pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou
2009 (sheng) Phoenix Tea Company: Nan-jian Phoenix Six Great Tea Mountains Wild Tea Reaching Reverence— I’ve had this one since April and like many of ‘em hadn’t really thought it was worth mentioning, rather deciding to wait a bit. I immediately put a bunch of it in my zi-sha caddy and decided to wait, testing every month or so. It’s always smelled great, possessing a fruity aroma and hints of burnt tobacco in the background. It was just too astringent. The weather has been v. warm so the cakes are getting a good cook these days. Last month I noticed less astringency, the jungle fruitiness, like tutti-fruity is quite evident and the taste just lingers and lingers in the mouth. That tobacco taste comes in at the back of the mouth. It may like to steep longer or at a higher temp. The liquor is brassy gold, nice and clear. The astringency is still there lending body and tasting satisfaction. No hit of bitterness. Sweet like the Phoenix tuo but more complex flavours.
I got my first ever Yunnan Sourcing order today and drank the 2011 “Nan Po Zhai” Ancient Arbor Raw first. It’s delicious! I hope all the YS items I got will be this amazing!
Nice! The great thing about YS is that Scott has some many that you can choose, some can be hit or miss depending on your preferences, but if you Scott for recommendations he’ll give you some for sure. And you also have steepster ;)
Congrats. That’s where I started out. They’ve got some stuff that’s really a socks-knocker.
Having the TeaUrchin’s 2009 “Guan Zi Zai” Bulang cake.
Broke this one out as directed by Chairman Meow. The Chairman “pawed” and pointed this out tonight for me to try.
I got out 10 grams and let the Chairman approve of it and in the Gaiwan it went. I gave a quick rinse before starting. The aroma was nice and very sweet an fruity. I can’t really describe which one but very nice. I did 5 second steeps on this one. The liquor is a medium yellow level of darkness. It has a nice aroma to it. The brew has a bit of bitter bite and astringency to it but not overpowering. Not a lot of discernible smoke as in the vendor’s description. It does creep up on you and give a semi-sweet and pleasant bitter to it.
Multi- faceted in terms of flavor notes. maybe a bit more complex than my taste buds. Pleasant and very reasonably priced for a 5 year old tea. I think I should have bought more than a sample.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Honey, Sweet
Floating in the tea boat over here…:) sort of a sample sip down night for me. Started off with Yang-chu’s lovely sample of the Silver Peacock 2012 Bulang. 4 grams plopped into a Yixing in 90 ml water. Hit it good with boiling water, but it didn’t give me the astringency and bitter he wrote about. Tangerine colored liquor, nice and fruity but not a lot of smoke. Very pleasant 5 steeps and it gave out a bit. Looking at the Baggie, I think he might have taken a lot of care to pick out buds and less of the bits of chop that he wrote about as forming the center of the cake. Maybe this blend needs the bits to get that bitter and astringent thang going, if the buds themselves are on the milder side. I wouldn’t have guessed Bulang from this. o.O
Followed that dance with an old soft shou, an “8892 1990s, possibly 1980s” provided by TwoDog from White2Tea. This one has the wet storage smell, which is probably what prevented it from becoming a dusty old shou. 3 grams in a porcelain gaiwan, I fussed over the brewing receptacle decision since I normally grandpa shou in a big, covered Yixing mug I use solely for shou mostly, of late, to recover from a sheng tea drunk. But obviously an old tea deserves more attention than my old lady mug. Two rinses to get rid of the mustiness, and then a dark garnet emerges with incredibly clean and smooth mouth feel, like silky chocolate.
Wow! I feel just so incredibly cared for by such thoughtful tea pals! Thanks so much for a beautiful tea session. Still another session left of these beauties for another night!
I sampled that silver peacock as well, and it was better than I expected. Sort of light, not quite punch you in the face flavor, but a softer flavor profile. I remember enjoying it.
It’s less bitsy in parts. I think I’ve used up all the bitsy stuff, but I surprised that you didn’t get smoke. It strikes me as very smoky, sweet and bitter. Hmmm. So interesting how these teas change and what we detect.
oh yeah, i picked up another of these and it wasn’t in the least bitsy, so it was just the cake.
Yang-chu, I probably didn’t get the smoke because it is usually tiny particles of char in the cake, and your sample is clean, whole buds and cleanly broken leaves. Those char particles are probably hiding in the cake^^
That 8892 actually a sheng – but the fact that is past the shou smoothness test is a good sign. It’s soup is already a dark red
Okay, my research on the web turned up 8892 called a shou so that is why I referred to it as such.
It is a weird tea, in that so many of the references I have sought out about it have contradictory information. Definitely easy to confuse. Even the Chinese language sources are frequently contradicting each other. I like the tea though, which is really all that matters
Yeah it was really gorgeous even to look at, I use a clear, double wall Oslo cup so it looked like a jewel.
Very clean tea. That was one of the things that struck me about it. And I love the effect of the double walled cups with ultra clear teas.
