2014 Yunnan Sourcing "Raw Pu-erh Tea Mini Tuo Cha" Ai Lao Mountain

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Astringent, Bitter, Coffee, Straw, Sweet, warm grass, Wood, Floral, Smoke, Cherry Wood, Chocolate, Grain, Hay
Sold in
Not available
Caffeine
High
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Togo
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 oz / 116 ml

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9 Tasting Notes View all

  • “The compression is not too tight, one rinse is enough to open it up. After the rinse I can smell some composted grass, straw and old wooden cabinet. Because of the small leaf particle size, I...” Read full tasting note
    66
  • “This is the first raw Pu Erh that I have tried. It reminds me a lot of green tea. The most pronounced flavor was a floral taste with a bit of astringency. I got a very mild smoky flavor in steeps 3...” Read full tasting note
    78
  • “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...” Read full tasting note
    96
  • “Boychik sent me two of these a couple of years ago, and since I’m working my way into year 3 of my Sipdown Extravaganza, it’s about time I start drinking things like this. Plus I’ve had a headache...” Read full tasting note

From Yunnan Sourcing

Entirely first flush of Spring 2014 Ai Lao Mountain Raw Pu-erh tea pressed into this premium tippy mini tuo. Each little mini tuo is roughly 5 grams and comes individually wrapped for your convenience. A perfect choice when you want a portable easy solution for making tea on the go. Also makes a great gift for friends to entice them into the world of Pu-erh.

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9 Tasting Notes

66
357 tasting notes

The compression is not too tight, one rinse is enough to open it up. After the rinse I can smell some composted grass, straw and old wooden cabinet. Because of the small leaf particle size, I started with lower temperatures and as short infusion times as possible. Nonetheless, they were fairly bitter and astringent thorughout the session. Because of the high acidity and nutty flavour, I got reminded of coffee a bit. Other than that, the taste resembled the notes I got in the aroma. It’s fairly bland overall though. In the end, the 5g yielded about 9 100ml infusions.

As far as sheng mini tuos from YS go, the 2016 Monkey mini tuo is much better, I would say get that one instead if you want to have a super-casual raw pu-erh that’s also very suitable for cold brewing.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Coffee, Straw, Sweet, warm grass, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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78
7 tasting notes

This is the first raw Pu Erh that I have tried. It reminds me a lot of green tea. The most pronounced flavor was a floral taste with a bit of astringency. I got a very mild smoky flavor in steeps 3 and 4.

Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Smoke

Preparation
5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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96
9 tasting notes

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

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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3294 tasting notes

Boychik sent me two of these a couple of years ago, and since I’m working my way into year 3 of my Sipdown Extravaganza, it’s about time I start drinking things like this. Plus I’ve had a headache for a few days, and drinking Sheng seems to help, at least sometimes. I have noticed that it is beneficial for allergies, so there.
I do like Sheng, but as a general rule, I don’t care for Sheng Tuocha’s, and this one is no exception.
Yesterday I dropped one into my sheng yixing, keeping the steeps short, and as the tuo fell apart, the spout kept getting semi-clogged with all the powdery stuff. And it was mostly powdery stuff. There were some smaller leaves in there, and they unfolded nicely, and really, the tea itself was ok, good for a headache, bitter & somewhat astringent, and it did get a little sweeter after awhile.
Today I dropped the other tuocha into a steeper basket in a full size mug, and I actually preferred it that way. First, because I just didn’t want to have all that powdery crap in my yixing, and 2ndly because it actually tasted better with more water and a little more time. I went with 15 secs for the first steep, adding 15 to each consecutive steep.
I still haven’t cured my headache, but at least I get to count a sipdown!
Not something I would purchase, but thanks to Boychik for the opportunity to sample it :)

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33 tasting notes

I used 2 mini tuos in my 120ml gaiwan and they weighed in at 4g + 5g. Rinse was gross looking, lots of dust coming off. Lid smell after the first steep was kind of gross, like a sweaty gym. Watching the tuos break up, the leaf pieces are tiny, almost like the leaves were ground before being pressed rather than 6-7 whole leaves being nicely packed together. I don’t think it’s from mishandling either, dust or chunks didn’t really come off the dry tuo when I unpacked them.

