, but it had wood, plummy, and dark herbals. Mouthfeel was good with a bit of real texture. This stuff goes down throat, has a bit of pungent huigan back up. Also has the rest of the standard aftertastes. There was a consistent really nice yiwu huigan to fruit on top of that plummy. Qi was strong-very strong. Durability not so great. the taste of dark herbals goes on, but it's kind of lifeless very late. This is the most expensive shu in Sanhetang's catalog, and it's probably easy to see why. Anyways, I saw that the cake was up for auction, and instead of $1500, I got my second cake for about $100 before shipping, and now I can drink more freely from this cake.

The first sheng of the weekend was the 2008 Shuangxi Lingmen Iron, because I wanted to compare with the recent Bingdao, and hey, I wanted to drink more of a favorite. It did its usual thing, a subtle yancha-pu experience (yancha as in minerally, not processing). Something else I took from this session was a greater conviction towards the idea that if the '05 Bingdao had been stored more gently, it might have been able to hold attention in a similar way.

Aroma is a subtle mineral, wood, florals, fruit thingie, oftentimes very pleasant even if never loud. The taste is mainly composed of a deep mineral-nannuo carroty bottom with touches of plummy, fruit, and honey on top of it. Notably, it was never bitter. Late brews are a nice fruit, floral, mineral taste. Mouthfeel is similar to Bingdaos, oily with good viscosity. Astringency is less than typical Bingdaos, generally at light. Full range of aftertaste and generally strong, other than the pungent huigan. As for feeling, light feeling down throat, good cooling in mouth. Qi is strong. Very durable. Put the pot in fridge after at least thirteen brews.

I did a second tea on Saturday, the 2005 Yiwu Ancient Trees Dragon Balls from Essence of tea. The dragonballs, by the way, are 5.5g, not ~6.5, for 22 instead of 26g. Also, the performance is more typical of a thick tcm bitter pole version of Yibang or Gedeng tea like the 2013 XZH top Gedeng or the 2014 XZH Hongyin Iron. I would not peg this as a Yiwu. The leaves are small as well.

The aroma and tastes are very simple and straightforward. They are both also strong. Aroma generally has dark herbal, umami, honey, vegetal, and wood notes. The taste is a potent, deep dark herbal with a bit of wood, and sometime some cola. Very thick viscosity with a texture that is pretty stiff and pudding. Not very much astringency. As the blurb goes, this does have a bit of mouthcoat aftertaste that lingers. Qi is mild-moderate. Taste seems to go a ways, but I didn't brew it as much as I could have because it's somewhat a boring tea. More or less worth the money, tho'.

The tea today was the 2015 Baifuzangcang Taiji Chawang. The review is pretty simple more or less--wild tea and all, it basically performs at a top level. Exceptional aroma, very good aftertaste game. The taste, rutabaga and all, was rather solid for a wild tea. Good viscosity, didn't really note the texture much. Not much astringency. Strong feeling down throat, a bit of pungent huigan back up. Yiwu huigan and mouthcoat are fast and dynamic and makes the overall taste complex. Strong qi, more sneaky than wild teas usually are, kind of high quality. Seems pretty durable and the pot is in the fridge. It's a lot of money, but it is worth it if you have that money to purchase a cake from puerhguy.
I took it easy this weekend, so I'm going to try and keep it brief. Let's see if I succeed...

Taiji wild tea performed very well through the week. Takes long brews, but tastes very solid as a result, even in the twenties in terms of brews. The '08 XZH did fine, maintained light, generally honey with subtle fruit tasting brews. Both had good qi during these late brews.

I did the XZH Chocobrick shu on Friday. Was a mild disappointment, compared to the brilliance of the '09 XZH shu. Main issue is that the taste isn't that solid and is sour pretty deep into the session. Also, completely a shu experience with no nods towards aged sheng pleasantness. Aroma was decent enough, not too strong. Taste was very nuanced for a shu, and late brew has an evident fruitiness. Lots of that nuance is from more complex than typical shu aftertastes. Qi is very strong for a shu. Durability not that great. Despite disappointment, still a rather good shu.

The first sheng of the weekend was the '08 XZH Puzhen. Mostly center of the cake material. Leaves were kind of mushy, and there was a lot of dust that got suspended in the soup. The clumpy mass of leaves repeatedly clogged the pot during the early pours, so session was a little messed up, and I didn't take this session that seriously. ARoma was sweet. Early brew tastes were bitter due to the overbrewing. Late brews had a nice sweet honey taste with other notes. One of the things I think about is that this tea used to be much more plummy and dark herbal than recent sessions have come out. Where did it go, and why? Mouthfeel and qi is still pretty top of the scales. Manages a decent aftertaste game, but nothing too shocking. Durable. But man, this tea is pretty different than the '07 Puzhen. Also a bit unreliable. On a good day, it's better than the '08 XZH Blessings Iron, but it can also be pretty uninspiring.

I finished off a sample of the '03 Thai Liubao from TeaSide. Not nearly as good as the 1991. Has an intrusive fermentation aroma and taste a bit similar to fermenting garbage in earlier brews, but not that bad. Does not have the nice aromatic woodiness or the sweet notes of the '91 Liubao. Qi and aftertastes aren't as good, either. Does have the basic taste profile of a strong, broad tcm bitter pole within a fermentation depth in later brews. Durability is good. Wound up not being interesting in drinking that many brews.

First tea of Sunday was the mid-Aughts dry stored Yiwu sold by Yiwu Mountain Tea. This was better than my first try a year ago. The aromatic wood and herbal notes in aroma and taste are stronger and better defined. Mouthfeel was pretty good, a bit better than good viscosity and some pudding texture. Astringency did tend to build as cup is drunk, but some of that is converted to aftertaste. There was a bit of nice mouthcoat and stuff. Some qi in the early session. Bad part is that the middle of the taste profile is a honey that is pretty faded. It also has fairly poor durability--taste profile more or less keeps going, but not much aroma, aftertastes, or qi involved.

The last tea of the weekend was the 2010 Essence of Tea Bada. Very enjoyable. Bitterness is way down, so is honey, but an intense and sweet raspberry is way up and is consistent through the session. Good mouthfeel, not much astringency, some yiwu huigan, some mouthcoat, and qi at moderate level. Seems pretty durable, tho' one has to be sure to brew to bitterness to get a good cup, doesn't have that intense bitter core that resolves to dark herbal and wood like it has had in the past. Anyways, quite a bit better than the recent EoT pressings of Bulang and Youle, for example...
Okay, blitzed through a ton of thaipu and lastly a chawangshu...

Puzhen and Bada lasted very well with sweet brews throughout the week.

Alright, the shu of Friday was the 2022 Choco Noir from Teaside, a relatively expensive shu made from maocha from the same tea garden as produced the 2016 Dragon Thaipu, that is also pleasantly adulterated with with some baihao yinzhen. Anyways, normally, I do not favor thaipu shu, as they tend to not be very rich in flavor in a way I don't like. And the tea started out like this, but in an extremely raspberry-yoghurt (heh, I see boychik has mentioned this in her reviews of this tea) way in aroma and flavor--a bit like some younger bitter forward bulangs and bangdong shu can be. The thinness of the taste kind of reminded me of the 2016 BFZC shu that is also thinner and fruity. The taste, however, is very dynamic. Early on, it's that raspberry, and also a firm bitterness, but not much choco, but later it has choco flavors. Past that, it's kind of a thin darkened thaipu sheng profile. Mouthfeel is good enough. Aftertastes are pretty good for shu. Strong qi. Very durable for a shu, as I found myself getting good cups very deep into a session.

I'm not really enthusiastic for this shu, not enough to buy it when I'm sick of paying lots of money for tea yet again, already, but this is definitely not a bad effort, and anyone with space for an unorthodox shu might well want to have some. Certainly no difference in the value that Looncall in the Dark has at a similar price. Hmmm, the finished leaves sort of looks like a moderately fermented shu, but there isn't that much ferment dark taste in it and it can act pretty shengy. Doesn't seem to have much wodui, unless that yoghurt is it. Also, this strikes me as a shu that specifically needs aging, beyond any settling, to be really good.

Okay, was basically putting a bunch of thaipu shengs through their paces. Quick and dirty--only the Dragon has any inkling of a really good tea. Most thaipu is definitely border tea with a degree of the meh that this means. It's just that the best ones are worthy of having and are too cheap. Another thing that interests me is that it seems like most of the good thaipu on Teaside were made in 2018 on, and 2014 Fox.

Alright. First one up was 2010 Dreaming Bird. It's a thaipu similar to Fox and Sky in Buckets--herbal-nutty-caramel-ish. This character is pretty thin though. Not that much viscosity, and moderate-high astringency. There is a bit of cooling in mouth. Aftertastes are a light yiwu huigan and light mouthcoat. Light qi. Not very durable in terms of interesting brews and dumped pretty fast. Not a bad tea, but not particularly special and priced similarly to considerably better teas.

Next up was the 2006 Hongtaichang 0801. The part of the blurb where it talks about the comparison to the 0802 is kind of right--main difference is that there is less wood notes in aroma and taste and it's less structured. Now, more broadly speaking, this is an okay-pretty good tea. Main issue is that the taste isn't really rich enough. However, it does a pretty decent job in terms of aftertaste and qi.

Aroma has prune with greater and less elements of herbal, wood, and honey. Later brews are lighter with more mineral. The taste early is more honey centered, with a bit of herbal, bitterness, and light sourness. Then it becomes a mostly prune and wood taste. Viscosity is only decent, but it does have a degree of pudding texture. Astringency is generally light. There is a touch of cooling and a little bit of feeling down throat. Manages a decent yiwu huigan, mouthcoat, yun, and paints throat a bit. Qi seems to be moderate of pretty good quality, especially for what thaipu usually gives. Durability doesn't seem to be great, but I'm pressed for time, and don't enjoy top taste that much, so it gets thrown out to make room for the next tea.

