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2021 Qianjiazhai (Ailaoshan) Gushu Raw Pu Erh Maocha (100g)

2021 Qianjiazhai (Ailaoshan) Gushu Raw Pu Erh Maocha (100g)

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July 23rd, 2021

This maocha is from the high elevation village of Qianjiazhai on Ailaoshan. Qianjiazhai is over 2000m above sea level, and the gushu from the village is renowned for its terroir. The Qianjiazhai area may even be where tea first originated.

This maocha truly surprised me. When it first arrived, I was surprised that it smelled like Lao Man'E tastes. I love the taste of Lao Man'E maocha, so this wasn't disappointing to me, but I was curious to see what the cup would bring. After the rinse, the wet leaves smell of peachy, minerally wildflower.

In the cup, my initial impression was that this tea tasted like fresh and complex sweet wildflower with some minerality. This flavor expanded across the palate. The flavor is full in a way only old tree and gushu teas usually are, with a full range of flavor from sweet to savory that expands through my mouth and down my throat. I much prefer gushu teas for this reason, but the cha qi from these teas, especially when fresh, is truly amazing.

This tea is instantly calming for me, which is something I always enjoy, but the cha qi crept up on me and gave me effects almost as powerful as the 2016 Dayi 8582 (Batch 1601). My face heated up and I felt almost like my nose was bleeding. With the 2016 Dayi 8582, I actually had to check!

The flavor expands into balanced peach, sweet caramel and light florals. The liquor is very smooth, and doesn't get very astringent or bitter at all, even when pushed quite hard, which is another hallmark of many gushu teas. The bitterness is just right to balance out the profile. I can tell it's there and accentuates the overall experience, but I can't isolate the bitterness until I push hard in the later infusions. Well-balanced sheng maocha really makes me happy, and this tea certainly delivers.

The caramel note in the aftertaste is sweet and I later get vanilla along with it, which is surprising and very pleasant. I get sweet wildflower, clear date flavor and a little cantaloupe in later infusions as well, due to the oxidation of the material here. This is truly great maocha. While my more economical maocha offerings are certainly great value, this is definitely a better tea and better experience, and I followed up my tasting with another session a day later, which is rare for me due to the sheer volume of tea I have to sample through.

In later infusions, sweet orange flavors also arise. The sweet wildflower also becomes more prominent, and the most impressive aspect of this tea is I feel the effects of the cha qi from this tea on each successive infusion.

This is a lovely tea and one I highly recommend you try if you appreciate young sheng maocha. Some old school tea heads think young sheng maocha will tear up your insides, but that hasn't been true for the majority of young sheng for many years now. I could definitely drink this tea regularly, and the complexity of this material makes it stand out from aged teas that lose their vigor with age. There is of course a place for both young and aged teas in the pu erh world, and I am very happy to drink both!

Please note: quantities of this tea are limited. Please do not hesitate if you would like to try this tea.

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