Eminence 2021 Naka Raw Puer

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Beany, Bitter, Citrus, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Mineral, Mint, Olive Oil, Sour, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal, Wheat, Yeast, Astringent
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Edit tea info Last updated by Togo
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 oz / 118 ml

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2 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Having defended my PhD thesis yesterday, I decided to treat myself with a special tea. This is a cake I bought blind this year and the first sniff I had of the tea back when it arrived blew me...” Read full tasting note
  • “It took me a couple of years to warm up to Bitterleaf’s original 2018 Naka and by the time I started liking it it had appreciated so much in value that buying a bing wasn’t even a consideration....” Read full tasting note

From Bitterleaf Teas

It’s hard to be good at everything, yet some how this tea manages just that. From the first brew, this old tree Naka places a strong emphasis on mouthfeel and texture, along with a noticeable huigan and aftertaste. From the 2nd or 3rd brew a more prominent flavour comes into play, with characteristic minerality and stone-fruit flavours.

The tea continues to evolve across many infusions in terms of flavour and feeling, making it a good choice for when you want to enjoy a long, focused session.

The local terrain also imparts a nice “Yanyun”, which roughly refers to the inherent qualities of tea that grows in rocky terrain. This is most often associated with Wuyi Yancha, but the same qualities can be found in Naka. While the definition of Yanyun can be a bit difficult to pin down, it tends to relate mostly to the qualities of energy/chaqi, texture, sweetness and flavour/fragrance.

This tea offers a good opportunity for comparison with our OG Naka. While they share many similarities, the older tree distinction highlights a smoother, more refined quality, while the OG Naka maintains some rougher edges and astringency.

Picking period: Pre-March 27

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2 Tasting Notes

708 tasting notes

Having defended my PhD thesis yesterday, I decided to treat myself with a special tea. This is a cake I bought blind this year and the first sniff I had of the tea back when it arrived blew me away. I never thought raw pu-erh could have such a pungent, feminine, room-filling aroma of honey and flowers emerge from a single cake. In any case, I haven’t tried it until today, as there wasn’t really the right occasion for it.

Since I’ve moved continents recently and haven’t had the time to figure out how to set up my storage after the move yet, my cakes are currently stored in bags without active humidification. That may be one of the reasons, why the aroma wasn’t quite as remarkable when I opened the pouch today. Also, after the rinse, the smell is quite weak and merely reminds me of some sweet grassy scent.

The first infusion is a pretty wild ride. It has medium body and a soft, bubbly, and mouth-watering texture. There is a mineral bitterness, strong umami, vegetal, sweet, sour as well as yeasty notes. I detected also flavours of mung beans, grass, and mint.

Second steep has a very unique mouthfeel that I am struggling to find the right description of, it felt kind of … wet? That’s a weird descriptor. Whenever I tried to focus on the textural sensation, it felt as if the liquor almost wasn’t there. I can’t recall ever having an experience quite like this one. The taste is once again sweet and sour with notes of olive oil and spring onion.

Third infusion is the thickest yet. I probably overbrewed it a bit, but I do like the added pungency and bitterness. Subsequent infusions continue in the vein of bitter florals coupled with the mineral profile Naka tea is known for, but they didn’t stick out to me as quite as interesting.

There is a sour umami aftertaste reminiscent of miso at times, wheat-like grainy note, lemon flavour (especially around steeps 8-10) and a lasting black pepper spiciness.

The cha qi had pretty subtle onset, but once it hit I found the feeling to be very relaxing. It’s a perfect tea to slow down.

Given the price it sells for, I am not quite sure if I would wholeheartedly recommend it. I will see how my future sessions are, but the OG Naka from BLT is a better deal I’d say.

Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT5innrMz0k

Flavors: Beany, Bitter, Citrus, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Mineral, Mint, Olive Oil, Sour, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal, Wheat, Yeast

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Congrats on the defense. May I ask thesubject of your thesis?


