Yunnan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes

85

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Flavors: Astringent, Dried Fruit, Earthy, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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50

I brewed this tea gong fu style as I do for most teas.
Visually, I didn’t get many flowers in my tea brick which was disappointing, but I didn’t let that get to me before I judged it. The steamed leaves took on the aroma of a very typical “drier” shou: lumber, minerality, and just a touch of smoothness (creaminess without the cream). When wet, the dry aromas remained the same – however it did end up getting a slightly creamy aroma.
The first steep tasted just like the aroma: minerals (maybe shale?), dried wood most similar to birch, and a bit of camphor. Creamy aroma was sadly non-existent in flavor. OK puerh, bad example of a golden flower tea.

Flavors: Camphor, Mineral, Sandalwood, Smooth, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 160 OZ / 4731 ML

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73

Decent enough black! I got this tea from my recent YS order, and it’s not too bad but not amazing either. Nice, relatively whole leaves but a low proportion of buds, rich aroma in the wet leaf with nuance and complexity, and vibrant red liquor in the cup. The flavour is pretty well-rounded, reminding me of tangerines or 小青柑 Puer, and the texture is smooth with a slight juiciness to it. Character is decent, a bit of steep variability paired with a average to decent finish & aftertaste. Cha-qi is almost non-existent and steep longevity is average, topping out at steep 7-8.

Flavors: Alkaline, Citrus, Fruity, Juicy, Malty, Mandarin, Mineral, Smooth, Spices, Tangerine

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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80

Very nice aged sheng! I got this tea from my recent YS order, and it is a very well balanced tea. Decent leaves, not a high proportion of buds and slightly difficult to pry, but generally whole and unbroken. Aroma is rich both in the dry and wet leaf but could do with a bit more potency. Liquor is a vibrant, clear orange-red hue. Flavour is quite decent, good mix of spices, woodiness, fruitiness, and the prototypical aged sheng flavours. Texture is smooth, yet thick and oily. Character is pretty decent too, with a nice steep variability, lots of ways to alter the flavour of this tea just by the temperature. Finish & aftertaste is very good, long aftertaste with a mineral note to it as well as a juicy finish to boot. Cha-qi is average to decent, a bit of stomach action here and there with a slight buzz to the experience. Steep longevity is pretty good, the tea tops around steep 12-14.

The tea takes time to really settle in but it’s something definitely worth recommending.

Flavors: Alkaline, Bittersweet, Earth, Fig, Forest Floor, Juicy, Mineral, Oily, Plum, Pumpkin, Rainforest, Smooth, Spices, Stonefruit, Thick, Wet Moss, Wet Wood, Woody

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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58

(Note is work in progress)
Very tightly compressed and difficult to pick apart. Perhaps I didn’t store it with enough humidity? Notes of undergrowth, earthy, and a bit metallic with some astringency and low bitteness.

Brew times for 6g of leaves with boiling water
50sec, 25sec …

Flavors: Astringent, Dust, Earth, Metallic, Soil, Wet Earth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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68

Not the tastiest Dancong. I got the 2019 harvest of this tea from my recent YS order, and it performs poorly in most parts. Decent leaves with a bit of brokenness, with a nice but slightly weak aroma and a decent liquor. The flavour is mediocre to decent, with a nice hint of florality paired with bittersweet notes. The texture is decent, nice smooth texture with a bit of astringency and bite to it. Character is average to poor, not a lot of steep variability at play here. Finish & aftertaste is quite decent, nice floral punch in the aftertaste when brewed stronger with a nice juicy finish as well. Cha-qi is almost non-existent and steep longevity is mediocre to average, topping out at steep 8-10.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Garlic, Grassy, Green, Jasmine, Juicy, Mineral, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

Having this bing since the start of my pu-erh journey in 2016, this sheng took me at my hand and showed me how a maturation in a rather arid surrounding can be. I had highs and lows with this one as the time in between the green notes left and mature aroma taking over, it wasn’t a really appealing tea. Half a year ago I thought this tea not just mellowed out but got flat and stale. Even though nothing really pungent is left my visit today was pleasing.

