May/June/July Tea of the Month 2015

Here’s the announcement of the next batch of tea of the months. Feel free to drink alongside, give suggestions, etc. Due to being egregiously and hilariously over my tea budget, I’m not sure how much I will be able to accommodate specific requests!

  • Greater Yiwu, Mengla County + Youle (May 2015)
  • Menghai County (June 2015)
  • Aged Oolongs (July 2015)

Regrets & Repeats (Redos)

Tea journeys often involve pretty steep learning curves. Mine is no exception. There have been more than a few moments where my (our) noobness has been frankly obvious. For the sake of appearing more dignified, I sometimes wish I could take certain episodes back or have a do-over. Even a year ago when I started up the tea of the months, after having consumed tea seriously for well over a year I still wish I had a couple mulligans. These three tea of the months are all repeats of tea of the months from previous years. As always, I’m eager to learn some more!

Big Bag of Yiwu

Big Bag of Yiwu.

May 2015 (Greater Yiwu)

Considering my overall pu’erh inexperience at the time and that it was my first more orchestrated endeavor into pu’erh, I’m amazed at how well last year’s Yiwu tasting actually turned out. This can be largely credited to Scott, the many recommendations he gave and of course his teas. There aren’t many vendors that offer the breadth that he does, which is great for both educational purposes and getting your feet wet. This year I’m going to be including a few more vendors in what will likely end up being a pretty massive report.

As always, there’s a few opinions that I had that I’d probably alter/change today from last year’s report. The report definitely does not qualify as a regret and made a very nice stepping stone into pu’erh/young pu’erh.

Of all the pu’erh regions, I probably drink the most Yiwu teas regularly and am very much looking forward to diving in further again.

  • Assortment of Chawangshop Yiwu + Laotian (not pu’erh)
  • Assortment of Yunnan Sourcing Yiwu
  • Assortment of Tea Urchin Yiwu
  • Other bits and scraps. Like some Chenguanghetang, Misty Peaks Teas I have lying around.

Note: Let me know if you’re interested in a more specific list of teas!

June 2015 (Menghai County)

The equivalent would’ve been the Nannuo and Bulang reports last year. These both are far closer to the regret category than the Yiwu report. I think alot of this was due to the somewhat poor selection of teas last year. With pu’erh, it can be very challenging to pickout proper teas when you don’t really know what you’re doing. It’s also a big reason why I’m announcing these reports ahead of time, to hear more about specific teas that might be better candidates than whatever I might have lying around. This year, I’ve decided to combine these two areas and include the rest of Menghai County (Mengsong, Bada, Menghai Tea Factory teas, etc.).

This month, I have an especially random group of samples, including stuff I didn’t finish last year and a few additional teas from Yunnan Sourcing + White2Tea + Tea Urchin + Essence of Tea. Again, please let me know if you’d like me to publish a more specific list of teas.

July 2015 (THE BOX)

The BOX

The BOX!

David Fincher’s excellent, breakout film Se7en, involves two cops (Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt) trying to catch a killer who is reenacting the seven deadly sins. The films climax involves an anonymous package (box) being delivered to a remote location with the two cops and the primary suspect. Freeman goes to check the package and Pitt’s character is left in suspense.. Anyways it’s a good movie that’s not for the light-hearted or weak-stomached.

Back to tea.. In July of 2014, much to my dismay Origin Tea shut down. I was able to peel a single box of random, assorted teas from Tony (OT’s proprietor) for a small sum of money before his shop was shut down.

So what’s in the damn box?? Supposedly, leftover aged oolongs from his tastings in Taiwan (I am hopeful that it’s contents are less horrific than Se7en’s). During the first half of 2014, I’d been working my way through aged oolongs and thanks to the guidance of Tony had been slowly developing a taste for them. Fast-forward a year and I really don’t have any new source that is anywhere as close to the magnanimous Origin. I had intended to start diving in during last September’s Aged Oolong of the month, but simply didn’t have the capacity to do so.

In July, I intend to drink through as much of this box as possible. I’m optimistic that it will end better for me than what the cops may’ve encountered in Se7en. I’ll also be including whatever other aged oolong samples I have along for what is sure to be a fun, bumpy ride.

 

(the references to Se7en have been shamelessly ripped off from from the references to Se7en by Grantland)

 

This entry was posted in Aged Oolong, Anxi Oolong, Article, Drinking Report, Oolong, Raw Pu'erh, Taiwanese Oolong, Tea Learning, Wuyi Oolong. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to May/June/July Tea of the Month 2015

  1. Bef says:

    Reminds me of the mysterious box in Barton Fink, one of my favourite movies.

    Great idea to revisit some teas you already reviewed. A really interesting idea.

    Watching your videos for a year finally made me jump into puerh, while I was quite reluctant at first. Tried a bunch of samples from White2tea, and just subscribed to their club.

    BTW, I think that the last Inbetweenisode is missing from your website.

    • James says:

      Hi Benoit,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Barton Fink.. Another one of my favorite 90s/Coen films!

