Thursday, December 1, 2011
2008 Chen Sheng Hao "Nannuo"
This sample has sure made it around the block. It was given to Hobbes and now makes its way to this stained ceramic tea table. This cake is available for purchase from Red Lantern.
The brown hairy dry leaves smell of distant creamy sweetness. As the first infusion is prepared on this cold and wet late fall day ones mind unwinds with this tea. It pours a browny-orange-tinged yellow. As these colours make their way into the mouth and down the throat, dirty, gritty, smooth pear-like tastes come and go before ducking into a fritty, not that sweet, wood taste. The base flavor seems to be this gritty, dirt tasting, wood flavour. The aftertaste leaves a faint sweetness on the lips. It feels chalky and somewhat gritty in the mouth.
The second infusions starts off with a thick malty and goopy taste that still carries a dirty underlying base. This initial taste has very faint spicy-pear like sweetness in its return. The mouthfeel reaches deep into the throat and heavily coats the mouth, tongue, and lips.
The third starts off similar with a malty tastes but this time it carries cool menthol notes that then turn into that gritty bark base note. The finish is of that malty-dirty taste with notes of cherry fruit underneath creating a nice balance.
The fourth infusion starts to smoothly transition the tastes together in a nice broad balancing kind of way. The malty taste has softened considerably and the taste profile feels more rounded as it moves from grittier malted tastes to sweeter higher tastes of cherry even soft florals.
In the fifth and sixth infusions the dirty woodier notes seem like they are starting to slowly overpower the slightly sweet cherry fruit tastes. The mouthfeel is nice at this point and is especially nice in the throat. The chaqi is mild and seems to act more on the mind than body- the mind seems clearer than usual under the influence of this tea.
The seveth infusion turns a new leaf as this tea now seems to be slightly more sweet and cherry. The balance between sweet juicy malty flavours now present in the initial taste. It does carry a some gritty notes but smoothly transitions to barely fruit notes in malted wood.
In the eighth a distinctive fresh, cool, menthol taste mixed with subtle fruit suggestions passes under the woody, gritty base. This flavour profile almost becomes more distinctive in the ninth, tenth infusions.
The infusions that follow contain a nice subtle cool fruity taste that is most noticeable in the aftertaste the woody base continues to hold but is not as distinct or noticeable as the sweeter more motive higher tastes.