Yunnan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes


After seeing all the positive ratings, I gave this one another couple of runthroughs to see if I was missing something. I don’t think I am, though. While it’s not offensive in any way, and has a pleasant sweetness and a little huigan, this is just not a great tea at the moment. There’s very little in the way of distinctive flavor, very little lasting mouthfeel, and almost no bitterness at all. Slightly sour. Nice and relaxing at least, but I think I’ll drink through the rest of this when I want to conserve samples.
W2T ruyao gaiwan, boiling water, flash brews. First and second tries were 5g leaf, third was 7.5g.

Flavors: Honey


I tried this and would say it needs to age a bit. I may pick one up and bring it out in 5 years from storage and see how it is.


Yeah, I got it as a free sample with my last YS order. I’m not quite discerning enough to know what makes for good aging, but I could see it improving this… If it doesn’t, at least it was cheap. I should probably set up for aging once I’ve sampled a few more things (W2T order I just placed) - broken minifridge + hygrometer + cigar humidifiers can’t cost -that much and I imagine I’m missing out on a lot by only being able to deal with “drink now” stuff. I’d like to see how that 2013 Spirit of Tea or the GMX Banpen turns out in a few years…


…oh dear, I guess I’m not used to the formatting on this site. That strikethrough shouldn’t be there.


I think I know what you meant to say. You will probably like the W2T stuff. Paul finds some good things.

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This tea is very good. It is one of the best ripes I have had in a while. It is sweet with virtually no earthy flavor left. It has developed a nice flavor that I think is usually called a dates flavor. There is no smoke or camphor or off taste to this tea. It is really good. I am glad I bought the whole bing and not a sample. I steeped this a grand total of twelve times before dumping the leaves because I had had enough tea and was at my daily caffeine limit and then some. But had I wanted to continue I could have gotten a few more good steeps out of this tea. I think it might have gone twenty steeps. It definitely would have gone fifteen. The tea had gotten a little weaker at steep twelve but had not become weak tea yet.

I steeped this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9.2g leaf and boiling water. 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: Dates, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

This sounds absolutely divine!

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I had the 2012 batch of these, but I drank several and gave the rest away to friends. They were so well-loved that I will definitely order more. I miss them!

One of these little babies can be infused all day—8 or 10 times at least. It takes a while for the tightly compressed tea to break apart, but it’s delivering deep, fantastic Yunnan Black tea flavor all along. Chocolate, malt, maybe a slight but not unpleasant dryness. I haven’t had them for months but I can still remember the taste and aroma! So satisfying!

Flavors: Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Thank you Sil for including this one.

This is a bready Yunnan Black. I’m not getting the interesting notes that others have mentioned. A little malt, a little yeast, a little grain – for me this is just an average Yunnan black, but always happy to spend the day with black teas from friends. :))

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Working my way through the box that Sil sent me. Thank you so much.

I think this one is a little strange. I find it a little smokey, and a little earthy. This is a lot like an aged black or a really mild pu’erh. Interesting and I like it. This is one that I would like to get my hands on more of – would like to play around with steep parameters and see what other fun nuances I could tease out of it.
This one is really fun – thanks so much Sil for sharing.

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A basic raw pu-erh with an immediate fruitiness in the front of the mouth, followed by a bitter astringency which coated my entire mouth. Wet leaf aroma reminds me slightly of new gym shoes.

The sample I had was pretty chopped up too, not sure if this means that the cake is loosely compressed or I got some dreg material. I think small leaves might have also affected my steepings with this sheng, perhaps more bitter. Knowing that it’s a Bulang blend I was expecting some fight… there was no fight…I was instantly demolished by some quick pangs to my chest and stomach. I tired to recover with some shou but I found my later tea drinking experience rather unsatisfying (it still being shadowed by my session with the Cha Qi).

Still willing to try more Bulang though, I will look for a high quality one maybe try some from a higher end vendor. I can’t remember why I chose this one specifically probably price and available samples (and cakes!) (I do dislike it a when pu-erh vendor only carries cakes or samples…and not both).

Additional brewing parameters: 6g leaf, 100ml gaiwan, 1 rinse, 4 steeps: 10-30 seconds each.

Acquired sample at James over at TeaDB mentioned this tea on his Bulang Tea Drinking Report:

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter


In addition to Scott’s teas, I’d recommend the New Amerykah from W2T or the Bulang Beauty from TU. Neither one could be a daily drinker for me, but there’s some nice leaves in em.

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Another excited to try tea for the amazing Sil box.

