Yunnan Sourcing US

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Recent Tasting Notes

96

I decided on something good today, which was the 2014 Yunnan Sourcing Ai Lao Mountain which comes in convenient mini tuo format. Very much a gushu tea with not that much sweetness in it. Darker heavier flavor of Bulang chocolate, grains, chalky note. There are subnotes of berries and florals here and there. Clean and sharp huigans. The viscosity tends towards a thicker soup, on par with the 2004 YQH Dingji.

There is a moderately high level of astringency that should help this tea improve over the decades if stored well. The aftertastes largely tend towards woodsy Menghai florals. Qi is moderately strong and very relaxing as expected in a high quality gushu tea like this one. The leaves lasted about twenty two brews before I put them aside, and there seems to be enough flavour left in them for several more long steeps tomorrow.

This is a remarkable tea, reasonably priced but performing at the premium level, easily as good as Verdant’s authentic Ban Zhang but without that tea’s sticker-glue aftertaste. This tea has some minor flaws compared to superpremium brand Menghai teas, of course, but you can’t beat the price. I’ve ordered a few tongs for the tea cellar.

Flavors: Cherry Wood, Chocolate, Floral, Grain

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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95

This Dan Cong was a joy, also my first experience with Dan Cong. It has a slightly milky texture, sticky like sweet potato sap or nectar. I’d recommend getting a larger sample than I did (regretting the 10g purchase, should have been 250.)

10/10 would steep again…

Flavors: Campfire, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Wet Rocks

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 10 g 30 OZ / 887 ML
obritten

Yea I picked if this up as well. I would have also gotten more if the price wasn’t around a dollar/g haha.

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Wanted something tasty and easy to drink yesterday afternoon, so started some of this. Roasty, sweet, smooth, comforting. Good, affordable oolong to enjoy any day.

Flavors: Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 g

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I don’t usually drink tea at this time, but I wanted something to drink while doing homework and straightening up a bit tonight. I’ve had this one for quite a while and haven’t tried it yet, so no time like the present, right?!

Put 7g into a 100ml gaiwan and did a very quick steep to start, no wash. Pretty deep colored liquor in steep one, and it smells quite robust. Definitely getting wood and roasty notes in the beginning. Not so much nutty as grainy, and a sweet finish that has a hint of cream and a mineral aftertase and building tropical notes. I can tell my tastes are evolving, because I don’t think I would have liked this a few months ago.

A few more steeps in I get a cooling sensation that lasts for a couple of steeps before the tea settles out into a fairly consistent, light blend of rocky, tropical sweetness. I find that it doesn’t really affect my energy levels much at all, which is perfect for this time of night. I’m able to stay focused on my homework and don’t feel overly alert, so I should still be able to sleep without an issue.

Flavors: Grain, Mineral, Roasted, Sweet, Tropical, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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86

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Flavors: banana, Chocolate, Cocoa

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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100

I ordered this tea as sample (Autumn 2016 version), as it’s very expensive. My initial impression was disappointment that the color wasn’t as green as what was pictured. I steeped it at 185F and gave it about a minute. The color of the liquor wasn’t strong at all and my expectations really lowered after these two things. However, I was blown away on the first sip. The liquor has primarily a sweet orchid taste, bringing back memories of Hawaii, which eases into a subtle seaweed aftertaste. It has salty (“mineral”) notes as well. There is amazing complexity to it – what one would hope for in a tea that costs this much. Furthermore, it has an amazing cha qi – I felt a sudden clarity and giddiness after consuming the first cup. I was so impressed with this tea that I infused it several times. I think this would make a fantastic ‘social’ or ceremonial tea. This can’t be an every day tea for most of us, but worth having a sample or two around for special occasions. If I’m in the mood for something elegant and refined this is what I will go to.

Flavors: Mineral, Orchids, Seaweed

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92

Yes this is special. Aromatic and clean, fragrant and pleasing. Leaves expand a lot and they are very green.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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Pretty good stuff. It has taken me to the next level of dancong scrumptiousness. These beautiful and delicate laves are smaller than I expected. After the first rinse, my nose is met with a complex and intoxicating aroma of ripened cherries, muscat grape skins, orchids, nutmeg, and juniper berries, among other tasty notes.

There’s a lot of mouth activity going on and a definitive structure to the tea. It’s pure and has a velvety texture. During the initial 3 or so steeps, I’m getting prominent muscat grape with perhaps a few orchids thrown in there. It leaves a floral sweetness and slightly numbing sensation on the tongue as it lingers.

After the 5th or so steep, sandalwood and sweet mineral notes take the stage while the florals and muscat linger the background. By now, the tea has filled my mouth with sweetness as well as tingling and drying sensations. With my typical leaf-to-water ratio, I’d say I can get at least 8 tasty steeps. Nice qi in this one too!

