Yunnan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes

85

I am slowly making my way in the world of Liu Baos. This is a good one. Tightly pressed, with not much of dry flavor besides some herbal pungency. As all hei cha teas, it produces multiple resteeps. The taste is bold and invigorating, with herbal undertones, fermentation, savoriness, bay leaf, some muted pungency and spiciness. It possesses a pronounced pleasant aftertaste.

This is definitely an acquired taste, somewhat similar to raw puerhs but more subdued. I am kinda like young puehrs, but prefer Liu Baos more especially in the cheaper price segment. Raw puerhs are too often fit only a very specific mood for me while this Hei Cha I can enjoy more frequently. Some people would probably say that it’s due to a lack of character… but it works for me: a very defined, unique taste is a blessing only if you are really into that combination.

Flavors: Astringent, Herbaceous, Spices, Wood

derk

I had my first Liu Bao this week. That tea and your review of this one are piquing my interest in the style.

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82

A pretty good ripe. For a five year old tea, it is remarkably free of any wet pile flavors whatsoever. It’s not particularly complex, just a straightforward clean, if not plain, brew. The flavor fades quickly, but the body holds up.

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92

Here is a review I have been dragging my feet on for weeks. I am finally on the verge of finishing a 25g pouch of these Laoshan jujube leaves with the intent of polishing off the remainder tonight. I know I have made it no secret that I loved the other spring 2017 Yunnan Sourcing wild jujube tea I tried, but oddly, this higher grade jujube tea did not wow me quite as much. It was still a great offering, but it just lacked a little strength, smoothness, and liveliness compared to its lower grade counterpart.

I prepared these jujube leaves gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose jujube leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 20 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 9 minutes, 12 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry jujube leaves emitted aromas of roasted barley, roasted walnut, toasted cashew, and spinach. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of turnip greens, toasted rice, smoke, and roasted carrot to go along with a slightly amplified spinach scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of cabbage, collard greens, and mushroom. In the mouth, the fairly thick liquor presented notes of smoke, roasted barley, roasted walnut, toasted cashew, turnip greens, and roasted carrot that were framed by hints of cabbage, mushroom, honey, vanilla, and sugarcane. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of seaweed, butter, vanilla, onion, roasted peanut, and caramel. Toasted rice notes came out in the mouth along with stronger impressions of honey, cabbage, mushroom, sugarcane, and vanilla. I also picked up on very subtle collard green hints and new impressions of minerals, butter, roasted peanut, onion, baked bread, radish, caramel, and umami. Seaweed notes came out subtly on each swallow. By the end of the session, I could still pick up on notes of minerals, spinach, collard greens, butter, vanilla, umami, sugarcane, and roasted carrot that were chased by delicate hints of honey, roasted barley, roasted walnut, seaweed, and turnip greens.

Like the previous Yunnan Sourcing Laoshan jujube tea that I tried, this was a great offering. This, however, was a softer, subtler, and less consistently sweet jujube tea. There was also something of an occasional sharpness to some of its vegetal characteristics that I do not recall getting from the other offering. Still, these are actually fairly minor quibbles as I think fans of wild jujube would be very pleased with this offering. Check it out if you are at all into tisanes.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Caramel, Carrot, Honey, Mushrooms, Nutty, Peanut, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Sugarcane, Toasted Rice, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, Walnut

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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84

The dry leaf was fishy smelling so I gave it a good 20s rinse and the fish disappeared, woot. The rinsed leaf smelled like bitter dark chocolate, baked bread, autumn leaf and buttered nuts. All but the butter came through in the thick brew along with an addition of a flat sourness like tart cherry and sour orange. Highly mineral like wet river rocks, leaving my tongue dancing. Pleasant sour aftertaste. The flavor turned very nutty toward the end and a strong returning sugarcane sweetness appeared. I didn’t get any actual sweet taste like other reviewers. Mostly savory, rich, mineral, sour and slightly bitter.

