2019 Yunnan Sourcing Hekai
I am trying to figure out a good way to assign numerical ratings to young sheng puerh, since it doesn’t quite make sense, at such an immature stage, to judge them in the same way as other teas. For now, I will just make do with the usual rating system.
This is a .20/g Spring Hekai production by Yunnan Sourcing, apparently their first from this famous western XSB village. The dry leaf is almost sharp in its vinegary floral pungency (in a good way). The warmed dry leaf has an even stronger vinegary floral pungency, but under this there is a sweet rich aroma. After the rinse the wet leaf has a very green aroma, with sweet resinous perfume underneath. Very green, but also very perfumed.
- Medium thickness. Liquor is clear light yellow with suspended small leaf hairs throughout. Sweet and green immediately, with sweet aftertaste. Building astringency, with roasty harsh green aroma on the wet leaf.
- Still light yellow, slightly more oily now. Lots of sweetness, quite a bit more viscous. Has some focusing energy. Slowing. Green residual harshness on stomach is quite clear. Quite a lot of astringency, but with good huigan.
- Now stronger yellow, thicker. Astringency higher, now with significant bitterness, roughness as one gets from younger/taidi plantations. Very nice complex perfume on the empty cup. Wax aroma on the liquor. Very strong tannins coating the sides of the mouth. Feeling of heaviness. Roasty green notes.
- Aroma of liquor is quite strong, somewhat like mild scent hand lotion with green and florals. Strong huigan. Oily. Not that bitter but very astringent. Super high astringency affecting the stomach.
- Consistent experience, light unripe green fruit plus pungent florals, strong astringency, later sweet aftertaste.
The experience of this tea, from the dry leaf through to the later steeps, is quite consistent. The taste is of a stewed white grape fruit salad with pungent perfume, it is a clear but narrow taste experience, medium thickness and oiliness, with a very strong mouth/tongue-coating astringency and moderate bitterness. Energy is calming/slowing leading to a later alertness but both are not very strong effects. The best part of this tea at this stage is, for me, the aroma. It would make a lot of sense to include this in a blend with other things to “fill it out” on the low end.
The material seems to be primarily small leaves, processing is on the green side with red stems and only a tiny amount of char. For me, the amount of astringency and the resulting effects on the stomach make it unsuitable for drinking now, it is most definitely a taidi style production which might do well if aggressively stored for a decade or so.