I'm in the mood for something light and floral. Something sweet and dainty. Something, for want of a better word, namby-pamby.
And they don't come any more namby, nor pamby, than Nannuo.
I love the thick texture of the paper.
"Fangmingyuan" is the name of Xiaomei's shop in Maliandao (a mutual acquaintance of myself and MarshalN), and this, unsurprisingly, is her bing. She personally liberated this from Nannuo in the spring of 2008. Little Brother sold us a tong at 130 RMB ($20) per cake, which has got to be worth a go.
Its label reads "Bama Gushu [ancient tree] qingbing [green cake]". While I've not heard of "Bama" before, Didi insisted it was Nannuo, so perhaps its a subregion.
This is a mightily chubby bing
It's a big, fat cake and no mistake. Unlike quite a few of the 2009 cakes that I've been trying lately, this 2008 has a stonkingly aggressive aroma. Merely undressing the bing causes the room to be filled with sweet, feminine scents.
I like cakes with a bit of life in them.
Long, dark leaves with a jumpy, forthright scent
One nice aspect of our latest haul from Beijing is that the cakes are all processed cleanly - they're all very yellow, and they darken to orange only on contact with air. This is in striking contrast to the majority of productions that I've been buying over the past year via the Internet, which are noticeably adapted for rapid consumption. Maybe this just means that I'm buying the wrong tea on-line, but the difference is marked.
"Give me yellow tea!" I wail, shaking my fist at the clouds.
Long in the throat, buzzing and active - very decent
This is namby-pamby Nannuo at its nambiest and pambiest. Flowers and sweetness in the nose, yet with a base in the mouth that is thick and buttery. Xiaomei has done a very nice job of picking leaves with some complexity, and in getting her producer (the Yunnan Tea Institute, of Saturn-logo fame) to perform a clean shaqing [kill-green] and pressing.
After 15 or so infusions, it shows a chalky sourness in the finish that hints we may not be drinking a perfect blend of entirely old-tree leaves, but I come to expect a degree of basic leaves "cut" into the blend. The body remains full and sweet, and, even after zillions of brews, it remains tingling and active in the mouth.
Lively and fresh, this is a nice example of Nannuo. (Folks expecting samples from me, look to your parcels!)
If only I got back to China more often...