02 September, 2013

By the Power of Greyskull

Perhaps like many of us, my life has been shaped significantly by that epic body of work, known to some as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  It is the literary and cultural classic that keeps on giving, throughout the years.

Longer-term readers may remember, for example, Master's Collections.

Nannuoshan is rather like Teela, the daughter of Man-at-Arms: you expect it to be light and feminine, but it is, in fact, really rather strong and liable to do you an injury.  In a nice way.

This is the maocha that will be used to make the 2013 Danzhen / Taochaju cake that will probably, if the old nomenclature is kept, be called "Nannuo Guyun".  Xiao Yunzhen kindly provided me with a big pile of it when I piled into the family shop in Maliandao, during the spring.

The 2011 "Nannuo Guyun" was fantastic (and just 200 RMB); Teela would have been proud of it.  The 2012 "Nannuo Guyun" was quite nice, but not quite as good to my humble tastes, although Maliandao does seem to present teas at less than their best, in my experience.

Happily, this 2013 version - or, at least, the maocha that will be used to make it - is just as good as the original 2011 incarnation.

The wenxiangbei [aroma cup] is filled with crisp, buttery freshness, turning into the floral honey-like attack that I have come to associate, for better or worse, with canonical Nannuoshan leaves.  "Zippy" would be a good word to describe this tea: it is fast, crisp, powerful, and fresh - not unlike the daughter of Man-at-Arms.  (He wrote, waggling his eyebrows provocatively.)

There is a lot to find in this thick-souped tea; its "cough lozenge"-style flavor reminds me of traditional English cough-sweets, in a good way.  Those of a different cultural background might describe it as being at the sweeter end of the flavours associated with traditional Chinese medicine.

"This Nannuoshan is really rather special", I seem to have concluded in my journal.  Alongside the strong-yet-feminine characteristics is a robust kuwei [good bitterness] that keeps things exciting, which works well combined with the medicinal undertones.  "It benefits from being enjoyed slowly, with full attention."

At the time of writing, this cake is not yet available; in fact, I don't believe that it even exists as "cakes" yet.  I shall keeping my eyes peeled on both the (Beijing outlet of) Taochaju and white2tea web-sites to see if it ever sees the light of day.  Failing that, I'll try to get back to Beijing.

No comments: