Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: jade green, tightly compressed
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: pale gold
I’ve been a big fan of Bitterleaf Tea’s raw puerh selections so I was really excited to get a sample of this with a recent order. While they don’t give any tree age figures, the description of this tea does say that it is made from very old and very large trees. Naka 2018 Spring Raw Puer is offered in both 100g cakes and 7g dragon balls. I must confess that I am a lazy tea drinker who loves puerh that doesn’t need to be pried apart. Since this is a pricier cake, it is nice to be able to just plop the ball in my gaiwan and get to brewing.
The dragon ball was surprisingly small and compact for 7g of leaf. It always amazes me just how much tea can fit into these things. My camera actually had a hard time focusing on it. The aroma of the dry tea was earthy and vegetal with a touch of woodsy sweetness. I like to imagine that this is what a mossy forest would smell like.
The leaves were jade green with a decent amount of silvery tipped buds. That is something I always like to see with a tea in this format. It’s a visual assurance that the material used was of higher quality. I’ve gotten out of the habit of rinsing my tea but they unfurled fairly quickly once hot water was added to the gaiwan.
Naka 2018 Spring Raw puer started out very mellow but I immediately felt a sort of jittery rush. I’m a hardened young sheng drinker so that rarely happens. This tea had a firm astringency but plenty of hui gan to go along with it. Floral and vegetal notes faded into a sweetness that lingered in the middle of my tongue. This tea also had an interesting minerality to it, almost like wet river rocks. The mouthfeel was fairly thick and oily.
In the product description, Bitterleaf Teas said that this tea is like having a conversation with a wise, old man. I have to agree with that analogy. This is one that you’ll want to save for when you can take your time and focus on it. I’m not likely to cake this tea anytime soon but I can definitely see picking up a few more dragon balls the next time that I place an order.
Cwyn’s Death By Tea posted an excellent review of this tea when it was first released in 2018. You can check that out here.
Have you tried Naka 2018 Spring Raw Puer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!