Yunnan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes


I brewed this tea up a ton of different ways – 8g, 5g, per 100ml, 208 F, 180 F, but I just couldn’t find a way to brew it that would live up to my expectations. With oolongs, I prefer those that have staying power when it comes to resteeping using gongfu method.
This tea however pretty much dies entirely by steep 3 being completely overtaken by the mineral foretaste.
It has a fantastic almond and sour cherry butter cookie scent on the nose, but this doesn’t last very long. Perhaps I was expecting too much from this, or being too greedy, but the fact that you really only get 2 steeps out of this per session is very disappointing for me.
Perhaps if you’re the type of person to enjoy very short sessions, it may be better.

Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Pastries, Wet Rocks

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I let this sit out in the open air for two days after receiving. Just threw 6 grams in a gaiwan and wow! This is a really great tea. This is like a nectar. it reminds me of a 1985 Krug champagne that I had once. Beautiful crystal clear spring honey colored soup. Deep and complex notes of dried tropical fruits and exotic spice. Sweetness is there but not too sweet. The flavors are complex but harmonious, balanced and elegant. I am so excited that I bought this cake. I know it will just keep getting better as it acclimates to my house and continues to age. I will add another review or two on this one in the future. I will also be buying another one for sure because I won’t be able to stay out of this one.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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Tea swap sample from Nishnek

Quick Notes: I started brewing this before getting ready for work today. I noticed a lot of vegatal/grass notes; thick-ish mouthfeel. These are the type of green teas that I enjoy.

PS. I’m grandpa-styling the remainder of this leaf for work today, so I’ll attach more notes to this later.

Flavors: Grass, Vegetal

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I believe this is the first wet stored raw I’ve had, and I just discovered I’m a big fan. I’ve never tasted a tea like this. I loved it. I wasn’t taking notes since I’ve never left a tasting note before, but I just ordered 500 grams of it, and will leave my first complete tasting of a tea the next time I have it.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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You what its like when you get that box of tea you ordered and one tea just stands out as the best one? That how it went for me with this tea. Really like it. Color is unique. Very smooth. Not sharp at all like some black tea can be. Will buy more

3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Quick rinse and the smell is very bright grassy with camphor. Mellow liquid, sweetness already. Nice quiet first steep, still pretty compact since I didn’t break up the chunk. 2nd steep has mild bitterness, nice astringency, and a pretty nice texture. Tasting rice and dried grass. 3rd has growing bitterness but still low astringency. Increasing grassiness, still tastes more like dried grass than bright fresh grass. Some mineral. VERY nice body, one of the more interesting shengs I’ve had, texturally. 3th steep is very creamy and thick and sweet. Less grassy now, more rooty and mushroomy. 4-6th still good. 7th and 8th getting sweeter and slightly more boring but still has awesome body and full flavor, just flatter.

Real good. Awesome price. Will cop a cake for sure.

Boiling 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

$37.00 on .com site still a deal.

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I have had this sample sitting around for quite some time. In my effort to keep clearing out samples, I gave it a try today. The leaf had a sweet, mushroomy aroma to it. I have had some teas which use “mushroom” as a flavor description that are just a bit nasty, so I was slightly dubious going in.

Thankfully, my concerns were unfounded! This tea starts off slightly vegetal for the first couple steeps before transitioning to a mushroomy sweetness which I found downright pleasant. Sometimes that flavor manifests itself with a sour timbre, which as a flavor really puts me off. This one was nice and sweet. I didn’t pick up on any mint as the description or other reviews have noted. Despite the main sweet note, this tea had a strong underlying bitterness for the first half of the session. For much of the session, that bitterness was accompanied by a bit of a fruity flavor. I would definitely not call it apricot – it wasn’t even sweet. An interesting and stimulating fruitiness – kind of like just the rind of some stonefruit maybe. Much like other teas made from high quality leaf, the session finished with around a half dozen or more steeps which were incredibly soft and sweet, free of any astringency or bitterness which characterized the earlier part of the session. These steeps not as interesting, but they are a great way to end a session.

Aside from a pleasant flavor, this tea was no slacker in the texture and qi departments. I found the texture pleasantly thick – more brothy than creamy or oily, though the aforementioned late steeps were slightly creamy in nature. I very much agree with the description on Yunnan Sourcing’s site which characterized the qi as “strong but not overwhelming.” This tea had a pretty intense mellowing effect on me, at least in the first half of the session. The first few steeps first made my mouth feel tingly, before it got slightly numb. I felt almost like I was at the dentist with my mouth all numbed up. It was an interesting sensation.

This tea was a really good random sample selection – good job, me of a few months ago! When/if the budget allows, this is a tea I would certainly consider picking up a cake of. At $60/400g, it is a sort of mid-level price. It’s not as easy to pick up as, say a $25 cake, but it’s a very good value. I really would say this one punches above its weight.

Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Fruity, Mushrooms, Sweet

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

This one is nice. It’s not very complex but is quite different from Scott’s other Jinggu teas.


Awesome! I told you that this had a different dimension to ‘mushroom’, I like this one a lot too, but this and Qing Mei Shan are two worlds apart even when they do have some notes that look similar on paper. :D


Ha! So you did :) Had to go look at that note to remember what you told me. Good call lol.


I’m surprised you didn’t pick up mint or menthol cooling, as I found that to be a defining trait. A very interesting tea to have on hand.


I did see those notes in YS’s flavor description, but didn’t really get much of any of it. I suppose we all have different tastebuds and water, and a million other different variables lol.


I’m always surprised how big of an impact water has on my tea drinking experience.


Water can make or break a tea for sure. Also depends on what you expect from those mint notes, I get them most up front in the scent of the leaf and initial herbal note, then nothing until all the way to the end where you get that very rare camphor from young tea. I’m not sure how’s your water but if you think it is on the softer side you can try it by adding minerals to it.

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My tea order came in from the Yunnan Sourcing US site this afternoon, and boy do I have a lot of teas to try. I ordered six different teas, and this was one of them. I had originally made an order to the Chinese based Yunnan Sourcing site before realizing it would almost certainly be delayed due to the Chinese New Year. Thus, ever tea hungry, I made an additional order from the US based site with the rationale that of course I can go through 300g of tea before the Chinese order arrives.
At least one can say I’m optimistic.

Regardless, although Jin Mei Gui was the second tea that I tried from this order, it certainly comes in first place so far.
I brewed this gongfu method, in my 100ml Ruyao Gaiwan, with steeps that stuck around 5 seconds at the start, 10-15 in the middle, and 30 at the end. I got a heavy 10 steeps out of this, but the last two were pretty faded, and could have probably been skipped.

That said, let’s get to the review.

Dry leaf: Pretty floral scent, with standard roasty oolong scent intermixed. My first impression upon getting a whiff from the bag was dried rose petals.

Liquor: Honey yellow, at the start, with a halo of deep amber. Later steeps produced pale gold with deep gold halo.

1st steep:
The aroma is like roasted sesame, and first taste is exactly like that with rose, sesame, and honey on the nose. It has a gentle sweetness, like sugar encrusted rose petals you might find on a wedding cake.
Definitely not cloying like overly sweet rose scented candles or perfume.

2nd steep:
This was the first and last time the actual standard roasted-tea-leaf-taste of oolong actually came out to play, with the first taste also having some nuttiness (closer to hazelnut than sesame) and then slipping into a floral rose on the nose that is dripping in honey. It is delicately sweet, at the same time, like eating cake, and the taste lingers and lingers quite a long time after.

3rd steep:
First taste is roses, strong strong roses like a fresh bouquet at a wedding with more of that addicting honey and rose taste on the nose. This was probably my favorite steep as the sweetness on breathing out wasn’t quite so strong and the stronger rose taste was really pleasant and quite a surprise as the previous steeps had been all nuts and oolong. It has that nostalgic taste and smell to it that just makes you happy to think about even long after the session is over.
As this point, I was pretty tea drunk, which is pretty unusual for me with oolongs. I kept wanting more and more of the tea and was drinking it pretty fast – not gulping it down but the time between steeps was pretty short.
I was jittery, full of energy, my heart was going pitter-patter and my thoughts were rushing along. It’s the type of feeling you get right before a first date, when you still aren’t sure what to expect, or perhaps right before saying “I do”. Exciting, and almost overwhelming.

4th steep:
The places have reversed, with the rose-y floral taste coming in first, and then sesame on the nose – again the theme of honey and roses keeps showing up in this tea.

5th steep:
Not much to say here, pretty faded, and I thought it was on it’s way out as it was like the type of taste you’d expect from pressed flowers that haven’t been fresh in a long long time.

6th, 7th, 8th steep:
That said I was completely wrong. This steep was SWEET. Almost overpoweringly so, I thought this tea was well and truly dead because of the lightness of the previous steep but it’s completely back full force with a strength that’s like taking a spoonful of honey. The 7th and 8th steeps both follow along this path and at this point the sweetness is almost frustrating. I’m hoping it will switch up at the last moment, but it stubbornly remains sweet without much change.

