Yunnan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes

55

Inexpensive and and somewhat aged 2006 Feng Qing 7813 was one of my impulse purchases from YS, as it was (and apparently still is) inexpensive in its age group. I have had this few times now, and I steeped about 8-9 g tea in 130 ml gaiwan those times. Just like AllanK noted in his review, the start was not good at all, but later steeps brought out the better side of this tea. I got some mineral, tobacco and slightly floral flavours from the dark liquor and personally I found it somewhat off-putting.

As you might have noticed, personally I did not like this tea much, but it was still drinkable and far from the worst I’ve had . Maybe if you prefer a bit aged, but inexpensive tea, this might be for you, although in my opinion there are still many better teas even in this price and age range.

Flavors: Mineral, Tobacco

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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90

My first oolong! Very aromatic and full-flavored. I brewed with a gaiwan and 95 C water, short infusions. Roasty, toasted-rice body, almost reminiscent of a genmaicha, with notes of sweet peach and honey. Long finish. Slight astringency which was not unpleasant, may have been user error as a result of high water temperature.

Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Peach, Toasted Rice, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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90

Can’t believe I never reviewed this one, maybe Steepster ate my note? Anyways I’ve had this one since 2012, and while I have to say I think it was better fresh, it’s still a very enjoyable brew. Four years of Florida storage has turned the broth a nice yellow-orange. The most prominent feature of the taste is a strong, vegetal sugarcane sweetness. There’s some apricot, mushroom, and spice notes with just a little bitterness. Very thick mouthfeel and good lasting sweetness in the mouth.

Flavors: Apricot, Mushrooms, Spices, Sugarcane, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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85

There are many variations of these sundried buds sold by Yunnan Sourcing. This is the second I’ve tasted and it is a very good quality leaf with a flavor profile that is more pronounced and complex than regular white tea buds. This time the buds were a bit smaller than the spring 2015 I had previously stated, but did not notice much difference in taste.

The price is also great, you can easily pay 3 to 4 times the price that Yunnan Sourcing charges if you try to buy this tea at a local tea shop.

Preparation
4 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Dry leaf – SWEET, FRUIT, GRASS: natural honey, fragrant wood, bittersweet green, fresh grass, slight notes of apple pie spice, notes of dried fig. In pre-heated vessel – raisin, prune, cacao, slight herbal/dill note

Smell – EARTH, GRASS: hay, damp earth, stable, bittersweet green

Taste – GRASS, WOOD, EARTH, FRUIT: Arrival – musty hay and grass flavors, some pine notes, musty raisin. Development – bittersweet green, wood, lemongrass, savory sweetness of grits, underlying dark fruit in base, heavily roasted coffee grounds, oily. Finish – woody, some dried fruit, a little charcoal smoke, wet earth, mineral. Aftertaste – cherry wood, soaked raisin, floral. Website claims “orchid aroma” – I would agree – similar notes are present in orchid aroma dan cong.

Overall, no “big” flavors, although admittedly this is sort of an awkward age to be reviewing this tea. The main flavors were bittersweet green and musty raisin. It did need quite a bit of leaf and long steep times to really provide a full experience, as noted in other reviews.

The bitterness that was noted in other reviews has certainly died down. In fact, the main thing I noted was the smooth, oily experience this tea provides.

Not quite sure what else to say. Personally, I kind of like being smacked in the face with flavor and am happy to take the good with the bad – “smoothness” is not a quality that I prize too highly; I want personality! However, this tea is just very understated and does not provide a tapestry of flavors that weave in and out. It does have some personality – oily, raisiny, some lemongrassy bittersweet sensations, but it doesn’t assert itself with gusto.

So, if you’re looking for a smooth operator in the pu’erh realm, maybe this is your guy. I would recommend giving it a few years to come in to its own a bit more.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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55

This one I really didn’t like much. It started out ok but weak from the tight compression. Then after several steeps it developed a strong bitterness that never really let go. It also developed notes of leather and tobacco. It just had an unpleasant taste to it in the end.

I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with one coin or 10.9g 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, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. The only thing good about this tea was it was cheap.