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Boychik sent me two of these a couple of years ago, and since I’m working my way into year 3 of my Sipdown Extravaganza, it’s about time I start drinking things like this. Plus I’ve had a headache for a few days, and drinking Sheng seems to help, at least sometimes. I have noticed that it is beneficial for allergies, so there.
I do like Sheng, but as a general rule, I don’t care for Sheng Tuocha’s, and this one is no exception.
Yesterday I dropped one into my sheng yixing, keeping the steeps short, and as the tuo fell apart, the spout kept getting semi-clogged with all the powdery stuff. And it was mostly powdery stuff. There were some smaller leaves in there, and they unfolded nicely, and really, the tea itself was ok, good for a headache, bitter & somewhat astringent, and it did get a little sweeter after awhile.
Today I dropped the other tuocha into a steeper basket in a full size mug, and I actually preferred it that way. First, because I just didn’t want to have all that powdery crap in my yixing, and 2ndly because it actually tasted better with more water and a little more time. I went with 15 secs for the first steep, adding 15 to each consecutive steep.
I still haven’t cured my headache, but at least I get to count a sipdown!
Not something I would purchase, but thanks to Boychik for the opportunity to sample it :)

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100

I wasn’t sure what I was going to get when I ordered this, as I’ve never tried the purple tea varietals. This one is a nice strong tea; a smooth, mild black tea, and has a sweetness that reminds me of rose petals or a flower. I found that it steeped best at (1.5 tsp/8oz) 185 F for 3 minutes . I did try 205 F for 4 minutes just for fun – while slightly more ‘potent’ than the first option it was definitely still smooth and not remotely bitter. Not a picky tea IMHO. What I really love about this tea is the ‘energy’ of the tea. It leaves me feeling good about the world and with a sense of wellbeing. Out of all the teas I got last time (most of which I will order again) none of them compared in “esscence”. I hope to order more in the future.

Flavors: Roasted, Rose, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86

I tossed a couple little packets of this Heicha into a Yunnan Sourcing order I made a few months back, and one of them just surfaced in my sample box. After drinking it, I’m sad to say they’re gone on Yunnan Sourcing’s site – it was a very interesting and tasty tea. The dry leaf had a pungent prune or other dried fruit smell. The aroma was largely unchanged after a rinse, with a bit of maltiness entering the mix as well.

The flavor was pretty out there – I got a lot of that same sour dried fruitiness, I’m gonna call it prunes, throughout the session. The first steep was prunes and dried cherries with a slight cooling mouthfeel. I haven’t ever tasted a tea that was much of anything like that first steep. It was like everything I always hope for (and have never gotten) when black teas are labeled as “fruity.” Nice and bright flavor.

I didn’t taste the cherry after that first steep, but the rest of the session was nice as well. It got a touch of bittersweet chocolate to it, with the fruit a little more distant in the finish, but still quite there and quite pruney. The chocolate vibe only lasted through around steep 4, but even once it was gone, the tea retained a bit of a bittersweet note to it which I couldn’t pin down.

Compared to a lot of the puerh and stuff I drink, this one didn’t have quite the longevity – I got 8 steeps out of it, and the last two were pretty diminished. Despite that, I would buy up a lot more of this tea in a heartbeat if it were available. The single-session packaging and affordability make it a no brainer for such an interesting tea. I really need to try some more Tian Jian and other heicha…haven’t had great experience with Liu Bao, but these other heicha have been nice.

This one kind of reminded me of a really funky and whacked out black tea – like black tea’s psycho cousin. I liked it a lot.

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
tanluwils

Recently, I’ve been dipping my feet into tian jian and liu bao. Too bad I missed this one.

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This one has great qi, but more subtle in flavor than I expected. Dried leaf has a floral and sweet grassy scent and when steeped becomes more floral (honeysuckle) with some steamed brussel’s sprouts. Tea soup is clear, pale yellow, and viscous.

It’s quite active in the mouth. Some nice cooling effects going on here, too. I detected whispers (yes, I said whispers!) of honeysuckle, acorn, pine, buttered zucchini, and snap peas. A bit of an ordinary flavor profile, IMO. The best part is how it lingers in the mouth…more than 20 mins! I can see this becoming even more interesting over the years.

kevdog19

I’ve tried a 2016 YS sample from the tea club (don’t know which) that fits this profile to a tee… love the feeling, therefore can’t complain about the lack of flavor

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88

I bought this tea because the description sounded similar to WP’s Wildcrafted Da Hong Pao, one of my all time favorite wuyi oolongs. This tea has a lot of characteristics that I like in DHP.

At first it was a little aggressive, but after resting a few months the roast has mellowed out and the char flavor is gone. The dry leaf smells like dark chocolate and wet wood. When brewed, it has the classic wuyi rock flavor, along with some oak and a hint of florals in the finish. There’s some honey that pops in occasionally. It’s a quite potent tea so less is definitely more. I grandpa steep this with just a pinch of leaves and it can go all day.

This is a smooth, enjoyable wuyi that’s not quite as sublime as the WP one but is stellar tea in its own right and a better value at half the price.

Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Oak wood, Wet Rocks

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Zennenn

I love this one too. It’s my favorite work tea right now.

tanluwils

This one is boss. I find it surprisingly floral and minty. I may grab a 100g bag at Scott’s next big oolong sale.

