31 March, 2011

Writing About Tea

This article could easily be subtitled "It's a funny old game", or, with tongue firmly in cheek, "With great power comes great responsibility".

There are three extant schools, when it comes to writing about tea, which I present to you without judgement.

Moving House

The first school of thought is that embodied by Mr. Fisher's recent book, The Way of Tea.  If you write about it, you kill it.  Tea should be enjoyed without attempting to record it, without attempting to file it away in a dusty book, without attempting to impose our thoughts on it.  If you write, you have missed the moment, and you therefore suck.

The second school of thought is that of many writers: the goal is to communicate.  Perhaps with like-minded souls, perhaps with ourselves.  Plenty of tea-bloggers fall into this category.

The third school of thought is embodied by the Joshu-like sound, "meh".  You people have too much time on your hands, and over-think everything.  Do what you will.


I have sympathies with all three schools.

Some days, I find myself in the first school: I sit up-right at my tea-table, my pen stays in its holder, my diary stays closed.  I am fixed entirely on the current moment, and it feels most natural simply to do.  Boil, pour, brush, drink.  On such days, writing seems like a distraction.

Other days, I find myself in the second school: I write because I must.  Writing is as natural to me as doodling sketches on paper is to the artist, or as tinkling out new tunes is to the musician.  I've been writing for so long, in so many ways, that I even find myself getting a little edgy if I am far from my diary or logbooks.  I feel naked without them.  Ultimately, I write for myself.  Some of my writings make it onto this frivolous little web-site, because, as with most tea-writers, I like to communicate with like-minded souls.  As MarshalN so wisely once wrote, it is like a constant [distributed] tea-session between writers and readers.

Occasionally, I find myself in the third school: we are tidal creatures, and enthusiasm naturally waxes and wanes.  When waxing, I write more, as a natural consequence; when waning, I don't try to force it.  Easy come, easy go.


I find it hard to tell people what they should or should not be doing.  To do so suggests that we know best, and I am not convinced that we do - in fact, it is hard enough to know what is best for oneself, let alone what is best for others.  Zen teachers are very particular on this point.  One is just as likely to get a kwatz [sharp strike] with a staff rather than wordy guidance.  There's nothing to help opening one's eyes to the present as a good, unexpected smack around the shoulders, or a slap across the cheeks.

Sitting with students in tutorials, I have come to the same conclusion (usually, without the sudden episodes of violence).  I can tell them what worked for me, I can point out strategies and tactics that have worked for others in the past, but, ultimately, I can only provide guidance.  To do otherwise is presumptuous at best, whereby we force our opinions on others, and dangerous at worst, whereby our proposals may be entirely wrong for the individual.

Therefore, to recommend that we must treat every tea-session as a meditation, sat in quietude, and with a still pen, is to miss the point, I believe.  There is as much "Zen" in the writing of a diary as there is in sitting up-right at one's tea-table.  Try telling Basho not to write about his banana tree, or Buson not to sketch that dragonfly.

So, the best advice I can offer is, as always:  go with what works for you.

Seigan Hagiyaki

Finding out what works for you is very hard.  Writing about tea, indeed drinking tea itself, is a good method of exploring your own character.

Is tea just another passing interest in your life?  A distraction?  I have been through many such distractions myself.  Perhaps, like me, you have thrown yourself into something, learned all there is to know about it, collected and purchased and practised it.  Then, you reach a key point, when there is nothing more to learn, you believe.  Nothing more to buy, nothing new to discover, no new thrills.  Then, it is onto the next distraction.  And so on, year after year, distraction after distraction.

Young people are like this.  I write this as a crusty old fool who has passed his thirtieth birthday.  Suzuki wrote, "If you are young, don't try too hard [at Zen practice].  A few minutes per day is enough.  Don't overdo it, otherwise you will tire of it."

Tea can be like this.  The tea blogs come and go, often starting in a blaze of enthusiasm, with the fire and passion of a young person seeking for something, trying hard to know all there is to know.  I look down my list of old tea-blogs with wistful memories, remembering some excellent writers who have since tired and moved onto their next Big Thing.  Sometimes it is because of the pressures of life (Phyll Sheng, come back to us!), more often, it is because tea has been "exhausted", and new thrills must be sought.

I write this without any judgement about good and bad.  As I said above, I write this as someone who knows exactly what this is like, because I have done it many times throughout my life.  It is a natural process.