9th, 10th:
Faded, almost the same as steep 5 but even fainter. This tea is pretty much dead at this point. There’s some very slight floral going on, but the sweetness and all depth is gone.

Final thoughts:
This is a very special tea, that brings to mind first dates, weddings, wedding cake, brings about a tea drunkenness that was unexpected and exciting, and has a pretty consistent taste throughout the session.

At the same time, though, you never get bored of it, because the places of the three main flavors/scents (sesame, rose, and honey) keeps switching around with some coming to the forefront while others fade back for a while. It’s a steady relationship type of tea, a “meet the parents” type of tea. It isn’t quite to the point where it’s a “married with kids” type of tea, as it doesn’t have that quality of it falling into a routine. It’s still new and exciting, and you keep seeing sides of it you don’t expect from one steep to the next.

This is a very romantic tea, you wouldn’t want to share with just anyone. The thought of sharing it with anyone who asks might inspire a bit of jealousy and protectiveness that’s reserved for the most special of teas you come across.

Even during the most frustrating times of the session (6th, 7th, and 8th steeps) I wanted to stick through it, through some weird sense of loyalty and stubbornness to see if it was well and truly over, and although it was frustrating due to the sweetness it wasn’t unpleasant at the same time.

This would be the perfect tea to have at a wedding, or on a special occasion like valentines day or a cozy, intimate date at home with your special someone. I’ll most likely order a lot more of this in the next month or two just to make sure I have it around.

Flavors: Hazelnut, Honey, Mineral, Roasted nuts, Rose

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Note: very broken up leaves in this sample, impossible not to oversteep in the early steeps. I’m flash steeping this one every time in a ~160ml gaiwan.

Sweet and slightly smokey rinse. Med astringency on 1st steep, still sweet and higher smokiness. 2nd steep way too high astringency, dumped it out. 3rd steep mellowing out a bit. 4th steep mellowing more but still too astringent to taste anything else. 5th steep was finally drinkable but not that interesting. 6th steep and the astringency is pretty low and the tea is starting to have some nice flavors.

7th steep is very mellow and actually fantastic even though my bias of the earlier steeps being awful wants me to still hate this tea. I didn’t eat a very big breakfast and this tea is DESTROYING my stomach. Time for some bread. 8th steep (still flash steeping btw) is VERY nice. Grassy but soft and deep rather than crisp bright grass. Minerals and chlorine. 9th steep about the same. 10th is getting much sweeter. 11th steep I finally let it go for 5-10 seconds before I poured it off. Very nice flavor, ideal sheng for me but I can’t get over how bitter and astringent it was at first. I’ll probably get 15-20 steeps from this!

Don’t think I’ll be buying a cake of this, I just can’t justify buying a tea where I want to dump out the first 6 steeps.

205 °F / 96 °C 11 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

This can be hit or miss for some.

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A tasty white tea that has some cross-over with black tea characteristics. Because it is not purely bud material like silver needle, there are some oxidized leaves that impart some malty, nutty, and sweet potato notes. It actually tastes like a blend of silver needle and some mellow black tea.

Very drinkable and tasty, although it does have a substantially “heavier” profile than a silver needle – fewer light aromatics and more malty notes. A good choice for a winter white tea.
Leaf – milky black tea blend, sweet fragrant floral, creamy honey, honeysuckle. In preheated vessel – sweet woody and floral notes, pungent honey, very fragrant

Smell – honeysuckle, papaya, milky tea, strawberry cream; hint of sour cherry

Taste – wild honey, honeysuckle, milky black tea, papaya, soft green herb, dried date; hint of sesame seed in finish. As steeps progress, gains more black tea flavors – malt, peanut nuttiness, some hints at sweet potato

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Flavors: Fig, Malt, Oats, Plums

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Wrapping up Western Xishuangbanna / Menghai county in my taste tour through Yunnan…

Region 1/4: Western Xishuangbanna – Menghai county. Location 3/3: Bu Lang mountains

OK – first, the tea:
WIth absolutely no proof and very little experience to guide this opinion, I think this tea will age well.

I’m drawing this conclusion based on a recent session that I had, which followed me eating a bowl of cereal. Normally I session tea well after I eat, but Bu Lang kept tying my stomach in knots. So, off to pantry I went to prep myself for battle.