Flavors: Bitter, Leather, Tobacco

Preparation
Boiling 10 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
AllanK

A photo I took of the steeped leaves show how low quality this one was.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BHPqQIpjCusHf8r-yxLzG_fZBD_UMne_Ak5JEU0/?taken-by=allanckeanepuerhtea

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I am finding myself somewhere in the middle with this tea. It didn’t have any terrible notes, but it also did not have a really positive note to my taste buds, at least not early on. I did put it through twelve steeps. It was noticeably better by the twelfth steep. It had developed something of a sweet note. There was also a background note that I took to be a storage note. It was not prominent but behind the main flavors of the tea. This was also a very thick tea, thicker that most others I have drank. I did not get any qi off of this tea. I think this is an average wet stored semi aged tea. In my understanding it was wet stored although I didn’t find prominent wet storage flavors. Then again I think what Yunnan Sourcing describes as wet stored is only partially wet stored. I don’t think they buy extremely wet stored teas. In the end I neither liked or disliked this tea. I can neither recommend it or not recommend it. It was ok but was not great. Maybe it will age into something better. I let this tea rest for about two months before trying it. Could wet stored flavors have dissipated in my dry storage conditions?

I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8g 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, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.

Preparation
Boiling 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Kirkoneill1988

i have a cake from YS that was wet stored. that 2003 iron cake

Kirkoneill1988

2003 CNNP “Mengsong Qiao Mu Iron Cake” Raw Pu-erh tea * 400 grams

Probably a small Menghai area tea factory produced this cake under the CNNP (zhong cha) label. Likely not a licensed CNNP production!

Stored in Menghai since 2003, this has aged nicely with some wetter storage notes. Overall the storage condition was very clean and the cake has a high level of aroma as well as that characteristic Mengsong flower, bitter and astringency! Can be infused many many times!

Nice example of a Banna stored Mengsong mountain area tea!

AllanK

Wet stored can be a crap shoot. They can turn out really bad or really good. This one was somewhere in the middle.

Kirkoneill1988

oh, i did not know that

Cwyn

I have this and like it a lot. Mine has that old book perfect storage.

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91

Deliciously chocolatey, sweeter than dark chocolate. Had this yesterday for the first time while entertaining guests and they loved it too. It was heavenly and has joined the ranks of my favourite teas.

I brew most of my dan congs at a lower temperature and there’s no bitterness.
Brewing at 180˚F, the lid of the gaiwan smells strongly of peaches and nectarines.
Brewing at 185˚F, the lid smells like roasted hot chocolate.

Flavors: Chocolate, Nectar, Peach

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Metallic, Plums

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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92

Dry leaf – FRUIT, SWEET: dried apricots, dried fruit, coriander, overripe oranges, dark chocolate with sweet cherries

Smell – FRUIT, SWEET, SMOKE: dried apricot, kumquat, dark chocolate and berries, charcoal smoke

Taste – FRUIT, SWEET, SMOKE, and MORE!: Arrival is musty fruit with a hint of bitterness – dried apricot, bergamot. Development is complex – “resiny” smoke from pine is noticeable, dark chocolate and berry, strongly brewed English breakfast tea, hint at brewed coffee grounds. Finish has raw nut dryness and woodiness. Aftertaste is a dry fruity experience – hints at the apricot and chocolate flavors, very long lasting and pleasant.

What a great find this was. This is a complex, delicious session. I had to keep going back and revising my tasting notes because the taste just kept evolving and showing new sides of itself.

This was, for a me, a “what-the-heck” sort of buy – the thing you add to your cart in the middle of a caffeine-induced tea buying extravaganza. At $0.60 for a 5g pack, I had nothing to lose; so I added a few to my order. It was an inspired decision.

Great flavors, dynamic session, and some considerable staying power that suited itself very well to gong-fu style. 5 sec brews yielded a ton of flavor.

Overall, the flavor is much more akin to a black tea (i.e. “red tea”) experience than any sort of pu’erh. But, of course, it’s different! My experience with this tea has convinced me to make a more serious investment in “hei cha”, as this was a very enjoyable and rewarding session. Great little buy to see if this genre of tea is for you!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
tperez

I liked that one a lot, too! Inspired me to try some more tian jian

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78

Similar burnt chocolate / mineral rock notes as Da Hong Pao and other yanchas, but seems to have a less bold, thinner flavour.

Wet leaves smell of raisins and the liquor smells of sweet pastry crust. Pleasant but not outstanding. Will experiment with this one a bit more, maybe using more leaf and brewing in my Yixing pot.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Pastries, Raisins, Wet Rocks

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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Autumn 2015 harvest
Tastes of sweet potato, honey and malt, spice and floral. A hearty and satisfying cup when brewed strong, which also brings out some tannins in the cup.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHF9pnwhVFy/

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 g

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Cheap black tea with long leaf that has dry chocolate and malt notes, how can you go wrong?

