77 Tasting Notes
Nice Yiwu for the buck. Having assaulting my tastebuds and zapping my brain with border area gushu for several months this tea being young tree sat on the back burner. I did 8 steeps and found it has decent body, slight oiliness , sweet, grassy and floral notes similar to the Gaoshan maocha I’ve been drinking. At $.11g I was not expecting any other qi than a slight caffeine kick. Surprisingly I have a slight tingle in the forehead, tightening of the chest and relaxed shoulders. Not a big attitude adjustment but nice. If you want stereotypical Yiwu character on a budget this tea is a good choice. It doesn’t have the thickness or qi of ancient trees but all the flavors are there and it produces a nice headringer. I personally prefer more intense border area for Yiwu but prices of Banna teas in general are astronomical so if I were looking for nice fruity oily teas with big qi on a budget I’d opt to pay a bit more and go with ancient arbor tea from Jinggu or Wuliang which although doesn’t have the typical Yiwu character performs on par with many Yiwu teas that are much more costly.
Nice clean storage, $80ish a beeng, sweet caramelly, mild, floral citric, actually reminded of the orange blossom incense I burned in my teenage hippie phase. Got a dozen steeps. Nice big flushes with fat stems. Really good material for the price. This would be a good semi aged tea for beginners as there are no funky or overpowering flavors and the price is very good. I didn’t get much in the way of qi other than a bit of mild relaxation but I’m getting over the flu and for the last week I’ve been able to drink tons of Lao Mane and old tree Yibang without being able to tell much difference in my nonexistent energy. At this price this is the best tasting semi aged tea I’ve tried.
Had a brain fart this morning and wanted to steep something quick before work this morning and reached into my sample bag and pulled this out and thought, cool 10g sample. I’ll just steep it up. First steep and I knew I made a mistake. This was a tea I should take some time with. Steep 1 was thick and oily with a bit of that dry Lincang astringency. Steep 2 released some orchids. .Steep 3 and I’m like damn, they coulda labeled this as Xigui and I’d have believed it. Steep 4, oversteeped, man this stuff has a wallop. Meantime English IPA comes to mind. Steep 5 floral and bright. Steep 6, crap I need to shower and drive like a maniac to get to work on time. Dump the rest in the thermos with a pinch of lesser quality Bangdong area maocha and grandpa it. Heady qi. Clarity enhancing and euphoric. Wish I had more of this to enjoy i a longer session. I’m sure I’d have gotten a dozen steeps had I had the time. Best 2019 Lincang I’ve had.
So I’ve been digging through a pile of YS samples expecting Scott to soon announce another 15% off sale soon and I don’t want to miss it this time. I’ve tasted several dry stored Yiwu area teas from 2009-12 recently and they could all be the same tea for all I could tell. Faint foresty notes, perhaps a touch of floral top notes and slowly emerging aged notes of wood and mushrooms…topped off with qi that’s pleasant but nothing to shout about. Each left me with the feeling that it may be great in 10 years but… I steeped 10g of this and it followed suit for the first 5 steeps. I pushed it a bit on steep 6 and it totally transformed into a dark honey note like I get from some GFZ teas. Halfway through this steep a tingly wave of relaxation rolled over my entire body and seemed to emanate from my bones. In 5 seconds I was totally zonkered. The following steeps were heathery and reminiscent of Dalwhinnie scotch. Steep 12 was for an hour and reminded me of dried mushroom broth. I planned to clean the house but ended up listening to Coltrane and grinning all day. I looked on YS site to learn they’re out of full beengs but there were still some on the US site and ordered one which I intend to age a few years.
