pondělí 30. dubna 2012

About telling teas apart and a new blog feature

I have added a new feature to my blog - the Tea map. All the teas I've tasted here are marked there. Why did I do so? I was thinking that I have been sorting my notes by year of production and by my opinion on them and that I should sort them by the locality of these teas too. This tea map gives us a reasonable way of navigating in tasted teas acording to their origin.

I started studying the map of Xishuangbanna when I realised I knew nothing at all about the places where the tea I like grows. True, geography was not too favourite subject of mine. I think that knowing where the tea does grow gives us a sort of understanding of its character. E.g., one is not surprised by Bulang and Nannuo having a nontrivial intersection in their taste spectrum, as they are quite close to each other. It is interesting to drink teas from near regions, looking at what they have in common (and where they differ). For example, without looking at the map, it would hardly occur to me that Youle and Yiwu were so near to each other as I thought these regions to be quite different. However, when I brewed some Youle tea along Yiwu, I could detect certain common features (not to be readily found anywhere else I believe).

I guess that when I learned about the places of origin of various teas, it further helped me to tell them apart. I have been asked by friends how does one learn to distinguish various regions. One usually says "drink enough tea and it will occur naturally". I think that it is true to an extent, but the process may be sped up. My first  two puerh years were definitely years of enjoynment, but hardly years of knowledge. I was drinking many samples, chosen mostly randomly or based on the producer's reputation. Although it gave me the idea that puerh is very diverse, I was confused. When I drank 50 teas from 25 quite distinct regions, it was difficult to point out the difference - because I did not have a grasp of what is typical of where. Were these teas wasted? Absolutely not, I did enjoy them in general. But it did not give me much from the point of taste memory/taste appreciation.

Human brain is plastic as...a plastic. It's fantastic. When one uses a sense unusually much, the relevant part of brain gets bigger. Also, tonotopy is formed - the more one does a thing, the clearer and more easily discernable is the representation in the tonotopic structure of the brain. Presenting 50 different new stimuli to the brain confuses it, it is difficult to form a representation based on that.

What really helped me, was to drink 25 teas from a single region. I started with Yiwu. From the 25 (roughly) samples, 20 had very much in common, the rest was CNNP and their likes, whose data were discarded as noisy. From that time on, I could tell what is "Yiwu taste" in a tea. Then I went on with Jingmai and Youle. Some reasonable representation of these regions has appeared in my brain, as the "Yiwu" synapses were, shallowly speaking, strenghtened by frequent use (sort of Hebbian learning). The brain got more confident.

What I mean to say is, that some organization is quite helpful when one drinks tea. When I wanted to understand puerh more, I started drinking chaotically and that did not help much.

Similarly, I find that taking notes about tea improves my memore of taste. From the time of chaotic drinking (where I made notes only seldom), I do not remember much. From the "time of orderly drinking", where I tend to take notes about teas of sufficient interest, I remember significantly more. It probably has something to do with having the locality tonotopy established too.

I feel that the tea map may bring further order to my knowledge of tea...hope it will prove itself to be useful!

neděle 29. dubna 2012

2008 Hai Lang Hao Lao Ban Zhang & Lao Man'E

This tea is still available at Yunnan Sourcing: http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=973
There is rather a lot of things written about this tea all around message boards, many people praising it quite highly. I have to say beforehand that I belong to these people thinking it is nice, but not spectacular (except the price tag).

Our orchid has new blossoms which reminds I have several Mi Lan Dan Congs to try...it's awful how puerh does drag one from other sorts of tea.

The last pieces of this Ban Zhang & Man'E cake...:

The leaves look good and smell allright, though not really making me crave it.

The liquor is not as clear as I would like, but it may be just that I used the last of my sample of this tea - with some dust.

The aroma is quite easy-going, resembling mostly the "light ground after spring rain".