Haidu Snooze
A natural process

Ultimately, though, perhaps something sticks.  Something gets under the skin.  Something becomes a part of one's life, and not a mere distraction.  The great forces in my life all started as a mad, passionate distraction.  Those that remain with me are the ones that stuck - the aspects that I found somehow valuable, compatible with my life and outlook, useful to my daily round.

I found that this filtering effect becomes sharply focussed as the responsibilities of life increase.  As an undergrad, I tried it all, and cared little about anything in particular.  I loved everything, and, consequently,  loved nothing.

As a graduate, my responsibilities increased, my time became more limited, and I kept mostly those things that were valuable to me.  I still had a little time for passionate explorations that could be wildly abandoned, but it was lessened.

As a post-graduate, and lately a father, I have almost no time for such things.  Family, housework, deadlines, my own students, projects - as the responsibilities increase, so the filtering effect becomes more focussed, and more obvious.  The things that have stayed with me are those that remain essential to me.  I began to see a common thread running through them all, something underneath that made them all valuable.

The Farmhouse

Therefore, my advice: go with what works for you.  If you have a passionate, compulsive personality (as I have), then my tentative advice would be not to go crazy.  Listen to Suzuki, and take it easy.  I would not buy every cake out there, and not try to learn all the single mountains immediately.  I would not try to remember names and dates and recipes.  Just drift through it, enjoy it, and maybe it will stick.

Certainly, my gentle advice would be: don't try to force yourself to write.  When I started out the ol' Half-Dipper, I was intent on regular publication.  This was not a good idea.  Generally speaking, if you find yourself feeling burdened by your hobby, then something may need adjustment.  The only person who knows this is you.

Good luck with your drinking!  If we're all still here in another five years' time, then we can raise a slightly-matured toast to our continued mutual progress.

29 March, 2011

1999 Yichanghao "Songtiban"

This tea is called "Songtiban" [Song dynasty style/edition], which is confusing, because tea was consumed in the matcha style (whisk + powder) in that era. I'm surely missing something.

Nonetheless, this is a special cake, because it is one of Changtai's first, given that they were founded a year before its manufacture, in 1998.

1999 Yichanghao Songtiban
Trust a Taiwanese person, in this case our dear Dr. Lee, to call the "Song" dynasty the "Sung"

I continue to ransack my most ancient and neglected samples, having bought and then never tried this sample from Houde many years ago.

Opening the sample packet releases a powerfully sweet aroma, as if I have just opened the door to a bedroom in which someone has been sleeping for years.  

1999 Yichanghao Songtiban

As shown above, my sample looks as if it has come from the middle of the cake, being a tight, hard little nugget.  It seems that the cake itself has some larger leaves, but my sample is mostly fragmented.

Sitting in the air, the aroma becomes much more quiet.  The colour is a charming dusty red.

1999 Yichanghao Songtiban

This is a reticent tea.  I used far too many leaves (the entire 10g sample), and it still seemed underpowered.  It has a good, red soup, but the texture is thinner than one would hope for.  It has a tangy, pine-like character, but it comes as if from a long distance.

Giving this tea many infusions, throughout the morning and afternoon (interrupted by a rather decent Thai sunday lunch), this tea refused to come to life.  

1999 Yichanghao Songtiban

I tried long brews, short brews, hotter water, cooler water, but eventually concluded that these leaves are a touch knackered.

The feeling in the mouth is decent, and its quiet pine vapours linger in the nose and clear the airways, but I am left with the suspicion that this tea has seen better days.  Of course, being stored in an air-tight sample bag for years isn't going to help this tea to age, but I usually agree with the school of thought that says locking pu'ercha in an air-tight container (such as shrink-wrapped old cakes throughout Maliandao) merely inhibits the  aging process, rather than depleting the tea of all character.  If it were so, we could imagine that those classic cakes in Beijing are gradually being destroyed by their air-tight surroundings.

After twenty infusions, the tea has become slightly coloured water, and an older tea should last significantly longer than this.  Whatever the route that this tea has taken to reach my tea-table, it seems to be beyond the realm of human artifice to bring it back to life.

28 March, 2011

Two Small Boats


two small boats
moored in reflections
of skyscrapers

26 March, 2011

Plundering Yunnan Sourcing's Back-Catalogue

I've often said how there are gems to be had in the long-neglected back pages of merchants' web-sites - teas grown old, with prices that may not have been incremented for some time.

