Yiwu has always remained as one of my personal favourite areas, as the taste is so classic, unique and very elegant. The classic, most important Pu Erhs in history were mostly from Yiwu, such as Song Ping and the lineage of SP cakes from 1910 onwards. I have a personal love relationship with Yiwu, and it was actually my first aged raw Pu Erh to try at The Best Tea House in Vancouver. It was a 2005 Old Tree Yiwu cake. Full of exotic honey, fruits and very soft to the tongue; while spreading quickly around your entire mouth. While I have tried some Yiwus that taste very harsh, the common terminologies associated with are “soft, sweet and very elegant like the queen of Pu Erhs”
Phillip Lee, is a tea merchant that sells mainly Yiwu Pu Erh and Pu Erh from regions surrounding Yiwu. His family produces tea within Gaoshan, but also produces private productions from other areas. Today, I have decided to taste one of his teas, and do a proper review on it.
The 2018 Yiwu Wild Spirit is a Sheng Pu Erh from an unmanaged, “secret” garden that was left to grow in the wild for a long time. They found it while searching for any “lost” gardens. Sounds intriguing, right?!
Let’s get straight into the review, shall we.
Basic info about this special tea:
2018 Yiwu Sheng ( Uncooked) Pu Erh Tea
Da Ye Zhong Assamica Cultivar
30 year to 100 year old tea trees.
From Yiwu area, Mengla, Yunnan, China.
Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)
Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
Grams of Leaves ( 7 grams)
Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 5 to 3 min depending on infusion) * This tea is very durable, and can handle being pushed. Doesn’t really get bitter.
Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves: Wild honey, plum
Aroma of Wet Leaves: Wild paprika, veggies, and some cream
Taste Profile: See Below
Texture Profile: medium to medium thick
Feeling/Aftertaste: Calming, not much Qi. Easy to drink/great morning tea.
Price: 34 dollars/100 grams
Rating 7.7 out of 10.
First Infusion : Clean, pure very crisp aroma without any astringency nor bitterness. Very light, soft, and floral. But not really honey. More like a fresh sweet sencha, and that crisp quality was there in the brew.
Second and third infusion: Stronger, but not bitter. A tiny bit of astringency, but again. Sweet, lingering floral character. Easy drinking.
Fourth and fifth brew: Taste is quite simple, not super complex. Wild veggies, honey, and very crisp. The satisfying mouthfeel makes me want to have more. The aftertaste is subtle, but still noticeable. Notes of jasmine and lychee sort of light floral, and sweet aftertaste.
Sixth to ninth brew : Very consistent. Solid, and taste like what a good, well made Young Pu Erh should taste like. The aroma, taste, texture and aftertaste is all present. The crispness and the fresh, wild character stands out as being the most prevalent character of this tea.
Tenth to Thirteenth brew: From the tenth to twelfth brew, I brewed it for 20, 30, and 40 seconds. Very light, soft, and like spring water. Makes the water taste cleaner and with a little something. For the thirteenth brew, I brewed it for 2 mins and the result was quite different. Slightly bitter, stronger, and more fruity. Tropical!
In Conclusion: This tea will be a great morning tea, and is nothing crazy– but is very much enjoyable, refreshing and is a good quality Pu Erh. The outstanding part of it is the crisp and very fresh zesty character of it. Thank you to Phillip for sourcing this tea. It is for sure a well made and forgiving tea even if you potentially over-brew it.