My mind was elsewhere when I drank this, so I ended up oversteeping it several times but it was smooth every time. This makes me think it would be great grandpa style as long as you rinse it first! I think this Yang Luo Han would be a good conversion shou for coffee drinkers.

Thanks for the sample Togo :)

(6g, 100mL, 212F, 20s rinse, 7 steeps at 30/70/40/55s and 4/4/20m)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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76

Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is one of my favorite type of teas so I opened the bag with teas with quite a bit of anticipation. I was surprised: this tea was different from all other its relatives. The dry leaves smell surprisingly strong of vegetables: sweet potato and carrots. And the taste is a veritable vegetable stew: fried cabbage, roasted carrots, baked sweet potato and, for some reason, grapes. And oh my, it is REALLY sweet: it’s hard to believe there is no added honey or brown sugar in the cup. On the negative side, the aftertaste is minimal and the tea does not resteep well degenerating instead into a vaguely sweet mush of tastes.

I tried to like it but after trying it 3 times I still not into it. I like my Zheng Shan Xiao Zhongs with some structure, bitterness and with a lingering aftertaste and this tea is completely different. But if you are into unbridled sweetness and roasted vegetables this would be a good tea for you.

Flavors: Grapes, Honey, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetables

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86

I only got 3 strong steeps out of this but what was there was so good. This isn’t going to be just anybody’s cup due to heicha being, well, fermented and the taste rather medicinal but it’s a woody, nutty and herbal medicinal as opposed to fruit.

Gone gaiwan. 6g, 100mL, 205F, 10s rinse followed by 7 steeps at 20/25/30/45s and 1/2/4m. I’ll try boiling the spent leaf and see what happens. Edit: oily, woody, nutty and tart

The dry leaf smelled of light fermentation, wood, smoke, meat and roasted bamboo. Warming and rinsing brought out additions of bay leaf, a strong savory note that reminded me of ginseng chicken soup and cigar shop. There was also that betel nut note mentioned in Yunnan Sourcing’s description. I’ve never had betel nut, only the leaf, but the taste seems like it might be similar.

The dark liquor was surprisingly thick and creamy-oily in those first several steeps. It seemed to slide over the center of my tongue and then curtain down the sides. It was also a tad numbing like Togo mentioned. Neat texture for sure. The aroma was quite savory with pleasant fermentation and betel nut? I could also taste the betel nut in the alkaline brew along with bay leaf, bamboo, some very slight fruity medicine, and tartness like red plum skin or a light dry red wine. There was a pleasant coffee-like taste/bitterness that added to the experience.

If there ever was a winter time black tea to have in the evening, this is it. I’ll probably purchase more of this since it’s so dang cheap at $6/100g. Thanks for the sample Togo, wherever you are!

Flavors: Bamboo, Bitter, Black Currant, Chicken Soup, Coffee, Creamy, Dark Wood, Herbs, Meat, Medicinal, Nutty, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Red Wine, Roasted Chicken, Smoke, Smooth, Tobacco

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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70
Discovery Tea box – Tea #21

This is perfectly acceptable for the tea that this is supposed to be, but I’ve never been a fan of this flavor. Charcoal roastiness that I can never distinguish from other charcoal roasty teas. This isn’t the tea for me, but as I said, it’s a great example of what it is. Not a great tasting note, but my brain kind of stops with ‘charcoal roasty’.
Steep #1 // 12 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 7 minutes after boiling //3 minute steep

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80

After many many months of looking over at it, thinking “wow I haven’t had a proper gongfu session in ages”, I finally got the tea tray and gaiwan out and used them to make tea! It’s amazing how I can develop these weird mental blocks about things where something seems like “too much trouble”, so I procrastinate forever, then when I finally go ahead and do it, it’s no big deal.

