Yunnan Sourcing’s Nuo Mi Xiang shou puerh is a bit of an oddball cake for me in the sense that I almost never do flavoured teas. After seeing it recommended many times on Reddit and watching Steven Colbert drink a sample I decided to give it a shot. Plus, if you’re going to add extra bits to tea, the sticky rice herb added to shou sort of just makes sense to me – it seems like a natural fit. As you can see from the picture above, I’ve already busted into this cake a couple times before, and my last tasting was about three months ago.
Breaking the cake
This mini 100 gram cake is tightly compressed and thin so it’s a bit hard to break into. The dry leaves smell more of sticky rice then they do of shou, it’s really quite nice. In the background you do get some musty, earthy smell and it smells just a touch fishy to me. After a quick rinse the wet leaves smell similar but more intense. The rice smell has amped up and it’s filling my entire room and making it smell like a dim sum restaurant. The fishy smell that I noticed on the dry leaves isn’t present in the wet leaves or rinse.
I am using 9.75 grams in my 130ml gaiwan. Water is at a full boil and after a quick rinse and rest I am starting with a ten second infusion and increasing by five seconds each time until otherwise noted.
The first infusion is pretty weak, I probably could have double rinsed but the second has thickened up significantly. The colour is a nice dark brown that’s clear with very little to no cloudiness, it looks pretty similar to a light roasted coffee. In the forefront you get a hit of gritty chocolate, like a malt. As you hold the liquor in your mouth it changes to a buttered toast and popcorn taste but also a classic shou flavour. Mushroomy, mossy and peaty like a scotch, it tastes like a forest smells after a few days of hard rain. I don’t get nearly as much of a rice taste as you would think from the aroma, and it’s mostly present in the aftertaste which is fairly short lived.
In these infusions the popcorn and toasty flavours are becoming the main feature and nearly everything else is fading away. The mushroom taste has moved to pretty well just the aftertaste and while the peaty flavour is still there it’s much more muted. By the sixth infusion it seems like this tea is already beginning to drop off, so I’ll be increasing my infusion times and lessening the water in my gaiwan a little bit.
For the seventh infusion I have increased my steep time to 50 seconds and lessened my water by a bit. This seems to have brought some extra life out, so I’ll increase by ten seconds for the remainder of the session.
Overall the strength has increased from the last batch of infusions, but the general profile is the same. The toast and popcorn flavours are right up front with a bit of rice in the background and not much else going on. There is still a little hint chocolate but I think it’s mostly there because I am searching for it. If these infusion were my first taste of this tea I probably wouldn’t describe it as chocolatey. The tenth infusion is where I am calling it quits on this tea, as it has dropped off again and I’ve already modified the parameters once to keep it going.
This tea is currently out of stock on the Yunnan Sourcing website, but there is a pop-up to be emailed when it comes back in stock so I would think they’ll be pressing more. It’s an interesting tea to me simply because I haven’t tried anything like it before. It’s enjoyable but a bit weak and one dimensional. There is a complexity to it that I really like at the beginning, but after a couple infusions most of the interesting notes fade away. It comes in a mini 100 gram cake that costs $10 USD so really it’s hard to complain about. It’s different enough from everything else I own and normally drink that I’m happy to have it, but I don’t find myself craving it all that often. I won’t be patiently waiting for a re-pressing of this cake. That said, if I come across another sticky rice puerh that is made with a higher quality shou I will definitely be trying it.