2019 White2Tea INB4 & 2019 is a Gift

// Published August 23, 2019 by mgualt

I’ve enjoyed sampling White2Tea’s new productions every year because I usually find something that really interests me, maybe something different or unique. Paul is a producer with a very singular point of view and I like a strong artistic statement. This year I got a couple of cakes which I will review later, but I also got samples of “INB4” and “2019 is a gift”. After three sessions with each tea, I was a bit surprised that my notes were mostly negative, which is unusual for me with W2T. Anyway, negative reviews are, for me, as interesting as positive ones, so here goes.

INB4

Very pungent dry leaf. Green-brown. Dry material not the best-looking but not bad. Wash is clear, oolong aroma off gaiwan lid.

  1. salty green, medium-thick, green. Good pungent aroma. Green side of sweet.
  2. Green, tart, citrus, not so bitter but there is lingering bitterness. ECA ok, faint incense ash. Aftertaste slight chalky
  3. No lingering sweetness, vegetal
  4. Medium-high bitterness, no sweetness. Green. Starting to be quite astringent. Harsh. Full flavour, high pitched. Long heat sensation on mouth.
  5. Intense bitterness and astringency. Surprisingly strong. Lingering bitterness. Heating.
  6. Good colour. Refreshing at start, green. Faint ECA of incense. Long aftertaste is not good, lingering bitterness.
  7. Very green tea style. Not thick. Clear. Good throatfeel. I can see a bit of plumminess on sides of mouth, but very little and quite astringent. No huigan in the late aftertaste.
  8. Quite thick now, strangely. Green and thick. Very briny, bitter, some minty aftertaste.

I am a bit mystified with this one. It is fairly heating, with a ginger heat on the mouth and a general body heat, and it has a decent resinous empty cup aroma, mostly towards incense ash, but even this is quite faint. For me, it lacked any bittersweet oily element, and didn’t give any after-sweetness, and it had an unpleasant lingering bitterness/acridity. I tried doing a hour-long late steep and it was aggressively astringent and super bitter, so there is no question there is a lot of content here, it just doesn’t make sense to me given the description as a “yiwu style” with much sweetness. 3.7.

2019 is a gift

Very pungent dry and damp leaf. More pungent than INB4. Wet leaf here has some distinct farm notes, which persist throughout session. Very green profile on wet leaves.

Harsh green right off the bat. Pungent and good empty cup perfume. I get some body heat from this quite early. Mid-tongue quite strong huigan.

Slight egginess on mid steeps. Sweet notes are present. Green, vegetal, warming. No question this is strong tea, but the dominant aspect is bitter green – briny.

Sweet pungency is clear, lots of heat in the center of neck, quite firy. Astringency grows quite a lot starting from steep 3. Thick and oily but also vegetal greenness.

Strong green, extreme green strength, sheng, oily gasoline power. Long aftertaste is bitter, astringent and slightly drying.

This tea makes more sense to me as a powerful young green sheng, processed in the green direction, strongly heating, and thankfully the bitterness usually converts to a strong sweet sensation. I enjoy the thick, oily, and resinous component. But this is inconsistent, often overwhelmed by drying astringency in the late aftertaste. Of the two, I much prefer this tea, but it does not stand out of the usual young green sheng crowd as I usually expect W2T to do. 4.5.

Comments

  1. Matt
    August 25, 2019 @ 10:32 pm

    Marco,

    The most wonderful thing about puerh is to compare notes on an interesting specimen among individuals whom you respect the most. You and Shah8 are two such individuals and both supplied great notes on Is A Gift…

    I would say that I most agree with your notes over Shah’s. I still don’t know where he is getting all that flavour and those long flavourful aftertaste from this mainly flat tasting Sheng.

    The most interesting thing amongst our assessments of this one is our evaluation of the bitter/ astringent / drying aftertaste. He sees it as a big positive, you as a negative and me as slightly positive.

    Shah8 and I highly value the durability and stamina of this one. And I think we all agree on the qi! Hahaha

    In the end it’s what weight each individual puts in the attributes presented to them that determines a puerh worth.

    Much peace

    Reply
    • mgualt
      August 25, 2019 @ 11:59 pm

      Hi Matt! I often worry about going beyond what I think of as objective descriptions to passing judgement, and then going even further by giving a reductionist grade/10 to the tea. But I need to record these judgements for myself, and see how I evolve as a drinker. I’ve already noticed that my subjective evaluation of teas has changed a lot just in a couple of years. It reminds me of what happened with the famous film “Trash Humpers” by Harmony Korine. When I first saw that film, I was so angry that I thought it was quite literally the worst piece of art I had ever seen. Now, having seen it a few more times, I think it is one of the great masterpieces of recent years. But the description of the film, its content, its aesthetic, its references, remains the same — I perceive the film objectively the same now as I did then.

      Reply
      • Matt
        August 28, 2019 @ 2:42 am

        Marco,

        How does one judge the art from artists? The Art of Tea… Hard to do so sometimes. Art trends change so do our tastes. Our taste in art and literally our tastebuds.

        In the end, sometimes it’s best to put a number on it without going back. But how can one reduce art to a ten point scale?

        I am seriously considering using yours and James’ 10 point scale simply for it’s poignant clarity and finality. However, my discomfort at reducing art to a number value as well as my ability to re think things from a different point of view prevents me from going all in…

        I would give Is A Gift 7.1.

        Hahaha

        Peace

        Reply

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