Tuesday, June 11, 2019
2019 white2tea (Rodney) Dangerfield
So the description of this 2019 white2tea Dangerfield wrapped in a black and white photograph of a flower states, “The 2019 Dangerfield was blended with an intention of being a poor man’s Naka.” As I stated before, white2tea’s Spring 2019 line up has descriptions which are much better at defining an end goal. This cake’s goal is clear- blend a cheap tea which has the character of a much more expensive Naka region cake. To me it wasn’t 100% clear weather Paul is trying to replicate his famous 2004 Naka or just the Naka area character in general. But you get the idea with this one.
The Naka region wasn’t always that prestigious nor expensive and I think it’s really more famous in the West than it is in China. This is mainly due to famous puerh blogger Cwyn’s personal affinity toward the region, I think. In fact, I had this 2013 Chen Sheng Hao Naka (YS and KTM) on my list of cakes to buy about 2 years ago. Unfortunately, it was a bit lower on my list and by the time I got to it the cake which sold for around $50.00 for 357g 2.5 years ago now sells for $165.00 at Yunnan Sourcing or $186.00 at King TeaMall. With Chen Sheng Hao you know that most of this is speculation (see James’ Review here)… anyways…
For me, my experience with Naka area sheng puerh is limited. I remember trying a Douji Naka, my first experience with the region back when it was released at least 10 years ago. I also had sampled this pretty amazing 2013 puerh.sk Naka which unfortunately sold out before I could purchase. So I ended up throwing in this inexpensive sample (cake goes for $49.00 for 200g cake or $0.25/g) along with my order of 2019 white2tea Is A Gift when the 2019 white2tea line up was released just out of sheer curiosity. I think by dwelling on the value of this cake Paul is also trying to move the concept of value cake up to just under $0.25/g. Either way… how could I resist, it was cheap enough…
Paul clearly positions this tea as a value option by stating in the vendor description that:
This is a blend that punches far above its weight. An excellent value and a great candidate for both veteran Puer drinkers and people who want to take the plunge into the raw puerh ocean.
One of the many things that I really love about Paul and the white2tea brand is that he always offers a few great (dare I say)… budget offerings. They are not always great but often they are. But he does it in a way that makes you feel special even in drinking an inexpensive cake. He also tries hard to make these inexpensive puerh interesting to drink for the price and most times I think he accomplishes that. His wrappers and marketing, remove a lot of the intimidation that people in the West who are new to sheng puerh might have when staring at a list of regions, Chinese names, exotic Chinese wrappers, etc. Paul has always did this from the start and it was one of the many reasons I think Hobbes of the Half-Dipper threw his support behind white2tea at the beginning. This to me creates a real unpretentious and inclusive space for sheng puerh in a community that can too easily be about showing off an expensive puerh stash, about poo pooing a factory cake or puerh region, or by telling people that they should spend more money on their puerh. The vendor description is filled with this concept of unity and community attempting to bring together both veteran puerh drinker and completely new puerh drinker and place them on the same plane. To me this is the real awesome and powerful thing about the white2tea brand and marketing direction.
On the other hand, the one thing I don’t like is how Paulsets up a narrative in your head before you even tired the puerh. I mean, I would like to sample the puerh and form my own option weather the puerh is actually value for money and weather it punches above its weight instead of him already having me convinced of it before sampling. Thanks for the nudge in the right direction though… hahahah…
So the question is twofold: Is this cake really the excellent value the description is having us believe? and Does this puerh compare to a real Naka?... Let’s do this…
The fairly tight machine pressed dry leaves smell of intense floral high notes, a lingering sweetness, and a deep rainforest odour and a woody cardboard type note.
The first infusion has a buttery and creamy floral approach in a slippery mouthfeel it transitions to a mild slow to build pungent and nice returning sweetness that is both creamy, floral, and tropical fruity. The movement through the profile is smooth and elegant. There is a very mild vegetal and mild rubbery barely noticeable underneath.
The second infusion starts very every mildly bitter vegetal with big buttery florals there to greet you in a hurry. There is a fait almost peppery pungent then juicy, papaya fruity sweetness, there is a vegetal woodiness underneath it all. The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety and mildly sticky. The taste ends vegetal like almost rubbery slightly brackish.
