I have known (Xi Zi Hao) this brand of Pu Erh tea for many months, and I didn’t have a chance to try any of their teas until this year in 2019. I am very happy to be able to try these rare teas that are difficult to require here outside of China or Taiwan. . Today, I tried the 2018 Diangu, which seems to be very popular among Pu Erh lovers here in the west. After drinking it today, I realize what the hype is all about. This boujee tea, said it all! First, I will like to share somethings about this tea.
This tea comes from Old-Growth or Gushu tea trees within the Fengqing region, which is renowned for its ancient tea gardens and government protected areas. There is approximately 14,400 square miles of ancient tea trees in that area, and it’s also very famous for producing good Dianhong or Yunnan Black Teas. When I spoke to the owner of Xi Zi Hao, Mr. Tony Chen, he told me me that the tea comes from government protected areas of Fengqing county, and comes from trees that age between 200 to 600 years old. The oldest tea trees that is said to be alive is the King Tea Tree, or Cha Wang Shu in this protected area, and is said to be 3200 years old. This tea does not contain material from that specific tree, but you know what I am trying to refer to. The Fengqing area is pretty special, and is an area that is lush with super old tea trees.
Basic info about this special tea:
2018 Spring Tea.
From Government Protected Land within Fengqing County, Lincang, Yunnan, China. 凤庆茶区国有森林。
Hand picked and hand processed
2300 m to 2900 m depending on where in that area
1.23 CAD per gram
200 – 600 year old tea trees
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 sec to 15 min depending on the infusion)
Let’s get started with the actual review!
Dry leaves: Looks
Fat, glossy leaves with tons of golden hairs, buds looking golden already after almost a year of aging in Tainan, Taiwan.
Dry leaves: Smell
Green peas and matcha, very nutty and fresh aroma. Sweet, almost like a light processed Tie Guan Yin, but with more creaminess and complexity.
Wet leaves : Smell
Incredible, like a mixture between a Longjing green tea and a phoenix Dancong, creamy and fruity while being fresh! Very unique, special aroma. After some infusions, the aroma of the wet leaves change into something like lilacs and watermelon rind. Fresh, grassy, and quite green smelling.
1st to 3rd infusion: Lighter sweetness, bitter, but very long mouthful. Rich, mouthwatering sensations after the second cup. Fresh aroma, very refreshing, quenching. Green peas with a slight twist of creaminess, lilacs and white peach. So much going on, it’s so hard to pinpoint.
4th to 6th infusions: Bitter, but with a beautiful creaminess that just rounds out the bitterness, almost like a cheder bitterness. Green veggies, broccoli, and this very unique green aroma. My mouth is covered in sweetness, and is sticky. The body of the tea is incredible, mouthfeel is so strong, with an intense head and neck, as well as back 茶气 Cha Qi. The tea soup is incredibly vibrant, with lots of tea hairs floating. The bitterness can be sometimes so overwhelming, but afterwards there is a huge rebate of saliva and sweetness that comes out from the bitterness.
7th to 9th infusions： Still bitter, but less peachy. More of the honey notes starting to come out, with a slight tang. The more I drink, the sweeter it gets. The bitter sweet is very rewarding, and it makes you want to drink more. I was also afraid that the tea hairs would mean that the tea would be harder to drink, and would make my throat uncomfortable… but this was not the case. Very nice throat feeling.
11th and 12th brew
10th to 12th infusions: I pushed the 11th infusion up to 6 min, and the tea soup was bitter, yet sweet and was incredible. Such unique aroma and relaxing taste. Citrus fruit with golden peas. Creamy as well.
13th to 15th infusions: Light, but still the tea taste is noticeable. I pushed the 15th infusion for 10 min. Not as bitter, but still a noticeable tea taste and is very refreshing to drink. Umami, seaweed, and some plum.
16th infusion: I brewed it for 15 min, and the tea soup was pretty much done. No more aroma coming off, just a sweet mineral taste and a slight bit of astringency.
This Diangu is incredibly potent, and is for sure not a beginner’s tea. If you cannot tolerate bitterness, this tea is meant for you. That being said, if you are already use to Pu Erh and can handle some levels of bitterness and strength, this tea will be your soulmate. With such potency, it’s very easy for one to remember this experience. Also, this tea has such a unique flavor profile, and it is for sure not a flavor that everyone will love. I, personally like this tea very much, and it’s unique green, fruity flavor but that’s not everyone’s liking. Some may say it is too fruity for them, or too strong.. Etc.
However, because of such high-grade material and it’s very unique body feeling and strength, I would give it a 9.4 /10. I want to personally thank Mr. Chen for sourcing and producing this tea, and I am very excited to try the 2019 Diangu as well. It was a very enjoyable session, with great material and very surprising tasting notes!