I sat in my office with some students, watching them rapidly scribbling various graphs and equations on my whiteboard. Anarchy (or at least exuberance) prevailed. Eventually, they stopped. They sipped the tea I offered them. Peace descended. The peacemaker: a lovely tieguanyin, courtesy of Chabei's JMcM. (Great stuff, thanks again.)
Though absent from writing here, being beneath a burden of work (though a pleasant burden, it must be said), a post in thanks to the various tea-chums who have so kindly provided for me recently is due. I've been meaning to share for some weeks a lovely letter received from AL:
...all covered in tea-poetry, which he has written about previously in the Victorian splendour of Chadao.
Contained within, some sweet "tea moons", with which readers of Chadao will be familiar. More to be revealed of those during future posts...
Cue the music...
Above, one of two parcels that arrived from Kunming on the same day - a fine day for tea. The highlight (well, more of a dazzling, exploding supernova than a highlight): some famed tea created by Nada himself...
This is his Nannuo cake, which I was delighted to find out he has named "Cha Chan Yi Wei" [Tea, Zen - Same Taste]. What a sterling name for a tea. The wrapper, shown below, is a thick, rustic, wabi-sabi affair that I truly admire.
So, let's unwrap it. I've only had time for gongfucha at the week-ends, lately, and each of the two sessions I've allowed myself have been with this tea. The cake (pictured below) is pretty indeed: a good level of compression, such that the whole leaves can easily be removed without breakage. The neifei reads "Nada Chayuan" [yuan as in yuanfen, fate/karma/destiny].
This is a fruity, punchy tea, which reminds me of two teas that I very much enjoy: it has the quality and character of the 2007 Xizihao "Pu Zhen" (which cost me a brutal $100), combined with the grape-like fruitiness of the 2005 Dehong "Purple Tips" brick.
It's fresh, delicious, and very thick. I would buy this in large amounts were it for sale. That it is unattainable and truly limited makes it even the more enjoyable; that it is created by a good friend makes it a singular event.
Hats off to Nada. See you soon!
Nada has very generously offered (see Comments) to provide samples of this tea to those who would like to try it. Do please contact him via A Felicific Life.
12 April, 2009
This tea is striking in its sweetness, and is a very accomplished little number after one year. It has become very smooth, with no sharp angles. The sweetness runs throughout, and is floral and light.
It's time to drink down this oldest of Nada's cakes to see how it fares.
My secondary goal in drinking this cake is to diminish a latent hangover, promising to arise and cause pain, courtesy of drinks and dinner with an old colleague as I left my previous college for new pastures. Pu'ercha is great for combating hangovers.
The leaves have a low scent, these days, as if the cake has "bedded down" over the three years of its life on our shelves. However, the leaves still retain a healthy sweetness, and there are plentiful signs of life in the aroma.
In 2008, this tea brewed a solid yellow, as do most of Nada's cakes. Today, the soup is a darker yellow-orange, in concert with my expectations - and hopes.
Aging has most definitely occurred: it has shifted gear, and moved away from being a floral, young cake, instead adopting the character of sweet, older leaves.
There is a long sweetness that dwells atop the feeling in the mouth, and it sits well in the throat. Under the tongue, a long and aching bitterness resides. The base of the tea is darkening, and becoming richer.