25 September, 2009

2009 Yunzhiyuan/Ruicaoxiang "Wuliang Lanxiang"

At $20, this "delta" is the most inexpensive cake in the Yunnan Sourcing tea-tasting event.  As I'm sure everyone knows, "Lanxiang" [lan-sheeang] means "orchid aroma", and is often used to describe certain floral types of pu'er.

The wrappers have obviously been produced with some care, as they're very pretty

Wuliangshan, at 3300m, is the tallest peak in Simao, and it borders Lincang and Dali (Xiaguan territory).   It's a "northern" pu'er, where things can get a bit beanier, a bit more savoury, a bit more "sweet potato".  Yunnan Sourcing writes that this is from Zhongcangcun [Djong-Tsang-Tsoon, "Middle Store Village] at 2,300m above sea level, "making it one of the highest-altitude pu'er in existence."  Scott also writes that "the tea gardens are arguably some of the most remote in Yunnan."

As pictured above, this cake is made from small leaves.  As its name aptly suggests, there is a floral aroma about the dry leaves, which is quite pronounced.  Young pu'er can be so very vivid, which is part of the appeal for me.

Lei and I found the flavour to be distinctly tangy, being dominated by lower tones of the creamy leather that our tetsubin emphasises.  It is crisp and clean, with a decent thickness.  A sweet floral character occurs in the nose, which might be "lanxiang", but it occurs concurrently with the creamy finish.

It wakes up noticeably by the fifth infusion, where the floral character in the nose becomes more pronounced.  The whole feeling is tangy, sweet, and floral, with some low leathery characteristics, and plenty of huigan that makes my mouth water, gripping the side of the tongue as it does.

I rather liked this one, and my sorrow at parting with the remainder of my sample was compensated by the eventual arrival of the whole cake.


sp1key said...

G'day, notes here http://puerhcollection.blogspot.com/2009/09/tea-tasting-event-half-dipper-ys.html

I like the impression of a fresh, cooling huigan from this. It's characteristic aroma was also present. Wuliang mountain are quite popular for some wild leaves which are big in size, this piece consisting of small-medium sized leaves perhaps resulted in the thinner broth but still decent.
Would be interesting to see how it turns out in 3 years.

Bert said...

Smelling the wet leaves gave me the impression of sour fruitiness. The beginning infusions gave a dominating taste of citrus fruit like acid and are slightly bitter with a hint of astringence drying my throat. There's some sweetness developing on from the 5th infusion with the sourness changing to background. The flavor reminded me of dried orange peel. The tea gave a long lasting creamy-floral-fruity aftertaste; peach with vanilla? In later infusions the body of the tea got a bit thin changing to a straw like taste.

Overall: The acidy in the first few infusions turned me off a bit, I'm no fan of dominating sourness in tea. I was glad it faded a bit leaving the stage for the pleasing aftertaste. This tea seemed to have more punch than the other samples tasted so far but was not everlasting either.

A Question: Is it my sensibility to sourness or do you too have the impression these teas tend to be more sour than other teas? They also seem very mild to me for young shengs. What's your impression?

Hobbes said...

Dear Bert,

Bear in mind that these samples are all insanely young - you would usually want to leave them for several months to dry out before trying them. Indeed, I understand that Scott has another wave of cakes coming which he is letting dry out first.

I don't get much sourness from them, to be honest.

If by mildness, you mean an absence of hardcore kuwei, then it's true - I've noticed from other decent single-mountain maocha that new, good tea doesn't have to be paintstripper. The delicious (actual qiaomu) Laobanzhang samples I've had, for example, are surprisingly clean and complex, with very little aggression. I can see that you might describe such a tea as "mild", in its absence of roughness and kuwei, though they remain potent in character.



Bret said...

The aroma of Wu Liangs dry leaf is indeed quite fruity and a tad tangy and floral. Tie Guan Yin? Hmmm... The aroma of the brew is inticing with it,s low riding leather and sweet florals. The flavor is that of malted grains, tangy and slightly sweet. Initially this tea didnt make a big impression on me but with additional sessions I grew to like it quite a bit. Great durability and the flavors stay pretty consistent through out the session. Over all flavors are not real complex but what is there is nice. Wu Liang,s a trooper I,ll give it that. I liked it enough to buy a couple of the cakes which just arrived yesterday. But I,m going to let em hang out for a while, let them settle in and dry out a little and then go to town on em.

Bert said...

Hello Hobbes,

maybe the sour taste I'm getting is from interaction of the local water+tea+personal taste. Currently I'm drinking japanese greens all the time where I do not sense a lot of sourness. When I have a some more time, I will taste this teas at my parents home, where the water is different and where I store my cakes and mainly taste young shengs.

On the topic of mildness:
Yes, the hardcore kuwei is absent, and that's not a bad thing. But still..
Don't get me wrong: this samples show complexity and I find them pleasant so far (even gamma). But I would drink them now, from day to day like green tea or wulong tea and that's the point where I have some doubts about long term storage of these cakes. I'm missing the impression of too much "wild energy" (not equal to bitterness or roughness in my experience) which would make it unbearable for me to drink such a young tea daily.

However, I don't know from experience, what characteristics of pu'er tea will be a sign for good aging quality, so this is all very subjective-hypothetical.

Matt said...

This tea showed a lot of movement throughout the session, evolving from infusion to infusion. A very fun, unique tea.

The tasting notes on MattCha's Blog are located here:



Anonymous said...

A northern Pu-erh like this "beany" or "sweet potato?" I must confess I grew quite hungry while reading that. I'm always on the lookout for Pu-erh that pairs well with vegetarian food like that. It's interesting to hear people talk about whether there's the "wild energy" in this young Pu-erh that might prevent from everyday drinking. That's what I would choose a tea for, though flavor is always part of the consideration. --Teaternity

speakfreely said...

A strong, syrupy, wood-sap aroma upon opening the bag. The tea
has been tightly compressed, the leaves a moderate size and a
variety from silver buds to yellow leaves. I’m cautiously
optimistic, based on the strength of the aroma. No surprises in
the wenxiangbei – a smoke-tinged steaminess gives way to a
long-lasting sweetness. On the lips, a nice silk, and an
immediate strong ku on the tongue. As bitters go, this one is
restrained, strong but with boundaries, and does not mask the
grain-like sweet flavor. I’m thinking “this is one that stands a
chance in storage. “ It takes time to build the huigan with this
one; it re-emerges in the mouth a full 2 minutes after the last
swallow. And it’s not overtly sweet, it’s almost more a muscular
relaxation in the throat, a sensation more than a taste.
Powerful, and with a tingling 6^th chakra qi accompaniment.

Hobbes said...

Thanks, Carla :)

Unknown said...

Latecomer to the party, please follow the link below for my comments on the Delta cake:


It's been a bearish week, with many stiff deadlines, so thank you for your patience as I straggle on in with my reviews, Hobbes.

Hobbes said...