18 May, 2011

2010 Yunzhiyuan "Bulang Jieliang"

Life has been "on hold" for a little while, as interviews take place and all manner of capers and discussions occur afterwards, in between looking after family life. I'll perhaps write more if / when the situation resolves itself.

What better time, in an interim moment of calm in the midst of the bustling, to finally unwind with some of Scott's cakes from last year?

2010 YS Bulang Jieliang
The core at the centre of the star

Jieliang village is in the Bulangshan region, and seemingly 10 km west of Lao Man'e village.  I recall Scott's photographs at the web-site of the Yunnan Sourcing blog showing photographs of his trip, where he described Jieliang as having no more than 60 households.

Bulang tea is really appealing to me, and so I hope for good things.

2010 YS Spring Bulang
The spring version, rather than the autumnal version

This is a tea that, if I stopped drinking after the second or third infusion, would have left me permanently impressed.  After negotiating the tricky, super-dense central part of the bing from which my sample was taken, I obtained a lovely, yellow soup.  It is slightly thin, perhaps, as one might expect from the first infusions of a densely-compressed set of leaves, but it has a charming, butter finish and a fruity, cooling body.  As with many of his productions, Scott has picked some very decent leaves.

2010 YS Bulang Jieliang
Good activity: yellow to orange, as it sits in the air

I write a little, chat with my wife, and then return to the tea.  Woe betide: it has become terrifically sour and rather unpalatable in subsequent infusions.  My dear wife likened it to a rather unpleasant variety of Chinese medicine.  Given that most Chinese medicine is revolting, that must surely be an extremal description.

2010 YS Bulang Jieliang

Potency I like; massive sourness at a high price is something of which I am less fond.  The leaf quality suggests that the $30/250g ($45/375g equivalent) price is decent, but the character of later infusions pushes me away.

Some cakes are rough, but because they have an unfriendliness that will age well, being based on overwhelming contents.  This cake just seems a bit awry, and not entirely satisfactory.  The initial charm wore off rather quickly.

It is, perhaps, for this reason that I can imagine Scott buying the leaves: perhaps one wouldn't sit around and drink lots of infusions of a tea when buying - if many candidate maocha are to be tried, one might just try a little of each, and this cake certainly seems thrilling at the start.


Unknown said...

I am curious.... did you drink the spring or fall 2010 Jie Liang. The picture is of the 400 gram Fall production. But you refer to the 250 gram cake which is the spring production. I am curious which you drank. Jie Liang tea is the most bitter Bu Lang tea, even more than Lao Man'E. in Jie Liang, gu shu is referred to as bitter tea, and bush tea as sweet tea.

Hobbes said...

Dear Scott,

Ah - it sounds as if I have used the incorrect image! I believe that I bought a sample of the 250g spring cake (at least, that is what my diary is telling me).

I do rather love bitterness, in fact. This cake didn't appeal to my particular tastes, but not for reasons of bitterness.

All the best,


Unknown said...

OK... the image you used is the Fall Jie Liang. I think it's tricky to judge a tea from a small chunk, especially when it's been separated from the cake and case for awhile. But what can be done...? I'll surprise with this tea again in the future and maybe it will be to your liking (or not).


A Student Of Tea said...

Quite amazing, how differently the same tea can be experienced!
I had three sessions with this tea, but I never found it overly sour or otherwise unbalanced. Actually, I was quite impressed with it (thick, aromatic ...), so much that one time I took it to 40 infusions (over 4 days), enjoying even the last one! Interestingly this session was interrupted after the third infusion, too.

But I maybe was in a bit of an extraordinary state at that time. And my sample is definitely not from the center.


Anonymous said...

And my sample was nonnegotiably bitter after the first three or so brews!

Of course, when I mixed it with his Nannuo, I didn't get bitter and I finally got some Nannuoness from the Nannuo.

tea is odd.


Unknown said...

Blending is fun... Bu Lang and Nan Nuo typically go wonderfully together!

Hobbes said...

The YS Nannuo I really liked - more on that soon!

Anonymous said...

I'm reasonably sure I drank that tea too young...needed to sit for a year, which has come to pass, and I bet that sheng doesn't taste so generic in its strength now, does it? Looking forward to the review. Just bought a pair of Nada's Nannuos, which is down the proverbial block from Scott's. Was weak, since I like a good Nan nuo and didn't have any bings.


Hobbes said...

Dear Shah,

May I ask in which year the Nannuo cakes from Nadacha were produced? I bought several tong of the 2009, which were as good as the 2008, but the 2010 seemed a bit awry, as if something had gone a little wrong in the processing.

Rumour has it that Nada's cakes for 2011 are here, and so I am looking forward to trying the 2011 Nannuo, which has been picked in a different village to previous years.



Hobbes said...

P.s. I have updated the image, to be the wrapper for the springtime cake, rather than the autumnal cake - thanks for pointing out the error.

Unknown said...


- Scott

Jakub Tomek said...

I think this tea improves nicely. When I had it in 2010, it was powerful, promising, but I could not label it as enjoyable. Now it is already rather enjoyable and I think it will get even better!

Hobbes said...

Dear Jakub,

That's a good sign; perhaps it just needed a year to calm itself. I'll see if I still have my sample knocking around here somewhere. :)



NorberT said...


I also have a last chunk from the sample which I received more than a year ago. Thanks for reminding me, I will revisit it soon it soon.