I've been having some fun with the various 2011 blends from Yunnan Sourcing, lately, and this Sanhezhai represents the last of the blended samples that I have.
Scott has been reticent in giving out the source of the three villages that were used to form this blend, preferring to keep the exact ingredients a trade secret. This is entirely fair, of course, although he did mention that two of the villages were from Lincang.
This may explain why I enjoy this cake so very much.
Its amazing how quickly the cost of these little samples accumulates
We must drink these blends with a certain perspective: they are inexpensive (at $24/400g, in this case), but have great potential. I ordered my sample of this cake at the same time as samples of the five 2011 autumnal cakes from Yunnan Sourcing, and it must be said that it has turned out to be one of the best of the bunch.
I wonder where that third village is
The blend, shown above, is tippy, and constructed from smaller leaves. Even on the frosty morning on which I had this tea, the dry leaves exude a pungent fruitiness - the cold weather typically mutes the scent of my pu'ercha, but not in this case.
Crisp and yellow - under natural light, a brown hint is evident
Shown above, the yellow soup is clean and fresh, indicative of decent production. It has, unless I am imagining it, a hint of brown, which I typically associate with "granary" teas, such as those from Lincang. In retrospect, I am particularly pleased to have observed (or convince myself that I have observed) this colour, because I didn't know the majority of the leaves were from Lincang at the time.
My notes describe this as "hevay, fruity, and savoury", with a good kuwei [pleasant bitterness in the throat].
One of the good things about this tea is its surprising longevity: whereas quite a few single-mountain cakes (of a young age) rapidly settle into a subset of the characteristics from the first infusion, this blend gives a beefy, mushroom-like robustness throughout its long lifespan in the pot.
Sanhezhai - Three Villages Together
I enjoyed this blend so much, in fact, that I gave it the rare honour of taking the remainder of the sample to work with me, to brew in my office (rather than passing the remainder of the sample onto friends, as is my usual habit). Even under the non-ideal conditions of my office, where the water comes from a tap, and is not as hot at the time of infusion as I would like it, the Sanhezhai leaves keep on giving.
It has no signs of roughness or abrasion in the mouth, and feels decently dense and thick in its texture. I look at the state of my shelves, look at my notes, look back at my shelves, and try to determine if I can squeeze some of these into the precious space remaining. Perhaps a few, to see how they age. It really is an inexpensive and very pleasant cake, that has the power to do well.