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68

I wanted to like this more. I did two gong fu sessions over the weekend and wasn’t getting any thing but a weak bland flavor. Decided to do western style just now and heavily leafed it. It is a bit stronger but the malt note is falling short and it has a rather generic black tea flavor. It isn’t bad but isn’t anything special.

Preparation
8 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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A nice aged-ish orange liquor from this one, I’ve aired it for a couple months now and all but a hint of those wet humid storage flavors have lifted, leaving mainly the aged flavor behind. A good relaxing vibe from this tea, it is a bit rough while opening up, but smooths into a more creamy texture and a distinct sweetness by the fifth or sixth steep. Not super complex or deep, but not boring either, and the more mellow woody background of a few years of aging present. Went for a respectable 11 or 12 steeps if I recall correctly and the energy is nice and relaxing.

This was a quite good mid aged tea for the price and would make a good daily drinker, in my opinion if the flavor appeals to you. Nothing outstanding, but very solid and enjoyable. There also seems to be some evolution in store for this tea to go as well, based on the astringent ‘bite’ still going strong in the first four or five steeps. I can also definitely see certain flavors in this evolving into a strong date sweetness with time as it’s currently flirting with that as it is.

Flavors: Astringent, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Sawdust, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
7 g 0 OZ / 3 ML

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NOt sure what to say about this tea. While I could have over brewed it, It seems to have a note of sour fruit to it. Not so much that it is undrinkable but still there.

Brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 185 degree water for 3 minutes.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90

Sample from Hoálatha

Notes of dark chocolate which lingers on the tip of the tongue in the aftertaste. A softer mouthfeel that the Classic Laoshan. I loved that the dark chocolate note had coated the mouth on the initial sip, and lingered behind in the aftertaste.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate

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86

This is a nice malty black with undertones of dark chocolate. It is quite enjoyable even though it only got steeped western style today.

I brewed 3 tsp leaf in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with boiling water for 3 minutes.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Rolled green leaves expand quickly in the first steep. Floral scent with a hint of roastedness.

Very light, clear yellow liquor. Looks quite viscous and it goes down smooth. First steep is quite floral, as is the aftertaste. I get a slight bit of roast in the first sip but none after that.

Water is a few degrees cooler for the second steep. This steep also comes through very floral. I know that it is often described as osmanthus, but I am not familiar with what osmanthus smells like. Following steeps taste, more or less, the same. As the liquor cools the mouthfeel thickens up and becomes more of a creamy smooth than a fluid smooth.

This is a good tea, I think it just may be too floral for me without having enough of any other kinds of notes to balance it out. I will give it another chance, but I think it is probably just not for me.

Flavors: Floral

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I used 2 mini tuos in my 120ml gaiwan and they weighed in at 4g + 5g. Rinse was gross looking, lots of dust coming off. Lid smell after the first steep was kind of gross, like a sweaty gym. Watching the tuos break up, the leaf pieces are tiny, almost like the leaves were ground before being pressed rather than 6-7 whole leaves being nicely packed together. I don’t think it’s from mishandling either, dust or chunks didn’t really come off the dry tuo when I unpacked them.

Flavor on the first steep is really not bad, especially considering my brain prepared me for the worst with the visuals and smell of this tea combined with the negative reviews I read right before drinking (bad habit). Astringency is pretty high already but I’m getting the flavors I associate with sheng. Aftertaste is not very pleasant. I’ll continue to flash steep since I’m afraid of how much bitterness these tiny leaf pieces can unleash in a short amount of time.

Second steeping and the off smells are mostly gone, I’m even getting a floral hint of tempered cumin seeds (different smell from ground cumin). Astringency is starting to assault my mouth on this though. Dumping this steep. Dumping third steep. I’m done.

Would not recommend.

Matu

That’s about how my experience with these went as well. Mini tuos are normally made up of pretty chopped up material, though there are some exceptions.

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19

The best way I can describe the prominent note of this tea is wet, rancid hay. It was unpleasant in the extreme. It tasted absolutely terrible. It did improve somewhat by the eighth steep. I couldn’t get past eight steeps with this one. This is one that looked interesting. Perhaps if I air this tea out for six months the negative notes will go away. I don’t recommend anyone buy this one.

I brewed this eight times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. I think I will send Scott an email over this brick this was terrible.

Flavors: Hay

Preparation
Boiling 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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84

I’m so torn about this tea. It’s definitely cocoa-y and a bit malty. No bitterness though there’s an astringency that I feel rather than taste. I tried steeping shorter times but found it thin and weak. Three minutes seemed to be the sweet spot for me. I got a pleasant four minute additional steep out of it as well.

As to why I’m torn, I like it though I feel like I prefer the VT Laoshan black, but would really really rather prefer this one because there’s just so much more on offering through YS that I’m enjoying. And the better price point sure doesn’t hurt. I really should have gotten a sample of the Classic Laoshan Black as well. Derp. Oh well.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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