The taste is actually mostly the light ground after spring rain too. It's like when you spray dwarven bamboo with water and then smell it. There is a bit of sweet granary, but not really much. The tea is sufficiently sweet and thick. The Man'E's characteristic bitterness is quite obvious and not overly pleasant. Hints of honey and fruitiness appear as brews progress. 

I remember how the tea was tobacco-ish a year ago, but that part of the taste is gone  now, for which I am grateful.

Except the bitterness, the tea rather closely resembles the great 2002 Pa Sha brick sold here by Longfeng. However, I thought the brick better and it was a bit cheaper as well (a positive thing about noname bricks).

The taste does stay in mouth but it is not really astonishingly pleasant. 

I enjoyed this tea as it brought back the memories of happy afternoons with the 2002 Pa Sha brick, but I can not say I'd think this tea worth the asked $92. I personally think that it is a fusion of the Banzhang bubble with HLH bubble, which produces...a bigger bubble.

Further reading: Half-Dipper

čtvrtek 26. dubna 2012

2011 YS Jinggu mini cake

This little fellow is available at: http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/category.php?id_category=20506203 Even though the material is very nice (visually, at least), these minicakes are quite cheap. Probably a consequence of its low-ish (Jinggu) origin.

I can't help it, but I really like mini cakes. I don't know how they are going to age, but they are so cute and also good for gifting. I bought a tong of these little Jinggu cakes to study the effect of aging in rather lightly pressed minicakes.


I generally use the gaiwan for the first tastings as it makes the analysis of the taste easier. And younger teas actually do taste quite good in the gaiwan. I somehow feel that clay is better suited for darker-than-green teas.

The liquor is nicely yellow, feels very young (well, it is...) and fresh.

The aroma of dry leaves is fresh and grassy, wet leaves smell darker and more complex, unusual.

The taste is more interesting than most Jinggu teas I've met. It is quite far from all the young teas I've had. It consists mainly of ripe fruit (quite unusual in a tea of this age in my opinion); light earthiness (like light ground after spring rain - not the dense aged earthiness), which is quite unusual in puerh in general; and some smoke - clean wood smoke, no unpleasant tobacco, smoked cheese or anything like that. I could live without the smokiness without much trouble, but I do not mind it either.

There are other things going on - there is floralness and spice. Actually, as this tea is really quite different from other teas I have tasted, I have a hard time describing the taste. I still do not feel I have captured all the important aspects. Well, anyway, it is quite enjoyable which is enough for me.

The tea is nicely thick and feels very good on tongue. It is quite calming and does not upset stomach, even though the tea is young. It has good stamina.

I am happy that I bought a tong of these minicakes - I don't meet that many teas whose taste is new to me. And I feel that this tea is not only beautiful, but quite good for drinking too, even this young.

neděle 22. dubna 2012

2010 Hai Lang Hao Yi Wu Cha Wang

I am usually the last one to eagerly give praise to expensive tea. This cake, still available at Yunnan Sourcing for $175 is probably the most expensive young puer I've had. I have been somewhat disappointed by some expensive young teas, thinking we are running into another puerh bubble. I ordered a sample as a part of larger Yi Wu purchase, trying to get to know the region better, not expecting much. What did I get then?

Dry leaves are, as one would expect, good-looking and giving a nice, fresh Yi Wu aroma:

The tea is rather pale yellow, an usual color for a tea of this age. The aroma is still quiet.

The taste is generally also rather quiet, but when this tea meets my tongue, it becomes obvious that this tea does not cost $175 for its taste only. The cha qi is probably the most intense I've met in a tea... The super-thick liquor coats the mouth, thick energy coats me from the outside too and draws me into a whirlwind of thoughts and memories. It leaves me quiet and unwilling to move - I'm just staring at two bonsais, appreciating their shape and their life. I feel like a part of the world, a part of the bonsais, of the room, of all the existing things. It is difficult to wake up back to more normal thoughts and I do not want to. Eventually, my usual consciousness returns and I have another cup which throws me back into that funny state.

