Today we’re reviewing a raw pu erh cake called ‘Yiwu Chunyun‘. If you’re into pu erh with soft flavours and notes of flowers and honey, make sure to read this review.
The name explained
Basically the name refers to the Yiwu region in Yunnan, and ‘Chunyun’ literally translates to ‘Spring Rhyme’. In other words, we’re dealing with a 2018 Spring season raw pu erh tea from Yiwu.
The cake itself looks wonderful. It consists of a mix of leaves and white buds. It does seem to also contain a few stems, but that shouldn’t ruin the party. The cake has the size of a traditional 200g cake.
However, due to the loose compression, it only weights 180g. There are a few benefits and disadvantages of loosely compressed cakes.
The advantage of loose compression is that they cake will age more evenly. In addition, it won’t take much effort to loosen up the cake to start your tea session. As for this cake, it’s pretty much possible to loosen up some leaves by hand without breaking them.
The disadvantage of loosely compressed cakes, is that it won’t hold together the leaves as good as tightly compressed ones. Especially if you store it longterm, over time the cake will become looser and looser. It’s not like the cake will fall apart, but you’ll find that leaves will fall off the cake every time you open the wrapper. Now this not much of a problem for this cake, because the leaves are fairly large. For small leaf tea cakes, you’ll hardly see cakes compressed loose.
The dry leaves smell very aromatic, so let’s start brewing!
Flavour and Aroma
We’re using the following brewing parameters: 6 grams of tea with 150ml water at 90ºC (195ºF).
For raw pu erh teas, we usually do a rinse first, but we’ll be skipping it this time. Normally when we pry off a chunk from a cake, it’s still chunky and we need to do a rinse to loosen it up. However, for this particular tea, the leaves are already loose as you can see in the picture above.
We’ll prepare the first and second steep applying a 15 second steeping time. The tea has the aroma of orchid flowers with hints of honey. The texture is soft, smooth, somewhat thick and milky. There’s also hardly any astringency and bitterness. We also notice a complex taste of minerals.
After the first two steeps, we gradually increase the steeping time by about 5 seconds for every 2 steeps. Around the 4th steeps, the mineral notes disappear, and suddenly this pleasant sweetness takes over. Also, the after taste remains honey sweet and lingers on the top of the mouth for some time. Here’s a picture of the tea colour at the 4th steep.
The tea maintains its full flavour until the 10th steep, then slowly becomes lighter. You can easily get 14 steeps out of 6 gram of leaves.
Here’s a picture of the wet leaves:
All in all, this is a wonderful tea for those who don’t like the strong kind of raw pu erh with sharp and bitter flavours. In contrast, this is a wonderful soft and smooth flavoured tea with mainly notes of flowers and honey. Its flavours are highly accessible, hence also great for the starting pu erh drinker.
We highly recommend to steep this tea at 90ºC, while you play around with the steeping time to tailor it to your taste. We also advise to use a gaiwan or small teapot to steep this tea the traditional way (small portions, multiple steeps). If you end up buying and trying this cake yourself, please make sure to leave a comment below to share your experience!