“The 2019 Dangerfield was blended with an intention of being a poor man’s Naka.”
Sometimes there is an, ahem, danger with Puerh, in that there is a lot of jargon and knowledge of that jargon is assumed. For example, before receiving this tea and doing a little research, I had no idea what the characteristics of “Naka” Puerh would be and why it would be prized.
Na Ka is a village in the Menghai county of Yunnan China. For a long time tea from this village was highly prized and not allowed to be sold outside of China.
Authentic “Naka” has gotten to be quite expensive, (#white2tea sells a 2005 Naka for around $1 a gram,) and is known among Western Puerh fanciers for its strong body centered cha qi. Young Naka from old trees is also known for a middle bitterness that gives way to a long lasting sweet aftertaste.
This is not Naka, but is a blend of Raw Puerh which is intended to evoke the flavor and physiological effects of an aged Naka Puerh.
The early flavors are clean and on the dry side, a bit earthy. These give way to a medium level middle palate bitterness. The bitterness fades leaving an lingering appetizing sensation of lightness and sweetness on the palate. The cha qi is more of a slow build than a fast head rush, but it is noticeably there and also clean and pleasant. Not a bad trip.
I have not had an actual Naka, but I can tell you this is a good, well priced Puerh that will not disappoint, either if you are looking to expand your tea drinking horizons, or if you are an experienced Puerh drinker trying to shave a little money off your tea cake budget.
The first two most likely Chinese teas you will find in America are probably jasmine or the sort of indeterminate Chinese black tea usually served in Chinese restaurants. The next most likely is probably Dragon Well or Gunpowder Greens. After that, you might find the smoked version of Lapsang Souchong. A certain amount of Scotch drinking and/or cigar smoking tea drinkers are quite fond of the in-your-face, drinking a campfire, flavor of Smoked Lapsang. While I used to be among the Scotch fancying Lapsang drinkers, cigars have never appealed. And, I haven’t drunk a Lapsang Souchong tea for a few years.
A smattering of single dose 8g samples of Lapsang from Fujian province teas arrived via the July @white2tea club and presented me with the option to revisit my opinions and prejudices regarding this opinion provoking tea.
As I discussed in a previous post, “Traditional” Lapsang Black teas from the Wuyi region of Fujian province are NOT smoked.
This tea is very similar to the “Lapsang Wild Tea” from Yin Xiang Hua Xia Tea. There are notes of sweet potato and dried fruit with a dry menthol/camphor finish. This is a very well balanced black tea and I could see making it a daily drinker (if I didn’t have so much other tea to drink).
I don’t know if this feels Herb-ey to me. I feel like there is a bitter-sweet orange character along with a bit of sweet potato and a very long finish/aftertaste. More elegant than the “Traditional Lapsang”, this is one of the better black teas I can remember having recently.
Of the Lapsangs, this is my favorite. It has great length of flavor, nice character, and a very clean feel. I would definitely make this a special occasion black tea, if it were available.
Fruit Bomb Lapsang
The last of the “traditional” lapsang is the Fruit Bomb. This one didn’t really grab me. It didn’t have the elegance of the Herby Lapsang or the slightly rustic character of the “Traditional”. Just not a very complex tea. I’d drink it again, but I wouldn’t search it out. (Of course the problem with single dose samples, is you never know if it is your mood, a fluke in preparation that day, or some oddness.)
After the fruit bomb, we switch over to the smoked versions of the tea.
Pine Sap Lapsang
Pine Sap Lapsang, on the other hand, is a smoked Lapsang Tea.
For a Smoked Lapsang, it is fairly balanced, you can tease out the tea elements underlying the campfire scents and flavors. It shows a bit of affinity for Oolong teas with a strong menthol element in the finish. However, it is a tea you will be tasting ALL day. You might brush your teeth once, you might brush your teeth twice, but you are still going to be tasting campfire and pine sap when you go to bed at night. So, if you don’t enjoy smoky flavors, this probably is not a tea for you. A good tea for cold winter nights (and it might make a nice addition to a hot toddy).
It’s funny, this lapsang is actually smokier tasting up front than the Pine Sap Lapsang, but somehow I enjoy it more. Weird.
