2020 blind tasting: Mattcha’s reveal

// Published August 23, 2020 by mgualt

While I’m uncomfortable with his generous and over-the-top praise, I can finally stop biting my nails in anticipation: Matt has finally revealed the teas in his blind sample set! He hasn’t revealed the order, though, and so I will guess which teas are which in this post, with links to photos and excerpts from my reviews. Normally I find guessing teas quite difficult, but I think Matt selected teas with clear enough profiles that it made my job easier.

A) 1997 Henglichang Bulang

My review of this tea guesses that it seems earlier than 2000s and could be 90s, and that the serene bitterness could indicate that it is Lao Man’e or Bulang more generally. This strikes me as an excellent example of traditionally stored Bulang, and so I guess it is the 1997 Henglichang Bulang.

B) 2008 Yunnan Yunxian Huimin Wild

My review of this tea was a savage roast of the Yesheng phenomenon: “…a roasty green bitterness like spinach water mixed with some herbal tisane. It does have a nice perfume though, I must say…” I would bet good money that this guess is right. What I wouldn’t have guessed, however, is that this is a 2008 — such are the wonders of Canada Dry storage :).

C) 2006 Yangqing Hao Shenpin Chawang

This is one of the YQH teas that I never got a chance to taste — I’m very thankful to Matt for giving me a chance to finally sample this Shenpin Chawang, a quite expensive tea billed as a blend of some of the best of the best of Yiwu: Bohetang, Wangong, and Chawangshu. In my review of this tea, I guessed it was a 2006/7 Yiwu with YQH house taste, and so I basically have to make the guess I’ve made here.

D) 2008 Dayi Qiu Xiang

In my review, I guessed Tea D was a mid-2000s Dayi or Xiaguan production with an unusually subtle profile and a gentle floral taste and aroma. Very comfortable sheng with good storage — again I’m forced to guess this is the “Autumnal Aroma” cake from Dayi.

E) 2006 Teas We Like Rustic Zhongcha

It was extremely clever of Matt to include a tea that I helped to source — the 2006 Rustic Zhongcha, an old-school sheng puerh blend with Malaysian storage that I voted for inclusion into Teas We Like’s offerings. In my review of tea E, I guessed it was a younger version of the TWL Rustic Zhongcha — clearly this is not a younger version but the same tea! Obviously I have to guess as I’ve done here.

F) 2012 Legend of Puerh Shen Gu Youlan Bangdong shan, Tea Urchin

In my review, I guessed tea F was a five-year-old boutique gushu Yiwu production, one that I enjoyed quite a lot. It’s not the first time that I guess Yiwu for a high quality gushu from Lincang, but my final guess is the 2012 Bangdong Legend of Tea from Tea Urchin.

G) 2020 Essence of Tea Tianmenshan Gaogan

In my review, Tea G struck me as a strong young sheng, not necessarily gushu but not a particularly rough taidi. Super strong, plenty of bitterness, sweetness and perfume, I guessed it might be a mid- to upper-range young sheng from W2T. I’m kind of surprised that this is probably the 2020 EoT Tianmen shan gaogan, not because the profile is wrong (I think it fits as a good new-make Yiwu) but rather because the price of this tea is 1.20/g… it’s rather high for this material. In any case, thank you to Matt for his seemingly limitless generosity.

I hope I’m not too far off with my guesses, but I should emphasize that this is really not the point of this exercise – what’s more important is the experience of tasting without preconceived notions about value and origin — it really forces you to focus on the tea in the cup, which after all, is why we were brought together in the first place. Cheers, Matt! (To be continued… Matt included a very interesting extra which will need an entire discussion of its own…)


  1. MattCha
    August 23, 2020 @ 11:00 pm

    Sample A- correct! I wanted to send you this famous and polarizing puerh that had all the puerh bloggers reviewing it 10-8 years ago. Just google it and you’ll see options/reviews of Hobbes, Jakob, Marshaln, Shah8, Paul /TwoDog, Suka, Wuxiang. You either love it or don’t but everyone respects the power!



  2. MattCha
    August 24, 2020 @ 1:16 am

    B- Also correct. We have a very similar option about Yesheng mainly that it is not puerh! Knew you really detested Yesheng but think this one was interesting.

    It spent its whole 12 years in Canada and it did surprisingly well with its main feature of very floral perfume elegance juxtaposed with smoky bardyard old school style. It has many features you have found that I value in puerh such as strong Qi sensation and old school processing style.


  3. MattCha
    August 24, 2020 @ 1:20 am

    Sample C- see here



  4. MattCha
    August 24, 2020 @ 1:31 am

    Sample C- Correct again! You picked up on the region, Yang storage, and year! I didn’t see your review of this YQH perviously so hoped you would enjoy it.

    “Lots of heating, gentle clear energy and leading to plenty of frisson and skin cooling” I think you really picked up on the gentle but very powerful energy in this one nicely.


  5. MattCha
    August 24, 2020 @ 1:43 am

    Sample D- correct!

    In your review you said that this one is “ Quiet but strong” I love this description! Interesting you guessed 2003-2007 because I read somewhere that others also believed they used some aged maocha in here.


  6. MattCha
    August 24, 2020 @ 1:50 am

    Sample E- correct!

    Out of all the puerh I’ve purchased from Teas We Like this one might be winning at the speed test yet mine is the only review out there! I pretty much just wanted to bring more attention to this masterpiece and to see your blind take as you have not reviewed this one yet.


  7. MattCha
    August 24, 2020 @ 2:07 am

    Sample F-correct !!!!

    It’s interesting that you thought this was Yiwu but it is Lincang and I thought your Delta sample as Lincang and it was Yiwu. I find that the best examples of Lincang often taste very Yiwu and some Yiwu can pass as Lincang.

    However, the pice of Lincang, as you know, is much cheaper. I hit this one hard at Tea Urchin as it only goes for $110.00 for 357g cake and routinely goes on sale.



  8. MattCha
    August 24, 2020 @ 2:37 am

    Sample G is also correct!!!!

    This review was super interesting to me because both you and Shah8 basically say the same thing when it comes to the material of this cake. Which is controversial if you believe the claim that the material is from GaoGan trees.

    You say “not necessarily gushu but not a particularly rough taidi.”

    Shah8 says “ There is also a major issue with green bitter tartness that one recognizes from plantation teas–either the leaves are from tea trees that aren’t that old, or the old trees got hit with a lot of fertilizer.”

    Interesting, you also both make the claim that this puerh will also likely age well.

    I always felt that this puerh was gushu-ish puerh with the strength of plantation puerh with a unique energy that seems to transmit the best of both.



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