; Cwyn's Death By Tea: 2018 Lucy by Yunnan Sourcing ;

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

2018 Lucy by Yunnan Sourcing

After last year’s excellent Year of the Rooster ripe, I have high expectations for this year’s ripes from Yunnan Sourcing. This vendor has two house shou teas so far this year, the Year of the Dog 357g tea for $35, and the “Lucy” 250g for $25, both teas at $0.10/g. Year of the Dog is a blend of shou teas from 2013, and 2015 and so is not made of this year’s tea. Most people know that Lucy is the name of Scott Wilson’s Doberman dog, so I figure this tea is probably the house favorite and so I went ahead and bought Lucy as my choice for 2018.

Lucy is a very firmly compressed beeng comprised of a blend of Menghai and Lincang sourced leaf, according to the description. The wrapping includes a cloth like inner wrapper, a nice touch I usually find on more expensive teas. Visually the cake is impressive too, the leaves are tippy and small, again a quality I find on more expensive shou teas, a mark of a “premium” shou for which I have paid 2x and even 3x more from other sources. In every way this tea rivals the tribute style from more traditional factories, and the Empress in question is of course Lucy the Doberman.

I pick off 6g to sample, and do two rinses. The tea is thick and brown, slightly cloudy but I expect this to clear in another year or so. The first six or so brews are still heavy with pile flavor, and very lively in the mouth and on the tongue, stone fruit-ish and sweet, just a touch of bitterness. Brews 8-10 are well worth the wait, with a mushroom/wine reward. The caffeine is on the mild side for me. The later steeps sit more in the throat and belly. Not a particularly strong qi experience for me, but perhaps my tolerance is high. Still, tippy small leaf puerh like this usually has many steepings to offer, and this still has more to give after ten. I go twelve on my initial session, and I am at about a 30 second steep time at this point. Something about Yunnan Sourcing ripe teas flips my addiction switch, I turn into a drunk who can’t stop. Thankfully I don’t drive after tea!

Every so often I receive emails from people looking to drink shou daily in the morning and they need to get a stockpile of tea going. The challenge is the initial outlay, given a 250g tea is going to last about a month at 8-10g pot per day. Shou should ideally rest a couple of years, so getting ahead of your stockpile is a goal, but the cost to do so is on the high side. Lucy is a tea to consider for this purpose, because a tong of 7 costs $175 from the China website, or $194 from the US site. Unless you feel like shopping more widely, two tongs of Lucy plus one of Year of the Rooster to drink now will give you a good start, and Lucy can rest while you work your way through the Rooster tong. Sure, you can go a bit cheaper with tuos, but Lucy is a premium leaf quality for such a tiny price.

I forgot to take a picture of the wet leaf.
It's the usual dark, small leaves though.
 I can’t think how you can go wrong if you let her sit for a bit. Once you get ahead of your stockpile, you can buy 1-2 tongs per year and that reduces the budget outlay. As long as you can sidestep a sheng addiction, your tea spending here is quite reasonable. Don't forget loyalty points, I had $5 worth to coupon on this purchase, bringing my cost down to $22 on the US site. Mr. Wilson is crazy to sell this leaf quality for half what it normally costs. I would love to try the more expensive Golden Bud production too, but of course it costs more. 

This year a trend is certainly evident with vendors doing more ripe and white teas as a way to reduce costs to consumers, given the yet higher prices of maocha. I feel like I am not missing anything, as vendors are offering such excellent shou, white and red teas using Yunnan leaf. What do you think of this trend?


  1. Cwyn N,

    Predicicted the shu trend about a year ago here with an interesting discussion by Scott in the comments:


    Didn’t see the white tea trend coming at all from white2tea. Char probably picked up on that one.

    White teas kind of emulate the lighter shengs, I suppose.

    Essence of tea and Cha Wang Shop have focused on Liu Bao as a way to offer a lower price point.

    Still haven’t bought into ripe but last years sampling of Yunnan Sourcings’ Roster King still has me thinking about it, a great tea. It’s now sold out:(

    How does Lucy compare to last years Roster King?

    Thanks again for a great article.


    1. Another reason I picked Lucy is the comparison price-wise to Rooster, but the composition of the teas are very different. Rooster had six different batches of maocha, and I found it more complex than this one.

  2. Empress Lucy is pleased! I am glad you found it a good tea and one worth what you paid. I might be crazy, but I've always been committed to getting people to drink tea and as such our prices are based the cost of the tea, not on some perceived value.

    For the record we have 6 YS Brand Ripes released for 2018 and 3 more 2018 YS ripes that will come out in December.

    If you liked "Lucy" I'd recommend trying "Serendipity".

    1. what is nice is the lower price points of Lucy and YotD, especially for people who drink shou daily.

    2. More goodies coming soon. Did you try the YotD Blue Label?

  3. I Love Lucy!! Sorry, I had to get that one in...

    I will vouch for Serendipity, too. Both are excellent. The price per tong you are quoting, however, is not quite right. The price, for example, on the US website is $27 per cake, with no tong discount available. Still a great deal for such high quality tea, especially if you buy it when there is a sale happening.

    I'm with you on the addictive nature of Scott's shu. I wonder what his secret ingredient is?

  4. Late to this party, but wtf.

    I bought samples of almost all of the YS ripes this year (looking at the site, I see I somehow missed the Golden Bud). I have to say, I like Serendipity more than Lucy, at least at this early date. Didn't try Rooster King, but it seem like Serendipity might be a closer match from the description.