With a rather loose pressing this bing comes apart easily and offers beautiful dry leaves. After 15 sec. of washing with boiling water I started the session with ~8g and 90° C.

There is a fine balance in the bittersweet taste with the dark and warming aroma of a semiaged Sheng. Tobacco with a little smoke is the main component now I would say. The bitterness is vegetal (aubergine). Some ripe stonefruit (plums) and even pudding round this tea out. Later on the astringency dries my mouth a bit, but not as strongly anymore. A little cooling menthol I could pick up in the aftertaste.

I am grateful for this journey, even though the end is nigh with and our ways will part soon. Pu-Erh is a nice hobby sometimes pushes me into running my miles faster and sometimes calm me down in the midst of a stressful work day. This YS Impression 2012 is rather calming and focusing for me. I would love to read some revisits from other owners of this tea!

Flavors: Menthol, Plum, Smoke, Stonefruit, Tobacco

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

Wonderful, wonderful black tea. I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent YS order, and it’s beaten most of the black teas I’ve drank out of the park. Good things about this tea first. Beautiful leaves with a rich wet leaf aroma and a nicely nuanced dry leaf aroma, with a wonderful vibrant liquor with a thickness to it and a beautiful golden sheen around the cup. The flavour especially in the first steeps is phenomenal, a great balance of florality with malt and citrus notes, topped with spices in a beautiful delicate yet potent concoction. Texture is decent with a nice smoothness and juiciness to it. Character is decent as well with some steep variability. Finish & aftertaste is decent with a nice astringency at the tail end and a lingering malty flavour. Cha-qi is wondrous and creeping with a great buzzy feeling at the end.

The biggest criticism I have of this tea is it doesn’t have the greatest steep longevity, topping out at steep 6-7 and its flavour dying down at around steep 5. But for the price, what a great daily drinker with a nice kick to it as well. Highly recommended.

Flavors: Alfalfa, Chocolate, Creamy, Cumin, Floral, Honey, Juicy, Malt, Mineral, Potato, Smooth, Spices, Sweet Potatoes, Wet Rocks

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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78

Very decent Puerh! I got this tea from my recent YS order, and it generally is quite good. Beautiful leaves with a decent proportion of buds, rich wet leaf aroma and a decently vibrant liquor. The flavour is quite decent, good semi-aged pu-erh flavour profile with a slight freshness still there, bitter, floral, etc. Texture is immense, juicy and astringent. Character is decent as well, with a good steep variability for the bitter lovers and a nice tail end to the session. Finish & aftertaste is potent, which is nice. Cha-qi is semi-potent, good buzzy feeling, and steep longevity is decent, topping off at steep 11.

Overall, good stuff.

Flavors: Allspice, Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Herbaceous, Herbal, Juicy, Marine, Mineral, Mint, Ocean Air, Spices

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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75

Disappointing for a supposedly “Competition Grade” tea. I got the Spring 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent YS order, and it’s decent but I expected much better. Beautiful leaves, the most vibrant green leaves of a TGY I’ve seen, rich wet leaf aroma, and beautiful liquour. Flavour was decent, reminds me a lot of vegetable soup with a punch of florality and minerality here and there. Texture was outstanding, verdant and smooth. Character was average though, with little steep variability and a unidimensional profile. Finish & aftertaste was average to decent, smooth and juicy with a lingering vegetal note to the tea. Cha-qi is almost non-existent and steep longevity is poor to average.

Overall, the tea isn’t up to par with its title really. I’d recommend it only by the basis of objectivity when it comes to the standard of the tea, but in relation to its price and its given prestige, sorry but this doesn’t cut it.

Flavors: Cauliflower, Chicken Soup, Creamy, Floral, Juicy, Kale, Mineral, Smooth, Spices, Spinach, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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65

Too simple of a green. I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent YS order, and it just doesn’t possess the quality. Beautiful 10/10 leaves though, with a decent but slightly weak aroma and a vibrant liquor. Flavour is underwhelmingly unidimensional and weak, texture is mediocre, character is mediocre. Finish & aftertaste is also, well, mediocre. Cha-qi is non-existent and steep longevity is poor, topping out at steep 4-5.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Green, Hay, Herbal, Licorice, Nutty, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
LuckyMe

I was curious about this tea when I saw it on YS. Sorry to hear it was a disappointment. Reminds me of my experience with Tai Ping Hou Kui. Gorgeous leaves but just tastes like hot water.