Flavor on the first steep is really not bad, especially considering my brain prepared me for the worst with the visuals and smell of this tea combined with the negative reviews I read right before drinking (bad habit). Astringency is pretty high already but I’m getting the flavors I associate with sheng. Aftertaste is not very pleasant. I’ll continue to flash steep since I’m afraid of how much bitterness these tiny leaf pieces can unleash in a short amount of time.

Second steeping and the off smells are mostly gone, I’m even getting a floral hint of tempered cumin seeds (different smell from ground cumin). Astringency is starting to assault my mouth on this though. Dumping this steep. Dumping third steep. I’m done.

Would not recommend.

Matu

That’s about how my experience with these went as well. Mini tuos are normally made up of pretty chopped up material, though there are some exceptions.

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35 tasting notes

I was excited to try these tous ever since I got them in a swap with Matu, but never really got around to it until today. I’m sort of a sucker for cute pressings—I was won over by Nan Jian’s 2011 Mushroom just because it’s a mushroom. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I was excited to try these things, primarily because they’re so cute.

I knew something was up when I dropped one of these into my gaiwan and saw a bunch of tea dust fall off. Not promising…but I hit it with a double-rinse and started brewing.

I don’t know how to say it nicely—this tea is gross. Bitter, astringent, with no fruit, hay, or interesting notes I’ve come to like from other puer. Sort of thick, I guess? But mostly just bitter all the way. I’d say avoid—they’re cute, but taste like puer instant coffee.

Matu

I’ll have to try one of these again. Haven’t had them in a while and reviewed them shortly after I started getting into sheng. Everybody else seems to hate on them lol

JWhisk

Yeah, curious to see what you think!

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45
27 tasting notes

Essentially powdered tea leaves. These guys are everything I dislike about mini tuos. While the leaf quality and size was better than generic garbage-grade tuos that most tea shops not specializing in puer sell, these are still very hard to get a good cup out of. The leaves are just so small and fragmented that any heat at all instantly brings out a sharp bitterness. I normally enjoy bitterness/astringency in a young sheng, but this is far too much with very little else to offer. I think only one of several tries have given me steeps that were enjoyable, so I haven’t found myself returning to these.

With that said, these are still much better than what I’ve found from other non-puer shops. If convenience trumps all they aren’t a bad idea, just be careful to steep at lower temps than normal. I would stick to the shou mini tuos from Yunnan Sourcing however as the bitterness there is less of an issue. I need to find my notes of which specifically, but there is a 5 g mini shou tuo from YS that I actually enjoy more than many cakes offered much more expensively.

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75
486 tasting notes

Not a bad tea imo. The leaves are decently small, but I’ve had smaller in Xiaguan tuos before. Certainly was astringent and bitter, but I didn’t get any smokiness off of this. And the bitterness wasn’t unpleasant to me. It faded in later steeps and was replaced by a nice hay type of flavor, though not particularly sweet.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Hay

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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45
506 tasting notes

I should have known better, considering it’s a mini toucha, but it was a free sample with my order. I gave it a chance. I’m not going to go into much detail. I’ll just list a few aspects of the gongfu session. My strainer clogged at the first, third, and fifth steeping. My tea table almost overfilled because how much I dumped. The initial sip is a sharp bite (even with flash steeping) and the after taste is also a sharp taste. I also brewed light for my yixing. The yixing became completely clogged by the “end” of the session.

This would be good if you wanted to western brew puerh on the go. It says it’s meant for portable brewing in the description. Personally, I don’t know of many people that drink puerh western brewed. However, I could be mistaken and many people could enjoy puerh in a big pot. Anyways, this was not a big win for me.

https://instagram.com/p/9LufOfzGb8/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
curlygc

Thanks for this review – I was curious about this tea. It seems to have hit on my own personal trifecta of NOPE (astringent, bitter, and smoke). I’ll pass!

SilasSteep

Almost bought this tea with my most recent order…..I opted for the ripe minis instead…they are pretty delicious…sounds like I made the right choice. Bitter and smoky=no bueno.

Haveteawilltravel

Yeah they were free, so thought to give them a shot. I’ve had much better experiences with shou minis then with sheng minis…

SilasSteep

Yeah me too. Sheng mini bricks are not my friend as well. Mini cakes seem to be ok as the leaves are usually still whole (actually sipping a 2014 white wrapper Ye Sheng mini cake from YS right now and its pretty good)…but those mini bricks are too chopped and bitter for me.

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