I’m a HUGE fan of JinJunMei – I don’t think I’ve met one that I don’t like – just some are better than others. This one falls into the good not great category for me. It has all the standard JinJunMei characteristics that I would expect, but none of them really shone. It was good, it was fine, enjoyable couple of cups of tea, but it just didn’t blow my socks off. I’m not even sure what it was lacking, it just fell a little flat to me.
Thanks you so much for sharing Sil :)


yep, that’s why i saved some for you. I know you love them :)

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Just the name itself calls all the tea drunk hopefuls to purchase. For $4.50 100g cake, it is hard to resist! This compressed black tea is woodsy (cherry wood) and fruity (raspberry and currants). It is easy to drink as it’s smooth and fruity. I got 7 good infusions too.

Full review on Oolong Owl – this tea is indeed RED!


I agree a nice little cake for sure.


woo, I am getting the Chrysanthemum version with my next tea of the month club

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I have had some mixed sessions with this sheng. It is difficult to report to report on a flavor profile, because my earlier sessions were marked with an aggressive mouth drying effect to the point were in the days after brewing up this Yiwu my gums hurt and I had to take a break from tea drinking all together.

Later, I brewed carefully with less leaf (5g, instead of 6g) and shorter steep times. I found an improvement, with little to no adverse somatic reactions to the tea. Flavors are fruity -think ripe cantaloupe and stone fruit, with a slight grainy undertone (sweet corn or farro). At the end of my last two sessions with this tea I have transferred the leaves to a mason jar and added cold water…after storing in the fridge overnight the result is quiet pleasing…the last bits of flavor have been greatly accentuated and I am getting ripe fruit all over again.

I could see cold-brewing young shengs as useful way to extend a session out, especially come summertime when the already ‘cooling’ nature of the raw pu-erh is appreciated.

Additional brewing parameters: 5g leaf, 1 rinse, steepings 1-6: 10-30 seconds each, steepings 7-9 30 seconds – 40 seconds. Approximately 800ml of water added to mason jar with leaf for cold brew.

Acquired sample at

Flavors: Stonefruits


You are very brave to give a second chance to a tea that make your gums hurt.


Interesting to hear your notes on the Autumn version. I’ve had the 2012 Purple Yiwu from Spring (also from YS) and quite like it. The taste is not overly complicated but I was happy to pickup a few when it was priced at $24/250g.

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I found this to be a nice balance of flavors. Easy to drink and good quality. A nice cake for the price.

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Sad I didn’t like this one…Don’t know why I wanted to like this one so much, but I did. D:
The one just tasted like horse manure and wood to me. >

Flavors: Wood


wow, thats the lowest rating I’ve seen on here…


you’re obviously not a horse rider, as we often end up with dirt/poop everywhere when we fall off….especially if you fall off with your mouth open, yelling an expletive. I will not be ordering this buck off tea. thank you for the warning. :)


Hahah yeah, no, donkeytiara! I live in the country, surrounded by horses, and that’s enough for me! I definitely don’t need to have interaction with them-and especially not after that comment-sounds horrible! XD


ouch :( must have tasted terrible

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I have the 2014 version that i received as a sample in one of my YS orders. I don’t have a lot to say on this one besides the fast that it was light, refreshing and sweet. Initial impressions for this one are really positive. Later steepings it became a bit woody but still really nice. I enjoy the random samples i get with my YS orders – they’re almost always something i wouldn’t have necessarily picked for myself but still enjoy!

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Sample included in one of my past YS orders. I enjoyed this one, though it doesn’t call out to me like others. This is a good puerh for folks who don’t want something overly intense but still offers some varying notes in it. There was almost the hint of smoke in this one…but i would never call this a smoky tea, if that makes sense. another smooth tasting tea and enjoyable earlier this morning.

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Yeah…this one just tasted like wood to me. XD Kept trying to drink more of it in case there would be another flavor, but there just wasn’t for me. So I gave up.
Not for me.
Thank you for the sample though, Terri!

Flavors: Oak wood

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Another raw from Dexter this has no bitterness and begins right away with a mild, sweet taste. This isn’t vegetal and is quite a lovely tea. Just started in with this one so more later….

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Another sample from Dexter today. I have a large number of samples from her and companies to get through. This one is more towards the green side than dark side, as i’ve come to expect with raw puerhs. However, this isn’t overly green and vegetal . There’s a slightly smoky scent to this one, though over the course of a few steeps, it’s really only a slight smoke taste – nothing too strong. There is no bitterness to this one that i noticed, just a generally smooth brew,heavier than some but sort of middle of the road in terms of strength.

