I was making an Essence of Tea order for a white tea I sampled and had to have. To hit free shipping (because that is not hard), I snagged the 2016 Wuliang H cake. Yes, I blind caked this to hit free shipping. I asked many tea friends, checked a few reviews, so I felt confident in this purchase. However, why did I buy the 2016 when 2017 Wuliang H is out? Well, 2016 is a 200gram cake. The 2017 cake is 400 grams, which is just too much for me to blind. Someone else said the 2016 cake is better, plus this had a year to settle. However, Essence of Tea was smart to include a 2017 Wuliang H sample, which I will try later.
Dry Leaf and Steeping Instructions
Wow, what a good looking cake! The leaves are full and twisting throughout.
Upon closer inspection, they beengholed this cake so hard that there is a hole within the hole.
You do not need a puer pick for this cake, I was able to wiggle out chunks with just my fingers.
I went with 1 gram to 15ml of vessel size. Since I broke my working gaiwan lid, I’ve felt stranded. I will be using my kyusu that I got from Tea Fest PDX. It pours close to a gaiwan as it is quite fast, but likely a bit of influence. I used boiling water as I just didn’t care. Let’s just beat up this Essence of Tea puer from the start to see what they got.
Tasting of Essence of Tea’s 2016 Wuliang H
First, Second, and Third Infusion: Wuliang H sips in light with a building flavor. The flavor is mineral crystal rock sugar, with some sips a bit more savory like pan scrapings I should have deglazed. The texture is like an egg custard, heavy and sloppy, liquidy in some parts put chunky thick. The aftertaste is stone fruit and floral.
Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: Wuliang H is shifting, building up a thicker body. The flavor is brighter, with mineral amber and rocks but the texture is heavy custard. The tea coats the mouth like plastic. The aftertaste is most of the flavor, being clean, stone fruit, and stale floral.
The body feel hit at the fourth infusion. I actively felt like my eyes were joining to make me a cyclops, as I felt an odd sinus pinch. It also hit my throat and gut fast. I spent a little too much time googling “cyclops owl” and laughing. Hoot Clycops hahaha! Wuliang H is a mule kicker. By the sixth infusion, my head felt like it was full of stuffing.
Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: The flavor took a dip here, so I had to steep a little longer than I usually do here at about 1 minute. The flavor and texture aren’t changing too much, it is quite consistent and clean. The whole sip experience is quite clean, bright, with a breathy flavorful aftertaste that doesn’t end.
Wuliang H’s flavor reminds me of white gum balls – that slick sweet outer beeswaxed surface before you chomp down. Interestingly, this sheng is not bitter or dry. I feel a little squeaky toothed, but the body is so thick that if there was bitterness, it is protected by a latex tool-dip mouth. I am completely whacked out and feeling creatively and courageously manic. I am also hot flashing and I hope it is just the tea.
Thirteenth and Fourteenth Infusion: I did 10 minute infusions for both. Really, I shouldn’t have bothered with the final infusion as 13th went bad bitter. The notes were consistent to the end, but the long infusion and pent up aggression just finally cooked the goose. I also got a darker tea colour.
Likely a 200F/93c might of got this going a touch longer, or simply accepted infusions of less and less flavor until it finally died. I am completely hyped and crazy feeling, feeling like someone is pinching my cheeks, ruining my highlighting makeup game. Thought with all this hot flashing and sweating, likely I do not need highlighter to bring out my cheek bones.
2016 Wuliang H from Essence of Tea kicks back. The tea is pleasant and can a beating of boiling temperatures and fairly hearty. The overall flavor is light and clean, plus isn’t complex or change despite gongfu cha style, but really you are drinking it for the heavy texture, long never ending aftertaste, and energy. However, if you love clean tasting sheng, you will be amazed by Wuliang H. It is very light on the astringency, and only got bitter when pushed at the end.
I am not sure a good application for this tea – it is fairly easy drinking and not too complex to make an event out of, but riding the aftertaste and energy is too much for a work tea. I do think it would be a good tea to show the power of sheng of good multiple infusions.
I paid £37.00 ($48 USD at the time) for 2016 Wuliang H 200 gram cake. I feel this price is pretty good for what you get and a safe purchase.
By the way, what does the “H” stand for? Hoot? It must be Hoot, why would it be anything else?