2014 Ai Lao Mountain Wild Arbor Pu-erh Tea Cake (sheng)

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Grass, Honey, Nuts, Stonefruits, Sugarcane, Green, Musty, Spices, Sweet, Apricot, Bitter, Vegetal
Sold in
Not available
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by mrmopar
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 6 oz / 188 ml

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10 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Final destination on the taste tour through Yunnan. What a treat it’s been! Region 4/4: Puer/Simao. Location 3/3: Ai Lao NOTES ON TEA Not bad for its price point. It is a light, fruity, and...” Read full tasting note
    82
  • “This tea starts off with a nice, medium-thick mouthfeel and no bitterness. Flavor-wise it is sweet grass, with notes of stone fruits, sugarcane, honey and nuts. The grassy/nuttiness is somewhat...” Read full tasting note
    89
  • “GCTTB V1 So, this is my last tea from the box apart from the three or four things I took out to try at a later date. I had a great time with this box! Even though not everything was a success, I...” Read full tasting note
    89
  • “another decent tea: when i smell the leaves dry, i smell mustyness and green. when i smell the leaves wet, i smell green and honey. when i smell the brewed tea, i smell honey. when i taste the...” Read full tasting note
    75

From Yunnan Sourcing

2014 Yunnan Sourcing “Ai Lao Mountain” Wild Arbor Pu-erh tea cake

Entirely first flush of spring 2014 material from high altitude Ai Lao mountain. The Ai Lao mountains peak out at about 3200 meters, making them second only to Wu Liang Shan as the highest mountains in Simao prefecture. The Ai Lao mountain range is in the county of Jingdong which borders Chu Xiong prefecture. This tea is grown in the area of Ai Lao known as Wang Jia village (王家村) at an altitude of 2200 meters making this some of the highest altitude pu-erh in existance. Due to the high altitude most of the tea trees in this area are a naturally occurring hybrid of large and small leaf (sinensis and var. assamica). The trees are healthy 200 year old trees growing naturally on steep hillsides and ridges. These tea gardens are arguably some of the remotest tea gardens in all of Yunnan. Lack of roads and access has kept the environment of this area in good condition, mao cha prices are significantly lower than comparable Banna teas, making this an affordable tea.

The tea itself is aromatic with hints of orchid aroma (兰香), and a strong mouth-feel. This tea (in its young age) is more subtle than the Wu Liang Lan Xiang cake with less bitterness and a stronger aroma. The leaves are fatter and more burly than the Wu Liang tea. It features lots of hairy buds that make it somewhat resemble its close neighbor Jinggu mountain teas. Honey and grass essences are present in this thick soupy tea!

This tea was compressed in a small tea factory near Kunming where stone presses were used. Low temperature “baking” was used to dry these cakes after the compression process thus preserving their integrity! The cakes are wrapped in Dai Minority hand-made paper and then bundled into bamboo leaf “tongs” with seven cakes per tong.

In total just 100 kilograms of this tea has been produced

Net Weight: 400 grams per cake (7 cakes per bamboo leaf tong)
Harvest time: Late March 2014
Harvest Area: Wang Jia village of Jingdong county, Simao Prefecture
Total Production amount: 100 kilograms. This tea has been tested in a certified laboratory and has passed the MRL limits for pesticide residues as established by the EU Food and Safety commission.

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10 Tasting Notes

82
167 tasting notes

Final destination on the taste tour through Yunnan. What a treat it’s been!

Region 4/4: Puer/Simao. Location 3/3: Ai Lao

NOTES ON TEA
Not bad for its price point. It is a light, fruity, and sweet raw at its present age. Has much in common with a Dragonwell green tea experience. However, the flavors can get a bit thin at times. I found myself pushing it quite early on (3rd infusion) in order to maintain body and flavor.

Overall, it is very refreshing – nice floral and fruity sweetness, with a bit of honey notes. Minerality and hints of smoke prevent it from becoming too sweet and boring. Some citrus notes pop up that help to awaken the palate and make everything interesting again.
*
Dry leaf: sweet, citrus (almost like an orange candy), fresh grass, floral. In preheated vessel – some sweet prune and raisin notes come forward

Smell: not much in the nose – some light grassy and hay notes, some mildly sweet vegetal notes, some dried apricot.

Taste: honey, light floral sweetness, light citrus, a sort of Turkish Delight vibe, fresh grass, dried apricot. At times has a development very similar to a green tea, with a finish that is reminiscent of a white tea. Something like a rocky minerality is present, but is in the background. Light citrus and lemongrass notes in aftertaste, also honey in background. Some smokiness (campfire – not unpleasant) wafts in and out when brewed harder. The smokiness is almost less of a flavor and more of a vehicle for some added body and sweetness.

