Chen Yuan Hao

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drank 2003 Yesheng by Chen Yuan Hao
1098 tasting notes

A friend told me that a sample of a $800 to $2500.00 cake was coming my way… at first I thought it was a typo so I inquired about that because there’s nothing I have to trade that would be anywhere near that, but it turns out that’s the price that was meant and the tea community is just awesome because these experiences are something I cannot afford which makes me so thankful and continue funneling more into the amazing community I’m part of.
Anyways, tea! Sadly the link to the tea does not exist as this tea is the first pressing from Chen Yuanhao in 2003: 2003 Yesheng. Their 2014 Yesheng is $300’ish for 357 as seen here: https://teapals.com/collections/2014-chen-yuanhao-yesheng/products/2014-chen-yuanhao-yesheng-gushu-chawang-zhai-2014?variant=1199497621
This tea intimidates me. It’s one that is expensive and rare; hopefully high in quality. So how do I know when to drink it? Well, I had a reservation with a friend to go to Kihachi which is an authentic Japanese restaurant in Columbus only open from 6pm to 10pm. It’s a very high end place, but my friend convinced me that I afford the meal; after all, I haven’t been dating in a while so I’ve had money to myself :p. So the decision was easy, drink this tea and get smashed before going to eat.
I cleaned everything up to insure that I would get the best results out of this tea. With plans to go at 5 grams within 100ml of water at 95c, I am sure I’ll brew it correctly… so here we go!
Dry leaf: White and golden hairs throughout the multi colored leaf that shows aged on it.
See here: http://imgur.com/w6HZjBO
The above portion was written prior to going outside to have this session, therefore the below portion is after the session.
Going into steep one, I was waiting for my friend and my patience disappeared so I tried it alone. Light and very interesting of an aroma that reminded me of a perfume. For what’s its worth, this is a rare tasting not to have on something that has aged but looking at the liquid it is quite apparent that this is some of the cleanest storage of any tea yet. A hue of golden yellow which makes you think it is not as old as it in fact is, but the taste has depth in a way that… hard to put words to, more of an aroma that lingers within the mouth that is picked up throughout your senses.
My friend arrived for the second steep which really isn’t late. The brewing began and we sipped away at 50ml each at a time trying to figure this tea out. It’s not like any sheng because there is no high note that hits you with a wow factor. The liquid has some viscosity like a nectar would have and a floral note that is developed like a perfume. While it is unique, we both kept trying to figure out what would separate this from other teas and I think it comes down to its delicate aspects that is much like refined sake. Discussing sake went on for a bit as he knew Buddhist monks who drank on that one night they can do whatever, I completely forgot what it’s called… but it’s quite an interesting thing they have going on. So this tea is very light with hard to notice aspects making it something to drink alone as we did. The color and taste stay strong for ten steeps and then the floral notes die out and more of a dried aged sheng note pops out around the fourteenth steep.

This tea goes on and on, but there isn’t anything that I can say makes it just pop out as unique enough for me to go after. Maybe some humid storage could change that or maybe double the leaf, but at the cost… would anyone really want to 10g/100ml this? An enjoyable session worth pairing for the nights meal, however it is still hard to describe in the sense to convince someone about why it is what it is in the tea world; is it name brand, is it the first pressing, is it the subtle notes… what is it that makes this so special, though it is possible that with time it will appear as such with experience in drinking or eating other things.
The food: http://imgur.com/gallery/6tgKt

Matu

Sounds cool – and that restaurant looks great!

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