2014 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn Da Qing Gu Shu

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Pu Erh Tea
Flavors
Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Drying, Honey, Mineral, Sweet, Green Beans, Honeysuckle, Fruity, Musty, Peach, Spices, Floral, Grass, Nutmeg
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Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by AllanK
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 22 oz / 655 ml

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10 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Last week I reviewed the 2015 spring version of this tea and now it is time to compare it to this autumnal offering. To the best of my knowledge both come from the same family’s trees, so this...” Read full tasting note
  • “I know I just reviewed this tea but I had to comment again on the buttery mouth feel and the tart lemony bite of this superb tea. I know that for many the term young pu-erh is an oxymoron. But I...” Read full tasting note
  • “Much like an octogenarian opera singer at the opening night of High School Musical, I’m pretty sure I’m not the target audience for this one. The dry leaf aroma is superb, and the post-session...” Read full tasting note
  • “{NB: review from 25g sample, not whole cake} Dry leaf – SWEET, FRUIT, HERBAL: bitter honey, honeysuckle, dill, fragrant wood/incense; in pre-heated vessel: prune, dried date and fig more...” Read full tasting note
    90

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10 Tasting Notes

19 tasting notes

Last week I reviewed the 2015 spring version of this tea and now it is time to compare it to this autumnal offering. To the best of my knowledge both come from the same family’s trees, so this should be a true comparison between seasons. This is the first autumn-picked raw pu’er I’ve tried, so I was interested to see how much of an impact season has on tea picked from the same trees.

Due to this being an autumn harvest, the leaves are notably bigger than in the spring cake. The cake feels a bit harder to me and not as easy to break into. The leaves want to break off individually as opposed to larger chunks and I took my time trying not to break too many leaves. With the spring counterpart, I used 13g of leaf in my 250ml Yixing teapot, so a ratio of around 1g/20ml. This time I wanted to go just a tad bit heavier to try to experiment with the ratio and went with 14g. My finding was that that small increase likely wasn’t necessary and 13g should acts as a good baseline going forward.

I found the dry leaves to have a pretty typical young sheng smell based on my limited experience. I gave them a brief 12s rinse (I count from when I start pouring the water to when most of the tea is out), followed by a 10-minute rest. The wet leaves had a dark green smell that I couldn’t identify more specifically. From the first infusion forward the smell began reminding me of a meadow. The liquor itself had only a faint scent to it, still being stronger than the spring counterpart. The rinse was reminiscent of salt water, later infusions acquired a smell that was somewhat leafy to me. Smelling the empty cup provided a notably stronger aroma which reminded me of an artificial-smelling perfume that has an intentionally foul character to it to give it some edge.

The first proper infusion I did for 16 seconds. It had a noticeable amount of body to it, but nothing of the amazing thickness the spring cake had in its early infusions. The taste was very clean and kind of salty in a way, or at least it made you think of salt. I could also detect something of a character that I’d perhaps call floral. There wasn’t any sweetness, but there was perhaps hints of something vegetal.

The second infusion ended up being two seconds longer. The taste was still very clean. There was less body now, but still some, and perhaps I’m being influenced by the knowledge of this being an autumn tea, but the tea also started tasting more… autumnal to me. I also thought I might’ve detected a hint of the flavor that was most characteristic of the spring 2015 tea emerging, but I can’t be sure. This infusion felt to me like it was kind of in between flavors. It failed to leave much of an impression. I’m not sure about astringency, but this steep felt really drying on the tongue, with the sensation increasing over time. Fortunately it passed before the next infusion. It was the driest sensation any tea has given me to date.

The next infusion was the same length as the first. There was some sweetness now, with a green-tasting tinge to it, and quite a bit of astringency as well. The tea prompted blood to really start flowing in my tongue, making it feel really hot and like I’d burned it. This numbness that incurred made it hard to taste anything further about this steeping. The cha qi also began taking hold in my chest and stomach and made me feel a bit lightheaded for a spell.