Sunday goes with 2016 Dragon from Teaside. Blurb talks about fruits and dried fruit, but there isn't that much of it here. There is some sour plumminess and I wonder if that's what all the fruitiness ages to or something. Anyways, there is a sense that this is a blended tea with a handful of truly good stuff in with the more pedestrian materials from the same garden.

Early session aroma is mushroom, spices, wood, which gradually changes to something dominated by prune with some herbal, wood notes. Taste is centered by a nice thaipu herbal bitterness, a bit like 2018 500y Bitter Trees, with mushroom, sour prune early, and again, converting to a more strongly prune late with touches of fruit and wood. Decent-good viscosity with a bit of texture. Light to moderate astringency. Light feeling down throat. Aftertaste game is pretty good and carries the tea. Yiwu huigan that segues to a dynamic mouthcoat and yun. Plenty of good quality qi. Actjve phase seems to be pretty sure, but firm brewing tends to give decent cups for a while, and I put this in the fridge with some pizazz left after about twelve brews or so.

The last thaipu of the weekend was the 2007 Hongtaichang. I think it's pretty simple to describe it. Not as dark herbal as it could be and was more like the 2006 0803 in being a solid-tasting-for-thaipu prune and wood in aroma and taste. Subtle honey sweetness underneath. Viscosity is good, with a light pudding texture. Moderate astringency. Doesn't have that much aftertaste or qi, though, compared to 0801 or 0803. Kind of equivalent to a 7542--a good standard product without much flash or frills, and I will definitely be enjoying this at work often.

Lastly, I did a 2007 Chawangshu maocha that KJ Wong is flogging for three dollars a gram. Worth that much? Naaah, but it is pretty good. The main issue with the tea is that it doesn't have a good aftertaste game and is very low in dynamism, so it tends to bore if one wants to be entertained by a tea. The strength of the qi also tends to fall off quickly after the first few brews. Now, what's good? It has a really great aroma and taste that is plummy with a certain aromatic dried out rotten wood, with some teensy nuances here and there and with a bit of propensity to be sweet. The viscosity is very good with a specific texture that makes itself known in the mouth. In one of my brews, a pour generated a large bubble that lasted quite the while before a wet pop. Light astringency. Very light aftertastes. Qi starts off pretty strong early and seems to fade. I'll see if it pops back up during the week in my brews after work.
Had a pretty good tea weekend...

Both Dragon Thaipu and the Chawangshu maocha lasted very well through the week with enjoyable brews. Notably the qi stayed pretty strong with Dragon in those late brews.

The shu of Friday was the '07 Dayi An Xiang shu. It was a bit unusual in that the taste in the initial brews were dominated by a plummy fruitiness, and the more traditional depth of cola/riccolla sweet dark herbals didn't come out on top until much later. I was going all OHO shu puerh are now all fruity with this being after last week's Choco Noir! It's not as if An Xiang didn't have some fruitiness, but it is usually a secondary flavor, often subtle. Now I'm wondering if I'll get this fruitiness regularly or something.

The first sheng of the weekend was something special that I've wanted to try for a long time, but Sanhetang had usually said that this tea couldn't be found. Then Liquid Proust got his filthy hands on a tong and sold the cakes at a dollar a gram. Of course, at Sanhetang, the price for a 2009 XZH Silver Taiji cake would run to $2600, more than ten times the price. Anyways, one of the folks that bought a cake sent me a sample of this and the '09 XZH Banzhang Lao Zhai teas for me to try. Anways the XZH blurb for the silver taiji went as such:
A silver Tai Chi
Areas - Ding Old Walled
--250 Gram weight
Taste - elegant orchid aroma of camphor scent turn, retained the strong degree of tea importers, throat rhyme full of original forest has a unique flavor.

Of course, if one has had a bunch of dingjiazhai, one knows that area doesn't really do this sort of profile, so it's pretty quick to the assumption of this being something collected at DJZ. With a third Anyways, with the drinking of this tea, it's pretty obvious that this is single/few trees Bohetang of some sort. Given the differences between various strands of quality BHT, we must be talking about a general area with several fields at this point.

Early session aroma is an interesting mix of herbal, wood, fruit, and honey. Then it declines to plummy/fruity and mineral the rest of the way. Aroma isn't too strong, and there is a delicate dance of nuance going on in the early brews. The taste is a super subtle plummy and mineral. Early brew also has a subtle sweetness and a mint herbalness. A time or two the mineral is dark, like in the '01 Dayi simplified yun, or that the plummy is sour. Very late brews verge toward plums as in fruit, similar to '15 Tianlong Chawang, or honey. In earlier brews, bitterness is pretty absent but can be got with a firmer hand. The viscosity is good with an oil texture most of the way. Astringency starts off low, but there are a few early brews with moderate to high astringency before declining back to low levels. The cooling (and associated dynamic mouthcoat) is a dead ringer for what Bohetang is good for. If you can get some, check out the 2012 XZH Chawangbing where Sanhetang does state this tea includes BHT. The early brews does the same thing this Silver Taiji does. It's a very interesting and engaging cooling relatively unique to BHT. Early brews does strong feeling down throat with sometime subtle, sometime strong pungent huigan back up. This tea has a dynamic mouthcoat that quickly follows a yiwu huigan in a similar way to other serious BHT and Fengwangwo teas. The yiwu huigan, and to a lesser extent the mouthcoat, provides much of the interestingness of the other wise subtle flavor profile of the tea. Qi is moderate to strong of high quality. Durability is very good. Active phase is longer than what the '12 XZH Chawangbing does, and is overall pretty indefinite--did about sixteen or seventeen with it feeling like it still had plenty left.

This tea is for a more sophisticated tea drinker in the sense that as with usually the case with single/few trees tea, the taste is relatively empty, the aroma isn't in your face, and everything requires attentive drinking to fully enjoy. It's not really a singular desert island sort of tea, and is something you get when you have lots of great more standard sort of stuff. One perhaps weakness is that this probably should have been pretty floral in a nice way, like the 2013 XZH Risk One's Life which is a lot less subtle in aroma and taste but without quite the nice cooling or aftertaste game. And the 2012 XZH Chawangbing has more mushroom, tcm herbals, choco early, etc, etc.

I was thinking about Dragon thaipu a lot so I took out the 2018 TeaSide Sky In Buckets and did a quick session of that. Generally a lot like a less rich W2T '22 Hypnotrain, generally pineapple and thaipu herbal dark bitterness. The fruitiness fades and the aroma/taste is more dominated by a nice dark/bitter herbalness often found in thaipu. Good mouthfeel, but was pretty grudging with aftertaste. Know it's capable of relatively strong caramel yiwu huigan, but so much this time. Good qi. All in all very much an enjoyable session.

The sunday tea was the 2009 XZH Banzhang Lao Zhai. Put simply, it's relative pricing oughta tell you everything--it's a thousand less for a cake than a Gold Taiji made with Hekai materials, or the Guafengzhai. It's a nice, well constructed tea, decidedly without the oomph that banzhangs are noted for. Much nicer to drink than the '09/'10 Chenshenghao LBZ bricks, but they have the bolder taste and maybe more substantiative mouthfeel such that they should be better long term prospects. The '05 and '06 XZH LBZs have their big weaknesses, but they really aren't chopped liver.

Aroma is generally a nice mushroom and wood with occasional fruit or camphor-floral. The taste early has an easy if narrow TCM bitter pole that can have a nice coffee accent along with the consistent plummy-wood base taste. This has good viscosity with a light pudding texture. Astringency is generally around moderate. The nicest part of the aftertaste is a lingering yun. Otherwise there is a more standard if kind of light yiwu huigan to sweet nutmeat and bit of bitter-fed mouthcoat. There is moderate to strong qi. Durability is pretty decent but I didn't test it that much as I was a bit bored with the tea.

This '09 XZH Banzhang is actually pretty similar to the '08 XZH Banzhang, but is more delicate and refined. Compared with most other Banzhangs, the aroma and top taste has a gross complexity of themes that banzhangs often do not have, going for a flat broad top taste with maybe a nuanced taste in there or something. With this fourth Anyways, the '09 XZH Gold Taiji and the '10 XZH Fog Soul Hekai teas are better stuff, overall...
Through this week I read some of your enthusiastic notes on the 2012 Yeh Gu, so I wanted to refresh my opinion on that tea. I put about 7'5 grams from the cake in my trusty 120ml hongni shuiping. Very interesting how the bitterness performs in this tea. The bitterness starts very strong on the inicial brews and tends to smooth out after the third one. That bitterness is very pungent and carries the main flavours of woodiness and a kind of "dirty" chocolate taste that I can relate to as a "foodie" chocolatiness, all accompanied by a strong minerality which reminds me of yancha. Those main flavour pierce through the tongue and just stays there, while a blooming Yiwu fruitiness and slightly floral emerges on the backgroud. It's not a very broad taste or very dynamic through the session, but narrow, penetrative and cohesive, like a laser beam. It tends to generate some mouthcoat and later brews some cooling on the throat. Thickness was medium and the qi intense, coming quickly and persisting through the day, which for me is an indicative of very good quality tea.

Overall, this tea reminds me a lot the 2016 Wujin Cang. It also started with strong bitterness that calmed down after some infusions, although that one had strong floral and fruitiness on the main taste rather than the aftertaste, much less minerality and a more agitating qi. Maybe Yang wanted to replicate the Yeh Gu but in the end it went on a different path. To it's credit, I think the Wujin Cang is a very good price/quality ratio while being less taxing on the money than the Yeh Gu.

For me at least it's very difficult to pinpoint at the region the tea comes from. My impression from it is that it may contain a kucha from somewhere, as some of the lighter leaves are the most bitter, which reminds me of the leaves from the 2019 W2T Astro Kittens, while also complemented by a more "standard" Eastern Yiwu material which creates that cool huigan and gives the blend a lot of longevity.

Yesterday I had a nice session with a 2009 privately pressed Banzhang. It was sold as 80% Xin Banzhang and 20% Lao Banzhang, and my experience with it makes me agree with that declaration. The storage on the cake was Kunming until I purchased it in 2021 and is being stored at about 22'5ºC and 69% RH.