The third infusion start with a mild vegital bitterness as well as a distinct buttery floral sweetness. There is a very faint coolness then a fruity returning sweetness. The mouthfeel is velvety and slightly drying on the lips the upper thoat is mildy stimulated a feel tingly. The aftertaste is sweet, slightly brackish, rubbery, vegetal undernieth. The Qi is felt on the back on the skull, it’s a body feeling of someone cradeling the back of my head. I feel somewhat chill.
The fourth has an intense burst of fresh tropical fruits right of the sip and a vegetal bitterness there are some florals in there and a buttery sweetness a mild astringency builds in the aftertaste there is vegetal tastes, almost peppery tastes, and rubbery brackish tastes. The sweetness is found throughout. The mouthfeeling starts to build on itself and becomes slightly puckering. Qi is a nice chilling sensation and a body sensation of something on the back of skull and scalp.
The fifth infusion starts a buttery, even mild warming spices, with a mild-moderate vegetal bitterness. There is almost an onion or garlic taste in here but it isn’t an off taste that pops quickly. The buttery sweetness predominates throughout. The mouthfeel becomes puckering, slightly astringent, lips very dry. Qi slowly building and mild feels mildly sedate.
The sixth infusion starts with a nice bitter sweetness. The bitter is quick to drop to a lower level and leaves a longer buttery and floral lingering sweetness throughout. There are mild tropical fruity papaya and melon in the aftertaste. There is a vegetal brackiness that should go away in a few months in the aftertaste. This tea is a really nicely balanced between, sweet (buttery sweetness, creamy sweetness, fruity sweetness), bitter (vegetal bitterness), sour/astringent (more in the mouthfeeling), pungent (peppery almost garlicy and mild pungent before the retuning sweetness), and even mildly savory (in a garlicy kind of way). The sweet flavor is dominant thoughout and the other tastes are not off putting but give this tea something interesting. It’s a nice blend, in this way.
The seventh infusion starts with an interesting savory, metallic almost sweet lobster taste, it’s really yummy actually there is a buttery sweetness with florals, mild vegetal bitterness and a solid fruity floral to finish. There is lots going on her as far as taste goes. The mouthfeel is dry on the lips and slightly astringent.
Eighth infusion starts with that super interesting quick bombarding of flavor, it feels quite busy but the combination is interesting. It has grass, hay, forest, meat, fish, vegetal, butter, fruit, salty, oh man its busy the creamy floral sweetness is what dominates though and that is the note that makes it out alive and stretches into the aftertaste where is shares room with fresh papaya and slight vegetal bitter sweetness.
The ninth infusion starts more bitter and juicy fruit although there are many forest, savory tastes underneath. The aftertaste is a distinctly creamy sweetness and wildflowers. This taste reminds me of a picnic outside. The mouthfeel is slightly drying especially on the lips and is a little sticky. It doesn’t deeply penetrate the throat but still has a mild stimulating effect on the upper throat. The Qi is a chill and mellow feeling. I can now feel my eyelids a bid heavy my breathe feels a bit deeper. This is a nice happy blend we got here.
The tenth infusion starts off mainly sweet and buttery floral, with the savory mix in the far distance now, a very very faint pungent inhale turns into a sweet returning aftertastes of creamy and papaya sweetness. This tea is mainly this nuanced buttery, wilderflowery sweetness. There is a mild vegetal bitter now and a mouthfeel that is sticky and not that dry. The Qi happy, I can feel a mild Heart Qi flutter, eyes slightly heavy, mild in occipital area.
The eleventh infusion starts buttery floral sweet, very bright and shiny onset, the savory notes are pushed way into the background now, barely notice that. There is a mild bittersweet vegetal then moderate long creamy floral sweetness with slight fresh fruit edge. Qi starts to build.
The twelfth infusion starts quite sweet and buttery and wildflower. The flavor profile is quite nice and has a certain moderate depth to it. The profile is mainly sweet floral and buttery. The mouthfeel is more velvety now a bit dry, sticky, astringent. The qi starts to accumulate into mild heart racing, and gritty talkativeness and the thoughts start to race and dart around in my head. The mild sedating feeling is gone and the happiness approaches a very mild frenzied feeling.