      How’ve your experiences been so far with pu’erh? It seems to be the place where many tea addicts end up in after!

      Thanks for the note re: last inbetweenisode. I added it to the site :).

      Cheers,
      -James

      • Bef says:

        Let’s just say that I find puerh both very interesting and confusing.

        Tried a bunch of very different samples from White2tea. It seems to me that there is a wider range of puerh tastes/styles than in other categories of teas (green, oolong, black, etc.)

        Puerh has been for me an acquired taste, like whisky or wine.

        • James says:

          Hi Bef,

          Yes indeed. I think that’s a pretty fair assessment. It’s one of the more challenging genres. I’ve had very mixed results introducing people to tea through pu’erh. Oolong is far more reliable :).

          Good luck!
          -James

  2. shah8 says:

    /me cracks knuckles, guestimates the health of your moneybag…

    First of all, I strongly suggest browsing CreamofBanna.com, not least because at one point, you could get samples from the proprietor for the price of shipping. This may still be true, and they do at least an okay job of sifting for good single area tea for a reasonable price.

    Yiwu
    This has always been a winner for many years now
    http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=27&products_id=120

    A premium tea, not the best premium, hence why it’s still there, but premium nonetheless, and first stage GFZ at 8years.
    http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=27&products_id=794

    A cheaper way to try expensive Manzhang, one of XZH’s less punchy-than-should-be teas, post 2009.
    http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=27&products_id=1357

    Delicate, a little hongcha, but very nicely fruity and spicy.
    http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=27&products_id=702

    Walongzhai is, low key, one of the really premium places to get Mengla materials, though you should presume some lack of purity here. Get the 10g sample.
    http://yunnansourcing.com/en/2013-yunnan-sourcing-teas/2462-2013-yunnan-sourcing-wa-long-village-yi-wu-old-arbor-raw-pu-erh-tea-cake.html

    Who doesn’t want aged Yiwu?
    https://farwenwapuer.wordpress.com/yiwu-mountain-wild-puer-sample/

    Cheap and great for the price
    http://www.sampletea.com/product/2012-pudi-yiwu-man-xiu-ecological-arbor-tea-cake-green

    Puerh.sk has three aged Yiwu worth trying if you’re willing to spend money for:
    http://pu-erh.sk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&path=4_62&product_id=263

    http://pu-erh.sk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&path=4_62&product_id=258

    http://pu-erh.sk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&path=4_62&product_id=182

    and this is cheap and fun
    http://pu-erh.sk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&path=4_6&product_id=247

    If you do decide to go puerh.sk, might I suggest that you ask Peter about some of the sold out 2014 materials, like the Gedeng? Some of them were pretty fascinating…

    Menghai

    I’ve always suspected that this might be interesting, but Nannuo does seem to take a long time to age…
    http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=27&products_id=762

    Four or five years ago, this had a very nice honey flavor and activity, but was also very astringent. It might be much better today
    http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=27&products_id=1283

    This is now identified as some sort of Bulang/Banzhang eco-tea. Thin taste, floral qualities typical of a certain sort of banzhang, mouth/throatfeel and energy also typical. Not top XZH stuff, but this is only $6.50/oz.
    http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=27&products_id=790

    Absurd bargain, and you can put it in for both months, though nowadays, it’s more emphasized as a LBZ for obvious reasons. Can be a finicky brewer.
    http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=27&products_id=1306

    Hmmm, this reliable tea is almost sold out…
    http://yunnansourcing.com/en/yunnan-sourcing-teas/1306-2010yunnansourcingnannuoyakoupu-erhtea250g.html

    This tea is educational, of course
    https://www.essenceoftea.com/tea/puerh-tea/2008-bulang-ancient-tree.html

    I’d say this tea is educational as well, though you will find that both the last and this tea is expensive to sample.
    http://www.teaclassico.com/Yunnan-Puer-tea-Pu'er/Sheng-puer-tea/6ftm-hekai-ancient-tree-raw-puer-2012.html

    I’ve realized that I don’t try all that many Bulangs put on the shelf in recent years. In fact, it could be said that I’ve tried more recently introduced Banzhangs and Nakas than Bulangs or Nannuo that have been sold.

    Have fun (window) shopping!

    • James says:

      Hi shah8,

      As always, I greatly appreciate the list of recommendations! Will be including as many of these as I can (reasonably) justify.

      Cheers,
      -James

  3. Ian says:

    The Yunnan Sourcing Nannuo Yakou is really good, definitely has improved in laissez-faire US NW storage conditions since I bought it. It smells like roses.

    • James says:

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for the rec! I sessioned this tea last year with some rather odd results. I’ll have to try it again.

      Cheers,
      -James

      • Ian says:

        That was my least favorite thing from a big order I got from Scott, I remember it being like sour and unpleasant smokey and a bit bug spray-like, I revisited it recently and was really amazed. I could probably throw you 20g’s or so from the cake I have, I’m just down in Portland. Send me an email.

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