I regain my senses during drinking the 3rd brew, noting the great cooling mouthfeel and gentle aftertaste. Then I go mind-wandering again, not wanting to get back anytime soon...

The taste itself is young, Yi Wu-fruitish, but quite distant. More imminent tastes I found were of sugarcane and grass. Pleasant, certainly, but this tea offers much more then just the taste.

Although I usually use more tea leaves, I used only 5g this time and it was quite sufficient to enjoy the powerful nature of this tea.

Even though this tea is expensive, I enjoyed every bit of it and will buy at least 25 grams more. Actually, as 5g is enough to make a great 0.75l of drink (and more is definitely possible), this tea costs $2.80 per 0.75l. What kind of wine can you get at this cost? If you survive drinking it, you may call yourselves happy. Thus, when buying 25 grams of this tea, you may think of it as of buying 5 bottles of luxurious wine. For this tea is luxurious and great. It really is the King of tea.

pátek 20. dubna 2012

2002 Six Famous Tea Mountains You Le

When I opened the package containing a sample of this tea, I was pleasantly surprised. Many big factories have some sort of "trademark taste" - their teas share a common "factory taste". Teas from SFTM I've had earlier were all quite similar too - and generally rather bad.

This one could be different, a real crouching tiger prepared to surprise me (like this "Prague tiger" I met wandering on rocks in Prokopske valley):

Dry, as well as wet leaves, gave a slightly aged aroma, dry-woody, spicy, with a bit of camphor.

The first two brews were acqually quite good, although mostly woody, not much fruitiness/floweriness I like about Youle. I enjoyed hints of caramel sweetness and starting "agedness" in the taste. The tea is in an interesting stage, losing its features of youth and gaining features of age instead. During the tasting I thought it was not overly complex, nor thick, but still quite nice and interesting. Although it felt dry stored (at least in last years), it has aged rather quickly, many 2002 teas are not nearly as aged as this one - probably a result of light compression.

What I enjoyed the most about this tea was the long cooling sensation and high activity on tongue imparted by the first two brews, a feeling I often associate with older trees. I was happy at that stage, thinking that even such a horrible company as SFTM is capable of producing good tea or at least was. Then the rest of brews came...

What happened when I had the tea for the first time happened also when I had it for the second time - the tea simply vanished, as if stabbed by a Morgul blade. The taste got weaker and weaker (and more and more boring) and the good mouthfeel has disappeared altogether. A possible explanation is that only a small part of leaves came from old trees - a practise which is well known in bigger factories. Anyway, from the 4th brew, I had to push the tea hard to get any taste of it - a minute long steepings are not my habit in 5th or 6th brew. Feeling the tea gave up completely in the fourth brew, I gave up two brews after him... it had nothing to offer at that stage. Even now, a day after, when smelling the wet leaves of the tea, they do not have almost any aroma - the tea is truly quite exhausted.

Maybe a while in recreational centre somewhere in wetter parts of China could help this tea get better, who knows. 

If the tea gave 8 brews as good as the first two, I'd say this tea is worth the asked $73. But two good brews are way too little... It is a pity - the tea is somewhat interesting, being at the edge of youth and age, but really too weak and too expensive.

pondělí 16. dubna 2012

2003 Yong Pin Hao Yi Wu Zheng Shan

I've been neglecting this sample from Yunnan Sourcing for a while. This is not available at YS anymore, however it still may be bought from jas-etea. The oldest tea from Yong Pin Hao I had was the 2001 Yi Wu Zheng Shan from Yunnan Sourcing - a magnificent tea. Then I was sort of clogged by many different (well, not much) 2007-8 Yong Pin Hao Yi Wu samples which were generally good, but not too interesting and not too memorable. That is why I did not try the sample of this 2003 for some time, being afraid it would bring nothing new again. What a surprise it was! It confirms that Yong Pin Hao used to make high quality tea too, not only good tea for reasonable money as he does these days.

