Another day, another day of me frolicking with dinosaurs in pixel land! Today was better than yesterday, I was able to redo my ‘Mobile Oppression Yacht" which is a boat with crazy ’Species X’ plants that are essentially turrets so I wreck the dinos getting lots of meat, and I tamed a little derpy Dimorphodon to ride on my shoulder. Yesterday would have been the most epic, except for my massive ‘hitting the wrong button and ruining everything fail’ that I am STILL salty over. I was well into taming a Spinosaur, a very resource intensive process, hit the wrong button and wasted all that time and resources by ruining the tame. There was some serious raging after that!! I also spent a good chunk of today trying to hunt down and tame an Argentavis with no luck, but soon I will be the queen of the skies…and swamp if I get another go at a Spino! Life in Ark is full of hardship and joy.
Today we are looking at a tea that reminds me of prehistoric fuzzy pine cones or maybe little catkins, yes it is the beloved Wild Pu’erh Buds (Ya Bao) this one comes from 3 Leaf Tea. This tea is made from the very young buds of trees from Yunnan in very early spring, way before they have the chance to open into tea leaves. I have seen a bit of debate among vendors and drinkers alike over whether or not this tea (like Moonlight and Yunnan Silver Needle) is a white tea or a puerh, and I like to think that this is just magic stuff that overlaps and joins both types of tea into something epic. I can see a valid case for either side of the debate so I have never been able to make a clear decision. The aroma of the little buds is very crisp and light, this is one of those teas that smells very pure (not saying that others smell unclean, but it is like comparing the clean smell of the air after snowfall and the smell after a spring rain) There is not a lot going on with the aroma, crisp cedar, gentle apricots, and a touch of lettuce. The comparison to a snowy day’s aroma is not entirely false, this type of tea has such a winter deep in a forest quality to me, even with the sweet notes of apricot.
Gaiwan time, for no reason other than feeling like using this set I went with my Ru Yao, though I can say with the perfectly clear liquid, my camera had a fun time trying to focus thanks to all the crackles! The aroma of the wet leaves is fairly faint and quite sweet, blending fresh apricot and clover honey with lettuce and cedar. I do love that cedar note, it has a slight sap like quality to it as well. The liquid is sweet and juicy, like a honey drizzled fresh apricot, eaten on a cold day in a cedar forest.
The first steep is as light as the aroma, it is one of the really endearing qualities of Ya Bao, it is a subtle tea. It is smooth in the mouth and starts a bit crisp with notes of cedar wood and lettuce. This moves to wonderful light sweetness like fresh apricot and very light honey. The end of the sipping is crisp and refreshing cooked celery with a little bit of a cedar sap aftertaste.
Second steep and the aroma has gained a bit of a wildflower note, perhaps this tea that is so synonymous with winter is now fading into spring? Nah, it was a false thaw. The taste has the same wonderful crisp cedar notes and sweet fruitiness, but it starts to pick up a cucumber and squash blossom quality at the finish. The aftertaste lingers and at the very end it fades into apricot which is pleasant.
For the third steep nothing really has changed in aroma or taste. I find that Ya Bao does really change in taste notes, but only in intensity. This steep is more mellow, more similar to the first, and the next steep after as well. One of my favorite ways to steep Ya Bao is to grandpa/bowl steep the tea after the first two steepings, I will just transfer the little buds into a bowl or sip them from my gaiwan, it never gets bitter and only ever gets sweeter.