Ethan Loke

Yea, YS isn’t known for its greens.

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77

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Flavors: Brown Sugar, Graham, Grass, Malt, Umami

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96

Spring 2022.

My second Yunnan Sourcing Long Jing and easily the better of the two.

This tea has a sweet, creamy aroma and the leaves are longer and less broken than the Imperial Grade. I steeped it the traditional grandpa method: tea leaves directly in the cup.

In a warm glass, the leaves emitted a nutty aroma that reminded me of Rice Krispies. The brewed tea has a very nice nutty freshness. Chestnut and lima bean are the dominant flavors but there are green bean and pistachio notes as well. It’s more chestnutty than any dragonwell I’ve had. Pleasant and smooth throughout with zero bitterness.

Holds up well in cold storage and makes an excellent cold brew.

Flavors: Chestnut, Green Beans, Lima Beans, Nutty, Pistachio

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73

Good daily drinker! I got this tea from my recent YS order, and it wasn’t anything special but overall was quite decent. Easily breakable cake with a good proportion of buds for a shou mei, rich wet leaf aroma and a wafty dry leaf nuanced aroma, liquor was vibrant. Flavour was decent, sweet but generally quite simple and uncomplex. Character was not that amazing as the session was pretty unidimensional. Finish & aftertaste was decent, good juicy finish with a mild, sweet aftertaste. Cha-qi was unnoticeable and steep longevity was pretty decent, possibly lasting up to steep 10+.

Overall, not a special special tea but a good one for the value and as a daily drinker.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Juicy, Smoked, Spices, Sweet, Watermelon

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 6 OZ / 170 ML

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84

Wonderful aged sheng! I got this tea from my recent YS order, and this tea definitely is worth it for the price. The brick was easily breakable, albeit having a mix of stems and leaves with, it still has a relatively decent proportion of buds. One thing though is that the brick has quite a fair bit of hair compressed into it, at least with the sample that I got. Rich aroma in the wet leaf with a nuanced smokey aroma in the dry leaf, liquor was a vibrant amber orange with a slight viscosity to it.

Flavour was really impressive especially in the first few steeps with a complex mix of smokey, bitter, stonefruits, and an aged fermented taste. Rich, deep, vibrant. Texture was smooth yet astringent, evolving into juiciness as one swallows the liquor, character was decent-ish to good, with a nice evolution of flavour from deep and vibrant to a more simple honey sweetness that was still nice (albeit I preferred the liquor as presented in the first few steeps). Finish & aftertaste was decent, great juicy finish with a mild lingering smokey/sweet aftertaste. Cha-qi was pretty decent, good buzz especially at the first few steeps, but on top of that an active stomach sensation that was present later on. Steep longevity was decent to good. I stopped at steep 10 but I think this tea could go on to steep 11-12.

Overall, a wonderful tea that could easily be 85-90+ if the flavour present in the first few steeps persisted for longer along with ticking a few more boxes in the finish and aftertaste department. Potentially worth getting a full brick.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Charcoal, Citrus, Forest Floor, Herbaceous, Honey, Juicy, Molasses, Mushrooms, Smoked, Spices, Stonefruit, Sugarcane, Sweet, Tangy, Tobacco

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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65

Black teas can be one-note. At least, you have to look a lot harder to find the differences between cups. The unmistakable distance between oolongs or the space between a longjin and a gyokuro doesn’t usually come up between different black teas. It takes an exceptional black tea to stand out from the rest, and that’s what buyers hope for when they purchase Purple Voodoo which, unfortunately, fails to deliver.