2009 Xinghai Bulang Qiaomu Sheng by Crimson Lotus Tea
The vendor description is spot on for this one. It has a low level of smoke that is apparent, some earthiness and tobacco notes, with a bit of aged flavor. This isn’t my cup of tea, but I think many of you will appreciate it, especially if you like Xiaguan in general or the White Whale in particular.
2005 Changdahao Yiwu Mansa GuShu Raw
Sweet and mellow with nice energy and it produces a lovely aftertaste! After reading an older note on Hobbes’ blog, I was intrigued by the history and attributes of this particular cake. I was not familiar with Manluo Tea Factory (now Changdahao) but apparently back in the day, they were highly regarded. This particular cake is made from high quality leaf gathered from an ancient tree farm on Mansa’s high mountain (in the Yiwu tea growing area) and is part of their 2005 Six Famous Tea Mountains collection. Produced using very traditional hand processing and stone pressing. The dry leaf is beautiful – intact large leaves throughout – moderate compression making it easy to pick off a small amount. Clear yellow-gold tea soup that tastes honey sweet with a nice huigan. A little pepper on the tongue in the first few cups. Nice balance and very pleasant in the mouth. I have thoroughly enjoyed this one over the past two days. Gotta love tea blogs maintained by experienced people (e.g., Hobbes) for great tea discoveries!!
A very nice smooth ripe from puerhshop, a quality offering from the Boyou factory. A touch of fruitiness initially, followed by several steeps of earthy deep richness. A great bargain at $18, and a good one to start with if you are beginning your puerh journey.
Finished off the 2002 Bulang tonight, but got a puerh headache from it. Following up now with my trusty 2009 7572. I’m impressed with myself on how well I did putting a little age in that cake, it is really tasty now.
Is the 2002 Bulang too strong or are you not a fan of Bulang in general? I had a 1998 Youle that made me upset the other day, not so much Cha Qi, rather just not sitting well.
It still has quite a bit to age out, despite being 12 years old, and the storage has been drier than some of the other teas I’ve been drinking lately. My understanding is that Bulang prior to 2007 has a lot more power to it than after 2007.
My experience with that cake is that the material is overwhelmingly strong. The processing is far to the smokey end of the spectrum, so much so that the first several steeps are almost roasted. Then, later in the session it just keeps getting sweeter and heavier. It is an ox of a tea
It wasn’t as smoky as the Menghai tuos I have, and I like smoke in tea. Very powerful tea.
You would have fit in with the farmers who self processed their own teas back then. They were not shy about smoke. Some still aren’t.
This sounds interesting! I’ve only had one aged two aged examples of Bulang both have been somewhat controversial, so I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried a real aged Bulang. I’ve had the 2003 Bulang Jin Pin from Houde and a 2002 CNNP Bulang from Chawangshop. I preferred the Houde one. Will you have this for sale?
Drinking a 1990’s raw tea that smells like hot butter and raisins. The sample sat on my shelf for the better part of two months. I neglected it because it was with a group of lack luster samples and it seemed like more of a chore than a prospect.
That’ll learn me to judge a tea by the company it keeps. Every group of ruffians has a keeper.
Pic here, for anyone who is interested:
Speaking of a pile of puerh, I am dealing with a full storage and am wondering if I should take out the 1-2 traditional storage cakes. They were aired before being put in but now I am feeling OCD about them in with the natural storage stuff.
One or two well aired out cakes probably won’t influence a large amount of other cakes in a very significant way. But, if you want to separate the natural and traditional, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the sake of purity. And it will scratch the OCD itch, which is a bonus.
I don’t see the comments? Maybe it is my IPad.
My traditional cake smells okay, checked it just today. I could also wrap it one more time since the regular wrapper has some bug holes.
What is really odoring up my storage fridge is that young Amerykah gal, she is staining up her wrapper like a menstrual pad. Haha!
my comment was mainly directed towards Mr. TwoDog. people are asking where to buy puerh in the image comments
Cwyn what humidity are you storing in? I have the same cake but no soiling of the wrapper yet.
For those interested in an introduction to the history of pu-erh, check out http://teadb.org/old-school-new-school-puerh/#more-1774 on TeaDB. I also recommend the book James mentions in his article, Puer Tea Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic by Jinghong Zhang available at Amazon (or smile.amazon if you are a charity donator) http://smile.amazon.com/Puer-Tea-Caravans-Anthropology-Environment/dp/0295993235/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1407090494&sr=8-1. I’m reading it now accompanied by YS autumn YiWu purple tea (http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/index.php?id_product=289&controller=product). Quite enjoyable taken together.
a botanist buddy of mine has an associate who produced a photo-monograph on the horse trail. He gives it the thumbs up. http://www.amazon.com/The-Tea-Horse-Road-Ancient/dp/9749863933/ref=pd_sim_b_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=1TGT6V33BA9SVMVNTV00