I once had a seller tell me that this was a man’s tea in China, just like Lapsang Souchong ( generally the low t no smoke iteration) is a woman’s tea. I’m not sure why specifically, maybe it has to do with the scent of cinnamon from baked goods after all that is why many women’s perfumes have heavy doses of vanilla and spice, or maybe it has to do with the heat it can create in your mouth? I took this with a grain of salt as I am a woman and I tend to like this style of tea and currently have a few in my cupboard, and was more than happy to select this tea as a sample during Nannuoshan’s offering.
This particular style off oolong is one of the Wuyishan yancha ( rock teas) which are bar type Oolong’s famous as a group for having mineral notes and often floral, fruity, cream, and cocoa notes. The cream in these teas is often distinct and often creates the sensations in my throat that I get when I have dairy vs the taste of cream I get in rolled Oolong’s.
Rou gui is also known as cinnamon or cassia rock tea and often exhibits distinct cinnamon like scents and at times in the taste and spiciness of the tea itself.
This tea from Nannuoshan is from a 2013 harvest because of that most of the flavour and scent notes from its roasting have dissipated leaving a tea that smelled distinctly floral when I first opened the bag, and then settled into a fruity vegetal fragrance. The leaves are large and relatively wide and range in colour from cocoa brown with a tinge of burgundy to an off black.
This picture shows Nannuoshan’s tea in comparison to the teas I have from other companies.
I steeped 2g of tea in 100ml yixing pot at around 90°C for this sampling.
My first steep was 45s as I usually find 60s to be too intense for me when I steep dark Oolong’s.
The colour of the broth is a slightly peach toned golden brown. The initial scent is quite fruity with notes of peach and a hint of lychee deepening to notes of bittersweet chocolate, cherry, a hint of roasted grain, vanilla, cinnamon and a very faint hint of nutmeg.
The tea tastes of stewed peaches and cherry with cream, a roasted char note, mineral notes and a green vegetal note which is a cross between cut grass, hay and roasted vegetables. There is a hint of clover and spice in the initial taste. At first the tea leaves a tingling on the roof and back of my mouth. This feeling of spice intensifies in the aftertaste which is mostly of cream, spice and fruit notes with a bitter cocoa undertone. The spice is cooling at first and then becomes peppery and warming.
I resteeped the tea another 6 times (45, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 300s)
The heady fruit tones dissipated by the 4 the steep with mineral, floral, spice and grainy tones moving forward in the profile. The floral notes ranged from sakura, to rose and Osmanthus. I also tasted notes of honey and a bit of musk in later steeps. The spice at times is mixed with a hint of bitterness that can emphasise the mineral notes in the tea.
This tea seems to lie somewhere in between the flavour profiles of the rou gui’s I have samples, being neither as floral or as fruity as the others. It does have a nice balance of flavours and creates a strong spicy sensation in the mouth which I find pleasant. It is not as resilient as some I have sampled but the first 4 steeps were really flavourful and memorable.
Thank you so much Nannuoshan to the sample. I always appreciate the chance to try another offering of one of my favourite styles of tea.