2015 Yunnan Sourcing "Da Qing Gu Shu" Raw Pu-erh tea cake

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Citrus, Green, Salty, Spices, Sweet, Vegetal, Apricot, Jasmine, Lemon, Peas, Floral, Corn Husk, Honeysuckle
Sold in
Not available
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Organic
Edit tea info Last updated by Togo
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 oz / 108 ml

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7 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I had a sample of the autumn 2014 Da Qing and loved it. I decided to opt for an entire cake, but went with the spring version. I have to say that the autumn version was more approachable as a...” Read full tasting note
    88
  • “Yay, finally a sheng review from me. As a small disclaimer before we get started, even though I’m not totally new to raw pu’er, I’m still very much a novice when it comes to this wonderful tea and...” Read full tasting note
  • “I think this is the sheng I’ve drank the most and yet I haven’t commented on it. It smells amazing, like the jungle/bush in summertime. There’s a lovely floral note with sweetness/honey underneath....” Read full tasting note
    89
  • “Soft, smooth, floral for the first five steeps. The aroma reminds me a little of a cocktail I’ve had a few times that is flavored with orange flower water. Starts to get a little bitterness and...” Read full tasting note
    90

From Yunnan Sourcing

Da Qing Gu Shu (Da Qing Old Tree) is my favorite tea from Spring 2015. It’s made from old tree tea leaves picked from the first flush of Spring. Da Qing village is located in Jinggu county and is a remote village with unadulterated tea trees growing in the nearby hillsides. The leaves for this production are from one family whose trees are the oldest in the area. The age of the trees between 100-300 years old.
The tea is perfectly balanced and is very stable through many infusions. Bitterness, astingency, sweet, spicy and floral all at once with long lasting taste and feeling in the mouth, throat and body long after drinking it.
Very limited quantity one family production!
400 grams per cake (7 cakes per bamboo leaf tong)
50kg in total produced

This tea has been tested in certified laboratory and has passed the MRL limits for pesticide residues as established by the EU Food and Safety commission. For more information about MRL testing and the EU Food and Safety commission click on this link.

About Yunnan Sourcing View company

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7 Tasting Notes

88
167 tasting notes

I had a sample of the autumn 2014 Da Qing and loved it. I decided to opt for an entire cake, but went with the spring version.

I have to say that the autumn version was more approachable as a “drink now” sort of tea – a bit sweeter, etc. This one definitely slaps you around a bit. All of the flavors (floral and vegetal) are pretty big, but nothing off-putting. The bitterness never surpasses what you would find in a fairly tame IPA. At the same time, I see a lot of potential with aging.

It’s a bit unfair reviewing this tea so young. It is still developing and settling down. But, man, there are some great flavors and lot of power. Excited to see what the next ten years will bring…

All-in-all, the experience is very balanced, and very dynamic. There are nuances in the flavor if you seek them out. Everything you would expect when paying a premium for gu shu.

Speaking of price, I paid $80 for this cake, and it was worth it. It is now up to $100. So, regardless of your tea budget, just be aware that this tea appreciates in price fairly significantly. You will pay a premium to get this tea with even just a couple of years age on it.
*
Dry leaf – apricot, bitter green leaf, sweet floral. In preheated vessel – more intense fruit notes – apricot, prune.

Smell – grilled zucchini (some smokiness, some sweetness, some vegetal notes), sweet floral, hints of orange and apricot.

Taste – combination of floral and vegetal: again, sweet floral and grilled zucchini. Some chocolate notes in development. Savoriness fades during development, floral ramps up, and then bitterness arrives in finish. Bitterness fades to citrus and apricot fruity sweetness aftertaste.

tanluwils

There’s a lot going on in this one. The 2016 version needed at least 8 months to settle before I could appreciate it. I’m glad I grabbed the few cakes I did last year. So far, this year’s prices have surpassed my budget. I’m waiting in anticipation for the rest of his 2017 line.

apefuzz

I’m with you on the prices – $100 for 250g is way beyond what I budget for tea. But, a lot of the 2017 stuff so far has been Yiwu-based, hence the relatively high prices. Given what sounds like a tricky harvest this year, it will be interesting to see what else YS got their hands on.

tanluwils

Perhaps you’ve seen Two Dog’s June blog post? It troubles me to think we’ll have a more limited harvest this year combined with potentially higher prices. One thing I’ve always been pleased with Yunnan Sourcing is is their ability to go far beyond Xishuangbanna to find very interesting teas at affordable prices. Waiting to see what he’s found is like Christmas.

apefuzz

Yeah, we will see. I pretty much have all the tea I need for 2017-2018, but I’m sure I could make some room for another cake or two ;)

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93 tasting notes

Yay, finally a sheng review from me. As a small disclaimer before we get started, even though I’m not totally new to raw pu’er, I’m still very much a novice when it comes to this wonderful tea and I still have a lot to learn and experience. My experience is mostly with young raw, under which this tea currently falls.