To the session: it begins very lightly with a lot of mouth activity, feeling zappy and creating some fruity huigan while also leaving a very retired smokiness that complements very well the woodiness. The taste gets stronger with a clean bitterness, chocolate, plums, fruitiness and leaves a woody + floral huigan. Some brews have strong cooling on the throat and strong citrus sensation on the rear mouth. It produces both medium astringency and drying, and good salivation, all at once on different parts of the mouth. Thickness was medium. Qi was very strong from the first brew, making me feel both a bit silly but also helping on focusing if needed. This is the feeling I get with previous Lao Banzhang puerh, so it corroborates that some material comes from there. It also cashes out pretty quickly, after 10 brews it's completely done, and that was my experience with Xin Banzhang.

Overall decent tea. Satisfying enough as I can't afford pure Lao Banzhang. At the momment of purchase it costed 380 USD for a 250 grams cake, which to me is reasonable considering it was good Kunming storage and not overly dry.

Tea of today is about 6'5 grams of the YQH 2005 Yuanshi Senlin Huangshan Cha (long name) from a 20 grams sample. It is very interesting, as the first brews have a strong savory taste and huigan. It leaves a ketchup/bbq and meat flavour, very into umami along sour plumminess and generates a Yiwu fruity mouthcoat. For the rest of the brews, that umami was only on the main taste, accompanied by some deep dark herbalness, smokiness, farmyard and leather, and eventually a honey taste, all that followed by strong Yiwu fruity huigan that didn't go too far down the throat. The wet leaves had a spectacular leather smell, I think created from the combination of farmyard and the smokiness. Thick texture through most infusions and very oily sensation, like olive oil in the mouth. The qi creeps up after the first four infusions, growing with subsequent sips. Pretty strong relaxing sensation with deep bodyfeel on the forehead, chest and arms, eventually the whole face and back of the neck. It put me in a meditative state while also helping with some mild anxiety.

Overall a great great tea which I'm considering caking when the opportunity arrives. It has the best body sensation out of any tea I have had to date which is indeed a new quality I'm seeking, as well as that particular umami flavour.
Nice to read an extensive review from someone else here!

Did a few evaluative thermoses over the week. The Sky In Buckets had a similar level of substativeness as the session. Doesn't seem to have that much depth as some other thaipus, even though it's a bright and fruity sweet tea to drink. I also did a thermos of We Go High as a check on where thaipu levels actually are. 2016 W2T We Go High was a substantial thermos and is markedly better than any of the thaipus except for the 0803, maybe. Incidentially, this had a pretty similar performance as the 2020 XZH Taiji, so another data point while I waver between whether this is a nice lincang or banzhang. Until it gets darker tasting, gunna be hard to know.

Of the stuff from the fridge, the 2009 XZH Taiji was pretty light tasting, plummy but finishing up mostly as mineral water. The qi on the other hand, was no joke all the way through. The 2009 XZH banzhang lao zhai did okay, and it seems more engaging when I brew hard to get plenty of bitterness. Doesn't really generate that much aftertaste or notable qi in comparison to the Silver Taiji.

The shu of Friday was the 2008 XZH Hong Yayun. This had settled down alot since my first try. Very mellow, like with the '11 porno shu, but not with as much flavor. However, it is much more nuanced. There is also a lovely slight camphor floral note in aroma and cake, but is most evident in the wet leaves. This had good mouthfeel, and the aftertaste were pretty good--sensate sweetness on tip of tongue, yiwu huigan, and mouthcoat. The qi was also quite strong. I really rather enjoyed it and brewed it a long way through the weekend. Fairly durable shu.

The first tea of the weekend was the 2006 YQH 600y Bulang to see whether if I'd ever want to get a cake and to compare with Tiancang. Long story short, it's pretty good, but not that spectacular. The base taste is more or less an old tea tcm taste that's similar to the 2006 Youle, which invites comparisons not in its favor. In general, gotta say, YQH was a better maker of teas in general 2010 and later.

Aroma is generally something like barnyard, hops/hoppy florals, and maybe a bit of sugars. It doesn't really go that deep into the session. Sometime later sessions might have some old tea tcm and wood aromas. The taste through most of the session is old tea tcm, a tcm bitter pole, a bit of wood, as well as some hops in the earliest brews. Gets more mineral late, of course. Good viscosity with pudding texture. light to moderate astringency. Good cooling in mouth. A bit of electric mouth early. Has a bit of feeling down throat early in the session, with a very light pungent huigan back up. The other aftertastes are also mostly only prominent early in the session--a bit of mouth aroma, yiwu huigan, and mouthcoat. Yiwu huigan can be strong. Qi isn't that remarkable at about moderate strength. Pretty good durability, but not very dynamic at all. Probably did about fifteen or sixteen brews.

The second tea of the day was the 2013 Unicorn thaipu from Teaside. It was pretty enjoyable, and ultimately more enjoyable than the bulang for the second weekend in a row... Bimbos and himbos rule, eh?

Aroma is generally canned peaches and dark herbals in varying proportions, can be nice at times. In taste, early brews have sour plummy like with Dragon, but it also has fruit vaguely like peaches. Early brews have a big dark herbal bitterness as well. In later brews, the bitterness softens and becomes more of a dark dried fruit as well as occasional light caramel. Viscosity is decent-good with about moderate astringency. There is some cooling in mouth. Most of the aftertaste is from mouthcoat, bitter-fed early on. Tends to have a sneaky and body focused qi at moderate strength. Durability is decent enough, about fourteen brews before I put it in the fridge with plenty left.

The last tea of the weekend was the 2021 Reserve thaipu from Teaside. Quickie is that this is pretty firmly gushu, but made me wonder if the tea trees might have been overpicked a bit over the years. Still quite enjoyable.

Early aroma is dark thaipu herbal with light fruit and floral edge before becoming more of a dominant fruity aroma. The taste isn't that strong, but there is good depth and layering in the profile. This profile usually has a broad nuttiness with a nuanced dark herbalness that is bitter early on. There can be fruit or caramel. This has good viscosity with velvet texture. Astringency gets to moderate levels and subsequently declines from an early peak. There is feeling down throat consistently, with a light pungent huigan back up. Strong cooling in mouth. Good yiwu huigan to fruit, and the mouthcoat can linger nicely after the cup as well. Qi is strong, mebbe a bit decent in quality. Durability seems to be okay, but might not be as good as Unicorn or some other other thaipus. Did about thirteen brews.

Ranking of western presses of thaipus...

Serious grade

Mae Hong Son

Good Stuff

Sky In Buckets
Bitter Leaf
Gypsie Crow (despite the oxidation)


Dreaming Bird
Pu Muen


Chasing Spring
Very enriching to have some interaction with the online tea community for me at least, as I don't know somebody else over in Spain that shares the same interest in these teas as I do. As I read your reviews on those Thai "puerhs" (I'll call them puerh just given the similar processing style), I'll have to give a retry to my 0803 Hongtaichang cake and a couple samples I got from Teaside when more time is available. This week I had to give most of my attention to work and studying, so I mostly had just coffee.

I had, however, a great short session with the 2006 Qixiang. I got a cake of that one more as a daily drinker so I can have some more regular sessions with it without remorse. I pried about 11 grams and put it in a 120ml hongni shuiping, half from one side of the cake and another half from the other side. I think I got mostly Yiwu + Yibang material, as it behaved like a blend of the two, so main taste was a clean, slightly sharp bitterness that transformed into unripe strawberry and quickly followed by a characteristic tropical fruitiness I associate with Yiwu. All that was enveloped by strong woodiness, spiciness and a tobacco-like sensation that transformed into pluminess, incense and a little bitter floral. No smokiness in this tea interestingly given it's age and how tea was processed back then. Medium to good viscosity that persisted through all the infusions (I pushed the tea hard and got 10 steeps). Mouthfeel was mostly like a fine sand that combined well with the viscosity, also some cooling down the throat, although not much. For the last steep, I pushed the tea for 20 minutes and it poured like syrup. All the infusions created some mouthcoat and gave Yiwu fruity huigan, and last one persisted even after having some food. The qi had a light bodyfeel, and was pretty strong on the mind, where it persisted for a couple hours.

All in all, I'm happy that I purchased blindly a cake of this 2006 Qixiang. It's very good price for value in my opinion. Also great that, as it's such wide blend, I most of times get a different experience with it, so I don't get bored even tho I treat it as a "daily drinker". The ageing also gave it enough harmony to the blend so it feels like every component is well integrated.

The other session I had this week was with the 2012 Bao Feng Xiang Ji gongmei bai cha that Yunnan Sourcing offers. I purchased this one many years ago, before it got as expensive as it is nowadays, to have when I get the cravings for aged whites. I put 9 grams in a 100 ml gaiwan. This tea itself is not that dynamic, as the flavour profile is mostly the same throughout all the brews, differing slightly on the intensity of the flavours. The taste has some cinnamon, deep molasses, a pineapply sour fruitiness, medicinal and dark herbal. Pretty viscous, as usual for the large leaf teas, also with the characteristic puckering mouthfeel you can get from those kind of leaves. Interestingly it has some cooling on the mouth on most infusions. The flavour profile and mouthfeel gives me sensations akin to drinking barrel aged grape brandy infused with barks and autumn leaves, which definitely suits the foggy weather we are having over here this week. The qi is mostly in the mind, a mix of relaxing, slightly meditative and later the caffeine kicks in.

I'll be looking forward to try the Tiancang in a couple weeks, as I have a sample and I want to learn more about those semiaged Bulangs. Some months ago I had the Tianshan Yizhen, which seemed like Southern Bulang and brought me a hell of a ride. I recall strong bitterness, farmyard, chocolate, coffee, leather, hay and tobacco, all tuned up pretty loud, and I must say I enjoyed it a lot.
Had a bunch of very nice teas this long weekend...

Unicorn and Reserve thaipu lasted well through the week.

The shu of Friday was the 2006 Taipei Expo Memorial shu. Largely the same pleasant experience with nice wood aroma, good aftertastes and strong qi.

