Yunnan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes


This tea is really good, I might use the word phenomenal. It started out as a complex mixture of bitter, sweet, and astringent. There was no smoke. It was too young to have developed any storage tastes. I gave this tea sixteen steeps in a 150ml gaiwan. Over the course of sixteen steeps it gradually changed into a sweet tea with notes of apricots and stonefruits. I should note that the bitterness was never very strong. It was clearly present once the leaves had opened up but it was not what I would call an abiding bitterness. This is an expensive cake, the most expensive in Yunnan Sourcing’s 2016 lineup. With many vendors I would have to question if it was real Bing Dao material. But I trust Scott to be selling the real thing. Apparently the trees that this was picked from were between 100 and 300 years old making this gushu puerh, even if just barely. I also trust this claim because I think that Scott wouldn’t lie. With Yunnan Sourcing I have always gotten what I paid for. Now the big question, is this as good as the 2014 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn Bing Dao which was substantially cheaper. I’m on the fence about this. That tea was a phenomenal tea too. I think I will have to go back and drink that one again before I can decide which I like better. As to the tea quality, these were lasting leaves. I gave them sixteen steeps and I could go back for more. With longer steeps I would estimate I’d get between four and eight more steeps. But I don’t have the patience to start infusing these leaves for ten minutes at a time. In conclusion, this was one of the best young raws I have drunk. It had a nice punch to it in the beginning but not too much bitterness. It changed quite dramatically over the sixteen steeps I gave it becoming as sweet as I think any raw puerh gets. This one is definitely worth a sample of. I risked a whole cake without a sample because the 2014 Autumn Bing Dao from Yunnan Sourcing was so damn good.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Stonefruits, Sweet

Boiling 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Rui A.

I also took a chance with this one without tasting it first. It is now in storage rehydrating from the long trip before I try it.

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Thanks so much for this one a while back, Ost! And it’s a sipdown. Love these types of teas. I used two teaspoons of these wiry golden and dark twisty leaves. The resulting dark burgundy cup has a great depth to the flavor: wine and chocolate and honey. Everything I expect from this type of tea. I could drink a tea like this every day. It’s the most satisfying.
Steep #1 // 18 minutes after boiling // 3 minutes
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3 minutes

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I think I used a little too much leaf on this one, but it was still good. It had a fairly strong bitterness in the first few steeps. It slowly turned into more of a sweet note over twelve steeps. You might even argue apricots in this case but I am uncertain. It was though a very good tea. Next time I will try it with less leaf. I just kind of used what I happened to pry off. And although I was using a big gaiwan at 160ml, 12.8g was a little too much. For that gaiwan I think 9g or so would have been better. On the other hand I’m sure with this one I could go back for five or six more steeps if I wanted to. Overall I did like this tea.

I steeped this tea twelve times in a 160ml gaiwan with 12.8g 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.

Boiling 12 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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This has to be the worst tasting raw pu’erh I’ve ever had; Aliexpress/Ebay considered.

A hit of ‘what the hell’ processing. Some brisk astringency coming through a smoke screen of old vegetables.

I thought this was going to be pretty good.. but 10 steeps later, I have to give up and say no no no.

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I have a hard time getting in to charcoal roast teas. That being said this one isn’t too bad. The roast profile was not too strong. A strong roast profile to me is just meh. This one was only moderately strong. I’d say it was noticeable for about four or five steeps. I won’t say this tea turned into something really sweet because Wuyi oolongs in my experience are not like that. It did improve over the eight steeps I gave it. I think that people who really like Wuyi oolongs might find this phenomenal. To me it was just ok, not great.

I steeped this tea eight times in a 150ml gaiwan with 6.1g leaf and 190 degree 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 could have gotten a few more steeps out of the leaves if I wanted to.

Flavors: Roasted

190 °F / 87 °C 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

If you’ve got some roasty oolongs you don’t want, I’d be interested in buying or trading for them.


@Rich, I don’t actually know what I’ve got but I haven’t bought a lot of Wuyi oolongs and actually finding what I have may be difficult but I will consider the idea.


I just don’t get into them too much either. I like a light roast but definitely not the dark.

