This was one of a pair of beengs I recently bought to help prop up the shou side of my stash.
Regular readers will probably not be surprised to learn that I sourced this 357 gram cake from my usual suppliers, House of Tea.
Even after doing a reverse image search on the outer wrapper, information about this cake has been hard to come by.
All I know for sure is that it’s a 2011 production, and that the raw material is from the Nan Nuo mountain area of Menghai county, Xishuangbanna prefecture.
I found other web-shops selling the cake that mentioned that the raw material was “…for the most part young leaves with lots of tips…“, and that the beeng was “…a limited production of mountain blends…“.
Other than that, all I was able to find were vague-ish statements about the Nan Nuo region in general, such as the area has a height of between 800 – 1500 meters, and that “…most of the cultivation of the tea is done by the Hani minority population…“. I also came across references to the trees there as being between 200 and 500 years of age.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Sometimes not having the full low-down on a tea kind of forces you into evaluating it solely on what comes out of your pot, rather than having a bunch of preconceptions based on sales information potentially biasing your opinion.
This was a very lightly compressed beeng, and I was able to remove the amount I needed for the session with just my fingers alone.
|Water Used:||Filtered tap water|
|Weight of dry leaf:||7 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||150 ml unglazed clay teapot|
|No. & duration:||A flash rinse, then infusions of 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 60, 90, and 120 seconds duration for a total of 8 infusions|
Spoiler Alert – when I bought this beeng I was hoping for a solid, decent, daily drinker, and that’s exactly what I got.
The dry leaf had a fresh, clean, bog standard, generic, shou aroma. The soup was luscious, nicely coloured, and heavy on the camphor notes, with a side order of paper.
I was anticipating a hard and fast session, due to the relatively small size of the leaves, but the tea actually surprised me by being good for 8 rounds before running out of steam.
The mark of a good daily drinker is that it just gets on with the job, is easy to steep and equally easy to quaff, something this tea managed with aplomb. The only notable part of the session came towards the back end, when the camphor thing suddenly faded, allowing a high, sweet floral note to take centre stage for the last two infusions.
An unremarkable tea, perhaps, but I do believe every stash should have a place or three reserved for such a workhorse of a tea.
Looking to the future, I’ve got this tea flagged for the post evening meal slot, but I’m not quite sure whether or not that quite dominant camphor thing will end up gatecrashing the party. If that ends up being the case, then this tea will make a good candidate for blending experiments similar to Lyckoblandning.
Watch this space, etc…