2015 Da Xue Shan, Yunnan Sourcing

For a tea from relatively less mature trees, the aroma of the rinsed leaves is surprisingly sweet and thick. I can already smell the usual suspects for a tea from this region- honey, tobacco, and wildflowers. The first infusion yields a pale yellow tea soup. At the first couple sips, it feels perhaps a bit thin, but is textured and has real huigan (lingering sweetness and aftertaste). I find it to be grassy, with light honey suckle and sugar cane notes. The second infusion is a much darker yellow with a thicker flavor profile; there is an almost syrupy sweetness and some encroaching bitterness that I can tell is about to pick up… Otherwise the same grassy Lincang profile as the initial steep.

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I’ve never been quite sure how to open one of these…

The third infusion brews a beautiful golden liquor. There is some bitterness indeed, but still not as much as I’d be anticipating… It is still sweet, dense and highlay enjoyable. Because of the relatively low price point and age of the tea trees, I keep looking for something to find wrong with this tea, but I’m still grasping. Perhaps there is a touch of dryness, but that could be from my own storage conditions. Of course, tea doesn’t have to be expensive to be good, just as it doesn’t have to be cheap to be bad.

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Golden soup

The fourth infusion is bolder, with a heavier emphasis on tobacco and dark straw. Now the huigan is starting to feel a little thin, and a bit watery. At steeping five it might be petering out a little, which is fine at this price point. There is still sweetness and layered raw puer complexity, but it’s fading rapidly now into dry grey tones. Again though, this still gave four solidly enjoyable steepings which is more than can be said for other teas in this price range. My feeling is that Scott presses teas in this range as more “store now, drink later” types of affairs (e.g. San He Zhai, Mang Fei). The base material is fine, but not really enough for me to enjoy it as a young tea by itself. In five to ten years though I could see this being an enjoyable middle aged tea…

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That said, it’s still going on steeping six… Plenty on sweetness, and retaining its Lincang flavor profile of wildflowers and honey. This bodes well for aging, it’s just not quite there as a young tea.

Note that I could also see this as someone’s first foray into young raw… I’d absolutely endorse it as such.

I sing this song so that everyone’s passion for and understanding of good tea may grow.

-Ginko-san

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