As I was digging up samples of old things to try, I found the stash of unopened 2006 Tasteoff samples that I have yet to try. I remember I didn’t get around to trying them all because of moving, etc, and now, perhaps, is a good time to go through the rest.
The first one that I plucked out of the samples is the 2005 Nanzhao cake, made by Xiaguan factory. From what I know this is supposed to be better than their regular stuff, such as the usual tuos.
The piece I got was very compressed, as is customary of Xiaguan stuff, plus bits and pieces.
The tea brews a bright orange.
The first two or three infusions were rather bland…. not very interesting, and generally felt a little weak, in fact. Then, the tea became stronger, but also more bitter. Part of this might be because of the tight compression, but I think at least some of it is because Xiaguan teas are mostly baked dry at higher temperatures, and thus behave a little more like a green tea. There’s some huigan to the tea, but not very obvious, and neither is the aroma very pleasing. I’ve tried stuff like this in China, and I didn’t like them. I don’t like the increased bitterness over time in the infusions, nor the way the tea felt weak (but strangely uncomfortable as I drank it — as if my body doesn’t like it).
The wet leaves are very chopped up
Typical, again, of Xiaguan stuff in general. This is definitely a tea that is diffcult to enjoy now. I’m not sure if it’s going to be good in the future… but it somehow lacks that energy and strength that I like, and really doesn’t sit very well with me for some reason. Perhaps this will be great in twenty years, but I think even then, it might require a more humid climate to age in order to show something good. Storing them dry might just not change it enough for long term consumption.