2006 Haiwan Mengpasha

I recently discovered that the 2006 Haiwan "Mengpasha", which I bought for $32 on release, is now going for just $40, half a decade later at Yunnan Sourcing.

2006 Haiwan Mengpasha

Come hither, to the original article, where I revisit this old buddy. 

(Please scroll down, on arrival, to get to the new bit.)

24 March, 2011

2005 Changtai "Bulang"

I really appreciate Puerh Shop. The prices are good, the variety is enormous, and you have a good chance of finding real gems in the many pages of products. It's like a little Taobao, except with the benefit that Jim seems to take note of tea-blogs, and makes available teas widely available that someone finds, for example, on Taobao. I get the impression that Jim loves tea, and his entire outfit seems sincere and plain good fun. It's a very positive thing.  The Western-oriented pu'ercha market is a better thing for having Puerh Shop in it.

2005 Changtai Bulang

In an attempt to find something to drink, I ransacked the very depths of my cupboards and found a simply enormous bag of this 2005 Changtai Bulang that I bought ages ago and have neglected.  There must be a good 20% of the entire cake in this sample.

2005 Changtai Bulang

It's currently priced at $31, and, for a six-year-old cake from one of my favourite factories, this fills me with hope.  My "bargain" sensors are saturated.

The leaves, as may be seen above, are small and mostly tippy.  You may not be able to make out their definite redness from the image above, but it is pronounced.  Is this the redness of age, or is this one of those Changtai cakes that have seen a little bit of encouragement on the way to maturity?

2005 Changtai Bulang

Happily, it's the latter.  This is an honest, raw Bulang cake.  It opens in a sharp and woody manner that makes me immediately start to calculate how many cakes I should buy.  Like most Bulang, it wakes me up immediately, and reminds me that this is a tea to be taken slowly.

However, five or so infusions later, and the picture isn't quite so rosy.  The hope from the first infusions has faded, as it turns out to be a bit more down-to-Earth.  It isn't rough, but neither is it full.  $31 is a good price for a stable, powerful tea that doesn't really dominate my affections in the same way as the equally uncompromising, but more full-bodied, "Pasha" Xizihao.  The sharp, woody character did not last many infusions.  It is, ultimately, a lot more simple and predictable than it may seem at first.

I revise down my purchasing to "maybe one cake if I'm ordering from Puerh Shop sometime soon".  A fun session, but a very mainstream (yet fairly priced) tea.

23 March, 2011

At the Toll Bridge


at the toll bridge
into South Beijing
the snow stops

21 March, 2011

2010 Douji "Yiwu"

Playing to one of Douji's strengths, I expect the Yiwu cake from 2010 to be one of their finest.

Such are the powers of deciding something in advance, it is instructive to approach the tea-table (and, indeed, most things in life) with a clear mind.

2010 Douji Yiwu

Small leaves and fragments, shown above, make up this cake, which has a heavy tobacco scent.  An active, yellow soup rapidly takes on orange tones as it sits in the air for a moment or two.

The tobacco from the scent fills the back of the nose after the swallow, yet there is also an unwelcome citric tone, almost grapefruit-like.  I can taste a little of Douji's proprietary roasted creaminess, which is prevalent in their house blends such as "Dadou" and "Shengdou".

2010 Douji Yiwu

The plantation base here is not rough, but it is sour, particularly in the finish when it resounds in the throat and repeats on the tongue.  The true Yiwu notes come and go before the swallow.

There have been better Yiwu cakes from the Yiwu Zhengshan Tea Co., and I won't be pursuing this one much further.  It's not nasty, but it's a long way from the best of their game.  Maybe this is merely the effect of market forces at work - supply and demand.

Some of the Yunnan Sourcing Yiwu cakes are markedly better than this, for a similar price, for example.  More on those later...

My hopes will remain high for the 2011 Douji Yiwu.

19 March, 2011

Special Single-Mountain Maocha

I've just come back from Dublin, a place about which I've written previously.  I've always wanted to visit Boston, Massachusetts in order to live out my Poe- and Lovecraft-based childhood dreams; similarly, going to the Irish capital feels like walking through Joyce's Ulysses.

You can even climb to the top of the Martello Tower in Sandycove, which is now, fittingly, a museum to the city's favourite literary son.


I was there for reasons much less exalted: my cousin's Stag Week-end.  I have no idea if this concept translates into your local culture, gentle Reader, but it is approximately a men's-only week-end holiday to celebrate the impending marriage / lifetime sentence of the "Stag".