Why the surprise? Some drinkers (probably mostly from the Czech Republic and Slovakia) have met the 2003 Yi Wu Zheng Shan private order - originally from Stéphane of Teamasters, re-sold here by Longfeng. I do not know the original price of this tea, however it is sold at around $300 here. Crazy, one might think. Anyway, during one barter of samples, I obtained a bit of it and tried it... and felt kind of underwhelmed, given the price. It was certainly very complex, good and all that, but the price was really off in my opinion (uneducated, that is). Why am I talking about a different cake when this post is labelled as 2003 Yong Pin Hao Yi Wu Zheng Shan? Well... I am not that qualified to say that the material of this cake is exactly the same as the 2003 YWZS from Teamasters. But if not exactly the same, it is damn similar! To verify this observation, I brewed the rest of the sample of 2003 YWZS from Teamasters and along and I have to say that the similarity is striking even when these two teas are brewed alongside. The leaves also look quite similar, being often two leaves and tips. The YPH tea seems to contain a bit more of broken bits, but that may be just the case with my sample.

In the first brew, sort of camphor & candy (dried longan?) taste did dominate (quite difficult to describe), along with a tiny little bit of smokiness. Nothing too remarkable at this stage. With further brews, tones of [over]ripe fruit did overtake the camphor (which gradually disappeared) - the tea was very good in this phase, complex, while retaining certain cleanliness. The tea is nicely sweet, first in a sugary way, forest honey joins the party evenually. I can not quite describe the taste, there is a lot of going on - occasional flowery or spicy tones appear too. The complexity of this tea is like when you listen to a good record on a good hi-fi set - you hear/taste the  complexity, yet it is not muddled together - you can hear/taste various components clearly.

The aftertaste still has an edge, which is nothing uncommon in a tea of this age. There are some woody tones, joined by the taste of forest honey from 3rd brew onwards. The aftertaste is slightly smoother in the 2003 YWZS from teamasters, but this could be also due to Taiwanese, vs. Kunming storage, not necessarily different material.

Mouth activity is very good, as well as "grand" cha qi. Older trees work very well here. Long-term aftertaste is good too, it stays in mouth for a long time.

This is quite a high-quality tea with not-that-common taste profile and it is, in my opinion, worth the asked $65 (on the other hand, I totally do not think that it is worth $300, even though the $300 cake weighs 500g and this $65 cake weighs 400g).

Is there anyone who tried both mentioned 2003 Yi Wu cakes? I myself find the similarity puzzling and would like to hear a second opinion on this.

Further reading: Listening to leaves

pátek 13. dubna 2012

2007 Boyou Manlu Da Shan

It is questionable whether it is reasonable to buy a whole cake upon a recommendation of a fellow blogger. However, a recommendation of the venerable Hobbes was enough for me to try this cake sold by Yunnan Sourcing. And, although I'm getting ahead of myself here, it was a good hit.

The cake is wrapped in nice, firm paper:

And the dry leaves (the empty piece has been consumed by me, not by mice):

And the card containing more information about the tea:

I love reading these notes. I thought that this cake was "contained with" puerh wrapper paper... but to say that this puerh is contained with high-series, high-Amino Acid of XishuangBanna Menghai Yunnan provice sounds so much cooler, does it not?

The compression has been done probably by osmium hydraulic press. It is the most densely pressed cake I've met so far.

The aroma of dry leaves is quiet (not surprising, given the degree of compression), slightly smoky, like some Bulang teas.

Wet leaves give a more interesting aroma, woody, spicy, quite rich. And almost without smokiness, I consider that good too. The aroma is still quite green and young, but some tones of dry-storage aging are presenting themselves already.

