Let me introduce two new friends of mine:
When I realized that 50% of the tea I drink is Yi Wu, I thought the time for a new teapot has came. Drinking weaker tea, I realized that having one sheng pot and drinking Yi Wu mostly is like having unbalanced data given to a neural network - the Yi Wu dominated too much at times.
Today's tea is one of generously-sized samples from Chawangshop which stocks many rather cheap Yong Pin Hao cakes. This particular one may be bought at: http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/2008-yong-pin-hao-yiwu-zheng-shan-zhao-chun-bing-early-spring-raw-puerh-cake-400g.html. The price is very modest ($18,8 per 400g).
My experience with YPH is somewhat mixed. His 2001 YWZS Ancient Arbor (less then a cake is available at Yunnan Sourcing) is a grand tea in my opinion. The price reflects it, sadly. Some of his other more expensive ($40) cakes I tried were very well made, but not particularly captivating. I enjoyed drinking them but I felt no compulsion to buy more. This cake is rather similar. However, it costs less than half.
Let us have a closer look at dry leaves:
I like their appearance. They are shiny, furry, they pleasantly smell of cocoa. After being rinsed, the aroma becomes wider, more complex. The best description I can give is that rinsed leaves smell of dried bayberries (yangmei), which sadly did not win the last year's contest of best known fruit. Shortly said, it is very typical Yi Wu with less fruit, more cocoa and leather.
The taste reflects the aroma rather accurately. First brews are sweet, full, cocoa is dominant, a bit of bayberries, honey, flowers. The tea gradually becomes more leathery, fleshy and honey-like. The aftertaste is not particularly breathtaking, but it is sufficient. The liquor is clear, good looking, even inspection of wet leaves shows no unwanted overprocessing.
I think this tea is more or less very well produced and typical Yi Wu. It is more chocolate/cocoa-like than most I've drank. Good for more frequent drinking, I found no more obvious flaws, on the other hand, I did not find anything particularly interesting (but it may be just me, I feel like that about most YPH cakes/Maocha). The price is sound - a fine cake I'd say.