The theme was Star Wars.  So, fifteen of us trailed the various, dubious establishments of Temple Bar in full costume over a period of two days and nights.  The Stag was dressed as Leia (gold bikini: cold in early Irish spring), the Best Man was Jabba the Hutt (approx. 50% scale, involving a long tail), and your humble correspondent was perhaps the most undeservedly overlooked of the Star Wars pantheon, the Stormtrooper.

Who can forget such classic, emotive, moving lines as "Close the blast doors, close the blast doors", and "These aren't the droids we're looking for."

TK-421, do you copy?

The nice thing about a Stag Week-end in Dublin is that ordering drinks is straightforward.  "Fifteen pints of Guinness, please."  Its beauty is its simplicity.

How fitting, then, that this article concerns a beverage provided by another of the Emerald Isle's offspring, the proprietor of Essence of Tea.

2008 Mahei Gushu Xiacha

Long-time readers may remember that my usual advice for those interested in learning to discern the various mountains' terroirs is merely to drink a lot.  (A list of old ramblings on this and other subjects may be found here.)  

The conscious process just clutters things up and tends to get in the way, and I am a firm believer that it's not something that one can really hurry.  True learning is intuitive, and requires repetition.  This is just as true for the student learning how to perform high-dimensional integration of a probability distribution in polar coordinates as it is for the tea-drinker learning how to brew properly, or how to discern the various mountains.  Repetition, repetition, repetition.

2008 Mahei Gushu Xiacha

Unsupervised repetition can take longer than having a good guide, however.  This is, presumably, why universities still exist - we can, theoretically at least, provide instruction on how to reach one's goal a little faster by helping the learner along the way to their goal.  Ultimately, a good teacher is nothing more than a guide, pointing the way.  This is equally true for a professor, a Zen master, or the chap who's helping you with your tennis serve.

One cannot cure an illness just by reading medical textbooks.  There is no kensho in reading sutras.  You cannot recognise the character of single-mountain pu'ercha by reading articles about tea.

Therefore, we must seek out good tea.  A great way to do this is to drink everything you can find.  Drink it all.  Drink the mainstream plantation "chawang", drink the samples of $220 Hailanghao, drink samples of all of those fine single-mountain cakes produced by the various tea merchants.  Drink it all, and remain awake while you're doing so.  There's nothing more to it than that.

2008 Mahei Gushu Xiacha

I've learned the most from good samples.  This 2008 Mahei, so kindly provided by Nada from Essence of Tea, is a charming example of xiacha [sh'eeah cha, summer tea] from the Mahei region, and is entirely old-tree.

This is unarguable, as its character is so noticeably different from everything else out there.  Laoshu is usually obvious when present; the difficulty arises when it has been blended to various degrees with plantation leaves, as is typical.  This tends to hide the laoshu characteristics, in one way or another.

Thus, to try actual laoshu is to try something fairly rare, and to give you an insight into the good and not-so-good components of the various blends that we encounter.

2008 Mahei Gushu Xiacha

I tend to write as much for my own benefit as for yours, gentle Reader, and so for the purposes of reminding myself: this tea was hyper-clean, and exceptionally menthol-like in its character.  It has a purity of kuwei of which one finds hints in other teas.

There is not a flavour of any particular magnitude - what exists is buttery, sweet, and gentle.  This dwells behind the sheet activity that affects the entire mouth: vibrant, cooling, thick, and viscous.  It lingers forever, and fills the veins with brightness.

Such teas also lead me to appreciate the almost lost art of blending.  One can imagine that the characteristics of a laoshu could be well-matched with a broad base of richer, deeper effects as found in other regions.  While I do love a good single-mountain cake, if I could encourage our heroic merchants to experiment with the odd blend, perhaps good things might result.  The risks are higher, but there is an entire genre of pu'ercha waiting to be explored.

In the meantime, I'll take all such single-mountains samples that I can find with gratitude, and encourage you, as ever, merely to drink more tea.

18 March, 2011

The Rooster Crows


the rooster crows
an hour after dawn -
daylight savings

17 March, 2011

2010 Douji "Hetianxia"

Oh, shupu. With your idiosyncratic ways.  Your occasional violent bacterial payloads.  Your charming woodiness.

I've never come across a Douji shupu.  I figured that after waking early following a particular nasty Indian meal last night, the comfort of a nice shupu is just what the doctor ordered.

