Tea Blog

2012 Wild Tree Purple Tea of Dehong Puer – YS

The Puer section of Tea chat forum (mostly debunix and myself) had a little discussion involving both the Yi Wu Purple Tea 2012 from Yunnan Sourcing, and the focus of this post, the Wild Tree Purple Tea of Dehong 2012. While both puer teas share a deep purple exterior, that is where their commonalities end.

 

Dry Purple Puerh Tea from Dehong
Dry Purple Puer Tea from Dehong

The dried leaves are Deep Purple. ( Not Purple Rain purple. )

Brewing Puer Tea
Cleanin’ n’ Pourin’

After the clean, the gaiwan smells like smoked meats. Savory and thick. It’s an oddly pleasant smell that stirs hunger and desire for scrambled eggs. The soup itself smells of pine. Side note, I filled my yixing pot with the soup after I was finished drinking, and left it open to the air. When I returned at the end of the day, the whole room smelled of pine and puer.

cuppa tea
The golden liquor, thrown off by the celadon cup

The first cup is smokey, but in a very pleasant way. It is neither harsh, nor aggressive, like a young Xiaguan. The smokeyness seems to be more of an inherited flavor, than an addition – meaning, the smoke does not appear to come from a charcoal fire near the leaves during processing. It’s not so much the feeling of smoke (which can tense the throat) as it is the flavor of smokeyness.

After about the 4th steep, I decided the soup was a little thin and began eying the remaining 4 grams of puer left in my sample. I thought to myself, “What the hell am I going to do with 4 grams of puer?” It’s the dilemma we have all faced. You have managed to eat 6 of 8 pieces of pizza, and are fairly full, but decide to choose gluttony and regret over prudence and clean living. Those last two pieces are not quite lunch for tomorrow, and the impending stomachache does not get factored in to the decision.

Gaiwan full of tea
Gaiwan with an unreasonable amount of tea

I crammed topped off my gaiwan with the remaining 4 grams. I stand by my decision.The next few steeps took a bit of tweaking before it reached a comfortable place. Somewhere in those steeps was a smoked sausage brew that was quite nice, albeit a bit heavy. I eventually settled on some quick 7-8 seconds steeps, and the remainder of the session was quite enjoyable.This cake has plenty of punch – even without an overstuffed gaiwan. It has a youthful edge, but some age will likely turn this into a very drinkable cake. It is already drinkable, and for puer drinkers who crave savory smoke, it is solid.
400 gram cakes retail at Yunnan Sourcing for $25, which is a fine price for a sizable amount of good tea.

Puerh tea
A thick over brew – this porridge is jussssst right.

 

 

Read More

Yiwu purple puer tea leaves

2012 Yiwu Purple Tea YS

If I ever press an Yiwu purple puer tea, I will have an extraordinarily difficult time naming it. I won’t bore you with the hundreds of suitable names I have come up with in my free time, but atop my list are “Purple drank“, “Grimace’s delight”, and “Screwed up and chopped“. (or maybe just Lean?… have  I lost everyone yet? I am trying to win the award for most 1990’s Houston hip hop references for a tea blog entry this year)

Scott, from Yunnan Sourcing, has gone with a much more direct approach, and named this “Yi Wu Purple Tea”. I actually appreciate his directness, especially considering he could have named it something like Purple Dragon Twilight Emperor’s Blend.

Tea blog for Yiwu Purple
Yunnan Sourcing’s Yiwu Purple

A Quick Bit of Background

Before I jump into this tea blog review. A small discourse evolved around this tea on the popular forum teachat. You can view the thread here. Quick Summary, another puer drinker (Debunix, whose blog can be found here) and I had some differing opinions on this tea. Nothing wrong with differing opinions, and I quite liked the comparison Debunix made between the 2012 Dehong Purple and the Yiwu Purple, which I drank around the same time as the Yiwu purple, but have yet to finish the tea blog post for. I only regret that I had already finished off my sample by the time the discussion occurred, so I never had the chance to drink them side by side like Debunix did, which would have made for a more interesting tea blog comparison.

Back to Tea Blog Tomfoolery

Yiwu puer tea
Dat purple stuff

The leaves are attractive and my poor photograph does not capture the depth of the plum purple hue.  The sample I had was loosely packed with plenty of large leaves. The smell was light and sweet, and matched the color – if smells can match colors.

