20 September, 2010

2010 Essence of Tea "Bangwei / Jingmai"

This is the second of three products from Essence of Tea of which I bought a tong, this year.  It comes in a close second to the Mansai.

Bangwei is in the Jingmai area, which is a region that I usually appreciate.  As always, the maocha looks delicious, and well-treated.  The aroma is a healthily strong green.

2010 Nadacha Bangwai

Highly energetic, clean, and sweet, this turns out a beautiful yellow soup (pictured below).  It is so very thick on the lips, with a resounding kuwei [bitterness] that swells and leaves the mouth watering long after the swallow.

I like Jingmai for its dry nuttiness, of which there is plenty to be found in this production: it reminded me somewhat of the skin that grows around hazelnuts, mixed in with its buttery sweetness.

2010 Nadacha Bangwai

As with the Mansai, I have no doubt from the contents of the cup that this is a product of good origin.  Old-tree tea is never rough, just clean, sweet, potent, and, somehow, just more.  More of everything.

"Powerful but complex", notes Lei.  It lasts very well, and is easily worth the £25 asking price, in my estimation.  This is good Jingmai.

May, 2012

2010 Nadacha Bangwei

I haven't touched this tea since buying a tong (shown above).  Let's crack it open.

2010 Nadacha Bangwei

Some people love cakes from this vendor; others seem to dislike the vendor on principle.  I'm definitely in the former category.  

I notice with amusement that the village is misnamed on the above stamp, which caused the original version of this article to be similarly misnamed, and which I have since corrected.  The "wai" / "wei" confusion often gets me, too.  However, I think the name "Bangwhy" is much more funny than "Bangway", so I'll continue to have a place in my heart for the original misspelling.

This is a pretty cake:

2010 Nadacha Bangwei

I bought this tong at £25 / 357g cake, which is very good.  The cakes in 2011 were around £40something.  This year, 2012, they've increased by a similarly large increment.  This makes me appreciate my earlier acquisitions a little more.

2010 Nadacha Bangwei

The big question is: how is this tea coming on?  It's all very well for me to speak highly of these cakes if they turn out to be insipid, and poorly aging.  

Thankfully, everything I've bought from Nadacha appears to be going in the right direction.  The leaves have darkened in accordance with expectations, as they started off distinctly dark green.

2010 Nadacha Bangwei

It is clean, fresh and potent, with plenty of Jingmai character - a "hairy" sort of nuttiness that reminds me of the skin of hazelnuts.  You'll recognise it when you try it, I'm sure.  The endurance is really rather impressive: I brewed this for over 20 infusions, and it stayed potent, and, best of all, clean and well-made.  Whereas so many recent cakes crack apart and become rough and green, this Nadacha cake reminds me how it should be done: immense potency, combined with superb clarity of character.

Fantastic.  Bring on the 2012s.


drumhum said...

I find it remarkably (and perhaps strangely?) comforting to read your Nada-tea tasting findings are so similar to mine. I placed the Bangwai above the jingmai but as I said in a previous comment, it was a close thing. I'd put money on what your third tea choice is ;-)

Nada should be able to pay a month's rent/mortgage with your purchase alone. Ha! I am dreaming about the prices he charged for last year's tea now. Fair Play though, his 2010 tea is worth every penny IMHO.

Giri Mandi said...

Just to add a slightly different point of view -- for what it's worth -- I prefer Nada's Bangwai to Mansai: powerful qi & C, but unfolding his beauties in a more complex and variegated way.

NorberT said...

Hi Hobbes

Actually, I also tried recently the 2010 Bangwai and I was more than happy with the result. But what made me unhappy was the fact that I bought only one cake. The 2010 Nada production was very unique, the quality/price ratio was excelent, however it seems that those times are gone for good. Anyways, the next cake which I am planing to re-try is the 2010 Mansai, this was my favorite from that vintage.

All the best

The Essence of Tea said...

Dear Hobbes,

I'm to hear the tea is going in the right direction. I'll have to dig out a cake to try it. I haven't had this in a while.

With the Bangwai/Bangwei confusion - the 崴 character has 2 transliterations in pinyin - 'wǎi' and 'wēi'. Yunnan people seem to use both pronunciations, though in hindsight more people (especially those from outside Yunnan) perhaps use 'wēi'. When pronounced 'wǎi' the character refers to the curve of the mountain, whereas 'wēi' refers to something lofty or precipitous. With our 2012 cakes we decided to use 'wēi' since this seems to be the more dominant usage in the tea market and perhaps is more easily recognisable for tea lovers.

Names aside, it's the tea that matters... I'm glad you're enjoying it!

best wishes,
David (nada)

Anonymous said...

Hi Hobbes,

Well I also did a rerun of the 2010 EoT teas a few weeks ago, prompted by the pre-order notice for this years batch.

Though I find it hard to compare what I experienced then to how the teas are today, considering how much my palate (and other sensitivities) has developed since that time, I do think that the bangwai has kept rather well. It has yellowed considerably on my end as well, which I find encouraging.

Of the three cakes I tried I found the Pan Pen to be my favourite at this moment - while it came in third back in 2010. It is still clean and potent but it has also thickened and become more balanced over the last two years, gaining more texture and complexity.

The mansai was, sad to say, a bit of a disappointment to me, being my favourite back in 2010. I'll give it another try soon in case my brewing was of at the time, but it seemed to have aged rather poorly compared to the others.

Who knows though, maybe it's just a late bloomer and that in another two years time things have changed around again.

Best wishes

Hobbes said...

Dear Norbert,

While the days of inexpensive cakes may have passed, Mr. and Mrs. Nada are, I think, getting better at the production process - specifically, coping with the various complexity introduced by so many people-related variables at the Yunnan end of the operation. I get the impression that it is rather difficult to ensure quality of production, and that there have been many lessons learned over the past few years.

Dear Nada,

I'm impressed that you can get your comment to produce pinyin with diacritical tones... I'll have to see if I can manage that, as it'd make the pinyin much easier to read...

The tea has come on nicely.

Dear Johan,

Thanks very much for the notes - I'm going to have to dig out the Banpen now!

I must admit that I've tried the Mansai since buying it, and enjoyed it very much - mine has aged well; maybe it's worth another go?

Toodlepip all,


The Essence of Tea said...

haha, I must admit I copied the characters from an online dictionary. I'm sure with your skills though, it shouldn't be too difficult to find the appropriate key combinations to produce the right characters.

Anonymous said...

As promised I tried the Mansai again this morning and, sadly, I will have to stand by my previous assessment. What I remember liking about this tea back in 2010 was how it seemed to be going in all directions at once, an unbridled energy of sorts that was quite overwhelming at the time.
It seems to have been tamed considerably since then and in comparison the tea now, while still possessing a huge amount of energy, more resembles a staunch work horse pulling quietly along a single boring furrow (if allowing a little exaggeration for effect).
I hope it soon wakes up to its more rebellious self.

If not for other cakes in my collection, with far better track record (to keep the allegory going), I would be a lot more anxious right now over the ageing prospects of my pu erh - now I'm only a little anxious...

Best wishes

Hobbes said...

I'll have to give mine another go. :)



Tofu Miso said...

Hobbes have you drunk any of this recently ? Shah 8's review posted a couple of days ago on badger and blade is not inspiring.! I would be interested to read your thoughts if you have . All the best !