2010 Douji Peace World

The cake's name, Hetianxia [her-tee'an-shee'ah] roughly means "peace-world".  Even Douji's shupu, it seems,  is reliable.

Most importantly, it's clean.  I like its full body, and its sweet nature.  This 2010 version is unusually interesting for a shupu, being resonant in the mouth, and actively captivating.  You can't say that about many shupu cakes.

I finish the tea, clear away the pots, and then build a charming set of nested tables, all before the sun has risen.

I shall tell my dear wife that the tables must have been assembled by helpful imps...

15 March, 2011

Plundering Houde's Back-Catalogue

I always maintain that the back-pages of some of the longer-term pu'ercha merchants contain some real gems - cakes that which may have been overpriced when new, but which, years later, look a lot better for their price. One of my favourite merchants for this is good old Houde.

2006 Yangqinghao Gushu

I invite you to join me at this cake's original article to rediscover a cake that didn't originally receive much attention, but which now seems worth some time.

2006 Yangqinghao Gushu

14 March, 2011

Empty Tearooms

Headington Hill

empty tearooms
behind old sliding doors
lonely sunbeams

12 March, 2011

2006 Douji "Demingxuan"

I wrote previously on the 2010 version of this special production from Douji, and owe Jerry of China Chadao a sincere debt of thanks for trying so hard to get me 14g of Douji's last 70g of this older version.

(The name is pronounced der-ming-shoo'an, more or less, and refers to Douji's first teashop, in Yiwu.)

2006 Douji Demingxuan

The 2010 version was clean and enjoyable, with detectable hints of Douji's creamy, roasted house style in the background.  This 2006 version is heavier, and darker.  Even 2006 cakes are five years old, now!  Such is the rapid passage of time.  The scent is sweet and heavy in my aroma cup.

2006 Douji Demingxuan

It tastes old, as if it has become a sharp, woody, semi-aged cake already.  It is entirely lovely, with plenty of sweetness in its heavy, brooding body, that is absent any plantation nastiness.

2006 Douji Demingxuan

It is very enjoyable, in its sweet, woody presentation.  It has vibrancy and life in the body, and has not been processed into a zombie-like state of undeath.  A charming example of Guafengzhai leaves - thanks again to Jerry for the opportunity to try this rarity.  

2006 Douji Demingxuan

10 March, 2011

2009 Xizihao "Pasha Laozhai Dianhuang"

I may have previously given the impression that I think Xizihao tea is for ladyboys.

Now don't get me wrong, while some of their productions are no doubt very popular with the transgender hospitality industry of Bangkok, there are a goodly number of "raw" Xizihao cakes out there.

They don't come much more raw than this cake from Pashashan (a.k.a. Mengpashashan).

2009 Xizihao Pasha

Firstly, we need to unpack the typically mighty Xizihao name.

Pasha / Mengpasha is a mountain infrequently identified by pu'er producers.  There was a 2006 Haiwan version of this mountain's leaves, which was one of the first teas that I bought in quantity.  Funnily enough, I can remember the latter cake very clearly, even though I've not tried it since 2007.  Taste memory is a strange thing.  Everything I've ever had that's been associated with Mengpashashan has been Hardcore with a capital "H".

The "Laozhai" [laow-djai] part of the name simply means "old village".  Xizihao are far too cool for the usual "zhengshan" [proper mountain].

Similarly, Xizihao are far too cool for the usual "chawang" [tea king], and so the final phrase of this cake's unwieldy name is "Dianhuang" [dee'an hwang], meaning "Yunnan Emperor".  Brilliantly humble.

2009 Xizihao Pasha

It's a pretty cake, which makes me concerned that we might need to file this under "ladyboy", but such worries are assuaged the minute that the pungent, rancorous, acrid stench of the leaves assaults my nostrils.  In a good way.

This tea does not go quietly into the night.

2009 Xizihao Pasha

Like the older Haiwan cake, this has a fat, uncompromised, savoury character.  Also like the Haiwan cake, it is entirely powerful, and sits in the teacup shouting obscenities at me.  I rather like it.  This tea puts up a good fight.

But there can be only one.

2009 Xizihao Pasha

I take a few hours off in the morning to teach this cake who's boss.  It's a close-run battle, but it gives up before I do, after some 15 infusions.  

Throughout, I am impressed by the fatness of its body, the chunkiness with which it dominates the mouth, and that acrid, tart, "Who's the daddy" kuwei that squats in the throat like an illegal tenant, and just won't leave.