Congrats! I still remember my defense from over 25 years ago! One hiccup but it otherwise went well. How did yours go?


Thanks :)

@derk, I was building a mathematical framework for describing concepts such as information, complexity, etc from the perspective of them being resources for particular tasks that one may be interested in achieving. It’s a kind of interdisciplinary work using mathematics to establish connections between physics, theoretical computer science and hopefully other fields (biology for example) in the future


@Rich, it went really well, neither of the committee members tried to give me a particularly hard time :)


Congratulations on your defense! It’s interesting that so many tea people seem to be involved with math/information systems in some way.


Awesome job and congrats on the defense.

Martin Bednář

Congrats on the defense! What a big step!


Congrats on defending your thesis! Is the abstract posted on line?


Congrats! I’m sure the feeling of concluding a long stretch of hard work further enhances the effect of a tea, but there is a point when a tea surpasses our expectations in which case the tea speaks for itself without our biases. It sounds like that was the case here. One day I’ll have to try a sample of this one. Maybe on my wife’s birthday morning?

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117 tasting notes

It took me a couple of years to warm up to Bitterleaf’s original 2018 Naka and by the time I started liking it it had appreciated so much in value that buying a bing wasn’t even a consideration. Now we finally have a follow-up and after some deliberation I decided to grab a cake of it blind (along with a sample). My very positive session with OG Naka only heightened my expectations for this tea. Now, with a couple of months under its belt, I could wait no longer.

From the first sip, this is one of those teas you just know to be good. And it puts a smile on your face. Or makes you say out loud to your drinking partner, “This tea is pretty f***ing good,” in my case. And like in the case of other teas of this caliber, trying to pin down what it is that makes it so amazing is quite elusive, and frankly you find yourself beyond caring.

Instead of trying to describe what it is that makes Eminence great, I’ll simply describe what it is like instead. …But since I don’t want to repeat myself, if you haven’t read my OG Naka review yet, I ask you to go do that, because pretty much everything I said about OG Naka applies to Eminence.

Then what’s different? Well, my expectation of Eminence being a much more subtle tea was totally mistaken. It somehow manages to be even more flavor-packed than OG Naka, which is saying something. Whereas I don’t recall OG Naka being particularly bitter, Eminence again surprises by being quite bitter indeed. Not in a bad way, I’d say, but not in a good way either. It could be a deal-breaker for some, though.

Of course the star is the yan yun, and it is absolutely massive! I didn’t think OG Naka could be so utterly beaten, but Eminence does just that. This goes hand in hand with the texture, which is where I felt OG Naka fell somewhat short. While also possessing a huge body, it is the texture that grabs my attention here. It is crunchy! It honestly (almost) feels like there are small crystals, small grains of salt, in the tea soup. After each cup my jaw feels a bit tired, like I’d just finished chewing something. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a soup so… physical.

But in terms of differences, that’s about it. The longevity is about the same. OG Naka might even have a slight edge. But then again Eminence brews up stronger, so they are pretty much even. Both carry a fragrance in the mouth, but I think Eminence more so. Honestly most things the big E takes just a step further.

But is the gushu worth more than twice the price of OG Naka? For me the answer is a resounding yes. But for you it might be more of a maybe. Eminence honestly shot directly up to one of my favorite teas. Granted, the first session is essentially the honeymoon period and things can change. But I don’t see that happening.

My recommendation is to try OG Naka first and move up to Eminence if you like it. Naka truly has a unique terroir worth experiencing. When you drink your tea, please remember to give thanks in your thoughts to the trees it came from, the people who produced it and people like Bitterleaf who make these teas available to us.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Mineral, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 5 OZ / 135 ML

I also got this cake blind, your note makes me hopeful that it wasn’t a stupid idea :D


I also really like your idea of giving gratitude to the land, the culture and the entities involved in bringing this fascinating experiences to our cups. I may include something of the sort in my tea ritual.

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