The first tea of the weekend, in order to get a baseline experience, was the 2015 Baifuzangcang Tianlong Chawang. Overall, it was a bit of a different tea than expected because fruit plumminess wasn't a big part of the experience, which made for a tea that was kind of similar to the 2016 CYH Chawangshu. The taste was less bold, dark, and deep in the early going than the CWS, but this was a substantially better tea on quality of aroma, aftertastes, qi, and durability. The overall quality is about on the tier where the 2015 XZH lanyin and luyin are.

Alright, the aroma was pretty dynamic, so: grain syrup, grain, toffee, caramel-> honey, grain, slight fruit, a wood rim-> grain syrup with a little wood-> mineral, honey, plum, with hint of earlier grain syrup-wood-> grain syrup, tofee, caramel, with a sort of pungent woodiness like pine or pine smoke-> elegant plum and floral, and there were subsequent unrecorded but pleasant aromas. This was a tea that had aroma going very deep into the session. Taste was a bit less dynamic: creme brulee, honey, plums -> slim tcm bitter pole, roasted grain-> tcm bitter pole, toffee, wood rim-> light tcm bitter pole, roasted grain-> tcm bitter pole, dark herbal, subtle plumminess-> dark herbal, wood, plummy-> tcm bitter pole wood, grain syrup. Late tastes had a light bitter pole with broad sweetness like honey with subtle notes. My notes ended before this tea was particularly done. The viscosity was good-very good with a texture between pudding and velvet. Astringency is generally on the light side of moderate. Early brews had some numbing of the front mouth. Some good cooling feeling. There was some light feeling down throat and very light pungent huigan back up. Strong yiwu huigan, to caramel early but more often to fruit plum. There is a good mouthcoat as well. Some yuns also. The qi was generally strong. I took this tea about fourteen or so brews before dumping it unfinished for another tea.

I was expecting more of a BHT-ish sort of tea than it really was. This was still a tea clearly on the northern side of GFZ rather than Tongqinghe and the like. And the general character is still vaguely like the area in the general vicinity of BHT. While this wasn't mindblowing, it was still a very enjoyable session.

The tea I was prepping for was the 2010 Yangqinghao Shenyun Tiancheng, a blend with a handful of Bohetang big tree in it. The most notable thing about this tea (despite encountering this before) is how big it is in the mouth. Hard to think of another Mansa as big. Can think of potent and rich teas like the 2012 XZH Fenghua Reproduction or the 2017 XZH Tianmenshan, but they aren't as *big*, like this or the YQH 666 or YQH Tiancang Menghai teas... Thinking of this as a blend, for a short stretch, there was a bit of the character of a not-new Yishanmo tea, which I am very primed to enjoy. The high end BHT aspects are very subtle in this tea, and as noted before in previous tries, not a huge aftertaste game, given how premium the tea is.

This tea is much less dynamic in aroma and taste than the Tianlong Chawang. The tarragon-blueberry sweet herbal is a consistent theme in aroma and taste. After a number of brews, a cottonseed meal note, like what you'd find in a fresh shu, particularly made from northern puerh, is usually present in aroma and taste. Other things in the aroma include mineral, barnyard, wood, and sometimes an ephemeral perfume floral. Other things in the taste include dark herbal, mineral, and a rare hint of perfume floral. Early brews has a broad oxidized plumminess, and in many brews, after the soup cools, the dark taste has more choco tones. Very good viscosity with albumin texture. Astringency seemed to oscillate between light and moderate. There is a little bit of feeling down throat and a hint of pungent huigan up early in the session. The other nice aftertastes are also more prominent in the early part of the session with the main feature being a coordinated and dynamic mouthcoat and cooling. Later brews has some nicely lingering mouthcoat and a hint of yiwu huigan here and there. The qi is generally strong and with a subtle positive bent, more subtle than a good Tianmenshan and similar to the YQH Shenpin Chawang. Durability is pretty good, but dumped before it was really done at about fourteen brews again.

This is not especially mindblowing, besides the size of taste and good mouthfeel, but it was well worth the bit over a dollar a gram I spent on the cake.

As for the BHT. It's really hard to adequately describe it, but high BHT isn't really a minty tea like that, and of course, if you do the actual BHT field BHT, you'll get that single tree emptier taste and all that, with a pronounced tendency to a good fruitiness. Sometimes floral as well, making for an experience that suggests a really good Yibang. However, the *point* of that high BHT and stuff that aproximate it, is a particular cooling feeling that is coordinating with a dynamic mouthcoat that changes in flavors.

I did a quick session with a fully fermented Vietnam shu. Nothing particularly special.

I had the urge to do a mini-session with YQH Yehgu to compare with Shenyun Tiancheng, so I did a 4g session of that. I was looking for a comparable tarragon profile, but I didn't really get it *cue meme with crude figure using a stick to poke a dead thing*. To the extent it was similar, Yehgu was stuck fully on the blueberry side of the spectrum, while the main taste was a tcm bitter pole and dark barnyard fairly consistently. Aftertastes were wild, tho'.

Aroma often had a really good aromatic wood aroma even if not that strong, and there was often blueberry sweetness with it. Barnyard and herbal in there too occasionally. Taste had deep barnyard, blueberry, honey most of the time, sometimes in a very agreeable way, even if there was always a light coating bitterness there as well. Mid and later session brews often has wood and mineral in taste. Late brews has some plumminess. This has good viscosity with pudding? texture. Generally a light side of moderate astringency. Some cooling. Strong feeling down throat, good pungent huigan back up. Really nice fruity yiwu huigans, often fast enough to be mistaken for main taste. Strong mouthcoat as well. There was a very occasional mouth aroma. Strong qi. Very durable, and this time I put the gaiwan into the fridge.

I love this tea, and am grateful for any degree that I got to have more of it because it was so bitter for some folks.

The last tea of the weekend is somethign that is relatively easy to describe as it's a fully warehoused tea, the '97 Shui Lanyin 7542. First things first, not a very 7542 tea, even if heavily distorted by warehousing. Lots of little debris in the finished leaves like what you'd find in a tippy shu. Something like a 7532 or 0622 but using relatively good material--no taidi, general sense of northern Bulang shengtai. I thought it was pretty good, but I generally drank each cup relatively fast and I definitely wouldn't have wished to pay $2k for a cake of this. Warehoused tea is not my thing, unless it's as cheap as good shu. That said, also note that there was very little warehouse obnoxiousness in this tea, everything has been dried and aired out in Houde's storage.

Anyways... Aroma is generally dark herbal with a touch of wood or soil. There can be a touch of wine or choco in the aroma on occasion as well. There is a thick, deep taste of dark herbal, choco, wood, and soil. There can be hints of fruit/plumminess in cooler soups. Lighter later brews can have mineral or sugars. Decent to good viscosity with a round feeling. Light astringency with occassional rise to almost moderate levels. At one point in the session, there was a strong electric mouth. Has a strong yiwu huigan to almond-mint sweetness in first half of session. There is a bit of mouthcoat. Light to moderate qi. Seems pretty durable, but of course not that dynamic. Kind of stopped when I got bored. And this will go into the fridge instead of the more interesting Shenyun or Tianlong. Oh well.

I was also thinking about how similar the taste was to the 2005 Dayi grade A tuo I have.

The Yehgu and the '97 Shui Lanyin lasted well through the week. Yehgu maintained strong qi and some aftertaste all the way through, while the '97 maintained strong taste most of the way through. Finished leaves seems to be grade 0, 1, 2 ish sort of leaf grades, like what you'd find in a GNWL or something. Not sure if that is mash or some really nice version of an 0622 or something.

The shu of Friday was W2T 2022 Looncall in the Dark. It was pretty good. It still had very good viscosity, and astringency was a bit lower than last year. The taste was pretty deep while not being as rich as Bringer or Lich's Tears. While the aroma was light, there were some nice elements, including a very subtle floral aspect. The astringency fed a nice mouthcoat aftertaste, and there was pretty strong qi. I'm a bit meh on this, I think because it's a relatively fully fermented shu and I strongly prefer lighter fermented shu. This is pretty much shu as shu with little pretensions toward stimulating any shenginess. As I have often been doing, I compared my satisfaction with how I would enjoy a thaipu, and I think I would enjoy the similarly priced Choco Noir more, despite thinner initial taste.

The first sheng of the weekend was the 2023 Yiwu Mountain Tea Bohetang maocha. A year's settling has improved this tea somewhat, with the earliest brews having the slightest hint of the stuff that makes a Bohetang a Bohetang, but this tea is still a poor value that I had a pleasant time with. Nothing about this is going to blow anyone away.

Aroma is fairly vegetal early with a hint of celery spiciness. Honey, grains, and fruit make up the other components, and honey and grains becomes dominant in the aroma after a few brews. The taste follows the aroma early with vegetal, honey, grains, before transitioning to a more bitter flavor with honey and grains. Late brews is mostly grains and mineral. A subtle wood note shows up here and there. This tends to have good viscosity with a light runny honey texture. Most of the session, the astringency is about moderate. Early brews have a very light feeling down throat with a subtle pungent huigan up. There is some cooling feeling, and a bit of finesse happens in the first two brews. There can be sensate sweet tonguecoat early in the session, as well as a bit of mouth aroma. This tea does okay with some yiwu huigan, sometimes to fruit, and some mouthcoat. The qi is pretty uneven--most of the time it is at moderate or maybe light, but it does have a cup or two with strong qi. Durability is okay. It kind of tires out quickly, but also recovers with a few hours of rest.

One is better off chasing less famous teas...

I did a quickie session with an aged tea, the '70s Aged LiaoFu San Cha from Houde. It basically has a lightly fermented shu profile that is focused on the old tea tcm taste with a touch of wood and plenty of sweetness. Needs firm brewing, which I did, otherwise will be pretty thin in taste. There is some aged tea qi in this as well. Does leave a bit of energy in the mouth that I am slightly suspicious of. I was pretty unenthusiastic, very low in dynamism, reflecting the general issue with aged maocha. Gunna try thermosing this, might be pretty good this way.