I did not make changes to the steeping time for the fourth infusion. The result was a taste that was not weak, but light enough to warrant increasing the steeping time from there on. Once again the taste was very clean and somewhat sweet. There was also perhaps something savory about this steep, although flavor-wise it wasn’t anything special. It did make me feel a bit of qi in my chest and in my throat, though.

For the next one I increased the steeping time by five seconds, but the resulting soup was still a bit on the weak side. Flavor-wise it reminded me of a low-quality green tea, also making me think of piled leaves in the autumn. I proceeded to the sixth infusion increasing the steeping time again by five seconds and this time I got A LOT more sweetness. It was kind of honey-ish or like potent honeydew melon in flavor, reminding me of the spring cake but not being nearly as shockingly sweet. The tea still had the leafy taste present in prior infusions, as well as more than a modest amount of astringency, but not so much that it would have bothered me.

For the seventh steeping I bumped up the steeping time to 35s. The flavors were clearly starting to taper off now, but in their stead the cha qi hit me like a hammer – no, like a truck. Hard, hard, hard. My face was flushing, I felt a rush of cold sweat rise to the surface, and the feeling in my chest was real. The sensation did pass as quickly as it’d arrived, though. The steeping actually had a interesting herbal/leafy kinda taste to it, similar to an aged white tea I had once. Unlike earlier infusions, the tea soup left an aftertaste lingering in your mouth. Surprisingly, I quite liked this steep.

I pushed the tea harder for the eighth steep, taking it to 50s. Despite this, it did start to taste watery. The liquid had nice color and some taste, but not as much as I’d liked. Like a lot of teas when they are starting to become spent, the flavor was more mineral-y in nature and there was definitely some astringency as well like in most prior infusions.

The ninth steeping I did for 75s and this time around I was rewarded with more taste. In fact, I may have steeped the tea for a tad too long, actually. To my surprise, I did feel some cha qi from this late steeping, both in my stomach as well as some wooziness in my head. The tea had a touch of sweetness and bitterness, with definite minerality in the taste, alongside some astringency but less than you would have expected. That being said, there was nothing particularly interesting about the taste.

I believe the leaves would have had enough in them for one extra long steeping, but I felt they had shown all they had to offer so I decided to stop here.

What are my overall impressions of this tea? I definitely found it very different from the spring 2015 offering. After being very impressed by that tea, I must admit I found this one quite underwhelming in comparison. I didn’t dislike the tea, but at least in its current state I didn’t find it interesting enough or the flavor profile particularly appealing to me. If the tea had more top notes that made it more interesting when it was younger, they would seem to have dropped off over the past couple years or it is possible that my Yixing pot ate them. As it stands right now, I feel the tea needs to develop more depth and possible additional flavors for it to become more interesting to me. I have nothing to support this, but from tasting the tea, I got the impression it has potential to age well. For now I’m going to store the cake away at least until the 2020s. I have plenty of other teas to sip in the meantime.

For an autumn tea, this one might be stellar, but right now I can only compare it to spring teas and in that regard it did come across as mediocre. In comparison to the spring 2015 counterpart the tea doesn’t have any of the wow factor that one has. It lacks the beautiful long-lingering aftertaste the spring tea had in each infusion, and while this tea had probably the strongest-hitting cha qi I’ve experienced to date, the qi arrived in sudden bursts and never lasted very long. It had none of the beautiful structure of the qi in the spring pu’er.

In its current state, I can’t recommend this cake for immediate consumption as I feel it needs more age at this point. That being said, it could be that the flavor profile simply isn’t appealing to me. For whatever reason, as I was drinking this tea, I found myself thinking this might be a tea that people who like shu pu’er but don’t mind some astringency may like. But I’ve only tasted two shu pu’ers in my life, so what do I know.

I’m interested to see how this one will develop over time.

