Vendor Description: "Huang Shan tea has typical Mengku strength and thickness. Its tea soup is golden yellow and viscous, the aroma is sweet with hints of orchid and mushrooms. The taste is sweet, astringent, and bitter with a savory kind of mouth watering feel and strong cooling effect."
Heavy stone-fruits: fresh apricot, dried mango, peaches. It's like sticking my nose into a freshly opened bag of dried Philippine mangos.
The tea is very crisp, floral, and sweet. I'm not picking up any of the more fruit-forward notes that are so present in the wet leaf. Instead, the flavor is very mellow and subdued with a bitterness that creeps up on you slowly, well-after you finish your cup, and then it lingers.
Pale amber, like watered-down honey.
The first few steeps had a thick astringency that was active in my cheeks and on my tongue, but it mellowed out quickly. An extremely pleasant bitterness lingers throughout the session with a slowly declining intensity. There's still a little bit of action 5-8 steeps in, but by the 10th steep it evolves into a really soft vegetal sweetness.
Very relaxing; my body feels light and my muscles are at ease.
This tea has a lot going on flavor-wise. I really love the bitter backbone, juxtaposed with a floral and vegetal sweetness, creating a well-balanced profile. It's never too much of any one flavor, and it has an interesting evolution that is noticeable more than just the typical mellowing-out that all teas eventually go through. The entire profile evolves before the actual flavor starts to fade.
I wish that it was a bit more active in the mouth, like their house-brand Wu Liang (Spring 2016), which is similarly priced ($0.11USD/gram). I'm not saying that there's no mouthfeel at all, it's just not as front-and-center for as long as some of their other productions within the $0.10USD-$0.15USD price-range.
This tea is a really great option for a cheap go-to for when you're staring at your collection and feeling indecisive; it has a little bit of everything. Like all of Scott's productions, the compression is perfect. Just tight enough to hold-up for long-term aging, but loose enough to pry apart whole unbroken leaves for here-and-now consumption. I mean, for $0.10/gram it's hard to go wrong with this tea. It isn't necessarily overflowing with complexities, but it consistently delivers a clean, smooth, and crisp cup.
*Sheng Gut has no affiliation with Yunnan Sourcing. However, Scott and I are homies, and he sent me this tea for the purposes of reviewing. That being said, I'm still as biased as ever. As a great man once sang: "All I do is shill, shill, shill no matter what. I got shilling on my mind, I can never shill enough. And every time I go shilling on a vendor, everybody's eyes roll up--and they stay there."
**I have now entered the 212F Club, and membership is permanent. When I drink puerh, the main characteristic that I'm looking for is a complex mouthfeel, and higher temperatures deliver a much wider range of sensations than lower temperatures.