Farmerleaf Gulan 2020

// Published July 7, 2021 by mgualt

Recently I have been really impressed with and appreciative of the informative videos produced by William Osmont over at Farmerleaf. It is unusual to find a tea-maker as transparent, as openly philosophical, and from what I’ve seen so far, as factually accurate, as Farmerleaf. That being said, I fear the day that the marauding Farmerleaf “Tea Ambassadors” make it to my door with their tea picks and gaiwans… I will regret ever having written this post.

The dry leaf is quite dark and twiggy, the compression is medium and has a lot of particulate. It doesn’t look too green. The aroma is of young sheng but not very pungent and is quite restrained.

Initial steep is moderately bitter and quite thick. Dark green profile with a good subtle resinous pungent empty cup aroma. Restrained, gushu profile, with good processing.

There is a touch of brassiness, and an interesting muskiness or farm aroma. Some astringency starts to show, but there is a very nice thick mouthfeel and a depth in the throat, with a downward energy.

Continues to be quite thick, heating beginning, and significant energy flow. Strong activity in the mouth after the bitter arrival, with a kind of tongue activation related to an astringent layer which does melt away. Stronger energy and significant frisson.

Not too green, not too sweet. Musky style resin, not honey or floral. The frisson and grounding energy are quite pleasant, it feels good. Thick and oily, some huigan, again the sweetness is not very pronounced but it is there.

Long test steep is quite bitter indeed, with strong astringency as well. It does have a dark green young sheng impact on the stomach, as expected.

This tea strikes me as a well-processed non-finicky gushu production with an enjoyable energy and plenty of bitterness and astringency for the future. Its best aspect is the thick oily mouthfeel and grounding pleasant energy with long-lasting mild frisson. It is quite balanced and somewhat restrained, without any fireworks, so to speak. 6.6


  1. NoSolidarity
    July 8, 2021 @ 10:30 am

    Sounds like William forgot to add the complementary koolaid to your shipment.

    Great review, I feel same about last few years of his Gulan. Some of his teas are excellent while many I’ve found pleasant but boring.

    Keeping this anonymous so they don’t stick their picks in my eyes too, good luck!

    • mgualt
      July 8, 2021 @ 11:11 am

      To reiterate, I am very supportive of what William is doing, much more so than most other sources. Be careful in evaluating new puerh tea – if it’s super fragrant and pleasant it is not necessarily a good sign. If the ambassadors show up you have to give them something with strong compression to keep them busy

  2. Stephan
    July 8, 2021 @ 3:47 pm

    Lots of inorganic teas as far as I could tell; I found them bad enough I threw them out. Glad to hear you had a better experience. His price point is also very low so maybe there is value there in relative terms. I do appreciate how he writes about tea. I’m just surprised it doesn’t show up more in the product.

    • mgualt
      July 8, 2021 @ 5:41 pm

      I only tried one tea, which was one of the higher-end offerings as far as I could tell. But I should flag that I am not swayed by the organic certification — I don’t believe organic certification is a useful litmus test for Puerh tea. If you are looking for healthy agricultural practices I reckon Farmerleaf is an excellent choice. The low price point makes sense given the fact that there is no middle man and they are based in Yunnan. If you found them bad, the question is, how exactly? Thanks for the comment!

  3. John
    July 12, 2021 @ 12:43 am

    I was just writing about tea references, and mentioning Farmerleaf videos, and visiting here to include a link to Late Steeps. It crosses my mind to tell bloggers or vendors that I’m mentioning them but by the time I’m finished with editing I’m sick of the whole process, and then I don’t. This will be in TChing this month and in my blog, Tea in the Ancient World.


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