I decided on something good today, which was the 2014 Yunnan Sourcing Ai Lao Mountain which comes in convenient mini tuo format. Very much a gushu tea with not that much sweetness in it. Darker heavier flavor of Bulang chocolate, grains, chalky note. There are subnotes of berries and florals here and there. Clean and sharp huigans. The viscosity tends towards a thicker soup, on par with the 2004 YQH Dingji.
There is a moderately high level of astringency that should help this tea improve over the decades if stored well. The aftertastes largely tend towards woodsy Menghai florals. Qi is moderately strong and very relaxing as expected in a high quality gushu tea like this one. The leaves lasted about twenty two brews before I put them aside, and there seems to be enough flavour left in them for several more long steeps tomorrow.
This is a remarkable tea, reasonably priced but performing at the premium level, easily as good as Verdant’s authentic Ban Zhang but without that tea’s sticker-glue aftertaste. This tea has some minor flaws compared to superpremium brand Menghai teas, of course, but you can’t beat the price. I’ve ordered a few tongs for the tea cellar.
Flavors: Cherry Wood, Chocolate, Floral, Grain