Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Yunnan Sourcing's 2013 YS "Jing Mai Mountain" Wild Arbor Raw Puerh

Yunnan Sourcing's Description
Entirely hand-picked and processed at every stage makes this an awesome tea with perfect profile and aging possibilities.  Tea trees are between 80 and 150 years old growing naturally without the use of artificial fertilizers or pesticides!

My thoughts
Continuing on the puerh binge I've been on lately. I received a sample of this sheng in an earlier monthly plan from Yunnan Sourcing. I love when tea vendors offer a varied selection in the monthly tea clubs because oftentimes it ends up being a tea you would never have tried otherwise. Case in point, this gem. This is YS's own brand of puerh, which I have found can quite easily stand up to anything the big Chinese tea manufacturers make.

These leaves originate from Mangjing village at the foothills of Jingmai Mountain in southwestern Yunnan.

Dry leaves - It looks pretty much like you'd expect from a sheng with a bit of age behind it: more of a brownish-greyish-green than the bright silvery green of a new sheng. The aroma though is what sets this apart. Amidst the typical green pungency, there is the almost unmistakable smell of cherry blossoms. It's a very light floral stonefruity aroma, definitely none of that nasty cherry cough syrup smell.

Brewing parameters - 212F, 2 x 10s rinses, then <5s steeps at first, adjusting time as needed.

Tasting notes - Smooth, cherry blossom, kuwei bitterness, white grapes, mild astringency

Steeps 1-3: This sheng starts off not nearly as pungent as I expected. Wild-growing leaves can have a pretty wicked vegetal bite to them, but this is much mellower. The sweet cherry blossom aspect carries over nicely to the broth, and permeates the taste from start to finish. There is a very slight astringency that hangs around after the sip, but again it's not as strong as I expected from wild leaves.

Steeps 4-7: The astringency is gone already, leaving me with a smooth, sweet, cherry-infused soup. The mild bitterness is a little more prevalent here, but it's certainly not overwhelming; it's balanced very nicely with the sweetness. A bit more fruitiness is starting to crop up here, but I can't really place what it is yet.

Steeps 8-11: White grapes! That's what that fruitiness is. The grape component is quite a bit more prominent here, but sweet cherries are still the primary flavor. The broth is quite sweet now, overpowering the bitterness and is extremely smooth, with an almost lubricating mouthfeel.

Steeps 12+: Most of the individual flavors have faded by this point, but it's still a very sweet, smooth tea. I stopped at 15 steeps, but I'm confident I could have pulled at least another 5 from these before they gave out completely.

For only being two years old, this is a great tea. I could see this aging into something really special a few years down the line, and would certainly be a great addition to anyone's raw puerh collection.

You can buy this tea from Yunnan Sourcing here and here.

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