8g of tea is a LOT for my 100ml ruyao gaiwan from White2Tea so I’ve basically just been steeping this all afternoon. It’s a good black tea, medium bodied with a bit of astringency. Malty, somewhat floral early on, but in later steeps it develops a kind of “generic black tea” flavour. Not unpleasant, but also not very exciting? I did really enjoy the whole tea ball concept though, so I look forward to trying some more of them. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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90

Wow! I’m apparently the outlier for this one. Almost everyone else who has reviewed this tea has enjoyed it, yet I think I am the only person to assign it a score of 90 or higher. I have been working my way through a pouch of this tea for the last two days and will probably finish it either tonight or tomorrow morning. While Yunnan Sourcing’s Laoshan black teas have not always wowed me, this one has, and I highly doubt my opinion of it will suddenly change. This tea really reminded me of why I fell in love with Laoshan black teas in the first place.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of dark chocolate, malt, pine, and raisin. After the rinse, I noted the emergence of roasted peanut, smoke, and red grape aromas. The first infusion then introduced scents of honey and plum. Once in the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of honey, pine, malt, smoke, and dark chocolate that were backed by hints of roasted peanut, cream, butter, and cinnamon. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of molasses, orange, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stronger cream and butter notes appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging impressions of raisin and red grape and a few scattered hints of plum. New notes of minerals, orange, toast, roasted walnut, and vanilla also appeared, as did hints of brown sugar, molasses, and roasted barley. By the end of the session, I could still pick up on impressions of minerals, cream, malt, dark chocolate, and vanilla that were underscored by hints of roasted walnut, butter, brown sugar, toast, raisin, and cinnamon.

In my opinion, this was a fantastic example of a Laoshan black tea. It also represented a leap forward in terms of quality from the Spring 2016 version I previously reviewed. This was a smoother, slightly more complex, fuller-bodied, and more consistent tea overall that also displayed slightly more resilience and longevity. This one was a winner, and at this point, I kind of wish I had purchased more since I am on the verge of finishing my pouch.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Toast, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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75

Finals week is in full swing for me, and I have turned to black tea to keep myself alert and productive. Since I have been polishing off some of the black teas in my keep left and right, I figured it was about time to take a break from work and school responsibilities and get some reviews posted for them. This was one of my most recent sipdowns. I finished off a 50g pouch of this tea late last week while recovering from some sinus nastiness and finishing a few final written assignments. I found it to be a very mild and mellow Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, respectable and appealing, yet nothing out of the ordinary.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of brown toast, malt, and honey. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond, brown sugar, pine, and dark chocolate. The first infusion introduced scents of cream, raisin, and vanilla. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of cream, roasted almond, raisin, honey, malt, and brown toast that were backed by impressions of pine, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of butter, cinnamon, and straw. Stronger, and in some cases, more immediate notes of butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and pine appeared in the mouth alongside new impressions of minerals, red apple, and red grape. Impressions of dark chocolate came out along with some subtle notes of straw and vanilla and unexpected, equally subtle ginger and smoke hints. By the end of the session, I could still pick up mineral, pine, raisin, cream, malt, and brown toast notes that were backed by ghostly hints of roasted almond, butter, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and brown sugar.

This was a very respectable and easygoing Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong and would make a perfect daily drinker for Wuyi black tea devotees or those just getting into such teas. I am probably being more than a bit hard on this one because it was quite good, but I just feel that Yunnan Sourcing and some other reliable vendors (Old Ways Tea and What-Cha chief among them) offer some higher grade teas of this type that are simultaneously more challenging and appealing. Still, I would not caution against seeking this tea out, especially for those who are looking for a smooth, sweet, and gentle Wuyi black tea with decent enough longevity.

Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Ginger, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Pine, Raisins, Red Apple, Smoke, Straw, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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78

One of many Yunnan assamicas that are typically processed into puehrs but Yunnan Sourcing is now offering as regular red teas. Large wiry leafs, fresh floral malty aroma, which is being nicely complimented by a pronounced sweet potato note as a wet leaf. The taste did not appear very complex to me: very sweet, in a honey and flower ways. Plus some chocolate, sweet potato and baked bread. The aftertaste is not particularly remarkable nor strong: some rather generic honey and chocolate.