Yiwu Puer tea in the cup
Purple Drank

If you read the thread above, you know where this is going. One way ticket to Sourtown. Here are some notes I jotted down in my log whilst drinking:

Steep 1: Astringent on the tip of the tongue, some non-distinct Yiwu sugar

Steep 2: Sourness, slight kuwei [bitterness], astringent, a little white sugar on the back end, the cup smells like butter

Steep 3: The gaiwan smells like 7-grain bread, golden colored soup, more sour

(blah blah blah)

Steep 5: Not much going on,  sour on the front end, some soft yiwu huigan [sweetness in the mouth after drinking]

(further blah blah blah)

Steep 7: Acerbic the whole way through

 

When I wrote acerbic, I was thinking of a specific flavor. A lemon wedge that has been left in an exposed glass of water overnight. The reason I know this flavor so well, is due to a personal habit of leaving lemon wedge stuffed water glasses out overnight and drinking them the day after. It is an acquired taste… acquired by being too lazy to throw out old water.

I also made an interesting note, that I was having more fun smelling the cups than drinking the tea, mainly due to the sourness. But, also due to the lovely evolving fragrances the tea was leaving behind in the gongbei [communal cup] after each steep.

Yiwu purple puer tea leaves
The purple tea leaves, which are not screwed up n’ chopped

Aesthetically, the leaves look healthy, robust. Lots of plump stems and big tea leaves.

puer tea on a tea tray
The aftermath of the battle of little big lemon

Since there was such a difference in what Debunix and myself experienced, I thought I would make a shortlist of possible reasons for the discrepancy:

  • got a bad chunk of cake
  • stray lemon rind got pressed got discarded into the maocha
  • I steeped twice as much tea as Debunix (as you can see from the pictures, I loaded the gaiwan with gluttony*)
  • mistakenly used vinegar to brew tea in lieu of water
  • just wasn’t my bag (see: some people like apples, some like oranges)
  • top level tea blog conspiracy
*I normally steep on the gluttonous (see: American) side of things, and have rarely experienced sour flavor like this, but I am still not ruling it out as a possible reason. If nothing else, it is a variable in our experiment

Whatever the reason, I can not say this was the most enjoyable tea session I have ever had – but it was also not that bad. I want to get another sample, just so i can give the Yiwu purple another go around on the tea blog. That being said, if I was to order a young tea from Yunnan Sourcing tomorrow, I would decidedly prefer the Wu Liang Shan 2012 over the Yiwu Purple.

Read More

Puer Tea in the gaiwan

2012 Wu Liang Mountain Wild Arbor Raw Puer Tea – YS

I got trapped smelling the dry leaves of this puer tea for a full minute. The smell was quite deep and fragrant, a mix of tobacco and apricots. The fresh tobacco smell is common in raw puer tea, but to have a smell of apricots was a treat. The leaves appeared quite small, which I later read on the Yunnan Sourcing website (where the tea can be purchased) was:

Due to the high altitude most of the tea trees in this area are a naturally occurring hybrid of large and small leaf (sinensis and var. assamica)

 

Wu Liang Shan Dry Tea
Wu Liang Shan Dry Tea

After I pulled my nose out of the bag, I did a quick rinse of the tea. The gaiwan smelled slightly sweet and  floral. The first steeping was  calm and smooth, while still showing signs of youth. The smell coming off of the leaves was creamy.

 

Puer tea in the Gaiwan
Puer tea in the Gaiwan, with a little steam

The second steeping brought out a lot of vibrancy that was not present in the first cup. The flowers became more pronounced, and a pleasant kuwei (desirable bitterness) began to emerge. The further steeps had a lovely crescendo of kuwei, that built up steep after steep, peaking around steep number nine. My throat was thoroughly coated in bitter goodness by this point. Unfortunately, the session was a victim of my busy schedule. But, had I been able to continue, the Wu Liang puer tea would have obliged far into the teens.

 

Wu Liang Shan cha in the gaiwan
The first few steepings of Wu Liang Shan

 

The leaves, although small, look quite healthy. There were some slightly burned leaves (pictured below) in the sample that I had, but the flavor of ‘burn’ (see: tastes like burning) or smoke did not show up in the soup.

Spent leaves in the gaiwan
Spent puer tea leaves
Slightly charred leaf from the sample
There was some small amount of char on the outside of a few leaves

 

For such a young raw puer tea, it is both pleasant and strong. Usually, if a young puer tea is too pleasant, I worry whether it lacks potential to age well. The Wu Liang Shan tea left me with no such worry. It has plenty of strength and staying power and is a bargain, at $23 for a 400g cake.

 

Read More