Anyway, this is pretty much exactly like drinking a campfire. Super-smoky, but with a decent, somewhat sweet, black tea backbone. Interestingly, while it is smokier up front, the smoke flavor recedes more in the aftertaste, isn’t as cling-ey, and it is the core of the sweet tea flavor the sticks in your mind. If I were drinking smoked Lapsang, this is the one I would drink.
While I enjoyed trying all these Lapsangs, the ones that really stuck with me were the “Traditional” and the “Herby” Lapsangs. I am definitely now more curious about black teas from Fujian!
The Spring raw pu-erh releases from White2Tea have been announced and I have to say Paul has outdone himself in the hilarious descriptions for the teas and how a person should know which tea to order for him or herself. Sort of a personality test for tea drinkers.
I leave it as an exercise to you to guess which teas I might have ordered.
New 2019 Teas, Up Now on white2tea.comAfter over three months of drinking fresh tea in the mountains of Yunnan our first wave of new teas is pressed and ready. There will be more new releases in about a month, but rather than wait for every tea we decided to let the raw Puer fly!
The last of the seven Wuyi Yancha samples from the white2tea January tea club.
“The name rougui literally translates as cinnamon, one of the most famous varieties of yancha [rock oolong]. From early May 2018, this tea had four roasts, but the flavors of the flame have receded by the time of its release to reveal the flavors and aromas of dark fruits and deep mineral character within the tea.”
Punching slightly above my weight class with this Oolong.
As I’ve only tried these seven Wuyi Oolong in my life, I’m at a bit of a loss as where to start with this exceptional tea.
Also, I’m a bit emotionally traumatized by listening to Scott Walker’s album “The Drift” on the way home from work.
It’s a tea that does reward careful drinking and preparation, turning over the different aspects of the flavor and scent in your mind as you savor it, and as it evolves through the course of a gong fu session. The roast character, the mineral character, the fruit, and the long lasting sweet aftertaste.
“Spice Flower is an oolong tea from the Fujian province of China. Roasted to a medium light level, the floral sweetness and spicy character of this tea shines through the roasted character.”
Some times when I taste a tea, I kind of wonder if I have the right one.
In the case of white2tea’s spice flower, I am totally wondering if the bag was mis-labelled or if my taste is just off today.
To me, the roast is totally dominant, especially in the early steeps. I get the creamy/milky character described in the tasting notes, and in later steeps, it does seem quite sweet in character, with a lingering floral, light character. It does seem less oxidized than some of the other white2tea Wuyi Yancha.
The lingering scent in the share cup reminds me a bit of watermelon and soft berries.
I gave a cup to my coworker and he described its primary character and flavor as “ash”.
So, I dunno. The problem with single dose samples is you only get one chance to brew and if you screw it up, there are no second chances.
The buzz is on the zippy side and it is a very tasty tea. It just doesn’t seem to match the description.
“OBSX…Yancha [rock oolong] made from older bush material, this tea is often called laocong shuixian which literally translates as old bush narcissus; shuixian being the varietal of tea.”
Shuixian or “Shui Hsien” is actually one of the more common varieties of Oolong. It is suitable to growing in regions of China other than Fujian, and that lower quality Oolong, from outside of Fujian, is what you may get if you order Oolong tea in a Chinese restaurant or order “Oolong” flavored Bubble Tea.
This “laocong shuixian” from white2tea, however, is quite interesting. It lacks a bit in scent, but what it lacks in scent, it makes up for in flavor of the tea. Uh, and in its potent buzz.
There is a light narcissus scent, but the flavors are on the dark side. Tobacco leaf, especially, and a bit of leather. I especially understood, with this tea, the mineral character that is often used to describe “Rock” Oolong. Those mineral briney flavors are very prominent, along with those other dark flavors. The downside to the light scent is that OBSX doesn’t have a lot of staying power or aftertaste. Once the flavor is gone from your mouth, there isn’t much that lingers in your palate or mind.
I think I would best describe this burly, dark OBSX Oolong as an Oolong for Pu-Erh drinkers, especially those that appreciate a potent kick from their tea.
“Originally used to describe the tea from a small group of bushes in Fujian, the name Dahongpao in a modern context is more commonly used to describe blends of yancha [rock oolong] instead of denoting a varietal or processing distinction.”