I’ve tasted dozens of spring 2019 shengs from choppy terrace tea to gushu from Mansong and Tongqighe and at $68 a 200g cake it easily gets my bang for the buck award of the year. Even competing against top tier teas I’ve had from Yiwu and menghai I’d put this somewhere in the middle performance wise. That’s against teas 2-3x the price. This stuff is olive oil thick and super mouth watering. Early steeps start herbal with notes of sage and thyme with a mango/coconut finish that reminds me of a Manzhuan tea only not nearly as sweet. Wet leaves smell of white pepper and lemongrass. Later steeps see vegetal notes taking over the herbal character and bitter orange peel replacing the mango. Now when a vendor sources single garden tea from an undisclosed prefecture I usually assume it’s Puer or Lincang. This tea has some traits of Jiancheng teas I’ve tried but not quite as evergreeny. The tea it reminds me most of is Long Tang (the first Jinggu sheng to impress me) from YS although a tad less fruity and sweet and definitely oilier. This goes over a dozen steeps even when pushed final steeps remind me of fruitcake. The qi is grounding and puts me in tune with my surroundings. It’s serene and not of the slaphappy variety I get from some border tea. This is awesome tea, especially for the price and I have little doubt that hip western vendors could get away with dressing it a wrapper adorned with copulating skeletons and a snarky name and sell it for twice the price…
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If you are an Yiwu fanatic chances are you will eventually encounter the teas sourced by Philip Lee. He provides amazing products at a reasonable cost. His Chawangshu gushu was easily the best 2019 tea I drank. Regarding this tea, it’s a Guangzhou stored Yiwu blend and at $.60g is among his more affordable semi aged teas. When I first sampled this tea back in the spring it didn’t make an impression one way or another. It tasted generically like a clean dry stored adolescent sheng of no particular distinction…a few months in the crock has made a world of difference. Yesterday I needed a quick afternoon steep and this was the first thing I grabbed. Less than excited I smelled the wet leaves and was greeted by notes of basswood honey, dried porcinis and decaying leaves and wood. Just the thing for a dismal November day right? The flavors almost perfectly mimic the aromas in early steeps while in later steeps sweet oily thickness takes over. This stuff really coats the throat and has a lingering sweetness. The dry storage has allowed some floral top notes to remain while allowing some earthy aged flavors to emerge. Sadly I’m not getting much in the way of plums but perhaps this is a few years off. The qi is of the gentle tingling relaxing variety and starts in the chest and oddly spread next to my kneecaps. This tea definitely punches above it’s weight. I’m considering caking this but already have a fair amount of semi aged and fully Yiwu. I have little doubt that in 10 years this stuff will rival most 20 year Yiwu available today. If you want some solid semi aged old arbor Yiwu that won’t require a second mortgage this tea is definitely one to try… and his 2005 huang pian runs rings around any other hp I’ve tried so you should sample it too.
Thick, good huigan and mouthwatering sensations. Balanced bitterness that is somewhat aggressive without being overpowering or harsh. Very floral in early steeps in a perfumy way instead of honeyish, like sticking your face into a patch of lillies…not my thing when it comes to tea. I much prefer my florals to be of a honey rather than perfume character which is why I’m not wild about Jingmai teas but if you like perfumy teas you should try this. I’m hoping it ages out a bit bc I’d like it more a little less pronounced. Oh yeah. The qi is impressive too. I found it nicely energizing and euphoric. Slightly calming as well. There you have it. If you like flowery tea with good energy you should try this. Don’t think I’ll cake it but glad I tried it.
Ok now that I have procured a kilo of this stuff I feel safe to review it. This is by far the best tea I’ve had in the buck a gram range and competes with stuff 3x that. For starters the super clean Taipei dry storage has preserved a lot of the top notes while making this tea taste much younger than it really is. In fact an Yiwu stored 2012 Yibang I recently had tastes much more aged. The soup is copper colored and exudes notes of cedar, orange blossoms and sandalwood with a touch of caramel and plum. No mushroomy decayed forest notes or dankness. This tea likes to be pushed in terms of amount of tea per ml, temp and steeping times. I’ve found it more satisfying to do fewer and longer steeps as it adds to the oily texture and bigger huigans. It is difficult to make this tea bitter. This tea reminds me of the 2013 Mansong from Yiwu Mountain tea (which I’ve only had once dt the $5g pricetag) in terms of flavor and qi. Oh yeah the qi. That’s the real kicker with this tea. The blissful, meditative full body qi of this tea is better than anything I’ve had for under $3g. I can’t recommend this tea enough. Another aged Yiwu I love (not listed here) is the 2000 Yiwu from EOT. It displays much more aged flavors (although very clean with no dankness) and much fuller bodied but less qi. I highly recommend trying this tea before it sells out. BTW this seller is a collector of amazing teas and has some beautifully aged 90s Menghai teas as well as an outstanding assortment of oolongs. His baozhongs and high mountain oolongs are incredible. The shipping is super fast too. I got my last order in 5 days! From Taiwan to USA
This is a really good, intense yesheng and is only a dime a gram. Each steep is smoky and bitter at first then fades to a fruity, oily spicy finish. The qi is fairly intense. By the 3rd steep I was sweating and grinning. Energized but relaxed. Not the all enveloping meditative at peace with the universe qi I get from an Yibang gushu but one can procure a tong of this stuff for the price of a 200g cake of the Yibang. I got a dozen steeps and that was with pushing it.