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Oh man I love good black tea. This tea seems to fit that bill. The dry leaves have an intense powdered cocoa scent to it that reminds me of my childhood when I would get to make Nestle Quick at my grandma’s. I would pull out that yellow container with the goofy rabbit(if I’m not mistaken) and that chocolatey scent would waft up. This has a lot of that going on. Scents that invoke memories are my favorite.

The flavor is much of the same. Cocoa goodness. I’m not one to add milk to my teas. I don’t generally drink cows milk. I go for almond and coconut milk due to them being easier on my tummy. So, for me, I find they don’t translate as well to tea as cows milk. But back to what I was speaking to. I don’t normally add milk to my teas but this tea makes me curious as to what kind of sweet chocolate flavor I could coax out of it by adding some creaminess to it. Hmm…

Ok, I am back. I added some milk. It definitely makes it creamier but I’m not seeing that it made it MORE cocoa-licious. Yup, just used that “word.” Maybe some milk with HONEY! Hmm…

Ok, back again. I made a last minute strategical decision and put some granulated sugar in there instead of honey. Pretty good actually. Tested it on the kids and they both said it was yummy. My 9 year old asked if I had anymore for her to drink.

And because I’m a scientist at heart (and because I made a big pot of this), I HAVE to try it with milk and honey. I’ll report my findings in a moment…

I’m really glad I’m curious and like to experiment. The honey and milk got me there. THIS is the flavor I thought could come out with some creamy sweetness. Hot damn that is good. Now we have a problem though… I know how good it is to add those things but I also know how not good for me it is to add those things… To be so lucky to have problems such as these.

Conclusion: This tea is mighty fine anyway you serve it up.

Flavors: Cocoa

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 7 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I’m starting to lose track of all these Chinese blacks. I think I will need to do a comparison session one day to see how they relate to each other.

The brew smelled like a chocolate malted sweet potato, and pretty much tasted the same. The main flavor was a malty sweet potato with an aftertaste of cocoa. A very nice tea, but not the best I’ve had.

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Sweet Potatoes

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I thought I had left a review on this tea. I had a small sample which I’ve enjoyed a few teas from and finished it off today. One of the best tie guan Yin’s I’ve ever had. Floral and buttery, smooth & sweet. It never stops through each infusion. This tea is worth every cent you have to pay for it.

This sample was from last year and was still amazing today. Glad I finished it off while it’s still good. Nothing worse than letting amazing tea go to waste.

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2010 Gu Ming Xiang “Lao Ban Zhang Gu Shu” Sheng Pu’erh
Dry leaves smell of herbs, grass and smoke. Wet leaves have a pungent, smokey hay aroma.
10s rinse/10m rest.

Steep/Time: Notes
1/10s: Light, honey-like sweetness. More sweetness at the back of the throat. Pleasant full mouth feel that’s more noticeable in the aftertaste. I’m always a little uncertain when I detect that first bit of cha qi, but this one is noteable.

2/10s: Sweetness much more pronounced in the mouth, back of the throat and aftertaste. Tastes of grass and honey. Cha qi developing as a slightly light headed alertness. Wow! Good qi! I pushed this just a tad too long as I can detect a tiny bit of bitterness.

3/10s: This tea as a really interesting mouthfeel. Almost as if your tongue is being coated with a very light weight oil or wax that vanishes a few moments later. The finish is only mildly dry. Sweetness has mellowed just a touch in this pot though still very noticeable at the back of the throat. Ok, I think there’s something to Lao Ban Zhang teas when it comes to qi. Wide awake right now and super focused… though not always on the right thing, LOL!

4/20s: Very good tea. A bit of what I can best describe as tanginess now going along with the sweetness. I have to test a Lao Ban Zhang without my moring coffee. That may be why I end up so reved up with this tea.

5/30s: Love the sweet after taste. Have to be careful though not to push this tea too hard. Otherwise there’s a bit of a bitter note when the tea first hits the tongue.

6/30s: A little of the honey like taste is tapering off.

7/45s: Good, but I’m thinking this tea will end around 10 steeps. Still has that nice sweet after taste. Not noting any new flavors or anything.

Flavors: Grass, Honey

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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Dry leaf: NUTTY, SWEET (nut, dry nut/acorn, walnut, coriander, dark chocolate, hazelnut, mocha. In preheated vessel: sweet and sour, oily citrus notes develop in addition to notes above.)

