2002 Yiwu Shunshixing

// Published August 23, 2018 by mgualt

A relatively inexpensive cake from a smaller factory: this 2002 Yiwu Shunshixing cake is probably a different batch from the one reviewed here, but I thought it would be an interesting comparison.

At such a low price (under 100$ for a 400g cake from 2002..!), one wonders if it could be a fake. From my initial tasting, I can say it’s much better quality than I would imagine getting for under $0.25/g.

The aroma of the dry leaf is what I’d call dry warehouse smell. No geosmin, no funk, clean, smells of tea and paper but it’s not overly aromatic.

The wet leaf has an unusual ringing smoke note, a roasty smell like burnt leaf.

  1. High viscosity. Thick. Not a strong taste to start. Doesn’t taste roasty. Bitter-herbal-blank starting profile. Slowly moving to rear tongue, opening throat. Feels good. Deepening feeling.
  2. Wet leaf smells tarry, more of the smell from before. Heat is quite strong in the face, and the back. Cooling aftereffects in the thoat. Slight stunned feeling, not ultra relaxing but quieting. Some mild but nice ECA. It strikes me as being young in some ways and so it’s starting to point to drier/colder storage.
  3. Mild acidity, emergent pungent aroma. Very nice aroma actually, and long lasting. Sweet effect on the rear tongue, but rough. The acidity, the bitterness and slight roughness give me a 7542-ish feeling, but this is more subtle, thicker, deeper. Char, roastiness now coming clearly in the taste.
  4. Still a touch cloudy and now has a more green power to it. Bitter, small tannins coating the tongue. Can be a bit jittery, strong. Bitter aftertaste but does eventually turn slowly sweet, and remains sweet for quite some time. Notice lots of charred stem tips.
  5. A longer steep now (steep 6), to test it, red colour. Much nicer, inspiration, rough and bitter but full of resinous content and sweetness. Bitterness is quite intense like bitters, like liquid bitters, and it stimulates salivation. It really passes the oversteep test.
  6. Later steeps are bitter, still strong, leather, wood-mushroom. Definite notes of leather coming in after steep 9-10.

The wet leaves are particularly interesting for this tea. Charred tips of stems, quite green and varied appearance of leaves. Probably old-fashioned imperfect processing:

Due to the drier/colder storage that this cake clearly received (if in fact it is a 2002 cake, which seems doubtful) it will have to go into my heated storage for a long while. It has a lot going for it in terms of resinous/pungent content, bittersweetness, aftertaste, thickness, and good energy, but it is way too bitter and rough to be enjoyable now. I hope to re-review it periodically. If anyone has an opinion on whether it’s a fake, let me know in the comments!

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