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Drying, Honey, Mineral, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 14 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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183 tasting notes

I know I just reviewed this tea but I had to comment again on the buttery mouth feel and the tart lemony bite of this superb tea. I know that for many the term young pu-erh is an oxymoron. But I think youth and age are the yin and yang of the pu-erh experience.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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64 tasting notes

Much like an octogenarian opera singer at the opening night of High School Musical, I’m pretty sure I’m not the target audience for this one.

The dry leaf aroma is superb, and the post-session appearance of the leaves is what I imagine Michelangelo or Rodin would have done if tasked with sculpting sheng leaf out of marble. It is decently long-lived, and boasts an impressive flavor profile, though greener than I am determining I prefer.

However, this tea was not well received by my innards in its current state. In a decade, it will likely be a thing of beauty (and long sold out), but I haven’t the proper setup for the care of feeding of tea over that scale of time.

I can only imagine how robust the spring iterations of this tea are – but for my own safety, I’ll leave that knowledge purely to my imagination.

twinofmunin

diet tea: cleans ya right out!

Cwyn

2014 was a drought year and tea got fairly strong. I buy a lot of 2014 to store for posterity.

Rasseru

interesting. Theres a few 2014 teas that I like & its something rich in the flavour that I like about them

Wocket

Hmmm, I do not believe I’d had a 2014 before this… I’ll keep it in mind and see if there’s a trend!

Rasseru

Cywn, are you referring to certain areas in china or across the world,certain teas etc? can you give us the lowdown

tanluwils

Yunnan’s climate is quite unique and diverse due to its inland location, southerly latitude yet high elevation, particularly in Lincang. I imagine one would have to look at the local weather forecasts for each respective county in order to know for sure.

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90
95 tasting notes

{NB: review from 25g sample, not whole cake}

Dry leaf – SWEET, FRUIT, HERBAL: bitter honey, honeysuckle, dill, fragrant wood/incense; in pre-heated vessel: prune, dried date and fig more prominent

Smell – WOOD, FLORAL: fragrant wood, light honeysuckle, some smokiness and ash

Taste – SWEET, GRASSY, VEGETAL, FRUIT: prominent bitter honey, green hay, fragrant wood smoke – hickory?, nice vegetal flavors of bitter green, some steamed green bean, musty. Undertones of lightly brewed English breakfast tea, dry spice (nutmeg), hints of fig and date, some ashy notes. Creamy lactose sweetness in aftertaste, prune and date flavors strong in aftertaste.

Well – there’s quite a bit going on here. For a young raw, this is very pleasant and has great flavors going on. There is some astringency, but personally, I don’t find it to be overbearing. It’s pleasant like a cup of good black coffee.

This one has me intrigued. I like the range of flavors that it offers. Additionally, it makes you burst into sweat when you drink it. I know this is a common pu’erh side effect, but this one isn’t messing around. Who knows what kind of chemical voodoo is responsible for that, but it’s fun nonetheless. Nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning and going toe-to-toe with your tea.

One final note – personally, I felt like the more interesting flavors petered out fairly quickly. I’m no expert, but I will chalk that up to the tea’s youth. However, there were several other reviews that made special mention of the longevity of this tea, but that just wasn’t my experience. Could be user error, I guess. Interestingly, I had a better experience with a clay pot (7g/160ml) than a gaiwan (4.5g/60ml), even though the gaiwan had a higher leaf:water ratio.

Anyway, my sample is gone and I simply looked forward to every session I had with this tea. Is definitely on the short list for my next pu’erh purchase.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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90
15 tasting notes

This was one of my first batch of YS Sheng samples, and probably my favourite.
Wet leaves smelt appetising, slightly meaty & sweet.
1st steep a bit oily, vegetal like green beans, a bit bitter, spicy wood on the finish. 2nd steep : on the nose remarkably floral, honeysuckle, Jasmine. Palate richer, sweeter, more oily. Still some astringency. I get why this rocks now. 3rd very bitter… Why? Went 5 steeps, became more balanced with vegetal notes still and more huigan. Ran out of time to fully explore this superb Sheng.
Not sure I could stretch to a whole cake now it’s $77, but would happily split one.
8g in 120ml gaiwan. 95deg C. 15s steeps

