Vendor: Yunnan Sourcing
Origin: „Xiao Hu Sai area of Mengku county in Lincang“
Storage: Guangdong (relatively) dry storage
Link: Tea at Yunnan Sourcing
For this session i used 5g in a 75 ml gaiwan with hot filtered tab water, wich was during the session mostly around 97° to 99° Celsius
some general thoughts about these tasting notes: here (updated)
Smell & look of the dry leaves:
a few quite green-yellowish leaves makes the tea quite pleasant looking, there is a floral, orchid smell with a little bit of honey as well
the wett leaves smell very fruity, i notice peach and vanilla
still opening up, i brewed it only a few seconds, i think not more than 10, but there is a good silky mouthfeel on the tongue, there is tartness and some vanilla-sweetness… less fruity or floral notes than expected, but i guess they will show up in the next round.
I brewed it only a few seconds longer than the 1. brew … because i did not want to oversteep it, and it was the right decision… it is already quite strong and powerful.
Intense yellow-green color… from the color i would guess it is a 3 or 4 year old sheng tea, but this is 11 years old!!!
It is pleasant to drink… has some full tartness that is accompanied by a slight bitterness more at the back of the tongue. I could not feel much sweet aftertaste, but there is still this quite pleasant vanilla-sweetness that comes together with the tartness.
I would call it more a floral than a fruity tea, also i could not name any concrete (floral) taste.
Similar like the second brew, i again brewed it very quickly, because i did not want the tartness to become too strong.
The sweetness is slight, but in a good relation to the tartness. Still only slight bitter.
This brew is the most floral so far, and more sweet and light than the other brews. Overall the tea has some kind of „airy“ feeling to it… no hint of any earthy or tobacco tastes.
Sometimes i forget how „old“ this tea is… it has really a very young appearance in all aspects.
I do like this round very much, there is now more honey, even more floral notes (orchids?) and all that while the enjoyable tartness is still present without being excessive.
wow, every round tastes better than the one before, mabye because the later the session, the more sweet are coming in generally… but it is far from fading out, still lot of power in the brew.
yap, again even better than Nr.6 … now with some sweet sugar cane taste…
… i continued until around brew Nr. 10
Before todays session i already experimented with this tea… the first 2 sessions where really really bad… and was ready to call this one of the worst puerhs ever… but i learned a lot during the last and todays session…
Why did the first 2 sessions not turn out good?
First, there is the psychological and physical (maybe even spiritual, who knows? 🙂 ) factor… maybe my mood or body constitution where affecting my judgment and/or the way i was brewing the tea.
Second, i think this is a tea that can be easily overbrewed, leading to a sour and too bitter brew, without helping the high floral and sweet notes to a good performance.
excursus „chaozhou gongfucha“:
Recently i (re)discovered the“chaozhou gongfucha brewing“technique and (re)read some posts about it, with 3 posts being most informative and useful, namely:
At Teamasters: Chaozhou gongfucha brewing, step by step
and Kyarazen: Chaozhou Gongfu Tea Brewing Method
and Teaism: Vibro (i`m not 100% sure about this „vibro“ aspect, but it is a „fun to believe“ concept)
I found this technique actually very nice, because it helped me to focus more on the whole brewing procedure and i started to like the teas i brewed this way very much…
I experimented with this style 2 years ago already once… but back than, i think i neglected some aspects which i think now, are quite essential for this brewing style.
Namely for example to take very good care of the process of filling the pot with leaves… not only stuffing them inside randomly, but bringing the smaller parts to the middle of the pot and covering them with leaves (as described very good in the Kyarazen post).
I can`t tell you if this really makes a better brew, but taking care of every step with mindfulness is anyway a good thing… even if it is not actually improving the tea on a scientific base…
Oh boy, – my poor english skills are badgering (is this a good word in this context?) me…
I hope you know what i mean about the Chaozhou Gongfu… all those things you can do (turning, shaking, roasting, vibro, how to arrange the leaves, how to poor the water into the pot etc. ) … maybe even if they do not, or not all, affect the tea on a logical base, it helps for a good feeling and that is reason enough to do it…
While at „teamasters“ it is stated otherwise, very often i read that this technique was used often to brew low quality Oolong while aiming at bringing out, nevertheless the low quality, the most palatable cup of tea.
So i tried it, quite without any high expectations with this tea… and i was so very much surprised… how good it suddenly was.
And i`m very thankful for this experience and it fills me a little bit with humility… how can i ever say in the future that some tea is „not good“ … maybe it will be very often that my mistakes or mood or whatever, will ruin the tea?!
So, i learned that brewing matters a lot, your attention, awareness, skill … all that matters when you try to brew a nearly „perfect“ cup of tea.
That i could sit here, even „just“ with the gaiwan, can`t call it Chaozhou Gongfu style today, and drink the same tea that i was rejecting so much a few weeks ago… and really have a great session with it, that fills me with joy.
tastes: orchid, vanilla, peach, sugar cane
5 Star Conclusion
Mutability from brew to brew:
Cha Qi (most subjective):
How i personally like this tea: 74%
As a addition, some thoughts about my percentage rating:
0-10 % = this is not (can`t be) tea
10%-20%= this maybe was tea, but now it is not (should not be called) tea any more
20%-30% = something is very wrong with this tea
40%-50% = very low quality teabag tea or some i dislike equally much
50%-60% = maybe some people like this, i can`t really enjoy it
60-70% = maybe some things i did like, but overall rather a tea that i would never buy (again)
70-80% enjoyable, good – i would prefer this tea over any non tea drinks at almost any time
80-90% very good
90-95% extremely good
95-100% does this tea really exist? Is this only a dream?