Today, a cake from the eternal generosity of Keng, mighty Singaporean tea drinker and collector.
Yangpinhao is not Yangqinghao, but is a brand of which Keng has kindly sent me four other cakes over the years. They generally cut a good balance between price and quality. This is the first Nannuoshan version of this brand that I have tried. As you no doubt will know, qiaomu [cheeow-moo] refers to "arbor tree".
Yangpinhao cakes are easy on the eyes, and this Nannuo adheres to the rule, as shown above and below. the leaves are medium in size; are they slightly red?
Something is amiss here, and it could be my nose. I can tell that the leaves have an aroma, for it feels dense and full in my nose, but it seems entirely invisible. I simply cannot smell it. This is an early-morning session and, unlike my dear wife, I have eaten no spicy food that might otherwise account for an inability to sense fragrant compounds.
The colour of the soup, which I don't appear to have photographed, is a heavy orange, which is not usual for Nannuo. The flavour is that of a capped, limited taidicha [plantation tea], but it has a redeemingly potent activity in the mouth, and a pleasant tingling sensation that we sometimes find in laoshu leaves, suggesting that the "qiaomu" moniker may be true for at least some small part of the blend.
I enjoyed its penetrating sweet bitterness that pushes its way through the mouth, and which suggests that good things may happen in future years. While not an exalted tea, in the manner of Yangpinhao, it is well-made and has a bold, strong character.
It stays within this remit for its succession of infusions, which indicates a certain stability.
Many thanks to Keng for so kindly selecting and posting this punchy little fellow.