21 November 2011

Douji 2011 Nannuo

I have finally (finally!) made the transition to full-time living in Georgia. Now, if I could only find some others to join us for tea...

They could have enjoyed the 2011 Douji Nannuo, a pretty decent example of the region. By decent I mean: a well processed, tenacious example exhibiting the flavors of Nannuo Mountain with patriotic fervor.

Douji 2011 Nannuo - dry leaf

Leaf from Nannuo is a smaller family member of the "big leaf" (dà yè 大叶) varietal, as shown above. Though small when dry, they expand to an appreciably larger size than plantation teas.

While I cannot say that fresh Nannuo tastes more delicious than aged Nannuo, not having had much of the latter, fresh Nannuo does have some traits I love: a distinctive herbal flavor, like sweet tarragon and anise, a fertile scent, and an easily controlled bitterness that lends the tea much flexibility in brewing.

Douji 2011 Nannuo - brew

This particular example's bitterness returns as a sweetness at the back of the mouth, and it even displayed some cool camphor on the lips in the later infusions. It outlasted a full kettle of water, becoming more savory with each infusion. It is very easy to like.

It lacks thick texture, unfortunately, and though it lasts many infusions, later infusions are, to borrow from hobbes, "namby-pamby." But such is the flaw with single-mountain and single-estate teas: strongly idiosyncratic performance that highlights the region's best and worst traits.

As a value question, I would only recommend this tea to someone seeking old tree Nannuo specifically, and I might not recommend more than a cake or two at the price. Douji's pricing always carries some brand inflation.

Though, it is selling on China Cha Dao for cheaper than you could get it in China at the moment. My thanks to them for the sample.

Douji 2011 Nannuo - brewed leaf


Kate said...

Those leaves are gorgeous! Shame that its bite isn't up to its bark.

Can you recommend a better Nannuo?


Bearsbearsbears said...

Hi Kate,

This is certainly not a bad representation of the area. Other good ones I've had are the 2005 Hai Lang Hao (Ming Xiang Ya Yuan) Nannuo "Old Tree" and a cheap "older plantation" production from Yongpin Hao from 2008, which was good. I'm not sure if anyone sells them now, though.


Anonymous said...

Alright, if you want old tree Nannuo, here are your best bets, but I've never tried most of them...









Finding a good Nannuo is a touch rarer than I'd think, but that's a quick survey of possibilities...


Of course, we need to hook up Jason, and mebbe me give you some non-boring shu!

Bearsbearsbears said...

@shah8 thanks for the comprehensive list.

I have sent you a PM on teachat re: meeting.


Kerne said...

Georgia, as in Georgia, USA? If so, welcome to the land of horribly sweet black tea dripping from every tap. :(

I'm in north Florida. It'd be great to have some sort of regional tea tasting get-together.

Bearsbearsbears said...

Hi Kerne. I'm going to put something together in the area, probably at a local teashop. Send me your info, and I'll keep you in the loop.

Even if you can't make it the first time, I am hoping it will lead to a regular meeting that you could join if you're ever in the area.