The sheng of Sunday was the 2013 Baifuzangcang Xiangyun (Baiyingshan). I was quite happy with this tea.

The big reason is that it has a really lovely aromatic woodiness in aroma and taste. Tasty dried fruit in aroma and taste as well. Earliest aroma also has some barnyard. Taste gets a bit bitter after a couple of brews, with a chicory note. Late brews has a higher dried fruit taste with some plumminess. This had good viscosity with something closer to silk in texture rather than velvet. Light astringency with a few brews at moderate levels. Light feeling down throat here and there with light pungent huigan back up. A light but nice yiwu huigan to vaguely fruitish notes. The mouthcoat is good and can linger an hour. One or two brews had a good yun. Moderate level of qi throughout session. Durability is okay--it's not a super rich tea and it thins quickly, but it's also game to continue, and I enjoyed it, so I did about fourteen or fifteen brews before putting this in the fridge.
I really drank up most of what that BFZC had to give on Sunday 'cause it didn't last that long through the week, but when it did, long brews were delicious.

The shu of Friday was the 2020 W2T Nameless. This is fairly similar to Reckless Daughter, but with some interesting differences. Reckless Daughter has more dark depth in taste, and it has stronger floral and fruitiness in aroma and taste. However, Nameless only has a couple of brews with the tartness/sourness, and lighter, besides. Also, everything just has more finesse. It feels like this has largely settled down to its long term character. Maybe. Anyways, floral-wood in aroma and taste. Taste has a bit of dark depth with hints of fruit. Good mouthfeel, light astringency. Has tendency for strong cooling, and has at various points, a really strong mouthcoat. There is some yiwu huigan as well. Strongish qi. Durable as well. Well worth the money I spent on it.

The sheng of Saturday was the 2012 Baifuzangcang Pasha. This was overall, a rather good session, and a bit more lively than before. Still clearly has limitations. There is a base note of a slight choco and dried fruit that is characteristic of congou style Ceylon tea, which I suspect is a result of tweaking. Interesting that it's like that rather than plummy. Noted that last week's Xiangyun also had a dried fruit character, but it's either natural or Northern teas just don't get affected by tweaking as much.

Aroma tends to be a blend of apricot, plumminess, and wood. The plumminess in aroma and taste tends to have a winey acidity. Aroma goes minerally and gone fairly quickly, like by sixth or seventh brew. The first brew taste once again has that lovely strong apricot taste and has it gradually decline relative to wood and plumminess. At a certain point, the taste switches over to a soft choco with dried fruit and consistently stays like that with choco fading quickly away as taste lightens. The viscosity is good-very good with something of a albumin/pectin-protein roundness. Astringency starts off light and builds to moderate before fading back to light. Like the Nameless shu, this has stronger than normal cooling feeling. A couple of the earliest brews has very shallow pungent huigan. There is mouth aroma early as well. Some sneaky light yiwu huigans, but the mainstay is a decent mouthcoat with a good lingering tendency. Not really a dramatic aftertaste game, but good enough. Qi is strong of pretty decent quality. Not great durability. Huffs and puffs by seven or eight, and is pretty boring pretty soon after.

Baifuzancang makes lots of claims about how this is with really old trees. I sort of believe it. Even understanding how making a puerh honchapu a bit can make the taste spread out and be more mouthfilling at the expense of depth and nuance, this was a fairly large and mouthfilling taste. The viscosity is also rather big. The qi is relatively good as well. I suspect that by now in 2024, if the BFZC guys had this tea out there from 2012 without the processing for softness and all that, this would have been a very impressive tea.

The first sheng of Sunday was the 2011 Essence of Tea Douyizhai (Douyizhai is the last Nannuo stop before Hekai area teas) Nannuo with the BFZC Pasha in mind. Just very enjoyable. It's smaller than the BFZC in taste and viscosity, but it might actually be pretty even overall. Does better with aroma, especially deeper into session. More durable overall. The taste has more depth and nuance. Aftertastes are about even or maybe a bit inferior to the Pasha, but it does last deeper into the session. Qi is about the same overall quality, but it also lasts better deep into a session.

Rich aroma early with dark herbal, mushroom, barnyard, caramel, and a hint of wood. As aroma thins, there is more relative plummy and a more generic herbal. Early brew taste is dark herbal, barnyard, wood, mushroom, and caramel. Then a nice, deep tcm bitter pole with a dull point enters, leaving a little space for higher dark herbal, plumminess, with a hint of caramel and birchwood. Taste simplifies to a deep taste and mineral, with either plummy or birchwood in late brews. Good viscosity, a bit of velvet texture. Astringency starts off at moderate, gets a bit higher before declining as the session moves on. There is a bit of cooling. A couple of brews have a small and shallow pungent huigan. There is often a decent yiwu huigan, and the mouthcoat is decent and lingering as well. Qi is moderate-strong. Pretty durable, did about thirteen brews and put the pot in the fridge with plenty left.

The second sheng of Sunday was the Yiwu Mountain Tea Jinchanghe (Tongqinghe area tea) from 2021. This was more interesting than appetizing, but it was overall pretty tasty. It wouldn't beat the YMT 2022 BHT from last week, but it wouldn't lose by much, I think.

Early brew aroma and taste dominated by a vegetal-herbal character. Aroma early also has hints of fruit or caramel sweetness. Aroma moves towards a wood and herbal aroma with occasional grain syrup/sugars light sweetness for the rest of the way. The early taste is vegetal herbal as mentioned before, but it lasts deeper into the session, with barnyard, mushroom, and a light sugars/burnt sugars sweetness. The middle brew has a slight and thin tcm bitter pole enter the blend. One brew has the vegetal herbal character resolve into a nice tobacco. Good viscosity with a slight pudding texture. Astringency is generally light with a couple brews with moderate astringency. Good cooling in mouth. Has a sweet tonguecoat as well as a mouthcoat. Mouthcoat sometimes builds nicely sipping through a brew. Yiwu huigan tends to be slower and subtle. Qi is generally on the light side, maybe boosted with caffeine. Durability isn't that explored as I didn't get too far into the session before I really need to eat them chips and ghost pepper salsa... Into the fridge it goes.
Interesting to see your review on a couple of YMT's offerings. I caked their 2019 Chawangshu some years ago and I'm definitely very satisfied with the purchase as it gives a very pure experience that the grove gives and I'm glad to pay the price per gram difference of that one instead of the YQH 2006 Chawangshu. The vendor seems to be open to do private pressings as long as it's at least a tong of 7 cakes of 200 grams. I asked him about the possibility of pressing some Lengshuihe as I have never had from that grove as a single origin cake (maybe in some blends?), but he doesn't have access to it, and I'm not able to track any production, as the 2014 Bao Hong Yin Ji from that area seems long gone.

Anyway, today I had a session revisiting the 2006 0803 Hongtaichang. I put about 5'5 grams from a cake in a 120ml hongni shuiping and made 12 strong infusions. First one gave a sour plum taste that moved to a bright woody tone as well as some minerality. Pretty mild that inicial brew without much going on. The next 3 infusiones gave plums with a deeper woodiness that transformed into a slight savory taste. It generated some slight Yiwu kind of fruity aftertaste and persisting mouthcoat. Infusiones 5 to 8 stayed mostly the same as before with the addition of a slight smokiness to the plums and slight tobaccoey to the woodiness, also strong minerality along a bit more than medium astringency. Some bitterness developed, more of a "dirty" and not clean bitterness. Next infusions were mostly the same as before but minerality and astringency was accompanied by a green apple flavour. Overall almost no sweetness other than the fruity huigan and mouthcoat and more on the woody-spicy side. It also had some mild cooling here and there. Viscosity was rather moderate, oily and interestingly at the same time thirst-quenching. The mouth activity like the huigan and mouthcoating didn't really go into the throat. Qi was medium to strong, focused on the mind which gave a grounded and relaxed state while bodyfeeling started mild around the head, legs and feet and got stronger from infusion 3 onwards.

This session really reminded me of the Yeh Gu on some lighter sessions with that strong penetrating on the mouth aftertaste with Yiwu fruitiness and rather narrow taste. Leaves also share some similarities like the very dark and shiny look of medium to small size, so maybe they are both more "wild" teas, which I think makes sense for the Thai tea and the Yeh Gu just confirms the statement by its own name.

Last Saturday I had a session with the 2011 Tiancang. I came from a trip and needed some puerh to feel at home again, so what better that trying a new tea that I was excited to try for a while. I put about 6 grams from a sample into my 120 ml hongni shuiping. I did 12 strong infusions + a final thermos. The chunk was very tighly compressed, so the first infusion was a good 1 minute brew to loosen it up. That first infusion had some plums and woody main taste thas was growing stronger a while ago after the sip. It was also giving off the classic Bulang dark vegetal + leathery + animalic character, this time accompanied by slight smokiness, clean bitterness and some minerality. Already qi started to feel quite strong with spacy mind and body sensation around the neck, tip of the nose and forehead. Strong salivation, slight cooling down the throat and already creating some mouthcoat with Yiwu fruitiness. I thought: "This is gonna be a ride!". Next 3 infusions were building a much much stronger taste with intense chocolate aftertaste and fruity mouthcoat that went all the way down the throat along some spiciness. I was feeling the tea travel all the way into the stomach with the trail of spiciness and cooling. By second infusion, the qi started to hit really hard, it was like getting (stoned?). Hard to concentrate and relaxing, which to me is characteristic of Lao Man E qi. Next 4 infusions had a strong and dense Bulang core that developed into plums, chocolate and woodiness, then Yiwu fruitiness and resolved into a long grapefruit. Qi was going into the shoulders and arms. The last 4 infusions before the thermos gained a wine-like taste and sensation as well as a distinct medicinal bitterness. Finally, the thermos was pretty similar, without the medicinal and wine quality but leaving a strong dark honey aftertaste with persisting qi. The texture was pretty thick from start to finish and from steep 6 onwards with a honey-like texture. Spectacular mouth and throat activity from the get-go and impressively strong qi all the way.

