They just keep on coming, these Douji cakes, and that's fine by me. Every time I go to my shelves, I find another cake that I thought I'd tried, but where the wrapper is undisturbed. Today, it's a Nannuo cake.
If Douji were just a tad lower in price, they would be perfect. Perhaps at the moment, they tend to be priced a little higher than they ought to be, because of the perceived quality of the Yiwuzhengshan company. I like Douji, they're reliable and enjoyable, but they're not a patch on the large-leaf, hand-selected cakes that we are fortunate enough to encounter every now and again.
However, we're always looking for a decent, stable cake to buy when it comes to pu'ercha, and, at the very least, you know that Douji cakes are not going to be bad. They're not even going to be average - they're going to be at least "good". Perhaps I'm damning them with faint praise, but that's the reality of the situation, in my estimation.
This cake is really very pretty, as you might gather from the images above and below. Douji single-mountain cakes are a step above their various "-dou" blends, and it really shows in the quality of the leaves that they've selected. They are big, glossy, and well-maintained through processing.
Actually, the base cost of these cakes can be quite low - as low as 180 RMB. That's perhaps not too low if you're used to Mainland prices, but we're a long way from the Mainland. After packaging, Taobao-handler fees, and all sorts of other inflationary additions, it can work out about the same price as some of the Western vendors, but it's not a huge amount to pay for such good leaves.
As ever, I like this cake, but I can't get too excited about it. It'll definitely provide you with a reliable insight into the character of Nannuo, with its sweet-and-floral brightness of flavour, and its decent, enduring kuwei [good bitterness in the throat]. It doesn't soar through the sky, as do some of the Nannuo cakes from Essence of Tea over the years, but, then again, it doesn't cost as much as the latter. It's a good place to start, and a reliable addition to any collection. It's just... a little bit closer to the mainstream than I'd otherwise buy, these days.