Has anybody ever heard of Nancai? Certainly not me. Since my return to puerh there seem to be about a billion more puerh producing villages in our vocabulary. Whenever I have no clue where an area is these days I refer to this all important list. However sometimes areas are not even on that list!
Sometimes vendors either transliterate the Chinese name slightly different than what might be listed here (I had transliterated a lot of Korean tea vocab that had never been written in English) or maybe have done so deliberately so the exact area of the tea cannot be easily located. I wonder if Nancai is the Nasai: 那赛 on the list?
Either way it’s all about the tea anyways eh?
This one sticks out on Essence of Tea 2017 offerings as it is one of two more affordable options ( the other affordable puerh, WuLiang H Ancient). The Nancai goes for $80.00 for 400g cake ($0.20/g) and the WuLiang H Ancient for $81.00 for 400g cake ($0.20/g).
Okay lets us meditate with this one for a while…
Dry leaves smell of very intense cherry notes over a deep pungency.
The first infusion has a surprisingly very creamy initial taste where it slowly unravels in the mouth from intense buttery/creamy sweetness and slight wildflower to slight fruit. The mouthfeel is immediately present and nicely coats the mouth with soft astringency. There is a slight cooling aftertaste that has a faint creamy sweet finish of ghostly sugar which pops and fades quickly.
The second has almost peppermint candy-like nuance with a sugary sweet finish over clean astringency. The qi is light in the body and mind.
The third infusion has nuances of a deeper fruity taste with both deep foresty tastes and slight sweet tastes but neither are strong, nor are they dominant. The teeth feel squeaky as the mouthfeeling clings to it too.
The fourth infusion roots nice cherry fruit sweetness and barely noticeable notes of pine wood in a mildly pungent foresty-deep subtle background taste. The initial cherry fruit sweetness has more longevity now and clings a bit better to the aftertaste in the full and just slightly astringent mouthfeel.
The fifth shows off some buttery notes initially before softly astringent fruits start to take over. The sensation and astringency is all in the mouth and less in the throat. The throat feel is just mildly stimulated with a soft opening feeling in the mid throat.
The sixth becomes slightly watery and just a touch flat so more time will be added to the flash infusions. There are still initial cherry fruit notes but the creamy edges are lost to an astringent wood note. The qi sensation slightly dizzys and wobbles in the head nicely.
The seventh infusion has a slight rubbery, gummy fruit taste- the fruit tastes a tampered by a generic woody taste. The sweetness dances slightly on the breath. The eighth is much the same as this puerh has seemed to hit the ceiling. In the eighth a new green grapy, dragon fruity taste emerges. It is retained in the ninth as well but overall the taste is fleeting.
Tenth, eleventh, and twelfth still have some fruit tastes that skirt around a full astringency and a slight puckery mouthfeel. Still worth pursuing late steeps for this tea because the fruit notes, although not complicated, nor strong, nor clear, are still very much present and enjoyed in the mouthfeeling. This tea will not lay down yet.
Thirteenth and fourteenth infusions the fruit tastes are all but gone and a licorice and fennel seed taste is left in the mouth. There are barely noticeable edges of fruit in the throat. The rest is pretty much just flat puerh taste. The astringency in the mouth never gets too constricting. The qi feeling leaves the head shaking gently like a balloon in the wind.
For those who appreciate puerhs with a sticky astringency and stimulating mouthfeel without being too strong or off putting might appreciate this particularly clean puerh. This tea is also very harmonious in the body with less harshness for a young puerh. If there are those out there who like a stronger mouthfeel in young puerh without having to pay the price for it, this one might also interest you.
Overall this has characteristic of that good feeling Essence of Tea style that is just slightly rough around the edges but very pure, clean and harmonious. Overall this tea is not overly complicated but is nice as an affordable entry point to fresh, young Essence of Tea puerh for 2017. Hats off to David and Yingxi for offering something more affordable but that still has the overall feel and quality of Essence of Tea puerh. I think in 2017 that is a lot harder to accomplish than it ever used to be.
Arek's (Puerh Blog) Tasting Notes
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