Pu-erh Reviews

2005 Nan-nuo raw pu-erh tea cake

Genre: Compressed Sheng/Green/Uncooked/Raw
Factory: Six Famous Tea Mountains
Vendor: Yunnan Sourcing
Reviewed by Tea Junkie on 11/04/2006

Background    A blend of Nan-nuo and Menghai (I think) leaves.

Dry Leaf Appearence:    Leaves are medium dark green tint with a good smattering of tips. Dismantling the cake gave a result that reminded me of India's infamous lettering classification of leaf grade. This one I would give a TGFOP, which means nought in our world. One of the best pu-erh I have tasted had leaves larger than my hand.

Water to Leaf Ratio:     10.0 gr of Leaf in 100 ml of water

Brewing Method:    Brewed up gong-fu style with sheng-seasoned yi-xing pot and pitcher, and drank from porcelain bowls. Went 1/10 leaf to water because I was unsure of the potency of the leaves, many a Haiwan or Longyuan product I have tasted made me wish too late that I had used 10g vs. 7g. Of course this was a bit heavy, and made twenty seconds even a bit longish on the steeps.

Wet Leaf Appearence:    The brewed leaves had a bit more oxidation than I would have expected, and the they did indeed seem to be something on the order of a TGFOP.

1st Steep    20 sec. after a 20 sec. wash. Infusion was a light tan color in the bowl, with a good fragrance of honey. The flavor was one of deep foreboding power from a high level of poyphenol, with a 30 sec. finish of astringency fading into honey sweetness.

2nd Steep    20 sec. infusion yielded a powerful polyphenol dance across my tongue that again faded into honey smoothness.

3rd Steep    20 sec. infusion. An amber tinted liquor resulted that bathed the tongue in astringency, though at this point some subtlty had finally emerged in the flavor. Honey merged with leather (think saddleshop on a hot day) upfront, with a teensy hint of anise in the eternal finish.

4th Steep    20 sec. was more of the same-steely determination in the polyphenol and the now standard honey and leather lingering long after the sip.

Subsequent Steeps    Went on to eight infusions with little indication that the tea was ever going to quit, but the lack of nuance gave me little incentive to do more than quit. I pooled the excess liquor from the infusions to enjoy late into the evenning, which I did enjoy as a more balanced version of what had gone on before.

Conclusion    I do not want to be harsh on this tea as I did find it to be a very pleasant, if a bit chalenging, experience. The leaves simply need a few years to develop some nuance from ambient oxidation of the abundant polyphenols. The cake as it stands is a two toned beast (honey and leather) that can be enjoyed, but will be something much better come 2010.

Sorry, no Photos

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