This was the first time I actually kept notes as I was drinking this tea, so unlike my last two reviews this time everything isn’t completely from memory. I wasn’t drinking alone, though (tea is best when shared, I hope you agree), so I was only making small, hasty notes.

The cake is loosely pressed and you could probably break off pieces with your bare fingers, but I’d still recommend a pick so that you can break it in layers and avoid breaking too many leaves. The dry leaves seem to give off a pretty typical young raw pu’er scent. As I typically do with raw pu’er, I was using a beautiful fully handmade Yixing teapot that I have dedicated to sheng. The only downside it has is its rather large size of 250ml, which is quite large if you have less than three or four people. Thankfully it has a relatively quick pour time, especially for its size, at around ten seconds. The holes can sometimes get blocked, though, which can double the pour time to twenty seconds.

As I’m still relatively new to pu’er, in the past I’ve used a rather conservative ratio of leaf to water, using typically around 9g in my pot, this to avoid excessively strong brews in the first few steeps due to the pour time of the teapot. However, this time I decided to try using more leaf than in the past, ending up at 13g, which is still a bit shy of the 1g/15ml that a lot of people use. At least with this tea this did not end up being excessive and in the future I may experiment with using perhaps a little more leaf still.

I gave the leaves one 20s rinse. The resulting liquor was quite cloudy and this was true of the first one or two infusions as well. There was barely any scent to the wash and this was true of the tea soup in general through all the infusions I did. All I could pick out was perhaps a hint of salty water scent. The wet leaves themselves had a quite nice green smell to them, like that of cooked vegetables or something of that sort. As the infusions progressed, the color of the liquid settled chiefly on a gold-ish yellow that in the middle steeps often had a green tinge to it, with the later steeps looking like sunshine in a glass.

The first infusion ended up going a bit long at around 23s due to the holes in the pot being partially blocked. The resulting tea had plenty of flavor, but thankfully wasn’t too strong. It was THICK. One of the thickest mouth feels I’ve experienced to date, if not the thickest. The taste was reminiscent of the scent of the wet leaves. It tasted green. Not grassy, but like leaves. It was like the color of the wet leaves as a taste. The taste also had something to it that evoked cooked vegetables. There wasn’t really any sweetness of any kind. I detected perhaps the tiniest hint of qi, but I can’t be sure.

Due to the holes not being blocked, the second infusion resulted in being about five seconds shorter and not nearly as strong in flavor. The body was also notably thinner. The taste is hard to describe. It was kind of salty in a way but also not. There was only a hint of the vegetables from the first infusion left.

The third steep I did about as long as the first and now the thickness was back albeit not as strong. The saltiness from the second infusion was now going down in level whilst I felt like I detected hints of a (vegetal?) sweetness emerging. There was perhaps some slight astringency and I thought I noted some interesting kind of bitterness, but I’m not sure if it was actually there as the sensations was very fleeting. The tea left a sort of tobacco aroma lingering in my mouth, which was later accompanied by some sort of sweet fruit. Later still as those aromas had faded, there was a lingering sweetness in my mouth that lasted incredibly long and felt like it just kept intensifying over time. I thought I felt a bit of qi building in my chest after this steeping.

The fourth steep I kept as long as the last one and what awaited me was a tea that had totally transformed. It was INCREDIBLY sweet, on the level of honey. It coated the roof of your mouth just like honey and the sweetness only intensified over time. It was difficult to take more than one sip because the sweetness was so intense. Once again I could feel some more qi building still.

The next infusion was maybe around 30s. It tasted very clean, still sweet, but not as sweet as before. There might’ve been the tiniest bit of bitterness. Nothing particularly noteworthy. Since the fifth steep had perhaps been a bit lacking, I decided to push the sixth one a bit harder and did maybe an around 40s steeping. I was greeted by STRONG qi. It was gripping my throat, I could feel it in my chest, I was sweating, I could feel it in my head. STRONG stuff. With a stronger brew there was again more sweetness. Not sure how I should describe this sweetness, but it was interesting. Besides the sweetness, the sixth steeping seemed to leave a citrus taste of some sort lingering in the mouth or perhaps it was even reminiscent of iron. It made me think of the taste and feeling you have in your mouth after coming home from the dentist with your gums sore.

