Monday, November 7, 2011

2007 GuMingXiang "NanNuoShan"

I do not drink a lot of shupu these days. It is as if I have somehow almost forgotten what it tastes like. This morning, however, I woke up with a strange feeling, a strange pressure on my forehead. As I was trying to guess what to do I realized I do not feel like drinking any shengpu, nor lucha, as if being excessively full of yin energy. I needed something different this time.

The weather has changed lately, I react differently to the air temperature and dryness caused by heating too and I was in a need of a different kind of tea-talk today. I picked therefore a sample I ordered from weeks ago of an interesting shu bingcha from my favourite NanNuoShan. I do not have a picture of the whole cake though, but I can navigate you to the site of the vendor so that you can see and read for yourself all the information I do not intend to repeat here: click here for Czech or here for English (YS).

A bingcha from NanNuo is always interesting, regardless of its sheng or shu character. I was nevertheless quite curious if perhaps I can detect any particular difference or specific traits in it given the fact that this cake is not a blend. 

I do not know how much leaf I used but I intended not to use much this time. Despite the fact that I am quite an excessive shengpu drinker and I usually overfill my teapot, I do not do the same with shupu. I have several experiences with very unpleasant state of mind after drinking too much shu and the last one happened not a long time ago and I can still feel it on my tongue when I make the effort of recalling the session. This time, therefore, I was very careful. I can guess and say the leaf I used was approximately 5g on 100 ml, which is often the recommended dose (I however usually do not adhere to). 

As the sample was already of separated leaves, I used some of them and also a small chunk of the cake and having on mind the loose leaf I therefore poured the tea almost immediately out of the teapot, with very short steeping. This way I went through the whole session with the exception of adding 10 seconds to each infusion following the 6th one. Brewing this way I received wonderful, smooth and gentle tea broth each time, with no excessive flavour or effect.

All the infusions were rather sweet with no bitter or unpleasant "post-fermentation funk" if you allow me to use Scott's (YS) favourite phrase. It was an unexpected finding as I did not really think this cake can surprise me (I do not know why, not that I wouldn't have given it credit in advance, it is just that I had maybe forgotten its strengths.) After the first cup the headache was gone and I could feel a pleasant warming going down my body to my legs where it stayed as if rooting me to the Earth after a long time of flying. 

It was calming and pleasant feeling. I find it however quite difficult to tell more about the flavour, apart from being sweet and smooth. It is just one of the better shu bings I have tasted so far and I am somehow strangely considering buying the whole cake.

I wish you all pleasant feelings when drinking good tea (or anything you like and enjoy doing).  



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Drink your tea
slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves.
Slowly, evenly,
without rushing toward the future.
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Best to be like water,
Which benefits the ten thousand things
And does not contend.
It pools where humans disdain to dwell,
Close to the Tao.

Live in a good place.
Keep your mind deep.
Treat others well.
Stand by your word.
Keep good order.
Do the right thing.
Work when it's time.

Only do not contend,
And you will not go wrong.

Tao Te Ching, 8 / transl. Addis & Lombardo