121 Tasting Notes
This will be more about naka generally than this specific tea. This tea seems like what is probably a perfectly drinkable naka from 2013. But I’m a strange one who has sadly not really enjoyed like 95% of the nakas that I’ve tried. There are many other teas I’ve enjoyed, and many other raw pus I’ve adored, but naka.. for some reason.. just doesn’t do it for me. The exception is when it’s so damn old that I can’t taste it and the energy’s super mellowed out. And 6 years is evidently not old enough for that to be true.
I really thought I’d enjoy the naka region more when it is younger because the 2005 w2t naka was not a bad experience (though price-y). I am also aware that many people do not drink pu for the taste or smell but the body feels. But I kinda do sometimes – care about taste and smell – and what I’ve learned is that naka, though it doesn’t smell terrible to me – doesn’t taste or feel nice to me when I can taste it.
For example, the mystery naka tasting set that LP sold earlier this year (https://www.liquidproust.com/listing/695708083/in-search-of-series-naka) just was not my style. Basically, I dislike the young naka taste and energy so much that I only ever want old stuff from there where the vast majority of the taste has dissipated and the energy (that is always uncomfortably rumbly for me) has had the time to truly mellow out. Maybe I don’t mind it so much if and when it’s blended with other things also. But with the young single region naka, I’m like… thank you, but not really, no, thank you, you have it. I am grateful to have had the opportunity in 2019 to have tasted a handful of nakas of various vintages from various vendors and collectors, but naka that is old enough for my taste is probably way out of my everyday price range. So you know, uh, more for you all who are probably big fans of naka anything.
Luckily, there are plenty of other regions where the young leaves are pleasing to me in multisensory ways (and also less popular and thus more affordable). I have some very young sheng cakes that are already mellowing out too much for my liking and I wish I had drunk them the previous year.
Let me see if I can describe what I personally find off-putting about younger naka. It always tastes like… ever-so-slightly sour or unpleasantly stale old book pages to me, even though it doesn’t smell that way. Isn’t that weird? And in the tummy I always get this vague sense that I’ve poisoned myself, seriously which is such an odd but specific feeling to get every time I have naka but not other pu’s. It would be interesting to organize a blind tasting lol to see if this sensation can be reproduced.
I mean, I’ve never tasted old book pages. But I’ve been around enough old ass books that are nearly disintegrating and know what they smell like. Sometimes they smell great, but sometimes they smell sort of awful, and younger naka apparently for me just veers too closely to always tasting like bad-smelling old books, somehow without smelling the same. I know that will make no f-ing sense to most people, but every time I taste naka I’m like… oh… this again. Unhappy library. Unhappy tummy. Rummmmbles. Bye.
It’s okay, though. I’ve just mailed almost every last bit of naka I have to my mother to try. Maybe she will love it.
This tastes like a completely different blend/processing than the 2012 (that was far too smokey for me). Now the positive reviews of other years from this line make more sense.
I still prefer, let’s say, W2T’s raw terroir starter kit (69.50/400 grams, shipping included)to this, but at 33/400g + shipping, this is pretty dang good. I can see why people are tonging it for their babies.
It’s like a Hershey’s bar. You can get as fancy as can be with chocolate, too, with single origin, single estate, x% dark, et cetera, but the nicer stuff in pu gets prohibitively expensive fast, so there is often a need for something cheap, dependable, and more or less universally pleasing that gets the job done. Impression 2018 is your perfect raw puer Hershey’s bar… err.. cake. It’s raw pu for people who are looking to stock up on it the way someone would stock up on TP.
Hershey’s, if I recall correctly from the bygone days when I could still have milk chocolate, had a sort of sour (internet says this is due to butyric acid, a byproduct of lipolysis, which is itself a method of milk stabilization. uh, great to know, thanks internet), tacky aftertaste and mouthfeel. Anyway, in a similar fashion, Impression has a very slightly harsh throat feel. But no one reasonable would mind that at this price point given that it’s still very drinkable. As in, no one could claim that they had not had raw pu after having this. And probably very few people who would like other raw pu to begin with would come away from an Impression session claiming they absolutely hated it.
