28 April, 2010

2008 Fangmingyuan "Nannuo"

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.

2008 Fengmingyuan 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.

2008 Fengmingyuan Nannuo
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.

2008 Fengmingyuan Nannuo
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.

2008 Fengmingyuan Nannuo
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...


五行雲子 said...

Is it wrong for me to read your opening paragraph with the voice of Jeremy Clarkson in mind?

Hobbes said...

It is always OK to read something in the dulcet tones of Mr. Clerkson.

Keng said...

Hi, thanks for another interesting review. The leaves look dark for a 2008 bing. I am half way through my gathering of teas for your tasting. Will mail them to you next week. Regards, Keng.

Arcane-Dissonance said...


On the subject of orange brew, I've noticed as of late that all my infusions have been orange straight from the spout. The cakes I have been sipping from are no older than 2007 with some from 2008; surely not old enough to enter the color change of adolescence.

You often mention that a given infusion turns from yellow to orange on contact with air and this observation made me think of my own brewing parameters. I use a 120 ml hong ni shui ping but rarely fill it with more than 50 ml of water at a time. Which do you think is more likely, that the majority of my cakes have been “wulonged” (very possible as I rarely can afford a cake over 20 USD) or that the brew is oxidizing within the half empty pot before the supernatant it is poured away?

Forgive me if I have rambled!


Ruqyo Highsong said...

I love feminine scents. I would really like to try this one. :D


Bearsbearsbears said...

Bama (拔玛) is a village/garden in the Nannuo region; I know HLH made a Bama cake, and I recall seeing one or two other productions on Taobao.

Can't seem to find it on a map, but maybe another commenter has a better lead as to location.

Lew Perin said...

Don't you mean to say Fang Ming Yuan?

nada said...

Dear Hobbes,

You have a convenient comparison to hand for that region - our cakes from previous years have come from there.

If searching for it on a map, Bama is the region farmed by residents of Shitou Laozhai.

best wishes,

Hobbes said...

Dear Keng,

Much obliged! The leaves look darker in the image due to the lighting, but they are quite dark.

Dear Tyler,

You could compare your teas to, say, a 7542 - that is quite "yellow", though made with previous-year leaves.

Dear Jason,

Nice work, thank you!

Dear Lew,

Indeed, well done.

Dear Nada,

A surprise - it certainly tastes similar to your cakes, which is pleasing. Who knew that I had so much Bama already...

Toodlepip all,


Nick E said...

some beautiful shots in here :)

Hobbes said...

Thanks, Nick!

Bearsbearsbears said...


I have been meaning ot ask you for some time, but where did you get the idea that orange brews are an indication of processing errors or "oolongization"?

I've had a fair amount of pu'er that brews orange and tastes more like the standard "undrinkable" potent, thickly bitter sheng than, say, a fujian oolong or first flush darjeeling (teas which, in my experience, brew quite yellow).

I've certainly come across my share of funny processing, but I haven't been able to correlate it to the color of the brew.


Hobbes said...


You have given me food for thought! I shall endeavour to knock up a brief post on it.

Best wishes,