Flavors: Astringent, Green Beans, Honeysuckle

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 120 OZ / 3548 ML

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90
631 tasting notes

a great tea:

when i smell the leaves dry, they smell musty and fruity.

when i smell the leaves wet, they have a strong fruity smell.

when i smell the brewed tea, i smell light honey and mild fruityness.

when i taste the brewed tea, i taste mild honey, mild spices and strong fruityness (peaches).

the color of the brewed tea is yellow.

i rate this tea a 90 because it is great tasting, but not as great as others i have tried.

many thanks to kittylovestea for this great sample

Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Musty, Peach, Spices

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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88
41 tasting notes

Okay, well, I may be easy to please, but I’d say this guy does live up to the hype. Thick, sweet, and oily, I’m not sure what else there is to ask for, especially for an autumn harvest tea. It is pungent and bitter, with notes of wild grasses and honey suckles. The first time I brewed this, I got more straight-forward fruit flavors, but for whatever reason now I’m getting the more floral complexity and musk, which is what I look for this time of the year.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Nutmeg

jschergen

Aha. You do have it! +1 on the recommendation.

Ginkosan

haha yeah it was up next to review today. I think I have one or two more from the bag of samples.

mrmopar

Y’all are killing me , How will I explain another Yunnan Sourcing order I wonder.

boychik

I love thick oily sheng. Wish listed

Doug F

ditto.

Ginkosan

Damn you Scott for pressing a Spring flush of this cake…

tanluwils

Why is this one more popular than its spring counterpart?

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1355 tasting notes

Quick notes for this one. (For the time being).

Raw leaf: Sweet wood and earth scent with mild smoke. Also some creaminess in the after scent. Pure and very nice overall.

Taste: Pretty mild actually, more than I anticipated from the smell. Even after a few steeps it’s very mild. I’m using roughly 5g in 125ml and thought it would be about the right strength for me. It’s slightly sweet and creamy with some dryness.

Since this wasn’t working for me I decided to long steep it. So on my fourth steep I went straight for 1 minute 30 seconds rather than the 10-15 seconds previously. This worked much better, now it’s thick with some bitterness but the sweet and creamy tones are still present and linger nicely in the after taste with a hint of smoke. Much better than before, though the bitterness was a tad strong and is taking some getting used to.

Since it went from one to another extreme (very light to very bitter) I will not rate it this time. I still have enough left to experiment with but so far I’m not impressed. I have a feeling this one just isn’t for me, I like a strong and creamy Sheng with minimal bitterness and dryness. Oh well, worst case I can always western steep this to use it up.

boychik

This is Autumn Gushu. i suggest you to increase leaf to 7-8g if you have enough to experiment. my usual ratio is 5-6g for 80ml for gushu

Kirkoneill1988

i’m not sure if i tried this yet :/

KittyLovesTea

Thank you for the tip @boychik. I have around 20g left I believe so I shall increase the leaf amount next time.

mrmopar

You are making me want this one….

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90
1727 tasting notes

This tea is quite tasty but somewhat bitter. It was strong even until the tenth steep. I was at my caffeine limit so I stopped. This tea has given me quite the tea buzz, something I almost never get. Perhaps it is its pure character, perhaps it is high in caffeine. Wouldn’t want to drink this one at night. It was bitter in the early steeps. The bitterness largely went away by the fifth infusion. It has a nice bitter/fruity aftertaste to it. It was quite good overall. I am glad for having bought this sample and if I hadn’t just ordered from Yunnan Sourcing I would probably order a bing. As it is it will have to wait.

I steeped this ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9g leaf and 200 degree water. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Ginkosan

I just got a sample of this… am excited to try it now, sounds like I’ll probably like it. Autumn teas are always so hit-or-miss, sometimes they fall flat, and sometimes they are totally pure and vibrant.

AllanK

I never got around to buying this one buy it was good.

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