It is a simple but pleasant tea, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”. The type that you are certain to finish (and enjoy!) but equally certain not to re-order because it does not stand out in any way.

P.S. I feel somewhat intimidated because the template for this tea had been created by eastkyteaguy and he has it in his cupboard…which means that soon he will post here a detailed review that would meticulously document about 20 other aromas and flavors for that tea that I had failed to pick up…but I feel bold today.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes

eastkyteaguy

This amuses me. I’m really not that intimidating. I promise.

Bluegreen

Well, it was mostly frustration with myself: there was a certain rather unique aroma that this tea had (besides obvious ones that I managed to discern and describe) and I tried really hard to identify it but failed. Luckily, I know that you will be able to pinpoint it and then it would seem so obvious to me… You are doing a great service to the Steepster community with your incredibly detailed and organized reviews.

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86

I think it is a new tea offered by Yunnan Sourcing – and one of the cheapest on their website. I had the one picked in October 2018, merely a month before my tasting.

The tea looks, smells and feels good in the bag: huge twisted wiry leaves, very hard and strong. It has an unusual dry aroma of vegetables: carrots, cabbage, raw potatoes…

It steeps well (western style) and fast to a bright red soup. The smell changes somewhat to a smell of vegetable stew with a hint of sweetness. The taste follows the nose: vegetables, a bit of floral sweetness, some sourness and copper, and a long minty and sour aftertaste. The flavors are changing and evolving, and the taste not nearly as rough as I expected based on the size of the leaves and its low price point. This tea re-steeps
fairly well and in the process acquires a pronounced sweetness as if the ever-present carrots had just been roasted.

All-in-all it is a tea with a bit of unusual taste that may grow on the drinker substantially after trying it several times (it surely happened with me before). And I really liked the look and feel of it. Yunnan Sourcing claim that this tea has been grown without pesticides and that it will improve and change flavor with age. I will probably reorder it and store for a year or so to see what happens. I was not swept off my feet by this Assamica but I was certainly intrigued.

Flavors: Carrot, Floral, Metallic, Mint, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet, Vegetable Broth

tperez

Actually they had that one last year too. I bought some shorty after they put it on this site spring 2017, wasn’t really a fan when I got it. But I left it alone for a six months or so and the flavor changed a lot. It got nice and smooth, slightly savory but more sweet with a good raisin/dried fruit kind of flavor. Good stuff! Hopefully yours will change over time too

Bluegreen

tperez, thank you for the heads up.I will definitely try to age it. This tea did taste promising but somewhat unfinished (as I often feel with young puehr).

It’s strange that it has been offered for at least a year and there was no reviews or even a blank entry on Steepster: does not happen often.

tperez

Oh, ok sorry it appears this is not quite the same tea… The one I had is this https://steepster.com/teas/yunnan-sourcing/79718-mengku-wild-arbor-assamica-black-tea-star-spring-2017 Both Mengku assamica blacks and mention “Mr. Duan” in the description, but yours says “Huang Shan Mtn.” and sun dried while mine says “Xiao Hu Sai” and doesn’t specify. I’d be curios to see how they compare

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87

I got this as a sample from Togo, thanks! The dry leaves had a distinct look, silvery and beige and smelled of floral, lemon, mineral soil and pine. This sample was totally loose but it seems like the cake might be lightly compressed. Warming the leaf brought out a really strong aroma with the addition of fresh apricot. Had me swoonin’ for a minute. The rinse brought out some mushroom, too. The gold liquor was tart and had some characteristic youth bitterness and astringency yet it was very smooth. It was bright and lively in the mouth with some light tastes of apricot, honey and florals. The aftertaste was buttery/yeasty with light honey. Despite the astringency, I could still feel a layer of oil on my tongue.