So, overall, it's clearly a Lao Man E with it's characteristic dense core that slowly unfolds as well as the unmistakeable stoner qi, but dialed up to 11 compared to most Lao Man E's I've had. Maybe only the 2016 bitter varietal sheng by Hai Lang Hao had a similar sensation in terms of qi, but that one was much more bitter. Now I'm left debating on whether I should get a cake of this one or the 2006 Wushang Miaopin on my next YQH splurge. Decisions, decisions...
Cool Reviews, Sub10! About as long as mine are...

Anyways...The Jinchanghe lasted well through the week, but I didn't really enjoy these that much. Nice enough. The Douyishu quickly lost most of its flavor, but mouthfeel and qi were rather interestingly stable and high quality.

The shu of Friday was the 2018 XZH Carefree. I like this shu a lot, and this session was pretty much like the others in that there is a solid core flavor with a ton of nuances in the taste. Aroma has a bit of nice florals early. Also is notably durable for a shu. Decent enough aftertaste game and good qi.

The sheng of Saturday was the 2023 Yiwu Mountain Tea Paozhuqing maocha. This wasn't a dramatically good session, but it was nice in a soft and nuanced way. Way more expensive than it is really worth (i.e., you'd want to buy an older tea like 2018 XZH lanyin chawang for superior in a similar way performance), but still nice.

Aroma in earliest brews are more chicory, vegetal, and honey, then there is a bit of wild honey, mineral, barnyard short stretch, before a more mineral late aroma. The taste largely follows the aroma--chicory, honey, vegetal early, then a darker taste of chicory, wild honey, vegetal, and slight floral. A good stretch of the session then has a small tcm bitterpole, wild honey, before late tastes have a higher but very nuanced wild honey and mineral notes. The viscosity is good, maybe a touch better than good along with a light pudding texture. Astringency starts off light and eventually build to moderate before maybe tailing off a bit very late. Aftertastes tends to have light yiwu huigan but a good mouthcoat. Qi is at about the light end of moderate strength. Durability seems good, did about twelve or thirteen brews and seems like it will have plenty more worthwhile ones.

The sheng of Sunday was the 2010 XZH Lao Wu Shan. This was very enjoyable, and I judge the price at Houde to be quite fair for the quality. At worst, it is only marginally worse in quality compared to the 2012 BFZC Bingdao.

Aroma was relatively dynamic, so: honey and cola->wood, honey, cola, fruit->wood and sugars-> mineral and sugars-> light fruit->animalisty-musky honey and fruity late. Taste is also dynamic, so: pungent barnyard/musk? cola, and honey-> very small TCM bitter pole, mineral, musk, cola-> TMC bitter pole, dark herbal, cola-> TCM bitter pole, dark herbal, wood, mineral, musk-> underbrewed light fruit, mineral-> fruit and honey-> musky honey, mineral, light bitterness at end of the session today. Good viscosity with velvet texture. Can have high surface tension that can make the experience of sipping tea like slurping high quality noodles. Astringency is generally on the high side of moderate. Yiwu huigan wavers in and out, typically being fast and light when it's there, but also a cup or two with stronger and slower ones. Mouth aroma is pretty decent a lot of the time. Occasional yun. Consistent strong mouthcoat. A few brews have a bit of feeling down throat and a single pungent huigan late in the cup. Also, a couple of brews also generated good cooling in the mouth. Moderate level qi, maybe a bit good in quality. Durability is pretty good. It took a long time for me to drink this, so I didn't have that many brews at about twelve, but there seems to be quite plenty left as I put it in the fridge.
These days I mostly brewed tea casually as I've been moving to a temporary home at the countryside, a very rustic house indeed. I had a session with the 2021 Ao Ne Me from Farmer Leaf, where I stacked every two brews into a new unglazed 250ml cup. The measure was about 7 grams from a cake on a 100 ml gaiwan. The unglazed cup really helped muting some of the flavours, which are a bit weird due to the processing and improved the texture. So, the flavour weirdly reminds me of a cheese and ham sandwich, then goes to a vegetal, like green banana/banana leaves as well as slightly nutty, all that transitioning to a icing sugar huigan. It remains pretty constant through all the session, so not very dynamic in that sense. It had some cooling in the mouth and throat sometimes and some of the sweetness that comes can have a sweet egg yolk touch that characterizes Lincang and Ailao raw puerhs to me. Some mouthcoat can be experienced if brewed for longer along a bit of astringency and bitterness. The good part for me about this tea is the mouthfeel, which leaves a sleek feeling in the mouth and teeth through most of the brews, as well as the qi, which sneaks up after some infusions and can be dreamy.

The tea itself has key flaws, like the processing, which is pretty green like all the teas I've had from Farmer Leaf. Also the picking doesn't include many buds, it's mostly large leaves, some with strongish rounian and some with very light rounian, which indicates the leaves have been processed by different standarts before being blended and pressed. The leaves per se seem to come from good trees tho. Not gushu top quality, but big trees for sure.

The other tea was the 2005 Lincang Impression by Hai Lang Hao. I put about 5'5 grams from a cake and grandpa styled it into a 500ml glass. This tea is not very dynamic either, so I tend to brew it casually as well, this time accompanying some late night studying. The tea itself vanished some of the intense smokiness it had when I purchased it three years ago and gained some other characteristics. So, the taste starts with talc and a mix of fresh cut wood with dry wood furniture as well as smokiness, then goes so slightly dry floral and finally a mix of dry Yiwu fruitiness along dried grapes and apricots. It can have some cooling in the throat and generate a slight egg yolk sweetness. Not that much to say. It's not a sweet tea, but the dry storage gave it a rustic and distinctive profile I can enjoy in the right mood. It has a relaxing, then centering qi with a bit of bodyfeeling.

The general impression of this tea is that the factory in which it was processed wasn't that clean. It had a very intense smokiness when I got the cake, and I often can encounter pieces of this and that inside the cake. It also always brews pretty cloudy, so there's that. The flavour profile can be a bit nostalgic for me, reinforced by the qi and that's what I like about it.

Right now I'm lurking on this year's productions from different vendors. Last time I posted, I said I was very interested in having some Lengshuihe and Fatbat just released some tea that claims to be from that area, but on the Laos border, which is why it's so inexpensive. Also, TeaEncounter released some cakes claimed to be from Heishuiliangzi, also a place on which I'm keeping my eyes on. What strikes me is how cheap it is for the supposed area from which it comes from. Maybe it's from very young trees? Who knows, but definitely is almost too cheap to be true. Not gonna make claims for now. I'll wait a bit more to see all the releases, and if there's nothing more interesting that comes out, I might try those out.

Do you Shah know about some trusty source that sells those two Guafengzhai areas? Also interested to know if you had any experience with Biyun Hao's 2010 or 2018 (or any other production) Wangong Fenghuangwo and how was it.
Both the Paozhuqing and Lao Wu Shan lasted well through the week, at least in part because I didn't push the main session that deep. There were a few very tasty brews.

The shu of Friday was the 2022 W2T Lich's Tears. Outstanding newer shu and very much worth the expense. Aroma and taste were complex for a shu, with nutskins, wood, a bit of incense, fermentation depth, a strong bitterness (like Lao Man'e), along with some subtle nuances. Mouthfeel was outstanding, very thick and chewable (and similar to Hailanghao 2017/19 LBZ shu in this respect). There is a bit of astringency. Also a relatively complex aftertaste game. The qi is strong. I brewed this one a ton, and while the flavor isn't that durable, the mouthfeel certainly was, and it was worthwhile to drink hot water like that.

The first sheng of the weekend was 2013 Baohongyinji Tongqinghe. It wasn't that good, and nothing like what the expense might suggest it would perform. In the first place, this tea falls into the single/few tree style with mineral, very transparent taste and lots of nuance and depth. I have to be in the mood for such things due to the greater concentration they demand, and getting this style by surprise wasn't that helpful. On top of that, this tea didn't really do such a great job with the whole nuance and depth and compares poorly with the recent XZH teas in this style I've had recently, 2009 Silver Taiji and the 2013/14 Love Yous.

Aroma was generally mineral with wood, barnyard, and some plumminess, such that it was faintly like more vigorous TQHs. Taste generally follows the aroma, but is often more mineral dominated. Early brews has a tcm bitter pole that lends a general darkness to the flavor. Early brews also has a slight sourness. The mouthfeel is a shining spot for this tea with very good viscosity and pudding texture. Astringency is about at light-moderate. Early brews have nicely strong cooling feelings. Aftertaste game doesn't last that deep into the session. There are some light yiwu huigans and a good lingering mouthcoat. The qi was mostly at moderate level of decent quality. At point I thought it might have a sneaky strong qi, but that didn't turn out to be the case. Brews pretty indefinitely, but not really very many cups I *want* to drink...

Never trying another baohongyinji again, sample or cake, unless it is both free and somehow nominally interesting.

The second sheng of the weekend was the 2008 Chenyuanhao Cang Yi. Long and short of it is that it's pretty good, but I wouldn't pay the sort of money Puerhguy wants for it. This strikes me as being from dingjiazhai, like the 2008 XZH dingjiazhai, but much less oxidized than the XZH or YYT effort.

Aroma is a bit dynamic, so: herbal, wood, plum-> wood and herbal->spice and wood-> wood, mineral, and caramel-> mineral, grain syrup, subtle fruit. In early brews, there is a certain wet hay nature with subtle honey and barnyard as well as wood and plumminess showing up here and there. Settles to wood, grain syrup, mineral dominated taste the rest of the way through. Hints of fruitiness in late brews. This has good viscosity with velvet texture. Astringency is generally light. There can be good cooling. Generally light yiwu huigan, generally to caramel. light mouthcoat, and a very occassional light yun. Qi seems to be at light to moderate. Seems to be pretty durable, did about thirteen brews and there still seems to be plenty left.

The last sheng of the weekend was the 2006 Spring Chenguanhetang Yiwu Chawang. it's a rather boring tea, but it's the best sheng of the weekend, and is more or less worth the money.

