This will be more about naka generally than this specific tea. This tea seems like what is probably a perfectly drinkable naka from 2013. But I’m a strange one who has sadly not really enjoyed like 95% of the nakas that I’ve tried. There are many other teas I’ve enjoyed, and many other raw pus I’ve adored, but naka.. for some reason.. just doesn’t do it for me. The exception is when it’s so damn old that I can’t taste it and the energy’s super mellowed out. And 6 years is evidently not old enough for that to be true.
I really thought I’d enjoy the naka region more when it is younger because the 2005 w2t naka was not a bad experience (though price-y). I am also aware that many people do not drink pu for the taste or smell but the body feels. But I kinda do sometimes – care about taste and smell – and what I’ve learned is that naka, though it doesn’t smell terrible to me – doesn’t taste or feel nice to me when I can taste it.
For example, the mystery naka tasting set that LP sold earlier this year (https://www.liquidproust.com/listing/695708083/in-search-of-series-naka) just was not my style. Basically, I dislike the young naka taste and energy so much that I only ever want old stuff from there where the vast majority of the taste has dissipated and the energy (that is always uncomfortably rumbly for me) has had the time to truly mellow out. Maybe I don’t mind it so much if and when it’s blended with other things also. But with the young single region naka, I’m like… thank you, but not really, no, thank you, you have it. I am grateful to have had the opportunity in 2019 to have tasted a handful of nakas of various vintages from various vendors and collectors, but naka that is old enough for my taste is probably way out of my everyday price range. So you know, uh, more for you all who are probably big fans of naka anything.
Luckily, there are plenty of other regions where the young leaves are pleasing to me in multisensory ways (and also less popular and thus more affordable). I have some very young sheng cakes that are already mellowing out too much for my liking and I wish I had drunk them the previous year.
Let me see if I can describe what I personally find off-putting about younger naka. It always tastes like… ever-so-slightly sour or unpleasantly stale old book pages to me, even though it doesn’t smell that way. Isn’t that weird? And in the tummy I always get this vague sense that I’ve poisoned myself, seriously which is such an odd but specific feeling to get every time I have naka but not other pu’s. It would be interesting to organize a blind tasting lol to see if this sensation can be reproduced.
I mean, I’ve never tasted old book pages. But I’ve been around enough old ass books that are nearly disintegrating and know what they smell like. Sometimes they smell great, but sometimes they smell sort of awful, and younger naka apparently for me just veers too closely to always tasting like bad-smelling old books, somehow without smelling the same. I know that will make no f-ing sense to most people, but every time I taste naka I’m like… oh… this again. Unhappy library. Unhappy tummy. Rummmmbles. Bye.
It’s okay, though. I’ve just mailed almost every last bit of naka I have to my mother to try. Maybe she will love it.