Official Pu of the day


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby bonescwa » Jun 26th, '14, 15:16

puyuan wrote:
bonescwa wrote:
MarshalN wrote:
bonescwa wrote:I found an old bag of samples and came across about 10 g of teaurchin's spring 2012 gaoshanzhai. This is the tea that made me understand what the fuss was all about. For being only 2 years old it has almost no bitterness and has a sweet floral barnyard taste and aroma. Anyone know of any decent non-Teaurchin gaoshanzhais that are still available and reasonably priced? This one is neither.


Any real gaoshanzhai gushu will cost you a bundle.

I figured... I wasn't sure if it was one of the costlier regions or not. do you think there are any regions that are undervalued for their quality right now?


It's not one of the costlier villages in Banna, but that doesn't mean it's cheap anymore. My friend pressed two types of gaoshanzhai cakes this year. One with the plump looking leaves typical of the place (made from selected bigger trees) and a more normal one, and sold me a kg of the second, at cost. It was 1500 rmb per kg, 2500 retail. That's the cheapest possible, imo, unless the farmers sold later flushes for less, or if you get something heavily cut with small tree material. Tea from Xishuangbanna has gotten very expensive all over. Many places, even ones that had stable high price-to-quality ratios, doubled in price from last year. There are still little-known groves in places like the deeper ends of Yiwu, but the chances of finding tea from such a place are very slim, and the chances of finding anything worth the while (due to processing issues) are even slimmer. (That's talking about 2014 teas, that is.)

edit: I think I sounded a little to apocalyptic. There are affordable teas in Banna, obviously, but generally not too below 80-100 usd a cake.

Other than that, for real cheap teas with non-plantation material, you can look into teas from Lincang, Lancang, Laos, Burma... I personally don't, on average.

So you feel that Burman and Laotian teas aren't worth it, even for their lower price?
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby puyuan » Jun 26th, '14, 16:19

bonescwa wrote:
puyuan wrote:
bonescwa wrote:
MarshalN wrote:
bonescwa wrote:I found an old bag of samples and came across about 10 g of teaurchin's spring 2012 gaoshanzhai. This is the tea that made me understand what the fuss was all about. For being only 2 years old it has almost no bitterness and has a sweet floral barnyard taste and aroma. Anyone know of any decent non-Teaurchin gaoshanzhais that are still available and reasonably priced? This one is neither.


Any real gaoshanzhai gushu will cost you a bundle.

I figured... I wasn't sure if it was one of the costlier regions or not. do you think there are any regions that are undervalued for their quality right now?


It's not one of the costlier villages in Banna, but that doesn't mean it's cheap anymore. My friend pressed two types of gaoshanzhai cakes this year. One with the plump looking leaves typical of the place (made from selected bigger trees) and a more normal one, and sold me a kg of the second, at cost. It was 1500 rmb per kg, 2500 retail. That's the cheapest possible, imo, unless the farmers sold later flushes for less, or if you get something heavily cut with small tree material. Tea from Xishuangbanna has gotten very expensive all over. Many places, even ones that had stable high price-to-quality ratios, doubled in price from last year. There are still little-known groves in places like the deeper ends of Yiwu, but the chances of finding tea from such a place are very slim, and the chances of finding anything worth the while (due to processing issues) are even slimmer. (That's talking about 2014 teas, that is.)

edit: I think I sounded a little to apocalyptic. There are affordable teas in Banna, obviously, but generally not too below 80-100 usd a cake.

Other than that, for real cheap teas with non-plantation material, you can look into teas from Lincang, Lancang, Laos, Burma... I personally don't, on average.

So you feel that Burman and Laotian teas aren't worth it, even for their lower price?


I wouldn't say that, but there isn't a clear path in the market to follow these teas yet. It's also hard to generalize, particularly because a lot of the yield of these far-out places is used to fake or cut other teas. For instance, laotian leaves were being used to increase the yield in a few of the Guafengzhai gardens, according to someone I know. Is the material good? I'm no expert, but I got a few cakes from the Yiwu-Laos border from this same friend's group and they are superb for the price, but they supervised the processing. If the material further up into Laos if of the same quality... Or if you find something like it, dig in, but it's not always in the open market, at least by name. I'll be trying some tea from Burma too, because it's dirt cheap, but what I hear is that their processing has been consistently terrible since 2006 and a lot of lesser leaves are mixed in with old tree material. I still have to see for myself if that's true or not.

That about sums up what I know about border teas. I hear there are some people messing around with thai and vietnamese material too, which sounds interesting.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby the_economist » Jul 1st, '14, 14:08

Mystery puer sample from TU. This has been hanging around in my office drawer for 2-3 years! My guess is 2011 Autumn, probably an Yiwu. Very sweet first infusion.

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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby puyuan » Jul 1st, '14, 17:04

I've been owing these little reviews for a long time, if only in thankfulness for the generous samples included in the first order. (Time went by fast, geez.)

I started going through JJT's Mensongs a few days ago - 2012, 2013 danzhu, 2010 (sample, last remainders of a cake) and one sample in minituo form which I assume is last year's version. The 2010 was the first one and I forgot to keep notes, but it was nicely stored and shows promise of further improvement. It was a notch below the other teas, though, being a little thinner. There's a very noticeable progression in the quality of the processing from year to year, and I think the later maocha was a bit better too. I wonder if the gardens are the same. Still, in retrospect it would have been a bargain, worthy of a tong. Sigh.

