April 19, 2016
Tea Review - Cloud Nine Teas Raw Bingdao Pu'er 'Na Xin'
Bing Dao is a village in the Lincang area of Yunnan Province, China. The name 'Na Xin' refers to the cultivar of tea plant used to prepare this pu'er. The leaves were originally picked in April 2014. Now that the geography and harvesting period have been established, I can share my notes on the tea. (Cloud Nine Teas uses "pu'er" but for consistency with other posts, I will use puerh.)
I experimented with different weights of tea leaves but my comments below reflect my session with 7g of leaves. I mostly used 200F water. The leaves were steeped a total of 11 times. I rinsed the tea for 15s before the first steep of 5s. The wet leaves smelled of freshly dried apricot. The liquor was tasted of leather and burnt sugar. It was tart, too, and had a chewy texture. The second steep was 10s and yielded the same flavors plus woody notes. The tea was really thick and chewy with a lingering finish. The third steep was 20s. The liquor was tighter, drier, and less sweet. An element of bitterness was present like that of walnut and clove. The fourth steep of 25s was less tight but still dry and bitter though the liquor also retained earlier notes leather, wood, and burnt sugar. By the fifth and sixth steeps each of 30s in 195F water, the liquor was less bitter. The lingering finish was of fennel.
The liquor from the seventh steep which was 2m long in 200F water was slightly bitter, dry, floral and less chewy in texture than earlier infusions. I used the same parameters again and the liquor had notes of walnut, clove, and fennel. The last three steeps were made in 195F water for 2m, 5m, and10m. The liquor was smoother with a dry sweetness and leather notes followed by sugarcane with a bitter finish and finally bittersweetness with a drying mouthfeel.
I don't yet have a strong sense for how best to steep (raw) puerhs, but I'm enjoying the journey.
Tea courtesy of Cloud Nine Teas.