Guoyan (Yunnan Sourcing)Edit Company
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So, I was about to write a fairly dismissive review of this tea. I’ve gone through half a cake, and have also designated it as a daily drinker due to its age and its inexpensive price tag. But I never really looked forward to it – it was always a little bland.
But, it needed a fair review, so I sat down, threw a FISTFUL of leaves in a gaiwan, and steeped that sucker hard to get all the flavor I could out of it.
And you know what? It developed a bit more personality. Still on the lighter end of things, but tasty.
It’s still definitely a Yiwu. I know that this is absolutely a budget Yiwu (so you get what you get), but it still just has those light, woody, kind of sweet, kind of floral notes that just are too irritatingly subtle for me. It’s like a mouth full of background flavors that you have to sit and search for, rather than having primary, bold flavors that build on your palate. Such has been my experience with budget and non-budget Yiwu teas alike…
So, if you enjoy a more contemplative cup, this is a good choice. If you are a Yiwu fan, this is certainly a nice budget option. But, if you are just looking for a cheap puerh with some decent age on it, I would recommend YS’s 2007 Bo Nan Mountain “Yun Wu Yuan Cha” or 2007 CNNP “8891 Red Label.” Those have a bit more personality, in my very humble opinion.
Dry leaf: honey/honeysuckle sweetness, woody, sweet tobacco leaf, dried dark fruit – raisin/prune. In preheated vessel – syrupy prune/raisin sweetness, sweet tobacco
Smell: tobacco leaf, date, raisin, woody
Arrival is woody, straw, and hay; some green tobacco leaf.
Development is light woody smokiness and black tea blend. Some pleasant astringency. Body develops with an interesting combo of woodiness and creaminess.
Finish is bland. Get some cardboard-like notes and a palate-clearing astringency.
Aftertaste is very light. Light sweetness – marshmallow, flan; some light floral; some light lemongrass.
2/15/2017 morning gaiwan 8g/212F/4oz? 10-15 second steeps
Another sample from YS that has lived in my tea cabinet for over a year. 1 rinse was all it needed for the chunk to start loosening up, and it was a very clean rinse.
1 – placid sheng sharpness – mellow and non-descript
2 – Calling it mellow pissed it off — intensely bitter and resinous.
3 – lower temp water, 10 second steep – still very sharp. Resinous/herbal – the wet leaf smells of oregano. Suddenly astringent and mouth filling.
4 – full temp water, 5 second steep – less astringent. Tobacco and lemon balm.
Still drinking. Will add further notes later.
The astringency continues – behind it the taste lightened up, and became almost fruit – apricot and pine, and that wet pine forest floor aroma.
This is not a friendly tea, but one that begs exploration, and experimentation – I have to add a few cakes of this to my next YS order — I think it’s going to wicked good in a few more years.
Storage notes – 25g sample from YS, I got it in 2015, and it’s been stored in its loose sample packet in my tea cabinet. Lots of air circulation, drier rather than humid, warm room temperature.
I think it says something about this tea that it makes feel I need to make a note of the storage conditions.
I bought a sample of this from YS quite a while ago, but am just getting to try it now. It wasn’t a terrible tea, but I wasn’t feeling this one at all. The dry leaf smelled slightly camphor-y. Once rinsed, it was a bit wet smelling, with some tobacco notes as well. I got woody and tobacco notes throughout, with the occasional hint of a honey sweetness. On many steeps I also got a kind of wet mossy flavor that I didn’t particularly enjoy.
The brewed out leaves are quite chopped up – doesn’t seem like particularly high quality leaf. This isn’t unexpected from a $30 2006 cake. I did get a few tasty steeps, but couldn’t put together a good session in a few tries. Not one that I would recommend really.
Flavors: Sweet, Tobacco, Wet Moss, Wood
Really hard to describe the aroma of the wet leaves. Sort of smoky, vegetal, sweet, and sort of prune/tobacco-ish.
1/10s: Very light with a grassy note. Nice mouth feel, smooth. Small sweetness on the tongue and at the back of the throat. May already be detecting a bit of cha qi with this tea as a feeling of suddenly perking up and being slightly lightheaded.
2/10s: More sweetness with a pleasantly dry finish that leaves a lingering sweetness on the tongue and at the back of the throat. Gently building qi. Quite pleasant.
3/10s: Starting to feel a sort of tingling sensation throughout the body now. Taste profile is about the same. Not noticing any particular flavors per se, but man… as I get toward the bottom of this pot the qi is coming on strong! Me likes!
4/15s: Wow! Wonderful full bodied sweetness showing up now! Ok, I hope this tea isn’t too expensive, because this cup may have just moved this tea into my “Buy a cake… or 10” category. There is also a distinct possibility that I’m a cha qi addict. This tea makes for one hell of a fix! _
5/20s: Very good. Same as previous, though the finish is a little softer. Probably should have done 30s.
6/45s: Finish is still a bit less crisp than the 4th steep, but the lingering sweetness remains. Took a 15 minute break between the 5th and 6th steep and noticed an immediate energy bump halfway through this pot.
7/60s: Noticing taste of stone fruit and a brighter grass note now. Finish is crisp and pleasant with sweetness more noticeable at the back of the throat than on the tongue now. Wow, the qi just hit full force again. Another wonderful cup.
_;;; – I just went and checked the price for a full cake (400g)… $400…. _~ Going to have to break my piggy bank for this one. Sigh
8/90s: Tangy/tart fruity note is growing. I love tea with really strong cha qi and this one has me nearly vibrating, love it!
9/90s: This may be the first time a tea has presented more qi than I can handle in a single session, LOL! Going to have a meditation break after this cup. Sweeter still with a nice fruitiness.
10/120s: Had dinner after meditation so that break lasted longer than expected. The sweetness is slightly lessened, but the qi does not quit! I’ll do one or two more steeps at 180s for full measure.
11/180s: 2 day break. Pleasant, but light grassy semisweetness. Still has a nice crisp finish
12/200s: Accidentally went longer than planned, but it brought out that nice plum like fruitiness again. :) This is on par or better than steeps 8 & 9. Man that’s good!
13/300s: At this point I figure it doesn’t really matter how long I steep it so lets see what we get here. Definitely a nice bit of plum flavor here. I love these teas that start out with a bit of sweetness, but no flavors of any note until well into the session usually after giving a nice qi punch to the head. Three pots in today and still able to pick up echos of the earlier cha qi. Now it’s just a really tasty cup tea though.
14/300s: Got a little weaker on this one. If I want more out of this one it’s time to move the leaves to the thermos with boiling water for a while… and I do want more out of these leaves.
So this tea is easily on par with the 2006 Chawangshu (which I think is also cheaper), but the cha qi in these leaves are unsurpassed! A very, very good tea. I’m looking forward to sharing this with a friend later.
Flavors: Plums, Tart
This tea was pretty good. I think it’s the first semi-aged Yiwu I’ve tried. I still got a lot of the softer straw/floral flavors that I seem to get with Yiwu teas, but also a little different, like the flavor was beginning to change. It seemed a little bit woodier to me. Around the 4th and 5th steeps I got an interesting sweetness, sort of reminiscent of brown sugar, but this didn’t last long. In some of the later steeps I started to notice a nice floral-honey sweetness. I think these last steeps may be the highlight of the session. Has a decent body, but I wouldn’t really describe it as creamy, and I didn’t notice much of any qi with this tea. The flavor was not particularly lasting.
This tea seems like it could make a decent daily drinker. It does not fit my tastes well enough to consider buying a cake, but I certainly enjoyed my 25g sample.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Straw, Sweet, Wood