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2017 HK Natural Storage Xiaguan Five Star Nanzhao Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

2017 HK Natural Storage Xiaguan Five Star Nanzhao Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

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This cake has a great reputation in China, and appreciates rapidly due to the quality of the material used. This is a tightly pressed 454g bing that I've had stored in this very room here in Hong Kong since May 2017. My storage is natural (no use of dehumidifiers, but I do use air conditioning when I'm around). The tea has aged well and brews up a lovely orange. There is a hint of smoke to the dry cake, but none of this carries over into the liquor due to the time this tea has had in my little microclimate. 

Nanzhao refers to a Tibeto-Burman kingdom that once controlled Yunnan. Assamica tea in Yunnan is traditionally a product from the tribal minorities, and of course, pu erh cakes have long been exported within Asia (and later, the world). These cakes are a tribute to the tea trade during the Nanzhao Kingdom, and the wrapper is illustrated with traditional motifs (and horses and carriages laden down with tea)!

I waited quite a while to try this tea: I'm glad I did, as I have no doubt certain storage environments would not have brought this tea along as far as it has come. This tea will be even better with at least three to five more years of storage here! 

Once the liquor hit the leaves, I realized this tea is quite sweetly aromatic. The flavor is interesting and unlike anything else I've tried. I believe there is some Dali material blended in (as you'd expect from a Xiaguan production at this price point), but the depth to the flavor and the complexity of this material makes me think at least some gushu or wild material is involved in the blend. I expect this tea to continue to smoothen out, age, and open up in my environment. I will replace these cakes as they sell as I'd like to store some for the long haul (I think they're well worth it)!

At this stage, the tea is quite bitter, but tolerably so. I think this tea would be brutal young, and I'm amazed at how burly it still is. It is very much drinkable now if you aren't averse to a little bitterness. The smoke is gone and the tea has smoothened out, but the aroma has been well preserved.

This tea has a surprisingly intense mouth cooling effect, and calming and energizing cha qi. I ended up having some deep conversations after drinking this tea, which made one of my tea friends on Discord wonder what I'd been drinking!

While you might find this cake for less elsewhere, this cake is eligible for free shipping, and during a sale, is priced very competitively. You also know exactly what you're getting as far as storage and the drinking experience with the dozen cakes I have personally stored here, and I will update the description as the tea continues to age. Please note that these cakes appreciate quite rapidly on the PRC market (around 10% a year). If you'd like to try aging these yourself (with a Hong Kong headstart), or would like to see how these taste at this point (they are very much drinkable, but not as far along as I feel is ideal), these are a great buy!

100g samples are available for those who'd like to try some Five Star Nanzhao at this point!

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