The seventh steeping I did for 50s. It tasted clean and sweet, with nothing noteworthy to mention. The eighth one I did for 75s. It ended up being a stronger brew with a super clean taste and still a nice amount of sweetness to it. I thought I could detect some of the vegetal sweetness from the very first steeps returning in the sweetness. At this point I could feel the qi starting to affect my stomach a little bit (not in a bad way), which is atypically late for sheng for me.

The ninth steeping I brewed for 90s. I could definitely taste the cooked vegetable sweetness from the early steepings coming back. This and the prior infusion both had perhaps the tiniest hint of astringency to them. I’m feeling the qi again. I can feel it at the back of my tongue, in my throat, chest, stomach, there’s some tingling on my tongue, I’m starting to feel a little warm, I could feel myself becoming a little tea drunk. While the actual taste of the tea was nice but nothing too special, the aftertaste it left in your mouth was the real highlight here. As with all the earlier infusions, the aftertaste lasted for a really long time and it consisted of multiple layers of sweet and spicy notes. Over time the taste only seemed to get stronger and keep developing. This was really interesting and really surprised me after I’d already assumed the tea had become one-dimensional. Along with steeps four and six, this was one of my favorite infusions.

As I was steeping the tenth infusion, I suddenly noticed I was actually really tea drunk. It felt like I could hardly stand straight, my thoughts weren’t fully coherent, my motoric control wasn’t at its best, I felt a bit giggly and I was having difficulty counting seconds for the infusion. The drunkenness did pass in a reasonable amount of time, though. The tenth infusion itself I did for two minutes. It had a decent amount of color, but when I tasted it the taste just wasn’t there, it was gone. Barely hints of anything. Not really a watery taste, just totally flat. I decided to stop there.

After the session I felt very listless for the rest of the evening and for a while extremely sleepy. I didn’t sleep enough so I felt tired the next day as well, but at the same time I felt quite good and relaxed and my mind was very clear. Not sure if this was an effect of the tea or not. I really enjoyed the slowly building qi in this tea.

Overall, I really liked this tea. The material is obviously very high quality and the tea session was very rewarding and satisfying. While this tea is not particularly challenging, I feel it is also one which those new to tea/pu’er may not be able to fully appreciate. The only real negatives I can think of are the somewhat simplistic flavor profile in the later steeps (which is not that uncommon, I suppose) and the way all the flavor seemed to suddenly drop off resulting in only mediocre longevity, but I will have to experiment with different ways of brewing this tea. This probably isn’t for those who don’t like sweet tea or wish for some bitterness to bring some edge to the flavor, but otherwise this is a young sheng that can most certainly be drunk now.

As someone with no experience in these matters, I have no idea how this one will age, but I hope it will improve with age as I’m likely to have at least some left a few years from now. I will be reviewing a lot more raw pu’ers in the future, so look forward to that!

Flavors: Citrus, Green, Salty, Spices, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 13 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
mrmopar

Nice review! Good tea as well. A couple of things to try as leaf ratio was good from your notes. Give just a flash rinse then let the tea sit for about 30 minutes. It may brew like a different tea. I rally liked the 2013 version of this one.

TJ Elite

Thanks!

For a (more) flash rinse, I’d need to either fill up the teapot only halfway or maybe do the rinse in a gaiwan and then transfer the leaves into the teapot. I usually break up bigger chucks gently by hand when brewing raw pu’er, but this time I tried using a couple of bigger pieces and leaving them intact so that the early steeps might be less intense. This is why I wasn’t fussing too much about the lenght of the rinse. The cake is so loose though that the chuncks came nicely apart just from the rinse. :D

I’ve heard people recommending giving the tea a short rest after the rinse. I was in a social situation though, so I only let the leaves sit for maybe five minutes as we talked. I will have to experiment with giving them a longer rest when I’m drinking alone.

This was a great tea. I will likely be drinking the autumn 2014 counterpart next week.

mrmopar

You are welcome. You write a much better review than I ever could.

TJ Elite

Thank you, I try. There’s still so much for me to learn about tea and my vocabulary for describing different flavor notes is still quite limited. Forcing myself to try to put things to words helps develop my ability to appreciate tea. When I started drinking tea, I would never have imagined I could become so passionate about tea as I am now.

mrmopar

I think we all have gone through that rabbit hole. Pass the red pill please…

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89
28 tasting notes

I think this is the sheng I’ve drank the most and yet I haven’t commented on it. It smells amazing, like the jungle/bush in summertime. There’s a lovely floral note with sweetness/honey underneath. Early steepings are sweet and vegetal….heavily of snow peas with a citrus aftertaste. As you push the tea in later steepings the vegetal becomes more bitter (not at all in a bad way) and the citrus aftertaste is more pronounced, strongly lemon-y.

