As hypocritical as it is (given my habit of hanging shit on the whole tea-as-drugs thing), getting to know the 2004 Yangqinghao Tejipin really piqued my interest in regions with reputations for intense qi – among these would be Naka, by all accounts.
I’ve also been toying with the idea of stepping far outside the comfortable range of 60-120USD cakes when it comes to group-buy candidates. While it’s true that there are deals to be found on Taobao as a Western consumer, it is vastly more true that no-one is likely to be selling their stock for less than what it’s worth in the Chinese market, and there’s a limit to how good a cheap, semi-aged cake can be.
To both these ends, I’ve scored a sample of this likely-looking 2007 Naka from a previously-unknown vendor. Why? Because the cake is approaching 260USD once you account for shipping and fees. While I am in no position to assert that any particular tea is worth that much, it makes a lot of sense to check for something compelling before paving the way for teafriends to roll the dice.
I’ve copied the notes from my first session (5g, 90ml nominal gaiwan, boiling water, Kirkland Purified, stainless kettle) so that interested parties can make up their own minds, but having tasted it I will be proceeding with a cake-split of this tea, given sufficient interest. The buy will be run in a similar fashion to previous buys, with the following changes:
- Each cake will be split into 1/13th shares, with each share priced at 20USD, exclusive of domestic shipping. Participants may buy as many shares as they desire.
- Every time a complete set of 13 shares exists, I will contact participants and payment will be due immediately. Failure to pay at that time will get you dropped from the buy. Don’t fill out the form unless you already have money set aside for your shares.
- The purchase will be made on 11/11, as it is possible that discounts will be applicable. If this is the case, expect more tea, additional teas, and/or refunds, depending on the discounts available, at my discretion.
- Because of the nature of this buy (single expensive cake, relatively little work involved in portioning/organising), I will not be taking a free share from this buy. In this instance it’s only fair that I have equal skin in the game 🙂
Notes are below. If this sounds like something you’d want to pay ~75 cents per gram for, go ahead and fill out the order form. The short version is that I found it a younger dry-stored sheng with a floral, bittersweet profile, killer huigan, nice qi of narcotic quality and moderate intensity, and intense, persistent throat activity. It’s not drugz, but it appears (to my limited experience) to be a high-quality tea… as it damn-well ought to be for that kind of money. I’ll update as I work through the sample over the next few weeks.
- Wet leaf smells fantastic, fruit and mild smoke – a characteristic it shares loosely with the 2007 Yexiangwang Naka, but smoother and sweeter. Moderate body, silky, intense retro-nasal fruit hit that blooms in the mouth, penetrates the tongue, and sticks around a bit. Some mouth-cooling. Storage is very clean and quite dry, as you might expect from Kunming.
- Perfumed wet leaf w/ dairy cream, reminds me of an 05 dry-stored LBZ I’ve had. Clear liquor, dark gold just turning orange. Profile turning darker with solid flavour and bitterness in the throat. Good potency. Enduring throat/tongue flavour. Green notes still present, but relatively harmonious with the overall profile.
- Intense perfumed yun, mixing youthful florality with more-mature bitter-sweetness. Starting to feel moderate qi – not drugz, but pleasant and relaxing. Aftertaste is really sticking around in the throat, tongue and sinuses. Some sweet-camphor.
- Still heavily-perfumed floral profile. Starting to dry tongue. Strong floral sweetness. The smooth bitterness of mid-dark chocolate. Leaves are small, score 1 on Cwyn’s Naka-dashu checklist. Moderate narcotic feeling… score 2 perhaps.
- Wet leaves are losing intense perfume, giving way to something vegetative and pleasant that I can’t identify. Smooth, moderately-strong, smooth, sugary hui-gan starting to present; very nice. Lots of pearling in gongdaobei.
- Taste drops off. throwing into sharp relief the intense floral huigan deep in the throat. This is one of the few teas I’ve where so much of the flavour activity is happening so deep in my throat (rather than on the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth). Intense sweetness is sticking around in the throat, too.
- Continuing in a similar vein, killer huigan. Dry storage is really obvious in the presentation of greener notes. Qi is tapering off, but I’m left in a relaxed and comfortable place. Comfortable feeling in my abdomen and sugar in my throat.
- Pushing causes a strong recovery of flavour and bitterness, intense sweetness, still not overly astringent. Did I mention the huigan on this tea?
- Should have pushed again. Clear, sweet water, mild huigan, some dryness in the throat.
10-14 Nothing further to note, it’s declining fast into tasty-water, but remains very pleasant and somewhat sweet.