The aroma is usually plummy, mineral with varying amount of wood and spice, and with a few brews mid-late being mostly wood and spice. The taste is pretty much dominated by plumminess with minor contributions from soil/wood and custard. Good viscosity with velvet mouthcoat. The astringency is at moderate. Light yiwu huigan generally to custard and may be fast. Mouthcoat is also light most of the time, but can get pretty good and lingering. The qi is strongish of good quality, and is probably the main reason to prefer this tea. Durability seems pretty good, did about twelve or so.

I was sort of thinking of the 2008 Chawangshu maocha that KJ Wong was promoting, but I also compared it to the 2006 YQH Chawangshu. This is a blend of GFZ and TQH, as reported in the blurb over at puerhguy.
Through this week I've had a session first with the 2006 0803 Hongtaichang. This time it behaved different from prior experiences with it. I put 8 grams in a 120 ml hongni shuiping and did 12 strong brews. First four brews were pretty much identical, with very little taste that dramatically bloomed into a strong Yiwu tropical fruits huigan with strong meditating kind of qi and bodyfeel to the legs, which felt heavy. Texture was pretty decent, with good viscosity. Next 8 infusions had a very in your face hongcha taste with spiciness and woods to plums supported by medium bitterness and also generated strong Yiwu tropical fruits huigan deep on the throat that I was able to perceive even an hour later after some food. The qi let me in an awe state while contemplating a thunderstorm. It almost felt divine.

I never had a session with this tea that went like this. It lacked the flowery and mildly smoky aspect it usually has, while generating much stronger huigans and qi. So not that much to write about, but the experience was amazing.

Next tea of the week was a controversial one for me, but this time it really made me love it. I'm speaking about the 2014 Chawang 4 by Hai Lang Hao. I bought this tea in mid 2021, just about a week before it doubled in price to more than 2$/gram. My intention was to get the best Yiwu offered through Yunnan Sourcing, as it was going to be my last purchase from them before trying some new vendors. The first time I had a session with it, it was very ethereal, with very light main taste and the interesting part came from some mild huigans that varied through the steeps, moderate astringency and a very relaxing qi, so I had a hard time justifying the buy even at less than half of the current price.

This time I put about 6 grams in a 100ml gaiwan and went without high expectations. It endured 15 steeps with no flash steepings, so the durability was pretty decent for mostly dry stored puerh. First two brews had a mild woody and cinnamon taste that went to a mild rice flavour, then floral-fruty and finally white sugar. Texture was sirupy with high viscosity. Interestingly it didn't create any huigan nor mouthcoat yet, but it was lefting me with a strong mouth smell/aroma. Qi was already there, mildly felt on the head and mind with a relaxing feeling. Next two infusions had a more upfront woodiness and mineral that went to cinnamon, floral-fruity, then candy floss with lemon cough drops and finally into caramel, all that very sweet and without much bitterness. Moderate astringency on the sides of the cheeks and saliva-inducing from under the tongue. Wet leaves had a spectacular smell of roses and floral creams that could compete with oolongs. Right after the fourth infusion I got up and BANG! Qi right into the head like something smashed it and strong relaxing and spaciness. Next infusion it started with woodiness to cinnamon, some more present bitterness and moderate cooling on the mouth and deep into the throat that persisted. Now floral-fruity huigan was there and floral-fruity mouthcoat. Mouthfeel also changed from sleek to fine sand. Sixth infusion had aromatic woods to slight chocolate, then prunes and resolving into candy floss and caramel and brought again the mouth aroma. Seventh infusion started with aromatic wood and an explosion of aromatic spices like cinnamon, allspice and cloves, very persistent and then went to umami/savory florals accompanied by long and deep cooling and an aromatic huigan. Qi keeps at a strong level with deep mental relaxation and spaciness. I did a 30 minutes pause here.

Continuing, next infusion was sweet and aromatic woods that transformed inmediately to caramel, mineral and a thirst-quenching sensation. Huigan was floral-fruity and sweet. Ninth brew was starting to loose the woodiness while preserving the aromatic part of it, that then went to persisting mineral and left a medicinal slightly bitter and moderately cooling. Astringency kept at moderate level, but generating umami floral mouthcoating. From here onwards it didn't change much till the end, only varying in that sometimes I could taste a little bit of grains here and there. Qi maintained a meditative and focused feel as well from here.

So, this session really changed my mind about the tea. Now I think it was a really good value at the price I bought it with a few years of ageing under a bit more humid than Kunming dry storage, although at the current 2'7$/gram makes it harder to justify. It's starting to turn the corner into semiaged now and it lost the ethereal character to a much more full, solid and broad taste. The only thing it could improve is that the astringency is moderate to medium with no productive activity early on. Now, about the material of the tea itself. It definitely gives a gushu experience. What shocks me is that it's a more tippy and smaller leaves Yiwu than I'm used to. I heard that sometimes, Wangong can have medium to smaller leaves, which could be the case. The strong spacy and relaxing qi also makes me thing of Wangong. It could also be that it's mostly Wangong with some Northern Guafengzhai and around the Bohetang area mixed in, as I have never found that savory floral outside Bohetang area nor the floral-fruity outside North GFZ. It also behaves too complex and dynamic to not be a blend.
CYH Cangyi and the CGHT Yiwu Chawang performed very well in late brews. Cangyi had plenty of taste and Chawang had good qi.

The shu of Friday was the 2012 XZH loose Pasha shu. The usual boring but good. Has something of an herbal and vegetal edge to it that makes the taste slightly unusual. Taste isn't super dense, but aroma is rich. There is good mouthfeel, and this offers a touch of yiwu huigan and mouthcoat. There is some qi as well

This was a pretty potent sheng weekend...

Anyways, the first sheng of Saturday was the 2006 XZH 3rd Anniversary Lao BanZhang. This was a bit like the 2009 XZH LBZ in that it offered an ordered and refined aroma and taste without really having a super substantive affirmation of quality. Also, the way the aftertaste occurs imply that I underbrewed the tea somewhat. Hmmm, not super potent and doesn't measure up to my own dry stored 2006 XZH Taiji Yin. This is certainly better than the try of 2006 XZH Taiji Yang from TW that I remember, and I wonder how it compares to a similarly TW stored version of the Taiji Yin as well.

Aroma isn't that durable, but early brew aroma was interesting with a charcoal, honey and meaty umami that suggest, pleasantly, a bbq sensibility. The last big aroma shifted a lot as it cools from the original profile into having some wine and caramel notes. The taste early consists of wood, a small tcm bitter pole, sometimes charcoal/dark mineral, an underlying sugar sweetness, and a slight sour bite. The taste thins fairly quickly to mineral/charcoal and bits of other stuff, so the tea is dependent on aftertaste for interest in mouth after about 4 brews. This has good viscosity with pudding texture. Astringency is generally light. Not a whole lot of feeling in throat or cooling in mouth for an LBZ. Does have a strong performance in terms of yiwu huigan and a decent performance in terms of mouthcoat. They were light in early brews, but strong in later, longer brew time cups, which suggests I hadn't been brewing the early brews with a firm enough hand. One brew had a decent yun. Qi is at about the strong side of moderate. Durability...eh, I could keep going, but it's on account of the aftertaste providing flavor, but main taste dies out really quickly. I think I did about thirteen brews, before putting this in the fridge.

The second tea of Saturday was another try of my own storage of the 2006 XZH Menghai Nu'ercha brick. The result was that there was more taste than my initial try, but it was very young tasting in some ways, but a bit faded. Initial brews were outright yellow! Anyways, those of you who bought some of these bricks from Houde last few years need to get them out of those thick anti-porn wrapper and let the original wrapper do its thing, letting the tea breath. Now, beyond this...The tea overall was of higher quality than the LBZ I just had. More aroma and taste, despite storage, especially in somewhat later brews. Much more feeling and aftertaste as well.

The somewhat light aroma was a bit dynamic, so: wood, herbal, barnyard-> wood, pink saltwater taffy-> incense woody, fruit, plummy-> fruit and cream-> wood, taffy-> kind of a tangy, mineral, wood through late brews. The taste was also dynamic with mineral, cream, light wood-> wood, herbal, sweetened evaporated milk-> wood, bitterness, saltwater taffy, light cream, light barnyard-> wood, light herbal, slight bitterness, fruit, plummy-> light wood, plummy, cream, sugars, very light bitterness-> late brews are light wood, mineral, maybe a bit of cream or plummy. This generally had good viscosity with pudding texture. Astringency is notably light, think aging has cut some of this and added white sweetness to the taste. Regular strong feeling down throat with light pungent huigan back up. Early brew also has strong and pleasant numbing feeling for front of mouth. Yiwu huigan to big fruit early, and maybe more white sweetness later in session. Early brews had pretty good mouth aroma. One brew had a strong and lingering yun. Another very early brew had some tonguetip sweetness to salivate taste from. So in general, a high quality full range aftertaste game that reflects both youth and age. Qi is at strong, and certainly stronger and higher quality than the 3rd Ann. LBZ. The aroma and taste are on the lighter side of things, but they, along with mouthfeel, last pretty well. I did about fourteen brews before I dumped it with stuff still left.

The last sheng of Sunday was the 2013 XZH Sanchajing (or Trigemenal Qing). Just bought the cake a few weeks ago from the puerhguy website. Sanchajing is a forested area near Manlin with some tall trees, and their teas tends towards being very substantial in taste. Anyways, that did bear out in the session, and I'm glad I got this cake, even if it did cost $400 something bucks. While one can easily buy early Biyunhao Manzhuan, overall, really good Manzhuan isn't that commonly sold.

Most brews have an aroma of florals with varying degrees of barnyard, mineral, and manzhuan cupcake. Gets slightly plummy in late, light aroma. The taste early is very much baritone with a deep mineral, barnyard, sometime choco, halibut, and a slight tartness. As session moves forward, the taste gets thinner and rises slowly in a way that shows more barnyard and cupcake in a dark mineral soup. Good viscosity early, but kind of increases to very good by fourth brew, and has a pudding texture. Astringency is generally light. Some feeling down throat and very light pungent huigans back up. Light yiwu huigan, but mouthcoat tends to be quality and lingers. A few times the mouthcoat is strong. Yun also is present for a few brews and also can linger nicely. The qi is of decent quality and is slighty on the stronger side of moderate. This tea is one that tends to notably coat cups with aroma. Durability seems good, did about fourteen brews before putting it in fridge for the weeknight brewing...

