Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Geraldo on SFTM Nan Nuo Centuries-Old Wild Tree Puer

[from an email to corax. posted by permission.]

Nan Nuo Bai Nian Gu Shu Beengcha (Nan Nuo Centuries-Old Wild Tree, sheng 2005). Production limited to 2000 kg. Factory: Six Famous Tea Mountain. Vendor: Yunnan Sourcing LLC.

This tea looks very much like the Jing Mai. It ranges dry from bright green to white. The liquor is a little browner, a little less green. The aroma is more noticeable. Fruit. The flavor is far less bitter or astringent. It is not sweet. It does not carry the oomph of the [[Menghai Ancient Wild Tree sheng]] #7742, nor is it as weak as the [[Dadugang]] King Biscuit. This tea tastes very good. Of my newly acquired samples, it’s my favorite next to the #7742. It has both bass notes and high notes, i.e., fruit tartness without sourness or bitterness on the bottom, and spicy flavor on the top end. The nice, somewhat smoky aroma is very pleasant. SFTM manufactured this to taste good now; the question is this: Will it age? I am a fan of SFTM. I have witnessed many heated discussions regarding the value of this company’s cakes for the long-term. Some, such as the Fo Hai, are so top-laden that they barely last five years. They are virtually compressed cakes of white tea. Of the Nan Nuos I've tasted, this one is the best for me.

When I rinsed this pu’er, it turned bright green! Also, some bubbles formed at the top during the infusions. As the tea cools, more flavors emerge. I brewed it a little cooler. As the mouth adjusts to the tea, the tea improves. You know, honestly, I have to consume a lot of tea in a sitting to get a feel for it.

I can’t say one tea is better than another, and I can’t say which tea will be best in 5, 10, 15, or 20 years, but I can say that I like these raw nascent cakes in this order, top down: Menghai #7742, SFTM Nan Nuo Bai Nian &c., Jing Mai Ancient Wild Tree, and Dadugang King Biscuit. I will re-visit the latter, brewing stronger infusions, infusing stronger brews.

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