Originally, the term Da Hong Pao was used to describe a tea made from a few bushes in Fujian. Or to quote the wikipedia.
According to legend, the mother of a Ming dynasty emperor was cured of an illness by a certain tea, and that emperor sent great red robes to clothe the four bushes from which that batch of tea originated. Famously expensive, Da Hong Pao can sell for up to US$1,025,000 per kilogram or US $35,436 per ounce (20z of Da Hong Pao tea from one of the mother plants was sold for ¥156,800 in 1998).
So, this, obviously, isn’t that Da Hong Pao, in fact it is one of the more reasonable Wuyi Oolongs on the White2Tea site, and they describe it as being a good introduction to “quality” Stone Oolong.
I would agree. While some of the other Oolongs went long on fragrance or oxidation, their dahongpao charts a nice middle path. Good complexity, yet not daunting. Pleasant fragrance, but not overly perfumed. A little grip, but sweet enough to be balanced. I do like the finish, though. It’s not super strong while you are drinking it, but it came back to me at various times during the day, haunting me a bit (in a good way).
Stone milk wuyi yancha, aka rock oolong, from @white2tea.
I have to admit I’ve always been a little curious about “Stone Milk” Oolong.
It’s such a curious name for a tea.
The smell of the wet leaves is just fantastic, caramel smells with a mild sweet perfume.
Early impressions of the flavor tell me this has more tannic grip than either of the previous Wuyi Yancha. It has a thick feel in the mouth, as the tannins cause you to produce saliva. There is an almost lactic acid like late taste which combines with a subtle roasty-ness. Great long lasting aftertastes which primarily remind me of red berries with a touch of mint.
Nice buzz, but not too overwhelming.
Overall, an outstanding tea, and probably a good one to introduce English style black tea drinkers to Wuyi Oolong.
The name “baisuixiang” translates to “100 Year Fragrance”, which, while perhaps a slight exaggeration, is certainly an apt description for this incredibly fragrant Oolong tea.
I really need to attend some tasting seminars for Oolong tea, as my palate vocabulary is sorely lacking when it comes to describing some of these incredible teas. There are fragrance and taste memories that they evoke for me, (childhood candies, visiting markets in foreign countries…) which I can’t quite place.
This is definitely the most perfume-ish (or probably more accurately incense-ish) Oolong I have tried so far, yet the perfume/incense scents are not overwhelming and backed with a pleasant tannic backbone and slight bitterness. Very mild roast flavor. Long, long aftertaste, at different times reminding me of perfume and fruits.
Very different from the previous Iron Arhat Wuyi, perhaps less accessible, but no less compelling.
Using this tea for the maiden voyage of my @mudandleaves Zhuni Gaopan.
I was looking to try some different sorts of tea and I liked white2tea’s philosophy:
“we conduct business with a simple philosophy: if we would not drink it, we will not sell it.
“our approach to sales is minimalist.
“no flowery descriptions of flavors. no fairytale stories about monks and tea masters. no bullshit.
“we provide the tea. the experience is up to you.”
So, I joined their tea club to get an idea about the teas they sell.
The first shipment I got was January, and it was a selection of seven Wuyi yancha, or “Rock Oolong”. Wuyi yancha are among the most highly prized, and highly priced, of Oolong teas. They are grown in the Wuyi mountains of Norther Fujian, China. As with wine, the struggle of the tea bush to survive on these rocky slopes and tough conditions concentrates the flavor in the few leaves they do produce.
On the white2tea website these sell for between $10 and $25 dollars for 25g.
Each sample is around 8g, which is a bit heavy for a single dose, or very light for more than one.
Iron Arhat, known in Chinese as tiěluóhàn, or literally, “Iron Warrior Monk”, is one of the the “Four Great Oolongs”.
I used the full sample for one batch, around 8g, brewed with water just off the boil, in a 140ml porcelain Gaiwan.
The flavors are wonderfully integrated, with none dominating. Some sweetness and minerality, with a touch of creaminess and roast flavors. Amazing length and complexity, with an aftertaste that just doesn’t quit. Great re-steepability, as well, surviving and thriving well past nearly 4 cups of water, with only a bit of grip and tannin showing up in the later, longer steeps. An amazing tea to savor as its tastes evolve over the course of the steeps.