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90

Decent black (red) tea that has been pressed into 100g cakes. I like the size and design, and at about $6 after shipping, they’re a good value as a gift for the tea drinkers in your life.

The tea does not have the strong malty/chocolaty taste that many Yunnans have. Instead it has a taste I would call ‘matured spring’. While I certainly wouldn’t say it tastes like any particular fruit, it gives me the impression of late-spring black raspberries.

I definitely feel a relaxing ‘Cha qi’ that is supposedly from where this tea gets it’s name. I noticed that the wife was a bit more snuggly after her cup as well (and she thought it was very good, ‘very tasty’ – and went after another cup later on in the evening)

A 100 gram cake might not last as long as 100grams of loose tea might. Depends on how careful one is to use exact amounts when breaking it up.

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90

{NB: review from 25g sample, not whole cake}

Dry leaf – SWEET, FRUIT, HERBAL: bitter honey, honeysuckle, dill, fragrant wood/incense; in pre-heated vessel: prune, dried date and fig more prominent

Smell – WOOD, FLORAL: fragrant wood, light honeysuckle, some smokiness and ash

Taste – SWEET, GRASSY, VEGETAL, FRUIT: prominent bitter honey, green hay, fragrant wood smoke – hickory?, nice vegetal flavors of bitter green, some steamed green bean, musty. Undertones of lightly brewed English breakfast tea, dry spice (nutmeg), hints of fig and date, some ashy notes. Creamy lactose sweetness in aftertaste, prune and date flavors strong in aftertaste.

Well – there’s quite a bit going on here. For a young raw, this is very pleasant and has great flavors going on. There is some astringency, but personally, I don’t find it to be overbearing. It’s pleasant like a cup of good black coffee.

This one has me intrigued. I like the range of flavors that it offers. Additionally, it makes you burst into sweat when you drink it. I know this is a common pu’erh side effect, but this one isn’t messing around. Who knows what kind of chemical voodoo is responsible for that, but it’s fun nonetheless. Nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning and going toe-to-toe with your tea.

One final note – personally, I felt like the more interesting flavors petered out fairly quickly. I’m no expert, but I will chalk that up to the tea’s youth. However, there were several other reviews that made special mention of the longevity of this tea, but that just wasn’t my experience. Could be user error, I guess. Interestingly, I had a better experience with a clay pot (7g/160ml) than a gaiwan (4.5g/60ml), even though the gaiwan had a higher leaf:water ratio.

Anyway, my sample is gone and I simply looked forward to every session I had with this tea. Is definitely on the short list for my next pu’erh purchase.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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85

Backlog 18 June 2016

I had started writing notes on the review last weekend. However, I must’ve become distracted as I often do whilst in the middle of the session…Although, according to these notes, the time was several minutes after a shu pu-erh session, so I’m guessing that I was pretty ‘tea drunk’ during this session (there are pictures in the review notebook alongside the notes).

Anyway, let us move on.

The dry leaf: Smells of a metallic, chocolate, and nuts (odd mix of aromas for a white tea). It is a light green/brown color. The tips of the leaf are slightly brown/black; with a slight hue of silver along the leaf.

I used a slightly higher temperature of water for this tea, for whatever reason. It seemed to work well with the leaf, so I kept it at 200 F. I used 5 grams of the leaf for 150 ml of water.

First steep: 15 s. There seems to be a slight malty and nutty taste on the tongue. The liquor is ‘clear/light green,’ so the flavor is surprising compared to its color. I’m reminded of a black tea that is less bold.

Second steep: 25 s. The physical leaf is opening up—it has a green-ish hue—reminds me of a raw pu-erh. There is more of a vegatal aroma, but the flavor is still malty & nutty. There appears to be a hint of jasmine, too.

Third steep: Malty vegatal flavors. I jotted down, “tastes like Spring rather than Autumn….fresh leaf quality…like spinach, perhaps.”

Unfortunately, that is all I had noted. Apparently, I had traced the wet leaf onto the paper & made some doodles of eating some sort of food out of as bowl. Ha-ha.