NOTES ON REGION
Can’t really pin this one down. There are no common flavors that the three teas shared. The Wu Liang was very smoky and vegetal, the Jing Gu sweet and foresty, and the Ai Lao light and fruity. Overall, I can simply say that I feel like this region gives you some good return for your money. The Wu Liang, despite its ashiness, had the vegetal strength that the Menghai area teas had. The Jing Gu gave a great old arbor depth of experience. The Ai Lao, despite its lightness, was sweet and enjoyable. All are at a fraction of comparable teas.

It is a region worth exploring. It seems to offer something for everyone, and at a bargain.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 147 ML
Haveteawilltravel

That is the bargain region ;)

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89
3 tasting notes

This tea starts off with a nice, medium-thick mouthfeel and no bitterness. Flavor-wise it is sweet grass, with notes of stone fruits, sugarcane, honey and nuts. The grassy/nuttiness is somewhat similar to a Longjing green tea, which I like.

High-elevation and older tree material come together and make a tasty tea that is also very affordable. Above all, this tea tastes very “pure” to me, and the qi is quite perky and leaves me feeling really good afterwards. I think this would be an excellent candidate for a daily-drinker.

Flavors: Grass, Honey, Nuts, Stonefruits, Sugarcane

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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89
8414 tasting notes

GCTTB V1

So, this is my last tea from the box apart from the three or four things I took out to try at a later date. I had a great time with this box! Even though not everything was a success, I still got to try eighteen different teas. As it stands, I really look forward to swapping the box with Lala for the second one, and continuing the fun exploration!

FIVE SECOND RINSE
- Strong, sweet aroma
- Overwhelmingly fruity: apricots!
>5 SECOND INFUSION
- Smells very stonefruit-y w. smoky notes
- Light, soft sweet stonefruit notes (apricot)
- Fragrant and green
- A hint of mustyness on the finish
- Very smooth
FIVE SECOND INFUSION
- Has a sort of “dank” sweet/apricot aroma
- Liquor is a yellow-y green; darked than infusion one
- Little bit of a green/“under ripe” sourness?
- Still quite fruity and sweet
- Honeysuckle notes
SEVEN SECOND INFUSION
- Bit more of a vegetal/brothy flavour
- Some mineral like notes
- A mix of peachy and apricot notes
- Coats the mouth
SEVEN SECOND INFUSION:
- Leaf has a “fruit leather”/dried fruit aroma
- Definitely more “body”
- Coats my mouth, specifically the sides of my tongue
- Very strong stonefruit notes
- Peachy finish and strong vegetal aftertaste
- Still kind of vegetal/green
- Liquor has settled into a clear, golden yellow
TEN SECOND INFUSION:
- Rich, sweet stonefruit
- Like an apricot/peach puree
- Thicker mouthfeel
- LONG lasting aftertaste
TWELVE SECOND INFUSION:
- Definitely a strong stonefruit flavour
- Almost has a bit of a “from concentrate” vibe
- So sweet, it almost gives off a “sticky sweetness”
- Robust top notes
- A vegetal undertone
FIFTEEN SECOND INFUSION:
- Definitely flavour deterioration
- A more muted fruit (apricot) flavour
- And a shifted focus on vegetal notes
TWENTY SECOND INFUSION:
- Definitely a weaker/more watery flavour
- Still fruity/vegetal
- Sadly this ends the session because it’s four and I have plans…

I feel like it’s worth pointing out that this is a Sheng Pu’erh which is definitely NOT my typically preferred when it comes to Sheng and Shou. However, this session was really, REALLY delightful! I don’t actually own a full cake of anything currently because I’m definitely still in the “exploring my tastes” phase of Pu exploration but this is I think maybe the first Sheng I’ve tried where I’ve actually felt like I’d drink a full cake worth of it. It was a really phenomenal way to end of the tea box with as well!

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75
673 tasting notes

another decent tea:

when i smell the leaves dry, i smell mustyness and green.

when i smell the leaves wet, i smell green and honey.

when i smell the brewed tea, i smell honey.

when i taste the brewed tea i taste honey, spices and sweetness

the liquid is a light gold to a light amber color.

i rate this tea a 75 because ive had better sheng puerh.

many thanks to liquidproust for this decent tea :)

Flavors: Green, Honey, Musty, Spices, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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1112 tasting notes

This is rather nice sheng as it isn’t bitter at the first steep which I am so use to with shengs now. The aroma, look, and taste is all right there in regards to what I look for in my sheng now. I think it just misses that smooth finish when it comes to the mouth feel.

mrmopar

The 2011 is really good as well.