Smell: NUTTY, EARTHY (nut, autumn leaves, malt, sweet bread, light cinnamon/spice notes)

Taste: NUTTY, CITRUS, SWEET, EARTHY, FRUITY (oily citrus, coriander, sweet nut – almond and pecan – notes of cinnamon, hint of maple syrup, rich malty body, fresh wood, light wet rock minerality, strong fresh apricot and peach in aftertaste, even some red fruit in aftertaste.)

Oh man, this is good. Rich and complex, a tapestry of fruity and sweet notes woven together with earthy nuttiness, maltiness, and minerality.

I really admire the complexity of flavors. Coriander-like citrus, cinnamon notes that pop up, rich earthy and malty base, fresh and vibrant stonefruit hui gan… What a treat.

As much as I am a sucker for going out and trying new stuff, this tea WILL be purchased again. The experience well exceeds its modest price tag.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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Bought this tea a couple of weeks ago and am just now getting around to drinking it. It has some malt, some chocolate flavor and what tastes like a roast flavor to it. This is interesting as I don’t think it was roasted. It is overall a good tea.

I steeped this one time in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Roasted

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

I was going to place an order with YS this week-end but I was too long deciding and the sale is over! LOL It’s just as well, since I have enough teas. This tea was one of the teas in my cart. I am so curious if his Shandong teas (and the green as well) , are as good as the ones from Verdant.

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Well I decided to steep this western style tonight, which might be why it ended up kind of… intense. :) 3g of leaf, 10oz of water, 80C, 2min. The dry leaves are really cool – dark green and silver in colour, rolled into little nuggets. Dry, they smell like freshly-cut grass. Wet, they smell intensely vegetal, like… kind of like canned peas? The liquor is rich, with a thick, buttery mouthfeel. The flavour is again very vegetal, like cooked spinach and peas. There’s bit of fresh-veggie in there too, but less intense. This is a very savoury green tea. Looking forward to trying it in the gaiwan next. :)

Flavors: Peas, Spinach, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Brewed in my new porcelain Jingdezhen gaiwan. Water is just off the boil throughout. 7th steeps onward shared with my wife.

After a wash, the wet leaves have a distinctive banana-leaf aroma.

1st – 7th steeps (flash, slowly ramping up to 10 seconds): Seal brown liquid with burnt umber and auburn highlights. Aroma suggests shiitake, ginseng, and banana leaf. Earth, chalk, and hints of chocolate on the palate with the latter hanging on into the finish where it is joined by a hint of stale tobacco and wet stones. The fermentation lends the cup a gentle vegetal/herbaceous quality, suggesting Chinese medicine. No bitterness…nice, medium-full body.

8th – 14th steeps (10 sec, slowly ramping up to 30 sec): Color gradually lightens from chocolate to burnt umber to chestnut – aromatics and flavor remain consistent throughout. Body is lighter.

15th – 20th steeps (30 sec, ramping up to 2+ min): Tea slowly grows paler and loses potency in both aromatics and flavor, although the character of both remain coherent. Some hints of Hawaiian dinner rolls in the finish. Body is lighter yet.

This tea is decent on its own, but works better as a foil to food – in this morning’s case, deftly framing the sweetness of a Pink’s Crisp apple and some quality farmer’s cheese.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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compared this one to a 2013 sample that dexter had sent. The good news is, that this one is slightly more chocolatey and malty…it’s just mild. more to come…adventure time with puppy in the woods!

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This is an excellent oolong from Yunnan Sourcing. It is very smooth, with a medium roast. No off roast flavors, it is quite velvety. Later steeps have that defining orchid flavor, just a touch. Well balanced astringency. This is one of the best oolongs I’ve had in a while, and it’s not expensive. I found that short steeps with lots of leaf worked well.


I loved this one. Mellow and thick. Even when it cools down it tastes great.

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I just got done finishing off the last bit of this cake, I for sure really enjoyed it as I drank through it at a pretty good pace. I really enjoy this one because its a lot different than the other shou pu’erh I have. This one has more of a camphour, wet and woody flavors that really stand out. It always has a very nice clean taste and can be steeped quite a few times.

Would recommend this one to anyone looking for something a bit different in a shou pu’erh.