It isn’t anything to write home about, but the existence of totally drinkable raw puer still available at this price is something that the whole community rightfully celebrates. Glad I tried it!
I really liked the maocha from earlier. Need to find out what it was.
So now we’re brewing these mystery stems. I’m a little scared. Not as scared as I was with the fu zhuan cha, but still. I also know better now than to brew 7 grams of mystery stuff. We are going with 4 grams.
Rinsed once. It came out red. Oh, didn’t pay attention and had thought these were older raw stems. But looks like shou. Smells like an old shou. Tastes like shou. Vanilla-y. Smooth. Mouth feels buzzy on first sip. Reminds me quite a bit of the clt shrooms.
This is nice, though I was obviously not prepared for a shou atm.
Getting kinda giddy on stem juice. STEM JUICE! lol they should serve this at STEM schools. omgomgomg. See? Whoa maybe I had too much tea today.
Okay this stem stuff is delightful. Heeheeheeheeheehee. Woody, too.
I would like a small cardboard box stuffed full of this stuff, please. It is yumzors.
dry leaf: faint sweet smell
wet leaf: steamed peas or beans
soup tastes hella crimson lotus-y. reminds me of some teas from their massive sample pack. pleasantly bitter. nutty. bean-y or lentil-y. vegetal. earthy. low key mouth tingles. i like it! it creates a bright happy energy.
music: trace – roary; forza – kollen; ross – model man
perfumes that could be affecting this session but prolly not cuz they’re faint:
juliette has a gun – not a perfume; ellis brooklyn – myth
To me this didn’t taste or smell like Yiwu. It could just be so muted that I can’t tell. Either way, I did not like it. No energy felt. No good taste. No good smell.
Oh, to be fair, I got lazy and used water that had been sitting in my Zoji for several hours. It was still hot but not quite at my usual steeping temperature. Will try again at some point with water just off boil.
No dry leaf smell. No noticeable flavors. Does have the emanating from the pit of your stomach sort of soft but forceful energy you’d expect from an 11yo tea. I didn’t like the afterfeelings of the first few steeps -was a little queasy – but now I’m into it. I was not having a very good day and now I feel zen. #teamagic
Couldn’t find any info on this at all but I’d buy more of whatever this is.
Dry leaf smells good through fresh smoke. Tastes basically the same as it smells – complex rugged fragrance wafting out past a thick haze of campfire smoke/smog. I just dragged 2012 impression because it tastes like ashtray water to me. But this mystery sheng delivers a heady sort of smokiness that is temporarily forgivable because the rough flavors of the base material are interesting enough. I think it would have been better to process the material to be smoke-free. But in colder weather with certain kinds of cheap greasy meals, this could be the sort of thing people (boys who want really badly to prove that they’re men) develop a taste for. I don’t care for it. I do feel transported to some foreign hut where there might be yaks tied up outside, though. I would never buy this, but it’s an interesting tea to try, for sure. It is like the sheng version of mezcal.
I had heard mostly good things about this tea and seriously considered blind-tonging the 2018 release based on reputation and price and wrapper design alone. Glad I didn’t! I must just hate this taste profile that includes smoke. Many people love it. To me, it tastes clearly of ashtray. Hot ashtray water. Tried brewing it stronger to see if I can at least feel some of the cha qi. The taste is stronger ashtray water, though. :tears emoji:
I am probably just spoiled, but sorry Yunnan Sourcing. This ain’t it.
Just read the 2018 product description. Seems the blend must have changed since 2012. Maybe the 2018 will therefore be better. Jinggu is a region I’ve liked. But this 2012 is bleccch. Really happy Andrew aka Liquid Proust sent this out as part of the 2019 starter kit so people can sample at low cost before commitment.