January 28, 2010

2008 Menghai - "Peacock Of Nannou"

The Peacock of Nannou is the only other of the Peacock series of teas that I purchased besides the Menghai and while it definitely plays second fiddle to the Peacock of Menghai it's just the same a nice, enjoyable tea. I really had no clue as to what a Nannou tea should taste like, maybe I still don't, I don't know. Is the Peacock of Nannou a good example of what a classic Nannou tea should taste, smell or look like? Evidently Menghai feels that it is so who am I to argue? I,m sure there is a whole world of cakes out there that a lot of people would consider a much better representation of a classic Nannou flavor profile and maybe someday I,ll discover them for myself but until then Ive got this tea, and I like it.
All of the Peacock cakes weigh in at a hefty 400 gm,s. And at the price point they are selling at they are a good value. But another thing that I have to take into consideration is that the compression is pretty tight, almost Xiaguan tight. Consequently when breaking into something this heavily compressed there is a lot of waste material. Little tiny fragments of leaf that in my book is un-brewable. Even when exercising a lot of care I wind up with maybe 15-20% of the cake going into the garbage, and that waste costs just as much as the rest of the cake. So taking the "waste factor" into consideration they are still a good value.But the idea of paying money for tea and taking any amount of it and throwing it away makes me cringe. But I do realize that expecting them to be user friendly at this age is kinda putting the cart before the horse. With continued aging in a moderately humid environment they will become a little more relaxed and hopefully easier to deal with.

Now, lets get to the tea. The cake itself is made up of pretty nice looking leaf. The aroma is rich, intense and pungent. Sweet and meadowy, floral, with a background of leathery scents. Nine gms. of leaf go into the yixing, a couple of rinses and lets see what we have here. Well, same descriptive words as I used in describing the teas aroma applies to it's flavor as well. Nice viscous body, just sweet enough to marry with the other flavors but isn't bullying the other flavors out of the way either. Slightly dry and tart mouth feel. When compared to the Peacock of Menghai the Nannou seems a little cleaner and maybe a tad brighter in it,s flavors. Very delicate smell of perfume like floral's wafting from the cup. Tis nice!
The tea brews up a clean and clear yellow soup with just a trace of orange in it. Nice and slightly sticky, I love sticky teas. Durability is alright, somewhere around the 7th pot or so it really thins out. But we know the deal here, all the brewing variables plays a big part in how a tea progresses through the session. While I found the Peacock of Menghai to be a very tong worthy tea, the Peacock of Nannou? A tong? No, it's nice enough to justify buying a couple of cakes for the cabinet and see how they progress with time but falls just a little short of falling into the category of tong worthy.
So back to the waste factor, for the Peacock of Menghai I,m willing to overlook the waste, the Menghai is exceptionally tasty in my book. From what Ive read it seems to be that there are a whole lot of people out there that are really liking the Menghai cakes, and Ive happily fallen in line with the rest of em.
Note: additional sessions with this Nannou tea Ive realized that it's sweetness noticeably fades after the first few infusions leaving behind a very dry mouth feel. I find my jaws clenching after the fourth infusion. Very,very dry.


  1. From my own (limited) experience and from listening to those more well-informed than me, I get the sense that Nannuo tends to be more floral, with orchid-like aroma. Tim at The Mandarin's Tea talks about the "granny powder" or talc-like qualities in Nannuo, which sometimes I struggle to get, though it shows up sometime in the cup after you've had the tea, though maybe it's the fact that he said it that I made it happen in my mind.

    Though I haven't tried this, I haven't been wowed by any Nannuo, but I'm always looking for the opportunity to be proven wrong.

  2. Hi Maitre, I find nothing in this tea that I would consider "Orchid like" The Wu Liang Lan Zhiang? Definately. There is kind of a dry mouthfeel maybe thats how he describes talc like qualities. It's foral but more of a subtle perfume like floral to me. It's a good tea but not great.

  3. It sounds like an alright tea. I still think I would like Peacock of Menghai more though. Did you have a set of all 5? I forgot sorry.

  4. Hi Ian, No, I didnt buy the set of five cakes, just the Menghai and the Nannou. The Nannou is a good tea but as far as my tastes go the Menghai is more to my liking. I could see how this could age into something really good though.

  5. Why must we wait so long for the better things in life. It is however normally worth it. I think I am going to get the sample set now!
    Thanks for the great post again.