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Once brewed, the wet leaves lose their Halloweeny smell, for which I am grateful. Trashy American chocolate isn’t really my thing in either tea or food form. The aroma is more like a burnt chocolate pudding, a scent I can definitely get behind. I’m one of those people that actually enjoys eating the skin off of a cooling chocolate pudding.
The brew is a bit thin, lacking in body and depth, for a black tea. There is a light cocoa flavor, a sugary sweetness, and a hint of yeasty sourness. That hint of Halloween candy is back on the finish. As the brew cools, it gets sweeter. There is also some slight astringency on the back of the palate.
Subsequent steepings reveal a bright, yeasty honey flavor with a wash of cocoa on the finish. Though it’s still on the astringent side, the brew definitely thickens and sweetens as it cools. I’m still getting that Halloween candy flavor out the nose.
Though this tea is perfectly pleasant, I know I’ve had better Laoshans than this.
I did a comparison on the YS Laoshans against Verdant. Full post and photos here: http://www.catlaittea.com/2016/09/05/laoshan-showdown-yunnan-sourcing-vs-verdant/
Flavors: Candy, Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey, Sugar, Yeasty
Happy Labor Day everyone, I hope you are having a fantastic holiday weekend. I am not doing anything special, well Ben has off from work today so we might play some Magic, but other than that it is just a day without mail. I know one exciting thing I will be doing today, cooking! Making sure Ben has lunch for the week, it will be a grand event.
Today’s tea is another hong cha from Yunnan Sourcing, Big Snow Mountain of Mengku Black Tea * Spring 2016 in my ongoing quest to go all Pokemon with all the red teas. You know, there are a lot of tea blogs out there, and several of them are very single focused, usually on Puerh but also several on Greens and Oolongs, if I am not careful I could easily become a blog dedicated to the world of reds, so I have to limit myself a little…only a little though. So, first with the sniffing, and what good sniffing it is! It is both light and rich, not one of those red teas that smacks you in the face with a bar of chocolate and pile of malt, this is subtle caramel peanut brittle, gentle malt, subtle mineral notes, and a bit of a fresh woodsy quality, like someone snapped an oak twig next to my nose, but one that has gone dry rather than being green. Recently dry, not soggy and rotting.
Oh hey! A peppery red! It seems like the last couple of year’s Dian Hongs have been lacking in the pepper department, so it is nice to run into one with that note. Alongside the pepper is a stronger note of malt, some sweet molasses, and a nice undertone of peanuts. The aroma of the first steep is lovely, very ‘Dian Hong’ with notes of toasted peanuts, malt, molasses, and sweet caramel. I was a little surprised I could not detect any yammy goodness, but not all teas have the orange tuber as a note.
Well hello mouthfeel! This one is not so much smooth as it is slippery, like thinned down okra and that is super fun, it is like a slip and slide in my mouth but with tea! It starts with this smooth slippery quality, but by the time I have swallowed it the texture turns to a more familiar thickness. The taste is delightfully sweet, starting with honey and caramel and moving to malt and sweet potatoes with a finish of peanuts and a touch of very distant roses.
The second steep brings in a fascinating change, distant notes of patchouli and myrrh in the aroma along with the sweet caramel and molasses, I love when tea gets that resinous quality (though technically patchouli is leafy, but shh.) The slippery quality of the first steep is replaced by thick smoothness that sticks around the full steep. The taste has a tangy woody cocoa shell quality that blends really well with a sweet potato and molasses middle. The finish is gentle resinous myrrh and a lingering aftertaste of caramel coated peanuts, yum!
Did I go for a steep three? You betcha, I also went for a steep nine but I won’t bore you all with the details in the middle. This tea does not really change a lot between steep two and the inevitable finish, but this is not a bad thing since when it reaches its stride the stride tastes lovely. I really liked how it could be a solid daily drinker or a special occasion tea and plan on adding more to my collection.
This is an enjoyable tea with a heady aroma of honeycomb and orange blossom. Lots of juicy citrus and floral fruitiness along with a slight tartness. The taste and scent of this tea lives up to its Pomelo & Flower name. It compares favorably to TTC’s Citrus Scented Four Seasons which is quite remarkable considering this one is unflavored. The difference is YS’s is fruitier and thicker while the pomelo scented oolong has a more refined taste. Both are good in their own right, but lately I find myself craving the YS tea more.