Yunnan Sourcing’s now sold out “Drunk on Red” black tea cake, for example, offered a very similar cup at a tiny fraction of the price. It’s unlcear exactly what you’re paying for with Purple Voodoo, which is not tippy, organic or single estate. The prestige of the tea is in the “first flush” and, of course, the “purple” distinctions — but these translate to only SUBTLE differences/improvements. On offer from Yunnan Sourcing are far more dramatic step ups, including the Camellia Taliensis black tea and a variety of “pure gold” or gold-streaked offerings that deliver with big, malty tones. Think spring tips, golden needle, pure bud…if any of these were pressed into a cake, that would be a different story. The fact Purple Voodoo’s tea leaves were once purple doesn’t powerfully translate to the cup or even to the finished leaf. Some black tea processes, comparable to a dark roast for coffee, are very good at covering up imperfections, but they also bulldoze a lot of the nuance of delicate purple leaves that end up brewing the same as their green cousins.

It’s a far better tea than the stuff you’d buy in a bag, but the aroma notes are comparable. This tea ultimately fails by being good when, I think, the consumer is looking for something exceptional. No tasting notes to report, nothing that stands out. If you are looking for a tea that will change the way you think about black tea, skip the Purple Voodoo and opt for “Purple Wild Buds” which is probably the leaf material that SHOULD have been pressed to make Purple Voodoo, having the precise bitter quality that would soften after being stored as a cake.

Purple Voodoo benefits from longer steeps and does not become bitter.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 40 OZ / 1182 ML

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70
Today I sipped down my last 3 g of this middle-aged raw pu-erh “iron cake” from 2001, which I acquired last year from YS. Steeped in 80ml boiling alpine spring-water, starting at 30 seconds after a brief rinse, and stretching out to 10 minutes in the eighth infusion. All were a medium golden in color, not the deep orange depicted by YS. The tea had a mild and pleasant aroma, with no smell or taste of compost or fish, and was perfectly drinkable. There was some residual astringency, which complemented the vaguely minty flavor that lingered on the tongue for several minutes after each sip. Silky smooth, but although inoffensive, the tea did not excite or thrill me. It was like having a luncheon date with someone incapable of discourse beyond light pleasantries and talk of the weather, without ever getting deep or very interesting at all. I could share a table with this tea again, but would I pay $45 for a 25 g packet in order to do so? I don’t think so, and I certainly won’t be dropping $540 for an entire cake. I could recommend this tea for an experience or two, but I think that you, too, will tire of Gloria Upson after a few encounters, long before you get around to playing any ping-pong.

Flavors: Astringent, Celery, Peppermint

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 80 ML
mrmopar

2005 T8653’s are about the same but much easier on the wallet. Aging conditions in a more humid area benefits this one too. Taiwan has been a good place for the ones I have.

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76

Decent black. I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent YS order, and it’s nice but not extraordinary. Beautiful leaves with few buds, rich aroma, vibrant liquor, flavour was decent but not amazing, rich and malty. Texture is decent, character is mediocre, finish & aftertaste is average to decent, cha-qi is surprisingly strong in the stomach and when it comes to the buzzy heady feeling, and steep longevity is pretty decent (steep 11+) considering that its a black tea.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Citrus, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Plum, Spices, Stonefruit

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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79

Decent green! I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent YS order, and it’s pretty nice. Beautiful buddy leaves with a rich and complex aroma in the dry and wet leaf, slightly unique from other greens with a higher emphasis on the herbal aspect. Beautiful pale green liquor with a decent flavour but lacks a bit of potency and nuance. Texture is smooth and slightly bitey but not much else, character is okay, finish & aftertaste is decent, cha-qi is mediocre to decent, and steep longevity is pretty decent, could go up to steep 7. Overall, a great tea that could’ve been an 80+ but lacked just a bit for it to reach the mark. However, great value though.

Flavors: Bitter, Cauliflower, Chalk, Citrus, Creamy, Cumin, Cut Grass, Fennel, Ginseng, Herbal, Herbs, Milky, Mint, Nutty, Parsley, Roasty, Spices, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Vegetal

Preparation
4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Spring 2019 harvest from Leafhopper, thanks for sharing :)

The scent of the leaf both in bag and in hand is admirable in its spicy and floral characteristics that complement dry-roasted sweet potato, speculoos cookies, black grapes, rye and chocolate. And then there’s the warmed leaf which is an intense, rich mix of earthy, sweet and spicy chocolate-rye, red apple, varnish and cooked carrot.

