11 June, 2009

2009 Nadachayuan "Bulang"

Fans of classic British drum'n'bass will be familiar with the collected works of one Richard D. James, a.k.a. the Aphex Twin, and with his magnum opus "Come to Daddy" in particular.

While drinking the Nada Chayuan "Bulang" this morning, its character reminded of the following scene from that seminal classic, which comes from the second movement of the piece ("Demon screaming at old lady"):

Come to Daddy
Remind yourself of this cinematographic classic by clicking on the above image

I think it's fair to say that this tea wakes you up.

2009 Nada Bulang

The chunky, coarse wrapper (shown above) reads "Bulangshan". Opening the wrapper, and you are greeted by pungent, spicy, apocalyptic aroma.

Amusingly, the entire cake flexes very easily, as if it has no backbone. It flexes as much as +- 20 degrees from its plane, and feels soft.

2009 Nada Bulang

The leaves are lovely things: big, soft, and hairy. There are quite a few tips in the cake, and the maocha is homogenous throughout, rather than being padded on its outer faces.

2009 Nada Bulang

The aroma cup holds grapelike, candy scents that lull me into a false sense of security. The pyrotechnics begin in the pinmingbei [tasting cup], where the touch of the soup on lips and tongue causes fizzing and energy.

Most obvious of all its characteristics to me is its chunky grain-like body, which almost tastes like fresh, clean hops as would be used to make a good ale. It is so very clean, and entirely absent of any roughness in the mouth or throat, which is remarkable. Nada wrote that the maocha was pure old tree, and it's easy to imagine, given the purity of its soup.

2009 Nada Bulang

I took ten infusions at the tea-table, this being a slow Saturday, and am now on infusion 17 in my office. The tea shows no sign of giving up, and continues to be sweet, clean, grain-like, and massively potent.

"The taste is deep and mellow, I'm glad we bought it. The bitterness is not like normal bitterness." So sayeth Lei, referring to the bitterness that piles into the throat, but which feels entirely positive.

I recommend trying a sample of this tea, in order to, at least, get an idea about actual Bulang flavour. It is unusual to be able to buy an actual laoshu [old tree] cake with any certainty, but for the £24 asking price - very nice.


Addendum: I'm currently on the 32nd infusion, and they're taking about 15 mins per infusion at the moment. It is sweet, smooth, and still very flavoursome. It is genuinely remarkable how much content this tea has after so many infusions. I haven't come across many teas with such longevity. The lack of roughness allows plenty of leaf to be used.

May, 2011

Strong, sweet, and smooth.  Its kuwei remains, and perhaps its body has darkened and quietened a little.  This cake appears to be doing well.

April, 2016

At the request of a few teachums, I found this cake.  I drank this cake.  I was hurt by this cake.  Then, on returning to this page, I put two and two together - I had failed to realise that the 2009 Nadacha Bulang is indeed that cake with the "Come to Daddy" video.  I should have guessed.

Honestly, this cake is powerful.  It is really rather powerful.  Being full of bravado and optimism, I plucked off a goodly amount of leaves from the bing - I drink a lot of leaves in one sitting.  However, within one infusion (actually, within the first cup of the first infusion), this tea had humbled me.  It knocked me down in one punch.  A single, one-inch punch.

I'm on the ropes, nursing my jaw, a bleary mixture of confusion and surprise in my eyes.  What happened here?  Was it the proverbial truck that just hit me?

I immediately removed > 50% of the leaves from the pot, hitched up my petticoats, cried into my handbag, reapplied my makeup and then rebrewed.  The result, while strong, was at least consumable.

Five years have aged this cake.  It is softer at the edges; it is mellowed in its pu'ercha way; it has the curious mixture of raw power and woody age that seems to come from aging cakes in a cool-yet-very-humid climate (such as my home).

Were I to write that "drinking this tea is like drinking battery acid", most readers might be tempted to conclude that I do not like it.  The truth is the opposite: battery acid is something for which I seek.  I mean good, real battery acid - not the harsh, brazen acidity of nasty processing or agrochemicals.  This Bulang cake is like... Luca Brasi, from the Godfather.  And he emphatically does not sleep with the fishes.


Bryan said...

The only way I can describe this cake without it's wrapper is "erotic."

Is that weird?

Regardless, this is my favorite tea I've ever had that's under five years old. I'm not going to touch my beeng again for another three years to see how it's coming along, but self control can only do so much!

Hobbes said...

Dear Bryan,

Good luck with that - I'm not sure how my restraint will cope ;)



Tuo Cha Tea said...

Unfortuntely, all Nada beengs are already sold out. But I got a sampler, so I will try them out.

tieguanyin said...

Hello Hobbes,

Great post! On a non-tea related note, Chris Cunningham, the director of the mentioned Aphex Twin video, has done some amazing work. In case you are interested in a rock adaptation of that song, Dillinger Escape Plan did a nice version with Mike Patton (of Faith No More fame) on vocals :)!

Nada's Bulang sounds like a fascinating tea, I am glad I ordered a sampler to try it out!

Have a good one,


Ecclenser said...

Excellent. Rubber Johnny anyone??

Hopefully Nada continues this hobby of his, as I am beeng-less.

Bill said...

Sheesh, the "ever lasting gobstopper"!

Hobbes said...

Dear TA,

Do let us know what you think. I reckon you'll like the Nannuo qiaomu the most, guessing from your previous taste. :)

Dear Alex,

Superb recommendation, thanks - I used to love Faith No More back in school. "Windowlicker" was also by the same director, of course, which I'm sure you've seen!

Dear Eccelenser,

Nope, you lost me! "Rubber Johnny" means "condom" where I come from - did you mean that? :)

I'd advise you to grab some samples from Nadacha just to get an idea of what they're like. It's an interesting set.

Dear Bill,

Do they still sell gobstoppers, or are they against health and safety regulations now? :)

Toodlepip all,


Arcane-Dissonance said...


Aphex Twin and tea in one blog?! Could things not get any better?! Rubber Johnny is a short film that the Analord colaborated on. Creepy stuff to say the least.

This tea looks perfectly enjoyable!


eileen said...

I'm glad you made this post as I won't be able to acquire the beeng. Reading this exquisite post was akin to sampling the tea. Blog on! and thanks.

tieguanyin said...

Glad you like Hobbes! Windowlicker is quite good too. In terms of mental wellness, I like the following from from Chris Cunningham =D! I wonder if the eye spacing is natural? Maybe the result of excessive consumption of Bulang ;)?

Lainie Petersen said...

What a splendid looking, and sounding, tea. I am still hooked on oolongs, but posts such as these make me want to explore pu'erhs more.


Hobbes said...

Thanks all :)

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtfull post on mental wellness. It should be very much helpfull

Karim - Mind Power

Hobbes said...

Thanks, Karim ;)

argus said...

reading the line "classic drum'n'bass" made me feel old :(

Tofu Miso said...

Hi Hobbes , thanks for revisiting this cake and posting your thoughts - good job it wasn't the 2011 ------ Omega Tax Master !!!!!! Glad it's coming along nicely . All the best !

Hobbes said...

Haha - I complete forgot about Omega Taxmaster Bulang... I should revisit it!

Tofu Miso said...

Good man ! I admire your tenacity ! I look forward to reading your thoughts should you be able to recall them ! All the best !