I really enjoyed this tea’s clean character reminiscent of a damp mountain forest on a sunny day. While it’s drinkable now, I think aging might do some wonderful things. It’s a shame it’s sold out – good deal for $39. Would make an excellent daily drinker. I hope whoever owns a cake enjoys it :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Leafhopper

I like YS’s Big Snow Mountain black, though I haven’t had the puerh. Sounds tasty!

derk

And I haven’t had Big Snow Mountain black, except in the dragon ball form with rose petals. I’ll probably pick up a small bag next year.

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80

I guess this tea would be classified as puerh maybe, but it reminds me of a fruity oolong in many ways. There is a pleasant plum sweetness that lingers in the mouth and a very smooth , thick mouth feel while drinking it.

Flavors: Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Straw, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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90

This is really, really good. Probably a top three oolong for me, as it brings together most of the elements of oolong that I enjoy. First of all, it exists between sweet and roast. This multi-faceted flavor is far more complex than many the cheaper oolongs I’ve had, which I’ve enjoyed but this definitely brings new levels to the table. The roast reminds me of the dong ding from What-Cha, which I liked but did not love due to the one-dimensional taste that grew a tad boring as the steeps went on. This Da Hong Pao evolves as the sweetness and roast interact. Also, the energy it gives is really satisfying! It’s super soothing as well as warming.

I used around 4 grams in my 120ml gaiwan and used 195 degree water, steeping for random amounts of time (I’d wager around 30ish a steep after shorter beginning steepings).
Highly recommended!!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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As someone who mainly drinks young raw pu’er for the time being, probably my main issue with aged teas has been that it is hard to find teas where the quality of the base material matches the teas I’m used to drinking, and even if you find some the prices can get absolutely ridiculous and verifying the authenticity of the tea challenging unless you are dealing with a vendor whom you trust to trust that the tea is what it claims to be. While Hai Lang may not have started out as such, today he is mainly known for his more premium productions. This tea falls somewhere in between, being made from older trees yet remaining quite affordable despite having some age on it already. While familiar with the name, I don’t believe I’d had tea from Nannuo before. I believe it’s located somewhere in Menghai county, possibly somewhere in the vicinity of Bulang, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge.

For this session I used 5g of tea in a 75ml Yixing zhuni clay teapot. The pot is new, having only been used once before for a more casual session with this very same tea, but since this type of clay is in part appreciated for the less dramatic effect it has on tea compared to other types of zisha, I wouldn’t expect it to absorb too much of the flavors even this new. I rinsed the leaves briefly for under ten seconds and gave them a couple of minutes to absorb the moisture before proceeding. I did a total of eleven infusions, the timing for these being 10s, 8s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 75s, 2 min., 3 min. and 4 min.

The Nannuo started off very full-bodied and creamy. Really, really thick. There wasn’t much taste yet, but the sticky soup coated the surfaces of your mouth. The taste was creamy, sweet and mineral, with some hints of underlying bitterness or smokiness. The finish in particular had a subtle sour smokiness to it. Steep two was thick and creamy still. Sweeter, with more clear bitterness now. This was a bitterness that transforms into sweetness, leaving your mouth really sweet and a tad spicy.

Some astringency emerged in the third infusion. Nothing major yet, though. Otherwise it remained largely unchanged. Full-bodied, sweet, with a pleasant bitterness that turns into sweetness, leaving my tongue slightly numb afterwards. The fourth steep was the same deal, but now slightly drying and also boasting a nice caramel note in the finish.

The next four steeps did not bring much change. Brew number six was noteworthy though for its almost immediate huigan. Somewhere along the way the bitterness ceased being pleasant, turning into something less so. After this, starting with the ninth steep, the tea acquired a somewhat honied character to it, whereas the bitterness and sweetness were more muted compared to before.

While still possessing plenty of body in the tenth steep, the flavors were definitely getting thinner now. The tea was mainly sweet, but also bitter in the finish. The color had faded substantially by the final steep. While there was an adequate amount of flavor still, the tea was also starting to feel quite watery by this point. I decided to call the session there.