Thanks for letting me try this one dexter!

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This review is of the 2012 spring harvest, which as of this writing (12 March 2015) is still available on the Yunnan sourcing US site.

I’ve had this tea for over a year, and it seems to be getting better with some age on it. I use a little Yixing which I’ve dedicated to Yunnan black teas. With this much leaf in the pot, short steeps are in order (3/6/9/12/etc. seconds). I normally take it through 15 steeps, with the first 10 being the best but the last 5 are still quite tasty.

The tea starts off with lots of malt and sweetness, morphing into a honey note and finally into a bee pollen and honey sweetness that is just outstanding. Hints of Yunnan spice, sweet citrus and faint tartness appear at times, along with strong floral notes.

This is my benchmark Yunnan black tea for sweetness. I break it out at least once a week, and just placed an order for more. A truly magnificent harvest. Recommended.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Malt, Spices, Sugarcane

190 °F / 87 °C 8 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
Terri HarpLady

hey Bro!
Glad to see you posting again! :)


Thanks! It’s good to be back. I hope this year will be a little less hectic :)

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Got back from a special treat which was dinner at the Thai restaurant tonight. I had lemongrass tofu and mango sticky rice for dessert. The mango sticky rice was full of coconut milk and it was sooo good. I was very happy with the meal!

I thought I would have this shu puerh as my after dinner drink. On the whole, I am not terribly impressed with this one. Even when the color is quite dark it is lacking a bit in flavor and just seems to be a bit muddy with camphor. Nothing special in my opinion.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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Not 100% sure that this is the one Dexter sent me, but since this is the one in her cupboard, I’m going to log it here. (Sorry if I’m incorrect!)
Anyway, I couldn’t look up the steeping parameters, since my kids were using the computer at the time, so I just winged it. 2tsp leaf/8oz water/boiling/5 min

This was chocolatey and comforting and just plain delicious. It was exactly what I was looking for at the moment… Really, really delicious. :D
I steeped for a second time (8min) and got the same chocolate notes with a little bit of a fruity quality going on… just lovely!

Ok… I guess I’ll go clean my kitchen now. blarg.


I’m 100% sure that this is where I have it listed in my cupboard, but there are so many duplicates and different seasons etc – I’m never sure if I have them in the right place. Happy you liked it. :))


Dexter, I am having SO much fun with the teas you sent me… I really can not ever thank you enough. :))))

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Trying it again, and today it’s dirt tea.


Maybe I’ll go make something fruity.

Maddy Barone

I feel your pain about the screwed up sense of taste. Really sucks to drink dirt tea. Hope it gets better soon.


We’re going to a tea tasting on Sunday, so I really hope I can taste stuff by then!

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Oh this is really really tasty! Thanks so much for sharing, Dexter.

It’s super grainy. Reminds me a little of the roasted buckwheat teas. Nice and thick. A little sweet – maybe like roasted sweet potatoes? It’s that caramelized delightfulness that isn’t really sugary.

I don’t get chocolate, at all. Some of the flavours remind me of “dirt tea” but thankfully the dirt is rather mild. Most of the flavours are thick grains.


195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

step. away. from. my. tea.


:P I don’t know that I’d buy it actually. It’s tasty but I prefer the golden snails flavours for every day drinking. And what happens when my taste and smell are back and it tastes like dirt? :D

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Another generous sample from Dexter! This is so fun trying all these teas!

I liked this one too, but I think I liked the Han Xiang Ecological one more maybe I think. I’ll have to try them side by side at some point.

(1 heaping tsp in 14 oz, 5 minutes, 195F.)

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Received sample from a friend. The dry storage on this is excellent, the tea has lost none of its original scent and flavor. Highly floral, still rather green. Brewed up about 7 grams.

Very sweet honey aftertaste, bitter edge but not terribly astringent.

I’m drinking this 10 years into the life of the leaf and it is in the process of changing from a young tea to a teenage tea. The tea is a dark yellow. In fact the tea is slightly cloudy and I smell and taste a malty ferment. The smoky char is also changing. This tea is in flux, which a good sign. I’d be pulling out this cake come summer and let it get full-on humidity.

Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Malt

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

Interesting. I had a couple sessions from this (straight from YS) and hated it. It made me feel ill. Curious if I was just wrong or if the storage on it is magic. You’re notes at least intrigue me enough to want to try it again..


I only drank one cup. It is just not yet in a drinkable state, but is coming along.

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