Yunnan Sourcing’s 2012 Impression cake is the puerh that made me want to start a blog. Scott at Yunnan Sourcing created the Impression line to compete against factory puerhs. This line has been blended for the intention of aging and at an affordable price per cake. When I started getting into puerh I was very interested in the Impression line, but I grew frusterated trying to find current reviews of the oldest cakes. With the 2012 cake now pushing seven years it should be coming along well but most of the reviews I found were at least a few years old. So that’s why I started this blog – I intend on checking in and providing regular updates on the cakes that I own so people can find current reviews on cakes they are interested in, and maybe get some insight into how they age over time.
Breaking the cake
The dry cake and wet leaves smell quite earthy and mushroom-y. I wouldn’t say the earthiness is quite at the same level as a shou, but it’s definitely present. There is also a touch of smoke and a brighter fruity aroma. This isn’t a super hard pressed iron cake, but the compression is much tighter than most of the other cakes I own.
I am using 3.85 grams of tea in my 55ml gaiwan, 95°C water, and infusions starting at five seconds and increasing by five each time.
The texture is fairly broth-like and oily and there is a great returning sweetness. There is also a very nice menthol type of cooling effect on your mouth that really comes out when you exhale. An astringency grows through the first three infusions but it’s the pleasant astringency that leaves your mouth watering between sips. The taste sits right in the midrange with no deep lows or bright highs. Mostly it is sweet and fruity with raisin being the main note, and a smokiness that builds each infusion. At the third infusion a iron-y and mineral taste starts to come in just a little bit, and mostly in the aftertaste.
The smokiness fades quickly at the fourth infusion and seems to be totally gone for the fifth and sixth. The raisin note becomes more defined with each infusion and sweetness increases as well. Waves of metallic and mineral taste seem to come and go at will, at one second barely there, and then at the next second, smacking me in the face. For me, these aren’t at unpleasant levels yet but some drinkers might not be into it.
Very suddenly at the seventh infusion all the harsher notes are gone and it’s just sweet, fruity and smooth for the rest of the session. Flavour started dropping off quickly at the ninth infusion and was largely gone by the eleventh. The thick brothy texture remained right through to the very end and it didn’t really thin out until the fourteenth infusion.
2012 Impression is a bit of a mixed bag. I love all the sensory effects – nice astringency, brilliant texture, great cooling sensation, but the flavour, while nice, is a bit lackluster and, dare I say… boring. Currently this puerh sells for $34.50 for a 357 gram cake so as far as puerh goes, that’s pretty well as affordable as it comes. Outside of a bit of roughness in the middle steeps, this is a pretty easy going tea and could be a decent daily drinker if you’re looking for an affordable option. This could absolutely be a cake to break up and bring to the office and casually drink through the week. It’s a fine tea that doesn’t require your full attention. I could also see this pairing well with lots of foods due to it’s interesting texture but unobtrusive taste. That said, if you already have a favourite daily drinker, you could probably skip this cake.