The taste brings me an immediate pleasure. It starts as woody, spicy and leathery (with just a hint of smoke), but gradually moves to more fruity tones which I enjoy. Also a bit of "sweet granary" appears. These new tastes are still mixed with earlier tastes, which gives us a nice complexity. I have to agree with the card contained with the cake here - the taste truly does evolve noticeably. The thickness of the liquor is good, as well as its sweetness. The tea is very strong, but not really harsh. Tannins are unusually high (again, they were similar to en primeur Bordeaux) - luckily they are silk smooth and not quite as disturbing as they could be. They prevent boredom, to say the least. The aftertaste is long and very pleasant, mouth activity is very nice (especially considering this is a big factory production). It is a highly energizing and inspiring tea - there is a lot of things going on in the taste - this is not a simple tea, although the first brews suggested it could be.

Actually, I felt the tea was, especially at the beginning, quite similar to many Bulang teas. Not knowing where Mengsong mountain lies, I looked it up on google maps...and to my pleasure, I found out that it is in the line of Bulang mountains, some  40 km from Bulang mountain itself. My guess at the taste was not completely off then (however, the distances between tea mountains are not that large as one might guess). Compared to most Bulang teas, this cake has more fruitiness and more tannins.

I enjoyed drinking this tea a lot. It is already very nice and nontrivial and I think that it could age into a really great thing - if I had the money and space, I'd buy more of it certainly. It is still not expensive at $31 and it has  reached the age where one may reasonably tell what may happen with further aging. Ok, maybe next year I'll buy more.

My spirit is aroused!

Further reading: Half-Dipper

středa 11. dubna 2012

Two bits from Yunnan Sourcing: 2011 Ba Da and Chen Yun

Let's have a look at two young teas made by Scott of Yunnan Sourcing I have tasted recently. We'll start with
Ba Da
My previous experience with Ba Da teas was not the best - they were generally pretty woody and tobacco-smokey. Not that some people would not enjoy these features, even I enjoy them from time to time, but my heart generally lies with other areas and tastes.

This tea is pretty consistent with my previous experience with Ba Da. It is probably better than others, but it is still a one-eyed king with a cataract in the land of the blind. I agree with Scott that it tastes of tobacco and pines. The tobacco is tobacco smoke actually - the not-burning tobacco smells quite differently from burning tobacco and both tobaccos are to be found in puerh, which sometimes results in confusion. The smokiness of this tea is sort of similar to certain Mangfei teas, but it is at least a bit ameliorated by the pineiness.

I have read Hobbes' notes recently and wondered about his description of taste. I quite agree about the ripe grass and grassiness in general. Actually, I believe that what I label as tobacco smoke&pines is surprisingly similar to wet ripe grass and that these two ways of description of the taste converge to each other in a way.

I think that fans of "hard" sheng might quite enjoy this tea. I must admit that I enjoy softer, more easily approachable cakes.

Further reading: Half-Dipper
And a surprise (for me, at least)... Me... Ok, it happened, I wrote about this tea already :-/

Chen Yun
This is a blend from Lincang, an area which falls into the category of "percussion areas" (e.g., Ba Da, Bang Dong, Yi Bang), being probably a triangle.

Six years ago when I was drinking several  lower-level Lincang puerh, I wrongly fell under the impression that Lincang is an area producing only hard, smokey teas which were not to my taste. Luckily, I got to better tea since then and now I know that Lincang houses some of the finer teas I've met. And Mengku, a subset of Lincang, is a whole another world too - although most of Mengku teas I've had did not make it past "quite enjoyable",  none of them were bad.

Back to this Chen Yun. Throughout the tasting, I felt that this is a pleasant tea, with a spectrum that fits my tastes, but it is not really powerful, nor outstanding in any way. It was lightly sweet, the "sweet granary" taste I generally enjoy was there, but it felt like it has not unleashed its strenghts yet. Actually, today I visited a tasting of en primeur Bordeaux wine - the feeling was similar in a way - some of these wines were also quite quiet and not yet developed.