Good tea, though.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BG17CQcg-7h/?taken-by=s.g_sanders1

Flavors: Cocoa, Jasmine, Malt, Nutty, Spinach

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78

After reading others’ reviews, I think I might have increased my steep times too quickly – something I need to work on. I seem to do that with a lot of my sessions. I got this sample as part of a Liquid Proust puerh box. I used all 6.3g in my 100mL gaiwan.

I found the aroma from the leaves to be a tobacco-y with almost a hint of something citric as well. Flavor in the early steeps was a light grassy or hay with a thick and creamy texture – the texture is definitely one of the highlights of this tea. I mostly got a dry hay/straw/grass flavor with increasing bitterness followed by a nice and sweet honey-tasting huigan. A pretty good tea, but not one that I need to buy a cake of.

Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Honey, Straw

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

I have the Spring 2016, not the 2015.

Flavors: Butter

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89

I got this tea in a stash sale, and I had to try it today because the smell of it was so incredible. I think that some flavors got muddled in shipping, even with the good packaging, because it smells very different this morning in my little sealed glass jar—still good, just no longer good enough to eat out of the bag.

The smell coming off the brew is overwhelmingly molasses, smoked blackstrap molasses. It reminds me strongly of making molasses “tea” for those days when one needs an iron boost.

Taking a sip, and the scents are represented perfectly in the flavor. It’s a complex, layered sort of flavor, with molasses dominating the mouth, then a caramely sort of sweetness hitting the middle of the tongue. The smoky flavor seems to be carried on the molasses, but doesn’t hit for a couple of seconds. There’s a dry finish at the end I could do without, and it seems to be getting worse as the brew cools. Ah well, I should be drinking more water anyway.

More information on additional steeps later.

Okay, off topic now. Since I don’t have a blog or journal or anything, this review is going to have to act as such.

I’m sort of having a tea identity crisis, and it’s making me see why people start making their own blends. For so long, I thought that the chippy, black, bitter teas that most shops put in blends were good. I enjoyed those teas mixed with peach essence or whatever with calendula leaves to make people think of peaches when they drank it.

Now I’m trying these blacks, and they’re so smooth and complex on their own. And while I will always, always love a good blend, how can I go back to what I was drinking before? Is this the end of my beloved Peachy Black or Coconut Cream? Do I go back for a bit and find a way to rediscover my old favorites, or am I one of those people now that can only get tea from online vendors? I loved going into tea shops and smelling all the teas and collecting everything that smelled good to me, but I’m learning now that smell does not necessarily correspond to taste.

What does everyone else do when they discover stuff like this? How does everyone curate their collection? What thought processes go on behind decisions like “I should keep a couple of ounces of this around” and “meh, I can stand to let this one run out” and “I have to keep a supply of this to keep for the rest of my life”?

Flavors: Caramel, Drying, Molasses, Smoked, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Daylon R Thomas

….yeah, Yunnan black teas change your perception of some altogether. Your old favorites will still be your favorites, maybe for different reasons. There’s a few “cheaper” teas that I still really enjoy. It just depends on what you use your tea for and what you absolutely know you like. Let those be your guides. Also talk to the people here on Steepster, especially with ones with similar preferences. If you are trying to figure out what you like, expand your horizons, ONLY get samples because a tea journey can be QUITE expensive. I apologize for preaching lol. I’m in a little bit of a dilemma myself because I have A LOT of teas, but missing a few of the ones that I’d want to keep lol.

Rasseru

I spent a lot on tea the last couple of years, now I have a good enough collection & knowledge of how much I drink that I can let things run out and then casually get some more – I was offered some more Jin Xuan the other day for example, and I looked in my stash and I was correct, I only have a couple of cups left of my last one..

As long as I have some of each type of tea I’m usually happy – and remember that you usually just have to wait till next season, or maybe someone else stocks something similar

I cant go back to ‘normal tea’ any more. Cheers Steepster

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89

Being rather new to this I am not certain I have all the correct terms but I find this tea delicious for being such a young shou. Maybe it is the Bulang in it but there are hint of wood and a sweet aftertaste at the back of the throat. I think I prefer this to Green Miracle. Will be stocking up on this one.

Preparation
9 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Lovely leather, tobacco and mineral notes. Best with ample leaf and cooler temp.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BG7gwqojR5Q/

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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Beautiful. Sweet notes of dried fruit/raisin, chocolate/malt/rye bread with the very tiniest hint of floral earthiness. Smooth and flavorful.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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