I fondly remember buying random cakes from Yunnan Sourcing, the inventory so large (and generally so good) that finding fun tea at a low price was quite easy. It is something that I haven't had the time to do for some years now, and the discovery of a random sample generously provided by Scott was the perfect opportunity to revisit my old habit.
Just as in those experiments of earlier years, I have absolutely no idea what "Nanmuchun" cakes are like. This is all part of the fun. You never know which brand could turn out to be a new classic. The world of pu'ercha is surprisingly meritocratic, with the possibility of good cakes unrestricted to particular years, locations, or labels. Everyone, and every cake, has a shot at goal.
Pictured above is the little bag that provided me with the excitement to drink it immediately; an undiscovered sample bag from Scott.
Shown below, the leaves of this cake may be seen to be quite small; I have a recollection that Wuliangshan leaves are habitually this way. Randomly reading my article on the excellent 2011 Wuliangshan cake (which I entonginated), I am reminded of the potential for this area. Certainly, it is one that I rather enjoy.
Tea from this remote, unpopular region is generally quite affordable, and this is great for pu'ercha drinkers who are willing to step off the beaten track. The scent of this cake's leaves is immediately enticing, with a potent sweetness.
Happily, it brews an honest yellow, which turns orange in the air. It has the buttery scent in the wenxiangbei [aroma cup] of fresh tea, although it has no lengxiang [cooling scent]. This sometimes suggests a lack of finishing characteristics, in the throat, and therefore a lack of huigan (to my mind).
It has a decent kuwei, but there is not too much complexity in the throat, as the scent suggested. This is compensated by a good vibrancy on the tongue and some cooling notes on the breath. Ultimately, the body is somewhat thin and watery, and I have trouble getting it to be truly interesting without pushing the bitterness through the ceiling.
That said, the cake is very cheap (something like $25), and it is certainly pleasant to drink. I subsequently took the remainder of the generous sample to my lab for future drinking and, each time that I unthinkingly brewed an infusion or two of it while concentrating elsewhere, I was immediately brought back to the cup by its sweetness and pleasant buttery tone. It is a good, lo-fi cake, but I suspect may not hold up to the rigours of the years, due to its thin body. Even in four years, however, it has picked up some notes of adolescence. A disposable and enjoyable little pu'ercha... but the 2011 Wuliangshan made by Scott was only $20, and there really is no comparison.