I’ve tried many different ways of brewing this tea, and flash steeps at just below boiling seem to bring out the best flavor. Short steeps are key to minimizing bitterness. Packs a nice cha qi/caffeine punch too.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Honey, Orange Blossom
From Puerh TTB! This one was alright – I wasn’t the biggest fan of the flavor profile. Started out kind of mushroomy with a bit of nuttiness and very slight sweetness, getting smoother and more balanced through the first 6 steeps. The mushroomy flavor started to get more savory – like those weird mushrooms you find in your Ramen Noodles (that taste awful to me by themselves) – shiitake? After that, I started getting a bit of a weird off note in the finish – like it was getting a little too savory and a bit funky. A floral note also started to develop on the front, along with a slight sugarcane note, though this tea was never super sweet or anything.
I did feel a bit of a buzzing qi mid-session, interesting as I was using my small gaiwan, so not imbibing too much tea overall. Decently powerful tea. More about that than flavor for me.
Flavors: Earth, Floral, Moss, Mushrooms, Nutty, Smooth, Sugarcane
Woodsy, malty, fruity, astringent, a little bit bitter. This tea was very tasty. A classic red tea flavor without the chocolate overtones I’ve experienced from several recent teas.
Glad I picked this one up, for sure.
Flavors: Astringent, Fruity, Malt, Wood
I am in a tough spot of mental illness. I am trying to be gentle to myself.
This had cha qi from the first sip. I thought I was imagining things until I looked at the website description and it did indeed mention powerful qi. Perhaps it is from being re-roasted a few times over the course of nearly a decade.
Gongfu’d in my Da Hong Pao yixing. First steep was of roasted mineral water. Subsequent steeps gave way to distinct notes of bourbon and vanilla coke aged in an oak barrel. When the bourbon gave out, last few steeps were of light cola with a dash of honey.
Not something I could drink every day, but what an experience it was!
totally not sure about this one..
It looks amazing on paper, Ya Shi leaf (of which some of my favourite tea has come from) but put in a dehydrator early to stop the oxidisation, and you end up with a lovely green leaf with an amazing fresh aroma.
Apparently this is a new technique, & im finding it hard to work out how to brew it,, the leaf is more delicate than TGY, so too hot & we are in oily soapy blech territory, even when flash steeped. Ended up around 70-80c gongfu being the best imo, where the oily taste was kept at bay, because there isnt much else to balance it out. I cant see it working western but maybe with a lot more water it might, but those leaves being in the water for too long.. doesnt scream to me how a Dan Cong should be.
What else to say? well its a little vegetal, lovely steamed milk aroma, tiny bit sweet, but really needs something else to balance out the soapy taste. After every sip I was shaking my head wondering what the makers are trying to put across here – that oily taste, sure its recognisable but all the really nice fenghuang ive had, they had loads more going on which balanced it out (and overtook it with fruit or velvety lushness or florals or, you get the idea – when I brew im keeping the oil at bay, but when its the dominant flavour? hmm dunno about that)
Maybe with some detailed brewing instructions I might like it more? im currently stuck as to how to make this more palatable. its very odd to my tastebuds.
Im also going to stop drinking it for the time being because if this makes me think of soap everytime I drink my other favourite teas by mental association, i’ll be very very displeased..
Flavors: Milk, Olive Oil, Soap, Sweet, Vegetal
This is another one of those shous that smells like crab boil to me—dry leaf, wet leaf, and brew—although the wet leaf smells a bit earthier, and the brew has a hint of a sweet smell to it. I don’t mind the crabbiness, as it doesn’t mean that the tea will taste fishy, and as a Floridian, I’ve never found crab spices offensive. So it works for me.
The brew itself is mineral, dark flavored, sweet, and thick. That tangy kind of ferment flavor is strong, but again, it’s not fishy at all. I pushed it a little around steep 4, and it got a bit bitter in a way that reminded me of a black coffee, which was nice. It did get a bit astringent toward the end.