The 13th infusion starts with a juicy buttery sweetness, moderately decent viscosity here, bitter tastes are distant and the savory notes are gone. What’s left is a velvety buttery decently viscus taste with a distinctly sweet creamy buttery floral aftertaste. This is the most delicious infusion so far. We are still at flash infusions here.
The 14th is much the same as the 13th with a bland dry wood starting to appear and signal that this tea is wavering a touch. Mainly just cresting buttery sweet floral deliciousness in here. The Qi is building and you can feel a significant push and rush from this one that makes the heart race. The Qi is big here very simulating and even edgy… I want to run and run… Let’s Go!
The 15th starts with a slightly juicy and a bit dry woody sweetness. The profile is dropping off here but what’s left is an enjoyable floral and woody sweetness. The Qi remains really big here- the heart races and pushes and tugs at the mind. You can really feel it in the chest. This is awesome.
The 16th I add 20 seconds to the flash and it pushes out a more viscus liquor of juicy fruit and buttery florals with an undercurrent of bitter vegetal. There is a touch of dry wood but the sweetness really dominates the profile as well as the strong Qi. My head floats away…
The 17th infusion I give it 30 seconds past flash and things come out more bitter vegetal woody and still lots of floral creamy but not really fruity sweetness. Qi is big, it’s the kind of qi that melts your mind and renders you pretty useless… I wonder how I will edit this post…. I feel like a puddle… concentration is totally gone here…
Its powerful enough that I have to take a break…
So does this tea fulfill its goals of being close to a Naka and being of exceptional value?
I suppose, I am not in the greatest position to judge if this is close to a Naka only having had a few Naka puerh. Cwyn should review this one, don’t you think?
Actually, I thought it does a pretty amazing job at roughly matching a Naka taste profile which in my experience is strong up front floral sweetness with a long creamy fruit finish and moderate-mild bitterness. Discernable Qi. My past experiences of Naka had a bit more bright vibrant sweetness to my memory and thicker throatfeeling which is the weakest point of this puerh. After sampling this 2019 white2tea Dangerfield I went back and read these tasting notes on a fresh very exceptional Naka here- check it out. Wow! I couldn’t believe the similarity between these notes! If someone told me this was Naka area, I would surely believe them.
Something needs to be said about the Qi of this cake which really is punching above its weight as the vendor description says. The Qi does quite a bit, lots of blended qi things happen here but the totality takes a while to come together but in the end results in a steady large Qi experience that I’ve had from some past Naka puerh and not from others. To me this tea comes off more like a complex blend then a single mountain profile which does a great job of highlighting a Naka area profile. I think in time it might coalesce into something less compartmentalized.
I agree with the statement that it can really be enjoyed by newcomer and veteran puerh drinker, alike. I also think it’s, at least, worth a bit more than its price. I think the value is in its durable and distinct sweet flavor profile and the complexity that sometimes surrounds it in both mouthfeeling and building and changing Qi sensation. Another great, affordable blend from white2tea, that is for sure.
Lastly, a note on the wrapper and cake name… this seems to be the second wrapper of 2019 where a black and white photograph of a flower is used. The first being the February 2019 white2tea tea club exclusive Charlie shu puerh. When I first saw that cake and black and daisy I immediately thought the name “Charlie” was referring to and paying homage to famous silent film comedian Charlie Chaplin. Often black and white is used to symbolize the past and a flower is often used as a symbol to pay tribute or in remembrance of. It may be no coincidence that both Charlie Chapman and Rodney Dangerfield are both known for their self-deprecating humor and often played the character of Tramp or poor man.
Using self-deprecation is also a very significant marketing technique. It is said that the use of self-deprecating humor builds trust and makes the consumer and follower relate to you better because no one is perfect and we all have faults. I think that Paul of white2tea uses self-deprecation brilliantly in his marketing. This is maybe a reason he has given a nod to both Charlie and Dangerfield.
Rich or poor, veteran puerh drinker or rookie, I think you are going to enjoy this one... No Joke.