Continuing on with reviews of the 2017 Spring White2Tea puer line. I previously reviewed the $90-$100 cakes and 2017 Farmer Direct Tea. Today we are doing Four AM, Magic Mountain DNA, and She’s Not Me. I drank all three teas as separate sessions on different days and in a different order. All teas were from samples I purchased and tried within a couple months of release, so everything is quite young – if you are reading this in sometime 2018 likely the flavor profiles have changed.
2017 White2Tea Puer – Four AM Sheng Puer
Four AM is described as, “elegant and heavy at the same time, with a complete character.”
Dry Leaf and Steeping Method: Four AM smells like young sweet and floral puer with a bit of tangy nose wrinkle. No stale or musty notes.
I steeped Four AM in boiling water, 1 gram of leaf for 15ml of vessel size, gongfu style. The hot leaf smells like sticky rice and flowers.
First and Second Infusion: Four AM has a delicate soft flavor, but rounds out in the mouth to lemon curd tart, a bit buttery, with a finish of a bit of scorched rice. It isn’t too sweet or savory, and the tart looming over reminds me that this tea needs more time.
The body is very round, it fills the mouth like I jammed a donut in, and numbs the jaws. The tea feels thick like I’m eating a meal that I’ve chewed on for awhile, but sits in the throat. I feel right away some head fuzz.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: I pushed these steepings slightly longer than usual and was awarded for it. The flavor is stronger, lemon curd complete with pan scrapings. I get a lingering aftertaste of tart, that oddly sticks to my molars, giving a good belch of curd if I so choose to. I also feel like a cow as the texture is slightly sticky, so I can chew on it.
Four AM also adds a heady feeling. My head feels warm and sanded like I am being rubbed with a scratchy wool chunky blanket. I also feel really full, like I went to town at a buffet and I need to unload some precious cargo before I do another round. This full feeling is really slowing down my tea drinking, forcing me to chill out and sip slowly.
Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Infusion: Four AM got squeaky clean and light, but with a peachy aftertaste. I also started getting astringency, so I got a gritty mouth.
Ninth and Tenth Infusion: I thought Four AM has nothing left, but the leaves still smell potent, so I did some long infusions. The long infusions made Four AM bitter that I can feel my teeth ache. Combined with the strong head feel, maybe I forgot that I went to the dentist? This tea had a few more left in it, but it was just so utterly bitter that I could not continue. My head also feels funny and I should lay down.
The spent leaf is tough feeling, big-leafed and stemmy.
Comments: I noticed some parallels between Four AM and White2Tea’s Bosch and Farmer Direct Tea. Four AM has a nice delicate and subtle complexity. Farmer Direct Tea pushes more of that sticky texture with a more abrasive taste. Four AM has a good amount of body feel too. I would call this a more upscale Farmer Direct Tea with some classy screw-you-up body feel and a sweeter profile. The taste of it will really change, as I’ve noticed tart notes generally clear up with time.
White2Tea’s Farmer Direct Tea I hold as a good value for what it is of the 2017 teas, especially if you are a texture drinker. You will like Four AM if you also liked Farmer Direct, Bosch, or Happy Birthday Baby. I overall thought Four AM is quite good, though I won’t spring on a cake as I do have a 2016 Bosch (which is out of stock, so if you missed out, well try Four AM).
2017 White2Tea Puer – Magic Mountain DNA
Magic Mountain DNA (MMDNA) is simply stated as a strong tea, with aggressive Menghai qualities. I know people have complained about the lack of descriptions, but they are all dead on without the fluff.
Dry Leaf and Steeping Method: MMDNA has a strong soapy floral scent. Out of all the spring 2017 White2Tea puers, I ranked MMDNA as the second best smelling.
Like all the other teas, I did gongfu style, and used boiling water with 1 gram of leaf to 15 ml of vessel size. The hot leaf has a lingering smokey scent with a floral itchy nose astringent note.
First, Second, and Third Infusion: Magic Mountain DNA starts off with a moderate amount of flavor. It is strong sharp, leaning bitter, and peachy, with a piercing apricot finish. The body is creamy milky that feels slick in the mouth. Each sip feels astringent in the throat, wanting me to cough. As a result, and with each sip, I got more and more layers of lingering apricot flavor.
Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: MMDNA feels like my mouth has been overloaded and coated in flavor. Each sip I taste nothing, just my mouth well seasoned with bitter peach. The feel of drinking stops at the throat, this tea is clogging enough to choke up, nor doesn’t let you forget the body and aftertaste. I can stop drinking for 10 minutes and still taste this tea.
At this point, I could feel Magic Mountain DNA popping an invigorating feel. I got spring in my step and started creating some evil plans involving my eventual tea room remodel.
Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: I have suddenly cooked MMDNA’s goose. It is quite astringent and bitter but the aftertaste is like my teeth are made of sheng apricot. That aftertaste is delicious enough to chase after. I likely can start sanding boards with my mouth feels so abrasive and weird feeling.
Tenth and Eleventh Infusion: I did long 15 minute infusions here. MMDNA sips in horrendously bitter and sharp, enough to make you cough. However, the never-ending aftertaste of apricot is worth it. My teeth also feel crazy, like my gums got dried out.
The leaves look quite nice – big full ones or long multi-branched bud ones with some stem.
Magic Mountain DNA certainly has a delayed energy. I felt invigorated before, now I got a mix of angry gut rot cramps and blood boiling swinging energy. It isn’t head fuzzy like She’s Not Me, but more RAWR in feel. I ended up laughing while hauling boxes and making a mean lasagna.
Comments: Magic Mountain DNA is a more seasoned puer drinker tea, likely for long-haul aging. It does get bitter and astringent, so not for someone who cannot take handle it. However, the flavor pay off and awesome lingering fragrance makes this tea a powerhouse now. The astringency and bitterness don’t get bad until the later infusions, and likely you could drop to 200F and get something pretty magical to drink now. Or leaf it heavier, get punched in the face, have the dryness make your teeth fall out, but feel like you are roided out to throw atlas stones like baseballs.
2017 White2Tea Puer – She’s Not Me
She’s Not Me has a description that appealed to me – “mildly astringent… sweetness and pleasant fragrance…. emphasis on Menghai character.”
I decided to crack open all the White2Tea samples I bought and smell them. 2017 She’s Not Me Sheng Puer was the best smelling one by far and was the first sample I tried.
Dry leaf and Steeping Method: She’s Not Me smells strong, sweet, dripping sappy floral that makes my mouth water. I’d wear this tea as perfume and likely I would be acceptable smelling too. I have a tight compression piece and some threads in my 25 grams sample.
I steeped this tea, like the others, with boiling water, 1 gram to 15ml ratio, gongfu style. The hot leaf smells pungently floral making my brain is buzz. I think I can smell astringency in that pungent hit. The tea comes out crystal clear and gold.
First and Second Infusion: The first infusion is quite light. It has a mineral bright and rice syrup like flavor, with a marshmallow glow as an aftertaste. The body is slippery but not heavy or thick. It feels like slipping on a dock and being sunk into the ocean with rocks.
Third and Fourth Infusion: Building up in flavor, but overall this tea is soft and light. All the flavor is at the end of the sip, which seems to flip between peaches, steamed rice, and minerals. The majority of is the astringency and body feel. The astringency pinches my cheeks together giving me dimples, yet isn’t that dry or unpleasant. The body feel I got right away in the front of my head just above the brow. The liquid catches at the end of the throat and can make you drool.
Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Infusion: I took a touch longer of an infusion here, maybe I’m not being aggressive enough with She’s Not Me. The only change is the astringency got more pinchy, trying to join my cheeks together from inside my mouth. The flavor is still slightly peachy, mineral, and bit creamy too.
I finally got a taste of aftertaste, but it is subtle. More peaches. The body feel got more intense – my face feels like it is being smothered by a pillow.
Eleventh and Twelfth Infusion: I pushed She’s Not Me hard, good 15 minute infusions. The flavor is peachy bitter, with that corpse sunken cheek astringency and falling in a well echoing aftertaste as I can feel it bloom and sink, then bloom and sink until I cannot taste it anymore. I actually preferred this hard infusion – likely you can do some shenanigans with leafing this crazy hard and making your head pop off from the body feel.
Comments: White2Tea’s She’s Not Me is a subtle soft tea with notes of peaches and minerals. There is a pleasant astringency and interesting heady body feel. I don’t know why, but with the feels of this tea made me think of pretty grim thoughts. This is a $119 200 gram cake and certainly for someone who likes a face smotherer of a tea.
Personally, She’s Not Me didn’t do it for me as the flavor and body wasn’t complex as I was hoping for the price. The body feel was interesting though. I’d like to try this tea again in a year or two, I wonder if it is just too young to get much love. Maybe I’ll wait for my next migraine, blast some Opeth, and see what happens.
Out of all the 2017 Spring WhiteTea sheng puers, I like Magic Mountain DNA the most by far. This includes the $90-$100 White2Tea spring puer bracket. I would rank Farmer Direct Tea high up there too, along with Four AM. Magic Mountain DNA I feel is the most worth it to own as it has such a killer aftertaste and flavor punch, plus aging potential out of the rest of the light sweet puer. Farmer Direct and Four AM are both being awesome texture drinkers, with Four AM, in particular, has a nice complexity. I am biased more towards complex flavors and heavy texture though.
2017 is pretty expensive for puer and there is a lot of choose from and I was nutty enough to purchase all the expensive puer samples. I hope these reviews, despite it taking me awhile to get out, are helpful for your purchases.