Flavors: Astringent, Mineral, Sweet, Tangy
I have a sample that’s 2011 of this cake so I assume I am leaving the review on the right tea. I had this one today and it did not impress me. It brewed up a gold colour. I was having the tea while I was working so I wasn’t mentally making notes of each infusion. It is just that each infusion did not impress me. I would brew one up, have a few sips, say “nope, not right”, and then do another infusion. I didn’t hate it but I can’t say I loved this tea either. Nothing seemed to stand out about it.
This was a sample kindly send to me by a steepster to aid in my quest to find black teas I could enjoy without sweetener. I’m beginning to suspect that for me there are not such teas., but the learning process is fascinating.
This tea is intense. Even smelling the brewed infusion smells intense, kind of a sharp, intense smell that almost seems too intense to drink. Without sugar, it is too much for me, but with sugar it got me going pretty quickly.
It is Monday morning, my weekend was boring and nothing exciting has happened yet so this introduction is short and lame…on to tea!
Once in a while I run into a tea that really makes me go ‘ooooh’ when reading the description, Yunnan Sourcing’s Wild Tree Purple Moonlight White Tea from Jinggu * Spring 2016 was definitely such a tea. It is no secret that I adore purple teas, and not just because it gives me the excuse to shout ANTHOCYANIN at the top of my lungs whenever I drink it. The extra anthocyanin seems to add a unique quality to the purple teas I have enjoyed, especially some of the purple hong chas, so mixing my love of purple with my almost maniacal love of Moonlight, yeah, I needed this so badly. First off, these leaves are so fluffy and so pretty, practically a rainbow of colors, they are magical. The aroma is pretty heavenly, notes of melon, lettuce, hay, cucumbers, muscadine grapes, plums, sage, and an underlying earthy note that is really hard to pin down. It is sweet and rich while also being light and airy, I am intrigued by its complexity.
Gaiwan time! Decided to use my bat gaiwan set, for nostalgia, plus the dark colors of the leaves compliment the blue quite well. The aroma of the leaves is wow, notes of melon and lettuce dance with cucumber, muscadines, apricots, plums, and a distant note of pepper. It is sweet and pretty intense! The aroma of the liquid is also pretty intense and very sweet, notes of plum and cherry dance with lettuce and cucumber and the distinct note of dandelion pollen. I feel like I am sinking while sniffing it, the aroma has a weight, like purple tendrils pulling me down into sleep.
Well, this tea is magical, that is all I have to say, review done….ok not really. Though this tea is pretty magical, I am amazed how it manages to be both immensely light and refreshing while also being dark and heavy. It is honey drenched lettuce, cucumber crowded plums, buttery muscadines, and a finish of myrrh and distant spice. This is a peculiar tea of notes that I would not usually combine working well together.
The aroma of the second steep is a wonderful combination of muscadines, lettuce, zucchini and myrrh with an underlying honey quality. So this steep is heavy and not as sweet as the first, but with a lingering spice and fruit note that sticks around forever. The start is a bit crisp with notes of honey and grapes with a slight cumber quality. Then the richness of this steep really settles in, buttery lettuce and bok choy with a thick stewed plum quality, though without the usual sweetness associated with the fruit. It is fascinating to have it taste like plum without the sweet, it is unique and I am still loving it.
For the third steep the aroma is still pretty sweet and also crisp, blending grapes and zucchini with lettuce and honey. It still has a gentle resinous myrrh note and also a slight woodiness, specifically sweet fruit wood. This steep is like a combination of the first and second, being immensely sweet and fruity while also being buttery and very rich. The cooked plum note is joined by apricots and it is very nectar sweet, combining with a middle of crisp lettuce and cucumbers, and melon and gentle spiced finish that lingers. Ah, this tea, pity it is already sold out because I want lots more!
This is a favorite. For some reason yesterday in my travel mug, it tasted like Jack & Coke. And before someone asks, no, I have never had anything in the mug but tea. :) I felt like I was doing something illegal by drinking it while I was driving.