Qi: Good energy, decent amount of relaxation. A good tea to motivate to do intellectual tasks.

Flavors: Floral, Lemon, Peas, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 45 ML

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90
56 tasting notes

Soft, smooth, floral for the first five steeps. The aroma reminds me a little of a cocktail I’ve had a few times that is flavored with orange flower water. Starts to get a little bitterness and astringency in the 6th steep, holds up pretty well through the 10th with 5 sec increments in steeping time. Upping the increments to 10 sec, starts to feel a little thin after the 12th steep, though there’s still floral perfume, mouth-coating astringency, and some lingering sweetness.

Around the 15th steep I start spacing out and forgetting to drink the tea after I pour it.

18th steep, it’s starting to taste a little tart, and less astringent, still with a lingering sweet perfume aftertaste. I’m up to 2 minute steeps and am going to bump the increment to 15 sec.

Finally knocking it off after 22 infusions, with the last steeping time of 3:30. I’ve had a liter and a half of tea, and one urgent trip to the bathroom. No tea sweat though. I will be interested to note how long this sweet/tart/floral aftertaste lingers.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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142 tasting notes

I’ve been sampling various teas today, but this one puts them in their place. So many good qualities I don’t know where to start! The dry leaves have an enticing floral scent which becomes more pronounced after the rinse. Initial steeps have an intense honeysuckle sweetness and notes of arugula, pistachio, and mustard greens. This one is very active in the mouth—-I noticed an interesting peppery spiciness. Very nice mouthfeel, lasting huigan, and body feel that continues through the steeps.

Its flavor profile reminds me of the 2015 YS Huang Shan Gu Shu, but I picked up some key differences. Structurally, the Da Qing has more up-front qi that moves upwards to my head whereas the Huang Shan’s qi settles and moves down to my core. Da Qing has more peppery spice whereas the Huang Shan is cooling/numbing and possesses more body, as well.

My cheeks feel flushed and my body is relaxed…almost to the point of feeling indifferent about the pile of work due tomorrow night. Almost.

Rasseru

I liked both these gu shu as well. Really nice stuff isnt it

tanluwils

It’s interesting to compare these two teas. I would purchase a cake had I not already grabbed a few HS cakes prior to trying the sample, but I think I made the right choice. Beyond taste, the underlying characteristics of the HS are more suited to my tastes.

jschergen

Nice review. I agree with your comparison.. I also opted for the HS but am quite fond of both. Had more of a stable base/body.

kevdog19

Huang Shan was eye-opening for me… I don’t look at the Da Qing with as much excitement or interest. Great review!

tanluwils

The HS and DQ both bring me to my happy place. Seriously, hats off to Scott for his pressings. They cover a wide geographic range and are by far the best value/$. He really does go off the beaten path to find these delectable hidden treasures.

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90
41 tasting notes

Good stuff this one. Initial steepings are light, but with a deep resonating back-of-palette bitterness and a granary sweetness that picks up the more it is steeped. The soup is dense, actually an opaque light-yellow that reminds me of an IPA. Flavors are nutty, with a sweet-corn and honey suckle quality that is somewhat ubiquitous north of Banna, but is intensely focused and balanced in this tea. By the third cup it is intensely bitter and in-your-face-floral. In fact, the bitterness seems to be everywhere in my mouth, from the way-back to right behind my teeth. If you’re a fan of scott’s Lincang/Simao pressings and enjoy some ku-ku-cha, then I’d recommend this…

Flavors: Corn Husk, Honeysuckle, Jasmine

tanluwils

I’ve read a few tasting notes for this tea and it’s autumn counterpart, which seems to be more popular that the spring version. Which one do you prefer? Also, I’m seeing similar tasting notes between this and the Huang Shan Gu Shu—which I thoroughly enjoy. Did you find this one to be more bitter and intensely floral? My sample is still in the mail.

kevdog19

I drank the Huang Shan a few days ago and this one today. Both superb teas, but I am leaning on the Huang Shan a little bit more. I think it depends more on the person’s taste since they both have such awesome features. The one is energetic and in your face, the other is smooth sweet and crisp.

mrmopar

You guys are killing me…. I must wait…

TeaExplorer

But then it might be all gone mrmopar
(just kidding … they’ve got plenty)

mrmopar

Oh no, its the pumidor. I had this in shipping for two months and that needs 2 weeks to wake back up.

TeaExplorer

Ah… I misunderstood. I’ve been letting my cakes rest for several months. Am I being too cautious?

mrmopar

I think you would be fine. I always try to abstain for a few weeks after I get them in.

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