Kudos to Sanhetang for making a sincere, unmonkeyed cake.  Initial (intense) smokiness soon subsides, leaving a long, challenging tea.  

This isn't one for the casual pu'ercha drinker - if you're a part-time sailor on the pu'ercha seas, then I'd recommend stable blends, or the sweet, gentle charms of the usual Yiwu / Laobanzhang / Nannuo / etc. ranges.

If, on the other hand, you're a grizzled old swine that fancies a bit of tea-table pugilism, then this is the tea for you.

N.B. this cake is no longer available at Houde, and so I have no idea of its cost.  I wouldn't pay more than about $60-$75 for this, given its decent, but not entirely captivating, quality.

March, 2014

I miss Old Houde.  Back in the days of yore, Houde and Yunnan Sourcing were, more-or-less, the holders of most of the market-share for Western drinkers of pu'ercha.  YS took the "low road", offering cheap-and-cheerful cakes, while Houde took the "high road", offering more rarified goods at higher prices.  Looking back at my articles from that time, perhaps 2007 or so, the prices that I considered "high" are, ironically enough, actually lower than most prices today.  If only my time machine were still working.

Due to the dominance of YS and Houde on the Western market, the latter's gratuitous mangling of pinyin (which only the English or Taiwanese peoples can really achieve to any degree of significance) led to Xizihao cakes being called "Xizhihao".  This looks innocuous enough, but it completely changes the pronunciation from the elegant Mandarin of "shee-zzer-how" to the rather clunky and inelegant "shee-djur-hao".  Hence, whenever I dig up these cakes, a mischievous part of my mind (i.e., the dominant fraction thereof) tells me that this is XIZHIHAO, in accordance with Houde's pinyin-mangling machine.

The fact that I have a sample from Houde that I have not yet finished this sample is quite a surprise: presumably, I paid for this sample, as I don't recall ever receiving samples gratis from Houde.  This one must have snuck under my RADAR, and slipped into the depths of my tea-shelves unnoticed.  Until today!

This tea from Mengpashashan is as robust in its scent as it was in 2011 - there is a good base of molasses to the lengxiang [cooling-scent]. Its thick body is adopting the spicy warmth of a strong cake that is descending into a somewhat aged state. Not all cakes go this particular way, but I am pleased when it happens.

This is strong tea in the Menghai (region) style, and very welcome. There is considerable activity on the tongue and a substantially cooling sensation that even affects the airway through the nose, such is its strength. This is a "big and bitter" tea; it has strength, but it could not be described as being tremendously entertaining, as the infusions wear on.

09 March, 2011

Old Farmers


old farmers
farming in the shadow
of new solar panels

07 March, 2011

A New Old Friend

199 Henglichang Bulang

It's old, it's good, it's probably worth the money: it's the 1997 Henglichang "Bulang", from Essence of Tea.

05 March, 2011

2010 Douji "Nannuo"

Another day, another turmoil. This time, it's the installation of bookcases downstairs. Our old favourites come out of storage, for filing in their new homes, much as with our pu'ercha before Christmas.  It's good to get life back to normal.

2010 Douji Nannuo

In the package of samples so kindly sent by Jerry of China Chadao came this Nannuo cake, for which I feel both undeserving and entirely grateful - thanks again, Jerry.

2010 Douji Nannuo

As always, the Douji seal on the back of the cake (pictured above) is both informative, and obstructive.

2010 Douji Nannuo

The cake itself is a fine-looking fellow, comprising whole, small leaves, and a loose-but-not-too-loose compression.

2010 Douji Nannuo

By the time I free some leaves from the cake, the sun has risen, and so the remainder of my accompanying photographs appear to have normal daylight.

2010 Douji Nannuo

I often associate Nannuo cakes as being floral, sweet, and somewhat feminine.  This Douji Nannuo is, as always, a decent blend of plantation with some real Nannuo-tasting leaves - it has clean hints of laoshu in there, without the citric notes of, say, the 2010 Douji Yiwu.

Solid and sweet in the mouth, if I were buying a cake from the 2010 range, it may well be this Nannuo - hence, I am delighted and grateful to have a whole bing to try in the coming years. It's not the kind of cake that I'd need to own in great quantity, but it's a fine example of the area, and, most importantly, a very enjoyable tea.

2010 Douji Nannuo

04 March, 2011

Eight Immortals Mountain

Floating Leaf

Eight Immortals Mountain
isn't going anywhere