September 16, 2009

Yunnan Sourcing Tasting Notes ( Alpha ) = Yiwu

Alpha was a bit of a problem for me. Using my usual brewing methods with Alpha resulted in severely compromised durability. After four infusions Alpha was done. But what I tasted I initially liked. Slightly bitter and astringent with a flavor of under ripe pears and nuts, I keep thinking cashews.There was a very mild sweetness that balanced very well with the other flavors. Also a slightly grassy, sour taste that was also in the aroma of the dry leaf. Just fruity acidity and nutty. Nice enough. Brews a crystal clear yellow cup with the slightest tinge of apricot. Over all a nice tea but the durability needed to be addressed. So increasing the qty. of leaf and keeping the infusion times very short solved that but what resulted was a cup that was bitingly bitter and astringent. Not the clean crisp bitterness that we normally admire in a sheng. This was intense. A bitterness that really hunkered down and stayed a while, heavy penetrating chalky astringent bitterness. Alpha had some really good aspects but that aftertaste makes for an unpleasant session. I really wanted to like Alpha, but I just couldn't. So, seeing how Alpha was the first tea in the tasting and my just flat out not liking it very much, it kinda set the tone for disappointment for me on some kind of subconscious level. And I think I started to focus on the teas faults, very unfair, you can find fault in any tea if you look hard enough. Had I more experience with Alpha maybe this issue could have been resolved but the sample had been consumed. So all I,m left with is a memory of creepy, creepy bitterness.

Alpha = Yiwu


  1. Bret,

    Nice to read your detailed notes.

    Interesting that you found this tea to be overly bitter. Although it gets a touch bitter way into the session, one wouldn't say it's such a negative thing. In fact one quite enjoyed this one.

    What kind of water are you using?

    If you still have some more of this sample leftover maybe you can try making it in yixing and using coarse clay cups?

    Just a suggestion to get the most out of this nice sample.

    Thanks again for the detail in your notes.


  2. Hi Matt, No, the sample is gone, if I had more of it I think I could have found a way to deal with this tea with a more positive outcome. I always use a Yixing and the water I use is Crystal Geyser Spring water. This water is very clean with low mineral content. I don't know if you are a member of Badger & Blade, a forum for pu-heads, but I am not the only person who found this tea to have the same problems. I think it,s really good quality tea but just not to my liking. However, the Epsilon, don't get me started.

  3. Bret,

    One used nearby fresh mountain spring water with a decent amount of mineral content. It takes away from the crisp notes but also helps to subdue the bitter edge.

    Anyways, you are finished the sample. Time to think about other things...

    Mmmmm... 'Epsilon'...

    (Mind escapes)


  4. Yes, pear and apricot. This is a bright, fruity Puerh reminiscent of some Oolongs with these flavors. That's what I love about Puerh--there's so much variety. The world of Oolongs is rather narrow by comparison. --Teaternity