672 Tasting Notes
I got a couple of blind cakes from BLT this year, their yearly plantation Yi Wu being one of them. The tea is on the green side with a bit of a jade oolong profile.
The aroma is savoury with notes of fried greens and nettle. It has a astringent, light to medium bodied, liquor with floral bitterness and flavours of green vegetables and dry grass. Really, the tea is quite bitter and drying, reminiscent of unripe fruit.
The aftertaste, however, is long-lasting and fragrant with a nice tartness and a fruity sweetness that emerges after a while.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Green, Herbs, Mineral, Sweet, Tart
I’ve had three sessions with this tea. First time I had it alone in a porcelain gaiwan. I found the tea to have a lot of complexity and breadth, but not nearly enough depth given the price point. At the same time, the cha qi was among the strongest I’ve ever felt from any tea, let alone a black tea.
The second time I drank it at a party with friends, and thus I didn’t pay all that much attention to it. Finally, today I brewed it in my newly acquired silver teapot – as a first black tea to try it with. The outcome is quite remarkable, the tea feels much more well-defined in silver. It has a proper backbone now, which was lacking in both of the two previous sessions. There is much more of the dark chocolate bitterness, and lots more sweetness, especially the returning molasses sweetness in the aftertaste.
It is thus quite a demanding black tea. First of all, it demands attention, but it seems to also really need fairly specific parameters to uncover its full potential (I suspect one could achieve good results by playing around with the water used or using a nice clay pot, not just a silver one).
In terms of specific notes, from the dry leaves I got a strong woody one complemented by molasses and prunes. Throughout the session, there are also aromas of candle smoke, black cardamon, resin, moss, and cocoa beans.
The taste is likewise woody and resinous. It is smooth and sweet with a bitterness of dark chocolate. In the cooling aftertaste, I also noticed hints of butter and pinecones, as well as an intensified cocoa bean note.
The mouthfeel is buttery and smooth. It can get a little bubbly and has a medium body.
Probably the most memorable aspect, however, is the stupefying and defocusing full body sensation. While drinking this tea, I frequently need to lie down as my body feels very light and I imagine flying up in the clouds.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Cardamom, Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Molasses, Moss, Pine, Prune, Resin, Smooth, Sweet, Wood
[Spring 2021 harvest]
Here’s quite a flavourful tea with great depth and lots of elusive notes. It has a bit higher oxidation than many FF Darjeelings and turned out to be my favourite of the three I got this year.
I can smell popcorn, grass flowers, and moss at first. The floral wet leaf aroma brings out hints of courgette flower, lime zest, honeysuckle, rice field, and apples.
I find the liquor to be medium bodied and creamy with a fleeting foamy touch. The taste is woody and warming. It has a astringent, floral bite to it, as well as flavours of pistachio, white grapes, egg shells and others. Aftertaste also brings more sweetness and umami to the table. There are hints of butter, pine and a stronger honey note that appears after a while.
Flavors: Apple, Astringent, Biting, Butter, Citrus Zest, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle, Lime, Moss, Nuts, Pine, Popcorn, Rice, Sweet, Umami, White Grapes, Wood, Zucchini
I think both BLT’s description and TJ Elite’s review are spot on. It’s a lovely tea that is true to the Naka terroir. You are paying for the name of course, but the price is reasonable I’d say.
The dragon balls open fast and the rinse has a good depth with a bitter and mineral character (that is a recurring theme) and a hint of chard. Aroma in the gaiwan is sweet and flowery with notes of sugarcane, candy, and grass compost.
First couple of steeps have medium body and a moderate bitterness with sweet, grassy and floral profile. It is complemented by flavours of sunflower, green olives and a touch of apricot. Around fourth infusion, the liquor becomes quite numbing and the bitterness intensifies. It’s kind of like a mix of bitter greans growing in high altitude, rocky environment.
The aftertaste is very cooling with a mild sweetness, buttery texture, and a protracted sweet vegetal bite.
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFJSM3kvBQ4
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Candy, Compost, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Mineral, Olives, Plants, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vegetal, Wet Rocks
I love the aromatics of this yancha, but the rest of the experience is a bit lacking. I still like it quite a bit though, and one should take into account that I am not really a fan of rock oolongs. Aggressive brewing helps to bring out its pungency and complexity, so I would recommend opting for higher leaf amount rather than the opposite. It is quite an energizing tea, good when you want to do stuff.
Dry leaves have an invigorating aroma of tamarind, red wine, cherries, and wood. During the session, there is a distinct and pungent rose scent present, as well as hint of cranberry and gingerbread brownies.
First infusion is biting and woody with notes of malt, straw and brown sugar. It has a soft yet thick texture. The finish and aftertaste display a fairly well-developed cinnamon note as well, including its mild spiciness. Later on, the profile is mineral, sweet and bitter with a vegetal touch. There are flavours of stonefruit pits, nectarines and avocado, among others.
Flavors: Bitter, Brown Sugar, Cake, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Malt, Mineral, Nectarine, Red Wine, Rose, Spicy, Stonefruit, Straw, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal, Wood
I just realized something fun, if I blend 5g of this tea with 2g of Manzhuan huang pian (from the same series), the resulting profile resembles Naka tea a little. It even has some mineral hints, although obviously nowhere near a real Naka.
I wonder what would be the result of taking a high-end (and high altitude) Mengku spiked with some Manzhuan gushu, anyone tried something to this effect?
It’s still one for the leather/wood mood of course. But now there seem to be also aromas of custard, (red) currant, goji berries, and maple syrup. The taste is smooth and a bit sweet, with additional notes of peat and eucalyptus. I can’t say I love it, but I also don’t have other teas like this so it’s nice to have in the collection.
Flavors: Berry, Custard, Eucalyptus, Goji, Leather, Maple Syrup, Peat, Smooth, Sweet, Wood
Today, I noticed some new range of aromas in this tea, among them bog, kerosene, and persimmon. It has quite a cooling and perfumy aroma I’d say.
I overbrewed it somewhat, but it never got too astringent. There is a good balance of tart, sweet, bitter and herbaceous flavours. It is still floral with honey notes, but the sweetness wasn’t as pervasive this time and at times it was more sugary. In some of the steeps in the middle of the session, I also detected notable mineral and marine notes (a mixture of clams and saline).
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Herbaceous, Honey, Marine, Perfume, Salt, Sugar, Sweet, Tart
Another year in Snoozefest’s life. The aroma is still quite muted, but towards the end of the session it is quite fruity with notes of tomato vine and grapes. The taste is likewise bitter and astringent as before. Nevertheless, there is a lot of sweetness, herbal spiciness too. I also detected some hints of licorice root, cape gooseberry. Interestingly, the aftertaste has a bit of umami and butter flavours going on, but ultimately the floral sweetness dominates.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Grapes, Herbaceous, Lavender, Licorice, Plant Stems, Spicy, Umami