All in all the 2010 Nannuo was an okay tea. The material is definitely better than your standard factory production, but didn’t necessarily strike me as high-end. There is huigan and transforming bitterness — things you’d look for in, say, a Bulang tea — but overall I didn’t find anything particularly memorable or special about this tea. While the quality is better than some similarly aged daily drinkers from Bulang, I’d personally rather drink some of those teas than this one.

While taste-wise I imagine this tea hasn’t changed all too much from when it was young, the age is most evident in the texture and mouthfeel. The texture is definitely that of an aged tea which you don’t get in younger teas. While not a weak tea, the Nannuo doesn’t necessarily possess the amount of strength I would like to see in a tea to have confidence that it won’t go flat over the years. I’m not entirely sure how a tea like this would age, but based on how it is right now, it feels like it has a long way to go still.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Caramel, Creamy, Honey, Mineral, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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90

thick soup. slightly bitter and astringent, Light color, sweet fruity smell but couldn’t taste it. Very relaxing. Great tea!

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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84

This was one of my more recent sipdowns. I bought one of these dragon balls back around the start of 2017, but I decided that I wanted to see how it would age and resolved to break it out after I finished what I had of the spring 2017 production of Yunnan Sourcing’s Feng Qing Silver Needles. Though I finished what I had of that tea some time ago, I only got around to drinking this 2016 silver needle dragon ball last week. I found that it had kept very well in storage as it had not seemed to lose any of its youthful vigor. Compared to the spring 2017 Feng Qing Silver Needles, this was a more astringent and slow-burning offering likely due to a combination of its compression into dragon ball form and its age.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped the entire 7g dragon ball in 5 ounces of 176 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 40 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry dragon ball produced aromas of hay, straw, sugarcane, and eucalyptus. After the rinse, it emitted aromas of cream, pastry, vanilla, malt, and marshmallow. The first infusion then introduced subtle scents of almond and butter. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered delicate notes of cream, vanilla, malt, sugarcane, and eucalyptus that were chased by hints of lemon. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of wood, lemon, honeydew, and oats. Notes of almond, hay, straw, butter, pastry, and marshmallow came out in the mouth along with slightly stronger lemon notes and impressions of wood, minerals, oats, apricot, lychee, honeydew, and honey. At the time I decided to end the review session, I could still detect notes of minerals, cream, butter, sugarcane, oats, vanilla, and marshmallow that were backed by hints of wood, almond, lemon, and eucalyptus as well as belatedly emerging impressions of watermelon and steadily building astringency.

This was a very satisfying white tea, though it did not offer anything that one would not expect of a Feng Qing Silver Needle white tea. If you, like me, are a fan of Feng Qing Silver Needle white teas, then this tea will very likely be up your alley, but if you are not a fan, then I doubt this offering will be the one that converts you. Compared to the 2017 Feng Qing Silver Needles I have tried, this tea was a bit simpler and more astringent, but overall, it was still very enjoyable. In the end, though, I just think teas like this are probably best left to fans of such niche products. Feng Qing teas, in general, seem to be offerings that people either love or just find to be kind of odd at best.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Cream, Eucalyptus, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Marshmallow, Melon, Oats, Pastries, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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85

Ohh yeah, this is a winner. I did about 4g in my 120ml gaiwan, starting with 10 seconds then, uh, not really paying much attention but more time in the following steeps. There was nice evolution and development through the process! Great aromas and a really cool bright/lime green liquor!
I woke up feeling groggy and a bit sick, and after enjoying 5 or so infusions of this tea, I’m in a far better place! It’s got the typical green tea aroma in that it’s grassy with hints of sweet corn, but it adds a lovely nuttiness alongside a slight, and enjoyable, sourness. It’s not going to blow your mind, but it just about fulfills everything great about green tea. Similar to the Classic Laoshan Black, it has a really nice energy! I feel both energized and soothed—this is the wonderful duality of tea.
I’ve had a few greens, and this is one of the most enjoyable. I really like Longjing, and this provides a nice change from that style while maintaining an interesting experience that Longjing provides.
Highly recommended, another winner from Scott and the Yunnan Sourcing team!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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85