I think that if this tea grows stronger with age (which is perfectly possible), it may be quite good. If not... it may be still a pleasant light drink. At $20, it is not an expensive experiment.

Even though this contains more of my favourite tastes than the Shang Chun I've tasted recently, I enjoyed the Shang Chun more for its vibrancy, strength and interesting development between brews.

Further reading: Half-Dipper

pondělí 9. dubna 2012

2011 YS Shang Chun

One of samples kindly provided by Scott, a welcome companion of my order from Yunnan Sourcing. I recently discovered it in my box of samples - I must have received it few months ago and it has been forgotten since. However, it has been unearthed and tasted yesterday so that I may taste a young tea again.

It is a blend and, according to my wild imagination,  it is more than a sum of its parts - of course, I make no claims about the future of such a young tea, I leave that to more knowledgeable people. I'm glad that Scott has started doing blends as I although I enjoy single-estate teas, good blends may be quite superior to them in means of balance and complexity. I wonder about the regions from which this tea comes... I think that the first several brews were quite like Jinggu and then something like Mangfei has appeared... And I believe that I noticed a taste similar to Pasha-iness in the late aftertaste, but it may be simply a taste common to more regions.

The dry leaves are furry and nice, but that is nothing new with Scott's cakes.

The aroma of wet leaves is grassy and chunky, seems like a very promising young puerh at this stage.

The taste had two rather different phases when I tasted the tea. The first phase was dominantly grassy and floral, very thick, mouth-coating and sweet - an enjoyable sugarcane kind of sweetness. The aftertaste was gently astringent and promoted salivation. The mouthfeel was a real treat after somewhat dull Xiaguan 8653 from 80s, the not-dry-stored version. This tea is very active in mouth and sends waves of energy throughout the body. When drinking Scott's young teas, one could fall under the impression that all the young shengs have this good intense mouthfeel, but try a few young Xiaguans, Menghais, Guanzizais and similar factories and you will quickly see that the reason is rather that Scott picks a very nice material - most young shengs do not have this pleasant mouthfeel.

I nicknamed the second phase of the taste as "Mangfei" phase as it is closest to the Mangfei teas I've had. The green grassiness starts to shapechange to mild tobacco-smoke-iness. I generally do not enjoy this taste too much and I wait until it disappears (and according to my current aging experience with Mangfei, it does age into something more satisfactory). However, in this tea, it is gentle and not overpowering so that even I have no problem enjoying it. And the sugarcane sweetness goes on and on, as well as remains of the floralness from the first phase.

I quite enjoyed drinking this tea; even though it is so young, it gave a calming, harmonizing session I will repeat in near future. The price is sound, no problem here.

The wet leaves say  goodbye!

Further reading: 

sobota 7. dubna 2012

1980s Xiaguan 8653 Traditional characters

We had a look at the dry stored version of this tea in the last post. I thought it wise to try the not-dry stored version as soon as possible. Yesterday, I sat in our living room, played the same music, used the same teapot and all that. However, as people have noticed many times, you can not step into the same river twice.

Dry leaves and liquor:

The dry leaves smelled positively chocolatey.

Wet leaves have raised a flag of suspicion. Where I enjoyed the complex aroma of dry stored version for minutes, here I just put the lid back on the pot and thought "allright, let's have a look at the taste".

The performance in mouth was a disappointment, sadly. The taste alone is not bad, although it is maybe almost too "low" for me - not the complex higher, cleaner tastes found in the dry stored version. It is woody, chocolatey and aged. The liquor is extremely thick, which is good, but I could not find much more. It feels sort of powdery in mouth, which I generally do not enjoy much. I've been waiting for any significant mouth activity, but it just did not come - even the not-that-great Tong Qing Hao felt much better in this aspect. The aftertaste was not that long and not much interesting.

