£12.00 – £225.00
2003 Yiwu Wangong – “300 years old trees” (T4)
The wrapper says “300 year old trees” and I have to admit that at first I was skeptic as most of those claims are not what they seem they are.
It bears the name of Zhang Yi who supervised this production in 2003 which is old enough for Wangong not to have been overpicked and still had some very, very good material, including unmanaged ancient tree.
This Tea delivers, and very well. Opening the wrapper I was greeted with a beautiful and beautifully smelling cake.
This is a genuine T4 very near to T4+ with an excellent pricing for what it is, this is one of my best taiwan “private label” finds, tea of this quality outside Taiwan is very inaccessible and costs many times more.
The smell is immediately very strong and sweet, there’s some nice very dry storage on it that means this tea still can transform further into even more of a work of art.
High notes are present, even when steeping with a lot of leaves there are no off-flavours.
Some calming Qi but mostly it’s a very more-ish Tea generating creativity with a lot of depth and patience.
Show taste rating system description
Bitterness - a moderate level is considered pleasant, even if it's a bit of an acquired taste
Astringency - neutral but most people will prefer balanced astringency (see "smooth")
Aftertaste - how long does the taste/smell remains in the cup and the mouth?
Thick - is it more soupy or watery?
Patient - how many steeps does it go on for?
Aroma - both in the dry leaf and from the teapot, includes presence of flavour "high notes"
Complex - are there different layer easily recognisable? For a high rating there should be high notes
Huigan - returning sweetness from the throat, lingering in the mouth after drinking
Intensity - how much flavour is there? this is a very good indicator of a tea that will age well
Sweet - neutral though most people like it a lot
Smooth - are astringency and bitterness well balanced with sweetness and thickness? does it go down the throat easily without having to swallow? a lot of drying and salivation can be good indicators for aging, but would diminish the current smooth value
Clean - are there any flavours that are not to do with tea? this is a serious defect and can indicate pesticide or improper processing. Most tea I drink is a 5, with the odd 4 that will "clean" up with aging. Steeping the tea for relatively long will bring out the truth.
I mainly look for high aftertaste and intensity, with decent thickness and smoothness (3+), most tea I drink are .
Puerh tends to be thicker, smoother, have more aftertaste, be less complex, less bitter, less astringent as it ages.
Show Qi rating system description
Calming - does it bring a sensation of stillness?
Intense - how much does the tea affect your mind and body? does it cause heat, burping and/or energy? different from a caffeine rush
Depth - does it keep you interested for a long time and satisfied? does it significantly clarify your thoughts? not just "feeling high" but more "feeling transformed"
Comfortable - is there any anxiety during or after the session?
I mainly look for a high depth value, though usually depth is a combination of calming+intense. Also a comfortable value of 4+.
Qi tends to be deeper, more comfortable, and less intense the older the Tea is.
Of course, higher tier puerh has higher values, particularly in depth, comfortable and one of the two between calming and intense.
Storage: Dry (Very dry taiwan home storage)
Aging potential: close to T4+ already, certainly in few years of further dry storage
This is quite technical, feel free to skip if you’re just interested in drinking good tea.
Always in aged puerh it’s impossible to 100% accurately verify what material exactly went into a cake, and there are many ways people use to claim a tea is better than it actually is.
This tea proves itself in the cup, and its claims on the wrapper are in my opinion in the realm of believable in terms of taste, Qi and leaf profile.
- Wangong: Zhang Yi (was head of Yiwu township and tea producer) was happy to vouch for this tea being called “Wangong”, that counts for… something. Recognising terroir is not my core area of expertise as I find recognising quality much more important so I can’t offer much more comment other than “it tastes compatible with other Wangong I had but it’s much older so it’s hard to say”. Maybe blended with some wider Wangong area?
- 300 year old trees: I’ve marked this tea as T4 which means it’s my opinion that this tea has a high % of ancient tree in it, not that it’s pure 100% ancient tree material (which would be a T5).
There are many suspected fakes of this cake, in order to identify the authentic ones you should look at:
- the inner ticket is properly buried under the leaves
- the wrapper paper color is slightly brownish
I provide the above for transparency, but really I’m much more interested in the overall quality of the Tea, and less in all the details of how it came to be.
The proof is in the cup, try the tea and you shall see for yourself.
12g sample, 24g sample, 357g Cake