These teas are all quite great, in different ways. They are very pricey and hard to get a sample of even though they enjoy quite a reputation.
Buying completely blind is never ideal so I thought at least useful to share my reviews.
Chen Yuan Hao 2003 Manzhuan
Dark tones, deep, thick, satisfying.
Strong calming Qi (found myself calmed down even though I was very restless when I started), good patience.
It feels like this tea has almost fully matured into its “final version”.
It’s still intense but in a way that will not change easily, this is very attractive in a darker tea.
Price: probably about $600 for 357g cake
Aging potential: T4+
Chen Yuan Hao 2003 “Tong Qing Hao”
Made from Yiwu old tree, it has a many-layered complex taste still with room to transform.
There is some very satisfying thickness, aftertaste but not much at all in terms of Qi (comfortable and a hint of calming).
A lot of transformation during the session too, taste-wise this is very interesting.
All the other cakes in this review have much more intense Qi.
Price: about $500 to $600 for 357g cake
Tier: T3+ (due to lack of Qi, would be higher if judged on taste only)
Aging potential: T4+ (same as above)
Chen Yuan Hao 2005 Shanzhong Chuanqi 山中传奇
Blended from ancient trees material from six mountains, this is one of the first productions of its kind.
A blend of different regions has better aging prospect than the single area ancient tree that was much more common in the 2000s. This is because the weakness of some regions in one aspect are compensated by the strength of others regions.
Nice bitterness, good aftertaste, not that smooth at first but very fun to drink.
Qi really breath-taking at first, tea is patient and goes on very pleasurably and for long.
I love its intensity in both taste and Qi, it really focuses my attention for a good hour and a half.
I think this tea should be drank more than once to “get” it, I discovered new layers to it the more I drank it.
Price: about $600 for 400g cake
Aging potential: T5-, maybe T5 eventually
I actually a bought a few of these cakes!
Chen Yuan Hao 2007 Yiwu Zhiwang
I was away blown away by its Qi (overall 5- is the highest I recorded since doing reviews in this way!).
Despite it being already high tier, I see excellent aging potential, there’s just so much of it there and I felt very, very, very good during and after the session.
The taste was also very exciting but I have nothing more to add than the chart below
Price: at least $750 for 250g cake
Aging potential: T5
I fell in love with this tea, I may end up buying a cake as one of the very great teas I have
While CYH tea is certainly pricey, some of these productions are really quite good.
At a similar price 03 Manzhuan is dark and calming while 05 Shanzhong is intense in all the good ways and I think will age greatly.
03 “Tong Qing Hao” is a bit less expensive and competes in taste, but not in Qi.
07 Zhiwang costs twice as much per gram and is indeed in a class above.