I find a lot of similarities between this tea and the 2007 XZH Manlin, but with one important difference in that this Sanchajing doesn't seem to be overoxidized, and will probably be a more reliable session.

I did a thermos of Sanchajing and a thermos of 2010 XZH Huangshan on successive Fridays, and Huangshan easily beats the Sanchajing. I am reminded of how high in quality this tea is.
Gunna do a quick 4th post...

The shu of Wednesday was the yancha roasted 2022 W2T Tailchaser dragonball. It's much more settled than when it was new, but I still don't like yancha roasted puerh that much, whether shu, honcha, baicha, or sheng. You get aromatics and sweetness, but something in the middle kinda goes. Good aroma with lots of burnt sugars. There is a bitter pole in the taste, with sugars and fruit and a bit of fermentation depth. Maybe a touch of mineral as well. Mouthfeel is decent enough, but the qi feels kind of caffeinated. I didn't push this tea too far. I wonder what it is that really bugs me about this roast. Bamboo roasted puerh doesn't bother me nearly as much.

First sheng of the day was the 1950s Wangzi loose maocha. Once you've had one old loose sheng, you pretty much has had all of them. This has also had warehousing, well dried out. Another thing this tea has is a strong tcm bitter pole, for anything one could consider that old and humid stored. Makes me suspicious that this is Vietnamese maocha. Anyways, there is some wood, old tea tcm flavor, and warehousing notes. Mouthfeel is good, good viscosity with heavy cream texture, very substantial. Light astringency, some bitterness fed mouthcoat. Qi is kind of sneaky, about moderate strength, but not as expressive as a good multidecade tea should be. I didn't push durability, out of boredom. I would rather drink good shu. Heh, I don't like excessively mellow shu as well, tho'.

Needed a second tea, so I did the 2002 Tai Lian Expo. Excellent session, with more aged taste that immediately previous sessions, adding chicory depth. Complex aroma, complex taste, complex aftertaste, good viscosity, oil texture, light astringency, good qi. Only potential complaints is that a couple of early brews are a bit tart, and that the center of the taste hollows out quicker in the session than I'd like. Still, plenty of brews and packed in the fridge for one or two more brews on Friday, along with wangzi.

Tea can't just be about age. Original material must be good, and the storage must be good as well.
Tasting 50s or earlier puerh with good material and storage seems impossible for normal people even if you can spare a couple thousands on a session. I encountered Sunsing as the only webpage that has some catalogue that includes early XXth century and 1950s puerh, but I don't know if it's even for sale. In any case, I wouldn't dare to spend those amounts of money on tea anytime.

Through this week I had two sessions. First I tried about 5'5 grams of the YQH 2011 Kuyun from a sample. I brewed it in a 100 ml gaiwan and got 14 brews. The two chunks were VERY strongly compressed, so the first 3 infusions were much blander than expected as it took a lot of time to loosen up. First three brews were sweet with a cremy onset followed by a slight icing sugar, vegetal and incensy vibe. No bitterness and no harshness. Third infusion stated to have a slight bitterness upfront and left a bit of fruity huigan. Texture was like fine sand with fuzzy tongue feeling. A bit of warming qi started to appear. Fourth infusion started to have the characteristic Bulang character, although subtle, as well as a smokiness touch with fruity and creamy huigan. From fifth infusion onwards, it had the same character with the Bulang character upfront followed by a bit of florals to fruitiness and back to floral. Some minerality appeared in a couple infusions. As it was not that varying in character, I chugged the infusions back to back pretty quickly till it died off, so some more qi accumulated with more warming sensation, a bit spacy and relaxed, on the moderate to mild side, unintrusive but pleasant and enjoyable.

I can see what Yang tried to do with this tea, and it's basically creating a Bulang without it's aggresiveness and on the very sweet side. I could enjoy it on a daily basis brewed both gongfu or grandpa style, but I couldn't say I'd be comfortable paying 200 USD for a 500 grams cake of it considering there's the Qixiang. It also didn't behave like a 2011 puerh besides some incense touch early on the taste and the aroma of the wet leaves. That must be product of the processing of the leaves and the strong compression.

Today I had to scratch my itch for a more bitter tea, so I brought on the 2019 Astro Kittens from White2Tea. I put about 5 grams from a cake in the trusty 100 ml gaiwan. It mainly has a strong clean bitterness followed by woodiness and resinous, with some sugary huigan that wants to pop up but is instead crushed by the intense bitterness. Some brews have the resinous part that goes into cherry, but without sweetness. Later brews have the clean biterness transformed into a more chocolate bitterness. It tends to create some mouthcoat to Yiwu fruitiness that you can only detect many minutes after the sip, as the bitterness is very persistent. Texture is generally thick to moderately thick and leaves a velvety feeling on the tongue. Later steeps can be quite astringent. Qi is mostly on the head with a spinning and a bit dizzy kind of feeling that you get from the first brew. Durability is low, as the tea cashed out completely after the 11th brew, and I didn't push it too hard. This low durability on kucha seems like a trend generally, as I had the same experience with some Lao Man E kuchas, with the only exception being Jie Liang which had pretty good durability. The character of Astro Kittens makes me think it could be from around the Myanmar border, as I heard that that area thrives with kucha. It also doesn't have any reminiscense of Bulang in terms of it's profile. Overall I enjoy it very much when I crave for some strong but complex bitter puerh.
The shu of Friday was the 2022 XZH Heaven's Legacy #2. Thoroughly enjoyed, as it had a lot of nuances in the flavor profile for a shu and was pretty good in all the other usual categories for a shu. Again as with most XZH shu, it aims for a subtle and conventional superiority. I thought about it in comparison to the 2018 XZH Carefree shu, and decided that that tea had a stronger core and density of taste, where this Heaven's Legacy's core taste is higher and lighter. I was also thinking that this XZH was somewhat a better value per gram than some of White2Tea's shu at a similar pricepoint.

The first sheng of the weekend was the 2022 Essence of Tea YaoZhuDi Single Trees maocha. Heh, I got the minerally, and knew I was in for another single/few trees session, but at least this was better than the 2013 Tongqinghe, more or less. A major issue, it seems, with this style of tea is that it's a lot easier to spot deficiencies. Sanhetang has done an excellent job with all of the single/few trees teas I've had. YQH's set of few trees productions don't go toward subtle minerally teas. However, it seems like everyone else makes teas that lose a lot of nuance or depth or both after a few brews. This YaoZhuDi got boring pretty quickly, but it still delivered quite a few tasty brews, particularly after a period of rest.

Aroma is generally some variant of honey and mineral, with touches of vegetal and barnyard here and there. It doesn't last as a major factor beyond maybe five brews (or maybe I stopped paying attention?). The taste is also pretty consistently a honey and minerals character with maybe a vegetal edge. Two or three brews deep, there is a couple of brews with a dark chicory edge and bitterness before it lightens back up to the standard profile that lasts deep into the session. The viscosity is good-very good with a heavy cream texture. Early astringency is light before it gets to moderate levels that slowly declines in later brews. There is a bit of light feeling down throat in the earliest part of the session, and this tea did a nice job of cooling sensation in general. The aftertastes were only material in the first three brews before becoming very light in later brews. Only a very light yiwu huigan, but there were good yuns and good astringency fed mouthcoats. The qi is at moderate to strong of decent quality. As far as durability goes, this tea has a very short active phase, but will deliver solid flavor a long way. I stopped at about fourteen or fifteen with plenty left.

I decided I really wanted a more exciting tea, and decided to finish off my sample of the TeaSide 2016 Dragon of about 4.5g, to see if my original positive impression held. Yeah, it pretty much did. It definitely had too much oxidation, and while the taste doesn't have the size, substance, or purity of the earlier YaoZhuDi, this tea had a much nicer aftertaste game, and still a decent enough taste. I had more fun drinking this one.

Aroma was sort of dynamic so: plummy and herbal-> vegetal nutty, plummy-> nutty and caramel-> mineral wood-> mineral nutty, occassionally fruity late. The taste was a very conventional thaipu bitter herbal vegetal nutty taste, with varying levels of additional plumminess. Good viscosity with pudding texture. Light astringency. Consistent decent cooling and light feeling down throat. A few brews delivered light pungent huigan back up. Had a tendency for notable yiwu huigans, while there were a few brews with some mouth aromas. Mouthcoat was light, but it did linger. There was good quality moderate qi. I did about thirteen brews. All in all, a pretty nice gushu experience for me, and kept the tea and put the gaiwan in the fridge to squeeze out more during the week.

Sunday I decide I should pull out my sample of 2022 W2T Schedule Red. It was decent enough, but it wasn't that interesting compared to the probable original sheng. It's a potent hongcha with a strong plummy core and a fringe of elegant mineral in aroma and taste. Viscosity is good with the general good round feeling of high end hongchas. Aftertastes are these segues of yiwuhuigan-mouthcoats, which were alright. Qi was about moderate-strong. This wasn't really that close in quality to my best hongcha from Houde, Sanhetang, or YangQingHai, tho'. Still nice enough, and the pot went into the fridge.

I thought it'd be a waste if I didn't do another tea this Sunday, but I still didn't want to do another sheng, so I decided on a session of 2021 W2T Liu An Gongjian, and I brewed it in the way I'd brew a yancha rather than as I would a puerh--many fewer but stronger brews. It was actually pretty good. The taste was thinner than good teas from other tea categories, but it still tasted pretty good with a dark, roasted, taste and light bitterness. Mouthfeel was good, but it had some throatfeel to it, which was nice. Light set of aftertaste and maybe a bit of qi. Was worth drinking, but I didn't save the leaves...
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