This tea felt low, smooth and calm to me...actually, too smooth and calm, not far from the country of Boring. Especially given the prize and comparing it to the dry stored version, I feel I did not enjoy this tasting sufficiently.

However, I am still not that knowledgeable about aged tea (and given their prices, it is unlikely I will ever be) so I may be missing something important. For example, I could not tell this is the same tea as the dry stored version. It tastes and feels quite different.

Funny how aged tea changes one's tastes and memories of taste - when drinking this tea, I thought "wow, this really tastes like a shu" - so I brewed two different shu puerhs to verify this observation... and found them to be quite different (sadly, one felt more active and enjoyable than this aged Xiaguan).

Anyway, I'm still glad I tried this tea, but if I had to choose between the dry stored version and this version, I would not hesitate a second and chose the dry stored version.

středa 4. dubna 2012

1980s dry stored Xiaguan 8653 traditional characters

I don't think that this cake needs much introduction for those EoT-positive readers, as it looks very appealing at the Essence of tea website. Even though there are cheaper teas in the world, I decided to purchase a sample, as well as the non-dry stored version (which I'll drink and probably write about on Friday) with the purpose to enlighten myself a bit.

Although dry stored, there is some frosting (or it seems so) on the dry leaves:

Dry leaves give a rather ordinary aged aroma, but the realm of wet leaves is a whole another world! It is definitely the most complex aged tea I've tried so far. Apart from agedness, there is heavy dense fruitiness (overripe pears, wild briar?) and more things which affect my mind but I am unable to describe them.

The taste sticks to the agedness mostly, but again, is somehow more complex and more sweet than any of previously tasted aged teas. Even though the tea is dry stored (well, there are various degrees of dry storage), it is not bitter at all. In some aged teas, the taste is only complementary to the energy. In this tea, I enjoy the taste too.

The liquor is dark and very thick, feels great in mouth:

Although the tea is not young, it is still vibrant and energetic. It feels calming and harmonizing at the same time - when I drank it, I felt like bathing in a whirlwind of thick and friendly energy.

It is generally exceptionally clean, pure, coherent and powerful tea, much enjoyed.

neděle 1. dubna 2012

Two surprises from Yunnan Sourcing

2009 Hai Lang Hao Yi Wu Zheng Shan
Right ho, the lemon first. After almost a year of waiting and pondering, I decided to buy whole cake - at last I might say. I still remember when I had the three great session with a sample of it. Today, I opened the cake, smelled it and tasted it. Expectations may hurt sometimes...such was my gloom...

The issue is, that this is different tea. It is likely that the sample I received back then was misplaced. I quite well remember how I thought its taste unlike a Yiwu tea, looking and tasting older than 2009... how I read Hobbes's notes on it and felt strangely in disagreement with his notes. It sounded so different.

Now, after reading his notes again and comparing them with this tea, I have to agree. It is not as fruity as many Yiwu cakes - it is much more in the nutty/buttery cluster - a very nice tea, but not that uber-lovely thing I got as a sample. Looking back and remembering the taste, I guess it was some fine Bulang, but god knows which.

Well, let's not cry over spilt tea, it is still a nice tea and I may write about it sometime soon...and rename the original article to Unknown soldier.

2011 Yunnan Sourcing Purple Yi Wu
You may remember my rather excited notes on the 2010 predecessor of this cake. It is still one of my most favourite teas for frequent drinking. It has its limitations, but the taste is still mighty fine when brewed right. When I want a tea with great mouthfeel and intense energy, I'll take something from older trees, true - but I often enjoy this easy-going lovely tea.

Now I was excited to try a younger sibling of the 2010 version. To make the long tasting short - Scott has done it again :) It is very similar. The 2010 version has aged a bit already so it is darker overall (not necessarily better, just different), the good clean and heavy fruitiness is there again, mingling with the "purple taste". I have little idea how these cakes are going to age (although the progress is promising so far), but if they don't deteriorate, I'm a happy man.