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Xian Tea (or Tea is the Answer on Instagram) sent me a small 2019 Berlin Flows Ailao Gushu tea cake a couple of weeks ago and I’ve had a couple of sessions with this tea already. As soon as I got the cake, I broke it into smaller pieces and stored it in a jar to let it air out for a while. It has been like this for a couple of weeks so now is the right time to do a proper tea tasting and write an article about it.
2019 Berlin Flows Ailao Gushu
The 2019 Berlin Flows Ailao Gushu is a sheng puerh from spring 2019. The leaves come from gushu tea trees of (supposedly) around 300-500 years old. Mr Lin selected the leaves and pressed them into cakes in May of the same year. The short storage this tea has gone through was dry Taiwan storage.
The leaves of this 2019 Berlin Flows Gushu come from a garden on Ailao mountain at an altitude of around 2000m. There is a certificate of this tea that states that it was tested for 473 different kinds of pesticide residue and not a single one was found. This shows that this tea was grown organically and they also say that it comes from a garden where there is minimal interference.
- Water 99°C
- 6.2g for a LQER wuhuini JLZ teapot
The leaves have a dark beige colour with some brighter buds and brown tints. It’s mostly large and medium-sized leaves. I see a mixture of several different things. The aroma has strong notes of hay to it with subtle fruity notes that feel almost like strawberries.
Infusion 1 (15 sec): the infusion looks clear and has a dark beige colour. Really refreshing first sip! Flavours are not too intense but it’s refreshing and bright. There is a sweet fruitiness somewhere in there but it’s not ready to show itself yet. The aftertaste lingers for a while and there is a slight hint of strawberry that stays in my mouth.
Infusion 2 (20 sec): the colour has changed and has become more yellow. It’s quite different from the previous infusion. It feels thicker and it’s sweeter. The sweetness is dominant in this infusion. From the finish onwards, strawberries and other red fruits pop up and stick to my throat and stay around for a long time. This is such a pleasant experience to have in the morning while the sun is shining.
Infusion 3 (25 sec): colour is darker yellow now. There is a tiny hint of bitterness but it doesn’t bother me because it works well with the other flavours. The sweetness has greatly diminished and I feel the fruitiness has moved to the front again. It stays around for a very long time, mostly in the back of my mouth and throat. I’m really feeling red summer fruits like strawberries and raspberries.
Infusion 4 (30 sec): the colour is less yellow but it still looks thick. The fruitiness is definitely still present and the bitter notes are gone, just like the sweetness. I’m mostly getting red summer fruits. The aftertaste is really fruity and lasts very long!
Infusion 5 (35 sec): it seems there is a back and forth between sweet and fruity flavours. This one feels sweeter again with a touch of summer fruits still lurking beneath the surface. It’s only from the finish onwards that these notes are coming through.
Infusion 6 (45 sec): this one feels similar to the previous infusion. However, the flavours are starting to fade a bit now. I’m still getting some of the fruits but I’m also getting a kind of minerality.
Infusion 7 (60 sec): I felt the leaves had something left, which is why I did another infusion. During this one, not much is going on. I’m getting some very faint hints of summer fruits, especially in the aftertaste.
The dry leaves of this 2019 Berlin Flows Ailao Gushu sheng had a funky smell of hay so I did not know what to expect. Once I tasted the liquor, I knew it was going to be a nice session.
There was a mixture of sweet and fruity that changed every infusion. The fruitiness consisted of red summer fruits like strawberries and raspberries. The aftertaste was really exceptional in this tea. The sweetness was rather subtle during the infusions, but really long-lasting and intense in the aftertaste.
If you’re interested in this 2019 Berlin Flows Ailao Gushu, you can buy it over here.