Flavors: Camphor, Camphor, Sweet, Sweet, Wet Earth, Wet Earth, Wet Wood, Wet Wood

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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[Review of Spring 2016 picking]

Dry leaf: HERBAL, VEGETAL, SWEET (dried herbs – parsley, dill, thyme – cooked green beans and spinach, sweet butter, notes of milk chocolate, hint of cherry cordial. In preheated vessel – nuttiness and roastiness present, sort of “green peanut” notes)

Smell – FLORAL, VEGETAL, SWEET (fragrant floral – lily of the valley – buttered green vegetables, green nuttiness, some hints of chocolate and cinnamon-raisin bread)

Taste – VEGETAL, FLORAL, HERBAL, FRUITY (Arrival is green vegetable, sweet and sour, green stem, and lemongrass. In the mouth, notes of marine savoriness and hints of cinnamon-raisin bread develop. Finish is floral fragrant (lily of the valley), and dried herb (parsley and mint). Aftertaste is pronounced sweet stonefruit – ripe peach and apricot, some cherry sweetness.)

After a summer of exploring some various green oolongs, I have to say that this one is currently the clear winner. The flavors are varied and complex, strong but not overpowering. Every session had me picking up on new flavors and nuances. In addition, the tea is sensitive to changes in brewing parameters, but in a good way, allowing you to develop flavors you prefer in the tea.

Fresh, thick, and fruity. Great one to sip on as you procrastinate mowing the grass on a late summer afternoon. I speak from experience.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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I have had this three times now. I don’t know what I did, but the first time I made it, it was excellent.

I agree with what my mom said “It’s mild.”

It has a little bit of a chocolate taste and some dark fruit. I’ll try more leaf next time and see how that goes.

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Sample from the puerh plus TTB

Rinsed this once. 1st steep tasted like cream with a hint of apricot and brewed up a light green yellow. I could smell smoke coming off the next steep, but there was only a bit of acrid flavor in the cup. A bit of ruddy color started to come out here. 3rd steep came out just slightly bitter, it was more of just the feel of the astringentcy on the tongue than anything else. I also got a strange hint of melon flavor in there. The bitterness backs off on the 4th steep and the tea ends up mellow and sweet. It continues to steep up like this with increasing steep times and temperature until it quits around steep 13.

As it is now I’d say this tea while not terribly exciting, was pleasant. Probably a good thing to absentmindedly drink.

Flavors: Apricot, Cream

3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

Nice! It is a good tea to drink when you can’t pay attention. I think it gives a nice relaxing effect as well.

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Allan’s review of this was pretty spot on. This tea is weak. It still beats all of the bagged black tea that I have tried though.


Every black tea Yunnan Sourcing sells probably beats all the bagged black tea you have tried. They are usually low quality, even tea dust at times.

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This is an excellent puerh tea. It was quite sweet tasting at the start. A little bitterness crept in after a couple of steeps but didn’t last. Didn’t really pin down the sweet note but perhaps one of the flavors on the steepster page would fit. I think both fruity and honey fits although it was not as sweet as honey, I think it did have a bit of the taste. As far as rating this tea I will make a comparison. It is really quite good but not as good as the 2014 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn Bing Dao for about the same price. It is a good tea overall. It had a very thick tea liquid at first, what you would call a thick mouth feel I guess. This is one I hope ages well because I bought the whole cake. Brewed this in my new Japanese Shiboridashi.

I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml Shiboridashi 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.

Flavors: Fruity, Honey

Boiling 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

This is a good one.

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Man I hate losing tasting notes! Not sure what happened this time. I started recording notes in a text editor since Steepster doesn’t save notes in progress, but I could swear I saved the tasting note and thus thought it safe to delete the one saved in my text editor.
So working from memory…

Steep times: 10,10,15, 30,30, 60, 60.
The leave, both dry and wet, smell amazing! Toasted barley, sweet candy/gummies and fruit.
The taste is so consistent I stopped trying to right anything from steep 3 to 7 which could almost be deemed boring, but every single cup is absurdly delicious. Very robust tastes of chocolate and fruit with a lovely toasty backdrop.
When I initially saw just how much I’d purchased before tasting it I began to worry that I might have made a mistake. Now I think I didn’t quite buy enough.

Flavors: Candy, Chocolate, Fruity, Melon, Roasted Barley, Toasted Rice

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
Cathy Baratheon

Was it bitter at all?

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