Sunday, 8 April 2012

2004 Yong Pin Hao -Xiang Ming

This is another long forgotten sample coming from one of my first purchases from Yunnan sourcing. I think I tried it only once or twice but it left mi unimpressed. However, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts the way how I look and experience a tea is changed in the last two years. I remember this tea as mild and therefore not interesting however this attitude comes from the period when I was thinking that a good puerh with ability to age, has to be necessarily bitter. But as I realised later this is just a myth created by me for myself to simplify the evaluations of some samples. 
This sample was sitting in the drawer for more than one year here in Milan. The flat where I am living can be pretty hot and humid during the summer months since its position is right under the roof. The temperature usually rises to 30-35°C for a couple of hours during the day while the humidity is ranging from 60-80%. Luckily I leave my flat at the morning and return at the evening so I don’t have to “age” in these conditions. On the other hand this environment gives a very nice boost to my shengs what is already noticeable after 1year.

After a relaxing afternoon in the park I have a taste for something semi-aged if not aged. 


8g, 90ml gaiwan, 10s rinse, 3s, 3s, 3s, 3s, 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 50s, 2min
As I open the small bag an aged character salutes me. My first impression is that I picked up some shu sample instead of the 2004 YPH. The first rinse seems to fix this and reveals a nice fusion of young and aged characters, the smell is sweet with lower notes: tobacco, walnuts.

I used a fair amount of leaves and the result was pleasant. The texture is thick and active in the throat and the nutty character is really nice. There is a slightly bitter finish which leaves a mild huigan (but nothing remarkable) however no sign of astringency. The durability is good with 10 infusions.
This tea changed during the last one year and the developing aged character is promising. However the liquor has a suspiciously brown-reddish colour. 

the colour is nice but unusual for an 8 year old, mainly Kunming stored sheng

The later steeps became a bit rough but nothing disturbing, it reminds me the bitter-sweet taste of that thin layer on the walnuts.
I was pleasantly surprised by this sheng but I don't know where to put the aged character. The description says that it was stored two years in a more humid environment of the Yi Wu mountains. It is true that the (loose) sample was sitting in my room during the hot and humid summer but this tea spent most of his life in the very dry climate of Kunming. I am confused.

In any case, it is better than its younger brother, the 2005 YPH stone pressed yiwu, but the price is also higher. 58USD for an 8 years old cake with promising (?) aged notes, is not that much, however I already have my eye on other cakes from the same period.

For now, I put this tea at the end of my imaginary wishlist, and since I still have around 7g, I will try it again sometime in the future.

 the setup is the same like always


  1. Is it just me or does this taste like a predominantly roasted green tea... With hints of slightly wet semi aged puerh on the finish and lingering aftertaste?

    I was not impressed first go around. Perhaps I need to add lots more leaf (went light first time around). Still though...that roast...Screams green tea...

    Tea newb

  2. Hi there

    I also remember this tea mild and inoffensive in a not so good way but using high tea/water ratio the result was nice. There are signs of roasting what may be a problem for some puerh drinkers, but if I would like to buy a youngish but yet not young sheng for drinking now, I would buy a cake. Anyways, If you still have from the sample try to use more leaves while keeping the infusions short.
    all the best
    ps: I am also just a tea newb:)

  3. I did add more leaf, and also let it air out a few more months.
    Results were very different. I liked it a lot !

    Tasted much more puerhy :)

  4. There is a believe that good or high quality teas requires high tea/water ratio to bring out their characters, and if the tea is really good, disturbing elements will not pop out. This is probably true for aged shengs, for younger puerhs I don’t know, maybe yes. In any case, If you like it a lot, than that’s the most important sign.