The 2012 is really nice. I think I've already mentioned it here - orthodoxically fruity and very dynamic from brew to brew. It lasted forever. Body was probably the weakest point, but then again I brewed it light. The single tree, on the other hand, is a darker tea with loads more body and depth, but suffered from being a little more one-dimensional. When both were blended, I got what was probably the best tea I ever had from that region, Naka teas and CYH 2009 included. (I guess that's how I'll be brewing danzhu cakes in the future.) Prices nothwistanding, the bar has been set very high for the 2014 siblings.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby the_economist » Jul 3rd, '14, 21:51

Jingmai, spring 2012 from TU. This has mellowed out some, nice throat action!

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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby BW85 » Jul 4th, '14, 00:35

EoT 2004 private order, origin unknown, no wrapper or neifei, but very very tastey, smooth and relaxing old tree leaves :)
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Tead Off » Jul 4th, '14, 01:11

2014 Bulang Beauty from TU. An aromatic aroma with a light sweet flavor giving a thick mouthfeel and a bit of astringency. Mouth buzzing and light huigan. Some energy.

To be fair, all the 2014 teas I've tasted are way too young to drink and have not developed much flavor or structure yet. Is it the harvest or the processing? That deep Bulang flavor is too subtle at this stage.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Jul 4th, '14, 01:41

Tea Urchin Spring 2012 Man Zhuan: I brewed 6g in a favorite 120ml glazed Petr kyusu. Even in the glazed kyusu the brew was very balanced and really pleasant. It was exactly what I was looking for in my opening tea time today: clean, light amber liquor with apricot, grass, floral flavor combined with a mild but pleasant huigan and solid durability across the ten rounds poured before I stopped to move onto another tea.

Blessings!
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Tead Off » Jul 4th, '14, 10:43

Tead Off wrote:2014 Bulang Beauty from TU. An aromatic aroma with a light sweet flavor giving a thick mouthfeel and a bit of astringency. Mouth buzzing and light huigan. Some energy.

To be fair, all the 2014 teas I've tasted are way too young to drink and have not developed much flavor or structure yet. Is it the harvest or the processing? That deep Bulang flavor is too subtle at this stage.


NOTE: I wrote this in the early part of the day. This evening, I went back to this and was pleasantly surprised that the tea began opening up after about 10 brews. The Bulang flavor appeared more boldly, still somewhat subtle, but more noticeable on the tongue. This tea keeps giving. 20-30 brews easily.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby puerhking » Jul 7th, '14, 14:07

2012 Zhu Peng Zhai from Yunnan Sourcing today. Some sweetness and grain with floral notes and a decent amount of bitterness. Took a little leaf out and it was better for me. Good stuff that will probably have enough punch to age well.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby puyuan » Jul 7th, '14, 14:43

Having just reread my last comment, I notice I made a mistake: the tea mentioned wasn't the 2012, but the sample (13?). I don't actually remember how the 12 was during the session. I remember brewing it strong, substantial huigan with lingering bitterness (tartness) of the nice type and copious shengjin. I also remember fooling around with the yedi - loads of buds, 1-2s, solitary 2s, a few one leaf two buds, and only a small amount of bigger leaves. I actually picked all the bigger ones I could find from a huge pile to get a sweeter last brew.

Which made me think back upon the Bangdong maocha samples which I have been drinking, and other 2013 teas from different places. Earlier today I had a "Bingdao Zhengshan". Nothing to write home about. I can see it being from the Bingdao-at-large I sometimes see named, Baiwa, Nuo Wu etc. It was similar to the Teadezhang 2013 Bingdao brick I got thanks to TeadOff, except lesser in every single way.

Then I inspected the spent leaves. This is a trend I've been noticing, perhaps unfairly since my sampling as an armchair tasseologist is biased - no huangpian, but loads of older leaves, grades 3 and up, even in teas that professedly have the conventional one bud two leaves picking. Only a small proportion of 1-2-3s. Except for one sample, all have been like that, including a minicake. It's not necessarily a disaster teawise (not necessarily a good thing either) but it shows that cutting with other material, mixing teas from other seasons and the overwhelming blending of smaller (or very young) tree leaves with older ones, aren't the only ways farmers have to make bulk for this maddened market.
Last edited by puyuan on Jul 9th, '14, 08:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby AllanK » Jul 7th, '14, 23:17

Just finished a tea session with the 2008 Yunnan Menghai Dayi Song of Chi Tse Ripe Puerh Tea from Berylleb King Tea. I steeped the tea 5 times in a simple ceramic tea steeping mug. It got progressively better each time and was one of the best ripe puerhs I have tasted. It had much less fermentation flavor than expected. It tasted much like a 2003 tea I have only better.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/321336188253?va ... 1439.l2649
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Rdeitz » Jul 13th, '14, 15:55

Trying the Wan Gong 2013 Spring by Tea Urchin. The good: the quality of the leaf is amazing. The color is a crystal clear amber that holds up to seemingly endless infusions. The tea is very thick and hearty. There is almost no bitterness. But it is lacking in character. I find the flavor is kind of dull, with no punch and little huigan. I wonder how a tea like this will age. It is clearly very high quality, but little flavor for my tastes.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby brandon » Jul 13th, '14, 20:32

What you're describing is the reason why blending exists.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby puyuan » Jul 14th, '14, 12:23

brandon wrote:What you're describing is the reason why blending exists.


Indeed.

In all fairness, from the website's description, this is actually has some Bingdao and LBZ material blended in.

A young single estate tea being low in flavor can mean many things (the particular flush or season being poorly affected by the climate, for instance), not all of which are bad. Some Manzhuan teas that start minimalistic become exceedingly loud after a few years. It could be the case with this Wangong, since the grade of material is fine, and it's thick and durable. Lack of huigan is slightly more worrisome, imo. And if it were to lack in other things, well...

Rdeitz, did you leave the sample airing out for a while? This is a tea I'd probably be interested in.
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