This was a sample of the 200g and 400g cakes sourced in late summer / early fall by Puerhshop's Jim Liu. It comes from the same village on Nannuo Mountain where I sourced the maocha for my Bearsbearsbears cakes, Ban Po Old Village, but this cake is fall materials where mine was spring.
Intrigued, I wanted to dig into this sample as soon as I received it, but was waylayed by a cold. Mostly recovered, I shared the sample with friends.
The leaves are medium sized, and folks and experience have shown me Nannuo leaf is relatively small compared to arbor or old tree leaf from other regions.
The fragrance off the first rinse intoxicated me. I could tell from first whiff that I would enjoy this tea. It had the candy sweet herbal smell of Nannuo. The first infusion I unintentionally underbrewed, yielding a bland, herbal, sweet and thin character.
The subsequent 2-3 infusions had a smell like dry waxy chocolate bars or carob, which seemed odd for young tea. It tasted more "green", sweet and herbal, but finished like that waxy chocolate smell. A friend remarked it tasted like lemon leaf or lemon verbena, not sour but fragrant. It began to dry our mouths, but I think the water could be to blame.
Around the 5th infusion it began to lose complexity, becoming mostly fragrance and metallic flavor. Maybe this is the autumnal element coming through. While it lost complexity, it didn't lose in strength. We gave up before the tea did, after more than 10 infusions.
The qi was rather mild. Don't know what to make of that.
But for $20, this is pretty darn good tea. It's bitter in the right places and displays good Nannuo regionality in its fragrance. I'm considering a xiao bing purchase...