Soft cocoa aroma in the cup.

First few sips are like drinking a raw, starchy sweet potato. It is astringent and medium-bodied but without much structure to the taste. I get a sour tomato-like finish followed by aromatic allspice aftertaste. When tea has cooled several degrees, it tastes morel like a mix of cooked potatoes, squash and carrots with a hint of clove and nutmeg. Tannic but not heavy; overwhelmingly drying.

Second cup is thin, savory and toasty, strangely sweet. Third goes back to only savory and is with the rye and malt impressions. I also notice fleeting mandarin orange and a hint of caramel before that sour tomato taste-feeling in the finish takes over. A flash of mouth cooling. Fourth infusion is earthy and sour.

Overall, there are some really nice components to the tea but it is severely disjointed and painfully drying. I suspect this tea is roasted with sugarcane and possibly has flavoring applied because of the way the rich and spicy scents do not translate to taste but then show up again briefly in the aftertaste. If I hadn’t taken the time to smell the dry and warmed leaf this tea would’ve been a big disappointment. I agree more with the assessments here on Steepster rather than at Yunnan Sourcing.

Flavors: Allspice, Astringent, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Carrot, Chocolate, Clove, Cocoa, Drying, Earth, Flat, Grapes, Mandarin, Nutmeg, Orchid, Potato, Red Apple, Rye, Savory, Sour, Squash, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin, Thin, Tomato

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Leafhopper

I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t tried this tea yet. I just thought it would be something you’d like. Maybe Yunnan Sourcing isn’t the place to go for lapsangs.

derk

I do see a review from you! The aromas were spectacular, so I am grateful that your generosity allowed me to try this tea on a chilly morning :)

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82

I hate how since 2015, every description of this tea is copy-pasted, including ’Da Qing Gu Shu (Da Qing Old Tree) is my favorite tea from Spring 20XX. ’. That feels so unpersonal, Scott… I guess it shows how big Yunnan Sourcing has become.

I really like this tea. It feels very lively. There is a lot of freshness and sweetness to the taste, and the mouthfeel has an active, tingling, interesting quality that makes this tea engaging. There is very little astringency and no grassiness. Maybe I would have liked a little more thickness to this tea, but it is still very young and I guess it might acquire more substance with some short-term aging.

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A sample from White Antlers’ Swedish Death Purge — I hope you’re well wherever you are.

A good pick for a Sunday morning in which the valley is again blanketed by autumn’s marine layer. The cool weather complements the scent of the dry leaf which has pleasant aged notes of old books, forest mushrooms, bamboo grove, an old leather jacket embedded with the smoke of a long-ago extinguished campfire, remnants of dried cherry and jerky in the pocket. Overall, the leaf scent is a combination of lukewarm-dry and cool-damp-petrichor associations.

The warmed leaf smells like a dense walnut bread with brown gravy as part of maybe some kind of eastern European meat dish. TCM comes to mind as well. Rinsing mellows this aroma and brings out a hint of berry-ish wintergreen.

In terms of aroma and flavor, it is not a particularly penetrating tea. Most notable in expression are its mild alkalinity and smooth and flowing, almost creamy mouthfeel. Some gentle effects present on the tongue such as a numbing of the tip and a mild tannic rasp. The expression of flavor is a very rounded warm nutty-woody, cool limestone and gentle TCM character with steeps that range from probably 30 seconds to several minutes long. Not until the second steep can I pick up on the low-sitting aroma of dried jujube, olives and latex hidden within the liquor.

I agree with Togo’s description of the energy as sedating and would also say it is soothing in a way that wandering through a foggy old-growth forest with an old friend can feel.

It’s been a while since I’ve had aged heicha and this was a gentle re-acquaintance.

Flavors: Alkaline, Bamboo, Bark, Bread, Campfire, Cherry, Dates, Leather, Limestone, Meat, Mushrooms, Nutty, Olives, Paper, Petrichor, Round, Smooth, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Walnut, Wet Earth, Wintergreen, Woody

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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