2021 Mattcha blind tasting: Epsilon and Summary

// Published September 18, 2021 by mgualt

The last of Matt’s samples, epsilon, is a young tea, possibly only one or two years old, and is processed quite green. I’ve had it four times now and I suffered the consequences each time- this is a green, very slightly cloudy, oily, bitter, and astringent tea. Green and eggy, with a high pitched pungency, with not much sweetness. Very high astringency, quite concentrated, and giving a ton of strength, both heat and muscle-twitching buzz. This is the most macho tea that Matt has ever sent me!

I’m curious to find out what tea this is, the processing is quite rough and green, with a lot of broken leaves and char. This certainly fits the bill for a “bitter and awful” young sheng, and I would be interested to see what it’s like in 7 years. Here are some final shots, and then I will do a summary of the whole tasting.

2021 Mattcha blind tasting summary


Strong Wistaria-like storage note, could also be Nannuo material, lots of heat and energy, with a mix of aged taste and some dark green strength. Not normal factory production, hard compression and very chopped. Originally I thought this must be the 2001 Xiaguan king of cake, but since I know Matt sent me a sample of the “2001 MTF 7542” from Houde, by process of elimination it must be this tea. It’s a good tea, no question, and I would guess it to be some kind of special commission.


This seems to me to be a boutique gushu from Yiwu with quite nice material. Roasty, gamey, umami, with a nice pungent woody resin on the empty cup. Full mouthfeel, concentrated, can’t be more than 10 years old, strong uplift with frisson. It reminds me a bit of LBZ profile, dark, roasted hay, bitter. Reminds me a bit of dayi menghai peacock, maybe bulang peacock.


Bamboo lokcha, very dry storage, needs some humidity. Some char, tight compression, dark green, interesting wet leaf sweet spice aroma. Uplift, excitement. Slightly harsh, but very concentrated. I think this would eventually be very good with some heated humid storage.


Super TCM Liubao, mineral, ginseng, no geosmin. Low sweetness, strong astringency, spice aroma, super warming, heating, sweating. Consistent. Nice example of a very strong Liubao.


Very green and astringent young tea, I don’t recognize the profile, very strong with noticeable caffeine buzz and some heating. Extreme macho tea 🙂

I am grateful to Matt for sending me this sampler powerhouse — Clearly he has a taste for power, maybe he should run for office in the upcoming Canadian elections..? Now that I have gotten to know these teas, I would really like to find out their identities..!


  1. MattCha
    September 20, 2021 @ 1:16 am

    Okay here are the teas I sent you…
    Alpha- You are correct that this is the 2001 Menghai 7542 fake from Houde. This was the only cake that you had requested of the bunch. Your assessment of this cake is quite positive, closer to Shah8’s assessment than mine. Actually, I sampled it immediately after receiving it and with a bit of resting in humidity it has become a bit better than my original notes. Some sessions have a strong ginseng taste/aroma that Shah8 had mentioned. It’s a very powerful, condensed, but sometimes random and unusual. The fishy storage note that I referred to as pond(y) is strong with this one. The storage of the Houde cakes is quite good and you picked up on this in the tasting. However, in my speed test this one doesn’t beat the 2004 Nanqiao Bulang King with a similar fishy storage or rustic randomness of the 2006 Rustic Zhongcha. It at times feels quite disjointed but never the less super interesting. The main issue I have with this one is its 350$ price tag. See my notes here:
    Beta- This is 2011 Che Me Xuan Pasha from Tea Urchin. I took a pass after sampling this a few years ago but couldn’t really get it out of my head. The price remained the same a few years later so I recently picked one of these up which was one of the last. This so perfectly represents the intersection of powerful old school factory with gushu quality leaf. Wish there were more puerh like this on the market. See my notes here:
    Gamma- This is 2010 Pongsalli Laos “Green Tea” from In Pursuit of Tea. I purchased it in May 2010 after travel to this area in Laos (see old blog posts) because it looked of good quality Pongsalli sheng material. I sampled it once which confirmed my suspicions then put it in a ziplock to age. I haven’t touched it or even opened the ziplock up since that time. Just a few weeks ago when you sent the email to do a blind sampling I just happened to pull out this puerh as well as the Delta sample below which I also haven’t touched or opened in over a decade. This Laos “puerh” tasted really good to me and much like a 2015, I agree it’s still salvageable, but still very delicious in this slower drier storage state. Like the Beta sample above, it represents an older school processing and powerful material. Part of the reason I sent these two were to get you on board on sourcing more of this kind thing on Teas We Like… please… Good examples like these are not seen much in the Western market. I hope to post my own notes on this one in the next few weeks for comparison.
    Delta- This is right off a 1970s sheng puerh cake from my old school stash. I used to drink these things from the 70s, 80s, 90s somewhat regularly until I drank through them all around 10 years ago or so. This is the only one that survived because it was given to us as a wedding gift and held sentimental value otherwise it would have been long gone like the others! It was pulled from my “pioneer storage” so it underwent some significant drying over the last decade or so, it explains why you place it as a 80s vintage. I’m going to post on it soon on the blog and get some readers to help me finally authenticate it. I also believe it to be 70s-80s vintage. I felt bad about sending you that 70s cake last year knowing that it was in fact a 90s Guangyungong … hahahhah… so I at least sent you something that was 70s… older than you…. Hahahhaha…
    Epsilon- This is 2020 Purist Yiwu #8 the only cake that is currently available to purchase out of the samples I sent. This continues the tradition by paying homage our first interaction regarding our shared belief that Yesheng or wild tea is not really puerh. Last year’s a blind sampling I sent an old “pioneer stored” wild tea that exhibited an older style factory production and pressing style. This year was this insanely powerful “forest tea” which I believe is somewhere on the spectrum of Yesheng and conventional puerh I believe… hahahhah… It’s a bit of an inside joke because Marco is not always a fan… hahahha
    See my notes on an early blind sampling of this here:
    Great fun.


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