My previous sessions yielded notes that had things like “PARSLEY” underlined several times. It was herbal – really, really pungent, dried parsley, herbal. It still is… But, my post-cereal session muted the effects of the parsley notes and instead highlighted the underlying sweetness and fragrant, sweet floral character of the tea.

So, following this kind of empirical evidence, I’m guessing that with age, the pungent herb character will die down, and what will follow is the sweetness I noticed. The pungency, I think, will work to its advantage with age. Lots of strength to build off of.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this tea at first, but now I’m scratching my head. This may be worth buying now and forgetting about for a few years. Could have something really special on your hands. Right now, though, the initial experience is sort of a nice parsley tisane…

OK – now, the region:
Based on this limited exposure, I noticed all three Western Xishuangbanna teas shared the parsley/dill herbal notes in some fashion. Also present in all three teas was a vague fruitiness that I can only describe as Juicy Fruit gum – sort of light peach, orange, berry, gummy sweetness.

I would also venture to say these really do need some age on them before you get a lot of decent flavors out of them – I’m talking at least 5-7 years. Pasha was the oldest of my group (5-6 yrs), and it was also the clear winner in terms of taste.

Anyway, interesting group. Really enjoyed Pasha, and after my Raisin Bran battled the parsley notes in Bu Lang and revealed some nice depth of flavor, I am certainly intrigued… For the price, probably worth an investment to age.
Dry leaf – pungent dill and parsley, light menthol. In preheated vessel – light smoke, fruity, saccharine sweetness

Smell – light ash, pungent green herb, petrichor (always wanted to use that word – rainy, wet, earthy, mineral)

Taste – dried parsley, tomato stalk, petrichor, pollen, white pepper. Aftertaste – light mineral sweetness, cardboard, light menthol, some hints of orange, peach, and berry. Some chestnut notes in later steepings.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

I agree. Nice strength to be Fall material and pretty nice in the cup. It gets strong with a long 2 minutes steep.


Agree with the long steep. I like a bit of a punch in the face with flavor! Found myself using “flash brews” less and less.

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Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Cannabis, Flowers, Hops

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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I do believe my pu-erh seems to be holding up okay in my homemade storage (which is in a wood drawer with a small cup of water and florist foam). I hope to drink down a few of my samples this year. I reviewed this one about a couple years ago but it was reviewed under the 2013 version of this tea. It hasn’t changed a lot in that time. It is still smooth with no bitterness and a nice light apricot taste to it. It’s not very complex but it does hold up well under many steeps.

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Heavily fired aromas of charcoal, scorched almonds and peat. Underneath the brawn, there is plummy fruit and vanilla. Intense and punchy. Salted plums, minerals, strong charred notes and roasted celery on the palate. very long finish. low astringency.
The charred elements really dominate

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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Knowing the nature of these balls, came into this session with no expectations. Poured boiling water from high above to rinse, let the leaves sit for awhile and then did one more short rinse. First steep was pretty weak in flavor, but once the ball opened up I got a nice balance of sweet and very, very light bitterness. Nothing super distinct, but still good! I have a couple more of these so I look forward to seeing how they differ.

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Second thing I’m trying from the #shengolympiad2017. I spilled most of the first steep, which I’m quite upset about, because what I did get to have of it tasted really good. Sweet and fruity, with a floralness that develops over a couple of steeps. Smooth, thick mouthfeel that becomes more viscous and mouth-coating throughout the session. This is a good one, and only a year old, so I definitely look forward to trying the 2010.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Smooth, Sweet, Thick

Boiling 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2nd purple tea varietal that I’ve tried. I like it. Medium fullness in the mouth. Has slight green apple notes to start and then finishes with an Agave (‘malty honey’) aftertaste which lingers on for a while. It is slightly astringent and a bit sharp but no bitterness when steeped at 185 F for a few minutes. I will tweak this review a bit later, as I don’t feel like I have the full grip on it yet.

Flavors: Astringent, Green Apple, Honey, Malt

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 185 OZ / 5471 ML

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I received 3.5g of this tea in one of the random boxes I’ve received from Liquid Proust a while back. I decided to drink it today as it seemed like a tea which should be consumed while at least moderately fresh.

The aroma from the leaves was slightly citrus, with a sweet floral/hay backbone. It expressed some typical white tea flavors, including that sweet hay/straw note common to the type of tea. The texture was velvety and soft, with some cream and milk notes to the flavor adding to the mouthfeel. It also often had a slight peppery finish, which was enough to make this tea decently interesting. It’s not something I’m likely to buy more of, but one which I am glad to have tried!

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Milk, Pepper, Sweet

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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