Fruit and sugarcane and that touch of fermentation that you get from… well, a decently made Jack and Coke. Or maybe I just need to get back to Vegas soon… :)
Bought a sample of this when Scott ran his sale on 2016 Yunnan Sourcing teas. It is pretty good raw puerh. I’m not sure if I like enough to spend the approximate $120 that he charges. It had a sweet note in the start. Some bitterness crept in after the leaves had opened up but this did not last. And the sweet note returned, sweeter than before. Not sure if I would use the term apricots but it was just about as sweet as any raw puerh gets. I did enjoy this tea. As to qi, maybe some, I’m feeling relaxed but I can’t be sure about the qi of this one. It certainly isn’t strong or doesn’t seem so. Overall this was a very good tea.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 7.3g 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. I certainly could have kept going the leaves weren’t done. There was maybe another four or five steeps in them I would guess.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet
[tasted summer 2016]
Dry leaf: SWEET, FLORAL (honey, honeysuckle, green apple, fragrant floral)
Smell: SWEET, FLORAL (sweet, bitter floral typical of young raw; green apple, hint of ashy smoke)
Taste: SWEET, HERBAL, NUTTY, GRASSY, FRUIT (thick honey sweetness, white pepper, fragrant floral – lilac? lily of the valley? – ashy smokiness, bitter green wood, sharp herbal like basil or cilantro, nutty oiliness, light raisin, astringent, dried apricot, fresh hay, sweet grass)
What a great find. Flavors are intriguing – a lot of personality, a lot of notes to pick up on, nothing unpleasant or flat. I’m not even a young raw kind of guy, but this was really nice to drink. It has a full mouthfeel, plenty of rich oiliness, and enough bitterness to keep things fresh and interesting, like any good young raw should. As far as I can tell, it has plenty to build off of as it matures.
Other folks seem to have been a little more critical of this cake than I have been. So, either I’m a cheap date, or this thing has aged wonderfully in the past few months. I found it to be much more interesting and pleasant than more expensive and older cakes.
In my opinion, this is an economy raw that is punching well above its weight class. Well worth purchasing several cakes, as I will be doing
Finally got to trying this Dark Matter sample – it was highly recommended by a few teafriends. I used 5g in a 100mL gaiwan with 200F water. The dry leaf smelled roasty and a bit fruity. After a rinse, the leaf smelled much more strongly of the roast along with hints of grape – the aroma reminded me a bit of a really roasted Dancong oolong.
From the first steep, I knew this was a quality Wuyi. Very thick and sweet right off the bat, with earthy, roasty notes that reminded me of coffee, and a dry mineral finish. It thickened up even more as I kept going, with the coffee flavors leaving and the mineral notes becoming more sweet. Starting from the fourth steep, I got a bit of a metallic flavor on the tip of my tongue. It wasn’t unpleasant. The tea continued much the same way throughout around 12 infusions. The metallic flavor did fade in the later steeps, as did the texture.
This tea was rather simple, but was quite good. The texture and flavor were mostly consistent and definitely enjoyable throughout the session. Glad I finally got to trying this one, and I think I’ll need to try to get my hands on some more higher quality Wuyi oolongs.
Flavors: Coffee, Metallic, Mineral, Roasted, Sweet, Thick
Finally cracking into this sample at the end of a frustrating day. 7g to a 100 ml gaiwan, boiling water that has cooled for a minute, I wasn’t keeping too close an eye on temp. Aroma fresh off the rinse is pure just cut grass and standard young sheng with a slight hint of camphor lingering interestingly in the background somewhere. The leaf is an attractive darker olive green with some red edges on random leaves.
Brews up a liquor that is a darker gold and the taste more mild than I am used to from sheng this young. Not too bitter or astringent, although there is some drying action present. Intermediate steeps coaxes out a pleasant sweetness that is followed by that stealthy camphor cooling quality. Nice thickness, with a solid bit of mushroom-esque meatiness to the flavor. This tea wasn’t particularly outstanding in any way to my taste, but very solid all around and with that touch of camphor to grab the interest (I’d be curious to see how that develops with time) . Add in the happy and relaxing qi and I’d say this was a great way to wind down the last of the evening, although I may regret it when I try to sleep.
Flavors: Camphor, Dry Grass, Hay, Sweet
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
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