Liquid Proust

I think I fell into the trap of pu’erh… the older the better; the older the more $$$ it cost; the more $$$ it cost the lower amount I will have.

mrmopar

Buy early and build a pumidor! I had the 2011 aged a few years and it turned out well. The 2009’s Scott pressed are coming into their own as well. There are still bargains just have to know where to find them. If you get hung up finding one let me know as I bargain shop as well.

Liquid Proust

I’m just impatient… I have two contacts in China that have been making claims about their pu’erh being xx years old and all, but I told them I want samples first. I got the answer I wanted being a no. I figure if a pu’erh cake is authentically as old as someone tells me, they won’t let samples go out. The only issue wit this is that they respond about 11-12 days after I contact them. I’ll be getting my first cake from one of them in a few weeks. Their other teas have been fantastic. I also have a contact who has some aged oolong, but $90 an ounce is way out of my budget ____ and that is discounted… the tea from that farm is superb though :)

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87
142 tasting notes

Cake is very compact and is filled with fuzzy buds that are more stout than those from other regions. The dried leaf smells very sweet and the brewed leaf has a refreshing scent that reminds me of high quality Japanese sencha. It brews a golden hue that is somewhat cloudy. The tea is gently sweet with notes of crisp spring greens, plums, flowers, rock candy, and sweet wine. It has a very pleasant, flowery, and uplifting huigan (aftertaste) that lasts for at least 5 mins.

I actually prefer this tea to its 2014 Wuliang counterpart, which I find overwhelmingly sweet without that uplifting sensation of this tea.

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94
1758 tasting notes

This tea is good. While I am more of a ripe puerh drinker I do drink the sheng some of the time. This one had very little bitterness, only a touch in the first two steeps. Throughout eight steeps it had notes of apricots and stonefruits. This is the sort of sheng that I want when I drink sheng. It has not aged much of course having a light yellow colored tea soup. This also means it has not had a chance to develop any of the unpleasant aged flavors that sheng sometimes develops so I suppose there is a good side to it. At only $30 this tea is a bargain. If I had a bigger pumidor I would consider a tong for aging. I enjoyed this tea.

I brewed this tea eight times in a 170ml teapot with 10g leaf and 200 degree water. I gave it a 10sec rinse and then let the leaves sit for ten minutes. (I didn’t have the patients to let them sit for an hour). I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. This tea was not finished at eight steeps, it would certainly have gone twelve or more.

Flavors: Apricot, Stonefruits

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 6 OZ / 170 ML
Stephanie

mmm I love apricotty sheng

sirturtletheknight

Just out of curiosity what kind of stuff do you look for in a tea to consider investing in a tong to age?

AllanK

I mostly buy tongs of shou to age. Only bought one tong of raw, the 2014 Wild Monk. But as I understand it bitter teas age better. This is what I have heard.

sirturtletheknight

Oh interesting, I haven’t heard many things about aging shou. Does the tea improve much with age? I always thought of shou as a mostly ready to drink tea (maybe a bit of aging to let the wodui fade).
Ah yes I have a cake of the 2014 wild monk..it is indeed bitter!

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295 tasting notes

Breaking this one out after teaching the "Chairman " to fetch a bit. Now if I can just get her to bring it all the way back.
Kind of like my progression a bit at a time.
I did this a few nights ago but I am starting new tonight. I got 10 grams out and put in the Yixing. I gave a very quick rinse and allowed it to set a while. I did a very quick steep with about 10 oz. of hot water. Very nice aroma and a pretty clear yellow brew. It give a very quick hit of slight bitter that goes away quickly. The sweet , vegetal and floral brew quickly pushes it out.
This carries a sweetness that would think you had put a touch of sugar in it. It gives a nice buzz and tingle about halfway through the cup. It has a little punch and a bit of the bitter pops back in or a second or two.
Nice and warming with a bit of “Liveliness” to it. Some butter notes in here as well.

Flavors: Bitter, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Marzipan

What kind of cat is she?

mrmopar

She is a little ringtail tabby. Gray and White with darker Gray rings. Not sure as she was found as a stray abandoned by her mother.

boychik

i heard cat are hard to train. but possible. I used to love one clown in Russia specializing in cats only shows. it was amazing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6RYcvd9k9o

Kittenna

D’awwwww! My friend taught her two cats to fetch, and one was quite good at it. I believe, however, that they are now too lazy to bother.

Marzipan

I have read that some breeds are really easy to train. My cat acts a lot like a dog so I bet I could teach him.

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