This tea is perfect everyday drinker. Price/quality is great for this tea! Steeps for 5-6 times.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Malt

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 7 OZ / 220 ML

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87

Woooooow this is probably my favorite black tea out of what I’ve had before. I feel like I’ve had some good ones before, but they’ve tended to be similarly malty with some variation of nuts or cooked fruit. This is a lovely chocolate, not very sweet but like a pleasant dark chocolate—full and toasty. As the infusions progress, it gets sweeter and less bitter but never overwhelmingly sweet. It also has a lovely energy, very invigorating but not super panicky which is crucial. Highly, highly recommended.

It’s raining and cold outside, this is a great tea for afternoons like this. Honestly, this is close enough to hot cocoa where I would never need hot cocoa. I also have the green tea variety of this and I’m very excited to try that and see if there’s any similarities!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Tabby

Ugh, I miss black teas like this so much. I need to place an order at Teavivre or something soon…

ShouMeiTheTea

I’m really happy I randomly decided to order it, definitely will miss it when it’s gone! Going to have to get some more… Next year when my wallet recovers from the obnoxious amount of tea I’ve ordered recently :D

derk

I get a similar invigorating, non-anxiety-inducing energy from both YS’s Classic and Imperial Laoshan Green. It’s so great to find a tea with a taste you love and an energy that matches.

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90

This jujube leaf is remarkably similar to the one offered by Verdant Tea. The dry leaf smelled a little different but it had all the same taste notes using the same parameters with short steeps in a gaiwan at 175F. I picked up on roasted broccoli, potato skins, potato, brownies, edamame, light sweet cream, a red fruit, vanillin and a pleasant lingering sourness.

The only noteworthy difference between the two was this YS jujube was much less sweet, which I greatly appreciated. I feel like that allowed for a silkier body to come through, still reminiscent of a lightly sweetened, watered down vanilla oatmilk. This one also seemed like a better herbal replacement for green tea.

I’m definitely inclined to purchase YS’s jujube over Verdant’s, but if you like your teas super sweet like Verdant’s other Laoshan offerings, I say go for that one. I’m going to have to drop my rating on that one to compensate for how much I appreciate the lack of persistent sweetness in this YS offering.

Thanks for the pleasant nightcap, Togo.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
eastkyteaguy

I was tempted to lower my rating for Verdant’s gan zao ye myself after trying this one.

derk

little devil derk on your shoulder prods doooo iiiiit

I get the feeling you don’t respond to peer pressure.

eastkyteaguy

derk, you would be correct.

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62

I bought this tea during my big Tie Guan Yin restocking this spring. The price, $6 for 50 g, gave me pause, but it’s Yunnan Sourcing, so how bad could it be? I also recalled reading a review that praised a previous harvest, so into my cart it went. I steeped 6 g of tea in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 60, 90, and 120 seconds.

In the teapot, the dry aroma is kind of like sweaty socks. More charitably, I can detect funky zucchini, citrus, grass, and orchids. The first steep has notes of grass, citrus, slightly off zucchini, stewed tomatoes, tomato vine, and pungent orchids. The best part of this steep by far is the aftertaste, which is long and peachy, though that squashy funk also makes a reappearance. The next few steeps are similar, gaining more vegetal, herbaceous, grassy, and floral flavours. Thankfully, the squash sort of dissipates by steep five or so, but finishing the session was a struggle.

I tried this tea Western (3 g, 355 ml, 2.5/4/6 minutes) and it just shortened the misery.

This is a very grassy Tie Guan Yin featuring a rather unfortunate combination of citrus and zucchini. I have around 35 g left and honestly, the thought of finishing the bag depresses me. YS has excellent premium and imperial TGYs, and I’m not sure if this harvest is an anomaly. However, based on this tasting, there are much better budget Tie Guan Yins out there.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Herbaceous, Orchid, Sweat, Vegetal, Zucchini

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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